Chicken update – cute predator alert

This was going to be an update about my chickens.

I was going to tell you all about the Chicken Palace.

I was going to point out how the coop itself has two levels. The girls stay in the upper level (it comes complete with nesting boxes and roosts) at night because it is the most protected part of the compound. And how there is a trap door and gangplank that leads from the upper level to the fenced-in terrace level underneath it.

How the terrace leads to the courtyard, where the girls like to sun themselves.

And how the courtyard opens into the roofed playpen, complete with old dog kennel filled with shavings for dust baths, roost made from an old pipe, and feeding stations where we drop off beetles, grubs, worms, and greens in addition to their regular food.

I was going to tell you about all of these things, but then we found these paw prints in the Forest.

So BH baited a Havaheart trap. Lo and behold…

We found a critter, a young raccoon who had hoped to put chicken on the menu.

Want to see what happens next? Let’s go to the video….

Chicken Update & suitcase

The chickens continue their nuclear growth. Now they have tail feathers that look like a Victorian lady’s bustle. Here’s a quick clip filmed by Queen Louise of me in the temporary play yard with them.

I’m off on a research trip for my Abigail Adams picture book. Not sure if I’ll be blogging or vlogging from the road, but I’ll try!

Batting Monday Clean-up

You know the sound a car engine makes at the RPMs are climbing and you are preparing to shift into the next gear?

Make that sound in your mind right now.

I’m getting ready to shift gears and go full throttle on a number of projects.

Before I can do that, though, I have to clean off a couple of desks and check off the last items on a few to-do lists. And close a bunch of tabs that have been open for weeks while I wait for the right moment to blog about them.

Here’s a short article about a recent Skype visit I did with 6th graders who had read CHAINS.

CHAINS also made the "A More Perfect Union" Bookself, a program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The chosen books will be distributed to 4,000 school (K-12) and public libraries. Why? The NEH says "As the American people begin observing the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, NEH seeks to promote reflection among young people on the idea of the United States as a “union.”" I was excited to see that my friend Pam Muñoz Ryan’s book, When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson, is also on the list. I was honored that W.E.B. Dubois’s, The Souls of Black Folk, is on the list, too. Be sure to check out the whole list!

Over at YA BookSelf, they’ve posted an article comparing rejection letters to SPEAK. What do you think of it?

At last, but certainly not least, Wendy at SimpleThrift (a terrific blog about living a frugal and creative life while raising kids) has been naming her chickens after her favorite authors. She just posted a short and fun Good Egg Interview with me because….

  (photo credit Wendy Thomas)

she named this little girl "Laurie Halse Anderson."

Mockingjays and chickens love booksellers

I seem to be on a video roll this week. Can’t figure out what’s come over me! But before we go to the tape, I have to share one photo.

     At the Scholastic MOCKINGJAY party. Suzanne Collins gave us a surprise reading of the opening pages and all I have to say is this: order your copy NOW! On-sale date in August 24th!

So here’s a mash-up of last week’s BEA conference and my chicken coop. (The chickens were bored by all the details of the terrific awards luncheon, but you might enjoy it.) For some reason the annotations on the video aren’t working right in LJ, so if you want to read them, go straight to my Youtube channel.

Chickens grow right in front of your eyes!

Our chickens are two weeks old and all seem very healthy. Incredibly healthy. In fact, I am wondering if our proximity to the nuclear power plant is influencing their stupendous growth rate.

BH has been slowly turning a pile of scrap lumber into the coop, but some recent chicken test flightsaccelerated the schedule. Below you’ll see a video of random clips filmed when we moved the chickens. The dog was very interested in the entire process.

(Note to chicken experts: this is only one part of the cop. Right now it is in our garage. When we move it outside, it will have roosts and a roof and  a fenced-in yard that will be electrified (solar-powered!) to keep out hungry predators.)

If you are in the mood for a fix of fluff and feathers, enjoy.