Monday, September 26, 2022

Milliron Monday: Hunting Watch

The Athens News, November 25, 1987, Photo by Susan Mitchell

Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.:  June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010
Virginia Joyann "Jody" Haley Smith: April 2, 1938 - May 9, 2021
Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Milliron Farm and Clinic, Dr. Pete and Jody Smith. 

"I don't want hunters from New York City
to mistake my ox for a deer."
― Abbott Pete Smith

The Athens Landowners for Responsible Hunting was an active group in 1987. The photo taken by Susan Mitchell shows Eric Eisenberg, Wenda Sheard Hayes, Alex Sylvia, Susan Sylvia, and Dr. Smith with Boom, the Smith ox. Hunters on private property was/is a problem. There are four hunting seasons for white-tailed deer in Ohio and one of them, bow season, began yesterday, September 25. 

Terry Smith, journalist for The Athens News, reported about this concern on November 25, 1987:

Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.


Monday, September 12, 2022

Milliron Monday: All Things in Moderation

Jody and Starboy, Colorado USA (right)

Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.:  June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010
Virginia Joyann "Jody" Haley Smith: April 2, 1938 - May 9, 2021
Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Milliron Farm and Clinic, Dr. Pete and Jody Smith. 

I will write it down so it will not be forgotten.
Time spent in thoughts, feelings will not be lost.
When we are starry dust and time remembers us no more,
Passages will come alive, resurrection will occur.
And emotions will run deep again, and mortality will rise;
Words will thread the cloth, life will weave the pages.
Sentences of loveliness held tight to my breast,
Dust assuaged, remember me, the manuscript of ages.
― Gina McKnight

Inside the large box of old papers are stories of adventure, suspense, and drama. Yellowed and fragile, not touched for many years, they smell of dust and cobwebs. Together, they create a collection of short stories and poems that reveal an accomplished young woman. 

It is exciting to share with you All Things in Moderation: A Collection of Stories and Poems, Volume I by Virginia Joyann “Jody” Haley Smith. Let us know your thoughts on this engaging collection.  Special thanks to Noah, Jody’s third grandson, for writing the Foreword:


    My grandmother — equal parts strong, stubborn, resilient — was the matriarch of my family. Jody could be found weekly on summer evenings in a camp chair with a dog of choice outside of Ohio University’s Memorial Auditorium enjoying the free concerts on the College Green.
    Jody would frequently go to the West State Street Dog Park followed by a short trip to Larry’s Dawghouse, Athens, Ohio, where she would take advantage of her senior dis-count on Weenie Wednesdays with her usual order of a raspberry ice-cream soda and regular hot dog with everything but pickles. Without fail, her grandchildren could al-ways count on seeing her in her proud Federal Hocking grandparent hoodie (…ironically, I went to Athens) sitting in the stands of our football, basketball, baseball, soccer and swimming competitions. She walked faster than her grandsons despite being nearly a foot shorter in stature.
    Her competitive nature extended to the animals she cared for so diligently. The individual accomplishments she was most proud of were her top four finishes in numerous trail riding competitions and winning AKC “Best of Breed” with Puff, her beloved Belgian Sheepdog.
    Jody’s love for animals served as a refuge for her: Acknowledging that their love was built conditionally, she knew it was pure, constant, and could be counted on in times of difficulty with personal relationships. In such times, she put her energy into caring for the variety of animals at Milliron Farm. During these points in her life, she turned away from writing, returning to creative expression when she felt a greater sense of stability.
    Jody’s reverence for the written word tied in with her spirituality. She believed in words as a pathway to greater connection with self, and she kept a careworn Bible on her bedside table, its pages faded to yellow from years of perusal in times of duress. She wrote Letters to the Editor of the local paper in abundance. For her, the collaborative nature of the editing process created the opportunity to delve into another’s perspective, allowing a glimmer into a reality divergent from her own.
    Honoring that connection to language, I’ll share a memory of Grandma Jody that I feel speaks to the nature of her personality. July of 2011 was a sweat-soaked month, temperatures easily topping 100 degrees. It’d just reached double digits, and the Athens County fair was weeks away. While training my dog, Skipper, to win the novice category in the dog obedience competition, I planned to live with Grandma Jody for a few weeks (she was unparalleled in her ability to connect with animals). She drove Skipper and I to the vet clinic before we walked over the cattle guard at the base of her driveway together. There, we embarked on our first challenge: a race up the steep, gravel driveway leading to her house. The only rule: you couldn’t run. Fast walking, jumping, skipping, and even crawling were permitted. Skipper took an early lead up the first half, capitalizing on his freedom to ignore the rules set for the humans. Being a dark, triple coated Australian shepherd in the mid-July heat, he quickly fell behind his pack. Worried for my dog, I stopped as I was about to pass him to give him a pet and check if he was okay. (He was). This was the opportunity Jody was looking for - she didn’t wait for opportunities - and she surged past us to reach the towering white oak at the top of her driveway, thereby earning bragging rights over her grandson 62 years her junior. While Skipper padded over to the house looking for a grassy bit of shade, Jody first hugged and then proceeded to kiss the oak tree and asked me to do the same. Despite the fact that we were alone, as well as my prior knowledge of this custom, I blushed with embarrassment.
    Eventually, I relented, placing my lips to the bark. She was grandma, after all, and she had beat me fair and square. Until that tree fell in a derecho, I always kissed that oak when I walked to the top of her driveway.
    Now ten years later, when asked to introduce this collection of writings by Jody Smith, I am at a loss for words to explain how or why she authored these writings. I do enjoy the thought that she was not much older than I am now. Although her life’s circumstances were much different from mine, it is a gift to read her thoughts and stories from her young life.

Noah Franklin Fox
August 11, 2022


Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.


Saturday, September 10, 2022

September Skies - Art & Story by Sandra Russell

September Skies
Art & Story (c) Sandra Russell

September Skies
by Sandra Russell

A good friend of mine and I were driving back to Athens County from shopping in Columbus some years back and saw in the late afternoon sky what I suppose anyone might consider a gloomy threatening sky ahead. She informed me that the little chunky clouds that formed long horizontal rows of "black sheep" meant lots of water in the clouds (the darkness) and the fact that they seemed to diminish in size as the elevation increased meant that this would also be more than a days' worth of rain or weather change, and the height dropping towards us loaming ever closer, meant just that, it was coming soon. The lateral pattern indicated colder temperatures as well and so this would fall as snow or most likely; the dreaded freezing rain. 

I am not sure if I am remembering all of this correctly, so I looked it up on the internet where there is loads of information on cloud patterns and weather. In fact, too much information to include here. However there are four basic cloud types: high altitude, medium, low lying clouds, and vertical reaching clouds. Within these categories, we have variant combinations of three basic forms. The  pretty pile of mashed potato ones, (or ice cream depending on your mood), those are Cumulus clouds. There are also Cirrus clouds, what my grandmother used to call "mare's tails"...wispy stringing things without a care in the world but can indicate wind movement and direction of weather changes. Stratus clouds cover the sky like a solid wall of blue/grey/white glumness. 

I have just today learned a combination of clouds to watch out for… that is the Cumulonimbus cloud. It is a combination of a cumulus cloud with a vertical reaching cloud and looks a bit like an anvil shape. According to sources, the anvil point indicates the direction the storm is taking. This cloud does indicate lightning thunder and storm. Interestingly Thor, the god of storms, carries a big hammer... so here is his anvil, I guess? Interesting subject which I will take more time to digest later. 

The skies of September and October are some of the most beautiful and various in the entire year. I think we could all enjoy a little sky gazing and weather prediction in the weeks ahead.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Milliron Monday: In Memoriam

Pete, Jessica, and Jody riding the Milliron Farm trails
Photo by (c) Joy S. MillerUpton from the Smith Family archives

Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.:  June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010
Virginia Joyann "Jody" Haley Smith: April 2, 1938 - May 9, 2021
Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Milliron Farm and Clinic, Dr. Pete and Jody Smith. 

“With every year that passes,
I aspire to be more like my Grandma
in many facets of my life.”
― Grant Smith

The gray of the concrete steps leading up to the church sanctuary blended with the bittersweet mood of yesterday's memorial service. There were new faces and old, somehow we all needed the final opportunity to say goodbye to Jody. This was her memorial service day, her wedding anniversary, and a celebration of her life.

In early 2021, the pandemic kept Jody from attending church, and she dearly missed her church family. As Rev. David McCoy so eloquently relayed yesterday at her memorial service, "Jody was usually the first to church on Sunday." In the early morning of Mother's Day, Sunday, May 9, 2021, Jody quietly passed away.

Organ music swayed in and out of the full pews, reaching the ceiling, through the rafters, onto heaven. I hope Jody heard the beautiful notes and was blessed by prayers as we thanked God for her life. I hope she looked down and saw her family and friends remembering, grieving, celebrating. Together we sang 'Tis the gift to be simple (Simple Gifts), one of Jody's favorite hymns. Then Rev. McCoy talked about the many ways Jody liked to shepherd people, even strangers. Her opinion mattered and she had a lot to say about many things. And we are all the better for it. 

In Saturday's The Athens Messenger, second Grandson Grant Smith wrote a Letter to the Editor. It is a profound reflection of the love between grandmother and grandson. Jody, so proud of her grandchildren, would have enjoyed reading and sharing Grant's post:


Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.


Friday, September 2, 2022

A Reading Exercise - Art & Story by Sandra Russell

Original Art by (c) Sandra Russell 

A Reading Exercise

by Sandra Russell

As a 'player' in community theater for the past dozen or so years, I appreciate how some people are so capable of 'cold reading' lines from a play and are able to give character and meaning to unknown text. Some are able to supply extra nuance in tone, timing, pausing; to convey so much more story, to what is on the written page.

The English actress Zoe Wannamaker is especially worthy of study , because she is so good at nearly 'throwing away' a line, but by saying it this way, it informs the character and personality of this character so much more than if she delivered it in a more pronounced important manner. I saw her play a really tough, sort of street woman and be convincing as a criminal type, cheap desperate and self-protective. And she was really good at that character that you love to hate in an episode of "Prime Suspect" starring Helen Mirren. My favorite character she performs is called Ariade Oliver. She is a fiction writer, an accomplice for Hurcule Poirot in crime solving and to argue fictional detecting versus real murder solving. The Character Ariade, like Poirot, are inventions by writer Agatha Christie; and thought to be a characterization of herself as the writer of Poirot. If that is true? It seems the author is trying to tell her readers about her personal life, and her methods in yet another voice.

I mention all of this for the idea that as readers, we tend to read in our own voices, don't we? We also write about ourselves in letters from a first-person stance; so it might be interesting practice for us if we can, to have someone else read what we wrote in their voice to see how the intention differs? When you write a letter to a loved one, don't you imagine those words in their reading voice? Don't you alter what you write to an eight year old from a thirty-eight year old? I think it helps to remember we all process these phrases in a variety of ways.

Reading a play rather than a short story can remind you of this. We read a variety of characters to see how we might broaden our own ways of approaching the written word. And if we are able, to find old forgotten diary entries or letters we wrote and try reading them again as if they were about another person...see how the "voice" might change? Another reading exercise that some enjoy is passing poems around a table, with other people reading what someone else has written. It can be eye-opening, in the best way, and help everyone with their own expressions. This is best if everyone has a copy of the poems being read and can silently read along, just through that process they will hear a conflict between their head and the reader's voice. It's interesting. 

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Florida Cowboy: An Interview with Bryce Burnett

Bryce Burnett at work @ flcowboy68
Photos by Delane Burnett

Florida Cowboy: An Interview with Bryce Burnett
by Gina McKnight
From the August 2022 Issue of Florida Equine Athlete
No duplication with permission

“It is an indescribable feeling of appreciation
 for God's creations in nature and
the animals we are stewards of.”
~ Bryce Burnett on being a cowboy
Bryce Burnett lives in the middle of Florida USA. He is a true cowboy – surrounded by cows, horses, and family. He is a gentle soul, training his horses with finesse, making it look easy. But we know it isn’t easy. It’s hard work that takes dedication. I was engaged with Bryce’s Instagram and his beautiful horses. His wife, Delane, takes stunning photos of Bryce at work. I caught up with Bryce and asked him a few questions about what it’s like to be a Florida cowboy.

Welcome, Bryce!

GM: Every cowboy has to have a first horse! When was your first encounter with a horse?
BB: I was around 4 years old. I went to the Ogden Pioneer days rodeo with my grandpa. He would buy me cowboy hats and kind of encouraged it. I think that is what hooked me. My first opportunity to ride was when I was about 11 years old at a local stable where I worked cleaning stalls.

GM: Sounds like your grandpa may have been a bit of a cowboy, too! Describe a day in your life...
BB: My days are pretty packed. They always starts with getting all the animals fed. I try to get my colts ridden before the Florida heat sets in. Sometimes I will try to kill two birds with one stone and take a couple of colts to ride while checking cattle or day working. Most people that know me from social media aren't aware that I made most of my living being a farrier. I still do that a couple days a week.

So between managing a cow calf operation, starting 4-8 colts a month, being a farrier, and raising a wild toddler, I am always on the go.

GM: When breaking a horse, what methods do you use?
BB: Mainly, pressure and release. You can use a horse’s natural reaction to move from stimulus to your advantage. Basically, they think while they are moving. That's the nature of the beast, to move or get away from something they aren't accustomed to. When the horse stops moving to the stimulus, we release pressure. Along those same lines, I believe that controlling the horse’s feet controls the horse’s mind. Everything we do from picking up the horse’s feet to walking, trotting, cantering, moving lateral and lead changes starts with controlling a horse's feet, one step at a time. Even standing still and not moving pertains to this. This is where the horse gets comfort with us and learns to trust us.

GM: Can every horse be broke to ride?
BB: Yes, to a degree. You can get some success if the horse is healthy with no physical issues. I have come across a couple of horses that tolerated being ridden but they didn't enjoy it and they were looking for an excuse to buck. Horses nowadays are bred by us for all kinds of jobs and some are really good at bucking. They can be very athletic and rodeo horses are a great example of that. If I was a horse, I would want to be a bucking horse. You get fed well and work for 8 seconds a few times a year. That would be a great life!

GM: Do you have a good horse story to share?
BB: I've had a lot of good horses come through my program. I have also had a lot of troubled horses come through my program. One horse that comes to my mind is a mustang mare that the owners had tried to start on their own. Unfortunately, the saddle rolled off her back and under her. she ended up going through a fence and kicked the saddle off. A saddle rolling under a horse is probably the worst thing that can happen when starting a colt. 

It took several months of saddling her without having a reaction. Most of it was how I laid the saddle on her back. I did a lot of putting it on and taking it off.

The tension eventually left and she became my favorite horse to ride. She was easy going and kind hearted. She was a horse that I could easily see becoming a kid's horse.

With that being said, I did buy her from the owners and used her quite a bit to help me start a lot of other colts.

GM: What's the best thing about being a cowboy?
BB:  For me it is when you get a horse that is with you. He knows your thoughts and actions. He trusts you and responds to you with hardly any effort. I find that the most enjoyable. It is an indescribable feeling of appreciation for God's creations in nature and the animals we are stewards of. That is true partnership with your horse. I don't consider myself a trainer. I just learned how to help young horses cope with their fears.

GM: What advice do you have for novice riders?
BB:  A saying I live by is "You will learn more by being around100 horses a day in 1 year then 1 horse a day for a 100 years." So find a way to involve yourself with as many horses as you can. 

GM: What advice do you have for those looking to purchase their first horse?
BB:  Take lessons first. Learn the fundamentals of walk, trot and canter. Develop balance and rhythm on a well-trained horse.

Don't be afraid to buy an older horse. They will take care of you and help your confidence.

Above all, don't do it alone. A lesson program is a life saver, literally.

GM: What does horsemanship mean to you?
BB:  Most importantly, being a leader. Being able to adapt your techniques to deal with a horse’s individual situation. You ride your horse with your heart. You develop an internal rhythm and that rhythm needs to change. Sometimes you need to bring a horse out of his or her comfort zone to advance. I always try to end a training session with a calm rhythmic and comfortable horse. Whether we realize it or not, everything we do with our horse is training. As a horseman I try to always be aware of that. A horse is always looking for a leader and we need to be that for them. 

Connect with Bryce
TikTok: flcowboy68

Monday Creek Publishing Digest: Hocking Hills Book Fair

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