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Little Irish Gift shop cover Sept 2020 s

Jan. 2021 Newsletter

Hello and Happy New Year!

*Book news

*Chicken story

*On Facebook!




To start off the New Year, I’m giving the gift of reading… you can enter to win 1 of 100 copies of my recent Irish book, The Little Irish Gift Shop, Book 1 of my new Fairy Cottage of Ballydara mini-series!

In this sparkling novella, Dublin girl Emma Carey jumps at the opportunity to start fresh in America—her old friend Fitzwilliam has offered her a job running a picturesque Irish shop in Seattle. Arriving at her new home, Emma discovers the shop is full of surprises. And so is geeky Fitz... Brimming with heart and humor, The Little Irish Gift Shop is just the beginning of Emma’s unforgettable journey to her heart’s desire.

The Giveaway will be in Kindle ebook format, available to Goodreads’ members in the US, and runs from January 2, 2021 through January 31—I hope you’ll take a look! More book news below—But first, a little chicken tale…


Chicken Lock-Out

By the time I’m done with my late afternoon chores, it’s nearly dark. Our five hens will be safe on their roost, so I’ll secure the coop and pen for the night. But one day last week, that’s not how it went down. I nipped over to the pen to close it up, and found the man-door already shut. Huddled right up against the door was mound of blond feathered creatures, almost looking like one animal.

Our small flock somehow managed to push the man door closed—all the dirt they’d moved around the entryway that day was jammed against it—and had locked themselves out. So the hens did the next best thing to roosting: piled in together into the dirt to keep warm and secure.

All five seemed fast asleep, although they couldn’t have been there for more than a few minutes. So I talked to them to rouse them. No result. I prodded them a bit, still coaxing them. One girl sleepily moved out of the mound, then finally a second one, both staggering around a little, but the other three ignored me. I was able to move the door, but not one hen got it: Here the door was open for them, every instinct should tell them to get inside and go roost as usual! But they were too discombobulated to even take a step around the door and enter the pen.

It was up to the human to set them straight. I opened the man door of the coop, then began ferrying the hens, one by one, onto their roost. One was compliant enough to let me grasp her, but the others flapped their wings, trying to get away, buck-buck-bucking all the while, and did not like being messed around with.

The last hen in the mound was nestled right down in the dirt, head tucked into one wing—and she had a proverbial cow when I extracted her from her little nest and carried her into the coop. There was much agitation and kvetching and to-do-ing as the flock got themselves positioned onto the roost—in the correct pecking order, I assume—and all the birds seemed to dislike me very much. (After all I’d done for them!)

The next morning, I wondered if the hens would still be mad at me. Or worse, be afraid of me. But they were back to their usual sunny dispositions. Apparently no harm done, except that I felt terribly guilty for upsetting our girls.

If you’d like more about hen-keeping, there will be a longer version of this story on my Little Farm blog. My takeaway from this experience: make sure that the girls’ pen door is wide open at bedtime, and the doorway is cleared of that day’s dirt piles!


My latest book news: I’ve just released Becoming Emma, Book 2 of the Fairy Cottage of Ballydara! You’ll find more about Becoming Emma on my web site,… and you can request the ebook at your local library, or find it at Amazon or your favorite online retailer!



Given that the New Year seems like a good opportunity for fresh starts—or at least trying new things—I’m getting into the spirit of a “life refresh” by getting on Facebook! I hope you’ll visit me there.


And if you’re already planning your gardening for the coming year, you might like my bonus ebook, part of my Little Farm in the Foothills series: Little Farm in the Garden: A Practical Mini-Guide to Raising Selected Fruits and Vegetables Homestead-Style. You’ll find it free at my web site and at all the ebook retailers.


Thank you so much for signing up for my newsletter…I appreciate each and every one of you, and I look forward to being in touch with you in the coming year! You’ll find me at,, and starting this week: Facebook!


Cheers and warm wishes,


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