Miller Farm Friday

19 08, 2022


By |2022-08-19T12:00:54-05:00August 19th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|2 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Teachers went back to school last week to get ready for a new year. I teach at a small charter school that is not immune to the many challenges facing education right now.

Finding teachers was hard last year and even harder this year. This resulted in some hard decisions for our school. People were not happy.

Then we received our rating from the state based on our test scores last year. Not surprisingly, they were the lowest they had been in many years. More people were not happy.

I was pretty discouraged as I pulled into the driveway on Friday afternoon.

Then I saw our amaryllis.

We have been in a record-breaking drought this summer causing many plants to give up and die. Part of this amaryllis did just that.

Then there is the bunch of flowers that bloomed despite all the challenges. They seemed blissfully unaware of the brown all around them and showed their colors proudly.

I was inspired.

If a nonscientient plant can produce color amidst all the brown around it, I certainly can proudly display my courage to face a new year. Even if those around me seem overcome by the drought, I can continue to bloom.

Maybe others will be inspired, too.

5 08, 2022


By |2022-08-05T08:31:47-05:00August 5th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

I spent the first part of this week with our grandsons. Our daughter was asked to teach a couple of hours each day so I went to help with the boys.

Monday both Alex (age 2) and Theo (age 2 months) were with me. I was not worried. After all, Catherine and Rachel are 21 months apart so I was confident it would be fine.

What I did not factor in was the length of time it has been since the girls were 2 and 2 months. The memories came back very quickly.

We had a tornado in the living room.

I didn’t remember the key phrase “put one thing back before you get out something else” until it was too late

Holding Theo while playing with Alex was a little more of a challenge than I anticipated.

We moved into Alex’s bedroom, and I opened his closet door for him – tornado number two! I forgot how quickly a two-year-old can make a mess.

We all survived the morning and Tuesday Alex went to school so it was just me and Theo.

I forgot how relaxing it is to snuggle a sleeping baby!

I was hoping to get a picture of me with the boys. What I got was a snapshot of real grandma’s life.

What I remember most from these days is why we have children when we are young!

29 07, 2022

The End of the Corn

By |2022-07-27T12:46:15-05:00July 29th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

I’m not sure when corn harvest is normally over but this year, it is finished. The excessive heat and lack of rain have put an end to the growth of all varieties of corn. The sweet corn was the first to die off and Brian harvested the last of the dent corn and popcorn a couple of weeks ago.

This left the brown stalks standing in the garden. To make use of them, Brian arranged to borrow a chipper from a friend and turn the stalks into mulch for the newly planted black-eyed peas.

Because of my history around sharp objects, my job was to pull the stalks up and pile them by the chipper safely away from the blades. It was hot and dirty but very satisfying.

Our friend fed the stalks into the chipper while Brian spread the mulch. The goal is to hold in precious moisture and keep out annoying weeds.

Most of the kernels of dent corn have been removed and are drying so they can be ground into cornmeal leaving only the empty corn cobs.

Brian recently found a recipe for corn cob jelly.

I think I will pass and just toss the cobs into the compost heap. That sounds like a better use for the end of the corn.

22 07, 2022


By |2022-07-20T19:55:19-05:00July 22nd, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

This was our first year to plant a plot in the community garden.  It was not a good year.  The extremely hot and dry weather prevented many things from growing.

The popcorn, however, was a success. We planted two different varieties which both came up.

We harvested the ears and set them out to dry.  I tried putting them outside to use the natural heat but the squirrels found them.  So, I put them in the oven to keep them from taking so much valuable counter space.

I put a sign on the oven that said “Corn.”  It was not a clearly communicated message and while I was out of town, the oven was used to make pizza and the corn got “preheated.”

It didn’t seem to hurt the ears and, after a few weeks, we were able to remove the kernels.

The next step was to actually pop the corn which we did use a microwave popper for speed and ease of clean up.

It was wonderful!

We also grew dent corn which is meant to be ground into cornmeal.  That is our next project.  Brian ordered a corn sheller to help remove the kernels.  The whole process seems a little labor intensive but I am excited to see how it turns out!  Perhaps I was born in the wrong century…

15 07, 2022

More Lessons from Jigsaw Puzzles

By |2022-07-12T10:54:19-05:00July 15th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

One way I “water” my soul in the summer is by working jigsaw puzzles. We used to spend a couple of weeks in Colorado each summer and I would do a puzzle a day.

I miss those days – especially the cooler weather.

I even blogged about the lessons I learned while doing jigsaw puzzles.

  1. Consider results carefully before making a decision.
  2. Sometimes the only way to know if something works is to try it.
  3. Keep trying until you find what works.
  4. When things aren’t going right, it may mean backing up to see where things went wrong to begin with. Then make it right and move ahead.

A piano student recently gave me a couple of jigsaw puzzles, and I dedicated an entire weekend to complete one of them. It was a chicken puzzle of 1000 pieces and was quite a challenge as I am out of practice.

As I was working, I thought of some different things to learn about life from jigsaw puzzles.

  • Sometimes you have to focus on one section at a time. The whole picture is overwhelming but each chicken is more doable. So is one day at a time.
  • It helps to walk away and come back with a fresh perspective. (That works a lot better than dumping the whole thing over in frustration.)
  • Life doesn’t have to be perfect. If you look closely, you will see that there are two pieces missing. At one point I would have considered the puzzle worthless and thrown it away. Now I can look at the whole picture and see the beautiful chickens without getting hijacked by the missing pieces.

Perhaps these insights come from two years of earth-shattering events. What might be considered catastrophes have taught me some valuable lessons. It just took sitting still at a jigsaw puzzle to see them.

8 07, 2022


By |2022-07-07T09:41:48-05:00July 8th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

The custodian at my school has a special greeting for the students. It started as a handshake but transitioned into fist bumps with extra motions. The students always run to greet him when he walks through the class.

It is disruptive but I will sacrifice a few minutes of class time to encourage proper interactions with adults. Relationship skills are as important as singing skills in my mind.

Our grandson, Alex, has special greetings for us. Most of our interactions are on video calls. For Brian, Pawpaw, Alex likes to head bump, which is putting his forehead to the phone while Pawpaw does the same. We’re not sure where that started but it is now a part of every conversation.

For Grandma, it is a burp. This greeting has a story.

Alex is fascinated by trash trucks. This seems to be common among small boys. On one trip to the library, we read a book about a trash truck. After the truck collects all the garbage, it burps.

Of course, as I read the book, I had to demonstrate. Alex echoed back.

This has become our greeting.

I was meeting with a new piano student last week when Brian walked into the room with his phone. I heard “Grandma, Grandma!”  I took the phone and was greeted with “burp” to which I responded “burp.”

At one point in my life, I would have worried about the impression this made on my student. As I have gotten older, I have decided I am what I am and if seems strange to some, they can choose not to join my circle. It will be their loss. We have lots of fun.

1 07, 2022

Summer Plans

By |2022-06-28T12:43:55-05:00July 1st, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

I was in charge of watering the garden while my husband was out of town recently.  His instructions were to water it first thing in the morning so I drove to the garden one morning and started the water.

The ground was still wet from the evening dew and I wondered if it was really necessary to be watering at this time.As I watched the water spray, I thought about how hot it would be later in the afternoon.  The ground would quickly dry and the plants would wilt.  By watering early, the ground would be ready for the heat later in the day.

I have no idea if this is what actually happens but it brought to mind my summer plans.

As a teacher, my summers are much less hectic and I like to spend them reading, napping, and working on puzzles, maybe like storing up water in the soil.

Then when school starts back up, I am rested and ready to start the routine all over again.  When things get busy with lesson planning and programs, I can reach down into the “water” that I allowed to soak my soul during the summer and can withstand the “heat.”

That thought makes me feel much better about taking naps.

24 06, 2022

Moving Ducks

By |2022-06-22T07:40:17-05:00June 24th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

The ducks we hatched for a friend grew large enough to be moved to their new home.  This is no easy process.

First, the ducks had to be captured.

Rachel and I were able to accomplish this without being totally covered in mud.  The lack of rain right now is bad for plants but good for catching ducks.

Then we had to load them in the car.

Once at their new home, we had to convince them to go into the pond.

It is much bigger than the kiddie pool at our house.


Once they got in, they realized they could put their heads under and they had a great time.

As we left the ducks happily swimming in their new pond, I thought about how often I am reluctant to jump into something new.

Perhaps I should take a lesson from the ducks and just enjoy the experience.

17 06, 2022


By |2022-06-15T16:17:14-05:00June 17th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Every year the principal at my school plants milkweed to attract Monarch butterfly caterpillars. He gives the speech about how fragile these caterpillars are and how everyone should look with their eyes and not touch them. If one happens to get on the sidewalk, students are to notify a teacher who will then safely move the caterpillar out of harm’s way.

The students do very well and each year we get to watch the Monarch butterflies emerge and fly away.

I must confess, that this whole process has become somewhat commonplace for me.  I don’t get nearly as excited as the students do about seeing the caterpillars.

However…. this week Rachel discovered a caterpillar on our parsley plant in OUR front flower bed.

This was very exciting! We figured out that it is an Anise Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillar. It disappeared at one point, and I was very sad.

Then this morning I checked and there were THREE caterpillars!!I told Rachel we were being invaded! Her response: At least they are pretty!

Yes, yes, they are.

This is an exciting invasion!

10 06, 2022

Refrigerator Art

By |2022-06-02T21:18:35-05:00June 10th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|2 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

For as long as I can remember, things of utmost importance have been put on the refrigerator. Artwork took a prominent place on the fridge. In fact, making refrigerator magnets out of felt was a common art project when I was growing up. I continued the tradition with our own kids.

As our children grew up, the fridge became a place to put things I did not want to lose. For example, the phone number for the exterminator, a school calendar, or appointment cards. I suppose it functions as a physical PDA (personal digital assistant). Most people keep all this information on their phones. It is much easier for me to keep track of my refrigerator.

I was looking at our refrigerator this week.I noticed the graduation announcement, the prayer cards for missionaries, the magnet of my favorite comedian, an encouraging card, favorite scriptures, a world map, and my blue ribbon from the State Fair of Texas, all things that make me smile.

The most recent addition is the artwork by Alex. His mom has an abundance of projects he has made in preschool and she offered to share. We chose the bluebonnets and the rainbow tree.

Once again, our fridge has artwork on it and that brings the biggest smile.

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