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23 09, 2022

Plugging the Hole

By |2022-09-22T20:59:10-05:00September 23rd, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


We had some pretty windy days in August. We also have some mostly dead trees in the backyard. This combination has led to falling branches, some landing in the “duck pond”.

It didn’t seem to bother the ducks except it made it a little crowded so I faithfully removed the branches.

When I cleaned out the pond/pool I discovered one of the smaller branches had pierced through the bottom of the pool.

It was tightly wedged in the hole, keeping the water from leaking out.

It made me think of the story of Hans Brinker, the Dutch boy who plugged the hole in the dike with his finger. He stayed until someone came to fix the hole and was hailed as a hero who saved the town from flooding.

Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone will come to fix the hole in our duck pond. And, although the weather is still good for swimming, the stores have replaced swimming pools with Halloween decorations.

I guess the stick will continue to plug the hole. Meanwhile, I’ll watch the curb for discarded swimming pools with no holes.

19 09, 2022

The Legend of the Bottle Tree

By |2022-09-17T21:41:18-05:00September 19th, 2022|Uncategorized|2 Comments

SOURCE:  explorebeaufortsc.com

Bottle tree art is a southern tradition that goes back to ancient Egypt. African slaves carried the bottle tree tradition to Europe and North America in the 17th century.

Many African tribes and communities believed that the talents of the dead could be stolen or could escape from graves. Bottles placed around the gravesite captured the good talents and kept them safe and trapped evil spirits.

That belief came with the slave trade to the American south when enslaved Africans placed bottles in trees around their slave quarters to keep evil slave owners away.

SOURCE: eBay auction item

Interesting side note, the Victorians incorporated the same idea with witch’s balls placed inside their homes. Witch’s balls look like Christmas ornaments and were added to the base of marble top tables, hung, or placed on stands.

Though the superstition has been all but completely lost over time, bottle trees are now entrenched in yard art.

Blue bottles are most often seen. Originally Milk of Magnesia bottles, which were blue, were used. They’re too hard to find these days. Most folks settle for blue wine bottles.

The blue color is important because it is believed to discourage the haints. That’s southern speak for ghosts. A special shade of blue called “haint blue” is used on southern porch ceilings to ward off evil spirits and stinging insects.

Whether you believe all the hocus pocus folklore, bottle trees make an interesting piece of yard art. If you don’t want to use a live tree, you can find lots of iron trees at garden shows and plant nurseries or make one yourself.

My bottle tree is a mix of colors, including blue, that brightens my garden. And just maybe, that’s the reason I have zero haints.

16 09, 2022

Memories

By |2022-09-15T17:29:31-05:00September 16th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


I’m pretty convinced that Cooper is part kangaroo. That dog could jump several feet straight up in the air.

While it was entertaining to watch, the neighbors were slightly concerned about him jumping over the fence. To quell their fears, Rachel attached several feet of chicken wire to the top of the fence in the corner next to the neighbor’s backyard.

Although Cooper has been gone for more than a month, the extra wire is still there. I noticed this week that the morning glories have started climbing the wire.

 It reminds me of the time with Cooper. It also reminds me how persistent morning glories are.

Both memories make me smile.

12 09, 2022

Recognizing a POGO Writer

By |2022-09-11T16:27:03-05:00September 12th, 2022|Make Me Think Monday, Monday Motivations|1 Comment

Writing careers vary from writer to writer. There’s no policy and procedure manual, no checklist for success. What to do and how to do it is solely up to the individual author. Writers can be successful or sabotage their success.

We tend to sabotage ourselves. In the immortal words of POGO, “We met the enemy and it is us!” Pogo Possum is the anthropomorphic character created by Walt Kelly. The POGO comic strip ran daily from 1948 to 1975. The graphic pictured was for the first Earth Day in 1971.

These are characteristics of POGO writers …

  1. You spend too much time and energy mimicking the writing and style of some other author.

The publishing world already has Janet Evanovich, J.K. Rowling, Steven King, and Nora Roberts. Their success is their success. You can’t copy and get there!

  1. You obsess with following THE RULES.

Don’t get me wrong. Rules are very important guidelines. Writing, on the other hand, is an art form that entails experimentation, innovation, and expansion.

Don’t be so hung up on THE RULES you lose your own sense of story.

  1. You buy into every new way to write or plot that a writing expert suggests.

I’m not saying it’s not necessary to study writing craft. Learning the craft and studying with writing experts is important.

All the classes and workshops in the world are wasted if I’m not producing. Plus, writing experts don’t always know what’s right for the individual. There isn’t one answer.

That’s a self-discovery journey traveled alone. We eventually figure out what works for us.

  1. You’re unable to take criticism or the flip side—believe everything anyone says about your story.

Either position can be fatal.

No denying bad critiques or reviews hurt. Surviving a brutal criticism or review requires an elephant hide and learning to weigh the opinions expressed for exactly what they’re worth then make up your own mind.

It is YOUR story, after all.

Strong writers survive…and often produce better stories from hard critiques or bad reviews.

  1. You’re not writing.

This is the most telling POGO writer sign of all.

All writers struggle with the procrastination parasite from time to time. But a successful writing career requires disciple and focus. Whether moved by the muse or not, a professional goes to the keyboard or grabs a pencil every day.

I know what you’re thinking, authors must promote and develop reader relationships, which cuts into writing time. Very true, but I would argue that the key to gaining recognition and readership (aka success) is writing the next story.

Do you recognize any POGO writer signs in yourself? What can you do to change them?

An earlier version of this post appeared on September 23, 2013.
9 09, 2022

New Order

By |2022-09-08T18:32:16-05:00September 9th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


Now that Cooper and Penelope have been gone for a month, Max and Coco have settled into a new routine.  Coco has returned to her slightly obnoxious, bossy self without Cooper around.

I suspect she considers herself the “dog in charge”.  This suspicion was confirmed by a recent interaction involving Coco’s bed.

Max was laying in it, resting peacefully – until Coco wanted it.

Although Coco is much smaller, neither she nor Max seem to realize that.  She didn’t even bark at him.  She just stood there until he moved.

Soon the new order was established.

Before you begin to feel too sorry for Max, he does have his own bed.  Coco’s was just closer.  I feel like we have small children once again.

5 09, 2022

Labor Day Thank You

By |2022-09-04T11:52:59-05:00September 5th, 2022|Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

It’s Labor Day, I want to acknowledge workers and the work they do.

Those who work in farming, ranching, and trucking, or in factories, warehouses, retail stores, and other labor-intensive jobs are the ones who make our country such a great place to live.

Our backbone.

Medical professionals like doctors, nurses, EMTs, and soldiers serve, day in and day out, with no time off for holidays to protect us.

Because y’all do your job, I can do what I love – write. I have to pause here and give a special nod of awe to fellow writers who work full time and come home to write.

Writing is my job. Because so many workers do their jobs, I’m able to do mine. Specific thank yous to

  1. Teachers, college professors, writing workshop presenters, and conference organizers. Because you did your job, I can read and write!
  2. Thank you, farmers, ranchers, truck drivers, and grocery store employees. You do your job and I can shop in comfort at the local market for my family’s needs and meals.
  3. Thank you to carpenters, electricians, plumbers, designers, and builders who provide a roof over my head, heat, and air conditioning. Doing your job provided a safe, dry place for me to work indoors.

Writing is different from other jobs.

We don’t have to clock in or out. We’re not docked if we’re late or choose not to write one day. It’s a solitary job. For the most part, it’s us and the computer or pen and paper. But without all of you doing your job I can’t do mine.

Thank you!

2 09, 2022

Egg Hunt

By |2022-09-01T19:30:12-05:00September 2nd, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


It has been quite a while since I have been challenged by a game of Egg Hunt.

In fact, I didn’t even know the chickens were still playing until Beekeeper Brian found eggs in the brush pile at the back of the chicken yard.

I wasn’t quite sure how the chickens managed to lay the eggs there. Then I caught a chicken in the brush pile.

Perhaps she was expanding the Egg Hunt game to Hide and Seek. If that is the case – she is the champion!

Of course, now that I know her hiding place, I can also find her eggs.

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