Archive for October, 2012

Just A Couple Of Chickens tells about Buff Laced Polish Chickens

This Buff Laced Polish Rooster features in today’s scary Halloween chicken story… he was one of…. “Just a Couple of Chickens” (bwahaha!)

To celebrate October 31st, 2012, which is Halloween, I am going to tell you a story of a very scary chicken.

Only it wasn’t a chicken, was it?
How scary is a chicken?

It was a …………ROOSTER!

Now that’s scary.

By the time this true story took place, I had come to terms with the death of my rooster loving dreams.
I had raised several roosters, due to an unfortunate straight run order from a hatchery, and tried very hard to counsel them out of their brutal, blood-letting ways.

And I’d failed. I’d gotten scratched, pecked, slashed, and ambushed. I’d given up and perfected my rooster mole recipe.

But there was one guy left. My gentle, sweet, bumbling, slightly unsteady Buff Laced Polish.

He was a beauty. With a weird horned comb.

The day that I was down in a crouch, trying to collect eggs from the farthest corner of the hen house, I thought he was coming over to tell me a knock-knock joke.
Or show me a particularly good juicy bug in the straw.

It was therefore a complete surprise to see him, as if in slow motion, leap into the air like a nasty ninja and stretch out his wickedly sharp spurs in a full-out attack.

He could have laid open my face to the bone… if he hadn’t clotheslined himself on the hen house door.

It was kind of funny, but I was shaken. If he hadn’t collapsed in a whomping crunch on the hen house doorstep, I would have been in big trouble.  His spurs were over two inches long.

Pretty scary…

I acknowledge that there are lots of people out there who have good rooster stories, but I haven’t lived them myself. At the end of the day, there’s a reason the rooster is free....

Happy Halloween!


Self Publisher Author versus Self Publisher

Full moon nights are a bad time for board meetings at, because we are a self publisher.

I am a writer. That’s how I think of myself. I am an author.

But because I am a self publisher… and more specifically, a Do It Your Self Publisher… I have some odd conversations with myself.

I had to become a publisher in order to self publish. And when I became a publisher, I began to think like a publisher… and that’s where I came into conflict with my author. Who is also myself.

As an author, I don’t want to be bothered by things like:

  • deadlines
  • page counts
  • copyright issues on photos I really want to include
  • marketability
  • distribution channels and their sensibilities

I’m an artist, see, and words are my palette. But my publisher keeps pushing red-lined columns of numbers under my nose, which is annoying.

I’m a publisher, see, and this is a business. But my arty smarty author doesn’t want to take a stroll in reality and see that a 300,000 word manuscript is very expensive to print but can only command the same cover price as a 100,000 word book. Less is more, less is more!

Before I started self publishing, I had a dream that if, one day, I had a book deal with a traditional publisher, then I wouldn’t ever have to worry about publisher things, and could write anything I pleased. But I’ve been reading the blogs of the traditionally published authors I revere, and I’m beginning to see that they still have to write inside the lines, market their own work, and stick to marketable book subjects. Well, actually, it wasn’t ME who figured that out, it was my self publisher… she kept bringing those things to my attention.

Both of us, author and self publisher, as well as the rest of us… the department heads of sales and marketing and shipping and finance, all try to work together to produce a book that will sell and sell. And some days, particularly around the full moon, it’s better to just crack open a bottle (box) of wine and settle down with somebody else’s good book.



Col. C. J. Tippett met Dr. George Washington Carver in 1941

Col. C. J. Tippett shook hands with Dr. George Washington Carver before going on to certify one of the first classes of students who would become the Tuskegee Airmen. Thanks to Wikipedia for this public domain image of Dr. Carver.

Col. C. J. Tippett followed his love for flying through some of the most pivotal events of world history. While he never intended to set records and shake hands with famous people, he did it anyway.

In 1941, Tip was an instructor and inspector for the Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA) and had his hands full certifying all the students involved in the Civil Pilot Training Program (CPTP). He got a call from his superiors asking him to fly to a university in Alabama to certify a class who were ready to fly.

But that part of Alabama wasn’t Tip’s territory. He asked Bill Robertson, his CAA boss, why the local instructors couldn’t handle the call…. and the rest of the story is history, told in my book – which is in final draft form….

Tip was met at the airport by …”an elderly gentleman with two black men accompanying him…” It was Dr. George Washington Carver, and Tip not only shook his hand, he sat down with him and figured out how to go about the historic process of testing and certifying a class of students who would become some of the first Tuskegee Airmen.

Dr. Carver was accompanied by Dr. George Washington and Dr. Jones. The three men had worked hard to bring the opportunities inherent in the CPTP to Tuskegee University.

Dr. George Washington Carver had devoted his career to agricultural programs intended to help free black men be successful as farmers. He made great progress with peanuts, and was active in Alabama’s black leadership. He would live long enough to see his Tuskegee students successfully join the US Armed Forces, but not long enough to see the end of segregation in America.

Tip treasured the memory of shaking hands with Dr. Carver in 1941 and his description is full of details.

The book, and associated magazine articles are coming out soon… join the mailing list for notifications, and be assured that I never, ever, use that mailing list for any emails other than my own.





A Chicken In Every Yard by Robert and Hannah Lit

This is a GREAT how to raise chickens book, and I’m pleased to have it in my own urban homesteading library now.

The Urban Farm Store in Portland, Oregon has been a leader in the urban chicken movement and they’ve come out with one of the best, most complete, how to books ever.
It is called A Chicken In Every Yard, and I highly recommend it.

Robert and Hannah Lit started their store on Belmont, right in the middle of the city and have become a resource for the backyard chicken farmers all over Portland. Putting out a book was a natural extension of their work behind the counter, answering every question for every bewildered new urban farmer.

Their advice is uniquely suited for the small flocks that make up backyard chicken flocks, but it goes for big flocks too. The coop section is ideal for city chicken raisers. How to raise chickens is answered by “A Chicken In Every Yard,” and I’d say it is a must for an urban homesteaders library.

This kind of how to book is an essential part of successfully raising chickens. I really enjoy the fact that my book, “Just A Couple Of Chickens” sells well in feed stores across the country, because it’s a fun way to learn a lot about the ups and downs of chicken raising, and while I have a lot of chicken raising in there, my book can’t replace the How To available in the Lit’s book. I own the Lit book myself, because I need the information too.

Stores like The Urban Farm Store are a great place to get chicks for a new, or growing urban flock. They order a variety of breeds and you get to choose one by one. Another way to get chicks is to go to a poultry show, and there’s one coming up nearby, or to contact a local poultry association (like the PNPA) to find a breeder raising the kinds of chickens you are looking for. Portland has all of these resources, and not every place does… it’s a uniquely awesome aspect of this city.

If it is an urban homesteader’s dream to have A Chicken In Every Yard, then this book is a step towards making that happen.



How do I get paid as a self publisher

I reveal the payment mysteries of self publishing in this rockin’ post.

How do I get paid for my self published book? How does the money actually arrive in my bank account?

Well, it depends on how you are selling your book. I’ll focus on the online and credit card sales, because if you are selling your book at a table or out of the trunk of your car, it’s more obvious how you get paid… the online sales are the mystery to most of us.

If you are selling through a print-on-demand service like CreateSpace, then every time a book sells through, you get a royalty. The amount of that royalty is determined by the size and cover price of your book. You would know in advance how much that will be as you go through the set up process. There are at least three different royalty amounts, based on how what sales channel the buyer purchased your book.

The following CreateSpace details were current as of September, 2012, and since things change rapidly… take them with a grain of salt:

  • You get the highest royalty if the buyer buys from your CreateSpace author page, which is a page nobody will find unless you email them the direct link.
  • The “normal” royalty comes through sales directly from, and you have to rely on to report how many of those sales took place. There can be a lag between the buying and the reporting.
  • The least amount of royalty comes through expanded distribution, which is a channel you have to pay to sign up for, but enables your book to be available on request (not on the shelf) in every bookstore in the world.

You never have to handle the book or the shipping, and you don’t get the direct information about the buyer. Your royalties add up and when you’ve met the required minimum balance ($25 most recently), then CreateSpace will direct deposit the money to the bank account you’ve listed. They can send you a check instead, but it’ll cost you.

If you are selling your book through PayPal, directly from your own website, then PayPal will hold the full amount you charged for the book, less their fee, until you tell them to deposit it to your bank account (free), or request a check (which will cost you). You will package up the book, which you’ve already had printed somehow, and ship it to the seller. This way you get the buyer information, but you also have to handle the book and have an inventory to ship from, which you have already paid for.

If you set up your website to accept credit cards by getting a merchant account or gateway account, then the money you process from the sales of your books gets deposited to your bank account, less the fees for the merchant account. Depending on how you have it set up, you may instead have a lump sum fee withdrawal come out of your account once a month.

All of these methods require you to allow these companies  access to your bank account, to make the deposits, and so it is very wise to set up a totally separate account for these business activities. And make sure your bank offers good fraud protection. I don’t find it entirely comfortable either, but it’s the reality of true self publishing… you are a publisher, you are a business, and these are the conditions for normal modern business.

I promise you that it all feels much better than this post makes it sound when the money from book sales is flowing in…




Col. C. J. Tippett owned a Curtiss JN4

The Curtiss Jenny was Tip’s first plane. He learned to fly in 1929, when he was sixteen years old.

Like Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart, Cloyce Joseph Tippett learned to fly in a barnstormer that landed in his hometown. Unlike them, he lived his life of record-setting aviation accomplishment away from public attention. Until now.

Tip wrote a memoir of his aviation life and passed it to me to turn into a book, which is getting close to being ready to read. It’s currently a completed draft that I’ve sent off to an agent with great hopes of traditional publication… but if not – self publishing remains a viable option!

The barnstormer, named George, who landed in Tip’s town, was flying a Curtiss Jenny and offered Tip the chance to buy it… for $700.

That’s wasn’t a great deal for Tip, but he didn’t pay attention to that. He was focused on how he could get the Jenny, given that  – as a sixteen year old, he didn’t have $700.

It was also 1929, and within a month, the Great Depression would begin, and within a couple of years, the Curtiss JN4 would be considered unsuitable for general flight due to safety considerations. But it was a plane and Tip had the flying fever. He did get the Jenny and he did learn to fly.

And went on to join aviation history… and live a life of celebrity and adventure… all starting with his Curtiss Jenny, JN4.

The Jenny was a World War I training plane. It had two cockpits, one behind the other, so that the student could fly while the teacher was present and watching. But there would still come a day when the teacher stepped out and the student flew solo. Tip remembered his first solo for the rest of his life.

There were so many surplus JN4 aircraft after the war, that it became the most common aircraft in US skies. If an airmail letter was delivered in the late 1920s and early 1930s, it was probably flown in on a Jenny.

In the course of his aviation career, Tip flew over 98 different aircraft – a stunning number of ships, even by today’s piloting standards.

The book, as well as magazine articles about his story, are coming out soon… and I’ve got a mailing list building for people who want to be notified when the stories come out. I never, ever, use that mailing list for any emails other than my own, and you can sign up here.


Just a Couple of Chickens tells How To Raise Chickens

My unscientific egg tally shows the amazing production of today’s modern hens, but not the amazing collection abilities of today’s modern backyard farmers.

Just how many eggs will I get from my hens, once they start laying?

Well!  I’m glad you asked. Because I happen to have an egg tally from 2005 and 2006 when I was knee-deep in my first flock. My flock adventures are described in my book, “Just A Couple of Chickens,” and because I was learning by doing, it’s pretty funny.

Not every egg that my hens laid made it to my egg collection basket. Sometimes, the hens laid on rocks or while strolling over little cliffs in the pen, so those eggs broke. Sometimes – which gradually became many times – the hens would eat their own eggs, and sometimes, I tripped on my own big plans and fell flat on the egg basket… so,

The actual egg count is probably about 10% greater than these numbers.

I also had not only chicken hens, but also duck, geese, pheasant, and chukar partridge. It was a very interesting adventure, which is why I wrote the book.

I had a flock of over 100 birds, about 80 hens of the various species.

In 2005, my hens laid enough eggs for me to blow 1,527. The following year the total was almost half that, 847 blown eggs.

The chicken hens laid half as many eggs in their second year as they did in their first. The molt was the dividing line between first and second year production.
The duck hens, who laid more eggs than the chicken hens, laid 1/4 as many eggs in their second year as they did in their first.
The geese laid half as many eggs in their second year, but the eggs were bigger. Bigger goose eggs are more valuable, and each year the geese will lay larger and larger eggs.
The pheasant hens were mad egg-eating fiends. Nuff said.
The Chukar Partridge hens laid a tremendous number of eggs but were very very fierce in protecting them. I almost lost a hand. They kept producing well in their second year but died of old age in their third  or fourth years.

Imprecise as it was, it was a big success, and the eggs and feathers from my flocks, and birds raised by good-hearted backyard farmers, are still available for sale at

It was an amazing time, and I miss my flock. I look forward to writing the sequel book… titled “Just a Couple More”… and I’ll keep a more scientific record this time.



Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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