Our little ten-pound Maltese is fearless. Just ask his younger brother an eighty-five-pound Old English sheepdog.
Part of his pluckiness is his small dog Napoleonic syndrome. Not really a bad thing considering he’s always shared his home with someone so much bigger than him.
Then Toby crossed the Rainbow Bridge in 2016. Poor Buster moped around missing without him. We hoomans missed having an Old English sheepdog around, too.
That’s when Finnegan MacCool came to live with us.
Buster’s world was turned upside down. Toby had been four-years-old when the two met. Finn was a ten-week-old puppy.
Only took a bit for him to train Finn. They became great pals.
Except at bedtime these days. There’s a nightly showdown. Buster guards the bedroom door warning Finn to stay out.When I give Finn permission to enter, which sometimes requires picking Buster up, Finn takes a flying leap onto the bed.I guess it’s some kind of power play for Buster because once Finn’s on the bed, Buster is fine. They settle on either side of me and all is well.
But you’ll notice Finn’s little play of defiance… his paw rests over my knee just to show Buster he’s really king of the household.
A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara
The ducks are now laying up to four eggs a day! This is fantastic news on Miller Farm.
I use duck eggs in cooking and mix them with chicken eggs to be scrambled. Ducks are very messy and sometimes I am not convinced the sheer entertainment value is worth the effort. Having duck eggs is a different story.
Then we had two hard shell eggs in one day.
This week I found a tiny egg – again usually indicating a first egg. I think Lucy is getting nervous about having competition.
Don’t worry, Lucy. You’re still my favorite. That is why you get all the roaches from the water jugs.
Labor Day celebrates our workforce as this vintage postcard suggests. It also signals the end of summer though the fall equinox won’t actually happen for three more weeks on September 21. Still we consider summer gone after Labor Day.
Labor Day celebrations look different this year thanks to COVID-19. No skipping town for faraway places. No firing up the backyard BBQ for gatherings with friends and family.
While pandemic separation may make us miss catching up with cousins and neighbors with hot dogs in hand, it also means less effort preparing for the day. No rushing to cut the grass or clean the pool, or all that other prep that goes into entertaining. That’s kinda a plus.
Bonus: we didn’t have to deal with Cousin Will’s ultra-conservative (or ultra-liberal) political outbursts or the next-door neighbor’s comparisons of yards.
Labor Day does offer a break, a change from daily routines. No school. No Zoom meetings. A day to relax. To slow our pace.
And, trust me, relaxation of any kind for any length is more important than ever in these times of increased stresses.
I like what Brian Basset suggests in a recent Sunday funnies.
As we head into days with all the back-to-school uncertainties and pre-election day chatter and other things that are sure to increase our stress levels. Let’s take Red & Rover’s advice to heart and embrace the fact that slowing down can lower stress.
Turn off the news.
Skip social media.
Sit on the porch and
Focus on the little things like cooler temperatures, changing leaves, and sitting by the lake with a fishing pool.
Happy Labor Day 2020!
A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara
As I was preparing for my first in-person music classes in many months, I realized most of the things I kept on my music cart would not be usable this year.
I said goodbye to each thing as I put them in a box for after this pandemic is gone. I thought of “Goodnight Moon” and wrote the following poem:
Goodbye Music As We Know It
Goodbye chicken, goodbye button,
Goodbye apple on a tree.
So long doggie, keep your bone.
Fare thee well, closet key.
Frog can stay safe in the meadow
Lucy’s pocket has been found.
Charlie caught me in the ocean
No more bean bag going ‘round.
So long goodies from the mailman
Now the lady has her comb
Goodbye rock for Obwisana
“Love somebody” heart stay home.
Goodbye riding on stick horses
Goodbye bouncing high and low,
All these things we use in music
Transfer germs so they must go.
Music class is looking different
There are things we cannot do.
So I’ve thought throughout the summer
Of some things to share with you.
We can listen very closely
From our dots six feet apart
Making rhythms with our bodies,
Keeping music in our heart.
Students came back this week. It has been rough but we are all learning how to make it work.
I tried using an imaginary bone. It actually worked pretty well. Perhaps the kids will adjust better than I thought – certainly better than me.
- Nouns: a person, place, thing, or idea.
- Pronoun: a word used in place of a noun.
- Verb: words that express action or being.
- Adjectives: words to describe nouns or pronouns.
- Adverbs: words to describe a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.
- Prepositions: words placed before a noun or pronoun to form a phrase modifying another word in the sentence.
- Conjunctions: that join words, phrases, or clauses.
- Interjections: words used to express emotion.
And we thought that covered all the word groups. Well, we were wrong. I’ve discovered there are many more words to describe the words we use.
Retronym: a modifier added to describe what was once its default meaning, i.e. cloth diaper since most diapers now are disposable, snail mail because, you know, email, whole milk because almond milk and other flavors, regular coffee, plain M&Ms also because of the additional flavors now. Get the idea?
But be cautious, a retronym is not always merely adjective/noun combinations. It’s a word with a qualifier to refer to the original meaning of the word. Thus, chocolate chip is not a retronym, neither is cellular phone.
Tmesis: a new word formed by placing one word in the middle of another.
Not a new concept, Shakespeare used one in “Richard II”—How-heinous-ever. So did George Bernard Shaw in “Pygmalion”: Fan-bloody-tastic or abso-blooming-lutely.
Capitonym: word that changes meaning, and sometimes pronunciation, when capitalize, i.e. mobile meaning moving or Mobile meaning the city in Alabama. Others include August, the month, or august the adjective meaning respected and important.
Bahuvrihi: just saying this correctly should earn you points. If you want help, try here. The word is Sanskrit and a bahuvrihi itself. The word means “much rice” but refers to a rich man. Examples would be barefoot, graybeard, redhead or blue-collar/white-collar or old money.
Embolalia: words or sounds added into speech. It’s stammered speech as we arrange our thoughts. Examples: well, but, I guess, um, you know.
Metonym or Metonymy: using the name of one object or concept for that of another to which it is related, or of which it is a part, i.e. the bottle for strong drink, count heads (or noses) for count people, hoops for basketball, Capitol Hill for US. Congress.
Mondegreen: is a mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase in a way that gives it a new meaning. Mondegreens are generally understood not to be intentional.
Around our family the song “Elvira” is forever called It’ll fire up. Other examples dawnzer lee light for the mishearing of “dawn’s early light” lyric of the “Star- Spangled Banner” or The ants are my friends for “The answer, my friend” in “Blowing in the Wind” by Bob Dylan.
Portmanteau: two or more words are joined to coin a new word, which refers to a single concept, i.e. education + entertainment = edutainment, fan + magazine = fanzine, motor + hotel = motel, spoon + fork= spork
Slurvian: basically, this is a portmanteau that is slurred together. Examples d’ja slurred form of did you, wanna for want to, and the ubiquitous y’all for you all. Of course, that last example of a slurvian is standard English where I live. 😊
I’m a wordsmith and a word game player. I love learning new words.
Now you, too, know a few new words in case you want to wow your next Zoom meeting and drop one in. I’m not sure they’ll appreciate them as much as I do, though.
A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara
The chicks quickly outgrew the brooder. I didn’t fully understand the ramifications of this until they started dying.
Rachel took one look at them when she was visiting us and said, “they are too crowded.” The question became where to put them.
The chicks that were obviously roosters went into the rooster pen.
Rachel suggested putting the hens in with the ducks since that part of the pen was secured against escape. And there is a small coop in there to lock the chicks up at night. I was concerned that the ducks would bother the chicks. Rachel assured me the ducks would be afraid of the chicks.
The chicks stayed in their corner…
So far everyone is getting along. The coop has been repaired so when they start bothering each other, we can move the chicks out into the big yard and safely lock them up at night.
Another successful move on Miller Farm.