Chicken Little

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

My mom recently gave me a copy of the children’s book Chicken Little to add to my collections of chickens and children’s books.

In case you are not familiar with the story Chicken Little is out in the farm yard one day when an acorn fell on her head.  She is convinced the sky is falling and she runs to tell the king.  On her way she meets Henny Penny, Cocky Locky, Ducky Wucky, Goosey Loosey, and Turkey Lurkey.  The whole brood is headed for the castle when they run into Foxy Woxy who convinces them to follow him on a “shortcut.”  He leads them into a cave with the most impure of motives.  The whole crew causes a ruckus and runs out of the cave and back to the farm yard.  The excitement has completely overshadowed the original dilemma and Chicken Little returns to pecking at corn in the farmyard – blissfully unconcerned about the condition of the sky.

I have thought about Chicken Little a great deal recently.

The school where I teach has undergone some financial difficulties in the last few years. I believe most private schools face this problem at some point.  The reaction of the staff has been interesting to watch.  Some have continued to do their job knowing that the students deserve their best regardless of what the future holds.  Others have adopted the Chicken Little philosophy of “the sky is falling.”  Their panic spread to some of the students and parents leading to an uncomfortable period of time.

I love my job as music teacher and strive to have fun with all my classes even if it will only be for a short time. I tried to spread this positive outlook to the faculty and staff as best I could and eventually the year came to an end.

I believe there are parallels in the reporting of current events today.  I’ve decided to approach media news the way I do my position at school.  I will do my best to enjoy life regardless of the circumstances.  Perhaps I will follow Chicken Littles example at the end of the story and look for corn in my own farmyard.

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Adopting an Animal Aids in Addiction Recovery

Welcome Jennifer, our guest blogger, today. She’s from The Village Recovery, a drug rehab center in Florida and a fellow dog lover here to tell us how a pet could help in addiction recovery.

How Adopting an Animal Aids in Addiction Recovery

Treatment for addiction is difficult and a lifelong process, someone with a substance use disorder (SUD) must continue their treatment even after they leave their treatment facility, where maintaining recovery can become harder. In a rehabilitation facility, patients are in a controlled environment with people who understand their addiction and how to treat it, but when someone with an SUD leaves rehab and reenters the “real world,” it can be intimidating.

The individual in recovery has to figure out a new routine, learn how to cope with daily stresses in a healthy way, and rebuild relationships that could have been damaged when the individual was misusing. During this time, it’s critical that people in recovery have a strong support network — and for some people it can be a lonely process if they don’t have friends or family to turn to. However, a strong support system doesn’t have to walk on two legs — many people in recovery find support through a furry friend.

According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) people who owned a pet were found to be able to have more positive social interactions, than people without pets had. Owning a pet can also help you build new relationships with other people, the interactions you have with people while walking or playing with your dog, can easily lead to new friendships for both you and your pet.

A study from Harvard Health Publishing determined that pets can help foster human-to-human friendships and increase social support. Another challenge that people in recovery may face are the daily stresses of life. Compiled stress could result in anxiety and depression, and these feelings can be triggering for someone in recovery. To combat these feelings, having a pet nearby can help.

A study in the U.K. demonstrated that 55 percent of people with pets reported that they felt more relaxed after spending time with their animals.

There are numerous benefits to adopting animal for people in recovery, some examples include:
● Developing a routine
● Creating a sense of purpose
● Keeping active
● Learning to socialize
● Building communication skills
● Receiving emotional support

While the benefits of owning a pet are substantial, a person must be certain that they are ready to adopt an animal, because owning a pet is a commitment. If someone in recovery isn’t sure that they’re ready for the major care giving responsibilities that are associated with being a pet owner, they could try lower maintenance animals like fish or hamsters. Only the person in recovery will know when the proper time for them to adopt an animal. Alternatively they can talk to their sponsor or counselor regarding their opinions on the “right time” for pet ownership.

A pet can provide support. Though pet ownership can be challenging at times, recovery can become a little easier with the help of a furry friend. If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder, call The Recovery Village today to speak with a representative about starting on the path to recovery. The call is free, confidential and there’s no obligation to enroll.

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Jennifer is a Florida-based writer who strives to raise awareness for mental health and lifelong recovery from substance misuse and addiction. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading a book at the beach or park and playing her with her two Pomeranians.

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Words of Wisdom for the 4th of July

Happy 4th of July!

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Ten Fun Facts and Trivia for the 4th of July

The American Revolution began with the first shots fired at Lexington and Concord in 1775. One year later, the Declaration of Independence was signed.

This week Americans will take time to celebrate the birth of our nation, remember those who fought for our freedom, and honor those who actively guard our freedoms today. Celebrations will vary across the country, but parades, fireworks, and outdoor fun are sure to be found.

Here are some fun facts and trivia to share at your backyard celebration.

  1. The first White House Fourth of July party was held in 1804.
  2. Fifty-six people signed the Declaration of Independence although most didn’t formally sign until August 2, 1776.
  3. John Hancock was the only member of the Continental Congress who formally signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
  4. In 1776, the population of the country was 2.5 million people. Now, 242 years later, our population is 326+ million people.
  5. Congress didn’t make the Fourth of July and official federal holiday until 1870.
  6. In 1938 the Fourth became a paid legal holiday for employees of the federal government.
  7. Three United States presidents have died on the Fourth of July: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe.
  8. Yankee Doodle, the celebrated patriotic song, was written by British army officers to make fun of backwoods Americans.
  9. Around 155 million hot dogs are consumed on the Fourth of July. That’s enough hot dogs to make a line from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles more than five times according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.
  10. Americans spent more than $800 million on fireworks in 2016.

On that note, I’d like to remind you that many PTSD veterans and pets will be cringing with every blast of those fireworks set off in your driveway. You might want to save money and watch fireworks display on the television instead.

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More Sticky Notes Tales

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

The great Sticky Note War has died down some but one of my students continues to write notes each time he comes. They are not always directed at the cat lovers, and I am beginning to believe he is using them as a stall tactic.

One of his most recent messages makes me smile every time I see it.

My son gave me a clock one year for Christmas.  It is a chicken clock which already makes me smile.

However, my student put a sticky note on it that says “rooster o’clock” and “clockadoodledoo.”

I leave it there even though it makes it hard to tell the time.  This student is taking some time off while his family is in a transition.  There is a chance they will move which is sad.

I would miss his chicken stories and sense of humor.  I’ll be praying for them regularly – that God works things out so they can stay.  Us chicken lovers need to stick together.

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Words of Wisdom on Dreams-Kassem

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In My Garden – Resurrection Fern

Almost a year ago, we moved back to Texas. Our top priority was to find housing. We were very fortunate and quickly found a place that suited our needs.Not only was the interior exactly what we wanted, the giant oak tree in the front yard captured our hearts. It was love at first sight.

After we moved in, we noticed dried brown leaves curled on the branches of the big, beautiful tree and feared the giant oak estimated to be 200 years old was dying.

“Oh no,” said the neighbors. “That’s resurrection fern. Once we have some rain, all the leaves will turn green.”

Raising my eyebrows, I tilted my head and smiled. I’d never heard of such. Sure enough, the first rain those ugly brown knobs of dead leaves unfurled to life.

The name resurrection fern comes from the plant’s ability to live for 100 years without water. Common names include little gray polypoid, scaly polyploidy, and miracle fern.

The resurrection fern is an epiphyte — an organism that lives on another living organism without negative impact on the host. Air and rain nourish an epiphyte.

Even though it can lose up to 75 percent of the water in its cells during droughts, the fern can exist with only air. Rain revives the plant as it absorbs the water into its cells and it becomes a healthy green fern again.

The fascinating fern carpets the branches of large cypress and oak trees like ours. It can also be found growing on the surfaces of rocks and dead logs as well. Frequently Spanish moss, another epiphytic plant, is found nearby.

Here’s a YouTube video of a fern resurrecting. You can see the brown leaves stretch outward and turn green. I’ve never actually seen the process happening, but I can attest that it does.

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Interruption on Miller Farm

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

A finger injury recently interrupted Life on Miller Farm and it was my finger.

The accident happened at the beginning of June but it has taken me a while to process the mishap. This is what happened:

I was slicing a red bell pepper with a mandolin slicer.  I did not use the holder and sliced the tip of my right index finger – off. I screamed and Beekeeper Brian came into the kitchen immediately.

To be honest, it is not unusual for me to cut myself. In fact, there is a tube of super glue with my name on it near the kitchen counter. However, Beekeeper Brian took one look at my finger and said, “Let me get some shoes on.”

We went to the closest urgent care clinic where the FNP called in the MD to confirm her diagnosis. She called it an “avulsion” which is a tearing away of the skin.  She used silver nitrate to stop the bleeding and the nurse wrapped it in a pretty purple bandage.

The doctor wrote a prescription for an antibiotic and pain medicine which I took as often as I could for the first two days.

I practiced playing the piano with my other nine fingers and told the worship leader at our church that I would be at 90% for a while.  I have now realized how much of my piano playing is muscle memory.  It takes a lot of brain power to remember not to use finger 2 on my right hand.

After a trip to my regular doctor I was able to switch to a fingertip bandage.  It reminds me of a finger puppet so Brian drew a face on it.

It has been nearly three weeks and the finger is slowly healing.  Another week or so and I should be able to get back to swimming.

The doctor said I could get in the pool if I kept my finger out of the water. I’m not sure my brain can figure out how to swim without my right hand getting wet.  I could just walk back and forth across the pool with my finger up in the air.

Or I can just wait a little longer.

In the meantime, my mom gave me a mesh glove to wear when I use a knife in the kitchen.

I’d like to keep the rest of my fingers intact.

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Words of Wisdom on Dreams -Thoreau

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Gnomes and Google Doodles

Recently, Google’s search engine home page featured a gnome Google Doodle. (Try not to laugh when you say that fast.)

If you’re not familiar with the term Google Doodle, it’s the temporary alteration of the logo on Google’s homepage.

Google Doodles first appeared in 1998 and are now a regular feature on the search engine’s homepage to illustrate a range of interactive games and drop down articles to commemorate holidays, events, achievements, or people. Those who create the Google Doodles are called Doodlers.

I’ve only recently started paying attention to the Google Doodles. I’ve always been fascinated by gnomes. These gnomes live on my kitchen windowsill.

That’s why the Google Doodle gnome game caught my eye.

Gnomes are diminutive creatures that can live below the surface or inhabit gardens. All Gnomes have long, shaggy beards and pointed caps. History traces their roots from 13th century Anatolia to 16th century Italy to 19th century Germany.

Myths, legends, and fantasy fiction attribute good and/or bad qualities to the creatures depending upon the needs of the individual storytellers. You’ll find gnomes in the pages of such fantasy fiction as C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, Terry Brooks’ Shannara series, and the novels of J. R. R. Tolkien.

The garden gnome – the one Google Doodle celebrated – originated in the Thuringia mining area of Germany. The local artisans hand carved the little statutes with shaggy beards and pointy hats.

Today, you find most garden gnomes are painted, wear red caps, and hold various garden tools. According to legend, a gnome protects your garden and brings good luck.

My concrete gnome has been watching over my flowers for years. He was always grey and he’s beginning to show wear. May be time to give him a coat of paint and a red hat.

If you want to give the interactive Garden Gnome Google Doodle game a try, click on this link.

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