August Hedge a Gram

Hi Everybody,

It's the middle of summer and I am working away on the finished artwork for my book to be published in the fall of 2000. It's called The Surprise. I use the expression "finished" artwork to mean the artwork that will be exactly what you see when you open the book. First, in order to plan my book, I do rough sketches or what's called a "book dummy". I've finished those. Sometimes, I will change my original ideas a bit. I like to allow for spontaneity.

For any of you kids that like to draw imaginary creatures like fairies, dragons or robots, you'll know it's a little different imagining a character like that. I have a Tomten in my book which is a Danish elf. I have done a little research about Tomtens and found they like to live in barns, love porridge and wear red caps. They are so secretive humans rarely see them. I tried to make my Tomten look elf like by making his ears pointy and giving him an exaggerated face in order to make him look other worldly. The other characters in my book are a hen and a hedgehog.

My hens, Violet, Pansy, and Belle are really getting big. I'm expecting eggs next month. They let me pick them up but I have to corner them first. If I talk in a soft, crooning voice and use baby talk, they like it a lot. I call chickie-chick-chick when I bring them a special treat and them come running. It's very comical because they look like they want to go faster than their legs can take them. They use their wings to help them along. I love to visit my hens at sunset, because they go to bed all by themselves. They have a walk-in chicken coop and they roost on a long pole, or they settle on their wide ledge filled with wood chips. They are very docile at night and they like being petted. I have to shut them up tight at night because we have a lot of predators around our house, fox, coyote, bear, wildcats and weasels.

Our rooster Marigold lives on a farm now because he was crowing a bit to often. I have visited him, and he remembers me. I bring him treats at the farm where he's part of a big flock.

I hope that you liked hearing about my pet hens. They are an example of an unexpected happiness in life - I bought them for models for my new book and to my surprise, I have three fluffy feathered friends.

By for now!