Why I Do School Visits

I recently visited an elementary school library in southern California filled with second graders. They were already avid watchers of HenCam and had read Tillie Lays an Egg. With the use of an iPad and Skype, I took them on a tour of my backyard. They asked really good questions, like “how big is the Beast?” She cooperated by swimming right up to the camera. I showed them eggs in the nesting boxes and where the chickens sleep.

This week, I got a packet in the mail which had me grinning from ear to ear. This is why I do what I do.

I learned that the Beast might be a shark.

Or maybe she sneaks out in her top hat and goes dancing.

Candy, who gave a nose-twitching, face-the-camera performance, was a favorite.

Of course, “Tillie” (played by the actress Betsy) was the inspiration for many of the artists.

But, I have to say, that this letter was my favorite.

Not much of a picture, but I am touched by the words.

I’m hoping to visit this same school in the winter, when the snow is up to my knees. These southern-Cal kids have never seen snow. I can’t wait to see what they draw after our next tour of my backyard!



  1. That is sweet…and rewarding. But I still don’t know who the beast is??

    • The Beast is my 7-year old Koi. She’s huge – more than 2 feet in length. Check the bios page. You’ll see a photo.

  2. That is SO cool! I was a teacher for three years before my job got cut thanks to budget cuts. When I used to sub regularly for the same 1st grade class, I always got lots of cool pictures like that. They are treasure!

    We have finally been able to buy a little piece of land and will have our own chickens as soon as we’re able to move onto it – hopefully next year. It would be so cool to find a way to incorporate my teaching background into experiences like you provide! Kudos to you (and your cast of characters)!!

  3. When I was little, my parents used to let the classes from our grade school come for visits of our farm. We had goats, chickens, a few pigs, and a garden full of strawberries. They had the best time and occasionally will STILL mention it some 25 years later!

  4. Thank you Terry! I am sitting at my desk wiping away a few tears! You made my day! Can’t wait to show the kids your post with their pictures..they will be thrilled!

  5. OMG, how sweet are those drawings. That would make me want to pull a chicken out of the run and dash off to the next school for show and tell time. So very darling.

  6. That is so cute. Children give such lovely feed back and some great artworks. Amazing chicken and rabbit picture!
    We are proud of our now nearly three granddaughter’s first attempts at artworks.
    We now have a month old grandson, so look forward to equally special artworks.
    But the words are of course so touching. Lovely to get the reward you deserve.

  7. We have done school demos….and those thank you notes are priceless!

    Thank you for sharing them with us!

  8. Awww, nothing better than a hand-made hand-written thank you card, note or picture from a child. Thank you for sharing Terry

  9. Everyone should have some children’s art to make us smile. Thanks for sharing.

  10. My husband who claims no interest in chicken blog’s allows me to read him snippets and sometimes reads over my shoulder.
    Reading these comments over my shoulder he said “even I know who the beast is”. “got you!”

  11. Priceless!
    If I may share a funny or sas story, depends on how you look at it I suppose. When Tim (my son) was 5 they were to draw a picture of their father. What does my son draw…me processing a chicken…squirting blood and all!!!!! Of all the things we would do together that image apparently was the first that popped into his little head.

  12. I feel an urgent need to crochet an effigy of Candy in her new form… watch your postbox!

  13. Hey Terry,
    How do you catch Candy in the evening when it’s time to be put up for the night? Is there a little routine?

  14. Oh my goodness! That is so uplifting. My son Jacob and I enjoyed meeting you today! Your talk was informative and fun. I will pass your info along to his school and he has asked if we can sign up for another class! Those notes from the school children made my day, thanks for doing what you do!

  15. It’s so wonderful what you are doing! You are showing young children how to care and respect animals. Bless you!

  16. What a wonderful thing you are doing. My daughter, Sofia McCoy, who by the way, is the one who drew the picture which you said was your favorite, came home that day super excited about the Hen Cam! She talked about it all day! She was a bit sad, because there was a mix up and the teachers thought it was another child who drew her picture, especially because she mentioned that you said it was your favorite, poor baby cried a bit, but she is better now. She is very excited about your Hen Cam, we were on it again today. We hope that you do come out this winter to visit the kids in Mrs. Schlansky’s class!