Gracie And Friends…Scratch And Peck Card Game!

Scratch And Peck! Card Game

Happy Saturday, everyone! We are so happy to be able to share this new game with you. My chickens and I tested this card game out for weeks and weeks! It’s great to finally be able to share it with you!

In our new “Scratch And Peck!” card game, two chickens are scratching and pecking to collect the most points for Wiggly Worms, Big Weird Bugs, and Grumpy Grubs. The winner is the one with the most points. Just like in a real backyard garden, choosing where to scratch and what to peck is very important. Along the way, they will find lots of things which they will not want to eat at all. They will also want to avoid Rusty Nails which are very dangerous and keep them from collecting anything!

This is our most ambitious game so far, and the game booklet has seventeen pages! This is not a complicated game, but because it is different from any other card game you have probably ever played, we have included plenty of illustrations to help explain some of the rules, particularly those about Rusty Nails! (Rusty Nails are not good for chickens or people!)

Even though the game booklet has a lot of pages, only the three with cards to cut out truly need to be printed. (There is an extra page that can serve as a playing board, but that is optional for printing. For my chickens, the playing board just helps to keep things sort of organized. They do get very excited and cards can get mixed up unintentionally!)

Hopefully you will find that “Scratch And Peck!” has just the right mix of strategy and luck to make it interesting and fun for anyone!

So moms, dads, kids, teachers, good dogs, good cats, and all chickens, we hope you will print, read, play, and have fun!

Click Here To Visit “Gracie And Friends” Where You Can Download Your Own Copy Of Our New “Scratch and Peck!” Card Game

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

Please feel free to share with others, particularly those with children…or chickens! Maybe “Gracie And Friends” can help some people through COVID-19 by providing things to do and a big dose of happiness.

We are currently working on a new card game that we will probably call “Uncle Eddie’s Worm Farm!” Watch for it!

My Life With Gracie…So What Do You Do?


So what do you do when your “Best Girl Ever” and your “Bravest Girl Ever” turn three years old? Well, after you have given them all of their favorite treats including freshly-dug worms, you come up with a way for them to celebrate even more by doing what they love to do…giving gifts!

On their Hatchday last weekend, we very quietly started a new website titled “Gracie And Friends.”

For them, it will be an opportunity to share more free stuff with you, particularly games with a higher “ready-to-publish” quality. Along with Gracie and Bessie, I want to give my best too.

For me, it will be a chance to make more happy and colorful drawings of everyone when they were just little chicks. That was before the boys started crowing and had to move out into the country and before the girls started laying eggs. That was when they were all at their cutest and loved exploring all of the goodness the world has to give.

Right now we could all use some happiness and some goodness, don’t you think?

Just because you follow “My Life With Gracie” doesn’t mean you will want to follow “Gracie And Friends.” And the other way around is true too. While “My Life With Gracie” is more about my journey as a writer and illustrator, “Gracie And Friends” will have much shorter posts and focus on items to download and enjoy.

Just like in real life, Gracie and all of her friends give. Eggs. Stories. Drawings. Soft downy feathers for wild birds to use when they are building their nests. Games for other chickens and children to play for entertainment and to pass the time.

Giving is what we do. We don’t expect anything in return. Sometimes we may receive a gift and sometimes we may not. Either way, we are still happy. That’s just the way it is for Gracie and her friends, including me.

So moms, dads, kids, teachers, good dogs, good cats, and all chickens, we hope you will print, read, play, and have fun!

Click Here To Visit “Gracie And Friends” Where You Can Download A New Version Of “Worms And Hay Bales!”


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

I really did enjoy putting together “Gracie And Friends” along with a more polished version of “Worms And Hay Bales!” and hope you will enjoy them too.

Please feel free to share with others, particularly those with young children…or chickens! Maybe “Gracie And Friends” can help some people through COVID-19 by providing things to do and a big dose of happiness.

I’m also looking forward to including my boy, Lefty, on “Gracie And Friends.” He will give some balance, and I will be able to draw power tools and hammers which always fascinated him. (So not everything will have flowers, but of course, there will still be plenty of worms!)

We are currently working on a new card game that we will probably call “Scratch And Peck!” Watch for it!

Happy Hatchday, Gracie and Bessie!…Here Is Your “Worms And Hay Bales” Game!

Worms And Straw Bales

Today is our Hatchday celebration for Gracie and Bessie. They are three years old. That is all of the toes they can see on one foot, and so it’s kind of a big deal. Here is their Hatchday gift to you, our readers!

“Worms And Hay Bales!” (Worms Optional Version)

Object Of The Game Two chicken players are racing to get to the end of a winding trail through their yard. The winner is the first player to reach the end of the trail and land on Space 36.

How To Set Up Place the game board between the two players. Each player places their marker next to, but not on, Space 1. Place the dice in a good area for rolling so as not to disturb the game board, markers, and worms (if you are using them). That is it! You’re all set up to play!

Special Note: You may want to borrow markers and a die from another game to use when playing “Worms And Straw Bales!” at home. That way you can start playing right away! Along with the PDF below for the game board, there is also one for the game playing pieces. This is just in case you want to make ours using scissors and a glue stick.

How To Start Playing For the first game, players roll to see who gets the higher number. That player gets to go first. (After the first game, the loser of the last game gets to go first.) Players take turns rolling and then moving their marker foreward the number of spaces shown.

This will be as few as one or as many as six, but remember that sometimes just moving one space can have advantages depending on where you land! And sometimes moving all six spaces might not work out so well. Here’s what we mean.

Land On The Bottom Of A Straw Bale If a player lands on a space which is the bottom of a straw bale, they must move their marker to the top of the straw bale. This means being on a higher numbered space and closer to winning!

Land On The Head Or Middle Of A Worm If a player lands on a space which is the head or middle of a worm, they must move their marker to the tail of the worm. This means being on a lower numbered space and not as close to winning.

Land On Another Chicken’s Space If a player lands on a space which is already occupied my another player, they must move to the next space with the lower number. “I was here first” is the rule to remember when this happens. (The player may need to move again based on the directions for that space.)

Land On An Arrow Sorry, but these are just to help you make sure you are moving in the correct direction! (Players do not get to move up when they land on an arrow.)

Declaring The Winner! The game is over when one player lands on Space 36. This can be an “exact number” roll or an “enough to get you there” roll. (It is best to decide this before you begin to play.) If you are playing at home with your own chickens, it is strongly recommended that the winner receive at least one worm as a treat.

“Worms And Straw Bales!” Game Board  Print one of these on card stock paper if you have it. If you want to use your own dice and markers, that’s all there is to do!

(Optional) “Worms And Straw Bales!” Game Playing Pieces Print one of these if you want to use our dice and markers. Card stock paper works best. If you want to add your own colors, that would be great! Just be sure to do it before you cut out your pieces. (Cut on the solid lines, fold on the dashed lines, and glue together one side at a time.)

We hope you will enjoy playing this game as much as we enjoyed making it to share with you. And if this game helps pass the time during this unusual season the world is going through right now, then it truly will be a very Happy Hatchday for all of us.

Thanks again!

Gracie, Bessie, and John

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

This type of game may seem a little “old school” when compared to may of the electronic games and other options which are available these days. Still, I would like to believe there is a special joy found in games like this, even if only for chickens!

“Feed The Chickens!” Card Game…Our Anniversary Gift To You!

Feed The Chickens Card Game

Today we are celebrating our One-Year Anniversary of “My Life With Gracie” stories and illustrations. Here is our “Thank You!” gift to you, our readers!

We have truly appreciated your encouragement and support over the past twelve months! PDF documents to “Print and Play” are at the bottom! Hopefully this game isn’t too “corny,” but my chickens love it!

“Feed The Chickens!” Un-Official Official Rules

(That means it’s okay to change them and even add your own rules! Gracie says so, and what Gracie says goes!)

Object Of The Game Two Chicken Farmers try to make seven different Food Piles for their chickens, one for each different fruit or vegetable. The Winner is the Chicken Farmer with the highest total value for their top cards in their own “Feed The Chickens!” Area. (The illustration above should help explain these rules. You can see how the cards are arranged when playing. White and gray labels are used for Pearl, and pale orange and tan are used for Gracie.)

How To Set Up Shuffle cards. Deal face down on the table to make a Draw Pile for each Chicken Farmer.

How To Play Both Chicken Farmers turn over their top cards and place them face up to see who has the highest value. The Chicken Farmer with the highest value gets to “Feed The Chickens!”

Sometimes both cards will have the same value! (This is what you see in the Illustration. Pearl has Two Kale and Gracie has Two Corn.) When that happens, both Chicken Farmers turn over their top cards again. Repeat until someone has a higher value on their top card. This means there could be a lot of cards to choose from when someone gets to “Feed The Chickens!”

How To “Feed The Chickens!” The Chicken Farmer with the highest value top card takes all the cards turned over and selects one Fruit Card or Vegetable Card for their “Feed The Chickens!” Area. This card may be used to make a new kind of Food Pile or be put on top of a matching Food Pile if they have that kind already. Remember every time there is a card with a higher value turned over, it’s time to “Feed The Chickens!”

Other card or cards taken but not used to “Feed The Chickens!” should be placed in the Chicken Farmer’s Discard Pile. Then it’s time to turn over cards again!

How To Continue Playing When one Chicken Farmer’s Draw Pile is empty, reshuffle Discard Piles (along with card from the other Chicken Farmer’s Draw Pile if there is one). Deal again and continue.

If there are no cards or only one card in the Discard Piles to reshuffle, collect all of the cards in the center and reshuffle all of them. (Sorry, chickens! You will have to wait just a little longer!)

When To Stop Playing Stop when one Chicken Farmer has made all seven different Food Piles in their “Feed The Chickens!” area.

How To Decide Who Is The Winner Total the values for the top cards only. The Winner is the Chicken Farmer who has the highest total. If both have the same total, the Winner is the Chicken Farmer who was last to “Feed The Chickens!” (In the illustration above, Pearl has some catching up to do if she wants to win!)

Fruit Cards and Vegetable Cards are worth one, two, or three.

A Worms Card is higher than any Fruit Card or Vegetable Card. It is worth four.

The Old Shoe Card is worth zero. Sorry, but you never feed an old shoe to chickens!

Super Special “Old Shoe” vs. “Worms” Rule Whenever the first cards turned over are the Old Shoe Card and a Worms Card, the Worms Card can be put on any existing Food Pile for a value of four. (This is what you see for Gracie in the illustration above. Pearl turned over the “Old Shoe,” and Gracie turned over the “Worms.” So she put it on top of her Peas Food Pile to give it a value of four.)

This is the only time the chickens get any worms. (Sorry again, chickens! But we need them to keep the game going! We will run out of worms if you eat them all!)

If the Chicken Farmer who turned over the Worms Card doesn’t have any Food Piles yet, the Worms Card can be used to start a new Food Pile as long as the Chicken Farmer says what it will be (such as “Watermelon” or “Kale”). Any future cards of that kind would be placed on that Food Pile.

Super Special “Can’t Make Seven Food Piles” Rule It is possible that neither Chicken Farmer will be able to make all seven different Food Piles. This can happen when both Chicken Farmers have at least one Food Pile with all three matching Fruit Cards or Vegetable cards.

If this should happen, continue playing until the only cards left are the Worm Cards and Old Shoe Card. The Winner is still the Chicken Farmer with the highest total value. If both have the same value, the Winner is the Chicken Farmer who was last to “Feed The Chickens!”

(Strategy Tip: If you see that the other Chicken Farmer has two of the same Fruit or Vegetable cards and you get to “Feed The Chickens!” you may want to use the last of that kind of Fruit or Vegetable card to “Feed The Chickens!” even if it only has a value of one. Otherwise, you might not be able to make that Food Pile later!)  

Watch Out For This!  There will be times when you have to place a lower value card on top of a higher value card when you “Feed The Chickens!” You won’t have any other choice! This is because the Chicken Farmer who has turned over the higher value card must “Feed The Chickens!” (This is every chicken’s favorite rule! It also can make the game very interesting because you can lose points! Feed your chickens wisely!)

“Print and Play” PDF’s for “Feed The Chickens!”

“Card Backs” If you want pictures on both sides of every card, print two of these. Use card stock weight paper if possible. You can then flip them over and print “Card Fronts – Sheet One” and “Sheet Two” on the other side. This will give you a picture on both sides of every card!

“Card Fronts – Sheet One” Print one of these. The top part has a “Wrap Around Case” for your card game. The bottom part has twelve cards. Cut along dotted lines. Trim with scissors as needed to even them up.

“Card Fronts – Sheet Two” Print one of these. The top part has “Pocket Rules” which you can use for quick reference and then fold up for storage. The bottom part has thirteen cards. Cut along dotted lines. Trim with scissors as needed.

When you have all twenty-five cards from both sheets cut to the right size, place them in a stack. Then place the “Wrap Around Case” snugly (but not too tightly) around the cards. This way you can still slide your cards in and out again. You will probably need to trim the ends some before gluing or taping.

Hey! Why not print a double big deck of fifty cards in all!?!

There are plenty of other rules you can add when you play this game! In fact, you can make up your own rules! Remember how I practically filled an entire notebook with brainstorming ideas from my chickens? There are plenty of ways to “Feed The Chickens!”

You might even want to just print the “Card Backs” on some sheets, cut them out and make your own kinds of cards! Maybe analog games that let you use your imagination and creativity really can still survive in a digital world!

Most important of all, even if you aren’t a kid anymore, you can still be a kid at heart! And kids love to “Feed The Chickens!”

Thanks again!

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

My Life With Gracie…“Feed The Chickens!” Card Game

Feed The Chickens

For the August 1st One Year Anniversary of these “My Life With Gracie” stories and illustrations, I have been wanting to do something special. Gracie thought a game would be a great gift for our readers, and the other chickens agreed.

Gracie explained, “It has to be the kind of game we chickens can play too. That way we can make sure it’s good enough to give to people.”

“I see.”

“Plus everyone will want to play it with their own chickens. I’m sure of that,” she added confidently.

“Not everyone has chickens in their backyard,” I said. “Some people don’t even have a backyard.”

Everyone looked at me with unblinking surprise and open beaks.

“You can’t be serious.”

“It’s sadly true,” I said.

“How are they able to make it from one day to the next?”

“Who guards their house for them?”

“Who digs their holes for them?”

“Most important of all, who eats their worms for them?”

I shrugged my shoulders and looked at them sadly. “It’s not easy. That’s all I can say.”

“Well then, we really do need to do something to bring some happiness into their lives,” said Gracie with her strongest determination.

“Yes. Oh, yes!” the others clucked emphatically. “Bless their people hearts!”

“How about a card game?” I suggested. “Those don’t need dice which would be difficult for a chicken to roll.”

Then I showed them a deck of cards, and they practiced moving and flipping them over.

They put their heads together and talked among themselves. Finally Gracie declared, “We want to give everyone a free card game.”

“So what do you want to call your card game?”

“Feed The Chickens!” they clucked together without giving it a second thought or any debate at all. “What could be more fun for people than feeding their chickens? Even if it’s only in a card game?”

“I see. Sort of like your favorite joke…Why did the farmer cross the road?”

“To feed the chickens!” They all rocked from side to side with laughter.

That old joke always makes them laugh. I guess I will never understand chicken humor.

After that though, the discussion became somewhat disorganized. Everyone was sure “Feed The Chickens!” was going to be the most phenomenal card game ever in all the history of the world. What could be more fun? But how should the game be played? We needed rules.

I started jotting down their ideas as quickly as I could, usually without being able to tell who was saying what. There was a lot of excitement!

“There should be six different kinds of fruit and vegetable cards.”

“How about seven? One for every day of the week. To remind people how they need to feed their chickens every day!”

“Color the fruits and vegetables so they look really tasty!”

“Don’t color the fruits and vegetables. That way the people can have extra fun coloring them in for themselves.” That was Emily’s suggestion because she likes to draw.

“Don’t put any words on the cards because some of us can’t read,” offered Gracie. “Or numbers either.”

“Yes, but if you do use counting, don’t make the numbers go too high,” said Pearl. “One of us can’t count past four, but I’m not naming any names.”

“Everyone knows you’re talking about yourself!” the others pointed at Pearl who laughed along with them.

“Big cards so people can handle them better.”

“Little cards so people can tuck them away in their pockets and take them with them wherever they go.”

“How about chicken-sized cards so both chickens and people can play with them? Or at least the few fortunate people who have chickens in their backyard.”

This went on for the longest time, and I was sure I would run out of notebook pages.

“The winner should be the one who feeds the chickens the most.”

“Okay but only if the most is the most corn because that is my favorite.”

“That’s fine for you, but I like chopped apples and grated carrots the best.”

“No, the winner should be the one who finishes feeding the chickens first.”

“Make some cards with worms on them!” someone suggested, and the others thought that was just about the best idea ever.

“And a smelly old shoe,” laughed Pearl. “Nobody wants that!”

“Then the winner should be the one who feeds the chickens the most worms!” declared Amelia.

“I think the loser should have to eat the old shoe,” chuckled Bessie. “I can come up with a nice recipe!”

With that, they had just about exhausted all of their ideas, at least for this brainstorming session.

It would be my job to turn their suggestions into a card game that would entertain my chickens and hopefully our readers, even those who don’t have chickens.

Please check back here on Thursday, August 1st when we will post the PDF documents for you to print your “Feed The Chickens!” Card Game. The basic rules will also be posted!

This may look like an easy card game, but just because chickens can play it, doesn’t mean you won’t need to use some strategy!

We are also testing a solitaire version for those who don’t have chickens (or children) who would enjoy this game!