Friday on the Miller Farm

10 07, 2020

The Great Divide: Hymns and Contemporary Christian Songs

By |2020-07-10T10:00:15-05:00July 10th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Guest Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


This week I am writing not as Chicken Wrangler Sara but as my alter ego – Music Teacher Sara.

I was blessed to have been raised not only in church but in a musical family that actually sang at home.  My mother would play the piano, and we sang hymns in harmony.  The number of parts varied as each of the kids learned to read music and developed a favorite part.

As we have married and had our own children, the tradition continues when we gather at Nana and Pepa’s house.

Recently, churches have moved from singing hymns to singing praise songs.  There are strong feelings about this.  I happen to enjoy both.

My previous school sang hymns every morning in chapel.  In the last years I was there, I started singing the hymns with my music class the day before we sang them in chapel.  This gave the students a chance to at least hear them before the chapel service.  Not all of them liked to sing.

One afternoon, just before my last class of the day, I received word that my son was in the hospital 4 hours away. I was devastated.

My husband got the call first and left immediately. He called from the car, and we agreed it was best for me to stay and take care of Miller Farm.  I would not have been helpful at the hospital.

I was able to pull myself together before my high school class arrived.  The hymn we sang that day was “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.” These are the words.

1 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise him, for he is your health and salvation!
Come, all who hear; now to his temple draw near,
join me in glad adoration.

2 Praise to the Lord, above all things so wondrously reigning;
sheltering you under his wings, and so gently sustaining!
Have you not seen all that is needful has been
sent by his gracious ordaining?

3 Praise to the Lord, who will prosper your work and defend you;
surely his goodness and mercy shall daily attend you.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
if with his love he befriends you.

4 Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him!
All that has life and breath, come now with praises before him.
Let the Amen sound from his people again;
gladly forever adore him.

As I sang Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore Him!  I was forced to remember that God was still in control and still worthy of praise. Our son did come home and now works at a machine shop nearby.

This morning I was watching a performance of that hymn at Westminster Abbey.

There was an extra verse before verse 4.  I tried to find the words in a hymnal but every hymnal I checked only had the four verses.  I listened to it again and wrote down the words.

Praise to the Lord who, when tempests their warfare are waging,

Who when the elements madly around they are raging.

Biddeth them cease

Turneth their fury to peace

Whirlwinds and waters assuaging.

This verse seems particularly appropriate as tempests of disease and civil unrest are waging their war.  I am comforted once again by the thought that God is still in control.

God still uses music, both hymns and contemporary Christian songs, to bring me comfort.  People can argue about what is best.  To me all music is a gift from God.

3 07, 2020

Lucy’s Treat

By |2020-06-18T18:41:02-05:00July 3rd, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


We have entered that special season in Texas where the heat and lack of rain bring out the large roaches.

They are particularly prolific in the shed and frequently crawl into the water jugs for a drink and then drown.

When I pour out the water, the roach falls out and whoever is closest grabs it.

Lucy has figured this out and now she follows me around waiting for her treat. This morning the roach fell into the water bowl.

Lucy was quick to grab it.

I pour the water that doesn’t fit into the water bowl into the duck pond.

Sometimes the roach falls out there so Lucy has learned to follow me to the pond.

I guess Lucy really likes this addition to our morning routine.  She has started laying eggs again.

26 06, 2020

More Storm Damage

By |2020-06-18T18:39:45-05:00June 26th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


Last summer we got a new car – a 2017 white Honda Accord LX. We named her Gertrude the Great White Whale Take Two. I wrote a blog about it here.

During the recent hail storm I inadvertently left the trunk open. (Don’t ask)

Fortunately there is a liner in the trunk so I simply dipped out the water, took out the liner, and in a day of Texas sun, the trunk was completely dry.

The rest of the car, however, did not fare so well.

 

 

Because the trunk was open, the tail lights took direct hits from the hail.

The roof and hood also took a beating. A friend said it looked like a monkey went after it with a ball-peen hammer.

Even the trim has dents.


The insurance company said it was not worth fixing and declared it a loss. Poor Gertie!

We decided to keep her anyway. The inside is great and she still drives wonderfully. I figure this is a type of anti-theft insurance.

If someone is going to steal a car, chances are they won’t steal one with hail damage!

19 06, 2020

Another Storm Story

By |2020-06-19T12:00:11-05:00June 19th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|2 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


The weather in Texas is notoriously strange.  It can be storming in the front yard and clear in the back.  This was not the case, however, during our recent hail storm which destroyed our roof and totaled my car (more on that next week).

The hail was impressive in size and came down with the force of a power washer cleaning black spots off the back patio.

I was naturally concerned about the chickens and ducks in the back yard.

I waited until the sky stopped falling and went to check.

Despite their bird brains, they all managed to take cover and not one was hurt during the storm.

I cannot say the same for the duck pond and water bowl.

 

Fortunately both items were easily replaced and the ducks are blissfully unaware of the danger they had escaped.

In contrast, Beekeeper Brian and I are keenly aware of the blessing it was to get away with only material damage.

Things are replaceable.  People are not.

12 06, 2020

Lessons from the Storm

By |2020-06-02T09:51:31-05:00June 12th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


We have an amaryllis in our front yard.  This year it has bloomed twice and is particularly lovely.

Last week we had a horrible hail storm.  Beekeeper Brian was at work, so I was home alone and it was loud and scary.

As I watched out the front window, the gutter came down.

It was disconcerting to say the least.

The insurance adjuster came by yesterday, and we are getting a new roof and gutter.

My only question to him was – can we take the gutter all the way down now?  He assured me that was fine as he had pictures.

It will be a relief not to have that reminder hanging off the roof.

Meanwhile, when I walk through the living room I can see out the window the fallen gutter and the amaryllis.

I realized this morning how hard it is to look past the gutter to see the amaryllis.  The gutter is much closer and represents a very scary time.  But if I focus really hard, I can see the amaryllis which is quite beautiful and makes me smile.This is very much how life is right now.  The things that are closest – the pandemic, the civil unrest – are scary and hard to see past.  But if I focus really hard, I can trust there will be beauty beyond it all.

For now, I will choose to look at the amaryllis.

5 06, 2020

Stream of Consciousness

By |2020-05-28T09:36:11-05:00June 5th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


I really enjoyed my English classes in high school.  I remember reading James Joyce.  I don’t remember exactly what we read, only that he used a technique called stream of consciousness.

The way I remember it being explained is writing as your mind wanders, like right before you fall asleep.  You just move from one topic to the next with only a thread of connection.

I believe the children’s version of stream of consciousness is seen in  If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff.

I thought about this as I got ready to go to work this morning.

I opened the fridge to make my salad for lunch and remembered I needed to clean out the produce drawer.  We have some peaches in a brown sack that needed to go into the drawer.

So I cleaned the drawer and moved the peaches.

Then as I moved the peaches I saw my jar of sour dough starter.  That reminded me that I was taking some to a friend this evening so I took it out to feed it.

Then I remembered I wanted to take some blueberry bars to our community group tonight also.  I got them out of the back fridge and moved them into a different container that would fit in the front fridge where I could see it.

Then I remembered the teacher I am helping at school right now asked me to bring my paper shredder to school so I went to get it.  When I unplugged it, I saw all the dirt and dust and dog hair that had been under it so I cleaned the floor in that area.

I loaded it into my car and came back into the kitchen to get my lunch and my water.  When I opened the freezer to fill my cup with ice, I realized the ice trays needed to be emptied.

At this point I needed to get to work and I was afraid if I emptied the ice trays, I would remember something else so I went to work.

So instead of saying I got sidetracked I say I had a “stream of consciousness morning.”  It sounds so much better.

29 05, 2020

Cuddle Ducks

By |2020-05-28T09:18:01-05:00May 29th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


This transition from house ducks to outside ducks has been the smoothest ever.  I was concerned, as always, that the smaller ducks would have to go through an initiation before they were accepted into the flock.

This did not happen.

I started by putting the ducks in the wire cage in the pen with their new friends.Usually it takes a fair amount of time for the littles to venture out.  These ducks are particularly attached to each other so they went out together.They spent a few minutes cuddling and surveying their surroundings.

It reminded me how important it is to have a friend when facing a scary situation.

Before long they were eating and drinking.  I could rest easy for the rest of the day.

I went to check on them before I went to bed.  I was going to put them in the coop but I found them cuddling in the middle of all the big ducks.

They were safe at home.

22 05, 2020

Bath Day

By |2020-05-28T09:46:52-05:00May 22nd, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


The newest arrivals to our duck pen really seem to enjoy the “duck pond” (i.e. kiddie swimming pool).  Since we built the duck pen in the front corner of the chicken yard, I can watch the ducks swim from my kitchen window.  I spend a lot of time in the kitchen so I get to see the ducks often.

At least once a week I empty the “pond” and refill it with fresh water.  This is the ducks’ favorite day.  I stand outside to get a better view of them in the clean pond.

Ricky is always the first to get into the water.  He is the oldest duck and I call him the daddy duck.

When he is in the water, no one else comes around. Ricky doesn’t share.

The younger ducks are content to play in the puddle created by emptying the “pond.”

 

After Ricky has finished playing in the water, the rest of the ducks can take their turn.

 

 

The younger ducks are much better at sharing.  They are not so good at social distancing.

15 05, 2020

Fearless

By |2020-05-13T13:23:14-05:00May 15th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


When Beekeeper Brian and I were first married, we lived on the second floor of an apartment in Houston. I clearly remember standing at the bottom of the stairs one day with a basket of laundry completely terrified of a grasshopper on the stairs.  I stood there until it hopped away and then I quickly ran up the stairs and into our apartment.

Fast forward almost 33 years and I now think nothing of scooping a cockroach out of the chicken waterer or walking through the bees on my way to the chicken yard.  What brought about this transformation?

I’m not really sure.  It is either growing older (and wiser) or living on Miller Farm where there are an abundance of critters.

In any case, it serves me well to be less afraid of creepy crawly things.

A couple of weeks ago, I was weeding in the succulent bed around the mail box when I felt something crawling on my foot.

I have overcome my fear of most things, however, I have a healthy respect for fire ants. I thought I might be on the menu for lunch that day.

I quickly removed my shoe to discover…a small rough earth snake.

I watched him for a minute then decided he was unhappy in the gutter so I gently picked him up and put him back on the dirt.  He quickly burrowed to safety.

There was a point in my life when I would have hurt myself trying to get away from that snake.  Then I would have refused to check the mail ever again for fear of another snake encounter.

Life is much calmer for me now.  I’m thankful for that.  The world seems to have more and more things of which to be frightened.  I just chose to be fearless.

1 05, 2020

Just in Time

By |2020-04-29T12:27:13-05:00May 1st, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


We started building a separate enclosure for the ducks during Spring Break. We dismantled all the individual Bantam runs and moved the small coop and “duck pond” to that side of the chicken yard.

Matt came and helped Brian build a door, and I strung the chicken wire.

It was finished on Sunday, and we moved the little ducks into their new home along with Lucy and Ricky, the adult ducks.

 

Now I go out at night to put them in the coop.

We made the move just in time.  Tuesday, the next batch of ducks started to hatch.

Here we go again!

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