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The GraciePress Newsletter - “PeeP!” - Chapter 7 - “The Garden Home”

The GraciePress Newsletter - “PeeP!” - Chapter 7 - “The Garden Home”
Happy Friday, everyone! A huge welcome to all of our new readers! We are so happy to have you joining our adventures! It is nice to know that we have friends and fans all over the world!

There was considerable excitement when the fourteen chickens moved into their new outdoor home. “Bür-Ä-Bök!” was everyone’s opinion, and they shared it with me again and again as they explored every corner.
They had their old familiar water bottle and dry food container, but everything else was new and exciting. Their chicken run had plenty of space for them to spread out, stretch their legs, and flap their wings.
Lefty had watched intently throughout the building process. Since he was My Best Little Buddy, he gave everyone a guided tour. He tapped and pecked each part and chattered about it, almost as if he had built it himself.
Even so, it took everyone, including Lefty, longer than expected to discover how to use the chicken ladder leading up to the coop. Their chicken instincts and curiosity would eventually help them learn, but until then, it would be best to stay outside with them. Even in the city, there are wild animals like foxes, opossums, and raccoons that might try to dig underneath the fencing at night.
For the first few evenings, they huddled together in a corner under the coop, staying low to the ground. The larger chicks would be at the edges to protect the smaller ones. Lefty, of course, was always on the edge and the closest to any danger that might come their way. He was their leader and main protector.
As evening came, they would talk to each other softly and sweetly. Perhaps they were recounting their many adventures of the day or wishing each other a pleasant night’s sleep. These were different sounds than what they had made indoors in their brooder box or even when they were playing outdoors. This talk was soothing to them and to me.
As it grew dark, one of them would begin to sing to the others. Then another would join in with a different song. These were not like the repeated songs or calls the songbirds made. These were beautiful lullabies.
In the dark, I could not always tell who was singing, but it did not matter. When combined, their individual voices made a single beautiful voice, a voice of gratitude for another precious day lived.
They had never sung each other to sleep indoors, only outdoors in their new home. If I had not stayed and kept watch over them at night, I would have never known.
As I listened to their songs, my heart began to imagine what they might be singing. One night, I was sure Bessie sang to Gracie, “You have been my friend forever, my friend forever you will be.” And then Gracie sang back to her, “Every day is a gift with a friend like you.”
Through all of those nights, I began to realize there is more to the lives of chickens than the encyclopedia could teach me.
Lefty was the first to discover how the chicken ladder led up to the coop, and he quickly showed everyone else what to do. He even demonstrated how excellently he could jump out of the door and fly down to the ground without having to use the ladder at all. Rudy was particularly impressed by this daring stunt.
They wasted no time in rearranging the straw to their liking. Since no one was laying eggs yet, the nesting boxes were oddly interesting to them, but they only seemed useful for playing Hide And Seek.
Once they were accustomed to sleeping in the coop, the door could be locked securely, and they no longer needed me to watch over them at night. Nevertheless, I often stayed outside with them long enough to enjoy their singing.
As they grew, their new home became more crowded. Before long, it was time for the ones I was raising for my friends to move out to their new homes. 
The Emperor and The Empress stayed because they were a definite pair. With The Emperor being a rooster, they would eventually need to leave, but it would be easier for them with only one more move rather than two.
Rudy was supposed to leave, but in the confusion of sorting everyone, she was mixed up with a different Rhode Island Red. She stayed with me since it would be less stressful, and they both seemed happy exactly where they were.
Lefty stayed because by then it was clear he was a rooster even though he was not crowing yet. As with The Emperor and The Empress, it would be my responsibility to find a home for him somewhere out in the country when the time came. I didn’t want that time to ever come.
And fortunately, Gracie and Bessie stayed together and stayed with me, and that was just as I had hoped.
“Bür-Ä-Bök!” they both told me at the same time, and so I guessed it was what they had hoped as well.
With just my six chickens, there was more space for playing, and it felt almost like a new home for them. Lefty had a better chance to show what a good leader he could be, and I had a better chance to appreciate what made each of them special.
One entire side of their coop had a wire fencing door. That made it easier to do my chicken chores, but more importantly, it let in plenty of cool breezes on warm summer nights while still keeping them safe.
They could go up their chicken ladder and to the top roosting spot in their coop. From there, we could look at each other face-to-face, and they could feel like they were as tall as me. This fascinated them.
Their new nighttime roosting perch was a wooden stepladder. At the top and closest to the wire door would always be Lefty, then Bessie, and then Gracie. If it had been Lefty’s decision, he would have only allowed Bessie up at the top beside him. But Bessie insisted there be room for Gracie. Bessie would nudge Lefty over inch by inch to make room for Gracie. He would finally have to hop down before falling off the top step. He soon learned that in some things, at least, he had to let others have their way. Bessie’s way was to be with Gracie.
On the middle step would always be The Emperor and The Empress, side by side, with The Emperor closest to the wire door to protect her.
On the bottom step would be Rudy. She always seemed to have a different spot and a different position along the step. It was as if she could never quite get comfortable. Sometimes she would even perch on the side metal braces. She never complained about being alone as the only Rhode Island Red, but I did think about getting at least one more like her as a companion.
If I could go back to any time with my chickens, it would be then. Every day was “Bür-Ä-Bök!” for all of us. Lefty and The Emperor had not begun crowing, and none of the others were laying eggs. We spent our days simply learning about each other in our garden.
As events would turn out, the extra time was good for all of us. Because of it, my life with Gracie and the others took a happily unexpected turn. Without it, our story would have ended on this page.
About Chickens and Singing
I was honestly surprised to hear my chickens singing. I had never heard of anything like this before from anyone who has ever raised chickens. So this was not something that was made up or factionalized in this story.
I thought this was something only songbirds would do, but it all has to do with a part of a bird’s body called a syrinx. Only birds have a syrinx, and that includes chickens!
Extra Information For Our Fans and Regular Readers
One of the things that I have discovered with the help of our regular readers is that there is an attachment to any of the chickens who are named in these stories. That is why Lefty and Rudy will have more adventures together on their own, and so will The Emperor and The Empress.
But one of the “forgotten” named chickens has always been Mayflower.”
One of the important lessons that Mayflower taught us is about becoming friends with everyone. That is important. We shouldn’t treat others in an unfriendly way.
We have been working on giving Mayflower an more important role in what would be called a “revised edition.” I have to remind myself not to feel bad about this because Walt Whitman published five revisions of Leaves of Grass in his lifetime.
A Revision to Chapter 6
Here is a revision to the end of Chapter 6 which you read last week. It works in an important detail about Mayflower.
As soon as the dance was over, Mayflower hurried over to Gracie, and then the others followed after her.
“Please teach me how to do more of that kind of dancing. It was amazing, and you are a BröcK if there ever was one.”
They huddled around and said the same thing, even those who had called her a “Hã-BröcK!” before. They all wanted to learn to dance like Gracie, and even Lefty himself asked her to teach him everything that she knew, not just the parts he had seen and practiced secretly.
And so, The Bigger Scary Thing was scary no more.
A Revision to Chapter 7 (not included above)
Here is a revision to Chapter 7 which you read above. It works in several important details that will come up later in the story.
As they grew, their new home became more crowded. Before long, it was time for the ones I was raising for my friends to move out to their new homes. 
My friends gathered around the play area. We had decided to separate them out as quickly but as gently as possible. No one wanted to chase frightened chickens around the yard. 
When someone spoke kindly to Mayflower and lifted her up, she looked around, searching for Gracie. When she spotted her, she called out to her. She didn’t sound alarmed. It was more like she was saying, “Don’t worry about me. We will dance again.”
Gracie called back to her. She seemed torn between running after Mayflower and running towards Bessie. Then just as quickly as my friends had arrived, they left. 
Next Week: Chapter 8 - “A Simple Everyday Miracle”
Please feel free to share and forward this newsletter to others who might be interested. Chickens are really big fans of sharing!
Thank you for reading!
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