Gifts from Afar

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Beekeeper Brian recently travelled to Southeast Asia with a team of people to help with a cultural exchange camp. The team taught art classes as well as the American sports of football, basketball, and baseball. They were treated to performances by a Minority Group from a nearby village.  They also experienced the culture through food.

On the last day, they went shopping and Brian found the perfect gifts for me.The rooster sits on my piano next to my rooster clock.  The chopsticks are at my place at the table.  I try to use them but it is a very slow process.  I’ve decided they make a good diet tool.

I would be worried that Beekeeper Brian was trying to tell me something but the chopsticks have chickens on them so I know that is why he got them.  After all I am the Chicken Wrangler – just not so good with chopsticks.Catherine, our oldest daughter, recently told me I should watch the movie Moana.  She said there is a chicken in there who reminds her of me.

I suppose there are worse things with which to be associated.


Miller Farm Summer Project

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

This summer I decided to set some goals for myself. One goal is to learn to play the harmonica. 

My father plays and one of my students taught themselves this year so I am inspired.

I’ve bought the harmonicas and a book.  Now I have to learn so I can teach the rest of my students.  I need a break from teaching the recorder.

My second goal is to repair our chicken quilt.

This quilt belonged to my mother-in-law and we have stored it for nearly 30 years now. I remembered it had some seams coming out and some of the quilting needed repair.

When I dug it out, I realized most of the seams were undone and much of the quilting has disintegrated.

Undeterred by this daunting task, I have begun the restoration work.  The plan is to display it in our living room.

The colors do not match anything we have but it is chickens so it has a place on Miller Farm.

This year has been very difficult physically and emotionally.  As I work on the quilt, I find it somewhat therapeutic.  I can sense myself stitching back the undone seams of the past year. Slowly life is coming  together again.  Hopefully by the end of the summer both the Chicken Wrangler and the Chicken Quilt will be restored.


How to Train Your Chickens

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

With every new flock of chickens comes a certain amount of training. A friend of mine gave me a chicken training book one Christmas.

While the book is highly entertaining, this is not the kind of training the birds need.  Our birds must learn to go into their coop at night. This seems simple enough. After all it is much safer in the coop.  However they still resist.  At first they hide under the coop.  Enter the “multi-purpose net.”  We scoop them up and put them where they belong.

Once they get big enough to join the big girls in the big coop, they tend to find places to roost outside the coop.  The beehives provide perfect roosting places and we simply pluck them off and put them in the coop.

One of them likes to roost in the tree.

While this is a natural thing for wild chickens, ours are not meant to be wild.  Rachel clipped its wings which helped somewhat.  It still likes to get as high as possible on the beehives.

Every night I take the chickens from the hives and put them in the coop.  I keep hoping they will get the message but they are pretty stubborn.  I have raised three teenagers – so am I.


Patriotic Quotes – Marilyn vos Savant


How to Have a Successful Garage Sale Without Going Crazy-Part 2

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Last week I talked about getting ready for your sale and preparing for the actual garage sale site.

The next step in having a garage sale is selecting, pricing, and marketing items.

The temptation may be to throw things away before the sale even begins. A good rule of thumb is: nothing gets thrown away before the sale except embarrassing items such as torn underwear, unidentifiable items or items received as gifts from relatives who may attend the sale.

If you are combining with other people, you may fight the urge to simply exchange stuff. Beware – you could end up with more things and less money than when you started.  This would be counter-productive.

Nothing is more frustrating than going to a garage sale where nothing is marked. While clearly marking every item is tedious, it is the most efficient wat to run a garage sale.  Multifamily sales need to have codes to ensure money goes to the right people. If there are many items in one category, a sign with prices is appropriate (books – paperback 50 cents, hard back $1.00.) The person collecting money should have a list of all items priced as a group to avoid confusion.

If people offer less than the marked price, refer to your purpose.

Displaying items is more challenging at the start of the sale but gets easier as things are sold. The easier it is to see the items, the faster they will sell.  Some people may enjoy the challenge of digging through a box of clothes to find the bottoms to a pair of pajamas but most would rather be able to tell at a glance whether or not the items are acceptable.  Displaying items on tables is most desirable.

The more comfortable the customers are, the longer they will stay and the longer they stay, the more they will buy.

“Tables” can be a board across sawhorses or stacked boxes. The idea is to make things easy to see.  If there are electrical items, a cord and plug should be available for customers to test their purchases.  Colorful or interesting items should be placed at the front of the sale to draw people’s attention. If you have baby things, those are usually bright and catch the eye. Some people drive by garage sales slowly and if something looks interesting, they are more likely to stop and get out.

Now that the ad has run, the signs are out all merchandise is clearly marked and attractively displayed the fun can begin.   You should start the day with a good breakfast.

Donuts are the tradition around here. It is a special treat that sets the tone for an exciting day. You can make a game out of predicting which things will sell.  It is fascinating to see what people purchase. In fact people watching can be somewhat of a distraction.  The workers must remember their purpose.

Part of the job is to rearrange items so people see everything.  This is a trick grocery stores use to get you to spend more time in the store looking for things.  It can be frustrating for the grocery shopper but fun for the garage sale shoppers.  Remember, the longer they are there, the more likely they are to buy things and the fewer things will be left to pack up.

Packing up is the final and maybe the least fun part.  The hope is there will be very little to pack up.  Some organizations will come and pick up the leftover things.  It is worth researching this.  At the end of a long, often hot day if you live in Texas, having someone else come in and haul things away is a blessing.

Then it is time for celebratory ice cream or pizza or whatever celebration means at your house.  Hopefully you have made some money, gotten rid of stuff, and been entertained for a few hours.


Patriotic Words – Thomas Paine

The American Crisis is collection of articles written by Thomas Paine during the American Revolutionary War. His essays provided ongoing support for an independent and self-governing America through the many severe crises of the Revolutionary War.

General Washington found Paine’s first essay The Crisis, written on December 23, 1776,  so inspiring, he ordered that it be read to the troops at Valley Forge.

This quote is the opening line.


Happy 4th of July – 2017

This is one of my favorite family photos by my very talented photographer daughter. The two boys are her sons, John (with the flag) and Michael (leading the way).

You may have seen the photo on a highway billboard or in an airport or in a store ad. It’s one of her best-selling photos. I believe the photo sells well because it represents the freedom born with our great country on the 4th of July.

Like the two young boys running freely down the park path, our constitution grants to each of us freedoms not experienced anywhere else in the world.

We get to choose our path, we can run or we can walk.

It’s our choice.