Family Photo Friday!

Family Photo Friday

Today’s photograph is of Gracie. I have realized I don’t often share photos of her, even though this website is titled “My Life With Gracie.” Usually she is so busy with her leadership duties I’m only able to catch a photo of her tail feathers! So when I had a chance, I took this photo.

Earlier this week, I shared with you how my chickens now have bales of hay around their coop and run area to serve as wind blocks. This photo shows Gracie on top of a hay bale inside their run area. This has become her favorite morning lookout spot as I leave for work.

You may remember a recent “Family Photo Friday!” post of Amelia which showed her right eye rather close up as she was examining the camera. She was using her right eye because it is better for viewing things closeup. In today’s photo, Gracie is using her left eye which is better for viewing things far away. She is not going to let any predators sneak up on them from a distance.

What a good guardian she is for my little flock! She is not being distracted by the camera while keeping watch over her friends with her farsighted left eyes.

Below is a photo showing Gracie a bit perplexed by why I am still taking her photo rather than getting their “Daddy-is-going-off-to-work” mealworm treats. At this moment, my priorities are obviously not the same as hers. (Safe home and happy tummies for all!)

For today, I hope we will all see just as Gracie sees: motivated by love with farsighted bravery. I also hope life will provide you with your favorite most enjoyable treats. (I am quite sure that will not include mealworms! And that just means more for the chickens!)

Family Photo Friday

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

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!

My Life With Gracie…When Chickens Learn About Halloween

When Chickens Learn About Christmas

My chickens had been listening to The Big Boy At The End Of The Street. He had been explaining Halloween to The Little Boy At The End Of The Street.

Gracie and the others had heard all about having the scariest costumes. They had heard all about saying, “Trick Or Treat!” They had especially heard all about getting their Halloween bags filled with treats.

And they decided it would be a fine thing for chickens to participate in Halloween as well. They may not have understood everything they had heard, but they definitely understood the part about getting treats. And if they needed to have scary costumes to get treats, well then, that was a fine thing too.

“Are you sure you want to have scary costumes?” I asked. “Why don’t you just dress up as sweet and pretty ballerinas and princesses for Halloween?”

“We can do that any day. Halloween is special. The Big Boy told The Little Boy Halloween costumes are supposed to be scary.”

I began to suspect I would be fighting a losing battle if I tried to change their minds about anything they had heard. It felt strange they would listen to what someone else said rather than me. They never even asked me about Halloween.

It really was mostly about the treats and what they needed to do to get the extra treats. Nothing was going to stand in their way. Chickens love treats.

As if my treats aren’t good enough for you! I thought it but would not say it aloud. After all, I’m not the only person who ever thought someone else had things better off than me when actually they didn’t.

“We are going to have a Scariest Halloween Costume Contest too,” added Pearl.

“You mean you are going to dress up like stray cats, foxes, and opossums?” I asked.

“Scarier than any of those. The neighborhood songbirds told us all about what is really scary for chickens,” said Bessie. She had already defended everyone from a stray cat, and so surely she knew about scary.

“So you are going to listen to what songbirds say about what is really scary for chickens? And you’re not going to tell me?”

“They have seen more of the world than we have. You are the judge,” said Gracie.

“So you can’t know ahead of time,” added Amelia.

“Then after the contest, you get to take us trick-or-treating with the other kids,” said Emily. “That part will be the most fun for you.”

My chickens had everything all planned out. They were going to make their own scary costumes. Gracie and Emily would be one team. Bessie and Amelia would be another team. And I was going to have the time of my life “getting” to take them trick-or-treating around the neighborhood with “the other kids.”

Pearl would help both teams as a “creative consultant” because she was a collector of scraps and treasures that could be used for making costumes. Pearl had experience since she had put on several comedy shows for us right in our own backyard. (She has also been molting, and even though her feathers were beginning to grow back, she was still too sensitive to wear a costume.)

So that was that. We would have a contest, a real contest, and there would be voting for the winner. Then they would go trick-or-treating with the kids on our block. My chickens should fit right in. No one would know they were really chickens under their costumes. It would be their one night out of the whole year to discover how people lived outside of their own backyard.

I sensed disaster in the making.

Would I get arrested for trying to pass off chickens as children just to collect candy from my neighbors? Would my picture be on the front page of the next morning’s newspaper? I could already imagine the headline: “Candy Thief Uses Chickens Posing As Costumed Children To Steal Halloween From Unsuspecting Neighbors.”

But my chickens had decided all of this before any of them even told me the least little peep about it. I had a suspicious feeling Pearl was the mastermind behind all of this. But who was I to crush their creativity or destroy their dreams of bags overflowing with treats?

I would soon learn “scariest” for chickens is very different than “scariest” for people!

Tomorrow: The Scariest Halloween Costume Contest. (And you, our readers, get to vote! As a bonus, there will be some Halloween cards to print and share!)

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