Family Photo Friday!

Family Photo Friday

Yes, you’re right! That is not a chicken. It’s a young crow, and one of our new bird friends.

This little sweetheart showed up on my screened-in front porch last Friday morning, and I’m still unsure how. Maybe the door wasn’t closed all of the way when the newspaper was delivered or something like that.

I would not have known she was there if it hadn’t been for the sound of her wings beating against the porch screening. She didn’t seem to mind being picked up and held for a moment while she caught her breath. Her heart was beating so hard that it felt as if it filled her entire body.

She was quite gentle with me and didn’t try to peck me. Even her small sharp talons barely gripped my finger. She seemed relieved and knew that I would help her, not hurt her. When I opened my hands at the porch door, she flew off towards the little river branch across the street.

In all the time that I’ve lived in this house, nothing like this has ever happened. Our visitor’s timing is very interesting because of a recent short series of story posts titled “Just Farm Animals.” These were about Gracie and some crows. (You may want to read Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them.)

Crows seemed like they would be a “natural” as bad characters for a story. Yet one of our readers, the author of “The Red Box,” shared a different perspective on these remarkable birds. Crows and ravens are viewed very differently in her area of Germany when compared to my area of the States.

Here we think of crows as scavengers and pests who rob our cornfields. But in Northern Europe they can be viewed as messengers who represent memories and thoughts. As the author of “The Red Box” shared with me, “Only fearless personalities can deal with information and news about trends or changes because you have to face the possibility that in response to the changing world, you and your life will need to change too….no matter if you like it or not.”

One aspect of writing on the WordPress platform which I enjoy most is being able to exchange ideas which help to shape my writing. I am now considering adding another crow to our story, one who will be a positive messenger who assists one of my chickens in some way to make a change which will help answer the questions of her heart and then find her destiny.

Please visit “The Red Box where you will find a wide variety of carefully curated articles and posts, including some original drawings and poems. (Anything in German is always accompanied by an English translation.) You may even want to leave a message to say, “Hi! Gracie sent me!”

This is a sketch of a possible friendly crow character. Interestingly, baby crows have blue eyes. This changes as they mature. This crow will keep her blue eyes as she grows older as a sign of being special and being able to see things differently than my chickens and the other crows who had been bothering Gracie.

In this drawing she is somewhat scruffy to match this snippet of dialogue which was written well before this little treasure visited my house: “You may be my only friend…and my only hope,” the crow said to Gracie.

Isn’t it interesting how life and writing can intertwine?

My Inventive Miss Bessie

Every Good Thing

Bessie can be such a strong advocate for fairness and social causes. I began to get a glimpse of this when we were discussing eggs some time ago. She inspires me with her ability to ask difficult questions in search of fairness, even with things most of us might consider inconsequential.

“What’s that flat wooden thing?” Bessie wanted to know. “Can you eat it?” It smelled of food.

“It’s a popsicle stick. It holds ice cream or other cold treats so people can eat them.”

“Do chickens get popsicles and ice cream?”


“Why not?”

“Because no one has invented them for chickens yet.”

“Is that all? That seems like a very flimsy reason.”

“Well, people lick popsicles. Chickens don’t really lick anything. They peck.”

“That makes no sense. You don’t pop them. You lick them. Why do you call them POPsicles when you don’t pop them? Why don’t you call them LICKsicles?”

There really wasn’t much I could say. It certainly sounded logical to me.

“I will invent a PECKsicle. It will be just for chickens since people don’t peck.”

And that was the beginning of PECKsicles.

What would she use? How would it look? Would I dare to give it a taste? I had to admire her inventive spirit and the power of the three simple words “I will invent!”

My life with Gracie (and especially Bessie) showed me inventing is a very wonderful kind of giving, especially for those who feel left out.

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

Unexplainable Mysteries

Unexplainable Mysteries

Maybe your neighborhood is one that is visited by an ice cream truck during the summer, or like in our neighborhood as soon as there are slightly warmer days in spring. My chickens are fascinated by the musical sounds made by the ice cream truck.

Ours makes its way slowly through the neighborhood, street by street. Over and over again, it plays the same tune, an odd mechanical chiming version of “The Entertainer.” As it gets closer to our street and to our house, the chickens stretch their necks out farther and farther. Then when it fades away, they all return to their regular chicken routine.

They are intently trying to figure it all out. Some notes seem to make sense to them, but the rest remain a mystery. Perhaps they imagine a huge magnificent songbird with multicolored feathers passing through the neighborhood. They are definitely curious about whatever might be making the oddly-patterned sounds they hear.

People so often want to understand everything. And when we think we understand something, we are ready to move on to the next new thing. Done! Check! Got it! Move on!

But I think there is ample space in life for mysteries, even unsolvable mysteries. Perhaps it is best when there are still some things which we don’t completely understand. Longings. Joy. Love. God.

We may have a tendency to count as insignificant those things we feel we completely understand. The unknown can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be.

Perhaps it is no coincidence how the things we value most, including life itself, are surrounded in mystery. The unknown draws us in, and then we discover what we thought was just an interesting short verse of poetry is actually one sheet in a vast library. We are compelled to continue reading, all the while knowing we will never finish the unending task we have set for ourselves.

Although I could ask my chickens to tell me what they think about the noise of the ice cream truck, I like leaving those answers as my own mysteries for pondering and imagining possibilities.

And really, if my chickens wanted to know more about the noise of the ice cream truck, they would ask me. But they don’t, even though they know I would explain it all to them. Perhaps they enjoy having mysteries in life which they don’t completely understand just as I do.

My Life With Gracie taught me there will always be things we will never figure out, and that is as it should be.

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