Category Archives: Chicken things

Lesson 901 – Jan Brett and her chickens

Yesterday I sat down with Jan Brett to conduct my interview – in the living room – of her tour bus. I haven’t written up the article yet, so I can’t talk about everything, but can share a few details.

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Once Jan knew that I spoke “chicken talk” she and I talked about chickens the entire time which was fine for me, because I didn’t want to ask the usual interview questions:

  • How long does it take to make an illustration? – about one hour
  • How long does it take to complete a book? – about one year.
  • What was the inspiration for your book? She and her editor were talking about chickens molting one day and at the same time, they both compared molting (and looking bedraggled) to the story of Cinderella (who at the end turns into a princess.)

See? I didn’t need to ask those questions because if you do your research for the interview, you’d quickly find out that *everyone* asks the same questions and I already knew the answers because she had (patiently) given the answers again and again. Continue reading

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Lesson 900 – Jan Brett, chickens, and an interview

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In just a few hours, I’ll be interviewing Jan Brett about her newest book “Cinders – A Cinderella story.” As anyone who even lives on the periphery of the chicken world knows, Jan, besides being an incredible artist and author (she’s sold over 38 million books) also raises award winning Black Polish hens.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Jan (you really should click on that link to read that story of meeting Jan) and seeing her chickens in action at the Northeastern Poultry Congress.

All are stunning. Continue reading

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Lesson 896 – A shoot of a different kind

This Thursday the Merrimack Library Trustees (of which I am one) are holding a Turkey Shoot.

Honestly, I don’t know if this is a New Hampshire thing or not, but having grown up in Connecticut I can truthfully tell you that I have never attended a “Turkey Shoot” (nor had I *ever* attended a wedding where they played that “Chicken Dance” song – don’t even get me started about that one.)

By definition a “turkey shoot” is: noun, informal

1. a situation, typically in a war, in which one side has an overwhelming advantage.

Nope, no birds are going to be injured in this event (except the ones that are already frozen), instead what we’ll be doing is holding raffles for all the parts of a holiday turkey dinner including: Continue reading

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Lesson 817 – Charlie in my hand

Last week I wrote about a custom glass bead I had ordered from Lauren Bramble of Crowbirdie Beads to depict Charlie our Black Copper Maran house chicken.

I had first heard about these beads from the Chickenistas facebook page. Lauren had posted a picture of a bead she had just completed for a client and one of the comments under the photo said that it was so wonderful she had caught the chicken’s personality in the bead even to the point of depicting the chicken’s comb that always flops over.

Well, I thought to myself, if Lauren could depict chicken’s personality in glass, then I should ask her about doing one of our personable chicken – Charlie.  I contacted Lauren to get the proverbial all rolling.

For a custom order Lauren wants to hear a little bit about the personality and unique traits of your chicken (for the record she also does other animals.) I told her about Charlie and her feet, and I described her as best I could. Continue reading

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Lesson 712 – Support of the flock

When one has chickens, one is given chicken things. Many chicken things.

And while I love to see all of these whimsical representations, there is only so much space in any person’s house. We’ve moved some of our large chicken statues outside (there’s an alter to chickens on our front porch right as you enter the door.)

I find homes for the smaller chickens by tucking them in corners, in rafters, and on tiny shelves.

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Maintaining my figurine chicken flock is sometimes as challenging as maintaining the real one. Where will I put this little beauty in order to show her off and yet keep her from harm? Continue reading

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Lesson 702 – Getting into the act

How do we know that backyard chickens have become a trend? Continue reading

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Lesson 673 – Gourds and Philosophy

When you own chickens you are given lots of chicken items by people who follow and support the flock from afar. I want to show you two of the coolest things I’ve gotten this holiday season.

First –  this chicken ornament is actually made out of a dried gourd. How creative is that?

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In case you didn’t notice, we have “HOPE” on our tree so that during the holiday season we never lose it.

I look at it and I think, it wouldn’t be too hard to recreate, and what if I used our chickens’ feathers  instead of store bought feathers? Charlie feathered gourd anyone? Hmmm.

The second thing I’ve recently received is this sweatshirt that I have vowed to wear at my next chicken workshop (late January.)  There’s nothing like bringing a philosophical aspect to the conversation when discussing the benefits of owning backyard poultry. Continue reading

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Lesson 629 – finding your way back home

When one decides to share one’s life with chickens (and then goes and writes about those experiences) one starts receiving a lot of chicken items. We have chicken Christmas ornaments, chicken figurines, chicken toys, chicken salt and pepper shakers and now, thanks to my husband’s aunt (gee Margo, does that make you*my* aunt??!!) I now have a jingle-chicken bracelet.

The bracelet came in the mail a while back and it has become one of my go-to pieces of jewelry. Trust me, when I put it on, you can hear me a-comin’ from miles away. When I wear it out to the chicken coop, all the birds stop clucking with each other and look my way. “What on earth is that?” they whisper to each other.

This bracelet reminds me of the Santa sleigh bells that one can mysteriously hear in our house on Christmas Eve once the kids are sent to their room with the understanding that if they open their doors before the crack of dawn, Santa just might not come. Yup, these chicken bells have that much magic to them.

This bracelet also reminds me of one of my favorite mom stories which comes from my son Trevor. I’ve always been fond of wearing jangly jewelry and at one time I used to wear a few metal bracelets with charms that clanked against each other. I wore them so often that I didn’t even hear them anymore, but I guess others did. Once, when we were in a large crowd and Trevor was just a wee toddler, he got separated from us. All he could see were other people and none that he knew. Continue reading

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Lesson 610 – Here come the clowns

In the “not-absolutely-everything-about-chickens-is-great” department, I present you with this little gem.

I found it (her?) at a yard sale and well, you know me, I just had to give her a home.  It’s kind of sad, I tend to be rather compulsive when it comes to collecting interesting things, instead of a “Save the Whales” bumper sticker, my car sports one that reads “Save the Junk.”

Which is actually okay, until I come across things like this. I brought her home to show my kids, they’re just not going to believe this one, I thought.

One, two, three, – all six declared her ugly. “Do we have to keep this on the table?” I was asked more than once.

But now what to do? I’ve tried to put her in the Halloween box thinking that in a darkened corner she might just be scary enough to keep a job. The only problem is that she gathers laughs far more than gasps of fright. It’s pretty demoralizing for even a pretend Halloween decoration. Continue reading

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Lesson 570 – Which came first, the chicken or the egg – I have the answer

If you make the decision to have chickens, be prepared to hear every single variation there is of the question “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

You’ll be sent funny Facebook cartoons, of an egg smoking in bed next to a chicken (needs no further explanation),  jokes, and even philosphical musing on the subject:

Chickens and eggs coexist. They have always coexisted and must always continue to coexist, for if you destroy all of one or the other, the one left will become more powerful than it is possible to imagine and the imbalance will annihilate the universe.

The other day a  friend and fellow cohort of mine (as chaperons on the 7th grade 3 day cabin camping trip, we both snuck out, went to the local Walmart and got heating pads with extension cords to tuck inside of our sleeping bags at night – it was that cold) stopped by our house with her daughter (who was also on the camping trip but alas, did not get a heating pad.)

Julie presented me with these incredible earrings. She had made them a while  back and wanted to make sure I got them. Continue reading

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