8 08, 2022

Spellcheckers, Auto-correct, and Pullet Surprise Work

By |2022-08-07T12:16:46-05:00August 8th, 2022|Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

Computers, iPads, and iPhones run grammar checkers and spellcheckers built into their operating systems (unless you turn off the function) that are meant to become a collaboration between user and machine.

That should be a good thing, right? Nope. It’s more a kind of word combat between user and machine.

Auto-correct and spell checker follies run amuck all. the. time. thanks to “helpful” computer algorithms.

It’s called the Cupertino Effect and is an unfortunate, aggravating part of writing on a computer since Microsoft Office 97 couldn’t recognize the word cooperation with the hyphen and the spellchecker replaced it with Cupertino, the name of a California town.

To this day, you can still find online documents from international organizations with the word Cupertino where cooperation is intended. For example, a NATO document that has the line, “The Cupertino with our Italian comrades proved to be very fruitful.”

According to one journalist, “Spellcheckers are the enemy of writers and editors as Voldemort is to Harry Potter. Or as our spellchecker would have it, ‘as Voltmeter is to Harry Potter.”

To their credit, leading software companies do steadily expand their wordlists and fine-tune their algorithms to improve their spellcheckers. That’s why older Cupertino-isms have thankfully fallen by the wayside. Only to be replaced by others equally annoying and humorous, unfortunately.

Doesn’t matter how much the techies tinker, the Cupertino effect will always be with us in one form or another.

We’ve all been zinged by spell checker and autocorrect goofs at one time or another. Any “horror” tales with your goofs? Let us know in the comments below.

5 08, 2022


By |2022-08-05T08:31:47-05:00August 5th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

I spent the first part of this week with our grandsons. Our daughter was asked to teach a couple of hours each day so I went to help with the boys.

Monday both Alex (age 2) and Theo (age 2 months) were with me. I was not worried. After all, Catherine and Rachel are 21 months apart so I was confident it would be fine.

What I did not factor in was the length of time it has been since the girls were 2 and 2 months. The memories came back very quickly.

We had a tornado in the living room.

I didn’t remember the key phrase “put one thing back before you get out something else” until it was too late

Holding Theo while playing with Alex was a little more of a challenge than I anticipated.

We moved into Alex’s bedroom, and I opened his closet door for him – tornado number two! I forgot how quickly a two-year-old can make a mess.

We all survived the morning and Tuesday Alex went to school so it was just me and Theo.

I forgot how relaxing it is to snuggle a sleeping baby!

I was hoping to get a picture of me with the boys. What I got was a snapshot of real grandma’s life.

What I remember most from these days is why we have children when we are young!

1 08, 2022

Graphologists and Graphology

By |2022-07-31T12:10:25-05:00August 1st, 2022|Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

Written communication is being replaced by computer-generated printing in emails and texts.

When we do handwrite a note, it’s too often difficult to read. I believe that’s because cursive writing and print lettering aren’t taught anymore, but that’s another topic.

I remember copying from a chart like the one pictured daily to improve my penmanship when I was in school. These days you can generate cursive with fonts from sites like this. 

It’s just not the same and it challenges graphologists’ work.

Graphology is the study of handwriting as it reflects the writer’s character, personality, and abilities. A graphologist analyzes handwriting for patterns that identify the psychological state of a person and characteristics of their personality.

There are 5,000 personality traits distinguishable by the size of your letters, spacing between words, and shapes of letters. Their analysis can be used to determine the authenticity of signatures in forgery cases or reveal whether you are lying or not. A close look at your handwriting can also aid doctors in medical diagnosis.

It’s a fascinating science, but I’m wondering as we increasingly rely on computers and texting and not our penmanship if that will change the analysis process and findings. What do you think?

Check out the Pens.com Graphology infographic at https://www.pens.com/blog/handwriting-infographic/  and – for fun – analyze a sample of your handwriting. My analysis came remarkably close. Will yours?

Let me know what you discover in the comments.

29 07, 2022

The End of the Corn

By |2022-07-27T12:46:15-05:00July 29th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

I’m not sure when corn harvest is normally over but this year, it is finished. The excessive heat and lack of rain have put an end to the growth of all varieties of corn. The sweet corn was the first to die off and Brian harvested the last of the dent corn and popcorn a couple of weeks ago.

This left the brown stalks standing in the garden. To make use of them, Brian arranged to borrow a chipper from a friend and turn the stalks into mulch for the newly planted black-eyed peas.

Because of my history around sharp objects, my job was to pull the stalks up and pile them by the chipper safely away from the blades. It was hot and dirty but very satisfying.

Our friend fed the stalks into the chipper while Brian spread the mulch. The goal is to hold in precious moisture and keep out annoying weeds.

Most of the kernels of dent corn have been removed and are drying so they can be ground into cornmeal leaving only the empty corn cobs.

Brian recently found a recipe for corn cob jelly.

I think I will pass and just toss the cobs into the compost heap. That sounds like a better use for the end of the corn.

28 07, 2022

GUEST BLOGGER – Jenna Sherman

By |2022-07-26T14:55:35-05:00July 28th, 2022|Guest blogger|1 Comment

6 Tips for Balancing a New Baby and New Business

A blog by Guest Blogger Jenna Sherman

A new baby alone brings plenty of life changes. But when you add a new business into the mix, you might feel overwhelmed.

Fortunately, if you’re a new parent and a new business owner, these tips can help you establish a healthy work-life balance while your baby and business grow.

1. Establish Your Routine

A flexible routine is a must when you’re balancing a new baby and a new business. Find the routine that works for you. With a newborn or infant, you might choose to work around your baby’s schedule, ensuring you’re available when the baby is awake and hungry and working when the baby sleeps. Keep in mind that your baby’s schedule will change as they grow, so you’ll have to adapt your routine every few months.

2. Explore Child Care Options

Consider full- or part-time childcare to help you focus on your business during working hours. You might choose an in-home care option, such as a nanny, when your baby is young. Having a nanny scheduled allows you to establish dedicated work hours to focus on the launch of your business. When choosing a  childcare option, consider the price, schedule, and location, among other factors.

3. Write a Business Plan

A business plan is a document that outlines the key components of your business, including your business model, product or service, target market, growth strategy, and financial projections. It is an essential tool for any startup or small business, as it can help you to secure funding, attract investors, and get your business off the ground. To learn more about writing a business plan and starting your own company, refer to this ZenBusiness page on starting a new business.

4. Network With Other Professionals

As a business owner, it’s wise to connect with other local businesses to help yours grow. Plus, connecting with these businesses may allow you to outsource some of your work, freeing up time as you try to balance life with a new baby. For example, if you don’t have the time to build your business’ website or lack the experience, try connecting with a local web designer (or trade services) to lighten your load during this busy time.

5. Create a Multifunctional Space

Whether you’re working remotely full time or simply working behind the scenes from home as your business launches, you need a dedicated space to work. However, you also want this space to be flexible and inclusive, so your baby can join as needed. Consider adding a bassinet, mini-crib, or baby swing to the space to keep your baby close by when you’re working. Baskets or shelves filled with baby gear can allow you to multitask in your home office.

6. Tap Into Smart Business Resources to Market Your Business

Discover resources that help your business grow and save you time, so you can spend plenty of quality time with your baby. Marketing your new business is essential to increasing your visibility and building a customer base.

Having a well-designed logo for your business builds brand awareness, makes a solid first impression, and allows your business to stand out from the competition. If you’re on a tight budget, you can use an online logo maker for logo design made easy. Create a professional-quality logo featuring an icon, text, and colors that align with your business. You can also find programs that help you build email marketing campaigns and even develop a website without any HTML knowledge.

Both Your Baby and Business Can Thrive

By networking, outsourcing work, and maintaining flexibility, you can balance life with a new baby while marketing and forming a new business.

═════ ◈ ═════

     Jenna Sherman is a mom of three (two girls and a boy). She hopes to help other parents acquire the skills they need to raise future leaders by providing a collection of valuable, up-to-date, authoritative resources.

     She created parent-leaders.com as an avenue for parents who want to make sure their children grow up to be strong, independent, successful adults.

Take a minute to visit her blog for other great tips for home and parenting.

25 07, 2022

It’s Finnegan’s Birthday

By |2022-07-24T12:25:26-05:00July 25th, 2022|Make Me Think Monday, Writer's Life|2 Comments

Somewhere back in time, I fell in love with Old English sheepdogs. We adopted a mixed-breed puppy (part OES and part New Foundland). He and his litter had been found abandoned in the snow. The puppies were raised in the science lab at our daughter’s high school in Connecticut.

Azariah was big, black, and kinda scary. He didn’t much care to be told what to do and had bitten several people. When we moved to Texas, he didn’t.

Because I loved Connecticut and wasn’t happy about moving back to heat and humidity, hubby-dear promised another real OES puppy and a swimming pool. That made the idea of a move far more attractive.

Obadiah arrived. He too was big, but not scary. He loved to play hide and seek with the children. He even let our daughter dress him in her softball shirt.

Obie’s face always greeted me in the front window whenever I came home from my teaching day. The dog could tell time! Obie was a terrific dog and he instilled an even stronger love for the breed. Sadly, an OES lifespan is 10-12 years and we lost Obie.

Things were sad around our house that holiday season until my Christmas present arrived-you guessed it, an AKC Old English puppy-we named Micah Bear. He was another great dog. Our nest was emptying and he filled the space as only an OES can.

He was joined by Bernie a terrier mix and Rhinestone, a rescue OES. Our walks with the three dogs stopped traffic. We lost Rhinestone and Bernie and then Micah Bear, and decided we’d go dogless.

That did not last.

Tobias Bear flew in from Florida to join our family. He was a love with all the fun traits of OES in abundance. He was intelligent, playful, sociable, bubbly, loving, and adaptable. When we added a Maltese brother, he loved him too.


We lost Toby before our return to Texas and decided Buster the Maltese was pet enough. After a couple of months, all three of us were so depressed without our Toby that we started looking for another OES.

Micah Bear had come from Bugaboo Kennel in Colorado Springs so we hopped in the car and drove four hours from our mountain home to meet another puppy who would be our next OES, Finnegan MacCool.

He was a hairy bundle of joy who loved being held from the first moment we saw him. That was charming when he was a puppy.

Now full grown and ninety-four pounds it can get trickly fitting on laps.

He’s my writing buddy, always laying nearby in front of a fan because we’re back in Texas.

Time is moving far too fast.  Finn will be six on July 27.

Happy Birthday, Finn.

22 07, 2022


By |2022-07-20T19:55:19-05:00July 22nd, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

This was our first year to plant a plot in the community garden.  It was not a good year.  The extremely hot and dry weather prevented many things from growing.

The popcorn, however, was a success. We planted two different varieties which both came up.

We harvested the ears and set them out to dry.  I tried putting them outside to use the natural heat but the squirrels found them.  So, I put them in the oven to keep them from taking so much valuable counter space.

I put a sign on the oven that said “Corn.”  It was not a clearly communicated message and while I was out of town, the oven was used to make pizza and the corn got “preheated.”

It didn’t seem to hurt the ears and, after a few weeks, we were able to remove the kernels.

The next step was to actually pop the corn which we did use a microwave popper for speed and ease of clean up.

It was wonderful!

We also grew dent corn which is meant to be ground into cornmeal.  That is our next project.  Brian ordered a corn sheller to help remove the kernels.  The whole process seems a little labor intensive but I am excited to see how it turns out!  Perhaps I was born in the wrong century…

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