4 07, 2022

All-American Holiday Trivia

By |2022-07-01T10:22:37-05:00July 4th, 2022|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

Every year in the United States July 4th celebrates the day the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.

text of U.S. constitutionTechnically, independence was declared on July 2 and the Declaration of Independence wasn’t fully signed until July 19. But who cares?

July 4th is the federal holiday where we traditionally celebrate our freedom. Fourth of July gatherings or events to celebrate the birth of our nation will vary across the country, but parades, fireworks, and outdoor fun are sure to be found.

Fun facts and trivia to share at your backyard celebration.

  1. The first White House Fourth of July party was held in 1804.
  2. John Hancock was the only member of the Continental Congress who formally signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
  3. The Fourth became a paid legal holiday for employees of the federal government in 1938.
  4. John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe died on the Fourth of July.
  5. Yankee Doodle, the celebrated patriotic song, was written by British army officers to make fun of backwoods Americans.

Prefer statistics?

  1. Roughly 2.5 million people lived in the newly formed nation’s 13 colonies. Today, 246 years ago the U.S. population is more than 331.8 million.
  2. A whopping 150 million hot dogs are consumed on the 4th of July — enough hot dogs to stretch from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles more than five times!
  3. Display firework sales were $262 million in 2021. The consumer fireworks industry grossed $2.2 billion.
  4. Pet disappearances increase by 30% on the 4th of July.

Not only will pets suffer on this holiday, but many PTSD veterans will also be cringing with every blast of those fireworks set off in your driveway. Consider attending a fireworks display or watching one on the television instead.

Statistic Sources:

https://www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle/4th-july-numbers-look-american-holiday

https://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/4th-july-pets-dogs-cats-go-missing-holiday-more-any-other-day?cmpid=prn_newsstand

https://www.tastingtable.com/909299/this-is-how-many-hot-dogs-are-actually-eaten-on-the-4th-of-july

1 07, 2022

Summer Plans

By |2022-06-28T12:43:55-05:00July 1st, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


I was in charge of watering the garden while my husband was out of town recently.  His instructions were to water it first thing in the morning so I drove to the garden one morning and started the water.

The ground was still wet from the evening dew and I wondered if it was really necessary to be watering at this time.As I watched the water spray, I thought about how hot it would be later in the afternoon.  The ground would quickly dry and the plants would wilt.  By watering early, the ground would be ready for the heat later in the day.

I have no idea if this is what actually happens but it brought to mind my summer plans.

As a teacher, my summers are much less hectic and I like to spend them reading, napping, and working on puzzles, maybe like storing up water in the soil.

Then when school starts back up, I am rested and ready to start the routine all over again.  When things get busy with lesson planning and programs, I can reach down into the “water” that I allowed to soak my soul during the summer and can withstand the “heat.”

That thought makes me feel much better about taking naps.

27 06, 2022

Scrabble and the Heat

By |2022-06-26T08:01:38-05:00June 27th, 2022|Make Me Think Monday, Writer's Life|2 Comments

It’s like living in hades in Texas right now. Probably hot where you live too. I’m a native Texan. I grew up without air-conditioning. You’d think I’d be used to hot summers.

Not this heat though. Going outside during the peak afternoon hours is unthinkable. We stay inside.

There’s always a jigsaw puzzle calling to be finished when it’s too hot to be outside. This summer we started afternoon game time. Card games, board games like Parcheesi, and dominoes.

Word games are very popular these days. Wordle scores keep popping up on social media. You’ll find dozens of other varieties, online and off. All are fun and challenging, but Scrabble, the board game, is my favorite.

We used to play Scrabble a lot. It kinda got forgotten. Not anymore. We rediscovered our love of Scrabble when we pulled the deluxe board that swivels from the game cabinet.

Now every afternoon it’s game on!

And we’re keeping score. At this point, I’m behind but moving up fast.

Hubby was the reigning 50-point word champ.

For non-Scrabble players, that’s when you use all seven of your letters to make a word and earn the word score plus a bonus of 50 points.

Recently I’ve managed the feat twice with the opening word

Scrabble was created in 1933, and there are over 121 billion Scrabble versions sold worldwide in 31 different languages, even a Braille version.

Why do so many people love Scrabble?

Mainly because it’s fun and challenging, but there are substantial benefits to playing. Here are ten:

  1. Scrabble teaches you the vocabulary
  2. Scrabble helps develop your intellectual abilities
  3. Scrabble teaches you strategy
  4. Scrabble encourages social cooperation and bonding
  5. Scrabble helps improve your emotional well-being and personal confidence
  6. Scrabble improves creativity
  7. Scrabble develops concentration
  8. Scrabble fosters learning through creative play
  9. Scrabble helps boosts the immune system
  10. Scrabble makes you happy

That last one is especially true if you live in Texas right now.

24 06, 2022

Moving Ducks

By |2022-06-22T07:40:17-05:00June 24th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


The ducks we hatched for a friend grew large enough to be moved to their new home.  This is no easy process.

First, the ducks had to be captured.

Rachel and I were able to accomplish this without being totally covered in mud.  The lack of rain right now is bad for plants but good for catching ducks.

Then we had to load them in the car.

Once at their new home, we had to convince them to go into the pond.

It is much bigger than the kiddie pool at our house.

 

Once they got in, they realized they could put their heads under and they had a great time.

As we left the ducks happily swimming in their new pond, I thought about how often I am reluctant to jump into something new.

Perhaps I should take a lesson from the ducks and just enjoy the experience.

20 06, 2022

A Twofer Holiday and One’s New

By |2022-06-19T12:52:42-05:00June 20th, 2022|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

This month Father’s Day and Juneteenth fell on the same day–June 19. Lots of social media about the Father’s Day holiday.Not so much about Juneteenth. It may be new to you if you’ve never lived in Texas.

Also known as “Jubilee Day,” “Black Independence Day,” and “Freedom Day, June 19 only became a national holiday last year.

Read President Biden’s proclamation HERE.

Emancipation of slaves at the end of the Civil War took effect in 1863 with President Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation, sadly, however, slaves in Texas would not be freed until two years later on June 19, 1865. On that day, 2,000 troops arrived in Galveston Bay and announced the freedom of enslaved Black people by executive decree.

“Juneteenth” has been celebrated in Texas ever since then with community gatherings filled with food, music, and fellowship. Now it’s a national day to celebrate freedom.

Learn more about the history of Juneteenth HERE.

If you didn’t celebrate Freedom Day yesterday, no worries. Mark your calendar for next year.

We also honored our fathers—a birth father, a stepfather, a relative or friend, whoever served in a father role. My father is gone now so the day is always a bit sad for me, but old pictures and memories bring a smile.

17 06, 2022

Invasion

By |2022-06-15T16:17:14-05:00June 17th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


Every year the principal at my school plants milkweed to attract Monarch butterfly caterpillars. He gives the speech about how fragile these caterpillars are and how everyone should look with their eyes and not touch them. If one happens to get on the sidewalk, students are to notify a teacher who will then safely move the caterpillar out of harm’s way.

The students do very well and each year we get to watch the Monarch butterflies emerge and fly away.

I must confess, that this whole process has become somewhat commonplace for me.  I don’t get nearly as excited as the students do about seeing the caterpillars.

However…. this week Rachel discovered a caterpillar on our parsley plant in OUR front flower bed.

This was very exciting! We figured out that it is an Anise Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillar. It disappeared at one point, and I was very sad.

Then this morning I checked and there were THREE caterpillars!!I told Rachel we were being invaded! Her response: At least they are pretty!

Yes, yes, they are.

This is an exciting invasion!

13 06, 2022

Wandering Writer and Stories

By |2022-06-03T08:54:31-05:00June 13th, 2022|Make Me Think Monday, Writer's Life|1 Comment

I am a wanderer. I love to see the world and the people in it. Oftentimes my wandering is dictated by outside forces, but I’ve always been ready to go.

I’ve wandered on foot, by plane, by bicycle, and by car.

I will meander through houses, mine and others, the woods and neighborhoods, stores, through cities and towns near and far.

Wherever I wander, stories find me and the memories of those encounters stay with me. Here are three that will always make me smile.

Once in Ireland, sitting at a Dublin train station, an older woman sat beside me and began to share about her family and her country. She told me she was returning home after being with her daughter, who had given birth to their twelfth grandchild. Another grandson, she said with pride in her eyes.

Yes, there were pictures and lovely tales of her family told as only the Irish can spin.

Recently in a grocery store not far from home, a young woman waiting behind me in the checkout line patted the multi-colored headscarf she wore. “Chemo,” she said. Her eyes misted. She shared her journey with breast cancer. I couldn’t stop myself I squeezed around my full cart of groceries and hugged her.

Walking with my dogs when we lived in the Rio Grande Forest always brought stories. Once a little girl playing outside at one of the rental cabins nearby ask to pet the dogs. My Old English loved on her. The Maltese jumped around all jealous then relaxed when she petted him too. As we walked away, the youngster plucked a purple wildflower and rushed over to give it to me.

Life is filled with so many chance meetings. Each encounter is unique, and I come away with a myriad of feelings from each.

Those characters and emotions from my wandering encounters frequently find their way into my stories. Not the specifics, of course, but the emotions and characterizations.

What about you? Do stories find you in your wanderings?

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