Turtles and Squirrels and Cats, Oh My! (Part 2)

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

I recently found two baby squirrels under a tree in our backyard. One was no longer alive but one was.

I immediately called in animal rescuer Rachel. She had recently rescued a baby squirrel in a friend’s backyard making her the resident squirrel expert.squirrelShe brought it inside and began the process of rehabilitation and posted on Facebook: What is it about my house that screams to animals, “An animal lover lives here!!!! You should stop by!!!”Today I found yet another baby squirrel, this time in my backyard. Thankfully, I got her before Bella did. Here’s to saving the world, one orphaned baby squirrel at a time!

Next she contacted her friend who had taken in the other baby squirrel. The friend was having to take care of an orphaned calf and was not able to take in another squirrel. So Rachel researched the best formula options and began feeding the squirrel with a syringe.

She named it Alexandra and it seemed to revive. Then it started wheezing and sneezing. Thus began the search for remedies for sick squirrels. She treated Alexandra and we hoped for the best.

It was touch and go for a couple of days then Alex seemed to turn the corner and began to improve. Before long she was holding her tail up and developing quite a personality.squirrel w-Brian

She got comfortable with Beekeeper Brian and did what all babies do – fell asleep on his chest.

Alex needed a safe place to stay so Rachel got the extra dog kennel and put rags in it. Alex seemed happy – especially when she was getting her bottle.squirrel eating

Then one day she started growling at Rachel. I didn’t know squirrels could growl. Alexandra was apparently no long enamored with her life in captivity. Now what? She was still too little to set free.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story…


Fall’s Color Change

I spent two weeks in Ireland last month. The timing was troublesome because I truly love watching summer give way to fall here in the Rio Grande Forest.

Actually, I dearly love everything about this time of year…the way the shadows lengthen and the crispness that fills the air replacing the warmth of summer days.

Ireland had fall color and it was lovely, but I fretted that my time there would mean I’d miss my most favorite season in the Colorado mountains. On the other hand, I was not willing to forfeit an opportunity to spend time in my beloved Ireland.

I truly panicked when the leaves in the higher elevations began to show their shades of yellow, red, and orange early this year. I knew for sure the color change in my little mountain town would be over by the time I returned.

Much to my delight the Aspen trees waited for me! I was blessed to return to green leaves that are just now slowly changing.

Every day since my return I walk Toby and Buster or sit on the porch sipping tea and say with Emily Bronte… Every LeafHow about you? Do you enjoy the shift from summer to fall as much as I do? Is Mother Nature showering you with her color displays this fall?

Turtles and Squirrels and Cats, Oh My! (Part 1)

 A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Miller farm has been inundated with wildlife in the last few weeks. This would be expected if we were out in the country. However, we are in town.

We suspected something had taken up residence under the shed in the backyard based on the way the dachshunds were circling and sniffing. Bella went under the shed to try to get it but came up empty. We felt pretty certain that it was a possum – or a cat. We have several stray cats in the neighborhood.

We were wrong.

turtleRachel saw Sadie chewing on something and went to investigate.

It was a turtle.

Sadie thought it was a chew toy. Fortunately the turtle stayed inside its shell and survived the experience. Pretty tough shell!

Rachel carried the turtle to a nearby creek and let it go. It was last seen “hurrying” (as much as turtles ever hurry) away.

Check back with Miller Farm next Friday to read Part 2 about the squirrel named Alexandra.


Writing – a mask or an unveiling?

maskEdie Melson recently posted this graphic for media sharing by her followers. The photograph she chose aptly portrays E. B. White’s words. Writers do look through windows or hide behind portals.

The graphic got me to thinking about another oft-repeated writing quote: “Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed.”

There’s another version, attributed to Ernest Hemingway that says, “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.”

Though writers these days are more likely to sit a computer, the point of the quote is the same. Writing does require the writer to unveil or mask his deeper thoughts and beliefs.

Quote investigator  found evidence that others have used the bleeding vein quote. Sportswriter Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith used it in 1949. Before that, Paul Gallico wrote in his 1946 book Confessions of a Story Writer.

It is only when you open your veins and bleed onto the page a little that you establish contact with your reader.

Truthfully it doesn’t matters so much who originated the quote. What matters is that writers do indeed give up a part of themselves with every word they put on a page.

Sometimes we wear a mask and vicarious walk through our character drawing on feelings and experiences to infuse our stories with emotion for our readers. Consciously or unconsciously, what we write can reveal (and sometimes purge) our personal deep feelings, hurts, and pains.

Is writing a mask or an unveiling? I believe it can be both.

What do you think?

Chicken Sweeping

By Guest Blogger Chicken Wrangler Sara

The chicks are finally big enough to join the big girls.

Rachel and I moved them one evening.  We found it works best if they spend the night in their new home and wake up thinking they had always been there.  The challenge comes in the evenings when they forget where they are supposed to roost for the night.  They all gathered by the fence separating the big girls from the bantams.

sweeping branchRachel found an effective way to encourage them to go into the coop.  She used a branch as a broom and “swept” them into the coop.

Actually they went around the coop and then some went in.  The rest would go back to their spot by the fence.

Rachel would “sweep” again and I would stand near the coop door to encourage the chicks to go in.  It took several tries but eventually we got all the chicks into the coop.

Rachel was gone this weekend so I took Beekeeper Brian out to help sweep the chickens.  They were all already in the coop.  I was thrilled.

I texted Rachel to let her know her chicken sweeping career was over.  She was not at all sad.

Could there be a secret writer within you?

Typewriter with Writer buttons, vintageThe Urban Dictionary defines a closet writer as anyone who is involved in any of the arts (e.g. music, writing, drawing, photography, etc.) but will not admit it. Either that or he/she literally hides it somewhere and only shows certain people.

When I mention I’m a writer, I frequently hear, “I always wanted to write a book.” Other times, people give a wistful tilt of their head and get a faraway look in their eyes. Some even sigh aloud, and I have to wonder whether those people are closet writers.

Do any of these signs describe you? If so, you might be harboring a fugitive author within.

  • You constantly edit when you read. Silently, in your mind you spot (and correct) misspelled words. You’re the first to spot misspellings on sign as you’re driving down the street or you see grammatical errors in Facebook posts.
  • You’re observant. You notice details and people then file your observations away in a compartment in your head labeled I could write about this.
  • You have a hyperactive imagination. You’re always asking what if. When you couple this tendency with your observation skills, there’s never a dull moment in that head of yours.
  • You think grammar jokes are funny. Actually, a lot of those jokes are very humorous.
  • Your head is a walking library of information. That voice in your head is a narrator: reporting, observing and describing. You can astound friends with precise recall of events and their sequence from memory.
  • You love books. You have more than a borderline literary obsession. Sometimes you feel life in the real world can never compare to the worlds of words on the page.
  • You can name the titles of books that have changed your life. Books filled with compelling truths and hidden insights that helped you to see the world in different ways.

But you say, even if those things are true about me, the ability to write is inbred. True writers are born with calluses on the forefinger and thumb of their writing hand, not made.

Not true at all.

Writing can be a gift. It is also a craft that can be learned. There are resources upon resources available to help writers hone their craft. If you don’t believe me, try doing a Google search of writing craft or how to write fiction. Then search writing workshops and writing conferences.

Or check my website for writer resources or contact me. I’ll share my recommendations for writing workshops and conferences.

For those of you who recognize the signs in yourself, my advice is to stop hiding your penchant for writing. Make the leap from that closet. We need people in our world who care about words and meaning, definitions and spelling. We need grammar tyrants and style experts.

The world needs creative word artists, musicians, and artists like you closet writers.

Melon Hurling

 By Guest Blogger Chicken Wrangler Sara

The food pantry where I volunteer had an abundance of honeydew melons last week. I got rid of as many as I could, but some still got too soft to eat.

It was time to treat the chickens. I discovered if I hurled the melon just right, it split into pieces when it landed.melon hurlThen the birds could easily get to the yummy inside.chickens and melon

After several throws, I decided this could be a new Olympic Event – melon hurling.

I might even get a gold medal.