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The GraciePress Newsletter - More Vintage “My Life With Gracie”!

The GraciePress Newsletter - More Vintage “My Life With Gracie”!
August 2022 is our 4-Year Anniversary Month! We started drawing pictures and writing stories to go with them as My Life With Gracie, a blog on WordPress, four years ago. Amazing! Even though we have moved from a blog to a newsletter, we are still very appreciative of you, our fans!
This month in the newsletter, we will look back at our original illustrations and stories from four years ago. We will also tell you more about a special gift for our fans!

#006 My Life With Gracie…Goals and Successes
There are some things that baby chicks are designed to do from the moment they hatch. One of those is learning to perch up high, as high as possible.
It didn’t take me long to realize this. They would stand on their food bowl simply to be a little higher than they were before. Tipping it over didn’t bother them. They just stood on the overturned bowl.
So I set up bricks around their brooder, first for a small “jump and flap” to get up, then for a bigger “jump and flap,” and after that there was nothing too high they wouldn’t try.
I learned not all chicks develop their skills and reach their goals at the same time. For some, it seemed to come more naturally. For others, they needed to study how others accomplished this marvelous feat. Getting up to a spot way up high, higher than the top of your head…well, that can seem like quite a task to achieve!
The Brahma chicks were by far the most naturally gifted. They already looked like tiny eagles, particularly with the extra feathers on their feet. They mastered the bricks in no time and then set their sights on the top of the water bottle.
Nevertheless, they all had the goal of reaching the highest place possible. Some of those who were slower to catch on would study what the others did. Everyone would “peep” and “cheep” about their own accomplishments and those of their friends. It was often joyfully noisy, until everyone exhausted themselves and needed to take a nap all at the same time.
There was never any competition to get to the top of the bricks, no matter how I stacked them. But the water bottle was different. There was only one of those, and it was THE place to be!
Gracie never made it to the top of the water bottle, but I just know she was thrilled when Bessie made it up there for the first time and every time afterwards. Maybe when you love someone you feel like you’re right up there with them too.
My Life With Gracie showed me we can still applaud the successes of others and be patient with ourselves.
#007 My Life With Gracie…Friends In High Places
So how do you tell your chicks apart when you have more than one of the same kind and they all look so much alike? This can be a challenge for some such as Buff Orpingtons which don’t have any special markings or patches of color.
Lefty was easy. He was alway running around and trying to see and do everything. He was first to the worms, first to the pill-bugs, and first to his Daddy’s heart. All of that even before he got his name, and before I knew for sure he was really going to be a rooster and not a hen.
Gracie was easy too. She always hung back from the group or stayed close to Bessie. There was that lump on her side too. She kept that side facing the wall of the brooder box most of the time. I think she was afraid the others would spot it and pick on her. In time her fluffy feathers disguised it, and she became less shy.
Bessie was almost indistinguishable from the other Buff Orpingtons except she would always go to Gracie when it was time to rest. Of the two, Bessie was more social, but she also knew exactly who her forever friend was.
There were times when Gracie dared to put aside her timidity and join Bessie and the others in whatever game they were playing. She would jump in and then jump back out just as quickly, but you could tell she was having fun.
I guess chickens must learn to flap their social wings as well.
Bessie was a good encourager and teacher. She played with the group but never ignored her best friend, Gracie. As they grew, she would protect Gracie against those who tried to bully her.
You might think, as I once did, that Bessie would become the leader of the flock, and for a while she was. Then by a series of unexpected events, the real leader and protector turned out to be Gracie. How all of that came to be is another story for another day.
My Life With Gracie helped me understand a perfect high perch is a lonely place until all your friends are up there with you.
#008 My Life With Gracie…A Startling Revelation
Since we have the bricks out, at least on the drawing board, I thought I would do a group portrait of all my chickens, past and present. This doesn’t include the ones I’ve raised for other people, just the ones I have called “mine,” including those I’ve given away. There’s also little history here. Chickens are a lot like people.
TOP ROW (Left To Right) Rudy (Rhode Island Red hen), the Emperor and the Empress(Brahma rooster and hen)
MIDDLE ROW (Left To Right) Blanche (White Plymouth Rock hen), Lefty (Buff Orpington rooster), Amelia (Barred Plymouth Rock hen)
BOTTOM ROW (Left To Right) Gracie and Bessie (Buff Orpington hens), Pearl (White Plymouth Rock hen), Emily (Gold Laced Wyandotte hen)
So here is our group portrait. You will notice Pearl is not in line with the others which is so like her. She will always be just a little different without ever intending to be.
But aren’t people like that too? Never doing what you expect or want them to do? They can’t help it. Chickens will be chickens, and people will be people.
My Life With Gracie gave me a startling revelation. Chickens don’t pose well for group portraits.
A “Family Photo Friday” from August 2018
This was so readers would know that Gracie is a real chicken, not a fictional chicken. Even with my bad cropping, she looked adorable, and she still does! (It’s not so easy to hold a baby chick in one hand and a camera in the other!)
Great News About Our “Thank You” Fourth Anniversary Gifts
As you know from last week’s newsletter, this month, we will be sending out “Thank You!” Fourth Anniversary gifts to all of our current subscribers who would like them. 
Thank you to everyone who responded! Our order has been placed, and you will receive an email letting you know when your gifts (for yourself or someone you selected) will be mailed out!
Until Next Time…
Thanks so much for reading!
John, Gracie, Bessie, Blanche, Pearl, Emily, and Amelia
Did you enjoy this issue?
J.R. Spiers (with help from Gracie)

The GraciePress Newsletter brings you the latest news, stories, illustrations, special offers, and free gifts from Gracie, Bessie, Blanche, Pearl, Emily, and Amelia. They are the inspiration behind all of the books published under The GraciePress imprint.

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From A Small Backyard Garden and A Most Wondrous Place in Portsmouth, Virginia