21 06, 2021

Summer!

By |2021-06-15T09:19:16-05:00June 21st, 2021|Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

The lazy days of summer officially arrived this week. We’re looking at late sunsets, short nights, and hot days.

The official start depends on whether you’re speaking about the meteorological or astronomical definition for the season. Meteorologists classify June 1 to August 31 summer. Astronomers base their start on the position of the sun and moon.

In Texas, summer didn’t wait until the sun rose directly above the heel stone at Stonehenge (the official astronomical start of the summer season).

Nope.

Mother Nature didn’t pay any attention to meteorology or astronomy in Texas this year. She had her own schedule and intensity. Freezing winter, wetter than normal Spring, and hellfire summer days starting well before the summer solstice.

Texans missed out on the fun of the longest day of the year sequestered in their houses with blinds drawn, AC pumped high, fans roaring and a tall glass of iced tea to block the triple-digit heat outside.

And there’s still July, August, and September to get through! The traditional hot-as-hell months in the Lone Star state.

But Midsummer Day is arriving this week (June 24).

From ancient times, Celts marked the day with celebrations. Churches celebrate the birth of John the Baptist. What the day represents for me is farmers are halfway between planting and harvest. Cooler days of fall will come.

I am so ready.

Until then, everyone stay cool.

18 06, 2021

Oops

By |2021-06-17T10:11:56-05:00June 18th, 2021|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


Feeding the birds this morning was interesting. They always rush to get their food as if they had not eaten in days.

Some of the chickens are convinced what the ducks are eating is better. It is a case of “the feed is better in the other pen” when actually it is the same. Nevertheless, every morning at least one chicken flies over the fence to get a closer look at the duck feed.

This morning, the chicken got stuck.

It remained remarkably calm while I took a picture.  Then I carefully untangled its foot from the chicken wire and tossed it back where it belongs.

There doesn’t seem to be any damage from the acrobatic endeavor, and I am hoping it will be cured of its curiosity and stay on the chicken side of the pen.

14 06, 2021

Moodling, Imagination, and Creative Thinking

By |2021-06-13T13:50:29-05:00June 14th, 2021|Make Me Think Monday, Writing Craft|0 Comments

I recently came across a blog that gave me both a new vocabulary word and a new technique to boost creativity. When I read Musings from a Writer’s Brain–Moodling, I thought the blogger might have made the word up and checked for myself.

Googling the word proved tricky. MOODLE came up, but not moodling. Moodle happens to be an open-source learning management system for distance and online learning. Something that has become a necessary part of our COVID-19 pandemic world.

But that was not what the blogger Joanne Guidoccio was talking about. Her blog referred to the idea of moodling from Brenda Ueland’s book If You Want to Write

Ueland stresses that “the imagination needs moodling—long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.”

Urban Dictionary defines the word as daydreaming or letting your mind wander and doing nothing.

Interesting that doing nothing and letting your mind wander will improve creative thinking, isn’t it?

But the fact is some well-known names are among those who practiced moodling.

Isaac Newton was moodling under an apple tree in 1666 and an apple fell on his head which in turn led to his theory on gravity.

Albert Einstein spent days and nights in the quiet solitude after the breakup of his marriage. That moodling period led to his general theory of relativity.

Massachusetts of Technology’s The Writing Process includes moodling as a way to generate ideas and recommends a structured technique for writers

CEOBuddy.com suggests trying noodling and moodling if you’re looking for creative ideas to expand your business.

There’s also a YouTube channel that demonstrates how to use doodling to jumpstart creativity.

Moodling, noodling, doodling, idling, dawdling, and puttering to improve my imagination…

with summer here, sounds like a plan to me.

What do you think?

11 06, 2021

Ducken

By |2021-06-09T09:04:19-05:00June 11th, 2021|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


One of the school chickens we adopted into our flock of chicks seems to be tired of the littles.

When I opened the top of the brooder to put grass in, she flew out.  I attempted to catch her, but she was determined to join the flock of big girls.  She isn’t that much smaller, so I let her stay.

The term “pecking order” must have originated in a chicken yard.  The new hen was definitely at the bottom.  She wasn’t being harmed but was spending most of her days running away.

I figured they would all work it out eventually.  The solution was not at all what I anticipated.

The newest hen flew into the duck pen.  You might think, seeing as the ducks are larger and louder than the chickens, that the hen would be less comfortable in this new location.

However, I learned in the past that ducks are really not very brave and in fact, they are scared of the chickens.

They stayed behind her while she ate.

 

After a week, they were all eating together.

I call the hen my “ducken.”

Perhaps there is something to be learned from this group.  Accept those who look different and share the same food bowl.

 

7 06, 2021

The trees came down

By |2021-06-05T11:04:53-05:00June 7th, 2021|A Writer's Life, Writer's Life|0 Comments

My writing time disappeared too. But who could resist watching tree climbers fell forty-foot leaning pines and trim dead branches from a 200-year-old oak?

Not me. Or hubby-dear who supervised from his perch on the porch.

The entire process was fascinating and very necessary with another hurricane season upon us. Dead branches and leaning pine trees don’t mix well with strong winds.

Each crew member knew his job and performed it well. The climbers.

Sometimes they crawled so far up or out I had to quit watching and close my eyes.

 

The spotters, who guided the branches and sections to the ground. One for the oak and one for the pines.

I’ve decided a tree cutter will be my hero’s occupation in my next book.

The pines came down in sections. The oak shed in chunks and branches.

 

Our yard looked like a war zone.

The giant logs were hauled away to be ground into pine mulch. The oak branches to the company owner’s burn pile.

Sunlight glows through the oak now. Piles of pine mulch are all that mark the pine trees.

We know we’ll have fewer pine needles dropping and, best of all, these branches and pines won’t fall if we have another major hurricane like Harvey come through.

Win-win…except for the writing time. =)

4 06, 2021

They’re Back!

By |2021-06-02T08:28:23-05:00June 4th, 2021|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


I was stopped on my way to work last week by one of my coworkers from the district office.  She asked if I had chickens.

Being accustomed to totally random questions, I said yes, what do you need?  She had seen the chickens in the coop in the courtyard and was quite concerned for their safety.  She had them moved temporarily to her sister’s house and was wondering if there was a long-term plan.

I explained the goal of having them live on campus so the students could interact with them regularly.  I also acknowledged that this was a little more complicated than the principal first realized and assured her I would provide a long-term home if necessary.  They had already spent a weekend on Miller Farm and had a standing reservation.

She called me Friday as I was driving home from Beekeeper Brian’s retirement celebration.  It seems her sister was hosting a graduation party that evening and the chickens were not invited.  She asked if I could move them.

I had taken the whole day off work and was hoping to get a nap, but I agreed to unload my car, grab the chicken travel cage, and go to her sister’s house.

When I arrived, I discovered they were free-ranging in the backyard.  Fortunately, it was a fairly small area, and I was able to catch them all within a short time.  I loaded them into my car and headed back to Miller Farm.

All in a day’s work for a Chicken Wrangler.

31 05, 2021

What will you be doing this Memorial Day?

By |2021-05-27T10:41:47-05:00May 31st, 2021|A Writer's Life, Holidays, Writer's Life|0 Comments

Today we’re celebrating Memorial Day.

I find saying “Happy Memorial Day” hard because I believe Memorial Day is a solemn holiday.

I’m not saying going to the beach or having a cookout is wrong. Not at all.

I enjoy a cookout with family and friends and celebrating what signals the start of summer same as anyone else.

I’m just sayin’, Memorial Day has become a long weekend focused on shopping, family gatherings, fireworks, trips to the beach, and national media events more than its original purpose.

A time set aside to remember and honor the men and women who gave their lives while serving this country.

Sometime during our fun, let’s pause to wave an American flag and salute our fallen heroes. That’s what our family will be doing.

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