19 10, 2018

The Power of Not Thinking

By |2018-10-18T10:48:06-05:00October 19th, 2018|Friday on the Miller Farm, Guest blogger, Miller Farm Friday|3 Comments

 A Guest Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara 

I have often heard people speak of “the power of positive thinking.” HiResHowever, I’ve become convinced lately that there is, at times, even greater power in “not thinking.”

For example, when my alarm goes off at 5:15 a.m., I get out of bed, put on my swimsuit, get in my car, drive to the outdoor pool, and jump in before my brain wakes up and realizes that it is January.

No thinking person would behave in such a manner, no matter how “positive” their thoughts.

As moms, I believe “not thinking” is a crucial skill.

For example, when a child (who sleeps on the bottom bunk) comes to your side of the bed in the middle of the night and says, “Rachel (who sleeps on the top bunk) is throwing up and it is dripping down the wall” a mom can get everything cleaned up without giving it a thought.

Most recently, I employed this “not thinking” skill when helping my husband butcher chickens.

I do not usually participate in this process. However, I called everyone I knew who had expressed an interest in observing or even learning this task (a surprisingly long list) and no one was available.

Hesitantly, I donned latex gloves and started plucking chickens. I must say, I felt a certain satisfaction since I was plucking the horrid roosters.

As long as I was “not thinking,” it was not a bad task.

People talked about how bad the chickens smelled, but my nose detected no foul (fowl) odor at all. It made me wonder if perhaps Rachel had secretly bathed the roosters.

I even carried on a pleasant conversation with my husband the entire time. Part of this conversation included, “Hey look what I found!”mm35reddevil1-1I kid you not – it was a marble, which made me think of a song (of course):

“I know an old rooster who swallowed a marble…”

I’m so glad that when my brain goes into “not thinking” mode, it still allows songs to float in and out. A silly song seems to make any task a little more pleasant – as long as you don’t think about it.

The Power of Not Thinking originally appeared on February 1, 2013

11 08, 2017

Mystery Chickens on Miller Farm

By |2017-08-10T08:57:03-05:00August 11th, 2017|Miller Farm Friday|2 Comments

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

When I went outside to let the chickens out this morning, I discovered something very strange lying in the back yard…I thought they were kind of cute until I read the caution:  EMITS SHOWERS OF SPARKS.  This could prove dangerous to our six dachshunds who cannot read and chew on everything.

I quickly picked up the mysterious chickens and put  them out of reach.

Then I began to wonder – where did they come from?  I know we have a reputation as chicken people, but I’m not so sure these girls would play well with others.

How did they get there?  Who put them there?  Were they meant to entertain or harm?

I’ve spent recent afternoons watching reruns of the detective show “Monk.”  Most certainly he could solve the case of “The Mystery Chickens.”  If only he were real.

23 06, 2017

Goodnight, Chickens

By |2017-06-10T12:43:02-05:00June 23rd, 2017|Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Putting the chickens up at night has become a multi-step process. As we introduce new chicks into the main flock, I must herd them into the coop for the first few nights.

I watched three of the black laced silver Wyandottes get settled one night. They started on the ramp.  

Then one moved onto the roost.



As I watched, another one squeezed onto the roost.  There was much flapping and squawking but eventually all three piled onto the roost.





Some have decided to sleep in the old bantam coop which has no door. We figured at least they are sheltered from the weather and somewhat hidden from things that would eat them – possums mainly.Then there are the bantams in the color project runs.  Most of them just roost on top of their coops.  Except for these two who prefer to balance on the fence.So my nightly routine involves saying “goodnight chickens” to the big coop, old bantam coop, color runs and the chick pen.

It’s not rocking babies, but it is a routine.

17 06, 2016

Surrogate Mother Hen

By |2016-06-12T21:46:05-05:00June 17th, 2016|Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

We currently have two groups of chicks in our chicken yard.  We have those who were hatched by Olivia (see last week’s blog) and those who were purchased from our local feed and supply store.

The purchased chicks are light Brahmas and spent time in a brooder before being released into the yard.

Rachel dipped each of their beaks in the water when she put first brought them home. We gave them food and let them grow big enough to join the other chickens. The term “light” refers to their color not their size.  Eventually these hens will weigh 9 lbs.

There is an interesting contrast between the chicks.

Olivia’s chicks follow her around.  The Brahmas, however, follow Rachel or me around.  We put the chick feed down and stand over the chicks while they eat to make sure the big hens don’t bully them out of their food.brooding chicks

I suppose Rachel and I are acting as surrogate mother hens.

That’s not a bad thing to have on a resume.

3 06, 2016

Higher Ground

By |2016-05-20T16:41:49-05:00June 3rd, 2016|Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Texas has had a great deal of rain recently.  Considering the drought conditions we have endured over the past several years, I am not complaining.

I do feel sorry for the chickens, though. highwaterchicks1As the chicken yard has filled with water, the birds are seeking higher ground.highwaterchicks2


The one advantage to all the rain is  our bluebonnets  have bloomed a second time.

blue bonnetsI think it’s worth the mess in the chicken yard.


1 05, 2015

Annabel Update

By |2015-05-01T06:00:39-05:00May 1st, 2015|Miller Farm Friday|2 Comments

By Guest Blogger Chicken Wrangler Sara   

Annabel, our “foster “dog, has adjusted quite nicely to life on Miller Farm. She even adds another aspect of entertainment to life here.

bagelI recently gave her part of a dried out baguette to keep her occupied while I fed the chickens. She carried it around the yard for quite some time looking for a place to bury it.

She was somewhat successful.

As soon as I went into the house she went and dug it up. I guess she didn’t want to have to share with me.Anabelle w bagelHer other trick is to follow me into the chicken yard and “herd” the chickens. She chases them ‘round and ‘round the chicken coop but they refuse to get in a group.

I have explained to her that chickens are not herding animals. She is determined.

I’ve started closing the gate completely so she does not get into the chicken yard. This week she got her head stuck in between the gate and the fence. Like I said – she is determined. She is also smart. She hasn’t put her head in that spot again.

We currently have two potential homes for Annabel. Hopefully within a week she can move out. Of course the two homes are the ones on either side of ours so she won’t be moving far.

24 04, 2015

Letter to Chickens

By |2015-04-24T06:00:13-05:00April 24th, 2015|Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

Guest Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Dear Chickens,

Please stop playing hide and seek. I realize that for you this may be very amusing, however, I am not having fun.

There are also other reasons to stay in your chicken yard.

When you hide under the shed, there is a real possibility that Bella will be the one who finds you. She is a dachshund – bred to crawl into small spaces and retrieve animals. I’m not quite sure how you got under there. Beekeeper Brian had sealed every possible opening he could find. Apparently he missed one.

When you hide in the quail cage I can see you but cannot get to you easily.

chicken in quail cageI have to get a cinder block to stand on and there is a great potential for injury to me and to you. I know you are cramped and may feel invisible, but I see you there and since you have no food or water, you will not be comfortable for long.

I am ready to surrender and declare you “Hide and Seek Champions” if you will just stay in your chicken yard.

Thank you,

Chicken Wrangler Sara

16 11, 2014

It’s Cold on Miller Farm

By |2014-11-16T06:00:32-06:00November 16th, 2014|Miller Farm Friday, Sunday Sampler|0 Comments

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

You would think that having lived in Texas most of my life I would expect the weather to be unpredictable. However, winter’s arrival caught me off guard.

Sure, the weatherman predicted a wintery blast, but I don’t always believe the weatherman. He said there was a cold front coming in on Tuesday.

When I got up to swim, it was 65 degrees. By lunch it was in the 40s. I realize that doesn’t sound cold to people who live north of here but for us Texans who put up with 95+ degrees all summer, 40 is COLD.

If you don’t believe me, ask the chickens.

When I went to close them up Wednesday night they had their heads tucked under their wings.

headless chickenIt was a disconcerting sight at first until I realized what I was seeing.

Of course, I didn’t have my phone with me the first night, but I remembered to take it Thursday when more artic air arrived.

It took several tries to get the picture and the poor chicken kept turning its head to see what was happening every time the camera clicked.

When I finally set the flash and got this picture, I decided not to press my luck. After all, I’ve had to deal with a grumpy hen in the past.

What I have to remember is, this is Texas. It is likely to be back up to 80 by the weekend.

30 05, 2014

How Many Chickens? – Miller Farm Friday

By |2014-05-30T06:00:08-05:00May 30th, 2014|Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

By Guest Blogger Chicken Wrangler Sara

When I was in high school, it was a popular youth group activity to see how many people you could fit into a VW bug. I don’t remember how many we fit but according to one website, the record is 20.

I thought about this as I went to get eggs last week and found four chickens in one nest box:

crowded hen box

This made checking for eggs particularly challenging.  Apparently the crowded conditions also made it a challenge for the chickens.

They laid as many eggs on the floor of the coop as in the box.

Today I went to check eggs and found this:

crowded 2

It took me a few minutes but I finally counted five chickens in the middle nest box.  Can you find them all?

Perhaps I should put together a children’s counting book.  I wonder what number it would go to.   I’ll keep you posted…

11 04, 2014

Whew! Weekend Chaos on Miller Farm is OVER

By |2014-04-11T06:00:25-05:00April 11th, 2014|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Guest Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

As expected, keeping up with six dogs, two cats and many chickens for the weekend was chaotic. I survived, but I’m so ready to return to plain old “Chicken Wrangler Sara.”

It was quite a weekend filled with adventures and misadventures!

I thought feeding the cats would be the easiest chore. The food had been left at our house and the bowls were left by the neighbor’s truck. Only problem was when I went to feed the neighbor’s cats, I couldn’t find the bowls so I used some of ours and put them by the truck in the neighbor’s driveway.

Upon reviewing the text message, I realized that the bowls were supposed to be at the back door. Not sure how I mixed that up.

By this time, it was dark outside so I couldn’t find the bowls by the door either. I moved our bowls by the truck to the back yard. Both cats seemed excited to have the food.

When I checked on them Thursday, however, only one cat was around. Now it’s been a while since I had cats, but I remember them being pretty independent so I didn’t worry too much. Today I confirmed both cats are still at the house or nearby.

Whew – I didn’t lose a cat.

Jengo offered more of a challenge. He is still a puppy who likes to chew.  I came home Friday after chapel to discover white feathers all over the kitchen.  My first thought was “Oh no, he got a chicken!” Then I remembered the chickens are outside. The feathers were part of Brian’s fly-tying materials.

Whew – I didn’t lose a chicken.

On Thursday, while I was teaching piano, I heard noise coming from the kitchen.  I assumed it was Brian and so didn’t think much about it.  When I finished teaching, however, I discovered a bag of potatoes strewn all over the kitchen.  Jengo must have been hungry.  It only took him three potatoes to realize he didn’t like them.

I moved the unsampled potatoes out of reach.

Jengo is also unstoppable. The gate at the kitchen door was not a deterrent. At all. Too many times over the weekend I turned around to find him right behind me. It was like having a toddler again. I only wished he went down for a nap.

jengo and chickensThe chicken wire over the gate to the chicken yard was also ineffective at stopping Jengo. He regularly followed me as I checked on the chickens.  Fortunately, Jengo lacks Bella’s killer instinct and simply sniffed the chickens.Jengo and waterer

He wasn’t too sure about the chicken feeder especially when it started swinging.

jengo and beesHe was also very curious about the bees.  Since he is a puppy, I was able to distract him before the bees got too irritated.

Whew – I avoided treating a bee sting on a dog.

The cats are now back in the care of their owners and Miller and Jengo are once again in their own homes.

Whew it’s quiet around here. Well, as quiet as the Miller Farm ever gets.

I met in the 99 cent store today who said she needed to get rid of a miniature long-haired dachshund……… I didn’t even hesitate to say NO.

I’ll stick with four daschunds and thirty-something chickens. Thank you very much.

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