28 08, 2023

Labor Day, Yellow School Buses, and School Supply Sales

By |2023-08-25T15:57:21-05:00August 28th, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Fall Equinox will arrive on September 23, 02:50 A.M. EDT

Labor Day is upon us. The day that signals the time to bid farewell to the carefree days of summer and the return of high school football and fall festivals.

This little poem by Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt says it best.

It is the summer’s great last heat,
It is the fall’s first chill: They meet.

Down here where I live, we’re not experiencing or expecting the chill but I’m a former teacher and the return of the yellow buses brings waves of nostalgia. Not because I’m longing to be back in a classroom again, those days are long gone.

To be a teacher again, I’d have to give up too much time and energy I prefer to devote to writing.

But fall also means school supply sales. Necessary stuff for all the munchkins heading off to school and impossible for writers to pass up.

At least this author.

Never mind, I have plenty of pencils, pens, and notebooks. I simply can’t resist. I have to stop to check out all the displays.

Nothing jumpstarts my creativity like a shiny fresh notebook and a sharp new pencil or a bright colored pen.

Plus, who can resist a sale?

How about you? Do Back-to-School sales entice you?

14 08, 2023

A New Book and Creative Juices

By |2023-08-13T13:11:16-05:00August 14th, 2023|Uncategorized|1 Comment

I started a new book. It’s a romantic suspense loosely based on a true event that happened in 2008. A dead body was found on the riverbank below a friend’s home. Story ideas have been tossed around and around all these years until at last I have a story.

Lately, the words have not flowed. I’ve been too distracted by interruptions.

Time vampires suck my creative juices.  Vampires like my phone, email, and social media. I forget to turn them off when I’m writing and my creative juices dry up. If I’m not listening to my characters, they stop talking in my head.

In The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell describes how to keep creative juices flowing:

“You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first, you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.”

Austin Kleon, another creative whose blogs I enjoy, calls Campbell’s place a bliss station. His wife suggested, “Our bliss station can be not just a where, but a when. Not just a sacred space, but also a sacred time.”

A corner of the dining room is my Joseph Campbell bliss station. It’s where I tuck away with my characters and keep my focus on their story. They stare at me from their poster.

I may have followed the bliss station advice, but I haven’t disconnected from the world’s interruptions. I need to calm my brain, to find quietude and solitude for creative juices to flow.

I’m going to start again. This time with no phone, no email, and no social network interruptions. I suspect my characters will start talking again and those creative juices will again flow.

7 08, 2023

To Speed Read Or Not To Speed Read

By |2023-08-06T15:29:47-05:00August 7th, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Speed reading is defined as the process of recognizing and absorbing phrases or sentences on a page all at once, rather than focusing on individual words.

Research points to three advantages of speed reading.

  • Increased comprehension
  • Less eye time on the page
  • Less eye fatigue

It’s a handy skill in today’s world where we spend so much time reading—emails, web articles, texts, etc. We likely feel pressure to get through all this information more quickly, so that we “stay in the loop” and make informed decisions. Speed reading allows us to do that.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko Pexels.com

Photo by seyfi durmaz, Pexels.com

Reading to gain information or facts is one type of reading. I use rapid reading to wade through writing craft articles, blogs, and book research.

I don’t use speed reading if I’m reading for pleasure.

Then I want to savor the story and the author’s style of writing. I read every word.

My go-to technique in speed reading is skimming and skipping smaller words, i.e., prepositions and articles.

The technique creates a problem when I’m writing, though. I tend to leave out those words there too. Fortunately, critique partners, beta readers, and editors put them all back in.

Average adult readers read at a speed of 238 words per minute. Learning to speed read can raise that rate.

President John F. Kennedy was a big believer in speed reading. He read 1200 per minute. President Jimmy Carter’s reading speed is reported at 2,000 words per minute. Evelyn Wood read 2,500 words per minute. Check out other famous speed readers speeds here.

Speed reading is not for everyone, but it is a skill you can acquire. Want to learn more and whether it’s for you? Check out these articles.



Or give speed reading a try with this eight-minute free YouTube video that teaches speed reading techniques.

4 08, 2023

Complete Pack

By |2023-08-03T09:29:10-05:00August 4th, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

We picked up our new puppy last week. The timing was perfect because we said goodbye to Coco in July. She was the last of our original pack of four.

The puppy is one of three that were born near Memorial Day. The foster mom named them Honor, Legacy, and Valor and they are the Tribute Puppies. Honor is ours and she is wonderful.

It has been 8 years since we had a puppy and I had forgotten some things.

  1. Puppies have sharp teeth which they use to chew on anything available – including noses. Beekeeper Brian has dubbed her “Baby Shark.”
  2. They are small and can fit through small spaces – like the bars of the baby gate – so they must be watched carefully. Fortunately, she will grow and be more containable.
  3. Puppies, like babies, get up at night – sometimes a lot. I’ve decided it is ok. I have to get up to use the bathroom frequently at night so we have a “potty party.”  To clarify – I use the inside facilities and take Honor outside.
  4. It is incredibly fun to watch them run and play. Honor wrestles with Mini, our other rescue. They play and play until Honor is worn out. Then they recharge.

Max, who is the only male and 8 years old, is taking this all in stride. He has always been a calm dog and is very patient with the new additions.

It is good to have a full house again!

30 06, 2023

More Chicks

By |2023-06-20T12:47:37-05:00June 30th, 2023|Uncategorized|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Rachel helped a third-grade class at her school hatch chicks this spring. She procured the eggs, monitored the process, and found homes for the chicks once they hatched.

One of those homes was Miller Farm. They lived in the brooder for a while.

Eventually, they outgrew the brooder and were ready to join the rest of the flock. I neglected to check the fence for escape hatches and the chick managed to wander into the neighbor’s yard.

I fixed that gap and they found another one and began to explore our backyard.

I  think I have secured the chicken yard.

The good news is it looks like most of the chicks are hens. We can always use more chicken eggs!

23 06, 2023

Reptile Whisperer

By |2023-06-20T12:31:19-05:00June 23rd, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

My husband and I recently attended a wedding at an old water well station. It was a beautiful venue and the bride was a former piano student so it was a lovely event.

As we walked in, there was a small snake on the path. I guess he wanted to see the ceremony. Several of the guests protested so Beekeeper Brian picked him up and put him in the grass.

A couple of weeks later, we went to my parent’s house to celebrate Daddy’s birthday. There was a tree frog on their fence that somehow ended up on Brian’s shoulder.

As long as none of the reptiles come to live on Miller Farm, I am fine. We’ve already had snakes, lizards, and a bearded dragon. We’ve moved on to feathered creatures and, of course, dachshunds.

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