18 04, 2022

Where have Easter Bonnets and Easter Parades gone?

By |2022-04-17T07:19:52-05:00April 18th, 2022|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

There wasn’t a single Easter bonnet at my church service yesterday. No Easter Parade. Not surprising. These traditions seem to have all but disappeared.

However, I’m guessing many of us have pictures like this buried in old photo albums.

Once upon a time, it was very important to have not only a new bonnet but a new dress for Easter Sunday too.

Why new clothes?

It’s said the early church converts wore white garments on Sunday to identify themselves with Christ. The white symbolized purity and newness of life. Following that tradition, people bought new clothes to wear on Easter. Often, at least in our family, that new dress was our only Sunday dress and worn only for church or special occasions.

Easter parades are a different story. Yes, Virginia, there was truly an Easter parade in New York City from St. Patrick’s Cathedral down Fifth Avenue from the 1870s through the 1950s.

That tradition is attributed to Irving Berlin’s song titled In Your Easter Bonnet from the 1948 movie Easter Parade

People, in new and fashionable clothing, strolled or rode in carriages down Fifth Avenue be seen.

The official parade’s popularity declined significantly as people came to view the frolic in finery as an ostentatious display of wealth and beauty. These days you won’t see a single person strolling down the Avenue on Easter Sunday.

I agree that Easter Parades are a little over the top, but tradition is important. Now that the little ones are grown, I miss hiding colorful eggs for them to find.

What Easter traditions does your family still share?

11 04, 2022

Pollen and Planting Time

By |2022-04-10T10:47:34-05:00April 11th, 2022|Make Me Think Monday, Writer's Life|0 Comments

Spring has sprung in Rosehill, Texas. Azaleas are bursting with blooms. White blossoms fill Bradford pear trees. Unfortunately, pollen from pines, oaks, and every green tree is also clogging the air. Daily pollen counts here are double, triple previous years.

Pollenpocalypse may be upon us, but the gardener in me won’t be stopped.

Morning Glory seeds need to be planted and zinnia seeds dried from last year’s blooms must be spread in the flower beds.

Plus, Confederate Rose trimmings rooted over the winter have leafy growth. Time to get the sticks into the ground so those twigs can grow hardly roots.

If you’re not familiar with a Confederate rose, this is one.

The showy blooms, 4 to 6 inches wide, appear in fall. They open white, fade to pink, and, as they age, end up red. All three colors can appear on the same plant at the same time. It’s not a rose at all but a species of hibiscus native to China (Hibiscus mutabilis).

It’s a favorite Southern passalong plant since it’s so easy to propagate. The easiest way to reproduce the plant is to simply put cuttings in water like I did.

Legend says the flowers were used to soak up the blood spilled on Confederate battlefields and hence the name Confederate. In the book Passalong Plants, Felder Rushing says ladies in Mobile, Alabama gave these flowers to Confederate soldiers returning home from the war. He’s a well-known authority on all things southern especially gardening things so it’s bound to be true.

Another name is “cotton rose” because its leaves resemble cotton foliage and its round flower buds resemble cotton bolls.

The Confederate rose can be either a small tree, a perennial, or an annual.

One good thing that’s come from Global Warming is more people are being introduced to the Confederate rose.

In places that don’t have winter freezes, it can get grow thirty feet tall. What a sight to see so many multi-colored flowers each fall.

The best thing about Confederate Roses…

All you need to do is ask a friend to have one in your yard. Don’t be shy about asking. It’s what we do down here. It’s perfectly acceptable.

8 04, 2022

Ruckus on the Ranch Version 2.0

By |2022-04-08T08:29:01-05:00April 8th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog By Chicken Wrangler Sara

This book is still one of my favorites and a favorite of all my classes.  They regularly ask for the “Whoa Ruby, Whoa Wyatt” song.  They really enjoy galloping around the room.

This year, I have a new angle.

I ask myself the question “How many times can I gallop around the room without being in pain for the rest of the day?”

The answer is usually “one less than I galloped.”  Getting older is hard on the body but I’m not quite ready to give up playing with the kids.

Ruckus on the Ranch – the original from Jun 7, 2019

Rachel has worked as a personal assistant for a woman named Jane who is visually impaired and has somewhat limited mobility.  Rachel takes her to the places she needs to go and helps her around the house.  Last April Rachel and I took her to see the Texas Tenors for her birthday.  Jane enjoys music very much and in fact, we sit together at Bible Study so I can sing alto to her soprano when we sing the hymns.

Before we even went to our seats, I stopped at the merchandise table.  This is usually a bad idea but in this case, there was a newly published children’s book entitled Ruckus on the Ranch.  It was a gift we could all enjoy. It tells the story of two horses, Wyatt and Ruby, running amuck on a ranch and being chased by all the farm animals as well as the cowboy and cowgirl.  They eventually get tired and lay down to rest.  All is quiet until… Wyatt gets stung by a bumblebee.

Of course, there is a song sung by the Texas Tenors that goes with the book.  At the part where all is quiet, the three men sing “Oh what a peaceful ranch” in beautiful harmony. It is my favorite part not only for the music but also because when I play it in my music class, all the kids lay quietly.

Then when Wyatt gets stung, they all jump up and start galloping around again.  It is the perfect song for when the classes need to get some energy out – like the month of May.  It also gives me a workout as I gallop around with them.

Sometimes on Miller Farm, the chickens run amuck.  Then I put food out and they all get quiet. At that moment I hear in my head “Oh what a peaceful ranch” and hope no one gets stung by a bee.

4 04, 2022

The King’s English isn’t always English

By |2022-04-02T13:15:40-05:00April 4th, 2022|Make Me Think Monday|2 Comments

I learned that many years ago from my British partner in our antique business. With his King’s English and my Texas English, understanding one another was frequently a challenge.

As we traveled the English countryside on our quest for merchandise, I quickly learned his bobbles and bits were my smalls. My chest of drawers was his bureau. What he called rubbish, I thought garage sale.

He finally gave me a King’s English dictionary so I’d know what he meant.

Lately, we’ve been watching a lot of BritBox mysteries and I’ve been reminded again of all those language differences.

This GrammarChek infographic highlights over sixty U.S.-British English differences.

British vs. American English: 63 Differences (Infographic)
Source: www.grammarcheck.net

What about you? Have you ever had communication issues with someone who spoke the King’s English or watched a British tv series where you needed my King’s English Dictionary to check the meaning of words?

1 04, 2022

Peeping Cooper

By |2022-03-31T21:35:31-05:00April 1st, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

There are advantages to having a large dog versus a small dog.  For one thing, I don’t have to worry about stepping on him. Nor do I have to reach down to pet him.

There is one thing I will never get used to, though, seeing him in my kitchen window.

You’ve heard of a peeping Tom?  Well, meet peeping Cooper.

28 03, 2022

The Story of the Pussy Willow

By |2022-03-25T08:28:08-05:00March 28th, 2022|Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

Long ago, when we lived on the east coast, one of my favorite trees was the pussy willow. I loved the puffy little buds on the bare branches that popped up in early March.

Living on the Texas Gulf Coast now, we don’t see pussy willows anymore.

That doesn’t stop me from pulling out my artificial stems with fuzzy catkins, sticking them in a vase, and remembering the legends.

One Native American story tells of a rabbit that climbed to the top of a willow tree one particularly snowy winter. Tired after his climb, he nestled into the treetop and slept the winter away. He woke with the spring thaw and bits of his fuzzy tail clung to the tree. From that day on willow buds feature a tiny bit of fur in honor of spring bunnies.

Another popular fable is the Polish tale of riverside willows saving a family of drowning kittens.

When I taught I shared the stories with my students, then had the kids create catkin cotton balls on sticks and draw pictures of kittens on willow branches.

Whatever the true story behind the little catkin buds, I do miss seeing them. Pussy willows were the first sign of winter’s thaw and always welcomed.

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