Miller Farm Friday

3 04, 2020

Duck Therapy

By |2020-04-02T09:46:16-05:00April 3rd, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


We recently hatched duck eggs on Miller Farm. When Beekeeper Brian set the eggs, the world was a much different place.  He was going to work and I was teaching music at school.  Now we are sheltering in place and having lots of video meetings.

The ducks provide a welcome distraction.

At first there were five and they all looked like Cayuga ducklings which would have come from Lucy and Ricky, our two grown ducks.

They all snuggled with the stuffed cat.

It reminded me of the children’s book Are You My Mother?

Then two more hatched two days later. And just as Brian was ready to clean out the incubator, one more hatched.

We call him Leo the Late Bloomer from another children’s book. He’s gray and yellow and came from eggs we got from a friend.

I put water in for them to drink but, being ducks, they play in it.

The one with the yellow beak also has yellow feet which are a stark contrast to the black legs. They are really fun to watch.

Anytime I get discouraged or worried, I go watch the ducklings. It’s duck therapy and it works really well.

27 03, 2020

Music for the Soul

By |2020-03-27T06:32:16-05:00March 27th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


When I first began to teach music in the classroom, I would lose my voice once a year. Laryngitis is hard for any teacher, but for a music teacher it is particularly challenging. It takes much longer to regain the ability to sing than to talk.

I would spend weeks teaching listening lessons and doing rhythm activities. Before it was all over, I would find myself sad and out of sorts. I realized this was the result of not singing regularly.

This feeling of sadness is being felt on a much grander scale by musicians around the country as they are prohibited from meeting in ensembles to make music. The Toronto Symphony found a way around these restrictions.

As I listened to this wonderful music, I was overcome by joy and amazement. I could just imagine each performer in their own home playing their part without being able to hear the others except in their minds. I have no idea if this is actually how it happened but it really made me think.

We can all do our part wherever we are and trust that God will eventually put it all together to make something beautiful.

Hopefully, one day, we will see the finished product and all the sadness and loneliness will have been worth it.

In the meantime, we can enjoy the creativity of musicians who can’t help but make music together. Here’s another example:

13 03, 2020

The Many Faces of Eeyore

By |2020-03-11T09:09:30-05:00March 13th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


I believe I have two of the best jobs in the world.

First, I get paid to stand in front of groups of children and lead them in silly songs. At least that is part of my job.  As a music teacher I have the privilege of introducing them to all my favorite games and action songs.  Of course the older kids are not quite so enthralled but all in all it is a great job.

Then I come home and have piano students file into my home all afternoon each with their own special talents and their parents.  They come in as many shapes and sizes as the students. Parents usually ask at the first lesson if it is necessary for them to sit in on the lesson.  It honestly does not matter to me as long as they are not a distraction.

I did have one mom that took to thumping her son on the head when he made mistakes. I politely asked her to wait in the car.  Others have come in and read or worked quietly on their laptops.  A father who was a school bus driver would regularly fall asleep during his daughter’s lesson.  I was quite impressed.

One of the most creative uses of this time is by a mom who entertains herself with Eeyore – the donkey from Winnie the Pooh. My mom found a stuffed Eeyore at a garage sale years ago and it has made its way to Miller Farm via the “obligatory bag.”  It talks if you push its nose, squeeze its belly or pull its tail.

This, however, would be quite distracting so this mom makes sure to keep Eeyore very quiet. Instead she arranges his hair.  She then takes pictures and labels them.  I was so amused that I asked her to send them to me.

Now that my secret is out, everyone is going to want to be a music teacher/piano teacher!  Oh, well, I’m sure there are enough students and parents to go around.

6 03, 2020

Queen of the Coops

By |2020-03-05T06:34:30-06:00March 6th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


Beekeeper Brian recently began some renovation work in the chicken yard. Since we no longer have bantam chickens, he dismantled several of the smaller runs and stacked the coops.

The big chickens had a grand time scratching through the bugs that had taken up residence under the coops. They also enjoyed roosting on the stacked coops.

It seemed to turn into a game of “queen of the coops” – kind of like the children’s game “king of the mountain” only with chickens.

Also like children, there is always one who has to show off.

Now if I ever miss the excitement of sibling rivalry, I just look out back.

28 02, 2020

More Fun at the TMEA Convention

By |2020-02-28T10:41:53-06:00February 28th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


Another one of the great things about convention, other than the exhibit hall full of cool stuff, is the chance to learn fun new things to do in the classroom.

This year the first session I attended started with… a chicken song! It is a Liberian folk song entitled “Kokoleoko.”  The last line says “chicken crowin’ for day.”

One of the activities was to have the students tell what else the chicken could be crowin’ for:  popcorn, ice cream, chocolate, etc. This is chanted in between repeating the song. The students love to make up parts to songs, so this is sure to be a hit.

There were also harmony parts to sing. There is nothing quite like a room full of music teachers singing in three part harmony.  I’m not sure my classes are ready to try that yet and I don’t want to spoil the memory of the beautiful sound.

Another session included the song “Shanghai Chicken.”  This is a song I have actually done before but this presenter had a new take on it.  On the words “hoo day, hoo day” you toss a rubber chicken across the circle.

As the game progresses you add chickens.

The teachers had a great time with this.

I can’t wait to try it in my class.

After all, what can possibly go wrong in a middle school class tossing rubber chickens?

21 02, 2020

TMEA Music Convention Purchases

By |2020-02-20T21:10:39-06:00February 21st, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|2 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


I had an absolutely fantastic time at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention last weekend. I attended nine different workshops where I was inspired, encouraged, educated and reminded why I teach music.

Then there was the exhibit hall.  Every imaginable music related business was there.  I worked very hard to stay focused and only purchase useful items.

For example, I found googly eye rings.  Given my love of googly eyes  https://judythewriter.com/googly-eyes/ this was an absolute necessity.

Then there was the dachshund slide whistle. What self-respecting, dachshund-loving music teacher could resist such a useful instrument.

Of course I also purchased books, rhythm sticks and egg shakers.  Overall it was a very successful time at the exhibit hall.

Next week I’ll share some of the songs I learned.  Hint, hint – they are about something else near and dear to my heart J

7 02, 2020

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

By |2020-02-06T17:29:15-06:00February 7th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|4 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


When Rachel moved out, she could only take one of her dogs. She chose to take Penelope, the younger, more flexible dog.

Sadie seems quite content to have remained with the rest of the pack.

Part of my routine every time I leave the house is to count the dogs.  I don’t want to leave one outside to bark and annoy the neighbors.

Of course that reminds me of a song I used to sing to our children.

So my day now starts with a children’s song. Oh wait, my day has always started with a children’s song – I am a music teacher.  In this case, however, I am singing to the dogs.

31 01, 2020

Googly Eyes

By |2020-01-28T21:20:45-06:00January 31st, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|7 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


I find googly eyes very entertaining. They add a whimsical element to anything they touch.

I used them back in October for my Laura Ingalls Wilder Pumpkin.

I found one on the floor in my classroom.  I set it on the bookshelf and spent the day feeling like someone was watching me.

I took it home and put it on my piano where a piano student stuck it to my metronome. It makes me smile so I will leave it there.

Recently I saw an article posted on Facebook about a person in Bulgaria who was putting googly eyes on different things around town. There is actually a name for it – “eyebombing.”

This is one of my favorite pictures. from the article.

I wonder what would happen if I carried around googly eyes and placed them on things in my town.  It would definitely make me smile.  Maybe I should try it.

24 01, 2020

Juba

By |2020-01-19T10:30:13-06:00January 24th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|2 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


As an elementary school music teacher, I have quite an assortment of puppets which I have collected over the past 30+ years. One of my first is a long, green snake-like puppet with alligator teeth.

I call it my “snakagator.”  I named it Juba from one of the first songs I learned in my elementary music methods courses.

The song lyrics say “Juba this and Juba that. Juba chased a yellow cat. Juba up and Juba down. Juba running all around.”

It is one of the first songs I sing in my youngest classes.  I can let them pick animals of particular colors for Juba to chase or I can fill in children’s names.

The kids love it!  My two year old preschool class particularly loves Juba.  In fact for a while, every time they saw me, they would shout “Juba!”

It doesn’t bother me at all.  I have been called much worse.

17 01, 2020

Morning Snuggles

By |2020-01-15T20:55:09-06:00January 17th, 2020|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


Not all of our chickens have names.  Lili, however, is special.  She is the only D’Uccle, or dusseldorfer as I call her, in the flock.  I must confess, she is my favorite.

She is much smaller than the other chickens and has wonderful long feathers on her feet.

Lately she has taken to hanging out on the roost in the coop in the mornings.  She runs back and forth as though she is afraid to get down.

So I gently pick her up and set her on the ground.  Actually I give her a little hug first.

I’m not sure how she feels about this but these morning snuggles get my day off to a nice start.

Especially now that I have no children left at home.

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