My Life With Gracie…A Song You Can Taste

This post is next in a sequence which began with a previous post about Bessie that you may want to read as well.

What could be simpler than posting a recipe with Bessie’s name on it? Bessie would be happy. I would be happy. Hopefully our readers would be happy. Things do not always work out the way we expect. Bessie’s first baking adventure turned out to be a marathon!

Fortunately Gracie came along for moral support and out of curiosity as well. She had seen Bessie doing her “spatula twirling practice.”

As you may have figured out already, chickens are excitable, very excitable. So when I told Bessie that her first bake would be cookies for the annual Flute and Harp Concert at our church, a flood of questions followed.

“What kind of cookie will we make? What is a flute? What is a harp? What is a concert? What if nobody eats my cookies?” And, of course, “Will there be any chickens there?” You really do have to love Bessie.

So while I took out all of the equipment and ingredients, we discussed flutes and harps and music and concerts.

“Flutes make sounds like those little trilling musical notes you chickens make when you are very happy in the morning or at the end of the day. Those sounds let everyone know how joyful you are.”

Bessie and Gracie did a little trill for me.

Harps were a bit more difficult to explain. “Harps make sounds like the rustling of chicken feathers when you spread them out or when you are dancing. Those let everyone know how light and carefree you are.”

Bessie and Gracie rustled some feathers for me even though some of Bessie’s new wing feathers were still growing in because it was her time to molt.

They were so proud to learn the first songs ever heard on earth were probably sung by birds.

“So why do people need harps and flutes and musical instruments?” they asked in unison. “Why doesn’t your church just let birds and chickens come in and make a concert for you?”

With my most thoughtful and solemn expression, I replied, “I believe it has to do with fire codes.” That seemed to satisfy them, at least for the time.

Both were very excited when I brought out two mixing bowls which had belonged to my grandmother. These were decorated with what looked like a raised feather pattern and were therefore perfect for Bessie’s big baking adventure.

Gracie found a nice place to perch on top of the flour canister so she could observe but not be in the way.

Bessie was eager to begin working with real ingredients like pecans and cream cheese. She watched. She helped. She chopped. She mixed. She got cookie dough on her beak and tasted. She looked in the pantry and suggested adding coconut because “Julia Child said a great chef needs to be inventive.”

She trilled with happiness. She danced as an expression of how light and carefree her heart felt. She gave me her own kind of concert without ever knowing it. Bessie baked from her heart.

We were all convinced her recipe would be an absolute success.

When I got home from the concert and went to tuck them in for the night, everyone was still wide awake. All six chickens wanted to know what everyone thought of Bessie’s Best Ever Nesting Box Brownies.

My chickens were delighted to hear their intensely bright egg yolks had made Bessie’s culinary invention come out so yellow some people thought they were actually lemon bars, not pecan and coconut bars!

They also wanted to know how I enjoyed the concert, and I let them know in all truthfulness how a chicken or two would have made it perhaps the most memorable concert ever. They nodded unanimous agreement and trilled a few bars for me with feather ruffling.

My Life With Gracie taught me good cooking is like a song you can taste.

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated! Watch for Bessie’s recipe later this week which she will be illustrating!This is the first post from a series. You may want to skip to the next post about Bessie’s dream of being a master chef.

My Life With Gracie…Perhaps The Perfect Gift

Perhaps The Perfect Gift

This illustration is based on a previous “My Life With Gracie” drawing which has a blank neutral background. Each gives a different perspective.

Thanksgiving Day makes it official each year. The holiday season has begun. For most people it is time to share a meal together with friends and family. It often also means sharing gift lists or at least gift hints for whichever wintertime holiday is next to be celebrated.

Some people, I believe, just seem to have a talent for always giving “the perfect gift.” For me, it is an elusive skill. Gifts never seem to work out as wonderfully as I imagine they will.

Yet this weekend, my chickens and I gave each other the perfect gift. We just sat with each other and enjoyed a pleasantly sunny Sunday afternoon.

With the changing time and fewer sunlight hours, there is little light when I leave for work and even less when I get home. There are no long pleasant summer evenings or shorter brisk fall evenings to sit and discuss what is on our minds or share what is in our hearts.

So Sunday afternoon was a wonderful and most perfect gift. It was our time to be, simply be, together.

It was exactly what all of us needed, and particularly Amelia who waited until the others had gone to take dust baths to have a private conversation alone with me.

For a moment and perhaps longer, I thought of how quickly time was passing. Her time and my time will one day end.

Perhaps chickens know this from the beginning, but it takes people longer to realize.

Even as little chicks, they had their special best friends with whom to perch on their favorite brick. Everything is right with the world when they are perched way up high on a brick with their best buddies! They value each moment together.

When Amelia and Emily came to live with me, all they brought with them was each other. That was all they had, and it was enough. How different the world of people would be if we never cared about taking things with us, and only cared about taking people we love with us.

Amelia and Emily will always spend time perching together, like Blanche and Pearl, like Gracie and Bessie. Mostly they just sit and share the experience of enjoying the world around them. Like old friends, though not really very old at all, they give each other comfort, warmth, and time together.

Perhaps the greatest gift we could ever give or receive is simply time together as friends.

What a terrible heartbreak it would be if we were to hear as someone’s last private words to us, “Couldn’t you spend just one hour with me?”

My Life With Gracie made me wonder if an invitation to perch might be a perfect gift.

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

Perhaps The Perfect Gift

My Life With Gracie…About Diving In!

About Diving In!

This illustration is based on my third “My Life With Gracie” drawing. It is still one of my favorites because it reminds me of the joy of having a baby chick standing on top of my foot for the first time, but here I’ve added the joy of watching them explore the world for the first time.

From his first day out of his shell, Lefty believed that the world was made just for him. He loved to explore, and he didn’t want to miss a thing. He always tried to be everywhere at once, and almost succeeded too!

As a chick, he was at his top exploring speed non-stop throughout the day! Eventually he would wear himself out and just do a “splat”! He would flop down wherever he was with his wings and legs spread out and just instantly fall asleep.

Once his nap was over, he was up and moving full-speed again. He didn’t want to miss anything!

He was first to try whatever was new or different. Where others might hop up on top of my shoe to warily check out something, Lefty would hop up and use my shoe as a jumping off spot to dive right into it!

I miss that little guy, but I’m glad he is on a nice farm where he can crow and cock-a-doodle-do as much as he wants. I’m sure he has explored every possible inch of his new home too!

Lefty would always run as fast as he could back and forth along the fencing of the run with one foot on the fencing support and one foot on the ground.

To me, it would make more sense to have both feet running on the ground to move more smoothly and quickly rather than the clunky, uneven hobbling up-and-down, up-and-down movement. Then again, I’m not thinking like a chicken.

Soon after he moved out, Bessie took over his leadership role. It was an amazing transformation. She remembered how he ran along the run, keeping watch, exploring constantly, and so Bessie started doing the same things, even imitating his clunky up-and-down way of running next to the fence. I had to tell Bessie, just like I had told Lefty, “Slow down before you hurt yourself!” Neither of them ever listened to me.

But when you are excited and curious and hyper-alert, does it really make much of a difference? Where I might be concerned about looking silly or awkward or failing, chickens truly don’t seem to care. They don’t want to miss a thing!

So what is holding any of us back? And why even waste time bothering to answer that question? (Or that question!) Right now we could be exploring what we might never have another opportunity to experience. What’s the worst that can happen? Maybe we wear ourselves out and have to take a “splat” nap!

Dive in! Find out what’s at the bottom of that pile of leaves! Hey! Maybe I really am thinking like a chicken after all! The whole fullness of the world is waiting to be explored!

My Life With Gracie encouraged me to dive right in more often!

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated! Right now I am revisiting some of my earlier cartoon illustrations and giving them a different twist. This one is inspired by all of you who don’t ever want to miss out on anything! (You know who you are!)

About Diving In!