Fulfilling a long-time goal to have backyard chickens (and more importantly, their eggs), we got ten baby chicks last week. Though I had no confidence in my ability to keep them alive, they’re thriving so far and I’ve even let my kids name them.
The problem is, they’re like donuts—you go to Tractor Supply, pick out a couple from this bin, a couple from the next, etc., and get home and all of a sudden your kids want not just any glazed donut, but the one THEY picked out.
So, toward that end, we have “Cool Ranch” (pale yellow with brown spot on head), “Timothy Toaster” (pale yellow and not Cool Ranch), “Impasta” (grey with white spot on head), “Flo” (grey and not Impasta), “Sylvester” (even though I told my daughter we really want them all to be female), and the rest are all brown, completely indistinguishable, and all named “Potato”.
Another way chicks are like donuts: If my dog got his mouth on one, it would be gone in one bite.
Life lessons learned: Baby chicks will, apparently just for the fun of it, scoop all the food out of their hanging feeder just for the joy of pecking it out of the bedding.
Works In Progress:
“Timber Howligan, Agent on the Loose” is ready to be exported from Scrivener into its Microsoft Word template, complete with illustrations. After that, it’s the usual months of agonizing over every word and page before I release it to the world (hopefully this summer, but that’s the joy of self-publishing; I make my own deadlines). I’m still waiting on the final cover. Here’s one of my favorites of the new illustrations from W. H. Wilkins:
1. My friend Courtney’s draft of a dark YA thriller (it was really good!).
2. “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman (tenth anniversary edition, “newly updated and expanded with the author’s preferred text”). Ever since I got sucked into 2,000 pages of “The Stand”, I try not to fall for the “expanded” version of novels I’ve already read. But this was worth it! I’m not sure how it was different, but I liked it even more than I did the first time. 8.5/10
3. “Reserved for the Cat” by Mercedes Lackey (an “Elemental Masters” novel). Set in late 19th century Paris and England, with a ballerina heroine who finds herself pulled into the world of elemental magic by a mysterious guardian cat. And a good thing, because soon she finds herself the enemy of an evil Troll. This was fun and cute, and completely enjoyable in a fairy tale way. I never once doubted that the heroes would prevail. Plus, I’ll read anything with a cat in it. 7/10.
“The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet” by Becky Chambers (Wayfarers Book 1) – I found this eBook at the library under a new category that basically filters to “first books in series that are available now”. I picked it because I liked the cover:
Amazon blurb: “Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space—and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe—in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.”
I’m a few chapters in and enjoying this so far; it feels a lot like the “Expanse” universe by James S. A. Corey but bigger, in that there are established human colonies throughout the solar system and grumpy coffee-drinking crews (they call it “mek”) , but also inter-galactic aliens and (apparently) FTL deep space travel. I have no idea what the ultimate plot will be, but lots of diverse, strong characters and snappy dialogue are keeping me reading so far.