12 04, 2021

Hills and Highways are Alive with Wildflowers in Springtime

By |2021-04-10T16:06:26-05:00April 12th, 2021|Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

Hills and highways are alive with wildflowers in the Spring is a yearly rite of the season, especially in Texas. The seas of color along our roadways vary every year. Bluebonnets signal Spring has arrived.

April has done an outstanding job this year painting the roadsides in the blues, reds, yellows, and pinks with bluebonnets, primroses, Indian paintbrush, and buttercups. Bluebonnets are a particularly gorgeous deep blue this year thanks to the winter’s awful blizzard and freeze.

We can thank two women for the beauty we enjoy.

The  origin of bluebonnets, the Texas state flower, involves a young Indian girl named She-Who-Is-Lonely. It’s a familiar tale for most Texans.

She-Who-Is-Lonely lived when Indians roamed Texas. According to legend the weather was not kind to the natives. Winters were harsh, Spring brought catastrophic flooding, followed by a summer drought. Food was scarce. The tribe appealed to the Great Spirit for help. She-Who-Is-Lonely overheard the Great Spirit tell them selfishness had brought on their plight. She took matters into her own hands.

She offered her most prized possession to the Great Spirit, burning her beloved doll in a fire. Once the fire cooled, she then took handfuls of ashes and turned north, south, east, and west letting the ashes fall from her hands as she spun.

When the tribe awoke, the barren landscape was covered in lush blankets of blue and green. The Great Spirit had forgiven them. The tribe renamed the little girl “One-Who-Dearly-Loves-Her-People.”

Tomie dePaola wrote and illustrated a fabulous picture book based on the legend. It’s available here.

The other woman is Lady Bird Johnson, wife of President Lyndon Johnson, who made it her mission to improve the landscape along our interstate highways.

She convinced states that wildflowers were good at erosion prevention along the roadside and suggested strongly that mowers skip cutting the wildflowers until after they had dispersed their seeds. She even requested that mowers scatter flower seeds the last time they mowed in the fall.

Former Texas Governor John Connally offered free packets of wildflower seeds to Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and anyone who wrote to him. Other states followed with their own wildflower programs for their roadways.

Lady Bird’s efforts provided the wildflowers we see on so many roadways when we travel each Spring. Funding cuts over recent years have eliminated many seed sowing programs, but the show happens every year.

This year in Texas the show is magnificent and from the pictures appearing on social media I think it’s a good blooming year for the hills and highways everywhere.

Bluebonnets are even blooming in my neighborhood.

9 04, 2021

Neighborhood Chicken

By |2021-04-02T15:50:06-05:00April 9th, 2021|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


We got a call from a friend over Spring Break asking if we wanted another chicken.  They had a chicken that had started roosting in the tree in their front yard.  Who doesn’t want a free chicken?

So off we went with our chicken catcher (coat hanger bent into a hook) and cage to retrieve a random chicken.

Sure enough she was up in the tree in their front yard.

We tried poking her to get her to come down but that only drove her up higher.

When no one was looking, she would come down and eat the seeds that had fallen from the bird feeder.

 But as soon as anyone got near, back up she would go.

We finally gave up and left the cage and chicken getter with our friend.  He has been researching how to trap a chicken on YouTube.  It is amazing what you can find.

Meanwhile the chicken has gotten tired of being harassed and taken up residence in another tree in the neighborhood.

Hopefully she can end up at our house.  She is quite a lovely chicken.

5 04, 2021

Who knew April is NATIONAL POETRY MONTH?

By |2021-04-03T07:34:31-05:00April 5th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

I didn’t.

Seems back in 1996 the Academy of American Poet established the tradition to highlight American poets and encourage people about the pleasure of reading poetry. It’s all explained on their website.

I’m not a poetry writer, but I do ♥ to read poetry. I’ll read poems to anyone, willing or not. I’ve even memorized poems by my favorite American poets.

I have a story about my second oldest grandson and one of his poems. He was home schooled, and while he was visiting, I promised his parents we’d do his homework.

Unfortunately, like father, like son. Homework was a battle for his dad too. The thought of poetry homework made the task even less appealing, especially with a swimming pool calling.

He stared outside at a squirrel climbing the pole to the bird feeder. He ate a Pop Tart. He slipped away to play a game of chess with his Pepa. I marched him back to the table and the task at hand.

Then I caught him at the window again, watching a chameleon on the Maple tree. I prepared to use my mean teacher’s voice.

Before I could speak, he pointed to the laptop on the table. “I wrote the poem already.”

This is what I found:

Lizard Poetry

Lazy lizards leap from leaf to leaf

As green as a Sprite can

Lizards like to hide under the weather

Running, hiding, and sneaking around

Crazily, hastily, and hurriedly leaving their tails behind them

The miniature lizards are tiny compared to the big, blue sky

He was in his swim trunks and out the back door before I finished reading.

29 03, 2021

March – Lion or Lamb?

By |2021-03-28T07:18:06-05:00March 29th, 2021|Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

Briton Rivière, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

March Comes in like a Lion, goes out like a Lamb. This proverb has been around since its mention in a 1732. Such weather proverbs and sayings have many origins. This one probably came from observations and a desire for accurate weather predictions.

Trouble is March can arrive as a lamb then turn lion-like in the end making the proverb an unreliable forecasting guide.

Historically Old Man Winter reluctantly allows Spring its turn at the climate. That’s because March is a pivotal meteorological month with an unpredictable seasonal pattern.

While the adage most likely refers to the weather, other sources trace its origins to the stars. If you look to the western horizon this time of year, you can see the constellations of Leo the Lion and Aries the Ram (or lamb).

Leo the Lion rises from the east in early March, meaning the month is coming in “like a lion.” By the end of the month, Leo is almost overhead, while Aries the Ram (lamb) is setting on the western horizon. Hence, the month is going out like a lamb.

Another theory claims the saying is biblical and the animal references symbolic. Jesus’s first appeared as the sacrificial lamb but returns as the Lion of Judah. Problem with that theory is the lion appears first, which is theologically inaccurate.

Perhaps the best solution to what the saying – March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb – means is to take it at face value. March may well start with fierce weather, but it’s always a clear signal spring is on its way.

Our March has been like a roller coast. One day warm and sunny (think 80s), the next wet and chilly (highs in the 50s), and another both cold and rainy the same day when one of those Texas northers comes through. Lion one day, lamb the next, or both in the same day. Old Man Winter is definitely fighting Springs arrival.

How’s your March weather?

Want to know whether you can expect lion or lamb weather in your area during these last days of March? You can find the Farmer’s Almanac long-range weather forecast, here.

26 03, 2021

Smarter Than a Chicken

By |2021-03-19T08:07:42-05:00March 26th, 2021|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|2 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


One of our chickens still spends part of her day in the duck pen.  I’ve stopped worrying about it.  If she can get back and forth on her own, I see no need to slide around the duck pen chasing her and risk falling.

She has started laying eggs in the duck’s nest box.

She may think I will put it with the duck eggs which are saved for baking and mixing in with scrambled eggs.  However, I have learned to distinguish chicken eggs from duck eggs by their shell.  The duck eggs look creamier while the chicken eggs are bright white.

I may be slower but I am smarter than a chicken!

22 03, 2021

Finding Hope

By |2021-03-21T09:33:09-05:00March 22nd, 2021|A Writer's Life, Writer's Life|1 Comment

The way 2021 began almost made the horrors of 2020 seem like a piece of cake.

Almost.

Last year, about the this time, we were whammed from nowhere and slapped into lock down without much forewarning. The rest of the year focused on sanitizing and hibernating and avoiding people.

This year started much the same way, with the addition of a blizzard in Texas that sent most of the state into darkness for days. No electricity also meant no water. No water meant plants died.

The situation is enough to make me want to stay in bed with the covers over my head in fear of what’s coming next. There seems to be no hope that things are ever going to get better.

Then I forced myself up and out on this cool, crisp first day of Spring to talk to my plants caught between the cold snap and days without water. Last I checked, most were toast, but I keep hoping.

You know what I found…

The dead twigs of my azaleas are beginning to have sprouts.

And, the Jasmine is blooming!

All is not lost as I thought. There is still hope.

The plants have survived and so will we.

 

19 03, 2021

Dirty Eggs

By |2021-03-18T16:01:09-05:00March 19th, 2021|Friday Free Day, Miller Farm Friday, Monday Motivations|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


I recently sold some eggs, both duck and chicken, to a teacher at my school.  Her teenage son found them and was disturbed by their appearance.  In fact he told her they scared him.

She explained that they were from a friend’s farm and assured him they are fine even if they are different colors.  He was not convinced and chose to eat oatmeal.

One thing that bothered him was the dirt on the eggs.  He asked her if I rolled them in the mud before putting them in the carton.

This is how I find the duck eggs:

There is no need for me to roll them in the mud – the ducks take care of that for me.

I sometimes forget that not everyone has chickens and ducks in their backyard.  As far as they know, eggs grow in cartons in the refrigerated aisle at the grocery store.

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