Friday on the Miller Farm

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.

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.

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.

28 08, 2020

New Neighbors

By |2020-08-25T20:41:15-05:00August 28th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|2 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


The chicks quickly outgrew the brooder. I didn’t fully understand the ramifications of this until they started dying.

Rachel took one look at them when she was visiting us and said, “they are too crowded.”  The question became where to put them.

The chicks that were obviously roosters went into the rooster pen.

Rachel suggested putting the hens in with the ducks since that part of the pen was secured against escape. And there is a small coop in there to lock the chicks up at night.  I was concerned that the ducks would bother the chicks.  Rachel assured me the ducks would be afraid of the chicks.

Sure enough, Rachel was right.judythemorgan.com

The chicks stayed in their corner…

judythemorgan.com And the ducks stayed in theirs.

So far everyone is getting along.  The coop has been repaired so when they start bothering each other, we can move the chicks out into the big yard and safely lock them up at night.

Another successful move on Miller Farm.

21 08, 2020

Rough Week on Miller Farm

By |2020-08-17T10:23:25-05:00August 21st, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|4 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


Last week was rough on Miller farm. It started with the death of one of our roosters.

While this is unfortunate, it was not terribly upsetting. None of the current roosters have names and I am not attached to them.

Then we lost three of the chicks that were in the brooder.  This was a little concerning.

After consulting with Rachel, the chicks have been relocated and are now receiving high protein pellets.  That’s a blog for another Friday.

Chicken Wrangler Sara and Lili, judythemorgan.comThen my beloved Lily died.

She is the hen who let me hug her every morning for a while.

I’m not sure whether it was age, heat, or simply 2020 that caused her death.

I am sad and I will miss her, but there is still much life on Miller Farm.

Lili chicken, judythemorgan.com

RIP Lily

14 08, 2020

Ear Training

By |2020-08-06T06:54:01-05:00August 14th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


Part of my music education was ear training.  This involved identifying different instruments, different parts of a music selection and even specific notes and rhythms in a song. These are very useful skills as a music teacher.  I teach these skills to my students on a simpler level and the youngest classes get very excited about writing rhythms.

These astute listening skills can be a detriment, however. When a song we play on the praise team at church does not end the way my ear believes it should,  I confess there are times when I quietly resolve the chord just for my own peace of mind.

I can also identify nonmusical sounds.

For example, a couple of weeks ago Beekeeper Brian and I were lying in bed, reading, and we heard an unusual noise.  It sounded like the ceiling fan was blowing a piece of paper but that wasn’t the case.

We looked around for a minute then the sound stopped.  When it started up again, my aural memory kicked in and I said “that’s a click beetle.”

For those who don’t know, it is a beetle that makes a clicking noise as it tries to get from its back to its stomach. I guess it is a step up from a roach that just stays on its back until it dies.

Here’s a picture of one in the kitchen.

judythewriter.com, judythemorgan.comEric Carle has written a book about a click beetle. I read it to my students.

judythewriter.com, judythemorgan.com So we began a search of the floor and sure enough there was a click beetle under the bed.  I think Beekeeper Brian was a little surprised.

I, on the other hand, was thankful the skills I learned earning my music degrees continue to be useful.

7 08, 2020

Life Cycle of Chicks

By |2020-07-31T07:03:32-05:00August 7th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


When I was grading science papers this Spring, I was reminded about life cycles. I saw many drawings of caterpillars to butterflies and tadpoles to frogs.

At Miller Farm I get to witness the life cycle of a chicken.

www.judythewriter.com, www.judythemorgan.comOf course, they start as eggs in the incubator. That part is pretty boring and lasts 21 days, usually. We always have at least one overachiever who makes their entrance early. Then they cheep loudly to encourage their friends to join them.

After they hatch and dry off they become “fuzzy butts.”  These are quite cute and represent what most people think of when they picture chicks.

After a few weeks they enter the “ugly stage”. This happens as they lose their baby feathers and start to get their adult feathers. They are truly ugly.www.judythewriter.com, Chicken Wrangler Sara

Shortly after this stage they are in the “piglet” stage where they eat all the time.  I guess that helps them grow to be full-sized chickens.  Soon these guys will join the rest of the flock.

Hopefully we have enough hens to replace those who have died this summer and we won’t have to go through this life cycle again any time soon.www.judythewriter.com

Right now I’m more interested in the life cycle of a grandson who will never have an ugly stage!www.judythewriter.com

31 07, 2020

East Wall Down

By |2020-07-23T10:37:18-05:00July 31st, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|4 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


Chicken Wrangler Sara Blog, JudytheThe East wall of our chicken coop fell down last week.  It is not surprising.  It has been slowly deteriorating over the past year. In fact, I was quite amazed when the recent hail storm did not knock it down.

In fact when it fell, there was no wind at all to blow it down.  There was no chicken running into it to knock it over. It simply fell.

The chickens ran and squawked in fear.  Rachel said they probably thought the sky was falling.  She is so clever!

As I looked at the rotting wood on the ground I thought it to be symbolic of our society right now.  We have weathered the storm of a pandemic, the darkness of isolation, the fear of uncertainty, the anger of civil unrest yet we remain standing – at least for now.

I believe there are some who are ready to just fall over at any moment.  The sheer exhaustion of existing in such uncertainty has worn them down.  They have withstood the storm and now they are tired and ready to rest.

So what does this mean to me?  It means I must treat everyone very gently because I can’t tell by looking which person is done standing.

I should encourage everyone I see, offer help when I can, write notes and mail them, bake cookies and take them.  Anything I can think of that might make people smile even if I can’t see it under their mask.  Hopefully I can see it in their eyes.

We will rebuild the chicken coop.  When the time is right, people will rebuild their lives, also.  I will be standing by with a hammer and nails, and chocolate chip cookies.

17 07, 2020

True Confession

By |2020-07-14T11:32:01-05:00July 17th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|3 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara 


I have a confession to make.  Several weeks ago I wrote about being fearless. This is not entirely true.

I opened the door to the garage a couple of weeks ago and saw a snake slithering along a milk crate. This was not a small, cute rough earth snake.

This was a huge unidentifiable snake and I slammed the door and screamed. I did not stop to take a picture but here is one I found:

This is what I imagined: Here is Beekeeper Brian’s rendition of the story sent to our children:

“Ok, so….. I just got the beejeeebus scared out of me. Mom is screaming from the kitchen like something is killing her!

I drop everything, run in there with no shirt or shoes (I don’t know how I will ever get service here, but that is beside the point, I digress) and she is screaming there is a SNAKE in the garage!!!

Well, being the loving husband and desiring to protect, I go to investigate. Sure enough, there is a little snake tail in the milk crate by the water heater.

Resisting the urge to just grab it (since I couldn’t see enough to be sure), I take the milk crate to the patio and start removing things. Sure enough, just a little Texas rat snake. It starts to leave so I let it. All four feet of it. Off it goes into the yard next door.

Well, I might have a few more gray hairs now from the excitement.”

He’s not the only one with additional gray hairs.  I’m just hoping the snake told all his friends to avoid the garage on Miller Farm.

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