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4 11, 2022

New Challenges

By |2022-11-01T19:41:29-05:00November 4th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|2 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


Life has presented many challenges over the past few years, the most notable being the COVID-19 pandemic.  Teachers had to rethink everything they did to protect themselves and their students from an unseen virus.

The current challenge also deals with protection, this time from threats of violence.

Schools across the state are being required to implement new security procedures including various drills to prepare for different dangers.  In my school, we have had all the doors fitted with crash bars allowing them to be opened from the inside while remaining locked on the outside.  This required that all the locks be replaced.

Since all doors are now required to be locked at all times, teachers are carrying multiple keys.  While I understand the rationale behind these measures, it makes getting around the campus a little more difficult.

I now carry five keys: one for the sanctuary where I teach, one for the teacher’s workroom, the office, the cafeteria, and the room where I hold choir rehearsal.

I also have an Allen wrench to keep the door unlocked during morning assembly so students can enter after eating breakfast.

It is a little complicated and somewhat overwhelming.

Once we are safely in our room, though, we can sing, move, listen and play to our heart’s content, forgetting, if just for a moment, that the world is becoming increasingly scary.

31 10, 2022

Halloween Costumes

By |2022-10-30T18:13:16-05:00October 31st, 2022|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

A little synchronicity going on with blogs this Halloween.

Chicken Wrangler Sara’s post for last Friday about crayon costumes she’d made for her children arrived for me to schedule as I was searching through my stash of pictures for a Halloween costume photo to use for my blog today. As I told her, great minds think alike.

My search for the photo of her brother and sister in their costumes turned into more of a search than I wanted. I discovered two things:

#1 The albums I used back in the 1970s were disintegrating. The pictures were fine the photo holders not so much.

Not a big problem. Now I know there’s an issue. I’ll switch all those photos to albums like the other years before cell phone photography and cloud storage.

#2 Daughter #2 (the one in the picture) had the photograph.

That proved to be more of an issue. After texting Daughter #2, I learned she did have the photo I wanted for sure along with several others. All taken with permission. However, she couldn’t find the photo of her and her brother in Halloween costumes.

Thus began the great Halloween picture search at our family gathering to watch the opening game of the World Series. She brought a huge pile of pictures for us to search through as we sipped craft beer and cheered the Astros.

No luck that night so her search continued.

No luck the next day or the next. “No worries,” I said through my disappointment.

Then I got a text late Sunday afternoon: “I never did find the original but suddenly remembered that I had scanned it in on my old phone!!” The photo we’d been searching for was included. I had to laugh at the full circle…snapshot to jpg. Computers to the rescue.

Here’s the picture. Our son is in a devil costume I made and daughter #2 is one of the three blind mice. (Back then Halloweens were kinder and gentler.)

After that buildup, you’ll probably find the photo anti-climactic, but don’t miss the paper decorations in the windows.

28 10, 2022

Crayons

By |2022-10-28T08:10:27-05:00October 28th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


Every year at Halloween I think about the costumes I made when we lived in Mexico.

Catherine was 5, Rachel was 3 and Matthew was almost 2. In a moment of creativity, I made crayon costumes and I was the box.

Now the crayons have left the box.

While it is sometimes sad, it is also fun to watch their colors grow brighter as they find their way into adulthood.

24 10, 2022

Daylight Savings Time Yay or Nay?

By |2022-10-22T14:00:58-05:00October 24th, 2022|Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

On Nov. 6 at 2 a.m. daylight saving time will end for most of the United States. All those clocks we moved ahead on March 13th must now be turned back an hour.

If your internal clock is like mine, our bodies struggle to adjust for days after each time change. But there’s an outside possibility this might be the last time we have to turn the clocks back.

Last March, the U.S. Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act, which would permanently keep the country in daylight saving time and end the biannual clock-turning.

But it’s not a done deal until the House votes on the bill. It is the first time in 40 years a bill to end daylight savings time has gotten this far.

Daylight saving time has been a polarizing topic since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act in 1966 declaring six months with daylight savings time and six months without, Individual states could opt in or out.

Hawaii and most of Arizona do not observe daylight savings time. United States territories, including American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands,  don’t observe daylight savings time either.

Whether to switch permanently to DST or revert to standard time is a tough call. Polls show most favorite a permanent switch.

A March 2022 Monmouth University poll found that 44% support a permanent move to daylight saving time, while 13% of poll respondents support switching permanently to standard time.

In a YouGov survey, 59 percent of adults surveyed said they would like to see daylight saving time made permanent, compared to 19 percent who would not.

Most health experts agree that settling into daylight saving time or standard time is better than changing the clocks twice a year.

A switch is favored. The question is which time to switch to, DST or regular standard time.

Arguments for the DST time change being permanent:

  • According to the United States Department of Transportation, daylight savings time saves energy because people use fewer lights in their homes and spend more time outdoors.
  • Statistics show Americans are more likely to go shopping after work if it is still light outside, which in turn helps businesses.

Arguments for abandoning DST and reverting to standard time:

  • The switch messes with your body’s circadian rhythms causing detrimental effects on your physical and mental health.
  • Statistics confirm a nearly 25% increase in traffic accidents, emergency room visits, suicide attempts, and patients suffering from depression on the day the changes take place.

Me, I say leave the clocks alone and let the sun do its thing. What do you say?

21 10, 2022

Guard Chickens

By |2022-10-16T13:28:40-05:00October 21st, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


We recently put a lock on our gate into the backyard after we found it open. Fortunately, Max had not gotten far and he knows he has a good deal here so he came right back.

No one knows who opened the gate but no one can open it again without a key.

This is slightly inconvenient for the city workers who need to access our backyard for various reasons. There is a power pole that needs to be replaced and it has required multiple visits from multiple entities including the gas company and the power company.

One of the men who came to the door asked if it was safe to go into the backyard. I assured him we would keep the dogs inside. He explained he was not concerned about the dogs. I figured he was asking about the bees which were also not a threat.

It turns out he was most worried about the chickens. I almost laughed and then I realized we did have this sign in the window:

I promised him the chickens would not bother him. It’s good to know our sign is effective – at least as far as the gasman was concerned.

17 10, 2022

Why I love Noah Webster

By |2022-10-16T12:44:49-05:00October 17th, 2022|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

A day to honor Noah Webster’s birthday on October 16, 1758. You probably recognize the name.

Webster is the “Father of American Scholarship and Education,” and author of the Blue-Backed Speller which taught generations of American school children to read and spell.

Because he disliked the complexity of English spelling rules, he streamlined our American way of spelling certain words like “color” instead of the English spelling of “colour.” His first dictionary was published in 1806.

A year later he began work on a more comprehensive dictionary, which took him twenty-seven years to finish. He learned twenty-six languages to evaluate the etymology of the seventy thousand words included in the work.

As a child, I spent hours poring through the pages of my grandmother’s eight-inch thick copy of Webster’s New International Dictionary (of the English Language).

The fifteen-pound book had leather alphabet tabs cut into the pages. The illustrations were detailed and the maps gorgeous. There were diagrams, charts, and thousands of words. It was a fertile resource for a blossoming logophile or wordsmith as I prefer to call myself.

Wonderful magical stuff can happen when you use a print dictionary. You discover word origins and its root which can give a deeper understanding of meaning. You also find synonyms and antonyms that provide possibilities for rewriting or a totally new idea.

Sure, you can get all that in a nanosecond online. But do you scroll down to discover all that? Probably not. Even if you do, you miss all those other words your finger glides over as it scrolls down the printed page. Words that you might never have seen.

As an author, I keep a print copy of Webster’s Dictionary closeby, and I use it often along with the online versions.

Authors and anyone who publishes also have another reason to appreciate Noah Webster. He played a role in forming the Copyright Act of 1831, which extended copyrights from fourteen to twenty-eight years with an option of renewal for another fourteen years. That changed with even greater protections under The Copyright Act of 1976, but Noah Webster started the copyright ball rolling.

Thank you, Mr. Webster, for your hard work. You do deserve a national day of recognition.

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