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1 06, 2020

Quarantine Isn’t Something New

By |2020-06-01T07:58:55-05:00June 1st, 2020|Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

These COVID-19 pandemic days of self-isolation have made quarantine a common part of our vocabulary.

But did you know the word’s been around since the 9th century?

Its quad root dates to the Proto-Indo-European or PIE language kwetwer, and linguists trace the PIE language to between 4500 BC to 2500 BC. We hear quad in words like quadruple and quadrilateral.

Quadraginta is the Latin word for forty. Quarantena referred to the desert where Jesus fasted for 40 days. In both Italian and French, the word also applied to Lent.

Today we we use the word to mean a period of isolation to prevent the spread of contagious disease.

The use of isolation traces to Middle Ages and Renaissance and the plague-ridden 14th century when Venice required the crews of ships from afflicted countries to remain at anchor offshore for forty days before docking.

According to The Visual Thesaurus, being quarantined isn’t all bad. There are famous cases of creativity that have risen from periods of quarantine.

  • Shakespeare wrote King Lear
  • Isaac Newton worked on his theories of optics and gravitation
  • Giovanni Boccaccio wrote The Decameron, a book about people telling each other stories during quarantine

And stay-at-home authors create word origin searches like this to blog about. Which, if you were honest, is probably more than you wanted to know about quarantine.

What have you done while you stayed at home or quarantined during this COVID-19 pandemic?

29 05, 2020

Cuddle Ducks

By |2020-05-28T09:18:01-05:00May 29th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


This transition from house ducks to outside ducks has been the smoothest ever.  I was concerned, as always, that the smaller ducks would have to go through an initiation before they were accepted into the flock.

This did not happen.

I started by putting the ducks in the wire cage in the pen with their new friends.Usually it takes a fair amount of time for the littles to venture out.  These ducks are particularly attached to each other so they went out together.They spent a few minutes cuddling and surveying their surroundings.

It reminded me how important it is to have a friend when facing a scary situation.

Before long they were eating and drinking.  I could rest easy for the rest of the day.

I went to check on them before I went to bed.  I was going to put them in the coop but I found them cuddling in the middle of all the big ducks.

They were safe at home.

27 05, 2020

May Flower Quotes – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

By |2020-05-26T20:02:49-05:00May 27th, 2020|Wednesday Quote, Wednesday Words, Weekly Quote|1 Comment

About the Graphic


Hubby Dear snapped this picture of a Texas Star Hibiscus with our digital camera. He has an excellent eye for capturing floral images. Don’t you think?

About the Quote


The word amen is  a Hebrew word  used frequently in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. According to Bible Study Tools, the verb form is found more than one hundred times in the Old Testament and nearly seventy times in the Gospels.The Common English translations are “surely”, “truly”, and “so be it.”

People around the world say the world in personal prayer and the liturgy, affirming what is spoken or prayed. I like to think, like Holmes, that Nature also says amen or so be it with every bloom.

25 05, 2020

How to celebrate Memorial Day During the Coronavirus Quarantine

By |2020-05-24T18:15:25-05:00May 25th, 2020|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|2 Comments

Memorial Day is the holiday set aside to remember the men and women who gave their lives while serving this country. To say thank you for their supreme sacrifice.

Because parades and gatherings are cancelled this Memorial Day weekend, retired Air Force bugler Jari Villanueva and CBS News “On the Road” correspondent Steve Hartman are asking buglers and trumpet players across the country to stand on their porches this Memorial Day at 3 p.m. local time and play “Taps.”

The rest of us can pause for a moment to remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice serving this country as well as all the victims of the coronavirus pandemic while maintaining social distancing guidelines.

If you’d like to dust off your trumpet or bugle and sound the call, click here for directions on how to participate.

If you’re not a bugler then perhaps you can play a version of Taps from YouTube like this one.

22 05, 2020

Bath Day

By |2020-05-28T09:46:52-05:00May 22nd, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


The newest arrivals to our duck pen really seem to enjoy the “duck pond” (i.e. kiddie swimming pool).  Since we built the duck pen in the front corner of the chicken yard, I can watch the ducks swim from my kitchen window.  I spend a lot of time in the kitchen so I get to see the ducks often.

At least once a week I empty the “pond” and refill it with fresh water.  This is the ducks’ favorite day.  I stand outside to get a better view of them in the clean pond.

Ricky is always the first to get into the water.  He is the oldest duck and I call him the daddy duck.

When he is in the water, no one else comes around. Ricky doesn’t share.

The younger ducks are content to play in the puddle created by emptying the “pond.”

 

After Ricky has finished playing in the water, the rest of the ducks can take their turn.

 

 

The younger ducks are much better at sharing.  They are not so good at social distancing.

20 05, 2020

Flowers and Friends – Wednesday Quote

By |2020-05-20T06:29:05-05:00May 20th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the graphic


These gladiolas are from a special friend’s garden. They were so gorgeous I couldn’t resist taking a picture and using it as a background for this week’s quote.

About the quote


I found several people named Celeste Barnard in my web search. The quote came from a Country Living magazine that only identified the author by name. So Celeste Barnard, if you see this, please let me know these are your words, and I’ll add a short bio.

What I liked about the quote was that it reminded me of my friend who brought this lovely, lovely bouquet of gladiolas. The amazing thing is she grows these beauties in her yard. She’s such a lovely person to fill my world with beautiful gladiolas and books she passes on to me.

18 05, 2020

The Difficult Puzzle

By |2020-05-16T13:37:52-05:00May 18th, 2020|Writer's Life|3 Comments

I enjoy working jigsaw puzzles. And word puzzles, but jigsaw puzzles are my brain sorter for plot issues and escape from reality.

Working a puzzle, I can focus on fitting all the pieces together and when it’s finished, I have a lovely picture. Usually.

Didn’t happen this year. Not with Mary Engelbreit’s Puzzle A Girl’s Best Friend, which I love putting together for Mother’s Day every year.

All those black and white squares on the frame were my downfall. If my grandson weren’t here while his college is shut down for the pandemic, I’d never have finished.

At one point I took out the tape measure to confirm the side measured 20 inches. I decided maybe pieces had gone missing in the last move.

I took the sides apart and started again multiple times. By the fourth time, I was extremely frustrated.

Enter grandson with sharp eyes and nimble fingers. He got the frame together while I worked the middle, which with all the similar colored patterns did not prove much easier.

With Mother’s Day three days away, the middle was finished and only the floral border between the inner picture and the black and white edge remained to connect.

Grandson had a major project due, so I was on my own. A piece would fit the black and white edge but not connect to the middle pieces. Happened not once but several times.

I pulled the edge apart and reassembled. Still the floral border pieces wouldn’t connect.

Mother’s Day and the puzzle still not finished, I admitted defeat and, threatening to throw the puzzle away, went to bed. Next morning, I found this.

Grandson had flipped top and bottom edge pieces and finished.

I’m not throwing the puzzle away. But I’m not messing with edge again either.

I didn’t cheat and leave them connected when I took the puzzle apart, though I was very tempted. I coded the backs of all the edge pieces then stored them in their own little bag in the puzzle box. Next time, I’ll know which border pieces belong on which side.

Maybe I’ll work the puzzle again next year. Maybe not. Grandson won’t be here. I’d be on my own. But, at least, I won’t go blind trying to connect the pesky frame.

15 05, 2020

Fearless

By |2020-05-13T13:23:14-05:00May 15th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


When Beekeeper Brian and I were first married, we lived on the second floor of an apartment in Houston. I clearly remember standing at the bottom of the stairs one day with a basket of laundry completely terrified of a grasshopper on the stairs.  I stood there until it hopped away and then I quickly ran up the stairs and into our apartment.

Fast forward almost 33 years and I now think nothing of scooping a cockroach out of the chicken waterer or walking through the bees on my way to the chicken yard.  What brought about this transformation?

I’m not really sure.  It is either growing older (and wiser) or living on Miller Farm where there are an abundance of critters.

In any case, it serves me well to be less afraid of creepy crawly things.

A couple of weeks ago, I was weeding in the succulent bed around the mail box when I felt something crawling on my foot.

I have overcome my fear of most things, however, I have a healthy respect for fire ants. I thought I might be on the menu for lunch that day.

I quickly removed my shoe to discover…a small rough earth snake.

I watched him for a minute then decided he was unhappy in the gutter so I gently picked him up and put him back on the dirt.  He quickly burrowed to safety.

There was a point in my life when I would have hurt myself trying to get away from that snake.  Then I would have refused to check the mail ever again for fear of another snake encounter.

Life is much calmer for me now.  I’m thankful for that.  The world seems to have more and more things of which to be frightened.  I just chose to be fearless.

13 05, 2020

Be Happy

By |2020-05-13T06:19:13-05:00May 13th, 2020|Wednesday Quote, Wednesday Words, Wednesday Words of Wisdom, Weekly Quote|1 Comment

About the graphic


The gorgeous yellow roses are a picture of my Valentine’s Day gift from hubby dear. You can read the whole story of the blooms here.

About the quote


After so many days in quarantine, we probably all need to follow Rita Moreno’s advice. Find something and be happy. Only, instead of coffee, make mine a cuppa tea.

11 05, 2020

Be A Magnolia

By |2020-05-10T08:16:20-05:00May 11th, 2020|Uncategorized|1 Comment

May means flowers. Maybe not if you live in one of those states where you’re still getting snow, but down here in the South gardening shops are buzzing with home gardeners picking out their blooms. Flowering trees are showing forth their glory.

Magnolia are budding and I love Magnolias. If I were a tree, I’d be a Magnolia.

Their flowers are so dramatic and showy—a welcome a sight after a dreary winter. Their leaves so waxy and green. Mine was magnificent this year.

Seeing those pink buds made the world feel new again. Interestingly, the magnolia tree’s origins go back millions of years. In fact, dinosaurs may have nibbled on them.

There are so many varieties besides the fragrant white blooms associated with southern plantation homes. This chart from Martha Stewart Living magazine shows the variety and beauty of their blooms.

Thinking about magnolias also brings to mind the original 1989 version of Steel Magnolias, a movie worthy to be part of your watch list during these quarantine days.

It’s has a cast of magnolias – Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, and Olympia Dukakis. A group of actresses as varied as the Magnolia blooms and strong enough to survive the challenges of the script with zinger comic one-liners.

The story’s set in a small town beauty shop in Louisiana. Not much has changed in southern small towns, trust me. It’s a funny and heartwarming story of life, love, and loss. Sorta like this Corona virus time we’re living in.

The dark moment comes with Sally Field’s brief monologue when she asks God “Why?” The question we’ve all been asking since 2020 began.

Steel Magnolias is a humorous and dramatic picture of a southern woman’s world. They work and cook and sew and mend and fight and make up. They get their hair and nails done. Well, they did before the virus struck and will again someday. Just ask one.

And when tragedy, or a pandemic virus, strikes, they have the strength and the character to smile through their tears and go on.

They’re magnolias. They laugh a little and cry a little and keep on keeping on. Their roots go deep, maybe not to the age of dinosaurs but deep and strong.

Be a magnolia. A steel magnolia.

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