Spring at Work

Around here, birds are chirping and squirrels are scampering. Trees are budding and the pines are raining green pollen. Spring is indeed at work with joyful enthusiasm in our neck of the woods.

So is the yearning to dig in the dirt. Spring Fever, once again, at war with the task of getting words on the page, and I think it’s winning.


Where did April Fools’ Day Come From?

Today is officially April Fools’ Day, the day when pranks and pranksters abound.

Playing jokes and tricking people, celebrated in many different cultures, has been around for centuries, but no one knows its origins for sure.

My favorite theory is April Fool’s Day is of French origin and dates back to 1582 when the Council of Trent required the French to switch from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar.

King Charles IX declared New Year’s Day to be April 1 which meant the traditional Boxing Day gift exchange on the first day of the New Year was moved to the new date in April.

Many honored the new date and presented their family and friends with gifts, mainly fish because April 1 falls within Lent, the 40-day period when meat consumption is forbidden.

Those who embraced the new calendar started to mock the reluctant ones, offering false presents and playing tricks on them. Those who are tricked or fooled are called April Fools or Poisson d’avril (April Fish).

Eventually the real fish tradition evolved into the exchange of fish-shaped cakes then paper fish associated with jokes and hoaxes.

School-aged children in France design paper fish to stick on the back of some unsuspecting person. Much like children in the US kick me signs.

April Fools’ Day is a popular, widespread day but not an official public holiday in any of the many countries where it’s recognized. No one seems to want to grant formal recognition to a day that allows attaching paper fish or playing pranks on unsuspecting folks.

Wherever April Fools’ Day originated, it’s a perfect day to enjoy some laughter with family, friends, and coworkers. A few smiles and laughs are important for a balanced life, don’t you think?


Another Travel Buddy

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Bill went to San Antonio last week and brought me back a round, plush frog.  My first thought, naturally, was a song “Frog in The Middle.”

I considered using it in my music class.  However, I found a better use.  Since Brian has two travel buddies in his car, perhaps I need two in mine.

So now I have a fat, friendly frog on one side


and a happy eggplant on the other.

That gives me a reason to smile in both directions!

With state testing at the school on the horizon, I need as much help smiling as I can get.


Nature’s Pace – Emerson

Our calendars may say spring, but for many the view says winter. If that’s your view, take heart in Emerson’s words and be patience. Spring will come.


The Swim Team

I’m on a Swim Team. A very small swim team.

Three of us gather Monday through Friday at the local indoor pool. I don’t know all their names. We rarely speak. Yet we’re a dedicated team. You have to be leave to your house early enough to be in the water at 5:30 am.

Two of us arrive at about the same time usually between 5 – 5:15 a.m. We stand at the door silently. I’m not sure either of us is fully awake. The minute the door is unlocked, we grab our allotted two towels and head to the pool at the back of the building.

Power-swimmer heads directly to the pool. She’s in the water by the time I’ve stripped to my swimsuit under my sweats and stuffed my belongings in a locker.

She swims non-stop. Breaststroke, backstroke, and underwater. Flippers on, flipper off. Without a break. I’m in awe of her stamina.

Basically, I’m not a swimmer. Though several different state Red Cross swim instructors have certified me drown proof. Of course, that probably has more to do with my BMI enabling me to float forever than skills.

While Power-swimmer has her strenuous workout, I walk and doggy paddle in my lane then do chin-ups on the therapy pool equipment and a series of exercises with water weights.

Team member #3 arrives shortly after we’re in the water. I know her name-Char. She walks like I do and our paths cross. Talking’s allowed. Char also swims so once she starts the laps it’s all business. No chit-chat.

Other swimmers join us from day to day. Mostly lap swimmers. Not as intense as our Power member and none swim for as long as the team does.

One day a head popped up in the lane between Power Swimmer and me. I had not seen him come in or enter the water. Scared me that I was so unobservant then Char said the guy swims totally underwater. Since my cardinal pool rule is never to get my face wet, I won’t ever see him until he gets out of the water.

After an hour, Power-swimmer and I leave TM #3. We wave good bye as we head to the locker room.

The others aren’t on the team. They don’t follow the rules: Come every day. Swim an hour. And rules are rules, you know. They’re welcome to join. But that means I’d have to tell my other team members about the team and the rules.


Travel Buddies

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

My husband and I both drive Honda Fits. Mine is white, his is yellow.  It was not an intentional thing.  We just like Honda Fits.

Rachel and Brian both commute an hour each way to a nearby town for school and work.  For a short time their schedules worked out so they could ride together.

The next semester, when Rachel had to drive herself, she found a stuffed bee to be a travel buddy for her dad.  It fit perfectly in the side front window.

Then she found a stuffed dachshund that she couldn’t resist. So now Brian has two buddies to keep him company:

I travel several blocks to work each day.  In fact, I could probably walk if I didn’t have to drop Bill off at school.

Even though I spend much less time in my car, I still felt lonely without a travel buddy. My front window was very empty.

Recently I found a stuffed eggplant in the back of Rachel’s car. I loved it but, alas, it was a dog toy belonging to Rachel’s boss’s dog.

When she told her boss how much I liked the eggplant, her boss bought one for me.  So now I have a happy eggplant travel buddy!

It makes me smile.


An Irish Love Story

To keep the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day going…

A little suspense. A little romance. A lot of Ireland.Buy links:

Amazon/Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00O6BO

B&N/Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/claiming-annies-heart-judythe-morgan/1120481337

iBOOKS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/claiming-annies-heart/id926024696

KOBO: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/claiming-annie-s-heart


In Search of An Eraser

I read recently that Edward Nairne was the inventor of the rubber eraser. Before Nairne accidentally picked up a piece of rubber, bread was an eraser.

Two facts I did not know.

The bread as eraser sent all kinds of scenarios in my head. Made me want to write a Regency novel and use the interesting fact in a story.

It also peeked my curiosity about how we’ve corrected writing mistakes in the past.

I have an 1840s porcelain inkwell that contains a sand shaker. So, at some point in history sand corrected mistakes in writing.

Most often I suspect wadding up the page and starting over was the most common means.

I know, before word processors, I used a ton of paper starting over to get a perfect copy, especially when I wrote with a fountain pen.

I’ve used dry marker erasers for white board writing or a handy Kleenex. I’ve even used fingernail polish when I accidentally used a permanent marker instead of the washable pen.

Back when the typewriter was our professional option, I used correction tape and write out. That was a giant pain lining up the tape and blotting only the incorrect word and not smudging the wrong one.

In drafting, I kept a Pink Pearl nearby along with the shape shields. With those old Leroy Lettering tools, there was no hope of correcting mistakes. You had to start over. Indian ink is very unforgiving.

I used art gum erasers in art classes. I still keep Pink Pearl and art gum erasers handy. Using oils or acrylics, I washed over the canvas with a neutral shade and started again whenever I was unhappy with the results.

Nowadays, I mostly use the delete key or backspace for correcting mistakes. So easy. So fast. So neat and clean.

Sometimes I love technology.


Farewell Kaboodle and Custard

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Although we call it Miller Farm, we actually live in the middle of town on 1/3 acre lot one block off a major street.  The pie shape of our backyard has allowed us to keep the various birds and stay within city ordinances – until now.

Apparently some city dwellers are not happy with crowing roosters.  The latest ordinance that has passed the first reading bans all roosters in the city limits. This is sad for us.

Most of our roosters are nameless and so I’m not attached.  Kaboodle and Custard, however, are in another category.  Not only do they have names, but each one has his own blog post.


Read Custard’s blog here.






Read Kaboddle’s blog here.

A piano student’s mom posted about Kaboddle and Custard   somewhere and we got a message from some friends of ours who were looking to replace their rooster.  They live outside city limits and have 4 children living at home.I explained to the boys that they would be moving to a new home with lots of room and no crowing restrictions.  They were not impressed but hopefully they will settle in.  I’ll check on them later.

Farewell Custard and Kaboodle!


March is for Irish Toasts-Quotes-Blessings