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!

My Life With Gracie…Thankfulness

Thankfulness

It was probably first-time Chicken Daddy ignorance, but in my rather shaky defense, there are no “Your First Chick” books the way there are “Your First Baby” books. So I had no idea you have to almost always cut things up for chickens to eat.

Sure, there are videos of chickens devouring whole vegetables bit by bit, peck by peck. Those are not my chickens. Mine have to have their vegetables cut up into pieces. Bite-sized pieces. I do this particularly for Emily who is the smallest and most perfect Little Lady ever. She needs dainty-sized pieces.

Although it may be tedious and tiresome, I do this each day because I love my chickens. This is also why I let them use my jeans and shoes to wipe off their beaks after they have finished eating. My chickens need me, even if it’s just to be their napkin.

I remember last Thanksgiving when they had their first pumpkin. I scooped out the seeds, held out a handful, and they all just looked at the seeds and looked at me as if to say, “Too big. So what are you going to do about it? We are hungry!”

And I’m sure they were. They had been eyeing their pumpkins for a few weeks with great curiosity and had watched all of the cutting apart with keen unblinking interest. They knew they were looking at seeds, just a lot larger than what they could handle.

And so I learned to roast pumpkin seeds which makes them smaller, intensifies their flavor, and gives them a pleasing crunch.

After learning this important lesson, I believed I was “home free.” All I needed to do was halve or quarter the pumpkin, and they would peck the flesh out and feast for days! But I was wrong. Again. It sat. For days. No one touched it. Not even an inquisitive peck.

And so I learned to blanch (and also freeze) pumpkin flesh which makes it softer while preserving the color and nutrition.

From these and other experiences, I’ve learned I am a lot more like my chickens than I want to admit. For most of my life, I’ve considered myself to be a very self-sufficient person. It’s not easy to ask for help, particularly when it’s something most people are expected to know how to do for themselves.

Over the years, I’ve learned to be thankful for help received along the way, but I never really considered being thankful for the need itself, the need for anyone’s help the way my chickens need my help.

Being thankful for need and lack seems strange at first. Yet I think perhaps there is a place to be thankful for all of the things I am unable to do on my own. They point my focus towards the Greatest and Only Helper for my chickens and for me.

My Life With Gracie gave me a truly thankful heart for everything I am unable to do on my own.

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

Thankfulness