It came time to kill the capons. They were fatted, juicy, succulent. There was Bruce, the largest; Henry, handsome and spiffy; Jerome and Sabastian… I looked at my husband, then at my sons. They looked at me. We put it off. Two months to the tough later we hired someone to chop their heads off. We, in mournful pain, did the rest.

My husband made an astonishing observation in September when cold weather transformed condensation to icicles in the shed/coop. We could either support the still fruitless (eggless) hens or ourselves. The shed needed insulation, heat; we needed to pay our rising oil bills. I sold them all for one dollar each.

It wasn’t two weeks later, the buyer of my babies stopped me in the post office to tell me that mine were the healthiest layers she’d ever had. An egg a day every day from each of them. I was glad, proud of my babies. What the heck, we did a good job of bringing them up, didn’t we?