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21 09, 2020

Pandemic Fatigue and the 2020 Craziness

By |2020-09-20T07:25:21-05:00September 21st, 2020|A Writer's Life, Writer's Life|0 Comments

September is the height of the hurricane season on the Texas Gulf coast. A month loaded with angst as we watch the weather forecasts. This year in particular it’s a nightmare.

Add the pandemic-induced mess of 2020 and I feel like I’m teetering on the brink of crazy.

Days run together. I lose track of what day it really is. My memory’s totally shot. Argh.

Recently, I inserted my Wii Fit DVD into the player to do my exercise. The disc wouldn’t run, I tried to eject said disk. It wouldn’t jump out.

After several failed attempts to get the disc out, I gave up. A short time later, Hubby-Dear asked me what the Wii Fit DVD was doing on the table with the TV remote.

I’d never actually inserted the disc!

Other times, I load clothes in the dryer. Come back later to fold and find I never pushed start.

Attachments don’t make it to emails I’m sending.

Multi-tasking becomes a multi-mess. Stuff ‘s misplaced constantly. Minor things, I know. But, for me it’s frustrating. It makes me crazy.

Maybe, like me, you feel you’re losing your mind while trying to keep it all together and stay focused at the same time.

Well, we’re not crazy because things aren’t normal right now. We’re coping as best we can. Any way we can.

We’re feeling stressed for very real reasons. Who wouldn’t with all the COVID-19 hype? Newscasts filled with horrid visuals of violence and civil unrest. Tropical storms spinning into hurricanes and reeking unfathomable damage. Fires burning unchecked. An ugly presidential election on the horizon.

Any one of which would be troubling alone. We’re got all of the above pounding us daily.

We have “pandemic fatigue,” which means daily stuff may take a little longer to accomplish or may not go as planned.

That’s okay.

We’re getting through these weird times. One day at a time. The next months will likely be the toughest yet. We’ll struggle more, but, I’m confident, we will come through.

All we have to do is stop and breathe. Slow, even breaths. In for one-1000, two-1000, three-1000. Out again one-1000, two-1000, three-1000. Repeat.

Seriously, STOP. Take deep breaths then proceed.

It’s helped me. So do M&Ms, but breathing is so much healthier.

Next time you’re feeling crazy and want to pull the covers back over your head, try taking a few deep breaths. I think you’ll find those provide calm in this uncalm world.

18 09, 2020

Chick Report

By |2020-09-15T17:40:30-05:00September 18th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


I looked out my kitchen window last week to find one of the chicks on top of the duck coop.

I took this to mean that the newest flock of chicks was ready to go in with the big girls.

So I waited for the duck yard to dry out a little bit. I knew I would be chasing chickens around in the dark and wanted to minimize the mess.  I moved them into the big coop at night knowing that is usually the best plan.

The new chicks wake up thinking they had been in their new home forever. They do, after all, have bird brains.

Sure enough, they were not happy about being moved and they expressed their displeasure in a form of “chicken scratch” on both arms.  I managed to catch all 13 birds, clip their wings and put them into the big coop without landing in the mud.  I did have to take a shower to clean the mud off my arms – especially around the scratches.

They all survived the first night locked in the coop and I was curious what they would do the second night.

When I went to check, I did not see them in the big coop or in the chicken yard.  They had put themselves up in the little coop in the middle of the yard that didn’t have a door.

I blocked the entrance with an old wire door and told them goodnight.

Now we just have to wait for them to start laying eggs.

The ducks are getting ahead.

14 09, 2020

Who’s the Boss?

By |2020-09-13T14:36:08-05:00September 14th, 2020|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Our little ten-pound Maltese is fearless. Just ask his younger brother an eighty-five-pound Old English sheepdog.

Part of his pluckiness is his small dog Napoleonic syndrome. Not really a bad thing considering he’s always shared his home with someone so much bigger than him.

Old English sheepdog, MalteseWhen Buster first came to live with us, we had our Toby. Old English sheepdogs are big but very gentle and easygoing. Buster loved his big brother Toby.

Then Toby crossed the Rainbow Bridge in 2016. Poor Buster moped around missing without him. We hoomans missed having an Old English sheepdog around, too.

That’s when Finnegan MacCool came to live with us.

Buster’s world was turned upside down. Toby had been four-years-old when the two met. Finn was a ten-week-old puppy.

Old English SheepdogWe knew about eager, playful puppies. Buster didn’t.

Only took a bit for him to train Finn. They became great pals.

Except at bedtime these days. There’s a nightly showdown. Buster guards the bedroom door warning Finn to stay out.When I give Finn permission to enter, which sometimes requires picking Buster up, Finn takes a flying leap onto the bed.I guess it’s some kind of power play for Buster because once Finn’s on the bed, Buster is fine. They settle on either side of me and all is well.

But you’ll notice Finn’s little play of defiance… his paw rests over my knee just to show Buster he’s really king of the household.

11 09, 2020

Ducks Earning Their Keep

By |2020-09-06T10:59:49-05:00September 11th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|2 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


The ducks are now laying up to four eggs a day! This is fantastic news on Miller Farm.

I use duck eggs in cooking and mix them with chicken eggs to be scrambled. Ducks are very messy and sometimes I am not convinced the sheer entertainment value is worth the effort. Having duck eggs is a different story.

Judythe Morgan, Chicken Wrangler SaraFirst there was a soft egg which frequently happens when a bird starts to lay.

Then we had two hard shell eggs in one day.

Last week I found a green egg which could not belong to Lucy. That means one of the gray ducks is laying.

This week I found a tiny egg – again usually indicating a first egg.  I think Lucy is getting nervous about having competition.

She has laid two enormous eggs.  When I cracked one open this morning it had two yolks!Judythe Morgan, Chicken Wrangler Sara

Don’t worry, Lucy.  You’re still my favorite.  That is why you get all the roaches from the water jugs.

7 09, 2020

Happy Pandemic Labor Day!

By |2020-09-06T08:03:41-05:00September 7th, 2020|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

Judythe MorganLabor Day celebrates our workforce as this vintage postcard suggests. It also signals the end of summer though the fall equinox won’t actually happen for three more weeks on September 21. Still we consider summer gone after Labor Day.

Labor Day celebrations look different this year thanks to COVID-19. No skipping town for faraway places. No firing up the backyard BBQ for gatherings with friends and family.

While pandemic separation may make us miss catching up with cousins and neighbors with hot dogs in hand, it also means less effort preparing for the day. No rushing to cut the grass or clean the pool, or all that other prep that goes into entertaining. That’s kinda a plus.

Bonus: we didn’t have to deal with Cousin Will’s ultra-conservative (or ultra-liberal) political outbursts or the next-door neighbor’s comparisons of yards.

Labor Day does offer a break, a change from daily routines. No school. No Zoom meetings. A day to relax. To slow our pace.

And, trust me, relaxation of any kind for any length is more important than ever in these times of increased stresses.

I like what Brian Basset suggests in a recent Sunday funnies.

judythe morgan

As we head into days with all the back-to-school uncertainties and pre-election day chatter and other things that are sure to increase our stress levels. Let’s take Red & Rover’s advice to heart and embrace the fact that slowing down can lower stress.

Turn off the news.

Skip social media.

Sit on the porch and

Focus on the little things like cooler temperatures, changing leaves, and sitting by the lake with a fishing pool.

Happy Labor Day 2020!

4 09, 2020

Teaching Music in a 2020 Pandemic

By |2020-08-27T20:10:19-05:00September 4th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


As I was preparing for my first in-person music classes in many months, I realized most of the things I kept on my music cart would not be usable this year.

I said goodbye to each thing as I put them in a box for after this pandemic is gone. I thought of “Goodnight Moon” and wrote the following poem:

Goodbye Music As We Know It

Goodbye chicken, goodbye button,

Goodbye apple on a tree.

So long doggie, keep your bone.

Fare thee well, closet key.

                                judythewriter.com

Frog can stay safe in the meadow

Lucy’s pocket has been found.

Charlie caught me in the ocean

No more bean bag going ‘round.

So long goodies from the mailman

Now the lady has her comb

Goodbye rock for Obwisana

“Love somebody” heart stay home.

Goodbye riding on stick horses

Goodbye bouncing high and low,

All these things we use in music

Transfer germs so they must go.

judythewriter.com

Music class is looking different

There are things we cannot do.

So I’ve thought throughout the summer

Of some things to share with you.

We can listen very closely

From our dots six feet apart

Making rhythms with our bodies,

Keeping music in our heart.

 

Students came back this week.  It has been rough but we are all learning how to make it work.

I tried using an imaginary bone.  It actually worked pretty well.  Perhaps the kids will adjust better than I thought – certainly better than me.

31 08, 2020

Words for Words

By |2020-08-31T06:47:45-05:00August 31st, 2020|Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

Remember how we learned the parts of speech  for different words in school?Judythe Morgan, judythewriter.com,

  • Nouns: a person, place, thing, or idea.
  • Pronoun: a word used in place of a noun.
  • Verb: words that express action or being.
  • Adjectives: words to describe nouns or pronouns.
  • Adverbs: words to describe a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.
  • Prepositions: words placed before a noun or pronoun to form a phrase modifying another word in the sentence.
  • Conjunctions: that join words, phrases, or clauses.
  • Interjections: words used to express emotion.

And we thought that covered all the word groups. Well, we were wrong. I’ve discovered there are many more words to describe the words we use.

Retronym: a modifier added to describe what was once its default meaning, i.e. cloth diaper since most diapers now are disposable, snail mail because, you know, email, whole milk because almond milk and other flavors, regular coffee, plain M&Ms also because of the additional flavors now. Get the idea?

But be cautious, a retronym is not always merely adjective/noun combinations. It’s a word with a qualifier to refer to the original meaning of the word. Thus, chocolate chip is not a retronym, neither is cellular phone.

Tmesis: a new word formed by placing one word in the middle of another.

Not a new concept, Shakespeare used one in “Richard II”—How-heinous-ever. So did George Bernard Shaw in “Pygmalion”: Fan-bloody-tastic or abso-blooming-lutely.

Capitonym: word that changes meaning, and sometimes pronunciation, when capitalize, i.e. mobile meaning moving or Mobile meaning the city in Alabama. Others include August, the month, or august the adjective meaning respected and important.

Bahuvrihi: just saying this correctly should earn you points. If you want help, try here. The word is Sanskrit and a bahuvrihi itself. The word means “much rice” but refers to a rich man. Examples would be barefoot, graybeard, redhead or blue-collar/white-collar or old money.

Embolaliawords or sounds added into speech. It’s stammered speech as we arrange our thoughts. Examples: well, but, I guess, um, you know.

Metonym or Metonymy:  using the name of one object or concept for that of another to which it is related, or of which it is a part, i.e. the bottle for strong drink, count heads (or noses) for count people, hoops for basketball, Capitol Hill for US. Congress.

Mondegreen:  is a mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase in a way that gives it a new meaning. Mondegreens are generally understood not to be intentional.

Around our family the song “Elvira” is forever called It’ll fire up. Other examples dawnzer lee light for the mishearing of “dawn’s early light” lyric of the “Star- Spangled Banner” or The ants are my friends for “The answer, my friend” in “Blowing in the Wind” by Bob Dylan.

Portmanteau:  two or more words are joined to coin a new word, which refers to a single concept, i.e. education + entertainment = edutainment, fan + magazine = fanzine, motor + hotel = motel, spoon + fork= spork 

Slurvian: basically, this is a portmanteau that is slurred together. Examples d’ja slurred form of did you, wanna for want to, and the ubiquitous y’all for you all. Of course, that last example of a slurvian is standard English where I live. 😊

I’m a wordsmith and a word game player. I love learning new words.

Now you, too, know a few new words in case you want to wow your next Zoom meeting and drop one in. I’m not sure they’ll appreciate them as much as I do, though.

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