Posted on November 5, 2012
Hit a roadblock in your story? Creative juices won’t flow?
View this short two minute video for ways to get back in the groove.
I liked #25 and #29. #18 is great, especially with Thanksgiving looming on the horizon.
I’m not so sure I agree with #23. Doesn’t sound like fun to me.
YOUR TURN: What works to stir your creativity?
Posted on November 2, 2012
I missed posting an email from the Miller Farm last Friday. My week was crazy with a whirlwind trip from the gulf coast of Texas to central Illinois. Left on Thursday back home on Monday. Two thousand miles in five days!
We made the trip to take most of our antique furniture to our son. Chicken wrangler Sara and her sister helped us out by taking some furniture, too. In the grand scheme of things we have more than our fair share of stuff. Watch for coming blogs about how we’re simplifying our lives by downsizing.
While we were traveling, life on the Miller Farm had its drama too.
We are remodeling our bathroom so right now things are really a mess, and we have no shower.
We remodeled a bathroom in a different house 16 years ago and so we knew what we were in for…we thought.
We’ve discovered, with two teenagers, things work a little different. But no matter what’s going on inside the house, the chickens outside must still be let out, watered, and fed every day.
So this morning, after I swam and showered at the pool, I went to let the chickens out and discovered not one, but two quail stuck where they didn’t belong.
One was in the space where the eggs roll out of the cage in the coop. This has happened before so I was not too surprised.
Another quail was stuck in the feeder in the long cage. I have no idea how that happened.
I was able to free both quail without major trauma to them or me.
Then as I was filling the water for the cage in the coop, one of the quail got out. He was on top of the cage, which is hard to reach.
Next, the escape artist quail jumped to the ground. I shut the door to the coop (checking to make sure the string was on the inside so I could get back out) and trapped him.
Unfortunately when trying to put him back in the quail cage, he escaped again. At last sighting, he was hanging out on top of the cage. He must think he is a chicken, which is fine with me.
I figure the worst case scenario is he joins the other quail, who thinks he’s a chicken, that hangs out in the chicken yard all the time.
Score one for Chicken Wrangler Sara.
YOUR TURN: Made any whirlwind trips or chased down escape artists this week?
Posted on October 28, 2012
I found this three minute video titled The Empty Pickle Jar offered some wise motivation.
Here’s to a golf ball day of writing and lots of chocolate milk for you.
Posted on October 22, 2012
A friend recently shared this video titled Neglected Ducks Get Their First Swim from Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. Great music, btw.
My first thought after watching the ducks repeatedly turn away from the water was that we writers are sometimes like those hoarded ducks-afraid to test new waters with our writing.
When was the last time you tried to write
- a different genre
- a short story if you normally write novels
- a novel if you normally write short stories
- a blog instead of just reading blogs
- a tweet – now that will test your skill
- a 1st person POV if you usually write 3rd person POV
- a 3rd person POV if you usually write 1st person POV
To me the pond in the video represents possibilities for our writer creativity. If we’d only venture forth and test the waters more, I think we’d see brave new worlds open up for our muse.
Did you notice how much fun those ducks were having once they took the plunge?
And who knows, we might find we like writing something new and different more than what we’re comfortable writing.
YOUR TURN: Have you ever written something out of your comfort zone? How’d it feel?
Posted on October 16, 2012
If you’re like me, you follow lots of blogs and skim. Shoot, there are some weeks I don’t even skim, I press delete.
Last night I played catch up and found some great blogs you might have missed and thought the links worth sharing.
- For bloggers: How to get more readers
The Write Conversation: Drive Traffic to Your Blog Using Twitter
- For writers: Great tips on increasing your fanbase and sales
Author Media:. Ten ways to get more FB fans
The Creative Pen: How to get Amazon book reviews
- If you use gmail, a how-to prevent HACKERS
Nathan Bransford: Two step e-mail verification for G-mail users
- For Trivia
Smithsonian Magazine: The Accidental History of the @ symbol
- For Fun
Today.com Why CBS still loves I Love Lucy
YOUR TURN: If you’ve found a blog, you think I missed, tell me your comment.
Posted on October 12, 2012
This week’s email from the farm…
I love my chickens and my chickens love me – especially when I feed them.
I was checking for eggs in the nest boxes this morning when one of the black hens started moving hay from one next box to the other. I guess she is the designated interior decorator.
Meanwhile, Essie (short for Survivor Girl from the Christmas Eve massacre at Barneyville) follows me around the whole time I am in the chicken yard.
In fact, I have accidentally stepped on her before. That hasn’t stopped her. Anyway, she hopped up on the door to the nest boxes and watched the redecorating process.
She is the only chicken we have who will let you pet her. I guess I now understand how people can have pet chickens. But, she’s not coming inside. Already tried that with Einstein and look where it got him.
I know that is shocking to you, but this made me think of a song.
I have a chicken my chicken loves me
I feed my chicken on tender leaf tea
My little chicken goes bak bak bak
My little rooster goes cockle doodle doodle
doodle doodle doodle do.
Anyone else remember that one?
I did remember the song, but had no idea who wrote it or when. After a quick Google search, I discover Arkansas folk singer named Almeda Riddle (1898-1986) was the first to publicly sing “My Little Rooster.”
Also known as Granny Riddle, her acapella recording of the song appears on the 1997 cult film “Gummo.” If you’d like a listen click below:
If you’ve got a preschooler or kindergartener, gather them up to the computer screen and have a watch of this more pleasant sounding variation. They’ll love it.
Chicken Wrangler Sara isn’t singing, though it could be her. She is a professional musician and music teacher. It’s exactly the sort of thing she’d do.
Well, on second thought, maybe not. She’d probably bring Essie so the kiddos could pet a real chicken and sing!
YOUR TURN: I’m sure we have you humming the “I love My Rooster” tune by now. If you don’t have a rooster or a chicken or a pig or a cow or a …, what would you substitute for rooster in the song?
Updated on January 30, 2019
I’m having an Alexander day. A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day where nothing goes right.
I’m sure you’ve had those days too, but you may not be familiar with the term Alexander day.
If not, you HAVE to read, Judith Voirst’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It’s a delightful children’s book that will warm your adult heart. Click on the cover to read more.
Like Alexander, I must decide what to do with this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
I could grump and get nowhere with my editing or…
since I believe action can alter attitude,
I’m choosing to blog about a recent experience in a wonderful little Panhandle city called Clarendon.
For the non-Texan blog readers that would be the northernmost 26 counties in the state. The part that looks like the handle of a pan.
On our travels between Houston and Colorado, we’ve gone through Clarendon on US 287 many, many times. Not a big city. Population is under two thousand. It’s home to Clarendon College (established 1898), the oldest center of higher education in the Texas Panhandle.
On our most recent trip through, I was having another Alexander day. This time because I had strep throat. The penicillin hadn’t fully kicked in so I was feeling pretty rotten.
We arrived in Clarendon late – 7:30 p.m. – and hungry. For all you city dwellers who think that isn’t late, small towns tend to roll up the sidewalks early.
We saw a sign for the Clarendon Steakhouse and pulled in praying it would be open. I was hoping the buffet had some soup that would soothe my very raw throat.
The building is a former grocery store converted to a restaurant with funny cowboys on the windows and friendly people inside. Very friendly and very kind people.
When we went inside, the place was about empty and the buffet was bare. My hopes sank. They were closed.
A waitress, in an apron that Vera Bradley would give her eye tooth to claim, greeted us. Turns out the waitress’ grandmother made her apron. I asked.
I explained how we were passing though, tired of driving, hungry and really wanted some soup. Okay, I admit I shared more detail than necessary, but I am a storyteller.
She walked us to a back table to check with the owner whose name was Mary. I think. Remember I was not having a good day and that affected my memory.
Mary pointed to her husband’s soup bowl filled with the most delicious looking chicken soup I’d ever seen. I know I looked a bit peaked and I must have drooled because Mary said she had enough for a couple of bowls.
She directed us to the “non-smoking” section. A booth at the store window under a ceiling fan. (to disperse cigarette smoke)
Sitting in the next booth was Fred Gray, local columnist for The Clarendon Enterprise. We shared writing stories. He even went next door to the newspaper office for old editions so we could read his “The Quick, the Dead and Fred” column. Check out some of his columns in the newspaper’s online edition you’ll enjoy them.
Naturally, I shared my business card with my website and told him all about my writing. And, I’d love for you to check out my Judythe Morgan books page. 🙂
Sarah, a lovely young Clarendon High School student, served as our waitress. She was excited and bubbly about her coming class trip to Washington, D.C. Needless to say, we gave her a generous tip to go toward her expenses.
Suddenly our tiring, drive of 540 miles with another 145 more to go before we stopped had become a pleasant visit with friendly people and delicious down home chicken soup.
And Mary wouldn’t let us pay for our dinner! Isn’t small town America wonderful?
Sharing has helped refuel my creative juices and improved my terrible, horrible, really bad day dramatically. I’m back to editing.
YOUR TURN: What about you? How do you combat a really bad, terrible, horrible day?
Posted on October 5, 2012
For an urban city farm, the Miller Farm produces a wide variety of products. I love the eggs. And, the honey Beekeeper Brian extracts is equally tasty.
Chicken Wrangler email today is about the bees on the farm.
Today has been a bit busier than a normal. I added blood donation to my already full errand list.
When I returned to the Farm, I discovered an interesting object on my kitchen counter.
It is a two liter bottle (which I had saved at Beekeeper Brian’s request) which is about a quarter full of clear liquid with what appears to be a banana peel in it.
This last part was confirmed by the discovery of both ends of the banana peel in the sink. Now being married to Brian for 25 years, I know this is something he has done.
I suspect it has something to do with the bees. Just in case you need a little humor to lighten your day, any other guesses?
I’ll let you know what this contraption is when I find out.
Then the next morning this Chicken Wrangler email arrived.
A moth trap!
Apparently there is a type of moth that takes up residence in bee hives and greatly hinders honey production. They are extremely attracted to the clear liquid in the two liter bottle which is actually a mixture of sugar, water and honey.
The banana peel puts off some gas thing as it ferments that is extremely unattractive to the bees so they are not tempted to join the moths in their final swim.
The banana must ferment for two days so tomorrow the bottle will go out back near the bee hives. I’ll report back on the success of the “two liter bottle/banana peel moth trap.”
Now I am sure we will all sleep better having solved this mystery.
~~Sara – who never ceases to be amazed at the wonders her husband discovers
I, too, am amazed at the things Beekeeper Brian can do. Some blog we’ll talk about his fly-fishing skills or his woodcrafting bowls or his dulcimer building skills. A multi-tasking beekeeper-farmer that Brian.
YOUR TURN: Ever found something unfamiliar on your kitchen counter?