“The Scoop From The Coop!” For November 2019

The Scoop From The Coop!

The last few weeks have been very busy ones for my chickens and for me as well. (This has been our busiest season at work.) It has been difficult to complete any new stories or drawings to share with you, but we have still tried to stay up with our reading here on WordPress. Here is what has been happening lately. It’s what you might call “The Scoop From The Coop!”

Bessie has been eager to get back into the kitchen. Partly because with the colder temperatures it is the perfect season for baking. She hopes to have some recipes to share with everyone very soon. It has been wet and dreary here for quite a few days, and that is not the best for her when it comes to making the illustrations for her recipes.

Straw bales have been purchased and placed around the run area to serve as wind blocks. Everyone enjoys getting on top of them and surveying from this higher perspective or making a nice dustbath in a protected corner. They are convinced there are millions of bugs hiding inside the bales of straw too! So Gracie and the others have something new to provide protection from the cold and amusement as well. As for me, I think they are perfect for sitting.

Our search for an old and inexpensive manual typewriter continues. Emily and Amelia have been very patient, though they are just as eager as ever to be writers. For now, Amelia’s words are kept safely in her heart, a perfect place for them.

“How To Explain Christmas To Chickens” is going well. It just may not be available through Barnes and Noble for this year’s Christmas season. There is much more work involved with a novel than I had imagined. Right now my extra time is spent editing and illustrating. My goal now is to at least be able to share a free draft copy with our regular readers here sometime in December. It may likely not have illustrations at that time. This is not such a bad thing because the story truly should be able to stand on its own, and I believe it does. More to follow soon.

Pomegranate season is here! One of our local grocery stores has some very large pomegranates at a very good price, and so I’ve stocked up for the holiday season. My chickens love these special treats, and they even have worked their way into playing a key role in one chapter of “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens.” I will be sitting on one of those straw bales I told you about earlier and hand-feeding pomegranate pips to my chickens beginning next week on Thanksgiving Day. The hard part will be making them last!

Most important of all: We have a continued appreciation for YOU, our readers! Thank you so much for reading and being a part of this creative journey with us. You make the gray dreary days and the cold windy nights much brighter and warmer for us!

Your friends,

John, Gracie, Bessie, Pearl, Emily, and Amelia

 

 

My Life With Gracie…A Chicken’s Life Is Not So Bad!

A Chicken’s Life

This post is the conclusion to a short series which began last week. You can begin at the beginning by reading here if you’d like.

“So what do you think about all of the treats you collected?” I asked. “You almost filled your bag, and it was a big bag too.”

They looked at each other, unsure of what to say and who should say it. I waited.

At last, Gracie spoke up and said, “Honestly, we felt really sad, especially for the other kids.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, we got corn. But it was hard. Not like what we get at home. And when we tried the little pieces of it, they tasted terrible.”

“Emily had to spit hers out,” added Bessie.

“I see. Was that all?”

“The worms,” said Gracie. “We got plenty of worms, but they were covered with white sand. They were hard and rubbery too. And sour. We don’t like sour worms.”

“They wiggled like real worms when we shook them, but they weren’t real worms,” said Amelia. “They must have been some kind of trick worms for trick-or-treating.”

“We got tricked,” said Bessie. “And that was no fun.”

They all nodded in agreement.

“I would have been disappointed too if I was you. Is there anything else?”

“There was one more thing,” said Amelia. “We didn’t like being called ‘the funny kids with the homemade costumes’ by the other trick-or-treaters.”

“That was not right or fair,” added Bessie.

“Yes, I heard that too. But you were right not to say anything back to them. That might have only made things worse. Their costumes did look like they came from a store. But the stores don’t sell chicken-sized costumes.”

“Why not?” asked Bessie. “Chickens have rights too.”

“I think it might have something to do with the fire code.”

“Oh,” they all said, and nodded knowingly. Chickens do not like fire even though they don’t know what a fire code is. (This answer has helped me out of a good number of tough conversations. Hopefully they will never ask what a fire code is.)

“Why would they make fun of us like that?” asked Emily. Her feelings seem to have been hurt the most. “They were loving all of their treats. They thought everything was really tasty. They were getting exactly what they wanted, but we weren’t. And then they had to make fun of us too.”

“But you did enjoy making your costumes and wearing them. Didn’t you? And you did enjoy doing all of this together. Didn’t you?”

“Yes.”

I leaned in and lowered my voice as if I was about to tell them the biggest secret in the entire universe. “Can I tell you something?”

“Okay,” they whispered back to me.

“In a few years, those kids, even The Big Boy At The End Of The Street, will have forgotten all about their store-bought costumes. They will have forgotten about how tasty all of those treats were for them. But you will still remember how much fun you had making your costumes together and all the times like this that you spent together.”

They thought this over carefully. Chickens do have very good memories.

“What’s more…You have real friends all over the world, and if you had shown up on any one of their front doorsteps, your real friends would have given you the best chicken-loving kind of corn and the best chicken-loving kind of worms you could ever imagine. Even without the scary Halloween costumes. Just because you are you.”

“Really!?!”

“You are my little flock. And that will never change. Even when you go out looking for better treats than what we have right here in our own backyard, you will always have this place and each other. This will always be your home, and this will always be your family.”

They looked around their back yard and at each other. Their eyes brightened.

“What if I take these treats and give them to some kids who might not have been able to go trick-or-treating?” I asked.

“Then we can do a little work together in the yard and garden. I need to do some raking, and I’ll bet there are crickets hiding in the leaves. What do you say?”

“We say we are your flock of chickens, and we would like that very much.”

“So you aren’t ‘the other kids’ any more?”

“We are what we are,” they said with one voice. “And we are very happy with what we are.”

“And next year,” Gracie added, “Maybe our costumes will even let us flap our wings and dance ballet.”

Then because she could not hold it in any longer, Pearl put her foot up in the air and sang out, “Trick Or Treat! Smell My Feet!”

And all was right once again in the world of our little backyard garden.

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

Poll Results for “Scariest Halloween Costume Contest!”

👻 BOTH!!! 👻……33%

👻 “Finger Lickin’ Ghoul” 👻……33%

👻 “Eat More Chikin” 👻……22%

Other……13% “The chicken in the pumpkin” and “Both! AND Pearl in the Pumpkin too! Peek-a-Booo!”

 

My Life With Gracie…The Scariest Halloween Costume Contest

Scariest Halloween Costume Contest

Before I left for work this morning, my chickens showed me how they looked in their Halloween costumes. The neighborhood songbirds had gotten it right when they told them what to do to make the scariest costumes…for chickens.

Even though my chickens did not understand exactly why their costumes were scary, they simply assumed they were the scariest ever, and that was all that mattered to them. There are certain words which I hope they never learn like “nuggets” and “extra crispy,” if you know what I mean. I want them to remain naive and adorably cute for as long as possible.

They also explained all that we will be doing this evening. They have everything planned out for maximum trick-or-treating time.

As soon as I get home this evening, we will announce the winner of our costume contest. (Be sure to vote below.) Then before it gets too late, we will get set up to go trick-or-treating.

I will bring out my gardening wheelbarrow and add some straw in the bottom along with the big pumpkin we have already carved into a Jack-O-Lantern. This will be so Pearl can come along too hidden inside. Don’t worry. She will still be able to look out through the eyes and nose. Because she is molting, she won’t be comfortable wearing a costume, and there is less chance of her getting carried away inside the pumpkin. Pearl can get very carried away when she becomes excited.

Gracie and Emily will hop in with their “Eat Mor Chikin” costume. With Gracie standing on Emily’s back under the ghost shaped sheet, they should sort of look like they really could be a child dressed up for trick-or-treating. Bessie and Amelia will hop in after them with their “Finger Lickin’ Ghoul” costume.

We will add one very large paper bag labeled “Trick Or Treat” for all to share, and then we will be ready to go wheelbarrowing around the neighborhood.

The chickens have been practicing the things they will be saying in English. They want to make sure they sound like little children, not like chickens pretending to be little children. They think this will be the biggest Halloween “trick” of all.

Gracie has warned everyone to stay with the script. No variations allowed. And Pearl has been strictly forbidden from popping out of the pumpkin to say “Trick Or Treat! Smell My Feet.” (If you know Pearl, you know how very likely this is!)

Here is a list of what they have been practicing very carefully to say.

“TRICK OR TREAT!”

“Just corn, please.”

“We are allergic to chocolate.* Worms if you have them, please.”

“No, ma’am, we aren’t in Jennifer’s class. We are homeschooled.”

If they should come to a house that feels particularly welcoming, they are planning to add, “Extra bugs and spiders, if you would be so kind, please.”

If Pearl gets a little restless, they know to say, “Yes, it is strange that there would be feathers sticking out from inside our pumpkin. Thank you for noticing.”

If anyone appears to be fainting because their costumes are so scary, they will be prepared to say, “Would someone please call 911?”

And of course, “BOO!” and “Thank you!”

As you might imagine, I can hardly wait to get home this evening. It should likely be the most memorable trick-or-treating I have ever experienced.

Please  use this poll to vote for a winner of our “Scariest Halloween Costume Contest.” You can vote more than once.

If you don’t see the poll to vote, try this link https://poll.fm/10446166

And as a huge Halloween “Thank You” for humoring an old man and his chickens, here are some free Halloween cards you can download and print out! (Each PDF has two cards. Just print, cut on the solid line, and fold.)

Antique Brown Halloween Cards

Full Color Halloween Cards

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

*Chocolate really can be fatal to chickens, and some other animals too. Watch out for your children and your pets this time of year!