Trick Or Treat! Smell My Feet!

Trick Or Treat! Smell My Feet!

Between us, I think chickens have an odd sense of humor. It’s the kind of thing you either get or you don’t. For example, “Trick Or Treat! Smell My Feet!” is completely hilarious to a chicken. There doesn’t seem to be any explanation for why they find this so funny.

The above cartoon is my best rendering of Pearl’s costume from her comedy debut this past Saturday. A complete joke-by-joke account will be shared with you this Saturday.

The hot pink nail polish and lipstick were completely her doing from when I left a can of paint open while preparing the “Pearl’s Comedy Coop” set. The Carmen Miranda look-alike hat is from some unknown stash. Chickens are remarkably resourceful.

I have a feeling children may understand and appreciate chicken humor better than adults. For this and other cartoons which are presented in both Chicken and English, my suggestion is for children to read the parts in Chicken and for adults to read the parts in English.

It has been my experience that children are often able to read Chicken long before they are able to read English. Unfortunately there is no educational research yet to definitively prove this. Funding for this type of project is always unpredictable.

The ability to speak and read Chicken also seems to be a skill that disappears with age if not used. Even the simple bilingual cartoon above is presented to you only after a great deal of tutoring from one of my other chickens, Bessie. She has told me I need more work on my vowels.

In the spirit of bridging the communication gap between chickens and humans, you may wish to print and post today’s cartoon at home, at work, or anywhere you feel may need some decoration and humor! After all, tomorrow is Halloween!

Somehow I think Pearl and the others chickens help to bring back the simple, uncomplicated days of trick-or-treating from my own childhood. That was a time when mummies and pirates were the scariest costumes, and an old sheet with two holes for eyes would always be good as a ghost at the last minute. Candy was always safe, and no one enjoyed frightening children with graphic images of evil and insanity.

Thanks for reading whether you “Trick Or Treat” or not…and also whether you “Smell My Feet” or not! Be safe out there. It’s not too late to put together a Halloween costume like Pearl’s!

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

Trick Or Treat

My Life With Gracie…About “Going Bananas”

About "Going Bananas"

It was totally my fault. I take full responsibility. I should have never left the paint cans out where a chicken could get to them. But I did. I should have never left them uncovered. But I did.

I came home from the grocery store with a big bag of carrots and apples and lettuce for the chickens and found that Pearl had been getting ready for her big debut. She had found the open cans and decided she would paint her toenails for her comedy show.

Fortunately I caught her before she decided that matching “beak-stick” would be the perfect compliment.

She looked at me as if to say, “Am I not the most beautiful chicken you’ve ever seen?” and walked away. That is my Pearl.

During her show tonight, I have been demoted temporarily from Chicken Daddy to Stagehand and Snack-bar Attendant. But I don’t mind. In some ways, I might consider it a promotion because Pearl is trusting me to keep everything running smoothly for her big night. It’s just what you do, I guess, when you have backyard chickens.

After her show tonight, I will tuck everyone in for the night and then draw and write what I remember of her jokes and comedy routine. I’d like to share it in both Chicken and English since some of you may have chickens who might enjoy a chuckle or “cluckle.”

Interesting fact. The name “Pearl” and the phrase “Going Bananas” sound almost identical in Chicken. Only the vowel sounds are slightly different.

“BWÅWK-UH” and “BWÄWK-ÜH”

How all of this written Chicken language came about is another story for another day. It did involve a great deal of patience and understanding, as all worthwhile communication endeavors usually do.

In the meantime, you might be interested to know most proper names for hens will use the vowel letter “Å” which is called “the letter with the egg on top.” Most words for food will use the vowel letter “Ü” which is called “the letter with the happy farmer.” (Apparently there is a Chicken proverb which says something like “a farmer is happiest when feeding his chickens” and the letter looks like a smiling face.)

My Life With Gracie (and especially Pearl) showed me it’s fine to “go bananas” with goofy silliness every now and then.

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

About "Going Bananas"

Family Photo Friday!

Family Photo Friday

Hold onto your hearts! And maybe your funny bones too! This week’s photo features Pearl in the center on a backyard outing with Blanche (just barely visible to the back), Gracie (to the left), and Bessie (to the right). Or is that Bessie (to the left) and Bessie (to the right)? It’s hard tell them apart when you can’t see the combs on top of their heads. (Bessie’s comb became slightly misshapen and floppy after she defended everyone from a predator.)

I thought this might be a good one to share because this week’s posts have all been focused on Pearl and her dream of being a standup comedian. This photo was taken last fall, and I think it gives you a good idea of how beautifully white she and Blanche appear in the sunlight as I wrote about recently.

Don’t you think there’s a bit of celebrity status in the way she is strutting for the camera while everyone else is hunting for insects?!?

Before closing, I want to thank all of my regular readers for continuing to follow along with these simple chicken cartoons and stories. I hope you will enjoy Pearl’s opening night posts which I have planned for next week in “Pearl’s Comedy Coop”…if all goes well!

Thanks again!

You can read more about all of my chickens on this page.

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

My Life With Gracie…About “Winging It”

About "Winging It"

With the stage backdrop almost completed, Gracie and I decided we needed to let Pearl know she should prepare some standup comedy material for her opening night.

She was quite thrilled, and we were thrilled for her. The only suggestion she had, and it was a very good one, was to add a spotlight. Since this was scheduled for Saturday evening, everyone would be able to see better. How could Gracie and I have overlooked such an important detail?

Then I suggested we all put our heads together to decide on the comedy content of the show. You know, what jokes to tell…that sort of thing. Pearl just looked at us with a blank stare as if to say, “What do you mean? So I have to decide what jokes to tell ahead of time?”

It did no good to tell her it was what all the professionals do. She was determined to just “wing it” with whatever came to her mind, though she didn’t rule out using props.

Gracie seemed to accept this more easily than I did. Perhaps that’s just the way chickens do most things, by “winging it.” They have to trust their instincts.

In a way, this sort of makes sense. After all, chickens don’t use pencil and paper. Pearl would definitely have a hard time keeping her jokes organized if they were written down on index card.


So there is a great admiration in my heart for Pearl and her desire to just go wherever her talent and imagination take her. She has a rare trust in the gifts she was given to share with others.

My Life With Gracie taught me sometimes you simply have to “wing it” and believe in yourself and the gifts you’ve been given.

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

About "Winging It"

My Life With Gracie…About Prosperity

About Prosperity

Autumn is a wonderful time to get out and do some work in the yard. The temperatures are cooler, and there’s always plenty to do to catch up with what wasn’t done in the heat and humidity of summer.

Prosperity has been on my mind a lot lately. This may be due in part to my age and often now wondering what I’ve accomplished in life that is real and lasting. If it hasn’t been done yet, it probably won’t be done unless it’s right here in my own backyard.

I will never have another house that’s bigger and nicer. Yet I do have a house and a yard and chickens to enjoy on a cool autumn day. I realize my house is an old one, and my finances have changed. Where once I could afford to renovate and restore, now I’m only hoping to “make do” with the resources I have. I know the day will probably come when the decline of my house will overtake my resources and my energy to get things done.

But on a lovely autumn day, all of those things are only passing thoughts. I take a break and sit with Blanche and Pearl and tell them, “Show me how pretty you are.”

In no time at all, they move from the shade to go and sit in the sun. Their white feathers reflect the light in the most beautiful way. They are stunning. They are gorgeous. In that moment, I feel so rich, so prosperous, and I can’t imagine wanting anything else.

Then Pearl nudges herself between the fencing of their chicken run and Blanche who is already as close as she can get to soak up as much of the sun’s warmth as possible. But Pearl is persistent, as only Pearl can be, and Blanche relents, surrenders her prime spot, and shifts over to a less sunny spot.

Pearl is happy. It wasn’t about having the sunniest spot. It was about having the attention. It was about “getting away with it” like only a best friend can. In no time at all, she was up and off and looking for something else to do.

My chickens believe that we are the most prosperous family on the block, perhaps in the whole neighborhood. It’s fine for them to believe that because when I look at them, I feel that way too.

The work on the stage set for Pearl’s comedy debut is coming along nicely. Some old boards and leftover paint can really turn into a nice backdrop for “Pearl’s Comedy Coop.” She still doesn’t know exactly what’s up which is fine.

Gracie has been giving me suggestions privately, but we haven’t told the others yet. I want Pearl’s audience to be supremely excited for her opening night.

The show will be just for us in the backyard. No one will be throwing money onto the stage. She won’t be getting a multi-million dollar contract. She will not go “viral” on YouTube. She will not be interviewed on the late night talk shows.

But she will have her moment, and we will all feel “like a million dollars,” and she will be what she has always wanted to be, a star comedian. This will be our gift to her.

My Life With Gracie gave me a new way of looking at prosperity, and suddenly my family is the richest in the whole neighborhood.

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

About Prosperity

My Life With Gracie…Knowing What’s Best

Knowing What's Best

My chickens don’t like human processed food very much, and that’s probably very good. There are a few things they will eat like a bite of or two of bread crumbs from the leftover edges of my lunch sandwich. Even then, it has to be a whole grain bread with nuts and seeds in it. Otherwise they will turn their beaks away from the bleached white puffy stuff.

Along with their regular feed and scratch, every morning I make a fresh salad for them with chopped kale, shredded carrots, lettuce, and cubed apple. There’s usually something extra in there too depending on what’s fresh in the garden or in the produce department.

In the early spring, they can’t get enough of the newly sprouted grass and earthworms. Then later in the spring, they enjoy our strawberries which are must smaller but tastier than the store-bought variety. In the summer, there are plenty of garden vegetables. In the fall, they enjoy fresh pumpkins, and I roast the seeds for one of their most favorite treats of all. In the winter, I sprout wheat and barley seeds for them which they like very much.

I’ve often thought if we all ate like chickens we would be much healthier and happier. We eat things a chicken would never eat like cotton candy and cupcakes!

With chickens, no matter how good or tempting something may look, if it’s not what they know to be good for them, they aren’t going to touch it. Usually they aren’t even going to taste it.

Chickens are naturally suspicious of anything new that is placed in front of them. They cock their head to the side to get a closer look and will usually go right back to whatever they were doing. Occasionally they will give a disappointed or even exasperated cluck.

They tend to stay with what is familiar and dependable. But me, well if it is new, looks appealing in some way, and promises to bring me happiness, it will usually capture my full attention!

People aren’t like chickens with food choices or other things either. Although like chickens we are always looking for something, often we don’t have any idea what we are looking for or are looking for all the wrong things.

The first and biggest mistake I ever made was to say, “I know what’s best for me.” The second was to say, “I know what’s best for you.” (In other words, “If I can’t make myself happy, then you need to make me happy.”)

These errors are perhaps as old as humankind itself. They have brought us a great deal of trouble and heartache…particularly when what is best for me is to lie to you, steal from you, or kill you…or to kill the joy you hold in your heart.

When all else fails to fulfill our longings, it is important to remember faith, hope, and love still remain, and the things best for us are often unseen.

My Life With Gracie convinced me chickens know what’s best for chickens far better than people know what’s best for people.

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

Knowing What's Best

Family Photo Friday!

Family Photo Friday

This is definitely a “Hold onto your hearts!” photo. You may remember last Friday I shared a photo of my boy Lefty the day he moved to a farm in the country. He looked grumpy and betrayed. The next day I took Rudy to the farm to join him.

This photo is of Rudy and her first day-old chick. Definitely a stronger resemblance to Lefty the new Dad than Rudy the new Mom, wouldn’t you say? Here is one of Rudy’s own baby chick photos for comparison.

Rudy is waiting for the others chicks to hatch and join this first one. While the eggs in the clutch are laid over several days, they remain in a suspended state until the hen has the number of eggs that she wants. When she begins to stay with them and warm them, then the chicks begin to develop. This ensures they will all hatch at roughly the same time.

Rudy is a great Chicken Momma as I think you can tell. She is strong and protective, and a real sweetheart, though in this photo she is seriously guarding her sleepy-looking little treasure.

You can read more about all of my chickens on this page.

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

My Life With Gracie…What Can’t Be Found

What Can't Be Found

For the past few days, I haven’t collected any eggs from Blanche and Pearl. (They have their own separate smaller coop now just for the two of them. But that’s another story for another day.)

This seemed odd to me because they are my most consistent egg layers. There are no signs of anything out of the ordinary like egg predators. They aren’t molting right now which would cause them to stop laying eggs and use their energy to grow new feathers.

Early yesterday morning I did some investigation by flashlight before they had gotten up for their breakfast. Chickens can’t see very well in the dark, so they tend to stay put. I found some eggs hidden away in a small spot behind their nesting box.

They sleep on a roost on top of their nesting box, and they know I usually check for eggs in the morning. When there are eggs in their nesting box and they hear me feeling around in there, they usually give me a cluck or two. I had always taken this as their way of telling me that they wanted to get a little more sleeptime.

Now I’m not so sure. I think Blanche, my biggest girl, wants more than anything to be a Mama Chicken and Pearl is copying her and laying eggs in this secret spot too.

This makes me sad, because I tell all of my chickens almost everyday how I want good things for them so they are happy. I know Blanche wants to be a Mama Chicken and would make an excellent one. She is strong, alert, and has great patience. (After all, she practically raised her hatchling sister Pearl all by herself!)

Without any roosters around, Blanche will never have what she is looking for to make herself happy. She will never have baby chicks of her own to raise. It’s a reality I don’t like for her. Even if she did spend a little time visiting with a rooster and hatched some eggs, I’m already at my legal city limit with six chickens. (No roosters. No more than six hens.)

My heart shared her sadness and her loneliness. Should I take the eggs she has hidden away? They will never hatch. When she has enough in her clutch and becomes broody, it’s not going to be pleasant.

I don’t like the idea of Blanche trying to do the impossible, never giving up, and having a broken heart. I’d rather she be angry at me for “stealing” her eggs. Yesterday afternoon while they were distracted, I took nine eggs from their hidden clutch.

Things like this happen to people in different ways…like how we get angry when what we are seeking is impossible, even when it is a good thing that others have. So much of life seems out of our control during those times, and we are prone to become bitter and angry at what we perceive to be unfairness. Yet every day is a gift.

My Life With Gracie helped me see we won’t always find what we are looking for, even if we want it very much. Yet every day is a gift.

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

What Can't Be Found

My Life With Gracie…About Looking And Finding

About Looking And Finding

Sometimes I think a chicken’s life is so simple. Wake up. Look for food. Find it. Joyful tail feathers are on display!

Look for sunshine and a nice dustbath spot. Find it. More joyful tail feathers are on display!

Look for a good shady spot for sitting and looking pretty. Find it. Even more joyful tail feathers are on display!

It all makes life as a human seem more challenging by comparison. But I must wonder if we don’t make things more difficult than they need to be. We worry and fret. We make plans to forestall what might, maybe, by some small chance, possibly happen. Long range plans are nice, but what about just this day?

So I started asking myself…how many times a day do I have “happy tail feathers” like my chickens? In other words, how often could I tell someone during the day, “I found what I was looking for!” and really mean it? Could someone just look at me and tell it without me ever saying a word? Is my attitude open and hopeful or closed and doubtful of finding goodness and joy?

Maybe some of it is just in looking at things differently. I find a pudding cup at the back of the refrigerator…possible joyful moment coming…and it is still on the good side of its expiration date…definite joyful moment has arrived!

My best bit of “chicken wisdom” for right now is to look for and find your joy every day and in everyday things. Let yourself have some “happy tail feathers” to show!

My Life With Gracie taught me everyone is looking for something. It’s fairly easy to spot the chicken who has found it.

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

About Looking And Finding