Problem Solving on Miller Farm

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

I believe one of the most important skills one can have is the ability to solve problems.  I’m not talking about the word problems that plague math students every where.  I mean real life problems like how to open the door of the chicken coop from the inside when it shuts behind you.

I recently had to employ this skill while filling the chicken waterer.   The waterers have a lid that is removed to fill the tops and a small lid that covers the spout so water will not come out while it is being filled.

We have three waterers and somehow we have managed to lose all but one of these small lids.  This means that each time I carry a waterer to the hose, I must make sure I have the little lid. This week I failed at getting the small lid and I didn’t realize it until I had started to fill the waterer.

Rather than stop and go back into the chicken yard to get the lid, I used my finger to stop up the hole.  This was a little challenging because my index finger is still numb from having the tip cut off this summer.  So I used my middle finger.

As I stood there holding back the flow of water with my finger, I thought of the story of the little Dutch boy who put his finger in the hole in the dam and held back the North Sea.

I’d say fingers are a very important part of the problem solving process.


Considering TIME – C.S. Lewis


Starting 2019 with FOCUS

2018 is history. 2019’s clock is ticking.

A New Year signals

  • a fresh start
  • a new chapter in life with blank pages to fill
  • new questions to be asked
  • new answers to discover

It’s a time to move closer to fulfilling dreams and achieving goals. An opportunity to bring new focus.

Many pick a guide word for each New Year to help them focus. Words like Achieve, Joy, Balance,  Learn. You can find ideas here.

In the past, I’ve chosenHope fuels the creativity engine. That year I published two books and ultimately creativity has led to seven published books.

Last year I chose PROGRESSIt’s from the Elsie Joy Get to Workbook, a fantastic planner for projects. In spite of 2018’s many interruptions (some good, some not so good) I did make progress last year. Not as much as I planned, but forward movement is forward. I’m just saying.

This year my 2019 focus will be CONSISTENCY.2018 was full of spurts and fizzle outs. I’m determined to be more focused on my writing. My 2019 SMART goals are set to accomplished that focus.

In case you’re not familiar, SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, and results-focused – guidelines to achievement. Schoolteachers will recognize the idea from lesson planning. Setting SMART goals help me clarify ideas, focus efforts, and use time and resources productively. More about SMART goals in next week’s blog.

Have you picked a focus word for your new year? What did you choose? If you haven’t, what would it be?


Silly Roosters

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Winters in Texas are not particularly harsh. In fact if the temperature drops below 50, we are getting out our winter coats. The problem is that when it is 50 and raining, it feels really cold.  This was the case for several days during the Christmas break.

We have four roosters that have been put into separate runs to prevent them from terrorizing the hens.  The runs were built for the bantams that Rachel had for a while so the coops are a little small for these big roosters.  This meant they were left out in the cold rain.

I started to feel sorry for them so I went outside in the cold rain and put a tarp over the runs. I even secured it to the fence with zip ties so it would not blow away.

Then I came inside to warm up and dry off. I figured that after I left, they would huddle under the tarp to stay dry.

I was wrong. They remained in the opposite end of the run, getting wet. It made me think of the saying “they don’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain.”

I give up on those silly roosters. I have more sense than to go out in the rain to coax them under the tarp.


Considering TIME – Holley Gerth

With special thanks to Holley Gerth for her generosity in sharing her graphics for free.


Starting 2019 with a Story

To start our new year off on a writerly foot, I’m sharing a Christmas short story by my grandson. Morgan is a student at Southwest Baptist University and writes for their Student Media Organization newsletter INFUSE. “The Bicycle” is a short read – only three minutes – that offers food for thought as we begin 2019. Enjoy!

The Bicycle
By Morgan Hixson

It was the Christmas of 2006. I’m sure I asked for dozens of toys and things, but I don’t remember getting much in particular. I had recently turned 7 years old, and one of my favorite things to do was ride my little blue bicycle all over our subdivision (we lived near Houston, Texas at the time so the weather was in the forties and fifties). It hadn’t been very long since I’d finally gotten my training wheels off, and I was eager to show my older sisters how well I could ride now. The bike was a little small for me and only had pedal brakes, as opposed to the brakes you squeezed with your hand like all the big bikes had, but I loved it more than anything else I had at the time.

Well, December 25th came at last, and as usual our parents made us all wait upstairs while they made the final arrangements with the stockings and gifts downstairs. After they had finished, Mom had us all sit on the stairs while she took what seemed to be a million pictures. Once she finished, we were FINALLY able to gallop down the stairs and take a look at what we got. Our faces were shining with delight as we discovered various presents from our wish lists. Everything was wonderful, until I saw it.

It was as shiny as if it had just been brought home from the store and had a festive bow taped to its handlebars, but there was no doubting: it was my little blue bicycle, resting on its kickstand next to my little brother’s stocking. Immediately my eyes filled with tears and I ran back to my room, slammed the door, and dove onto my bed, the entire time screaming “It’s my bike! It’s MY bicycle!! He can’t have it!”

I don’t know how long I laid there sobbing the sobs of a broken-hearted little boy before my parents came in, and I don’t remember how long it took them to calm me down. I do remember them telling me it was okay, that they understood how much my bike had meant to me but that it had gotten too small for me, then leading me to the garage. Once we got there I quickly became ashamed of myself, for there in the middle of the bay stood a brand new yellow and black bike. It was much bigger than the other one and it even had a brake on the handlebars like I’d always wanted! Needless to say I soon fell more in love with that bike than I’d ever been with my old one.

Sometimes as children of God we all act the way I acted that Christmas day in 2006. We take the blessings God gives us for granted until he takes them away, and then we whine and scream and cry without bothering to stop and look for the bigger picture. Then, when God unveils His plan and we realize how much better it is than our plan, we’re left feeling sheepish and childish because we didn’t trust Him like we should have.

Photo Credit: Wix Images


Christmas Is ~~ Laura Ingalls Wilder


Holiday Greetings

Happy Christmas Eve!

View from the Front Porch will be on hiatus December 27 through January 7. Before we go we want to share this free image from my friend and fellow blogger, Edie Melson. It’s such a great reminder about the true meaning of Christmas.From Chicken Wrangler Sara and me, Merry Christmas to all who celebrate tomorrow and a safe and blessed New Year’s Eve.

See you in 2019!


Christmas with a Music Teacher

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

My Christmas tree is out – out of the closet. Perhaps after my last Christmas performance on December 21st I can get it out of the box.  Such is the life of a music teacher.  I had forgotten how busy and stressful the Christmas Season could be.  After 10 years at my previous school I was running on autopilot.  I knew the kids. I knew the program and what was expected.

Not so true this year.

Having 6 times the number of students sounded great and presented endless possibilities. I may have been a little over ambitious given the fact that their knowledge and skill base was different than I had anticipated.

There was a complete set of marching drums in my new office and I decided a drum line would be fun. (I completely ignored the fact that I have never played drums much less directed a drum line.) That all sounded wonderful in August before I had met any of the students.  They were not all excited about the plans I had made.  Many moments of frustration and “what was I thinking” have gone by.

But the day before the Christmas parade there were 6 students on drums marching around the parking lot keeping a remarkably steady beat and not tripping over each other.  Even our son Matt, the percussionist, was impressed with them.

Next week I will be fine-tuning the bells and voices for our rendition of “Carol of the Bells.” I’m not sure getting twenty-seven 5th and 6th graders to participate cheerfully was ever a realistic goal. But again, there are enough that want to play and sing so we’re giving it our all.

The 3rd and 4th grade recorder players have been a pleasant respite. I’ve taught recorder forever and these kids were excited to learn.

The final performance on Dec 21st is at the preschool which is much less pressure.   The younger students are cute and their parents love them regardless of how they sound.

Then, on December 22nd, I can put up our tree.  In some cultures the tree traditionally goes up on Christmas Eve.  Perhaps music teachers should be part of that culture.


Christmas Is ~~ Janice Maeditere