Whirlwind trips, Quail escape artists and bathroom remodels

I missed posting an email from the Miller Farm last Friday. My week was crazy with a whirlwind trip from the gulf coast of Texas to central Illinois. Left on Thursday back home on Monday. Two thousand miles in five days!

We made the trip to take most of our antique furniture to our son. Chicken wrangler Sara and her sister helped us out by taking some furniture, too. In the grand scheme of things we have more than our fair share of stuff. Watch for coming blogs about how we’re simplifying our lives by downsizing.

While we were traveling, life on the Miller Farm had its drama too.

We are remodeling our bathroom so right now things are really a mess, and we have no shower. 

Talavera sink we bought during our days as missionaries in Mexico City and granite top are set. Wall texture and painting yet to come.

We remodeled a bathroom in a different house 16 years ago and so we knew what we were in for…we thought.

We’ve discovered, with two teenagers, things work a little different. But no matter what’s going on inside the house, the chickens outside must still be let out, watered, and fed every day.

So this morning, after I swam and showered at the pool, I went to let the chickens out and discovered not one, but two quail stuck where they didn’t belong.

One was in the space where the eggs roll out of the cage in the coop. This has happened before so I was not too surprised.

Another quail was stuck in the feeder in the long cage. I have no idea how that happened.

I was able to free both quail without major trauma to them or me.

Then as I was filling the water for the cage in the coop, one of the quail got out. He was on top of the cage, which is hard to reach.

Next, the escape artist quail  jumped to the ground. I shut the door to the coop (checking to make sure the string was on the inside so I could get back out) and trapped him.

Unfortunately when trying to put him back in the quail cage, he escaped again. At last sighting, he was hanging out on top of the cage. He must think he is a chicken, which is fine with me.

I figure the worst case scenario is he joins the other quail, who thinks he’s a chicken, that hangs out in the chicken yard all the time. 

Score one for Chicken Wrangler Sara.

YOUR TURN: Made any whirlwind trips or chased down escape artists this week?

Share

Monday Motivation: Empty pickle jars, golf ball days and chocolate

I found this three minute video titled The Empty Pickle Jar offered some wise motivation.

Empty Pickle Jar from GiftsToGive on Vimeo.

Here’s to a golf ball day of writing and lots of chocolate milk for you.

Share

Monday Motivations: Testing the Waters

A friend recently shared this video titled Neglected Ducks Get Their First Swim from Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. Great music, btw.

My first thought after watching the ducks repeatedly turn away from the water was that we writers are sometimes like those hoarded ducks-afraid to test new waters with our writing.

When was the last time you tried to write

  • a different genre
  • a short story if you normally write novels
  • a novel if you normally write short stories
  • a blog instead of just reading blogs
  • a tweet – now that will test your skill
  • a 1st person POV if you usually write 3rd person POV
  • 3rd person POV if you usually write  1st person POV

To me the pond in the video represents possibilities for our writer creativity. If we’d only venture forth and test the waters more, I think we’d see brave new worlds open up for our muse.

Did you notice how much fun those ducks were having once they took the plunge?

And who knows, we might find we like writing something new and different more than what we’re comfortable writing.

YOUR TURN: Have you ever written something out of your comfort zone? How’d it feel?

Share

Miller Farm Friday – Barnyard Bullies

I think I figured out why the new little chicks are not going into the coop at night.

I went out before the sun was completely gone last night and watched one of the Bantam hens stand at the door of the coop, refusing to let the little chicks in. When one slipped inside, she chased it back out. 

I explained to her that she was behaving like a bully and it had to stop. She didn’t listen very well and continued to chase the little chicks away.

Bully Bantam

Thinking a distraction might discourage her bullying. We decided to let three quail out of their cage so we could use the cage to transport other quail (another moving day – this one less traumatic). 

Watching freed quail is quite fascinating.

They are not interested in leaving the chicken yard. In fact, I’m not sure they know how to fly very far. They can get away from the dogs if necessary, but prefer to walk around with the chickens. 

Perhaps, living with chickens, they don’t know they are quail.

Anyway, one of the newly freed quail began chasing the chickens around. Why the chickens run from something a fraction of their size is beyond me. I think it is the bird brain phenomenon.

Chicken Chasing Quail

I must confess when I saw it chasing Bully Bantam, I felt a certain sense of justice. 

Apparently, Bully Bantam learned her lesson. All six little chicks were safely in the coop tonight.

However, I did notice a frog in the chicken waterer. I was afraid he was planning to move in and worried about how he would be received by the Chasing Quail and Bully Bantam.

 This morning Mr. Frog was gone so maybe he just came to get a drink at night when all the bullies were sleeping.

By definition bullying is aggressive behavior that is intentional, hurtful, (physical and psychological), and/or threatening and persistent (repeated). There is an imbalance of strength (power and dominance).

In the Miller Farm Barnyard, the imbalance corrected itself when the small quail took on the Bantam hen.

In real life, if we see someone being bullied, we have the power to step up and be a bully chaser like that quail in Chicken Wrangler Sara’s email today.

I love this quote by  Taylor Swift “If you’re horrible to me, I’m going to write a song about it, and you won’t like it. That’s how I operate.”

That’s being a bully chasing quail!

For another example of how  an overweight television newscaster handled being bullied, check out fellow WANA tribe member Ginger Calem’s blog about the much publicized bullying episode.

YOUR TURN: Have you had any experience with a bully? Did a quail come to your rescue? Or have you ever stepped up to be a bully chasing quail?

Share

Bonus Tuesday-Blogs you may have missed

If you’re like me, you follow lots of blogs and skim. Shoot, there are some weeks I don’t even skim, I press delete.

SOURCE: http://www.gograph.com/stock-illustration/delete-key.html

Last night I played catch up and found some great blogs you might have missed and thought the links worth sharing.

  • For bloggers: How to get more readers

The Write Conversation: Drive Traffic to Your Blog Using Twitter

  • For writers: Great tips on increasing your fanbase and sales

Author Media:. Ten ways to get more FB fans

The Creative Pen: How to get Amazon book reviews

  • If you use gmail, a how-to prevent HACKERS

Nathan Bransford: Two step e-mail verification for G-mail users

  • For Trivia

Smithsonian Magazine: The Accidental History of the @ symbol

  • For Fun

Today.com Why CBS still loves I Love Lucy

ENJOY!

YOUR TURN: If you’ve found a blog, you think I missed, tell me your comment.

Share

Monday Motiviation – Ready, aim, write

Today’s inspiration is short, pointed and graphic.

The Writer’s Glock created by Kandi Rich and shared with her permission. For more great graphics check out her website at Kandi Rich

Now go WRITE

Share

Miller Farm Friday – I love my chickens

This week’s email from the farm…

I love my chickens and my chickens love me – especially when I feed them.

I was checking for eggs in the nest boxes this morning when one of the black hens started moving hay from one next box to the other. I guess she is the designated interior decorator.

Meanwhile, Essie (short for Survivor Girl from the Christmas Eve massacre at Barneyville) follows me around the whole time I am in the chicken yard.

In fact, I have accidentally stepped on her before. That hasn’t stopped her. Anyway, she hopped up on the door to the nest boxes and watched the redecorating process.

She is the only chicken we have who will let you pet her. I guess I now understand how people can have pet chickens. But, she’s not coming inside. Already tried that with Einstein and look where it got him.

I know that is shocking to you, but this made me think of a song.

I have a chicken my chicken loves me
I feed my chicken on tender leaf tea
My little chicken goes bak bak bak
My little rooster goes cockle doodle doodle
doodle doodle doodle do.

Anyone else remember that one?

I did remember the song, but had no idea who wrote it or when. After a quick Google search, I discover Arkansas folk singer named Almeda Riddle (1898-1986) was the first to publicly sing “My Little Rooster.”

Also known as Granny Riddle, her acapella recording of the song appears on the 1997 cult film “Gummo.” If you’d like a listen click below:

If you’ve got a preschooler or kindergartener, gather them up to the computer screen and have a watch of this more pleasant sounding variation. They’ll love it.

Chicken Wrangler Sara isn’t singing, though it could be her. She is a professional musician and music teacher. It’s exactly the sort of thing she’d do.

Well, on second thought, maybe not. She’d probably bring Essie so the kiddos could pet a real chicken and sing!

YOUR TURN: I’m sure we have you humming the “I love My Rooster” tune by now. If you don’t have a rooster or a chicken or a pig or a cow or a …, what would you substitute for rooster in the song?

Share