Thursday, April 17, 2014

The First Easter Egg Hunt

Since many of you will be trekking out with your kiddos to search for hidden eggs soon, you might be pondering who came up with the original Easter Egg Hunt anyway?

Ask any farmer's wife.

She knows.

Because there's always that one hen . . .


who doesn't lay her eggs in the hen house, or in the nesting box, like she's supposed to.

No, this errant hen always leads the farmer's wife (or the farmer's kids) on a wild-goose chase all over the farm - into the bushes, underneath piles of wood, back behind the barn, into the darndest places where she's hidden her eggs safely away.

Why do they do this!!??!!

Well, their self-preservation instinct tells them to hide their eggs from predators, and also, they are trying to gather enough eggs in a nest so that they can set on them for three weeks, and hatch baby chickies!

After pulling my hair out searching for our hen Dory's eggs (pictured above) and cutting back blackberries to get to the nest, crawling on hands and knees trying to find them (they won't hatch, we don't have a rooster) I finally resort to watching the sneaky little thing, while she skedaddles off to her hidden nest to lay. She is very smart, though, and hard to catch. *sigh*

Then there are the good hens . . .


who lay their eggs in the nest box. And who want to raise babies so bad that they set on one or two of the eggs immediately, and set there, and set. And since the farmer's wife (that's me) took pity on her, and knew the eggs would never hatch, she went to the feed store and bought four tiny, just hatched baby chicks, and snuck them underneath Elizabeth in the dead of night (removing the infertile eggs.) Lo and behold, by morning we had a new family, with the good hen Elizabeth clucking away to her newly adopted children. Meet Elizabeth's new children: Josephine, Henrietta, Cindy, and Sally (on mama hen's back.)

Now, I'm off on my own Easter egg hunt, searching for my renegade hen's eggs.

Where did Dory lay them this time??

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Chasing California Condors

On a recent trip to Arizona, I was intrigued to be "somewhat" close to the site where endangered California Condors are released. So after a day at the Grand Canyon and a detour through the Navajo reservation, we decided to try and find it. Wouldn't it be awesome to actually see one of these magnificent birds soaring the skies?

But because of a highway closure, we had to travel thirty miles over a washed-out dirt road with many warning signs (shhh - do not tell the rental car company.)


But we finally found the release site!


But alas, no California Condors. Only a murder of crows.



I did just find this cool Condor Cam, though, which right now is showing condors being released into the wild near Big Sur, California: http://www.ventanaws.org/condor_cam/

Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Privacy for Hens

Ah - Spring! The days are longer, the chickens and ducks are laying like crazy, and some of them appear a bit broody. (No not depressed - in poultry language, this translates into an instinct to set on their eggs and hatch babies.)

So I decided to make my girls some chicken curtains. For privacy.


Since I have multiple hens laying, as well as three duck hens all jostling for a spot, I figured that they might prefer more privacy. (And actually was inspired by a blog post about it over at a great chicken site called The Chicken Chick.)

Privacy? My husband choked on his food. Why do chickens need privacy?

Heh, what do men know?

I bought a remnant of barnyard plaid for only three dollars and stapled it to the wood. Hint: I only went partway across, to let them get used to the idea, and will probably extend the curtain after a couple of days. (Chickens can get a bit hysterical over something new in their surroundings.)



So this morning - SUCCESS! I had three duck eggs in these nests before the sun came up (ducks lay early.) And here is my hen Daisy, who seems to like the idea, don't you think?

I hope to raise some baby ducks soon (although I'm not sure if a chicken or a duck will set on the eggs.) But that will be a topic for a further blog post. Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Springtime Cat

Announcing - my newest release, and the second in a series of short reads called Cat Tales:


THE SPRINGTIME CAT.


Eleven-year-old Dee Chase finds an injured tabby cat hiding in a blackberry patch. As the animal regains health and sneaks its way into Dee's heart, it helps Dee handle a rough patch going on with her family. But the cat keeps coming up with surprises, and ultimately will heal Dee's family in unexpected ways.

This short story from Linda Benson, award-winning author of books about the human-animal bond, will surely touch your heart in any season.


The first in this series is called THE WINTER KITTEN, and this newest story has different characters, different plot, and a different cat. And to paraphrase one of my reviews from the first book: "it's not (just) about the cat."

Hope you enjoy THE SPRINGTIME CAT. Once again, it's priced at only $0.99. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/Springtime-Cat-Tales-ebook/dp/B00IBOQZU6


And for those of you still stuck in snow, rain, or ice, I hope Spring comes soon for you!

Friday, January 31, 2014

114 Books this year? Probably not

Yes, I am an avid reader. I love to read, and in fact it's one of my favorite things to do!

Because I am active on the Goodreads site (where members can post books they've read, want to read, and reviews, as well as find new books that interest them) I have happily accepted their reading challenges for the last three years.

How many books will you read this year? I was asked, each January. For 2011, since I was living in a rainy state which kept me inside for days at a time, I read a LOT. So I decided I could read 111 books.

And I did!

For 2012 - I similarly read 112 books, and for 2013, I chose 113 books!


Completed, and completed.

But I have to admit, last year I struggled. We had moved to an area with better weather, and I was outside hiking and gardening a lot, not to mention starting a new series of my own writing. So, instead of 113 actual novels, I filled in with lots of picture books from the library. (No this is not cheating, I decided. A book is a book.)

So this year, when Goodreads put the challenge up there for me to again accept, my first reaction was to go for 114 books.



But then, I decided I didn't really want the pressure (even though I was only competing with myself - lol.) I wanted to feel like I could dawdle over a book, cherishing it or reading slowly. Maybe I'd even take an entire month to finish something.

And I'm also busy writing more this year. My story The Winter Kitten is doing well on Amazon, and I am putting the finishing touches on a brand new one in the series, called The Springtime Cat.

So, no reading challenges for me this year. If I read 114 books, then so be it. But I hope to enjoy every single book that I do finish! And garden more. And hike more. And write more!

If you want to see what I'm reading on Goodreads, feel free to friend me there: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3421565.Linda_Benson

And stay tuned for details about my upcoming title: The Springtime Cat.

How Many Books do you usually read in a year?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Rebranding Myself

Eeek, that sounds a little scary. But actually, that's what I'm doing right now.

For most of my career, I've thought of myself as a MG (middle-grade) and YA (young adult) author.

But things are changing rapidly in the publishing world, as well as in the reading world. My last three books (and my latest short story) have come out as eBooks first. (I do have some paper copies available of some - email me if you'd like one!)

But my readership has changed also. Although it's true that most of my novels are entirely suitable for ages 9-10 and up - many, if not most, of my readers are adults. Especially adults who love animals. Because (no surprise here) animals (dogs, cats, horses, goats, and even yes, peacocks) have not only snuck in, but are a big part of the storyline of all of my books.

People that love animals tend to love my books! It's true!

So I am hereby rebranding, or remarketing myself, as an author for people who love animals (no matter the age.) I think I have a good chance of attracting my actual readership this way. So you may see some changes on my blog and on my website as I go through this process. Such as the new tag line in the header above: FICTION FOR ANIMAL LOVERS.

I'm still writing, and in fact I hope to have a second eBook out soon, to follow The Winter Kitten, in my series about cats and kittens. And my fiction is still good human drama, with realistic characters, many of whom just happen to be animals.

So what do you think, everyone? A Good Move?

The best part of this is that I am getting excited about my career again, knowing that I might reach new readers this way. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Dear Blog

Gah! I haven't seen you for so long! Like, Last Year!

What have I been doing, Dear Blog? Well, let me catch you up . . .

First, there were "The Holidays." Which somehow seem to morph into taking up all of one's time.

And in the middle of these festivities (actually as I was getting ready for a holiday party) I, ahem, broke a tooth! Which segued into several trips to the dentist, a root canal which is still bothering me, much tooth pain, and learning more about the numbers for teeth (bad #12 tooth!) than I really want to know. *sigh*

I want a smile like this.


But then, I was surprised by Santa at Christmas with a new iPad! Egads! Woo Hoo!



An Apple product, which I knew nothing about, but which everyone assured me was a "piece of cake." But where was the Help Menu? So (thank God for libraries) I immediately checked out some books from our local library on how to work an iPad. (Which some people told me was the epitome of "Old School.") But there you have it.

Very soon, I was downloading things, (like the Kindle App, so now I can read everyone's Kindle book) and I was playing online, and oh yes, learning to take videos!



Of ducks.
And chickens.
Yes, I know this isn't a video. (If it was, it would be too cute for words.) But I am learning, and hopefully soon will post cute animal videos, so that you, too, will get nothing done. Ha, ha!

Anyway, Happy New Year, everyone. I am writing, and hopefully soon will publish another (not yet titled) cat story. I am enjoying writing some shorter fiction, and plan to make these a series, but with different characters (and cats.)

And I promise you, Dear Blog, I will be a more regular contributor this year. Just as soon as I . . . oh wait, the chickens are taking a dust bath in the flower bed. Must get that on video. Where is my iPad???