Family Photo Friday!

Family Photo Friday

Each Friday when possible, I’d like to post a photo of Gracie or one of my other chickens…maybe all them! This is so everyone can have a better idea of the inspirations behind the cartoons posted here. (Yes, Gracie is a real chicken, not just a cartoon chicken!)

Hold onto your heart! This week’s photo is of Rudy before she was even a week old. You can see her first real wing feathers developing. The colors and patterns are really nice too. All of the chicks seem to be even happier and more excited (if that’s possible!) when their wing feathers start coming in and developing. It’s like they can’t wait to try them out!

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

My Life With Gracie…Your Real Self

About Being Yourself

This week’s three posts feature marshmallow candy chicks called “Peeps”. They were one of the items I once stocked at a nearby Navy Commissary with a real friend of mine, Dennis.

If any of my chickens ever tried to disguise herself as a Peeps marshmallow candy chick, it would be Pearl!

From the day I brought Pearl and Blanche home from the post office, Pearl was different. (Yes, that’s where chickens come from…at least when you live in the city.) They were the only two raised by themselves, and that may have made some difference.

Pearl was always noisier and more active than Blanche, and she never seemed to be able to settle down. Pearl wanted to entertain and be entertained. Blanche just wanted to eat.

Mishaps just seem to follow Pearl even today. She can’t help but turn over the food dish or the water bottle or climb on top of Blanche or one of the others to get to where she wants to be. I don’t like to admit this, but Pearl was my least favorite of all my chickens. She didn’t fit my idea of what a chicken should be.

I hoped she would get better when she and Blanche were introduced to the other chickens, but she just got herself into more trouble. Scolding didn’t help, not from me or from the other chickens. Reasoning didn’t help. (Can you even reason with a chicken?)

I could tell she wanted to be good like the others especially because none of the others really wanted to be around her, not even when it was time to roost at night. She tried to be like the others with all she knew how to do, and then the next minute there would be another chicken calamity.

She was an outcast. Perhaps that’s what changed my mind about her.

Then I realized no matter what any of us did, she was going to be Pearl, and we really shouldn’t have been upset with her for being herself. Pearl simply loves being a chicken. Sometimes her exuberance and joy causes her to get carried away.

When we all started appreciating her for who she was, she actually began to calm down…well, somewhat!

Perhaps if she had been raised by a Mama Chicken instead of a Chicken Daddy, things would be different for her and she would have struggled less to be liked. Now she seems to understand how we appreciate her for being the crazy chicken she was hatched to be.

My Life With Gracie made me realize it’s never good to cover up who you really are just to be liked.

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

About Being Yourself

My Life With Gracie…Your Real Friends

What's On The Inside

This week’s three posts feature marshmallow candy chicks called “Peeps”. They were one of the items I once stocked at a nearby Navy Commissary with a real friend of mine, Dennis.

Friendship is a curious thing. It’s not always easy to figure out. What makes a friendship happen? What keeps some of the oddest friendships together for life? What makes a friendship end?

With friendship for baby chicks, at first they are just a mass of peeping fluff and excitement with all of them all over the place all of the time! Eventually patterns form and connections happen.

One of the most curious things I’ve found is that if you have only two of the same kind of chicks being raised in a variety of chicks, those two will eventually find each other and become friends. That is a mystery to me.

There just seems to be something on the inside helping little chicks to find others of their own kind who are compatible with them. But it’s not with how they look on the outside.

How do they know what kind of chick they are? It’s not like they can look at themselves in a mirror! They can’t really see their own feathers yet. They can’t look down and see that they are a ball of white or black or yellow feathers and then find their matching chick. Somehow they just know.

My own theory is it has something to do with the sounds they make. Maybe it’s a specific pattern of peeping. Maybe it’s a specific sound pitch. No matter how it happens, they are able to identify others as “friends like me” even with all of the noise they are all making.

People are a lot like that too. Only its not about sound patterns and pitches. With people, it’s more about the content of what is said. Kind hearts on the inside send kind words to the outside.

My Life With Gracie reminded me just because someone looks like a friend on the outside, you won’t know for sure until you listen to what’s on the inside.

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

What'S On The Inside

 

My Life With Gracie…On Giving Patience

My Life With Gracie...On Giving Patience

Chickens and gardens go together…well, sorta, kinda, in a way.

They are great at scratching up weeds…but they can also scratch up and eat your seedlings.

They are great at digging in your soil…but they tend to just dig in one spot like a crater, not in a row. It would be nice if they worked like little tilling machines, but that isn’t going to happen.

Still, it is enjoyable when I’m preparing a new planting bed with some chicken helpers. Of course we have completely different objectives. I want to prepare the soil for seeds and seedlings. They want to find earthworms and bugs.

Chickens understand food really well. It’s like there are only two things in life: “food” and “not food.” Well, that’s not totally correct.

In their minds, it’s probably more like: “food” and “not quite food yet, but almost.” I get the feeling they would do just about anything to get the “not quite food” to become “food” as quickly as possible.

Chickens are quite impatient with garden crops. They are positively sure every cucumber and squash and especially watermelon is for them.

Their clucking sounds a lot like, “Why doesn’t someone remove this fence for us?!? Why doesn’t someone cut open this watermelon for us?!?” If I let them, they would eat every leaf off of the watermelon plants before the watermelons they love had time to grow and ripen.

To tell the truth, I’m often just as impatient as my chickens when it come to some things and perhaps even more impatient! There are times when I think patience just might be the greatest gift I can give…or receive.

My Life With Gracie convinced me patience is one of the hardest but most valuable gifts you can give.

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

My Life With Gracie...On Giving Patience

Family Photo Friday!

Family Photo Friday

Each Friday when possible, I’d like to post a photo of Gracie or one of my other chickens…maybe all them! This is so everyone can have a better idea of the inspirations behind the cartoons posted here. (Yes, Gracie is a real chicken, not just a cartoon chicken!)

Hold onto your heart! A post here at “My Life With Gracie” this week was about giving. Just so you don’t think all little chicks are filled with generosity, this week’s photo is of My Boy Lefty and two of his friends playing Tug-Of-War to see who gets a wheat sprout…when there is already a full dish of them!

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

My Life With Gracie…Receiving Well

My Life With Gracie...Receiving Well

Caring for baby chicks everyday in their brooder box was tremendously fun. Nevertheless, I was relieved when it was time to move them into the great big outdoors. They are noisy!

Their world expanded tremendously. It also gave them a chance to see I was more than a big hand above them bringing food and water and checking their little bottoms for “pasty butt.” They saw their Chicken Daddy was a big 6 foot 2 inch 240 pound Protector and Provider!

They also had a chance to see how much they had their big old Chicken Daddy wrapped around their little baby feathers! Did I mind? Not really. But I noticed something different about Gracie when I started hand-feeding them in their new chicken run.

Summer corn is always a favorite. On the cob is good. Cut off of the cob and in a dish is better. But everyone knows cut off of the cob and then hand-fed tastes best!

Whenever I was hand-feeding the chickens, all of the others kept their eyes on the treats in my hand, but not Gracie. She kept her eyes on my face. Even with her most favorite treats, she kept her eyes on my face. She trusted me to get what she loved right to her without worrying over whether she would be overlooked or left out.

This trust, probably more than anything else, made me love her as “My Best Girl Ever.” This one simple act touched my heart more than the lump on her side, more than how she wasn’t as social as the others, and more than my concern she might never become an egg-laying hen.

Gracie just looked at my face and trusted me to guide treats right to her waiting beak. She wouldn’t take her eyes off of my face even when those treats were her favorite bites of banana. The others would eagerly follow my hand. Gracie’s gaze stayed fixed unblinkingly on my face.

Gracie is a much better receiver than I may ever be.

My Life With Gracie showed me how to look at the face and not at the hand of the giver.

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

My Life With Gracie...Receiving Well

My Life With Gracie…Giving Well

My Life With Gracie...Giving Well

One of the earliest things I learned about baby chicks is they don’t train very well. (For example, when they poop, it’s anywhere. No litter box. No special spot. It’s anywhere.)

You may have seen a video of a chicken pecking out a song on a toy piano or performing a similar trick. Most chickens aren’t so clever, unless there is a strong association between doing something and getting food.

The only strong association my chickens ever made was between the sound of my back door closing and getting food. When they hear that sound, their “performing” starts with full force doing anything they can to attract my attention and to be the first to get food or a treat.

Being first is hugely important to chickens…and little children too…and probably most grown ups, if they were to tell the truth.

This was why I was so surprised to see some staying back and letting others have their choice of the tastiest bites first. Sometimes it did have to do with who was more assertive, but oftentimes not. There were times when letting others have their choice first could only be explained as a simple act of generous kindness.

There were some like the Brahma chicks who had to be first at everything, even going so far as to stand in the middle of the food dish, particularly when there were sprouted wheat or barley seeds. Yet they and my boy Lefty were the exception. (I am positive when he was a chick, Lefty dreamed of one day being a velociraptor!)

So that got me thinking. When you have nothing to give to someone, like when you can’t buy or make anything, giving them first choice to the biggest slice of cake (or dried mealworms) or first choice to the best seat (or perch) is really nice. It’s like saying, “You’re more important to me than being first.”

Gracie has always been good about standing back and letting others have first choice, but just to be truthful, she does have her moments. Gracie seldom lets anyone come between her and her banana! But I have seen it happen, and when it does, I see true kindness in her eyes. Maybe we all have things like Gracie and her bananas, and perhaps those are the truest tests of a giving heart.

My Life With Gracie showed me letting others have their choice first is a kind of giving.

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

My Life With Gracie...Giving Well

My Life With Gracie…A Startling Revelation

My Life With Gracie...A Startling Revelation

Since we have the bricks out, at least on the drawing board, I thought I would do a group portrait of all my chickens, past and present. This doesn’t include the ones I’ve raised for other people, just the ones I have called “mine,” including those I’ve given away. There’s also little history here. Chickens are a lot like people.

TOP ROW (Left To Right) Rudy (Rhode Island Red hen), the Emperor and the Empress (Brahma rooster and hen)

MIDDLE ROW (Left To Right) Blanche (White Plymouth Rock hen), Lefty (Buff Orpington rooster), Amelia (Barred Plymouth Rock hen)

BOTTOM ROW (Left To Right) Gracie and Bessie (Buff Orpington hens), Pearl (White Plymouth Rock hen), Emily (Gold Laced Wyandotte hen)

So here is our group portrait. You will notice Pearl is not in line with the others which is so like her. She will always be just a little different without ever intending to be.

But aren’t people like that too? Never doing what you expect or want them to do? They can’t help it. Chickens will be chickens, and people will be people.

My Life With Gracie gave me a startling revelation. Chickens don’t pose well for group portraits.

You can read a little more on this page All My Chickens.

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

My Life With Gracie...A Startling Revelation

Family Photo Friday!

Each Friday when possible, I’d like to post a photo of Gracie or one of my other chickens…maybe all them! This is so everyone can have a better idea of the inspirations behind the cartoons posted here. (Yes, Gracie is a real chicken, not just a cartoon chicken!)

Hold onto your heart! This week’s photo is of Gracie before she was even a week old.

Thanks everyone for every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” because each one is hugely appreciated and encouraging!