18 10, 2021

Southern Porching

By |2021-10-18T10:13:38-05:00October 18th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

It’s porch time on the Texas Gulf Coast. Gone are the oppressive high humidity and summer’s scorching heat. There are still warm days, but the evenings cool off. Unfortunately, mosquitoes still hang around. Sad to say, life in the south is never without mosquitoes.

If you take a ride on a country road, through suburban neighborhoods, or the tiny historic streets of cities like Charleston or New Orleans, you’ll find a wide variety of front porches. Southerners love porches. Entertaining on porches (porching) is a way of life in the South.

Going for rides is another Southern pastime, but that’s a topic for another blog.

Porches can be wide, spreading the width of the house. Wraparound ones circle the home. Some are small bungalow porches with columns of timber, stone, or brick. Others are portico porches also known as entry porches.

Every family home has its own anatomy for its porch.

But you’re guaranteed to see a welcome mat, real plants, a swing, a place for a dog, a ceiling fan on most, and even have a fireplace.

If you look closely, you’ll probably see a blue ceiling. The reason is muddled in folklore. It’s said “haint blue” wards off evil spirits. Haint being the southern word for ghost. Others say the color repels insects. Most simply fancy the elegant sky shade.

Screened porches make it possible to enjoy sitting outside on rainy days and stormy nights. Plus, the screen keeps out pesky bugs and insects. Screened back porches are particularly nice for a quiet “resting” place to read or a nap.

Fall is when seasonal decorating of porches begins in earnest. On your ride, check out all the lovely fall/Halloween decorations.

If you need ideas for your porch, check out 46 Fall Porch Decor Ideas That’ll Get You Ready for Autumn

17 09, 2021


By |2021-09-14T12:05:04-05:00September 17th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

I was using sourdough long before it became popular. In fact, my starter is over 20 years old and has been shared with many people including our oldest daughter.

One of my favorite things to make with my sourdough is orange pancakes which are served with homemade orange syrup.

As I was making this recently, I thought about the time I sent the leftover syrup with one of our kids for lunch. I thought it was applesauce.

When I asked them who it was, Rachel quickly responded, “best lunch ever!”

I am only packing my own lunch now. Perhaps I should “accidentally” put in leftover orange syrup. Some days I could use a “best lunch ever”.

2 08, 2021

Are you a Purple Cow?

By |2021-08-07T09:52:05-05:00August 2nd, 2021|Uncategorized|1 Comment

There’s a short little poem by Gelett Burgess titled “The Purple Cow” that I dearly love.

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one.

The full title is “The Purple Cow: Reflections on a Mythic Beast Who’s Quite Remarkable, at Least.” Most people leave off the second line of the title.

Pity too because that’s where the essence of Burgess’ poem lies. A purple cow stands out, a Mythic Beast Who’s Quite Remarkable. Most people don’t want to be Purple Cows. Conformity is comfortable.

The poem appeared in the first edition of his humorous little magazine The Lark in 1895. It’s fun. It’s silly and that was Burgess’ trademark.

I’ve quoted the words a gazillion times myself. As did United States President Harry S. Truman when asked if he’d ever seen a UFO. He substituted UFO for the purple cow.

But Burgess tired of the poem’s popularity and pinned this rebuttal, which he published in The Lark three years later.

Ah, yes, I wrote the “Purple Cow”—
I’m Sorry, now, I wrote it;
But I can tell you Anyhow
I’ll Kill you if you Quote it!

Maybe Burgess didn’t personally want to be considered remarkable. In reality, he was. Some say his works inspired Dr. Seuss.

The Gelett Burgess Center for creative expression, organized to honor his creativity, gives The Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Awards yearly. It’s not the Caldecott, but still a prestigious honor for a children’s book.

Burgess also coined the word blurb in 1907. He introduced the term on the cover copy of his book, Are You a Bromide? using a quote from Miss Belinda Blurb.

His definition is “a flamboyant advertisement; an inspired testimonial.” I’m not sure such a blurb on a book in our 21st century would be as well received.What do you think?

16 07, 2021

Messy Eaters

By |2021-07-14T06:02:51-05:00July 16th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Marv, our first dog, was a lab/hound mix that lived outside. We put his food in a bowl but as he got bigger, he started picking the full bowl up and flinging the food all over the back patio. We finally gave up on the bowl and just dumped the food on the patio. Marv never went hungry.

Max, our youngest dachshund, is an inside dog. He also throws his food on the floor. He can’t pick the bowl up, so he uses his tongue to fling the food all around the bowl.

Dogs are not the only messy eaters.

Alex, our grandson who just turned one, is also a messy eater.

The difference is Alex is a very cute messy eater.

He makes me smile.

5 04, 2021


By |2021-04-03T07:34:31-05:00April 5th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

I didn’t.

Seems back in 1996 the Academy of American Poet established the tradition to highlight American poets and encourage people about the pleasure of reading poetry. It’s all explained on their website.

I’m not a poetry writer, but I do ♥ to read poetry. I’ll read poems to anyone, willing or not. I’ve even memorized poems by my favorite American poets.

I have a story about my second oldest grandson and one of his poems. He was home schooled, and while he was visiting, I promised his parents we’d do his homework.

Unfortunately, like father, like son. Homework was a battle for his dad too. The thought of poetry homework made the task even less appealing, especially with a swimming pool calling.

He stared outside at a squirrel climbing the pole to the bird feeder. He ate a Pop Tart. He slipped away to play a game of chess with his Pepa. I marched him back to the table and the task at hand.

Then I caught him at the window again, watching a chameleon on the Maple tree. I prepared to use my mean teacher’s voice.

Before I could speak, he pointed to the laptop on the table. “I wrote the poem already.”

This is what I found:

Lizard Poetry

Lazy lizards leap from leaf to leaf

As green as a Sprite can

Lizards like to hide under the weather

Running, hiding, and sneaking around

Crazily, hastily, and hurriedly leaving their tails behind them

The miniature lizards are tiny compared to the big, blue sky

He was in his swim trunks and out the back door before I finished reading.

22 01, 2021

Wandering Chickens

By |2021-01-21T19:52:36-06:00January 22nd, 2021|Uncategorized|2 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

We hosted Christmas Eve on Miller Farm this year.  My nephew was quite enthralled.  When he asked how the dogs and chickens got along, I explained all was well if everybody stayed on their side of the fence.

When he looked out the window a little later and saw a chicken walking along the fence, he was most concerned and went out to convince the chicken to return to the safe side of the fence.  He could move in and stay quite busy keeping the chickens safe on Miller Farm, but I think he has higher aspirations that involve the University of Houston.

Life is really interesting when the chickens decide to venture onto the side of the fence that is not in our yard at all.

Most often they visit the neighbor with Connor – the old Great Dane.  I’m not sure Conor would hurt the chickens, but the owners always work to make sure the chickens make it back to safety.  Sometimes I get a text saying, “there is a chicken in our yard,” and I help bring it home.

Recently I got a text from the neighbor on the other side saying, “Rosie (their dog) found a chicken in our yard.  It’s been saved and it’s now hiding behind the rain barrels.”  This was puzzling as there is not only our chain link fence but a privacy fence between our houses as well. That chicken was glad to be back in its own yard and has not gone back to play with Rosie.

I discovered there are some boards missing in the privacy fence leaving just enough room for a curious chicken to explore the neighbor’s yard.  The grass may be greener on that side of the fence but it is guarded by a chicken-loving dog so it is not worth it for the chickens to go there.

Instead they wander along the path between the fences.  When we had the snow storm, one chicken walked further than ever before.

Max was fascinated.  The chicken was quite brave with a fence between her and the dog.

I was fretting over the chickens being between the fences but not enough to climb over and get them. I have torn too many pair of pants doing that in the past.

The chickens eventually make it back.  I think they go there to get away from over amorous roosters.

I figure they’ll work out a pecking order.  They are chickens after all.

5 10, 2020

Wistful Thinking

By |2020-10-03T09:18:55-05:00October 5th, 2020|Uncategorized|1 Comment

This is where we find our Buster most days. Sitting and staring out the back door.

Not wanting to go out. Just looking out all lost like.

That’s how I find myself some days in this pandemic world. Not motivated to do anything though there’s plenty to do.

I feel like I’m Alexander in Judith Viorst’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Only this hasn’t been just one bad day. These Alexander days just keep on coming… piling on top of one another.

Like Alexander, I must decide what to do with these terrible, horrible, no good, very bad COVID-19 pandemic 2020 days.

I can grump and gripe and complain. Be immobilized like Buster in the kitchen door.

Science writer, Tara Haelle says my feelings are okay in a Medium article I read recently. 2020 has depleted our  surge capacity for handling disasters by piling on endless calamities with no breaks.

“We can kick and scream and be angry, or we can feel the other side of it, with no motivation, difficulty focusing, lethargy… or we can take the middle way and just have a couple days where you feel like doing nothing and you embrace the losses and sadness you’re feeling right now, and then the next day, do something that has an element of achievement to it.

Read all Halle’s suggestions for recharging our surge capacity in the Medium article here.

Another choice… Alexander fixes his bad day when he alters his attitude in the Viorst book. I can alter my attitude.

BTW, if you haven’t read Viorst’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,  you should. It’s available on Amazon or any online book store. It’s a delightful children’s book that will warm your adult heart during this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year we’re having.

Our Buster embraces both solutions. He sits for awhile then gives a celebratory woof or a take-that-world bark and settles next to the chair where I’m writing. His safe place.

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