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…Waiting For Autumn

Waiting For Autumn

We are waiting for early autumn. We are waiting to let go. My chickens and I, we have things to release, and early autumn is the best time to begin.

Soon the summer heat will have passed, and cooler breezes will blow against their feathers and against my shirt.

The days are already getting shorter. Gracie and the others need a flashlight in the early morning to find their way safely down their chicken ladder. The sunset is coming sooner and stealing greater bites of our precious time together in the evenings.

But even so, we are waiting, somewhat impatiently, for early autumn.

It is the season to end all that we had tried to start, but failed. It lets us begin the forgetting process so that we can push on towards the cold blankness of winter and then on towards the warm promise of spring.

Early Autumn lets us begin the important forgiving process because often we must gently forgive ourselves for failing, even failing again and again.

Sometimes we must forgive ourselves for choosing the wrong hopes and dreams.

Sometimes we must forgive ourselves for choosing the wrong time for the right hopes and dreams.

Sometimes we must forgive ourselves for not having enough hope, not having enough faith…or just not having.

Sometimes we must forgive ourselves for not wanting to let go of those precious hopes and dreams that did sprout and grow and bear Summer’s fruit…but they were only meant for a season, just one season.

That may be the most difficult kind of forgiving to do.

Then will come Winter when our new hopes and dreams have a chance to incubate. In the darkness of Winter we cover our heads for warmth. With our eyes closed, we shut out the cold and then we dream of the world and the life we want for ourselves and those we love.

Finally will come Spring when we have a new chance to do again what we had tried and failed to do. Spring is a time when we can try to make the things we love fit into our lives one more time. We never give up hope.

But first we must wait for Autumn to have its turn at touching our lives. Autumn’s ground of death and decay lays the moist, rich foundation for our next ambitious attempts at new growth.

There really is a season for everything…and that does include a season for letting go.

My Life With Gracie taught me to gladly let go of what was meant to last for only a season anyway.

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…“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!