Quote on Change

About the graphic

I took this photo in 2015 of one of the many church yards we saw on our trip to Ireland. Unfortunately, I was too busy enjoying myself and didn’t make good notes on specific locations so I don’t know exactly where it is.

About the quote

The end of August brings changes. Changes in the weather are anxiously awaited. Other changes not so much. I prefer status quo. This quote makes change, which is actually inevitable anyway, more palatable to me.


Taco Tuesday and Menu Planning

Back in the good old days when funds were limited and payday came once a month, I did meal planning. It was the best way to be sure our little family of five would have good meals for the month.

Eating out, even fast food, was not an option. Not enough money and who in their right mind takes three children under five out to eat? Not this momma. At least not until the two youngest could feed themselves.

I started meal planning again when we lived in the remote area of the Rio Grande National Forest. The nearest chain market was an hour away. The local tourist market was way too limited in what was available and far too expensive, in most cases, for what I needed.

Back in Texas, availability is not a problem. We do live five miles from the nearest grocery store, but that’s a piece of cake after living in the Colorado forest. If I venture out during the going-home hour, there’s a ton of traffic and a mob scene at the market – a big hassle, so I avoid that time frame whenever  possible.

I try to make sure I plan our meals for leftovers to freeze. Easy enough to do when, with just the two of us, I can cook big once and guarantee leftovers for future quick meals another day.

Tuesday Taco is one of our favorite menu days.

Recently, I took leftover chalupa from the freezer to serve in our taco shells. Turned out what I thought was chalupa was chili.

The menu plan went quickly from Tuesday tacos to Frito pie!

Doesn’t rhyme as well, but it was just as tasty.

Flexibility, it’s the key to happy meal planning.


Welcome Ducklings

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

We moved the ducklings outside this week. They are in the pen where the white chicks had been.  They seem to have adjusted very well.  I close them in the coop at night and they come out during the day.

Lucy and Ricky noticed them pretty quickly and seemed very curious.  I may never get the big ducks back into their pen.


We are keeping Elvis, my friend’s dachshund, while she and her husband are in Alaska.

He seemed curious as well.

I’m not sure the ducklings realize what a novelty they are.  It is nice to see the rest of Miller Farm welcome the new ducklings!


Today – Elisabeth Elliot

About the graphic

Background from Pexels free stock images. Image created by  Martin Péchy

About the quote

Elisabeth Elliot went home to glory in 2015. You can read about her amazing life here

She left behind a wealth of devotional material where she shared her godly wisdom and insight. One of her publications was a daily flip calendar titled Keep a Quiet Heart. I believe the flip calendar is out of publication now.I bought mine in 1997. My cherished copy sits on my kitchen window sill where I can read her thought for each day.

That’s where I found this quote. It’s just a true today as when she wrote it.


Summer Dog Days and Back-to-school Time

It’s August. It’s hot, it’s humid in Texas. There doesn’t seem to be any relief from this year’s record setting summer heat. We’re having realio, trulio dog days of summer.

Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

The term comes from the Egyptians who believed the Dog Star Sirius added heat to the sun and produced a long stretch of sultry weather during the forty days beginning July 3 and ending August 11.

Those of us who live in Texas know that dog days can (and do) begin well before July 3 and extend long after August 11 no matter how bright Dog Star Sirius shines. And, like our dogs, in this extreme heat, all we want to do is nothing but lounge around.

This year triple digit heat warnings of dog days are competing with all the excitement of back-to-school preparations.

Tax-free shopping days add to the frenzy for school clothing and supplies. Even though it’s been years since I’ve taught, I find caught of the eagerness and stocking up on pens and pads and folders.

Teachers are braving the temperatures and getting ready for the new school year. Not just public schoolteachers but also all those moms and dads who undertake to homeschool. To all of you, thank you.

Soon, let us hope, these dog days will be a memory. Fall will bring cooler weather and colorful leaves, pumpkins, and holiday bazaars.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready!



A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

After the recent hatching was complete, we have 6 chicks and 2 ducks. We have kept them all in a tub in what was Rachel’s room and is now Brian’s project room.  They seem quite content most of the time.

The ducklings are really messy and like to play in the water. Based on the actions of our grown ducks out back I can safely assume they will not outgrow this trait.  I recently put them in a wire cage outside in the shade while I cleaned their tub.  They seemed to enjoy the grass.  We hope to move them outside to a small pen in the chicken yard this weekend.I was thinking about all this morning. They started out in an incubator and then moved into a slightly larger brooder tub. As they grow, the tub becomes crowded. Then it will be time for them to go into a small pen and finally be incorporated into the big chicken yard.  I was pondering whether or not the little chicks are ready to be in such a big chicken yard.

I was reminded of our children. They started in the house and as they grew it became crowded.  Then they moved on to various locations.  One is still in town but in a different house, one is in a town about an hour away, and the oldest is married, in a town 3 hours away and traveling all over the country.

I sometimes ponder whether or not they are ready to be out in the big world.  I do enjoy the added space in the house.


Writing Our Story – Helen Mirren

About the graphic

This is an original and my graphics are free goodies for you

About the quote

Helen Mirren is a gifted actresses, who won an Oscar for playing Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen (2006). There’s such truth in her words. Life is all about choices and the choices we make determine where our story will go.


THE Chair

This little chair came to live with us in May 1990 after my mother-in-law passed away. We’d given it to her when she started having trouble sleeping in a bed.

She loved the small size because it fit her small sized body and shape. And, the lever made it easy to recline.

We enjoy it for all the same reasons.

After my husband retired, the chair became his chair. He’s not tall, 5’ 9” so the size worked perfect.

We’ve now had the chair nearly thirty years. With each relocation, the chief determinant for a new home was “where will THE chair fit?”

The main living area had to be sized so that the chair aligned with the television for all baseball and football game viewing. Usually placement was easy.

With our move from Texas to Colorado, the house had only one location for the television and the chair. It came off the truck, the movers set it in place, and there it stayed until we returned to Texas.

Our new Texas house was a different story. The new living room had four windows, a fireplace banked by built-in bookcases, and our piano that needed an inside wall. Positioning THE chair across from the television meant blocking the opening into the dining room.

Not a serious problem, but I felt sure there was another solution.

That’s when my interior designer cousin came to help.

Studying the unique room, she nodded her head toward THE chair and innocently asked, “Can we move that?”

The answer, of course, as long as the tv sits across from it.

She laughed. “I see.”

It took a bit, but together we finally figured out another arrangement for the remaining furniture, so the room didn’t look like an overcrowded showroom.

And, I’m sure you’ve guessed, THE chair remained exactly where it was.


Time on Her Own

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

One of the Buff Orpington hens started losing feathers on her back thanks to an overzealous rooster. One morning I discovered her in a nest box with a gash on her back.

Having watched Rachel many times, I donned gloves and treated the hen with Blu-Kote – a germ-killing fungicidal wound dressing. True to its name, it is a dark blue liquid that stains whatever it touches, hence the gloves.  I thought I was being smart.  The hen, however, shook her head in disagreement and flung blue everywhere.

At least the wound was covered.

A few days later, she wandered into an empty run, and I closed the gate and got her food and water.  The isolation did wonders for her and before long her feathers all grew back.  She even started laying eggs again!She got out of her pen and I figured she was ready to be with the others.  However, a few days later I found her back in the nest box with missing feathers.  I returned her to the isolation pen.  She was not quite ready to join society.

As summer comes to an end and the start of school/work looms ever near, I can say I may have to agree with her.  I’m not quite ready…



A Blog by Guest Blogger – Jody Gilmore Payne

I’m from a long line of readers and storytellers. I can’t remember a time my parents and grandparents didn’t have an open book nearby. I realize now the value of the legacy and thank them for the memories.

~I have ignored Papa’s frowning and eloped with a Browning.

~I have fought beside Travis in the Alamo.

~I have discussed cabbages and kings with a walrus.

~I have crossed a vast desert with an Englishman in Arab robes.

~I have dined with a fat king and wept for his queen.

~I have grown older and wiser on Washington Square.

~I have excavated a site for antiquities of ancient cultures and dug a despot from a hole in the same ground.

~I have journeyed through a wardrobe into a land of eternal winter.

~I have advised presidents and a man who would be king.

~I have been horrified to watch Othello give his trust to Iago.

~I have permitted murderers to go free on the Oriental Express.

~I have disagreed with a Medici when he claimed the end justifies the means and then listened with horror as our leaders now quote him.

~I have learned about relativity from a genius and taught him how to tie his shoes.

~I have knit my way through the French Revolution and sought justice for my people.

~My beauty was celebrated, but I was cast aside when I couldn’t give a French dictator a child.

~I have sailed the seven seas on a schooner and navigated across a continent on a sea of grass.

~I have followed an ideal and founded the best government known to man.

~I have hiked the Inca Trail to watch the sunrise over Machu Picchu.

~I have drawn lines in the Nazca desert so long ago no one will remember their origin.

~I have built great pyramids in the Valley of the Kings and left a Sphinx to guard them.

~I have descended a mountain carrying stones etched with the sacred words of God.

~I have slain a giant with five smooth stones and changed history.

~I have set giant stones in a circle to explain the miracle of the heavens.

~I have caught words as they slid from the pooka’s mouth and meditated on power.

~I have listened to the caged bird sing and soared above the Grand Tetons with the proudest of all birds, the American eagle.

~I have been betrayed by a man and his church and worn an A on my breast.

~I have roamed the dark forest with werewolves and fled from vampires.

~I have thrilled to my first kiss many times.

~I have crossed the Delaware with brave men to follow the most virtuous of leaders.

~I have fought a war with my brothers and watched Atlanta burn.

~I have composed ballads with a poet and dreamed of returning to Mandalay.

~I have partaken of a moveable feast and baked blackbirds in a pie.

~I have watched in horror as barns burned through the night in Mississippi and found peace at dawn on Walden’s Pond.

~I have flown through space and walked on the moon.

~I have ridden a thoroughbred in the Derby and cried for the fate of a warhorse.

~I have bowed before a lowly donkey carrying a virgin with an unborn God.

Lucky me, I can read.

Jody Gilmore Payne is an author, a blogger, a horsewoman, an animal lover, and now a transplanted Texan …

I’ve always believed in the inescapable order of fate, but I can’t think of one good reason I wasn’t born right here in Texas. Oh the time I wasted wandering around looking for home!

Well, I’m here now and embrace it with open heart and welcoming arms.   

If my writing takes on a decidedly southern cadence, it’s understandable. I write about what I see and what I believe to be good and true.

You can visit Jody on Facebook or her website or her blog