Take Your Chicken to Work Day – Miller Farm Friday

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Mrs. Tucker, the teacher who owns Artimus the Goose of Michaelmas fame, has instituted Fabulous, Fun Fridays in her 3rd and 4th grade science class.

I learned this when she appeared with a lizard in a cage one Friday. She explained that the lizard was a North Carolina Anole and the kids were going to observe it during Fabulous Fun Friday and then they would release it.

Well, my chickens were not going to be upstaged by a silly lizard.

I asked if I could bring a chicken on the following Friday. Mrs. Tucker, the teacher, was thrilled.

That is how last Friday became Take Your Chicken to Work Day. I tried to convince Beekeeper Brian to take a chicken to work, but he wasn’t sure they would handle the hour-long commute very well.

I thought long and hard about who to bring and decided Samson was the best choice. He is a rooster, but still he fit in the same category as the chickens. I told him all week that he was in for an adventure on Friday.  I’m not sure he quite understood.

When it was time for his appearance, I put him in a dog kennel (without a dog in it) and drove him to the school. He was very quiet.

Samson 1The students were told to remain calm and still – very hard instructions for 3rd and 4th graders.  However, they did a fantastic job as I held Samson and talked about his rose comb and the feathers on his feet. They were fascinated.

Then Mrs. Tucker told them if they were really still, I would put him on the table and let him walk around. They were perfectly still and Samson stood on the table.

He wasn’t really sure about walking around.  I imagine the table felt different than the ground in the chicken yard.Samson 2

I’m not sure who was more curious, Samson or the students. Samson 3

Each student then had the opportunity to hold Samson. Mrs. Tucker explained that chickens poop whenever they need to so Samson would sit on a towel just in case.  Samson patiently allowed all 10 students to hold him.  As soon as I returned him to the kennel, he pooped.

He wins the Best Behaved Rooster Award for sure.  No way a lizard could compete with that.

SUPPORTING YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS

Today’s book market is flooded. Don’t believe me check out the statistics…

According to Worldometers, so far this year 1,975,193 new book titles have been published.

In 2012, there were 3,500 books published each day in the US.

Btw, neither of these statistical sources include the number of eBooks published daily. Some sources estimate indie/self-publishing adds another 3,000 books per day.

That’s a lot of books. An author can get lost in such a vast sea no matter how much marketing they do. So what can be done to help your favorite author?

Buy their books.

Read their books.

Tell your friends about their books.

But most important, especially for Amazon books…

leave a review

Other ways to help an Amazon author:

  1. Add their book to your Amazon wish list, even if you already purchased it.
  2. Like other people’s reviews. You’ll see the question – Was this review helpful to you? – at the bottom of each Amazon review. Click yes or no.
  3. Like their author’s page.

Amazon uses algorithms, which I do not understand. I don’t think anyone does.

It doesn’t matter. The fact remains that every review and like on the author’s page raises an author’s rank on the Amazon charts.

Rank increases the book’s visibility among the vast number of books out there. Visibility can lead to sales.

None of my suggestions take much time to do, so please support your favorite authors.

And, just in case you want to help raise my rankings, you’ll find my Amazon author page here.

Who writes better – men or women?

It’s an interesting question.

Female writers of the past have used male or ambiguous pennames to disguise their gender. Women like Mary Ann Evans, who used the pen name George Elliot and the Brontë Sisters, who wrote as Acton, Currer and Ellis Bell.

These days, women choose gender-neutral pen names in the hopes of increasing book sales and gaining book reviews. Consider these two NYT best sellers:

~ Joanne “Jo” Rowling chose to use J.K. Rowling for her Harry Potter series and wrote The Cuckoo’s Calling as Robert Galbraith.

~Nora Roberts, the remarkably prolific author who writes in two genres, selected the gender-neutral pen name J.D. Robb for her mystery novels.

Should women writers bother with pen names? Not according to a recent poll done by Grammarly.

As the infographic below shows 59% of the 3,000 respondents believe women are superior writers.

The poll questions centered on perceived differences in writing technique and quality based on gender. Answers indicate readers believe:

  1. Male authors “get to the point,” whereas female writers were more likely to focus on “character development.”
  2. women write about people as opposed to things
  3. women use long, wordy sentences while men write short, concise sentences

Check out the full infographic below:

MenvsWomen_Writers_infographic

I agree with Grammarly’s poll results. Probably because I’m a female author who writes character-driven love stories.

What about you? Do you believe women are better writers than men?

Too Many Chickens Underfoot – Miller Farm Friday

By Guest Blogger Chicken Wrangler Sara

The chickens that hatched at the end of July are doing fantastic.

chickens in transitIn fact, we have sold seven of them including Leo, the late bloomer. They were not too excited about the move, but I trust they have made the adjustment nicely.

Even with seven less chickens, it is still crowded in the coop.They seem to multiply at feeding time.

Rachel switched the birds to fermented feed this summer. Basically you mix chicken feed and water and let it sit until it smells like vinegar.  I suppose it functions like yogurt with good bacteria to help the digestive system of the chickens.  Anyway, the birds love it, and we have had no illness since switching.

The only issue is that I must put out fresh food every morning.

Sometimes I think the chickens run around the coop burning calories all night because they seem to be starving in the mornings. I put one scoop in a feed bowl and carry a scoop to put into a second bowl.

One morning a little chick jumped right up onto the scoop before I could put it in the bowl.

They have learned to associate my presence with being fed. It is kind of like my children. Even now when they come home from college, they are eager to know what I am fixing for them to eat.  The chickens unlike my children run up to me and get right under my feet.chicken feet

I find myself doing a new kind of “chicken dance” to avoid falling down. I imagine it like an elegant tango but it is more like a rodeo clown.

So far, I have managed to remain upright as I feed the chickens. Another accomplishment to put on my resume.

PINK – One Word Wednesday

October is pink month. You see pink everywhere.

The designation of October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) began in 1985 as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries, maker of several anti-breast cancer drugs.

Pink_ribbon_svgThe pink ribbon has been the international symbol of breast cancer awareness since 1992.

Due in large part to NBCAM and the pink ribbon campaign, two things have happened in recent years:

~a gradual reduction in female breast cancer among women aged 50 and older has been recorded.

~a decline in death rates from breast cancer

Still there are myths about breast cancer that persist. Below are seven such myths and facts to debunk those myths

  1. MYTH: Finding a lump in your breast = breast cancer.

FACT: Only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be cancer.

  1. MYTH: Men cannot get breast cancer.

FACT: Each year approximately 2,190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 410 will die.

  1. MYTH: A mammogram can cause breast cancer to spread.

FACT: A mammogram is the current gold standard for the early detection of breast cancer.

  1. MYTH: A family history of breast cancer means you are likely to develop breast cancer.

FACT: A family history of breast cancer places you in a higher risk group, but ten percent of individuals diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history.

  1. MYTH: Breast cancer is contagious.

FACT: Breast cancer is the result of uncontrolled cell growth of mutated cells that begin to spread into other tissues within the breast.

  1. MYTH: The gene mutation BRCA1 or BRCA2 detected in your DNA means you will definitely develop breast cancer.

FACT: According to the National Cancer Institute, “not every woman who has a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation will develop breast and/or ovarian cancer. But, a woman who has inherited a harmful mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 is about five times more likely to develop breast cancer than a woman who does not have such a mutation.”

  1. MYTH: Antiperspirants and deodorants cause breast cancer.

FACT: Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) are not aware of any conclusive evidence linking the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants and breast cancer.

Material in this blog from the National Cancer Institute and the National Breast Cancer Organization.

Wearing pink or the pink ribbon identifies the wearer with breast cancer awareness and shows moral support for those with breast cancer. I’ll be wearing pink and debunking myths this month.

Will you?

It’s finally here – Claiming Annie’s Heart

I’m interrupting my regular Make Me Think Monday blog for an announcement of my latest book release – CLAIMING ANNIE’S HEART.

CAH_cover_1800x2700No, I’m not turning View from the Front Porch into a promo blog for my books–it’s just this Irish love story is special to me.

Why? Because Annie’s story is set in Ireland.

And, as most of you know (if you’ve read my ABOUT ME page, that is), Ireland is my most favorite place on earth, and I’m crazy about all things Irish.

The idea for Claiming Annie’s Heart began on one of the many, many trips business trips to the Emerald Isle with my husband.

We toured an Abbey on the rugged west coast. An English doctor built the lovely place as a home for his wife and child. When they died, the doctor left and sold the home. The castle became an Abbey and girls’ boarding school. That’s the place pictured on the book cover.

As we walked the castle and fabulous gardens, I talked with the schoolgirls. My writer’s imagination kicked into overdrive with story possibilities.

On a different trip, we spent time in Belfast during the Twelfth of July Orange Order marches. If you’re not familiar with the marches, read here. To learn more of the history of The Troubles in Northern Ireland read here.

Each trip provided a very different experience, which I combined into Annie and Chad’s love story. Here’s the plot blurb:

Annie Foster remains in Ireland after boarding school to nanny a widower’s infant daughter. Five years later, she accepts the widower’s proposal.

Her first love Chad Jones, whom she believed deserted her, arrives on an undercover assignment weeks before the wedding investigating her fiancé’s connection with terrorists. He’s determined to change her mind and her heart her because he’s never stopped loving her.  

Annie’s heart is torn between the man she’ll always love and the young daughter of her fiancé whom she’s promised never to abandon.  

Which man will win?

To find the answer, get your copy of Claiming Annie’s Heart from one of these bookstores:

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

NOOK

iBooks

KOBO

Chicken Wrangler aka Goose Handler – Miller Farm Friday

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

The private school where I teach celebrates Michaelmas with a pageant each year.

There are plays tracing the history of Saint Michael from 400 A.D .through medieval times. The students dress in wonderful costumes and perform these plays in Latin, French, and Spanish.

The pageant ends with the children in grades one and two presenting their rent to the English Landlord played by a high school student.The final payment is made in the form of a live goose.

Another teacher at Saint Michael’s has supplied the goose for as long as I have taught there. This year, however, she was unable to stay for the grand finale due to teaching responsibilities at a near-by junior college. The school headmaster put out a plea for someone to act as “goose handler.”

Enter Chicken Wrangler Sara. I figured a goose isn’t much different from a chicken, right?

On the day of the pageant, I introduced myself to the goose, that we named Artimus, and received instruction as to how to wrap the goose in a towel before handing it to the second grader who would carry it down the aisle and present it to the landlord.

Artimus is a young goose and quite handsome. We got along very well.goose handler

At the end of the pageant, the audience sang a final hymn, which I accompanied on piano.

When we finished singing, I rushed to the foyer to retrieve the goose and put him back in his crate. I was worried that the student holding him would be uncomfortable.

It was a needless worry. As the picture published in the local paper the next day shows, the high school student and the goose were doing fine.student with goose

Since the owner of Artimus had class until late that evening, I agreed to take him to my house where he could be picked up later. Not being sure how he would get along with the chickens, I kept him in his crate in the front yard where he patiently waited for his owner.

I can now add “goose handler” to my resume. I’m not sure if many jobs require such skill, but I’m ready.