It's Pretty Here

I don’t live in a spectacular part of the country. There aren’t mountains rising in the distance or dramatic vistas. My views are more intimate but beautiful in their own way. The small vignettes of wildflowers in the woods are so pretty that they stop me in my tracks. I notice the patterns of lichen and bark on tree trunks. I’ve been dumbstruck by orange fungi growing on a downed birch log. 

I try to capture some of that in my backyard garden. 

I planted this shady corner by the screened porch with (if I remember correctly) ajuga, sweet woodruff and cinnamon fern.


The roses and climbing hydrangea on the side of the coop are in bloom. This looks carefree and exuberant, but it actually required planning and editing.  For once I got the pruning right – the flowers are abundant and the shape of woody parts are just what I wanted.


If you look closely, you’ll see that the planter by the coop door is in the shape of a chicken. I confess to having chicken things everywhere. (The props in  Tillie Lays an Egg are only about a tenth of my collection.) Still, it is possible to overdo the chicken motif. I’m aiming for charming, not tacky. (If my friends think I’ve gone overboard, they have my permission to stage an intervention.)

Anyway, it’s been pretty here. There are many studies that show that the beauty of nature is beneficial for your health. It’s been proven that surgery patients have a faster recovery if they have a hospital bed near a window with a view of a park. So, for those of you stuck in cubicles and watching the HenCam, think of it this way – you’re not “wasting your time” – rather, you’re improving your physical well-being!

The Life of a Chicken Celebrity

Like most authors, I’m thrilled to pieces to be invited to events to promote my writing. Libraries, bookstores and writers’ groups are all typical venues where we authors show up and hope to create word-of-mouth sales. I’ve gone to my fair share recently, and I’d like to think that it’s my brilliant writing that gets me the invites to these events, but I have to admit that my popularity lies elsewhere. I travel with Tillie, a celebrity chicken.

In all honesty, “Tillie” is one of three Bantam White Leghorns. I call them the “party girls.” They are always dressed to the nines in a white and red, and always personable. They look you in the eye and demand attention. Last night, it was Coco’s chance to have a night out on the town. Of the three, I knew she’d be most up for our most unusual outing yet – a Deviled Egg Cookoff at a bar in Somerville, MA.


Here we are at not the most glamorous of settings, but it sure was fun. By the time things got started, it was well past Coco’s bedtime. But, she meeted and greeted and charmed. 


This photo was taken early in the night, before about forty egg-lovers packed the bar. When it became noisy and crowded, I put Coco in her guinea pig crate on a table top, where she spent the rest of the evening having her photo taken. By 9 pm her eyes were drooping, the party was ending, and we headed home. 

We can’t wait for the next invitation.