Gardening with chickens & ingenious bookstore event

A bunch of you have written asking for chicken update pictures. Earlier this week, BH and I took a couple of the girls out to help us weed the flower beds.

They are bug-eating machines.

A man and his chicks.

Along with the garden (we’ve been eating the first peas this week) and the chickens, we’ve been busy in the Forest preparing for ALA and this fall’s book tour. I’ll post my ALA schedule early next week. I’m not sure when I’ll have the tour details… certainly by August. I’ll be on the road a LOT, so I will probably be showing up wherever you live. If you bring your chickens to my booksigning, I will pet them.

On Monday night, we enjoyed a special book event, courtesy of the river’s end bookstore. Author Michael Perry is on tour promoting his new book, COOP, as well as his other titles.

   (His books make EXCELLENT Father’s Day gifts, btw – funny and heartfelt.) Michael is a small-town guy, like us, and is interested in encouraging people to buy local and live sustainably. Instead of the standard booksigning, for his event the bookstore took over a new restaurant in Oswego – La Parrilla.

    The restaurant was chosen because of its commitment to buying from local farmers. Guests had to buy tickets ahead of time – cost of book was included in the price of the ticket, as well as dinner.  The event sold out, we all enjoyed a very yummy dinner, and left with sore ribs from laughing so much because Michael Perry is a very funny guy.

Michael is posting on Shelf Awareness every day on his tour. His blog entry about Oswego gives his take on the evening.

   I’ll be spending Father’s Day with these two guys – my husband and my dad. I am in charge of deviled eggs and potato salad. They are in charge of the beer.

See you on Monday!

Rochester-bound & chicken moment of zen

(Zen can be found at the bottom of this post.)

A couple of people have written to ask how our dog, the Creature With Fangs, is taken the arrival of the baby chickens. (The CWF is a large, neurotic German Shepherd.)

We have not made the necessary introductions yet. There is a very good chance we never will. Some dogs take well to having chickens around. Other view them as a combination toy/snack.

And then there is the tennis ball problem. The CWF loves to chase after tennis balls, grab them in her mouth, and gnaw on them.

I am not sure the CWF would see much of a difference between a tennis ball and a five-day-old chicken. We are not going to test those waters quite yet.

Garden update: we’re still have frost in the morning, so I dare not transplant the veggies that like it hot. But they’ve all outgrown the little containers (also known as old egg cartons) that I started them in. So this morning I transplanted them to bigger pots of dirt. Another week or two and I hope they can go outside. Maybe I’ll just stick them out there sooner, and dress them in a jacket and scarf.

In between gardening, chicken-sitting and fussing over the compost heap…. oh, and writing; I do that, too, I am packing for this weekend’s trip to the ab-fab Rochester Teen Book Festival. You should join us!!!! It is the best, rockingingest YA book event east of the Mississippi River and it is FREE!!!!!

I’ll be there giving presentations, hanging out, signing sneakers, and laughing too loudly along with Holly Black, Coe Booth, Robin Brande, manga writing duo Lindsay Cibos and Jared Hodges, Marissa Doyle, Simone Elkeles, Ellen Hopkins, James Kennedy, A.S. King, Daniel Kirk, Alisa Libby, Barry Lyga, Mari Mancusi, Lisa McMann, Ben Mikaelsen, Alyson Noël, Sarah Ockler, Matt de la Peña, Amy Kathleen Ryan, Lisa Schroeder, Jennifer E. Smith, Terry Trueman, Vivian Vande Velde, and Martin Wilson.

Can you freaking believe that line-up?

You know you want to join us. Come on, it’s Saturday. You don’t have baby chickens to take care of. Come hang out with us!!

My chickens said I should post the following picture for those of you who are feeling a bit stressed. They meditate quite a bit, my chickens, and I think it is the secret to their happiness.

Moment of zen.

Today’s chick pic

I am not going to turn into one of those people who posts pictures of cute animals and anthropomorphizes every shake of a beak or flap of a winglet or blink of a beady eye.

I hope.

Chicken Day!!

I’ve been talking about adding chickens (and goats and pigs and turkeys and ducks and heaven knows what else) to our Forest for a while. BH got jazzed about the challenge of building a safe chicken coop out of scrap lumber and I have been lusting after eggs, and


chicken that I can eat without being afraid of what the critter was fed, or how terribly it was treated during its life.

I stopped talking and took bold action a few weeks ago and ordered 15 Buff Orpington chicks. The post office called this morning; the girls had arrived and were peeping loudly.

So we drove down to pick them up.

This is what they looked like when we opened the box.

Task #1: show them to the watering hole.

They learned the water lesson very well.

  Task #2: eating. They are good at this, too! This is when I counted and found we had been shipped 16 instead of 15 chicks. It is very likely that a few will die of natural causes in the next few weeks, I am told, so the spare will come in handy.

  All that drinking and eating, not to mention the arduous trip courtesy of the US Postal Service, made them tired. Task #3: naptime.

Chicks falling asleep on their feet might just be the cutest thing ever.

Stay tuned for more chicken adventures!