Look you guys! It's an egg!
Why is this a Christmas miracle? Because I cannot remember the last time one of the chickens laid an egg. It's been months. They stopped when they started molting in the fall (around the time the Coco finally stopped being broody, naturally), and even though they've had their feathers back for a while, the nest box has remained empty, thanks to the near-absence of daylight this time of year.
I was quite giddy (and a little "I-told-you-so") when I showed the egg to Jeff, because he had started muttering last weekend about how "I can't remember the last time I had a fresh egg" and "I guess we're running a retirement home for chickens, now." Ha!
I knew they would start laying again, eventually. I understand why they can't molt and lay (it requires too much energy to replace most of your feathers), and it's an episode I'm happy to put behind us, with no photographic evidence as reminders. There are few things uglier than a molting chicken. (If you've seen a molting chicken, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't...well, just nod and agree with me.) When they get to the point where they lose the last of their long tail-feathers, they look like small fluffy dogs with docked tails..and chicken heads. And that's just all kinds of wrong.
But they are quite cute again, especially little Bob in all of her blue beachball-ness. I would have taken photos, but the light was going and even this egg photo didn't turn out the best. I'll try next week if we have a sunny day.