“The Scoop From The Coop!” For November 2019

The Scoop From The Coop!

The last few weeks have been very busy ones for my chickens and for me as well. (This has been our busiest season at work.) It has been difficult to complete any new stories or drawings to share with you, but we have still tried to stay up with our reading here on WordPress. Here is what has been happening lately. It’s what you might call “The Scoop From The Coop!”

Bessie has been eager to get back into the kitchen. Partly because with the colder temperatures it is the perfect season for baking. She hopes to have some recipes to share with everyone very soon. It has been wet and dreary here for quite a few days, and that is not the best for her when it comes to making the illustrations for her recipes.

Straw bales have been purchased and placed around the run area to serve as wind blocks. Everyone enjoys getting on top of them and surveying from this higher perspective or making a nice dustbath in a protected corner. They are convinced there are millions of bugs hiding inside the bales of straw too! So Gracie and the others have something new to provide protection from the cold and amusement as well. As for me, I think they are perfect for sitting.

Our search for an old and inexpensive manual typewriter continues. Emily and Amelia have been very patient, though they are just as eager as ever to be writers. For now, Amelia’s words are kept safely in her heart, a perfect place for them.

“How To Explain Christmas To Chickens” is going well. It just may not be available through Barnes and Noble for this year’s Christmas season. There is much more work involved with a novel than I had imagined. Right now my extra time is spent editing and illustrating. My goal now is to at least be able to share a free draft copy with our regular readers here sometime in December. It may likely not have illustrations at that time. This is not such a bad thing because the story truly should be able to stand on its own, and I believe it does. More to follow soon.

Pomegranate season is here! One of our local grocery stores has some very large pomegranates at a very good price, and so I’ve stocked up for the holiday season. My chickens love these special treats, and they even have worked their way into playing a key role in one chapter of “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens.” I will be sitting on one of those straw bales I told you about earlier and hand-feeding pomegranate pips to my chickens beginning next week on Thanksgiving Day. The hard part will be making them last!

Most important of all: We have a continued appreciation for YOU, our readers! Thank you so much for reading and being a part of this creative journey with us. You make the gray dreary days and the cold windy nights much brighter and warmer for us!

Your friends,

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

 

 

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