Got a good amount of wood split and carried inside yesterday. Loren, former student and local fisherman/carpenter/logger, came over and worked on it for a few hours. We made piles on either side of the wood stove that will get me through the weekend. Loren plugged up the two major holes through which chickens were escaping from captivity. Can't believe how those cute little chicks can grow up to be sweet lovely hens, or big nasty roosters. I caught quite a few of them last night after chores. There is a knack to catching hens and roosters. I wait until dark when they get up to roost. There are many poles running through the barn where milking equipment was hung when the barn was full of cows. That's where the free ranging birds go at night. I sneak up behind them and, if their legs are exposed, grab them and hold on. That way only takes one hand. The hens are easier and fight less. The roosters have long spurs on their feet that are tricky to get your fingers around. I carry them squawking and screaming to the chicken room and toss them in. They'll have to find a spot to roost on in there, which won't be easy at first. Chickens have their favorite places and might not let the interlopers get comfy at first. I gave them extra cracked corn and feed last night to make them feel better about being in prison. The other way I catch them is to put food down on the table where I feed the cats and wait for the roosters to drop down from their roosts to chow down. I don't blame the birds for wanting to eat, but this food is for the cats. The chickens have plenty of feed in their room. Luckily I am getting a few more eggs from them, which makes me feel kinder toward them. As we travel back to the light they will lay more delicious eggs which I love to eat. I don't want to have no chickens at all. The sight of a hen proudly marching her brood of tiny chicks around the barn is wonderful. If only they didn't grow up to be roosters... I still have to deal with the flood in the milk room. If only I could dig a new drain. As it is now I have to sweep all the cold nasty mucky water out the door and down the milk room steps. The cold and ice makes it worse. I got all but three or four birds out of there last night. My ankle is slowly on the mend and I don't want to slip on wet slime while diving for a rooster. Last night they were hiding on top of the water heater where I can't reach them. Don't blame them, that cat food is mighty tasty. and the milk room is the warmest place in the barn aside from the apartment, but I have to get to work washing and dyeing wool. After Loren left I set out for the Louis Gale Feed Mill in Waterville to pick up my load of cracked corn and chicken feed. The drive through the state forest was so beautiful, with all the trees covered with a frozen layer of silvery ice. The roads are still covered with snow. More started falling on my way back. Picked up milk and egg nog at the Brookfield General Store thinking I would have a bit of a Christmas cheer after chores last night, but, alas, could not find any whiskey. I had some White Christmas Tea, a gift from Robin last year, instead. Lovely.