17 05, 2024

Transplanting Flowers

By |2024-05-16T08:53:54-05:00May 17th, 2024|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

My father-in-law had some beautiful amaryllis in his yard. Since there was an abundance, we decided to dig some up to transplant in our yard.

As I sat in the flower bed with a shovel, I looked up and saw the fire hydrant on the corner. I thought about the time Alex and I walked around the block counting fire hydrants.

The For Sale sign next to the fire hydrant reminded me it was the end of that era.

No more visits to see Opa.

I continued digging and accidentally cut the stem of one of the amaryllis. It looked like it was bleeding.

For a moment, I felt a connection with this plant.

My heart was bleeding also.

I brought the plants home and planted them around our mailbox. They appear to be making the transition well. I know our family will also transition. It may just take a little longer.

13 05, 2024

Mother’s Day and Flowers

By |2024-05-12T09:53:58-05:00May 13th, 2024|A Writer's Life, Holidays, Writer's Life|0 Comments

love background with mothers day illustration

Did you wear a corsage for Mother’s Day Sunday at church services? I did.

Growing up in the Hill Country of Texas, almost everyone at church sported a carnation or a corsage on Mother’s Day. It’s a longstanding Southern tradition, and, even though you’re the one wearing the flower, the purpose is to celebrate your mother’s presence in your life.

Color matters. Red or pink flowers meant your mother was still with us. If she’d crossed over, you wore white.

Every Mother’s Day, my mother would load us into the station wagon and take us to her mother’s house before church. Grandmother grew red and white rose bushes. We’d pick a blossom to wear on our Sunday dress or shirt.

Because our Mother was very much alive, all three of us cut red roses. Nowadays, I wear a white rose.

Wearing a Mother’s Day corsage is a Southerner’s way to say, “I love you, Mom and I’m so glad to share this day with you” or “I’ll never forget you and I’ll love you always.”

Flowers on Mother’s Day is one of the many ways Southerners show their manners without words. Like when we pull over for a funeral procession to let the bereaved know we understand their grief and we’re sorry for their loss.

Or “carry food” to a neighbor or to church after a funeral to offer support and love.

Or open doors for the person behind us to be helpful and show respect.

For me, it’s a matter of being polite. Something that’s stressed to all Southern children until it’s automatic.

If you’re not into corsages, cut flowers also work for Mother’s Day remembrance. Flower colors in bouquets silently speak too. According to Pantone, the color specialist,

Green reflects a mother’s protective nature,

Yellow– Mom’s optimistic outlook towards life and her children,

Pink – her compassionate and nurturing soul, and

Red – a mother’s passion and empowerment.

If you missed Mother’s Day, flowers are welcome any day.

I’m sure you’ll find lots of flower bouquet choices half-price today. My supermarket sure had Mother’s Day flowers everywhere.

6 05, 2024

Kill the Darlings – Drama on every page

By |2024-04-30T07:32:04-05:00May 6th, 2024|Writer's Corner, Writing Craft|0 Comments

We all dislike negative, unhappy things happening in our lives.

Who wants to suffer and be unhappy? I sure don’t.

Reality is drama, disaster, and tragedy are what life is all about.

I don’t like drama in my life. I don’t like it when other people suffer and are unhappy. Unfortunately in fiction writing no drama makes for a dull, uninteresting plot.

A story without tension is flat and quickly put aside. That’s not what any author wants to happen to their books.

The BONI Intensive Seminars taught me how important suffering and drama are for fictional characters … if a writer wants to fully engage readers.

Tension on every page” to quote Donald Maass.

“Throw another bear in the canoe,” JoAnn Ross advises.

Drama is an integral part of real life and a critical part of a fictional character’s story. Readers want to become emotionally involved with our characters. Drama builds suspense, anticipation, and uncertainty by creating conflict, and it’s that conflict that keeps readers turning the pages.

When drama and suffering are absent, readers do not connect with our characters and story. They don’t read our books. I’ve had to learn to “kill my darlings”  and it hasn’t been easy.

If you need a nudge to add drama to your writing, let me suggest:

  1. The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass
  2. Breakout Novel Intensive Seminar
  3. One Stop for Writers where you’ll find loads of resources for adding conflict.

And keep an eye out for the 2nd edition of The Emotion Amplifier Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Stress and Volatility by Becca Puglisi, releasing on May 13th.

Writers, what suggestions would you add to my list?

3 05, 2024

My Grandfather’s Clock

By |2024-05-02T05:59:01-05:00May 3rd, 2024|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Many songs from my childhood are stored in my brain and happen to be much more accessible than the location of my cell phone at any given moment. One of these songs is “My Grandfather’s Clock.” 

I only have the first part committed to memory.

My grandfather’s clock was too large for the shelf.

So it stood ninety years on the floor.

It was taller by half than the old man himself,

Though it weighed not a pennyweight more.

It was bought on the morn’ of the day that he was born

And was always his treasure and pride

But it stopped, short never to go again

When the old man died

Ninety years without slumbering

His life seconds numbering

It stopped, short never to go again

When the old man died

My father-in-law had a grandfather clock in his home for as long as I remember. He built the case from a kit, and it ran efficiently for many years.

The chiming of the clock was something that Alex, our grandson, quickly noticed and enjoyed when we visited.

When Beekeeper Brian and I were there this past Spring Break, the clock was not working. His dad had pulled it away from the wall and opened the back to see if he could fix it. It still wasn’t working when we left.

The week after Spring Break, Brian’s father died.

I thought about that clock and wondered what would happen to it. Andy, Brian’s brother-in-law, decided to continue the work on the clock. The sound of its chime was something he also enjoyed. And it would remind him of the original owner.

RIP Theodore Miller.

29 04, 2024

Wind Chimes – Yea or Nay

By |2024-04-28T15:40:45-05:00April 29th, 2024|A Writer's Life, Writer's Life|1 Comment

Wind chimes are one of my favorite yard art forms. The high winds we’ve been having lately have my chimes whipping up lots of music.

Did you know wind chimes date from around 1100 BC in Ancient Rome? The first wind chime was an assemblage of bells on a pole called a tintinnabulum. It served to ward off evil and bring good fortune and prosperity. Tintinnabulum chimes were often found hanging in temples.

From Rome, “modern” wind chimes spread to countries like Japan and India eventually worldwide. Today, wind chimes have other uses besides warding off evil spirits.

Besides the obvious yard art, other uses include:

  • Scare birds from farming lands.
  • Feng Shui arrangements.
  • Hung in memory of a loved one.

Most people use wind chimes like I do for decorative purposes and to listen to nice sounds.

It is true some wind chimes don’t make pleasant noise, but those constructed with tuned tubes make lovely soft tinkling sounds. You can even choose the musical key you want.

This article from Better Homes & Gardens suggests “The 13 Best Wind Chimes of 2024 to Create a Soothing Soundscape”

My newest wind chime is a glass chime with bluebonnets, a Christmas gift. The glass adds the perfect tingling sound to my collection.

What about you? Are you a fan of wind chimes or do you fall in the don’t-like-the-noise category?

26 04, 2024

Hanging On

By |2024-04-25T08:42:49-05:00April 26th, 2024|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

The stump our birdhouse sits on is starting to tilt. The base is rotting away. The birdhouse is nailed to the stump so it will not fall off. It will just fall over with the stump unless we remove it.

I can relate to this poor bird house as I am sure most teachers can right now.

We are securely attached to our jobs but feel like all of life is tilting. Everyone is tired, kids are grumpy, teachers are ready to quit.

We are all just barely hanging on.


I wonder if it is time for me to remove myself from my job before my whole life falls over. Or maybe everything will straighten back up during the summer…

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