I’m pleased as punch (do my overseas readers use that expression?) because HenCam has been selected as a Top Ten Cam by EarthCam!


EarthCam has an international audience, and I’ve already heard from new viewers in Italy and London.

Not only did I get this news on Mother’s Day, but I also got the sweetest present from my husband – he bought me the domain name, and as soon as the babies are old enough to come home (about the end of June), the goatcam will be up and running. Here’s a teaser for what you’ll be seeing:


I’ve also been getting accolades on Tillie Lays an Egg. The book got a starred review in Publishers Weekly, and also great reviews in Kirkus, The Wall Street Journal, The LA Times and The School Library Journal. Blogging book reviewers have also been writing favorably about Tillie.

Everyone needs a pat on the back now and then (that’s another expression that I wonder if it translates to other cultures,) and I can tell you that writers especially need external validation. Being a writer requires self-editing, outside critiques, long spaces of time when no one is interested in what you are doing, a lot of internal one-sided conversations, self-doubt, and a willingness to be judged in public by others.

But, being a writer also means that once in awhile you get it right. In the case of a happy picture book like Tillie Lays an Egg, it’s been like I’m in a roomful of friends, and we’re all laughing and talking about the same joke. It’s been more fun than I can shake a stick at (an expression I’m sure is regional but I’m sure you get the gist!)

I’ve tentatively named the goats Pip and Caper. I’ve a feeling that we’re all going to be enjoying a few of their jokes soon.

My Perfectly Imperfect Lawn

I love lawns. I’m never going to one of those people who turn their entire yard into an edible garden or fill the space with paths and shrubs.  I need room to throw frisbees for my dogs.  I like a long view. That said, I don’t care a whit about a uniformly green lawn. Boring. Besides, to get that sort of thing requires an excessive use of water and chemicals.

Although I don’t want a golf-course green in my backyard, I don’t like crabgrass, and dandelions are pretty only briefly, then they look big and scraggly the rest of the summer. I can’t use the organic solution to keep these weeds at bay by spreading corn gluten meal  – my dogs and my chickens eat it up. Instead, I go the old-fashioned route of digging them up. It’s a lot of work but it does allow me to leave all sorts of pretty things in the lawn. Like these. (This picture was taken in the shady front lawn.)


The lawn guys are coming to do the first mowing this week. So, these flowers will be gone, but violets are coming up, and in a few weeks the clover will bloom. The lawn will change over the course of the summer, and go a tad brown during the heat of August. Not perfect, but just right.

Chicken Butt


Erica Perl is a friend of mine who writes picture books. Chicken Butt! is her most recent title. Erica has stopped by the Little Pond Farm Coop on her blog tour. Here’s our conversation:

Terry:  You write funny books that often chickens in them. You didn’t grow up with chickens, and you don’t have any of your own (which we won’t hold against you – I know you are being a law-abiding citizen of a city that doesn’t allow them – another discussion entirely!) Anyway, why chickens? 

Erica:  First of all, I grew up in Vermont, which is a very chicken-friendly state.  However, my first book, CHICKEN BEDTIME IS REALLY EARLY, was based on my observations of chickens on the North Fork of Long Island, NY… these birds were already in bed by 6 pm while some bunnies were dining on the lawn. 

Terry:  Yes, I see that here with Candy. She’s hopping around at dusk well after all of the hens are on their roosts. She’s also up, earlier too. Forget about roosters being the first awake – it’s the bunnies!

Erica:  Now that I am a full-fledged chicken author (CHICKEN BUTT! is my third picture book and my second chicken book), I am most appreciative of hens and their many charms.  I have a small collection of chickenphrenalia in my office, as any good chicken author should.  My favorite chicken is a paper mache sculpture I received from the Cutchogue Library (not far from the home of those original inspirational chickens).

Terry: Well, I certainly know about collecting chicken tschotkas! Before you go, do you have a chicken joke to share?

Erica: It goes without saying that my favorite chicken joke (of sorts) is:  You know what? (What?) Chicken Butt!  I also crack up remembering the time that George Bates and I both wore our chicken hats to an American Library Association conference and then tried to cross a major road wearing them.  Without realizing it, we had become the famous “get to the other side” joke!

Terry: Thanks for stopping by the HenBlog. HenBlog readers can mosey over to Erica’s blog,,  leave a comment and you’ll be entered in a drawing for CHICKEN BUTT! tattoos, bookmarks, and a signed book.


Many of you have written to tell me how peaceful it is watching the chickens. The reality is that HenCam viewers have a more relaxing time than I do! Let me tell you about what happened a few days ago….

It was a sunny, perfect Spring day. Warm enough to drink iced tea, but not so hot that I needed to put the shade umbrella up. I decided to take my laptop outside to work on a picture book manuscript. My fantasy was that I would sit in an Adirondack chair by the pond, let the chickens out, and enjoy their company while getting my writing accomplished.

I turned on the computer. I took a sip of tea. I looked up to see Twinkydink, feathers ruffled, aggressively entering the HenCam coop’s yard. Twinkydink lives in the big barn, and she is sure that better things must be in this little coop. This is silly. The yard is mostly dirt. The chickens that live there are thrilled to be let out onto the grass. But, as far as Twinkydink was concerned, the barren yard was paradise. Her paradise, and she was going to stake a claim to it. I hurried over and shooed Twinkydink out. I sat back down. Twinkydink ran back, and into the HenCam barn, making a bee-line for Betsy who was about to lay an egg in a nesting box. I put down my tea, ran back to the barn, picked up Twinkydink and carried her over to the compost pile, where I dropped her. The worm-laden dirt took her mind off the HenCam coop. Thank goodness for a chicken’s short attention span.

I went back to my computer. I took a sip of tea. My husband came out the back door, calling to me. A neighbor, who was jogging by, noticed chickens in the driveway. I jumped up. Driveway? That’s in the front yard. Out of my sight. Sure enough, there were Marge and Petunia, strolling down the asphalt on their way to the road. I don’t know why. Pavement shouldn’t interest chickens. But, there were my two old hens, off on an adventure. I shooed them into the backyard. Marge complained.

I sat down. I drank a sip of tea. Eleanor came over and pecked at my shoe. I looked at my computer. It had turned itself off. I gave up.