Lately I've noticed Lucy's neck looking a little scraggly. But I chalked it up to old age...
I mean, my neck certainly doesn’t look like a
spring chicken’s either. That's why I always pose with one of my hens.
See how young I look?
For a five-year-old hen, Lucy has been looking pretty healthy.
But here's what I mean about her neck:
Then a couple weeks ago I witnessed this:
and I realized the problem wasn't old age -- the problem was Lil'White.
Lil'White goes after Daisy all the time,
but Daisy has enough spunk to stay a few steps ahead of her. Lucy, however, couldn't outrun a snail. I only saw Lil'White pecking at Lucy once, and never again....but Lucy's feathers have been looking worse and worse. The night Lucy chose to roost outdoors at bedtime
I realized that Lil'White must have been nibbling at Lucy all night long on the roost inside.
Lil’White and Lucy always sleep side by side on the roost.
I couldn’t change their roosting situation - each gal chooses her place, and
the bedtime routine is pretty much set in stone. So I considered other possibilities:
These "pinless peepers" helped my friend Jennifer's gal, Lily,to change her peckish ways.... I had one other idea that seemed easier. I took two pieces of
wood, a couple of nails and a big ol’ C-clamp, and built a wall.
So now Evil Lil'White has a bedroom of her own.
I'm not sure how Lil'White feels about this setup,
In the scope of things, with the horrible tragedy in Boston and all the other sorrows in our world, the death of a chicken really doesn't fit in.
But Pigeon will be missed, like any of Mother Nature's creatures, by the ones who loved her.
She was a survivor, a trooper, and one of the happiest characters I have ever met. Pigeon endured some hard times, just as we all do.
Those hard times ended the day we met. She healed, she blossomed,
She thrived. She was a treasure. A comical, half-blind, enthusiastic hen. She became the flock leader and she ruled with a warm and compassionate heart.
You can find out more about Pigeon's happy life HERE....and HERE.... and her rescue story is in my book. Today, the day after Pigeon's passing, we have no sorrow in the coop. While Pigeon was ill, Lucy and the gals paid their respects, treated her with kindness, and prepared for change. Today Lucy and Lil'White and Daisy carry a bit of Pigeon's warmth with them as they joyfully trample my young garden in search of slimy and crunchy treats.
The sun is shining and the breeze is soft. And it's okay to pause and cry, because pain and loss happen. But still, today is a beautiful day.
The 2013 Austin Funky Chicken Coop Tour has come and gone, but the thrill of Austin is fresh
in my memory.
Ah, the sunshine! The flowers! The Austinites!
We have grackles in New England, and they're a gregarious bunch. But the Austin grackles are twice their size,
and far more... um... outgoing.
This here grackle, for example, helped himself to an entire slice of my tomato and basil
pizza without even a "Thank you, Ma'am."
But Austin's grackle
guys are the exception. All the the other Austin fellas are polite and good
Here’s a truly charming
Pretty Boy, a cream Barbanter, and the official
mascot of the Austin Funky Chicken Coop Tour. Pretty Boy stole my heart.He’s a friendly rooster...the kind of guy you'd like to
take home to meet the flock.
. . . . . . . . . . .
Other Texas observations:
sky... definitely bigger in Texas.
The boots are fancier.
Thorns and prickers? Enormous.
Rain Barrels are big enough to swim laps in.
my head seemed bigger in Texas.
The coop tour was
so fun and inspirational that I forgot to take pictures of chickens.
But I did snap some
shots in and around Austin for funky inspiration:
A mushroom greenhouse.
Old baby crib as Garden Gates.
plates and bowl as
. . . . . . . . . . .
The coop I built for the gals is
almost three years old now. And while I still love its design, I’m getting itchy to
build something new.
With four fresh chicks arriving in May, this might be the perfect time for a major construction project....
What a wonderful day! Today for our blog tour I got to draw a cat and a chicken! Wasn't I just gushing recently about how much I love to draw cats and chickens? Meet Linus and his ladies, some of the critters in Lisa Steele's menagerie:
Here the hens wait patiently behind a pinecone while Linus gives the shed a kitty-caress.
I had the best time drawing Linus and Grace for Lisa -- Take a look over at Fresh Eggs Daily, explore this cool farmin' blog, and, yes, have another shot at winning a copy of Once Upon a Flock! Cluck!...and Meow!
I follow this wonderful blog because Dee's got the gardens of my dreams. Joyful and unpruned, always a new wall or border being built, and full of plants I've never heard of....
like these here hellebores. Hellebore? What kind of a name is that for a flower? ....or for a chicken for that matter? I've named my chickens "Daisy" and "Fern"... I've known "Violet" and "Lily". But really now. Hellebore?
Head on over to read Dee's blog, leave a comment to win a free book, and then go to the top of the blog and click on "My Gardens" for some eye-candy and more Hellebores! ---and here's the full list of awesome blogs on my tour-- Enjoy!
The Once Upon a Flock blog tour continues! I love being an illustrator because folks give me assignments that I might never have tried to tackle on my own. Today's creative challenge is a spectacular living masterpiece:
Kylee Baumle's Silver Laced Wyandotte, Violet.
Kylee wasn't sure which of these ladies is in fact Violet, so I chose that elegant form in the background.
First, to capture those voluptuous curves.
Then, to make sense of that wildly graphic feather pattern.... I began with black, then carved the white pattern. A bit of shading, and that rich red face....
And here's Violet! ....Makes me want a Silver Laced Wyandotte of my very own.
Now, please head on over to OUR LITTLE ACRE to meet Violet and to win yourself a copy of ONCE UPON A FLOCK!
Here's the full list of the fantastic and unique blogs on my tour -- Enjoy!
When I asked Tammy Barani of the wonderful blog, Our Neck of the Woods, if I might do a drawing of one of her creatures, she sent me some photos of Buttercup, her dear Wyandotte, who passed away in December.
I took a look at Buttercup and I froze.
It had been easy to draw Melissa's Tilly, chatting and singing on the roost.
Goofy little Rachel was a breeze to draw too. She's basically a knot of orange twirly lines, and she's still alive and kicking.
Buttercup, however, is only a treasured memory. There was more at stake in creating this image. Emotions were involved.
But, being an illustrator, I mustered the focus to hunker down and give it a try.
I aimed for a more classical, rather than comical, style.
Tammy, here's your special gal.
Tammy has already done a book giveaway on her blog, so since my timing was off, we're doing ANOTHER giveaway of Once Upon a Flock -- Please head on over to Our Neck of the Woods and leave a friendly comment, and you might just get lucky!
Rachel is Kathy Mormio's gal. Her breed: um... a Frizzled Something-or-Other. I've never seen another chicken like Rachel, and I've never been so in love with a chicken I've never met. Go see Rachel in full-form on Kathy's blog: The Chicken Chick, and win a free copy of ONCE UPON A FLOCK, too!
Once Upon a Flock officially hits the stands, and my blog tour begins! Once Upon a Flock is the gripping tale of my soulful chickens, brimming with intrigue and suspense, passion, heartache and triumph.... and about 400 color illustrations and photos! Please click on over to the wonderful blog, Tilly's Nest, to find out more, and to win a free book! Thank you, my treasured readers, from the bottom of my chicken-lovin' heart! -Lauren
Lauren's flock includes a special-needs hen named Lucy, a fixer-upper chicken named Pigeon, and Marky the Terrier.
Lauren is an author and illustrator, and works at her home in Central Massachusetts.
Lauren works from home where she can enjoy her critters, her teenage daughter, husband, messy house, facebook,....
When she's not outside, she can be found inside, looking out.