“Just Farm Animals” (Part 2)

Just Farm Animals

This is a continuation of the previous post, and you may want to read it first if you haven’t already. Today’s illustration is based on one of Gracie’s bad dreams.

Perhaps Gracie had said this because she wanted to know who she is and what she means to me. It felt like the kind of statement made by someone who is hesitant to say exactly what is on their heart.

“Who told you that you were just a farm animal?” I asked.

“The crows,” she said as she stood up.

Neither my chickens nor I like the crows that occasionally come into our yard. They are loud, oily-looking, and they only seem to want to upset everything.

“What did the crows tell you about being a farm animal?”

“Crows are like you. They can have as much corn as they want. Chickens aren’t like you. Chickens are farm animals. We only get the corn you give us. If crows don’t like the corn in one field, they can fly to another field. We can’t.”

“Gracie, do you believe you are just a farm animal?”

She thought this over very carefully. She didn’t want to expose the bruises the crows had put on her heart.

She had seen their freedom and had heard what they said their life outside our garden was like.

“Gracie, it doesn’t matter what anyone says about what you are. When I look at you, I see a friend who I absolutely adore in every way. But even what I say doesn’t matter. What matters is what you believe about yourself.”

In her deepest heart, she knew all this was true, but what the crows had been telling her made her doubt both herself and me. Those crows will peck until they find a vulnerable spot, and then they are merciless.

“I can’t fly like the others. I can’t fly away, even if I wanted to, though I don’t want to, honestly I don’t want to. Even though the crows say it’s better to be like them and like you.

“I can’t even fly up to the perch here in our run like everyone else can. But I try not to let anyone know.

“I don’t have any choices. Not like Amelia. Not like the others.”

Her voice faded off. It was as if she had nothing more to say and even if she could say more, she felt her words and her actions couldn’t change anything.

“Gracie, I know how you feel. I may never be more than what I am right now.”

She looked up at me in surprise.

“Some people say I’m just a crazy old man who has chickens in his backyard.”

Suddenly she knew she was not as alone as how she had been feeling.

“Making a home for you and taking care of you is just about the only thing I’ve ever done right, or as close to right as I can do it.

“Sometimes I wonder about whether even that is true or not. But I really have tried.

“I don’t have the kind of life most people would think of as successful. But I wouldn’t exchange my life here with you for anyone else’s life.”

Gracie realized life was not exactly like what the crows had told her.

“People have their own kind of crows. You may not have known that. But we do.

“So I have to remind myself there aren’t many people with chickens in their backyards who dance ballet like you do.”

Gracie sat back down and rested her head on my leg to comfort me.

“I guess we are just stuck with each other. Aren’t we?” she asked softly.

“I guess we are, Gracie.”

I rested the palm of my hand on her back to comfort her, and we smiled together.

“You know,” she said, “I wonder if those crows had anything to do with Amelia leaving when she did.”

“It’s possible.”

“Sometimes they give me bad dreams where they won’t leave me alone and I can’t get away from them. They want to take every good thing in my life from me.

“Did you know she left before her feathers were completely back in after molting? She left almost as soon as they had grown back enough for her to fly.”

“I didn’t realize that.”

“It’s really something only another chicken would notice.”

Gracie hopped up into my lap so we could look at the clouds together as they were beginning to be tinted with sunset colors.

“I hate those crows,” she said.

“I do too, Gracie. I do too.”

Somewhere out there was Amelia. We both silently hoped she was safe and free from the crows in her life.

“Gracie?”

“Yes?”

“Crows make horrible ballet dancers.”

We clucked and chuckled together as we imagined how ballet-dancing crows would look. Soon the sun had set. Then I helped her up into the coop for the night.

“Sweet dreams, Gracie.”

My Life With Gracie helped me see we may never be more than what we are right now to the world, but there is no limit to what we can be to each other when there is love.

Each post shares a glimpse into my journey as a writer and illustrator. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

28 thoughts on ““Just Farm Animals” (Part 2)”

    1. Thank you so much! I truly appreciate that! They increasingly take more time each week which is making it more difficult to post as often. But I guess it really should be a matter of quality over quantity. This is one of my favorites and it took several attempts to get it looking the way I wanted. Thanks again!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. A charming story…although I love crows and ravens very much too. But I understand what they represent or stand for.
    I`d love to have a look at your original pencil drawings once more…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I remember a video you had posted about ravens and the Tower of London. (At least I believe it was you.) I did think carefully about whether to use crows or not. I actually enjoy looking at the deep blackness of their feathers. But the story needed a non-chicken character to represent the negativity that can often surround a person and make them doubt themselves. (Bullying in our schools here is a particular problem.) As always, thank you for reading and commenting, and I will think about sharing more pencil drawings!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Do you know the picture of Francisco de Goya “El sueño de la razón produce monstruos” (The sleep gives birth to monsters)? This was my association because often it is your own mind who creates fears, insecurities and doubts. It is tough to get rid of inner crows who frequently picking on you.
        It is no coincidence that the Northern mythology knows Odin`s 2 ravens Hugin (=thought) and Munin (= memory, experience) who are monitoring the world affairs to report them to Walhalla. Both are capable to feed one`s inner critic so that you`re trapped in your self-confirming bubble.
        Chatting with ravens / crows is therefore “double-edged”, you need to be able to think critically, to see the details but also bigger picture and to self-reflect.
        Maybe, the crows around your coop don`t have any bad intent. They are smart and goofy ambassadors for change because they are triggering new questions and ideas.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I appreciate this line of thought! Very intriguing! It is like opening a single door which leads in different directions depending on your perspective!

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      3. No not at all! This is all very fluid. I enjoy being able to try out new ideas here. So often people see things in these stories which I may not have intended, but are relevant. I like the idea of a story being able to be read more than one way. Thank you!

        Like

  2. Those crows. They’ll say anything but you know it’s just their own insecurities talking there. However, they also make a nice ruckus when the hawks come around so I toss them the occasional handful of peanuts.

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    1. Yes, you are quite right. It is all from insecurities. We have red-tailed hawks here and they bother the crows (and even though protected, the chickens always duck when they fly overhead). Perhaps the crows are somewhat jealous of the chickens which are protected from the hawks? Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting!

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    1. Very true. In fact I wasn’t sure about the crows as characters in a story, but then this story wouldn’t quite work right without them. While putting this together, I remember how in an Aesop’s fable, a crow is quite clever and a good character. Perhaps crows, like people, all have their good sides…you just have to look for them? Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We all have our crows and they create an often unpleasant opportunity to claim our best selves in spite of their clever heckling. I am glad that you and Gracie used their gift wisely. I also love your illustrations!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Do people really say that to you that you are a crazy old man!? Like, I would be relieved if not and it’s just a part of your story.
    Well, knowing that Gracie is fine now makes me so happy! The story is really relatable and like everytime, there was a new thing to learn!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kenisha. It’s just part of the story, but it is something I do wonder about from time to time, or as the story says, “People have their own kind of crows” and I think sometimes we make them for ourselves. It doesn’t matter what other people think, only what we think and what those who we love and who love us think. In truth, Gracie can’t fly very well. She can’t make it up to the perch like the others can. (This has to do with something about her body that has been a little different from when she was first hatched.) In truth, even if someone offered me a job somewhere else in the world making 10 times as much or even 100 times as much money as I make in my present job, I wouldn’t take it because it would mean having to leave Gracie and I could never do that. She needs me, and I need to take care of her. Thanks for reading and thanks for being concerned about us!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree! This is one of the reasons of mental stress. Gracie is unique and beautiful! She is really lucky to have you as her parents (as you are taking care of her) and her disability can be her strength!
        These words are soo sweet! I think the relationship between you and Gracie is far more better than relationship between humans, true and pure, and your words simply proves it! I am attached with your chickens, no lie. Your chickens are as sweet as your words!

        Liked by 1 person

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