18 10, 2021

Southern Porching

By |2021-10-18T10:13:38-05:00October 18th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

It’s porch time on the Texas Gulf Coast. Gone are the oppressive high humidity and summer’s scorching heat. There are still warm days, but the evenings cool off. Unfortunately, mosquitoes still hang around. Sad to say, life in the south is never without mosquitoes.

If you take a ride on a country road, through suburban neighborhoods, or the tiny historic streets of cities like Charleston or New Orleans, you’ll find a wide variety of front porches. Southerners love porches. Entertaining on porches (porching) is a way of life in the South.

Going for rides is another Southern pastime, but that’s a topic for another blog.

Porches can be wide, spreading the width of the house. Wraparound ones circle the home. Some are small bungalow porches with columns of timber, stone, or brick. Others are portico porches also known as entry porches.

Every family home has its own anatomy for its porch.

But you’re guaranteed to see a welcome mat, real plants, a swing, a place for a dog, a ceiling fan on most, and even have a fireplace.

If you look closely, you’ll probably see a blue ceiling. The reason is muddled in folklore. It’s said “haint blue” wards off evil spirits. Haint being the southern word for ghost. Others say the color repels insects. Most simply fancy the elegant sky shade.

Screened porches make it possible to enjoy sitting outside on rainy days and stormy nights. Plus, the screen keeps out pesky bugs and insects. Screened back porches are particularly nice for a quiet “resting” place to read or a nap.

Fall is when seasonal decorating of porches begins in earnest. On your ride, check out all the lovely fall/Halloween decorations.

If you need ideas for your porch, check out 46 Fall Porch Decor Ideas That’ll Get You Ready for Autumn

15 10, 2021

Return to Miller Farm

By |2021-10-13T06:00:54-05:00October 15th, 2021|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


Our daughter Rachel, the animal specialist, recently earned her Master’s Degree in Animal Science. We are very proud of her!

Now she just needs a job. This has been much more difficult than any one of us imagined and Rachel moved back to Miller Farm to continue her search.

Since moving out Rachel has acquired another dog – and it is not a dachshund. Meet Cooper, the Australian Shepherd.

He is used to living in a house with several other Aussies and Penelope – Rachel’s dachshund. Now dachshunds outnumber him. He tries to fit in, but it doesn’t always work.

He has finally gotten over his fear of the scary dog that lives in our oven (otherwise known as his reflection).

But he is still not sure about the chickens.

It is a little chaotic at Miller Farm right now.

It is a good distraction, though, as we had to say goodbye to Bella last week. She had kidney disease and after giving all our kids the chance to say goodbye, it was time for her to go.

Having Cooper here helps keep us from missing Bella – usually.

11 10, 2021

An Alexander Day

By |2021-10-07T08:10:31-05:00October 11th, 2021|A Writer's Life, Writer's Life|1 Comment

It’s been an Alexander morning.

A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad start to the day where nothing’s gone as planned. I’m sure you’ve had those days too, but you may not be familiar with the term Alexander Day.

The phrase is original. The concept of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day isn’t. The idea comes from Judith Viorst’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

If you are not familiar with the story, you MUST read this delightful children’s book. Adults will easily relate. Click here to read more about poor Alexander’s day.

I used to read the story to my children and students. The story is a wonderful lesson in attitude adjustment.

My Alexander morning, day one of a 10-week hypoallergenic food trial to determine if an allergy to protein is causing our dog’s constant scratching and resultant bloody sores, began with pumpkin all over the floor, me, and Finnegan, and the pill disguised in the pumpkin on the floor.

I ended up cramming the medication down his throat with my fingers. A very yucky thing to have to do.

A giant mess to start my day. Like Alexander, I had to decide what to do with this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I could grump all day or can change my attitude. I’m choosing to do the latter. The rest of the day can only improve.

Tomorrow has to start better.

4 10, 2021

Philosophy of Change

By |2021-10-05T09:15:52-05:00October 4th, 2021|Make Me Think Monday, Monday Motivations|0 Comments

Seasons change. It’s a fact. Winter gives way to spring, spring to summer; summer to fall, and then we’re back to winter again.

The constancy of seasonal changes is comforting. We anticipate those changes and welcome each season for what it offers.

Yet life changes, whether small or major, bring stress and fear, and worry.

Same as seasons, life is not static, but a flow of change, never staying the same. It’s messy, chaotic, painful, sad, dirty, and never perfect.

Bad things happen. So do good things. It’s part of life’s cycle.

The sad truth is we cannot control every aspect of our lives any more than we can control the seasons.

We roll with the seasonal changes. Complain maybe but accept whatever weather dishes out. Why not flow with changes in life?

Reacting with anger and frustration only causes more stress when in the case of most life changes, we have no control. Change steals our peacefulness. But it doesn’t have to.

Flexibility allows us to adapt to new circumstances and keep our happiness steady. Not much we can do about the weather except adjust our clothing and our thermostat. Why not approach life changes with the same pliancy?

Here are three options to try when life changes are stressing you.

  1. Smile – Smile even if whatever change has thrown your way is not funny. You’ll find a certain amount of detachment which can lead to acceptance.
  2. Breathe – Breathing allows you to calm down and think more rationally.
  3. Pray or Meditate – It refocuses the mind.

Most important remember:

Change is the only constant in this world. Whatever the catastrophic or minor circumstance at the moment, that will change…eventually. Confucius said it best.

1 10, 2021

Lizard’s Song

By |2021-09-27T09:14:26-05:00October 1st, 2021|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


When I went to unroll the hose to refill the duck pond this morning, I encountered a lizard. It was an anole to be exact.

I explained to him that I needed the hose and perhaps he should move. He was not convinced. I moved the hose and he jumped onto my foot.

As I began to walk, he moved to the ground. When I returned, he was waiting by the spigot. He seemed very happy when the hose was returned.

It reminded me of a children’s book – Lizard’s Song.

Lizard is quite happy living on a rock and spends his day singing “Zoli, zoli, zoli, zoli, zoli, zoli rock is my home, rock is my home!”

His friend Bear loves this song and begs Lizard to teach it to him.

After many tries, the Bear is still unable to remember the song. Lizard suggests that perhaps Bear change the words to “cave is my home, cave is my home.”

This works and Bear goes on his way singing “Zoli, zoli, zoli, zoli, zoli, zoli cave is my home.”

It is a sweet reminder to be happy with what we have. It also got a song stuck in my head this morning – Zoli, zoli, zoli, zoli, zoli, zoli hose is my home, hose is my home.”

It is fun to think of our three children singing this song as they read this. You’re welcome!

27 09, 2021

Fall Decorations and Black Bears

By |2021-09-22T08:14:23-05:00September 27th, 2021|A Writer's Life, Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

Summer’s officially over. Fall is here.

Porches and yards everywhere are adorned with pumpkins, scarecrows, haystacks, and colorful chrysanthemums to welcome the season. Our porch is ready.

Why are black bears part of our fall decoration? They are a holdover from our days living in the Rio Grande National Forest.

Fall in the forest means black bears, who are actually brown or cinnamon-colored, are everywhere looking to feed up for their long winter hibernation. Every year a bear or two would visit our cabin looking for food.

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes one would even come up onto the front porch.

 

We kinda looked forward to their visits every year.

 

 

 

When we moved back to Texas, we knew we’d miss seeing them. So before we left, I went in search of a souvenir bear for our new porch to remind us. A friend gifted me Bert, the little grey bear stand.

I found Barney Bear at a gift shop called The Cabin. Now Barney greets our front door guests decked out for the seasons.

Happy Fall Y’all!

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