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How Chicken Raising Tales inspired me

Chicken Raising Tales is a wonderful little book with stories and photos by different families about how raising chickens has touched their lives. Bainbridge Island’s Tour de Coop began in 2008–local chicken farmers and families agreed to open their doors to the community for an annual tour and fundraiser.

These families build coops that reflect their artistic and eclectic sides, with names such as: Slightly Askew Chicken House, Sin Gallo Coop, Murden Cove School for Chickens, and Coopacabana. A variety of materials are featured, including a recycled stage set and a wheeled chicken tractor for moving around the yard.

In these fun vignettes, we learn not only about raising chickens but how chickens have enriched the lives of their humans.

What also drew me to this book was the way it was designed—the rich cover, the color photos inside, and the different families’ stories. I felt as if I were holding a small treasure and a piece of the past as I remembered the red chicken house we had when I was young: a variety of funny looking mop-headed chickens, the rich smell of manure, and warm eggs in the palm of my hand. This book is a great gift for anybody who’s ever raised chickens or thinks they want to, or anybody interested in learning about sustainable living.

The book is also a good example for writers who want to publish similar projects whether through a small press or self-published. I can see this format being used for other nonprofit community projects, short family memoirs with photos, a beloved pet memoir, or even a book of poetry or flash fiction.

Being creative or being a writer isn’t always about getting “the big deal.” Sometimes, it’s about the small gifts we share with others. Chicken Raising Talesinspired me to write a little story about a boy and a girl who grow up separately but in similar circumstances, who are destined to meet, fall in love, and get married. I’ll include vignettes from both of their lives, a letter from each of their mothers, and photos of them as children and together as adults. I plan on self-publishing a few copies and giving it to my son and his bride on their wedding day this next summer. Who knows what ideas one little chicken book can hatch.

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