27 02, 2023

Scents of Spring and Dirt

By |2023-02-26T07:44:05-06:00February 27th, 2023|A Writer's Life|3 Comments

Spring must seem lost for many of you who are buried under mountains of snow from blizzards. Down here where I live, the scents of spring are already in the air. Green sprouts dot bushes and trees and temperatures are pushing eighty degrees…in February!

judythemorgan.com We spent a day clearing winter’s carnage of dead leaves and pine needles from the flowerbeds and unlocked the pungent earthy aroma of the black earth. I inhaled the promise of spring’s colorful blooms as the scent of dirt filled my senses.

Memories floated in my head.

~Helping my grandmother weed her gardens.

~Making dirt mud pies and cakes for my siblings to sample.

~Planting seedpods so my children could watch a plant sprout and then produce something edible.

~Hiking in the woods with the pungent smell of years-old decaying leaves and stumps.

I still enjoy feeling dirt. The texture of lumpy clumps of rich, moist black dirt on my hands, with maybe an earthworm wiggling through. Powdery dirt flowing through my fingers when the ground is dry. Gritty dirt dying on my jeans after I’ve wiped my hands.

The earthy smells and memories make me smile.

This morning tiny tentacles of green, freed from all that weight, pushed upward through the dirt. There’ll be another wave of winter and the weeds will return, I’m sure, but today I see the promise of spring.

If you’re looking at snow, hang on spring will come. It always does.

20 02, 2023

A Strange Holiday

By |2023-02-19T10:45:56-06:00February 20th, 2023|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

Today is President’s Day… or is it Presidents’ Day… Presidents Day… Or Washington’s Birthday as the Office of Personnel Management notes on its federal calendar.

All those names are used.

With no official name, it’s hard to know how or what to call the holiday and it’s a grammar nightmare. The apostrophe is everywhere.

Sometimes there’s none, i.e. Presidents Day. Sometimes the apostrophe is placed between the last two letters as in President’s Day. Sometimes it’s after the last letter Presidents’ Day.

Then President is used as plural or singular.

To most people, the day is when banks and federal employees have a holiday and retail stores run sales.

Back in my day, we celebrated two presidential birthdays in February on their actual birthdays –George Washington on February 22 and Abraham Lincoln on February 16.

The 1971 Uniform Monday Holiday Act changed all that with the creation of three-day weekends and designated the third Monday of February to honor all presidents, past and present. That blurred the day’s meaning from the original purpose.

You’ll also notice Presidents’ Day never falls on either Washington or Lincoln’s birthdates or any of the other four presidents’ February birthdates—George Washington, William Henry Harrison, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan.

Strange holiday, I say.

Whatever you call the holiday and however you choose to write it, enjoy the day.

Maybe do a little reading. Check out my author page for some excellent book choices.

17 02, 2023

Chicken Cookies for the Win!

By |2023-02-17T12:12:15-06:00February 17th, 2023|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A reblog from Chicken Wrangler Sara

Our school secretary/business administrator is a wonderful lady. I’ve always known that the school secretary is the one who runs the school, and that is never truer than in a small private school. When she was gone for a few days taking care of her husband it took 4 people to do her job.

She has two grandsons who were in my music classes when they were at the school.  They frequently visit so I keep an eye out at the food pantry for things they might enjoy.  Each week I stop by the school on my way home to deliver whatever prizes I have found.

Last Friday Mary had a prize for me. She had been working at a garage sale and found a basket of cookie cutters.  Among them was this

She immediately thought of me.

I was thrilled. I have quite a collection of cookie cutters – thanks to my mother – but a chicken was not among them.

Over the weekend, along with canning 6 pints of tomato sauce, 6 pints of spiced apples, 4 half pints of apple butter, and freezing 10 cups of mashed sweet potatoes, I made chicken cookies.


I took them to school and left them in the teachers’ workroom with a note explaining that they were chicken cookies – sugar cookies shaped like chickens, not cookies made from chicken. At least one teacher was glad for the clarification.

~~~First appeared on February 15, 2o15

13 02, 2023

Origins of Our Valentine’s Day Traditions

By |2023-02-05T10:37:10-06:00February 13th, 2023|Holidays|0 Comments

judythe morganFebruary 14 is second only to Christmas for gift-giving and sweet treats. A day for romantic dinners and homemade crafts. Both holiday celebrations began with religious roots. Similarities end there.

Historians can’t establish the exact origin but do trace how traditions have evolved over the years. The beginnings of Valentine’s Day are not the stuff of romantic plots. The origin is, in fact, a bit bloody.

Earliest traditions

According to History.com, the holiday’s origin might predate Christianity with the ancient pagan festival of Lupercalia and the Roman festival celebrated in the middle of February that included feasting and pairing off partners.

Lupercalia was filled with debauchery, blood, and sacrifice. The hide of a sacrificed goat would be cut into strips, dipped in blood, and slapped around women. It was believed the ritual would make the women more fertile in the coming year.

Lupercalia was eventually outlawed in the 5th century when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as St. Valentine’s Day.

The Romans pagan celebrations ended when they embraced Christianity, and their holiday evolved into one honoring St. Valentine.

Who was Saint Valentine?

The most accepted account of St. Valentine says he was a priest arrested for defying a Roman decree that forbade soldiers from marrying and executed when he continued to wed lovers in secret. Problem is, according to NPR, Emperor Claudius II of Rome executed two different men named Valentine on February 14 (in two different years),

History.com contends St. Valentine was an imprisoned priest who fell in love with one of his visitors and wrote letters to her signing off with “From your Valentine.”

Both accounts have romantic undertones unfortunately neither can be officially verified.

Add the fact that the Catholic church recognizes multiple priests named Valentine and all we can say for sure is Valentine’s Day was named for a martyred priest.

From honoring a priest to current traditions

Jack B. Oruch says our modern-day traditions are thanks to the 14th-century English poet Geoffrey Chaucer.

An English professor Oruch concluded that Chaucer was the first to associate St Valentine with romantic love. Before Chaucer’s “The Parlement of Foules” and “The Complaint of Mars” there was no significant written record linking romantic tradition to St. Valentine’s Day.

By the mid-18th century, giving small tokens and handmade notes to friends and lovers on Valentine’s Day became common practice.

The 19th-century Industrial Revolution enabled printed Valentine’s Day cards.

Then in 1913, Hallmark Cards began mass-producing Valentines and the rest is history.

10 02, 2023

Real Teachers

By |2023-02-09T18:04:11-06:00February 10th, 2023|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

“You’re not a real teacher.”  I’ve heard that many, many times in my years of teaching music.

Recently it was from a student. Early in my career, I was told I would never be “Teacher of the Year” because I wasn’t a real teacher. Another time someone walked into my classroom and said “O, you’re teaching” as if that was a surprise.

It used to really upset me. It doesn’t bother me anymore. I know what I do, and I love it.

Music teachers take the students who can’t sit still in “regular” classes, and those who struggle with “real” subjects and dread those classes.  We take all those wiggly little bodies and create ensembles that play and sing together. Music gives those students a chance to succeed.

No, we don’t give standardized tests. We have performances where students learn to work together and make music with instruments or voices in front of live audiences on a regular basis. All the students take part and their self-confidence soars.

If we aren’t “real” teachers, what about superheroes like my favorite teeshirt says?

6 02, 2023

The Full Moon and Me

By |2023-01-23T07:59:22-06:00February 6th, 2023|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Source: NASA

Moonbeams lit up our little corner of the world Sunday night. The sky was dark, but the light made shadows as Finnegan MacCool and I walked.

I guess that’s why the Native Americans named it The Snow Moon. We had no snow to sparkle here on the Texas Gulf Coast, but I remember how the ground glistened when there was.

Read more about Native American full moon names here. It’s fascinating.

Every time there’s a full moon I think of a rhyme my Irish grandmother taught me as a wee little girl, I See the Moon.

I see the moon, the moon sees me,
God bless the moon and God bless me:
There’s grace in the cottage and grace in the hall;
And the grace of God is over us all. 

She also told me the man in the moon would hear me. I remember that too. I wasn’t lonely. Not with my Finn along, but I thought of Carl Sandburg’s words.

Edie Melson, judythe morgan

The next full moon – called the Worm Moon or Lenten Moon – will be at its peak on Tuesday, March 7, 2023, at 7:40 a.m. ET.

Don’t miss the opportunity to go out and chat with the man in the moon.

3 02, 2023

Life Goal

By |2023-01-31T20:56:31-06:00February 3rd, 2023|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

When I was in middle school, I took piano lessons from Mrs. Black.  She was an amazing teacher who had a major impact on my life.

Each week I had a private lesson and a group lesson where I learned theory, ear training, and improvisation. She taught in her home and had two baby ground pianos in her studio.  I can still remember her coming down the stairs in her house shoes and playing a second piano part to my Clementi Sonatinas.

I performed in recitals, festivals, and for the National Guild of Piano Teachers.  I loved every minute of it and decided at that point I wanted to be just like Mrs. Black when I grew up.

I did indeed pursue a degree in music education where all the group lessons helped tremendously in my freshmen theory classes.  I began teaching piano in the home of one of the professors who guided me as I began my teaching career.

Fast forward more than 30 years and I am still teaching private piano as well as classroom music.  And I still love doing both.  While I do not have a baby grand piano, much less two, in my living room, I try to impart the same love of music that Mrs. Black passed on to me.

I looked down this week and noticed my feet:

judythe morgan

I have achieved my life goal of becoming just like Mrs. Black – right down to teaching in my house shoes.

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