23 04, 2021

Recipes

By |2021-04-21T09:09:07-05:00April 23rd, 2021|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


I collect recipes to help with my stress-relief baking.  I tear them out of magazines, cut them out of newspapers and picked them up at grocery stores, back when they handed out recipe cards.  I even have some that I picked up at the State Fair of Texas including my famous sweet potato biscuit recipe and the kids’ favorite skillet burritos.

I’ve tried to type them all into a data base so I have digital copies, but my memories of these recipes are attached to where I got them. If they are all in the same format in a digital file, I will never recognize them.  I look for the recipe I need based on where I originally found the recipe.

Not a particularly effective way for anyone else to find my recipes, but I know where they all are.

For example, I wanted to make forgotten cookies recently.  This recipe came from my mother.  Shortly after Beekeeper Brian and I got married, she gave me a notebook with note cards of all our family recipes.  It has the forgotten cookie recipe in it along with my Aunt Nita’s mashed potato roll recipe, my Grandmother Hixson’s chocolate and butterscotch pie recipes, and my Mother’s Blueberry Delight.  (Notice the lack of vegetable recipes mentioned. =)  The notebook is falling apart and so I must gently take it off the shelf and gently put it back.

 I suppose I could replace it – but I won’t.  Eventually there may be no need for paper recipes at all but that won’t be until after I’m gone.  I will always use my various scraps of magazines and newspapers, and especially my notebook with my mother’s hand written recipe cards.

 

19 04, 2021

Look Who Came to Visit

By |2021-04-14T15:48:47-05:00April 19th, 2021|A Writer's Life, Writer's Life|4 Comments

Living in a certified habitat for wildlife house means regular interruptions to my writing to check out what’s in the backyard.

Recently Jack and Jill trotted across our backyard and up our fence. No joeys with them, but I suspect they were out prowling for baby food. Of course I had to go see.

Their tails were hairless so not possums with only a p, but opossums. That’s how you tell the difference between the North American marsupial species.

Before you rush to tell me how ugly the critters are, let me say opossums get a bad rap. True, they’re kinda creepy looking, but reality is, opossums are incredibly useful, and greatly misunderstood.

White opossums make great neighbors. They are docile, not likely to threaten pets or carry disease, and, most important, because they help keep pest populations under control. Good reasons to have them around.

Known as Nature’s Little Sanitation Engineers, they eat everything from garbage and dead things to SNAKES and mosquitoes. They can eat up to 5,000 ticks a year. Plus, they aren’t very susceptible to rabies and largely immune to venom from snakes like cottonmouths and rattlesnakes.

They’re fascinating little creatures. Check these opossum facts.

  1. Opossum babies are called joeys. Mom is jill and Poppa is jack. They belong to the same class of animals as kangaroos, wombats, and koalas that raise their young in a pouch. Lifespan is two to four years.
  2. They have sharp claws, opposable thumbs on their hind feet, and a prehensile tail help them scale trunks and hang onto branches. They often nest in tree hollows. Joeys travel on jills’ back or her pouch.
  3. Young opossums make sneezing sounds or a soft choo choo to call their mother, who will respond with clicking noises. Males make those same clicking sounds during mating season. When an opossum is threatened, it may hiss or growl, but Opossums are rarely violent.
  4. “Playing ‘Possum” isn’t pretending. It’s an involuntary reaction that causes the opossum to seize up. Sorta like fainting in humans. In this state, opossums sometimes bare their teeth, foam at the mouth, and produce foul-smelling fluids from anal glands to mimic sickness. An Opossum can remain catatonic for up to four hours.

They demonstrated for me by freezing in “playing possum” mode when I approached.All I wanted was to tell them any animal that eats mosquitoes and snakes is definitely welcome here and please come again.

16 04, 2021

Stress Relief

By |2021-04-15T08:07:59-05:00April 16th, 2021|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|2 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


Baking is my stress relief and the past year has had plenty of stress to relieve.  I particularly enjoy making biscuits and scones – really any breakfast food.

With only Beekeeper Brian and myself at home, I have had to find ways to bake and not weigh 300 pounds.  So each Sunday, I take breakfast to the praise team at church.  We meet at 7:00 to practice and stay through the service until almost noon so the gesture is much appreciated and there are seldom leftovers.

Both biscuits and scones require the use of a pastry blender.  I’ve seen a picture on Facebook of one asking if anyone knew what it was.  I was somewhat offended at the suggestion that only old people use pastry blenders.

I have actually been through several pastry blenders in the past few years.  I tried one that had a slightly different design and broke two of them before I gave up and went back to the original crescent shape.  It has held up to my stress relieving routine but sometimes looks a little worse for the wear.

12 04, 2021

Hills and Highways are Alive with Wildflowers in Springtime

By |2021-04-10T16:06:26-05:00April 12th, 2021|Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

Hills and highways are alive with wildflowers in the Spring is a yearly rite of the season, especially in Texas. The seas of color along our roadways vary every year. Bluebonnets signal Spring has arrived.

April has done an outstanding job this year painting the roadsides in the blues, reds, yellows, and pinks with bluebonnets, primroses, Indian paintbrush, and buttercups. Bluebonnets are a particularly gorgeous deep blue this year thanks to the winter’s awful blizzard and freeze.

We can thank two women for the beauty we enjoy.

The  origin of bluebonnets, the Texas state flower, involves a young Indian girl named She-Who-Is-Lonely. It’s a familiar tale for most Texans.

She-Who-Is-Lonely lived when Indians roamed Texas. According to legend the weather was not kind to the natives. Winters were harsh, Spring brought catastrophic flooding, followed by a summer drought. Food was scarce. The tribe appealed to the Great Spirit for help. She-Who-Is-Lonely overheard the Great Spirit tell them selfishness had brought on their plight. She took matters into her own hands.

She offered her most prized possession to the Great Spirit, burning her beloved doll in a fire. Once the fire cooled, she then took handfuls of ashes and turned north, south, east, and west letting the ashes fall from her hands as she spun.

When the tribe awoke, the barren landscape was covered in lush blankets of blue and green. The Great Spirit had forgiven them. The tribe renamed the little girl “One-Who-Dearly-Loves-Her-People.”

Tomie dePaola wrote and illustrated a fabulous picture book based on the legend. It’s available here.

The other woman is Lady Bird Johnson, wife of President Lyndon Johnson, who made it her mission to improve the landscape along our interstate highways.

She convinced states that wildflowers were good at erosion prevention along the roadside and suggested strongly that mowers skip cutting the wildflowers until after they had dispersed their seeds. She even requested that mowers scatter flower seeds the last time they mowed in the fall.

Former Texas Governor John Connally offered free packets of wildflower seeds to Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and anyone who wrote to him. Other states followed with their own wildflower programs for their roadways.

Lady Bird’s efforts provided the wildflowers we see on so many roadways when we travel each Spring. Funding cuts over recent years have eliminated many seed sowing programs, but the show happens every year.

This year in Texas the show is magnificent and from the pictures appearing on social media I think it’s a good blooming year for the hills and highways everywhere.

Bluebonnets are even blooming in my neighborhood.

9 04, 2021

Neighborhood Chicken

By |2021-04-02T15:50:06-05:00April 9th, 2021|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


We got a call from a friend over Spring Break asking if we wanted another chicken.  They had a chicken that had started roosting in the tree in their front yard.  Who doesn’t want a free chicken?

So off we went with our chicken catcher (coat hanger bent into a hook) and cage to retrieve a random chicken.

Sure enough she was up in the tree in their front yard.

We tried poking her to get her to come down but that only drove her up higher.

When no one was looking, she would come down and eat the seeds that had fallen from the bird feeder.

 But as soon as anyone got near, back up she would go.

We finally gave up and left the cage and chicken getter with our friend.  He has been researching how to trap a chicken on YouTube.  It is amazing what you can find.

Meanwhile the chicken has gotten tired of being harassed and taken up residence in another tree in the neighborhood.

Hopefully she can end up at our house.  She is quite a lovely chicken.

5 04, 2021

Who knew April is NATIONAL POETRY MONTH?

By |2021-04-03T07:34:31-05:00April 5th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

I didn’t.

Seems back in 1996 the Academy of American Poet established the tradition to highlight American poets and encourage people about the pleasure of reading poetry. It’s all explained on their website.

I’m not a poetry writer, but I do ♥ to read poetry. I’ll read poems to anyone, willing or not. I’ve even memorized poems by my favorite American poets.

I have a story about my second oldest grandson and one of his poems. He was home schooled, and while he was visiting, I promised his parents we’d do his homework.

Unfortunately, like father, like son. Homework was a battle for his dad too. The thought of poetry homework made the task even less appealing, especially with a swimming pool calling.

He stared outside at a squirrel climbing the pole to the bird feeder. He ate a Pop Tart. He slipped away to play a game of chess with his Pepa. I marched him back to the table and the task at hand.

Then I caught him at the window again, watching a chameleon on the Maple tree. I prepared to use my mean teacher’s voice.

Before I could speak, he pointed to the laptop on the table. “I wrote the poem already.”

This is what I found:

Lizard Poetry

Lazy lizards leap from leaf to leaf

As green as a Sprite can

Lizards like to hide under the weather

Running, hiding, and sneaking around

Crazily, hastily, and hurriedly leaving their tails behind them

The miniature lizards are tiny compared to the big, blue sky

He was in his swim trunks and out the back door before I finished reading.

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