Good morning, everybody! How are y'all doing this fine day? The last three weeks of the year are fairly tight around here. I have been flat out busy beyond busy from morning to night. My husband takes hs annual vacation at this time and all four of the children are home full time for two weeks. The cooking and the laundry alone requires extra hours of work. Then there is all of the cooking and preparing and planning to pull off all of the holiday magic. Since my oldest was born 20 yrs ago I have tried every single year to make sure they understand why we celebrate Christmas, the glory of the birth of Christ, and at the same time put the magic of the season together with Santa and his reindeer. It is a big job but once again I managed to pull it off. This year was a little different because this was the very last visit from Santa for my oldest daughter. 20 years is enough. Then there is the hoopla of the coming New Year with some of the same social obligations, making sure my kids are safe and having a good time, too. Mix that in with an uber geek husband who udates/upgrades our network and does other stuff so that I have limited or no internet accesses AND a cable company that was extremely unpredictable for the better part of a week and you will see another reason I wasn't here for so long. I couldn't get on the net! I was having withdrawals! I have had mayhem in my poultry house that has not only p!ssed me off but made me very sad. Something happened over the course of a day and a night. I went out to find someone had been picking and pecking and I had 5 of my best laying hens bloody and tattered and have had to move them out in their own small coop and play vet for the last week. One of the wyandottes I was sure wouldn't make it but she seems to be just fine now and healing nicely. I do know had this been the heat of summer there is no way I could have kept the flies and their larvea off of her. So yaaahhh for super cold weather and hens that are recovering. Back in October I recieved 27 jumbo cornish cross from McMurray and have been growing them out for meat. I am happy to report I have not lost any of those monster cockerals. We began processing them (HUGE JOB!) last saturday and it has been very time consuming. The smallest so far has weighed in at 10 lbs and the largest at 13 lbs. These birds just turned 12 weeks old and they are(were) the size of small turkeys. The breast of one bird will easily feed a family of six (even more if the children are young). My freezer and fridge is packed to the gills with chicken meat. I have been experimenting with rendering the fat from the chickens and using it for savory pie crusts for chicken pies and other goodies. Let this be a hint to all of you who process your own chickens - get a crock pot, render the fat, make pie crust for homemade chicken pot pies, dumplings, etc. You won't be sorry. My hens are laying about 19 - 24 eggs a day. I have a fridge full of those too! They move quickly as the people at our church love fresh eggs. (I have to remember to tell you the story of the giant basket of eggs!) Throw in 10 Christmas trees, 22 wreaths, 500ft of garlands, Christmas cards, present wrapping, cookie baking, candy making, basket making, goat milking, soap making, ornament making ......... So, that is where I have been. It is all over now. January is fresh and bright. I am back in full swing here as of this morning.