Family Photo Friday!

Family Photo Friday (Christmas Edition)

Today’s photograph still has chickens, only chickens made of glass. This is our Christmas tree which is still being decorated. (Just a few ornaments are added every day to extend the anticipation.) These have been collected over the years, but the wooden tree is new this year. (No needles to vacuum up!) The smallest chicken ornaments were purchased many years ago for my first Christmas tree in this house long before I ever thought of having my own backyard chickens. (Funny how that worked out!)

The newest ornament, the one for this year, is a pair of ballet slippers. If you are a regular reader or just a recent reader, you know that all of my chickens, and especially Gracie, love the art of dance. Ballet is their favorite, and Gracie wants to be a ballerina and dance the part of “The Rose Garden Princess.”

If you read “Seasons Of Friendship” here for free before publication (or purchased the book from Barnes and Noble after publication), you know there is a pair of ballet slippers hidden in the illustrations. I enjoyed hiding them, and Gracie enjoyed finding them. Hopefully you did as well! This and other challenges may be a regular part of future books.

I’d like to take a quick moment to remind everyone “Seasons Of Friendship” is still available and all royalties through December 31, 2019 will go to Gracie’s favorite group of women at St. John’s Church in Portsmouth. The ladies do a great job of helping those in our community who need the gift of friendship, the kind of friendship that gives from the heart.

If you have been considering purchasing a copy for yourself or as a gift, please use the links below. We would like to be able to make a $100.00 donation for the year if at all possible, and we still have quite a ways to go.

(The royalties are $1.00 on the eBook and $0.62 on the paperback due to an increase in printing cost. So as you can see, my girls aren’t going to be getting a sauna or a pony anytime soon! We would just like to provide something uplifting to readers that will also be uplifting for our community.)

“Seasons Of Friendship” is now available as an eBook for $2.50 through Barnes & Noble! Go there for “Seasons Of Friendship” eBook!

“Seasons Of Friendship” is now also available as a paperback for $12.50 through Barnes & Noble! Go there for “Seasons Of Friendship” paperback!

Four Parts, Twelve Chapters, Seventeen Full Premium Color Illustrations, White 70 lb. Paper, 5.5” x 8.5” with Matte Cover.

We are truly thankful for you, our readers, and are so appreciative every day for the gift of your friendship!

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

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

Be on the lookout for upcoming information about our next book, “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens.” It will be our first novel. That’s right, a real 32,000-word, 240-page novel, not just a collection of stories!

Family Photo Friday!

Family Photo Friday

Today’s photograph is of Emily after she and the others had finished their Thanksgiving Day feast of baked sweet potatoes and pomegranate poms. In the background, Gracie is taking care of an itch.

We started with dessert, the pomegranate, because since it was a holiday, “dessert first” was fine. Emily is more ladylike with this treat, and so I usually hand feed this to them. She doesn’t like to get the juice from the poms on her face. The others just shake it off, and so they are more likely to grab too hard and splatter juice in all directions. Emily, above all, is a proper lady.

I had not expected Emily to let me take her photos and especially this closely. She is normally shy, but I think their Thanksgiving Day menu put her in a good mood, or at least good enough to not be so shy with the camera.

Emily had a very rough late fall molt and lost all of her neck and head feathers except for a few that hung down in back like a pony tail. (Can you really call it a “pony tail” if it is on a chicken?) But her feathers have come back enough to keep her neck warm, though they still have a bit more to go before they are at their fullest and most iridescent.

I appreciate that she allowed me to use her photo for today’s post even though she is still not at her “feathery best.” You can see the tiny cream-colored feathers covering her ears. It looks as if she may be waiting to hear me say, “I almost forgot. I have one more Thanksgiving Day treat for you!” Chickens are always hopeful.

In the photo below you can see how shy Emily really is while Amelia’s boldness is undeniable. This photo was taken several weeks before Emily’s late fall molt began.

We are truly thankful for all we have and for you, our readers. We hope that all of your days, holidays or not, are filled with many wonderful things, including the small things in life like sweet potatoes and pomegranates or anything else that you particularly enjoy.

Each post shares a glimpse into my journey as a writer and illustrator. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated. Some strange mix-up happened with this post earlier today. Hopefully it is okay now. Thanks!

Morning Assurances

Morning Assurances

Would you let me know how this reads? I’ve been working my way through the books at the library about writing, and particularly about writing a novel. I’m feeling I may need to switch from first person narrative to third person narrative as it will allow me to give greater depth to the characters. Does the use of third person narrative still connect with you? Less? More? About the same?

The sun was beginning to come up, at least there was a faint blue glow in the sky. The old man took out the large bamboo salad bowl. It could hold enough for a large family or his own small flock of chickens.

He began making their breakfast salad the same way he did every morning. First he chopped some leafy greens. Usually it would be kale, but sometimes collards or even Swiss chard, but mostly kale.

When there was none in the garden, he would buy it in bunches or by the pound. It all depended on which gave him the most for his money. Kale had almost doubled in price since he got his chickens. They loved kale. Even the stems were chopped up into bite sized pieces.

“You need your calciums,” he would always tell them. They didn’t know what “calciums” were, but they trusted him. The kale tasted good.

Then there was usually something different, a special treat for the day. It might be from the garden like peas in the springtime, but that day because it was fall, he gave them eggplant. They lasted well past the end of summer. He peeled and then chopped the eggplant and added it to the bowl. The peel would go into the compost pile to feed the worms and the worms would feed the chickens.

Next he grated carrots. How long had he been using that grater? The bamboo handle had come off years ago, or so it seemed. Then again, it might have been just last week. The metal underneath was still good for holding. About a half carrot for each chicken was enough. The tops which didn’t work well on the grater would be added to the compost pile.

Then he would dice an apple. Today it was a red delicious, much better than the one yesterday which seemed a little mealy and had a brownish spot he hadn’t seen until he cut into it. Their favorites were Fuji and Pink Lady. They were always the right firmness and juicy. This one cut nicely and juice oozed out as he chopped up the slices. It was going to be a good day.

There was half a banana from last night. He sliced and then chopped it too, including the peel. It still surprised him how his chickens would eat that part. Banana was the one thing Gracie had a difficult time sharing, so in the evening, he always tried to give them extra. What was in their big breakfast salad was for whoever could find it first.

Finally he sliced some lettuce into long shredded pieces. It topped off their salad nicely.

The old man took a can of beans from the cupboard and placed it on the kitchen counter. There was probably some leftover rice in the refrigerator, if he remembered right. There was still part of a fresh sweet pepper left from the garden. They were always a late summer and early fall treat. It would be nice to add to his beans and rice.

He chopped it up into small pieces to make it go further and put it in the chicken’s breakfast salad. They would enjoy it much more than he would anyway.

Maybe the half onion wrapped up in the refrigerator was still good. He would add it to his beans and rice instead. He never gave his chickens any onions because it would make their eggs taste strange, or so he had read in a book once.

The can of beans on the counter gave him an odd assurance throughout the day. He knew his dinner would be waiting for him ready to be prepared. It was a kind of prayer to help him arrive home safely. No one died away from home when there was dinner sitting out ready to be prepared at the end of the day. Did they?

He needed some type of certainty he would make it back home safely. Otherwise who would secure the chickens for the night? Who would watch over them? They could make their way back up into their coop for the night. That wasn’t a problem. But when they came down the next morning and found he hadn’t come home, found he would never come home, what then?

Enough for now. It was time for him to welcome his chickens into their new day.

I have used a vertically formatted illustration for a different tone and to fit on a printed page. This may not be an illustration style I will use, but it does help to point out this is written differently. Each post shares a glimpse into my journey as a writer and illustrator. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!