There’s a Chicken in my Bathroom

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

While checking the chickens this week, I noticed one silkie hen squished between the coop and the fence.  I gently unsquished her and set her down.

chick in basketShe was very unsteady on her feet and it looked like a wing was broken.  I consulted chicken doctor Rachel who put her in a laundry basket in the bathroom while she did some research.

When my piano student arrived the next day and needed to use the restroom, I found myself saying “There is a chicken in my bathroom,” which reminded me of a song (which is a pretty standard occurrence around here).

book about holeThe song is entitled “There’s a Hole in the Bucket.”  I have a couple of different books illustrating this song which is basically a conversation between Henry and Liza revolving about how to fix the hole in the bucket.

As I went about my day, I thought of many verses to “There’s a chicken in my bathroom.”  I would write it all out but I’m quite sure no one would understand.

It turns out that this particular breed of chicken has a soft spot in its skull much like a newborn baby.  This soft spot does not close so if the hen gets pecked on the head, it can cause minor damage – like a concussion. This would cause her to be unsteady and want to hide from the others.

Our injured hen seems to be doing better now that she is separated from the danger of pecking hens. She is eating and drinking and can move around more securely. She even talks to us when we are in the room.   We’ll try to incorporate her back into the flock later this week.

The bathroom will be lonely.

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To be a Word Artist you have to…

medium_Sandra_JensenThe last two Wednesday we’ve talked about writers as artist. We can’t paint words if we don’t just WRITE as this quote from Sandra Jensen via WritersWrite points out.

Five Ways to Attract Blog Readers

ereaderToday’s blog world is highly competitive. A quick check at Blogging Statistics – Worldometers shows over 2 million posts (and counting) for July 14, 2016.

With numbers like that, our blogs can get lost sea of options.

So what can we do as bloggers do to attract readers?

I suggest these five things.

An Irresistible Title

Something catchy that piques interest. Try one of these ideas:

  • Ask an open-ended question
  • Include who, what, when where, or how to
  • Make ’em curious– tease, contradict, challenge a belief
  • Offer a solution or benefit in the content
Plenty of White Space

Keep paragraphs short – no more than four lines is the guideline. Many readers use their phones and tablets. Lines and lines of text are boring and hard to read.

Captivating Graphics

What’s the quote: “A picture is worth a thousand words”? Include visuals that pull the reader into the blog.

But, always be sure to use legal-to-copy images. Last thing, any blogger needs is a copyright troll targeting your image.

Keep Your Posts Short

People are busy. Even 500 words can push a reader’s attention. I suggest my guest bloggers keep their posts under 500.

If your topic requires more than a 1,000 words to communicate the idea, maybe cut it into two posts by ending on a hook that will make the reader return.

Write Succinct Posts

Write posts specific to your target audience. Miller Farm Friday is a great example. Chicken Wrangler Sara’s posts are all about life on their urban farm. And, they are short!

Will these suggestions guarantee of success? Unfortunately, no. There are too many variables for guarantees, but I do believe these five things are extremely important to gain a reader’s attention.

If you want more ideas just Google “How to build blog readership.” I did and in .80 seconds, 341,000 results appeared! Lots of ideas on things to try to find readers.

Do you have ideas of your own? If so, please share in the comments.

Meanwhile Back on the Farm

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Beekeeper Brian and Chicken Wrangler Sara have been on their annual vacation in Colorado leaving Rachel in charge of Miller Farm which is no easy task.

In an effort to entertain the puppies, Rachel purchased new dog toys. Much to Max’s dismay, Tucker thought they were all for him.tucker with toysIn the poultry department, Rachel has had to separate some of the roosters sending one to a new home.  Apparently Kaboodle is at the bottom of the pecking order and an intervention was required.  For the moment all is calm in the chicken yard.

chick1In the house, however, the eggs in the incubator are starting to hatch causing all kinds of excitement.  So far there are nine.  She is sending pictures – like having newborn babies.

Here are two of my favorites.chick2

 

 

 

 

As much as I enjoy being in Colorado, I kind of miss the excitement of Miller Farm.

If only we could carry the cool air with us to Texas.

Writers As Artist

writer+is+an+artistAnother poignant quote from Edie Melson to remind writers that we are indeed artists with our words. Thanks, Edie.

What items work to regift and what doesn’t?

giftChristmas is officially six months away. It’s time to start thinking about gift giving. For me, that means checking my gift box supply for things to regift.

What’s in my gift box? Items I’ve received over the year(s) that really didn’t work for me. Things that might suit someone else that I can regift.

In case you’re not familiar with the term, regifting is the act of receiving a gift, and then after some time, wrapping it up and giving it to someone else.

It’s a way of recycling what you don’t want or can’t use.

The trick to regifting lies in knowing what’s acceptable to re-gift, what’s a definite no-no, and the cardinal rule of regifting:

Only regift NEW items not used items unless they classify as antiques.

Here are ten items considered acceptable to regift.

  • Candles – Designed to be used up and thrown away, are very easy to regift when unused and plastic remains.
  • Soaps, Lotions, and Bathroom Items -Soaps, hand creams, lotions, bubble baths are all fine to regift. Only if the items haven’t expired and haven’t been opened.
  • Games, Toys, and Puzzles -Perfectly okay to regift if intact. Do make a note of who gave what to whom, though. Last thing you’d want to do is give a game/toy/puzzle back to someone who gave it to you.
  • Some Clothing -Don’t risk a friendship or argument if you travel in the same circle of friends and the fact you never wear the gift will be obvious. Also, be sure all tags remain intact.
  • Wine and Spirits – Wine only gets better with age. Hard liquor does too. So if it’s sealed, you’re good to give.
  • Gift Cards – Make sure the balance never expires, or is still intact because some devious people out there operate gift card frauds.
  • Gift Baskets -As long as you haven’t removed half the contents, destroyed the packaging, or kept the basket so long the items have expired.
  • Fragrances -Perfumes, aftershaves, and eau de toilettes are all fair game for regifting provided they remain sealed in the original box.
  • Kitchen Items -Toasters. Blenders. Frying pans. Coffee makers. All very regiftable if in original packaging. Be careful not to offend anyone who might come to your home and cannot see what they gave you. Awkward situation you want to avoid.
  • Novelties and Gag Gifts -Perfect for those white elephant exchanges that abound in December or age-related parties. The fun of some white elephant exchanges is the same gifts appear year after year and become a running joke.

Now these four things should NEVER be regifted:

  1. Personalized items even if you share initials
  2. Anything with an inscription
  3. Opened CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Rays
  4. Anything universally awful unless used as a gag gift

What about you? Are you a regifter? What things do you pass along?

Richard the Frizzle

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

One of my favorite breeds of chickens is the frizzle. We started with one black bantam frizzle hen named Frizz. black frizzle

She has always had quite an attitude.  In fact when Rachel tried to include her in the color project by putting her into a separate coop, she refused to stay put.  She would rather run with the big hens.

whiteWe now have a white bantam frizzle rooster named Richard.

He has his own personality.  He is in a separate run with silky hen.  Rachel is trying to produce a silky frizzle, otherwise known as a sizzle. It hasn’t happened yet.

Anyway, each evening when I go to close the chickens up in their coops, Richard is less than cooperative.  In fact, he often protests so loudly, Rachel comes to make sure the chickens are not under attack.  He may fly into the next coop or out into the yard.

Eventually I catch him, hold him tightly, stroke his frizzle feathers and explain that I am not going to hurt him.  He just needs to spend the night safely in his coop.

Last week he actually let me put him up without the traditional squawking and loop around the chicken yard. Maybe he is calming down.  But then is there really such a thing as a calm frizzle?