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.

9 03, 2020

Disruption and A Black Swan Named Coronavirus

By |2020-03-09T09:59:31-05:00March 9th, 2020|Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

I’ve lived long enough to know that life is never smooth. And, I know what’s happening around me can disrupt my writing brain. I’ve accepted that and adjust accordingly.

I can settle into a writing routine sans television and social media and pump out the words on my next work in progress.

Then whammy. World events erupt tossing an unexpected curve ball. The stock market sank 1,000 points.

Now, I don’t follow the stock market. But I do know enough to recognize a huge dip like that means there’s trouble in River City.

On goes the news again. I discover the cause. And this disruption is a Wowizer— coronavirus COVID-19 is threatening a pandemic. Fear over the impact on the economy is rampant.

Scary stuff.

All the journalistic sensationalism is troublesome. I’m not being blasé. I do realize the inherent danger and have amped up basic hygiene routines per CDC instructions.

But I’ve watched in utter amazement as media coverage has created its own pandemic.  Shelves in stores are bare as people hoard assorted items named as potential to be hard to get. Prices of these necessary items are being raised to ridiculous amounts. (And, people paying those prices!)

That’s sick.

I had a moment of reality when news came that the virus had spread to communities near me. I’m not carelessly believing I’ll be fine. I’m taking precautions.

But I’m not panicked.

We have food and supplies stockpiled (comes from years of living where grocery stores were a long way away and being snowbound happened too often). We’ll share toilet paper and Kleenex.

Whatever happens will happen. Nothing I can do stop to it or avoid it.

In her blog Kristine Kathryn Rusch that called the situation a Black Swan event being fed by overenthusiastic journalists.

I didn’t know the term Black Swan. Business Major Hubby explained it was a term for an unpredictable event that causes catastrophic damage to the stock market.

Well, this disruption certainly qualifies.

Surely the mad dash to secure hand sanitizers, disinfectant, and toilet paper is straining supplies, depleting stock, and ultimately effecting a company’s bottom line. What manufacturer could have known the virus COVID-19 would increase  demand and drain their supplies?

Never mind, too many of these products come from China where the virus has pretty much shut things down. The way COVID-19 is spreading worldwide the whole supply chain is being affected.

The term Black Swan itself originated from an ancient saying that presumed black swans did not exist then had to be reinterpreted to teach a different lesson after black swans were discovered in the wild.

(Probably much more than you wanted to know about the term, but what can I say, I’m a writer. I love research.)

The scariest thing about this Coronavirus Black Swan is the isolation that’s being created. We’re instructed to avoid physical contact-no handshakes or hugs, large crowds, and travel, particularly any foreign travel. Major events are being canceled. Cruises and conferences are canceled. Even the Olympics is danger of cancellation.

Disruptions that go way beyond my writing time!

This blog is not to tell you how to prepare or explain why companies should have known to have larger stock of certain items. It’s a gentle warning…

Sometimes, in our hyper-vigilance, we focus too much on news and social media. Neither of which are not the most reliable sources for accurate information.

I urge you to get your information about the situation from solid sources like the World Health Organization and/or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Please be safe out there and take care of yourself.

Me, I’m turning off the television and focusing on getting this work in progress finished.

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.

4 03, 2020

Winter quotes – Victor Hugo

By |2020-03-02T11:34:18-06:00March 4th, 2020|Seasons, Wednesday Words, Weekly Quote|1 Comment

About the Graphic

The picture is where we used to live in Colorado. This is how it looked from November until April–snow coming down, snow stacked high. Winter would come and hold on for dear life, which is why this quote has always resonated with me.

About the Quote

Victor Marie Hugo was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. He is considered  one of the greatest and best-known French writers.

You might be familiar with his novels Les Misérables, 1862, and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, 1831.

2 03, 2020

Signs Spring May Be Coming After All

By |2020-03-01T10:58:56-06:00March 2nd, 2020|Writer's Life|1 Comment

For those of you still buried under snow, I know this will sound a little like whining. You’re so ready for Spring, bless your hearts.

But after a snowfall the sun usually pops out and glistens on the white. Least it did where we lived in Colorado.

Winter around here isn’t like that. Clouds block the sun and skies turn dark and dreary for days and weeks. In the Pacific NW that’s acceptable. After repeated days and days of it here, I miss the sun.

Punxsutawney Peter promised spring was coming.

Not sure I trust a ground hog way up there in Pennsylvania to accurately predict things down here in Texas.

My Japanese tulip tree believed old Petey. It’s loaded with purple blooms.

But the dreary rainy days are dragging on. I was giving up hope and calling Punxsutawney not-so-nice names.

Then this happened.

The long missing sun slipped over the trees and through the blinds to grid my worktable, which used to serve as our dining table. (The tale about why table is no longer used for dining I’ll save for another day.)

Hope fluttered to life in my heart. Spring is coming.

And, someone remind me about this when I’m complaining about the heat in July and August.

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?

24 02, 2020

Yellow Roses for a Texas Valentine’s Day

By |2020-02-17T08:23:08-06:00February 24th, 2020|Holidays, Writer's Life|2 Comments

My sweetie surprised me with roses for Valentine’s Day. Yellow roses.

Red roses are common for the day. But yellow roses are our special roses.

After his heart attack many moons ago, I brought a yellow rose to the hospital every day. We lived in Connecticut and finding a yellow rose wasn’t easy. But, not any old red rose would work, it had to be a yellow.

I was his rosebud from Texas, and the only girl for him.

By the first anniversary of the heart attack we were back in Texas. I sent a dozen yellow roses to his office. Imagine his co-workers’ surprise when they learned the anniversary they celebrated.

My yellow roses for Valentine’s Day were a surprise. Double special with their sweet history.
If you’re not familiar with the song have a listen.

And, you can read about the historical Yellow Rose of Texas here.

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

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