Tillie at the Bookstore

Despite the snowstorm, about two dozen people came to the Concord Bookshop to meet Tillie on Sunday. There was champagne and cookies. I made these:

chicken cookies

I found these adorable gummy “fried eggs” at a store. Who could resist?

egg candies

I read Tillie Lays an Egg to a rapt audience.

Terry Golson reads from "Tillie Lays an Egg" at The Concord Bookshop

And then “Tillie” (you know her as Eggers on Hencam) greeted everyone. Eggers was absolutely fine away from her flock mates. The store was warm and interesting and she ate a lot of corn. She likes being a star.

Terry Golson

Isn’t my skirt just the best?

“Tillie” and I will be visiting more stores soon. Check my appearances page for our schedule.

(photos by Spencer Webb)

Good Reading

I love a book with chickens in it, but I’m very fussy. I want the chickens to have their innate chickeness intact. I don’t want a human character dressed up in feathers. And I don’t want the chicken to stray too far from what a chicken would really do. I’ve a carefully edited selection on my chickenkeeping.com site.

Yesterday, Sonja Bolle, writing in her column in The LA Times, had her own opinionated take on good chicken books. I was thrilled that she included Tillie! Her list was somewhat different than mine, though we agreed on a number of books.

Do you have a list? Have I left off one of your favorites? Let me know.

Ice and Snow

This is what my vegetable garden looks like. I never did get around to harvesting the rutabagas.

vegetable garden in the snow

Alma looks outside but that’s as far as she goes.

golden laced Wyandotte hen

It looks like snow, but after yesterday’s rains and today’s freezing temperatures, that white stuff is a block of ice. Scooter doesn’t break through, but it’s hard on Lily’s paws.

dogs in snow

So, in the midst of all of this cold white stuff, that makes it almost impossible to be outside, what appears in my mailbox? Boy, do those marketers know what they’re doing.

seed catalogs

Year End Accounting

Over the last year my backyard flock varied in numbers from 12 to 16. Some hens were older, some were too young to lay. Some laid eggs everyday in the summer, others went broody. A few were sick. Sadly, some died. Still, the girls managed to produce 1,874 eggs! Around here, eggs from pastured hens sell for about $4.00 per dozen. Minus some eggs that were cracked, or dirty, or just plain weird, I figure that the hens laid almost $600 worth of eggs in 2008. I suppose that they paid their own way, but I refuse to add up how much I spent on them. Luckily, my livelihood doesn’t depend on making a profit. But my sanity depends on having the hens in the backyard.

What I Did Over My Vacation

Happy New Year!

I’ve had quite the break from the goings on here at Little Pond Farm. My two sons, my husband and I went to Rome for a week!

I drank a lot of very good cappuccino.


In between the eating (my sons are now addicted to gelato,) we also walked and walked. Rome is so OLD. Here in New England, a house is considered historic if it was constructed 250 years ago. In Rome, that’s nothing. At the Roman Forum, the cobblestones have ruts made by wagon wheels from 2000 years ago. The highlight of the trip was an excursion just a half-hour out of the city to Ostia Antica. These ruins cover acres. You are allowed to walk just about everywhere. We stepped on mosaics laid down 2500 years ago, and clambered over walls and ducked through doorways that were used by everyday merchants in Roman times. My favorite mosaic was this sign in a fish store for fast food.

Ostia Antica mosaic

I wouldn’t be able to go away if it wasn’t for my wonderful pet sitter, Luisa. She comes 3, sometimes 4, times a day. She rubs Candy’s ears warm and gives her fresh water. She brings bread crusts for the hens. She plays with my dogs. It was cold in Rome – but not as cold as it was here. Luisa had to shovel snow and convince little Scooter to go outside in the bitter cold to potty. It is reassuring to know that there’s someone caring for my critters who loves them as much as I do. Without her, I wouldn’t ever go away.