Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 1

This- is day 1. Of homeschooling 2010-2011. I have just read something super disturbing, something about exposing a trojan horse. A film on how homeschoolers rights are being taken away from under our very noses without notice. This worries me very much for a variety of reasons. Many of which I will not list. Just stating that I have felt for some time that our rights in this area are at risk, and I fear so even more today. So for those of you who support homeschool, pay attention to the small print in bills and laws, vote against things that take our rights. Even if you do not homeschool, remember, you do not want to lose your rights to live your own life and neither do we.

On a lighter note! We start school today. Now, what I am showing in this blog post is something that should have been done BEFORE the start of the first day, and technically today wont be "first" but Nathalie wants to call it that. I am not ready, my schedule isnt done. I dont have a good, solid plan for record/bookkeeping and that has to be in place. So for today, review, and test taking. I want to see how fast they are at multiplication tables.

I spent this morning printing out handwriting sheets, math sheets and maps. I found a website that gave free printables (they ask for donations and I gladly complied) for maps. I printed a map that wasnt labled, and one that was for the entire world. For continents, the whole world, regions, and then of course the US as states both abreviations and capitals.

Then, I laminated. I have a roll of laminate that Frank bought in Sc. I used a lot of it for shapes, colors, numbers, site words etc in Sc for Nathalie in Kindergarten. Now I am using them for all the printables I did. I peel back the laminate, lay the sheet on, smooth, lay over the other half. I do end up with some bubbles, but they are on the backside. It isnt as perfect as a machine would be, but its cheap!

Next, I punch 3 holes and put them into a binder. I have a 3 ring binder just for geography and history, both laminated print outs and non-laminated work sheets and projects. I also have one for math and handwriting, math in front handwriting in back. The kids are doing cursive intensivly this yr, they will be expected to write all their journal entries and spelling words in cursive. Tad says this is tedious for him.

The website that I used had answer sheets individually for math problems, and also 1 sheet that had 12 blocks each with the problems/answers for mult, div, etc. So I laminated the 1 answer sheet. Tad is doing the 6 multiples here on a timer, when he finishes he has to grade it, circle incorrect and turn it over and write out problems/answers 3x each for any incorrect. Multiplication was from last yr, as well as division but we are reviewing and staying up on speed.

Frank found these expo markers that are a fine tip, they are as fine as a sharp pencil and are wonderful for handwriting or small spaces. Essentially, all of our practice sheets are now wipeable/expo sheets. In order to keep track, we will use a 3 subject notebook that is unused, and each day each child will write in there what numbers/letters they do on wipeoff practice sheets, and their number correct IE 9/12 if they missed 3. They have curriculum books as well, math, language arts. But their science, history, geography are in unit study, project, wipe off, game, puzzle format so they/I will need to record their daily work in this manner. I wont have proof because we used wipe off for some things, but I have their core curriculum saved as well as their testing scores. Tad will do state tests the end of this yr, and possibly Nathalie as well and those will be kept on file. This is a necessity in my opinion in order to keep track of their work. They have to test in highschool to apply to college, and they will be used to it and better at it if they test from 3/4th grade on.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Today my baby came running outside while I watched Frank digging a hole with our tractor, which naturally I thought she was coming out to watch also.

"Mama! Hey, mama! My lego tractor is 4 wheel drive look!!!" Sure enough, her tractor has wide tread on the front wheels as well as the back, apparently (we have learned) smooth front tires indicates 2 wheel drive.

"I see that baby." I felt so proud...This is one of things she will have "always known." Diesel fuel gels in the cold, tractors need to weigh twice as much as the weight you ask them to lift (on avg), all animals continue moving AFTER you kill them. My children were once surprised when a local hay farmer told them no, I have no chickens when they asked. They said, but where do you get eggs? The store. WHY???

I like this life...I like the things they learn and know, the things they will think they have known since birth. Things I didnt know. Oh and they can swim. I didnt know how to do that. Wait, I still dont!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


This was my sky at 5 am two days ago. I woke up and it was dark out still but an eerie light was in the corner of the window. I sat up to see and it looked this way, only much better because my photos are not great.

I ran to the back deck with my camera, I expected to feel cool air as I stepped outside and I didn experience that at all. It was sweltering and humid already, but lovely.

The circle of blue light is not the moon at all, I do not know what it was. Summer mornings are beautiful here, though as I dislike heat very much I prefer winter sunsets by far. The winter has later sunrises and earlier sunsets so I experience more of them and I miss them in the summer.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hey Eric

Yeah I know I promised to stay up on some photos! Our friend Eric is still deployed, and probably will get a few good laughs at our messy shop. This is the jetta, our little diesel car that gets 34 miles to the gallon. It does need some help however, the oil pan is being replaced today by Frank and the compressor for the AC needs to be replaced, its crazy hot here and the car has no ac...

Just because, well we dont change do we? Our shop is still disorganized. We are working on fixing this, little by little. We move tool boxes and tools and put wood up on the wall for shelves, and just to cover the insulation because it looks nice.

My poor husband. He gets to be filthy and I get to take the photos! Yesterday he finished fixing our tractor, and it now goes in reverse and engages the PTO. We bought it knowing it didnt reverse, which meant the PTO wouldnt work so we couldnt use any of the back attachments like the bushhogger which it came with.

Poor lighting but still a decent picture of my overworked husband.

And again... but he looks so nice working it wears me out!

These photos are compliments of Tad. He was cleaning the front yard and porch yesterday and found a large bullfrog and came in for the camera. For being 9, the pictures are not too bad. He took a heap of pictures, many of which I deleted. Like the 5 pictures of bullfrog rear.

I think he lives in the one window that isnt cemented in. It just has leaves and rocks that settled there.

And lastly, he is fat. This is just a well fed bullfrog, I wish he and his friends would eat a bit more of the local bugs.

These last pictures are of my garden. Last yr, we put our garden in an area that ended up too shaded and little grew there. This yr, we chose a great spot with good southern exposure, but our soil is too thick here. Its not clay, its silt. The fine dusty dirt that is sticky, it dries very heavy and cracks and the poor plant roots cannot push through it. We learned this from Nikki our best friend in Ga, and master gardener as well as books she provided for us.
In the left of this picture, you can see weeds. There is no garden here, but there will be next yr. The right of the picture is my squash, zuccini and pumpkin plants. They have done well! We are eating squash and zuccini as well as putting it up in freezer for winter stir fry, pot pie and stews. The center of the picture is my next yr garden. Because of the lack of loamy soil (well drained, enough sand, equal parts of the 4 soil types basically), we are laying newspaper overlapping and watering the papers, then laying waste hay/straw and manure mucked from the barn. This holds it down, as well as keeps weeds at bay while these substances break down making the soil more loamy for next yr. We will continue to overlay this with manure as it breaks down as well as throwing composte on it and a variety of other healthy things.

I lay out newspaper and cover with manure as I muck the barn. Each time I muck it, I fill the lawnmower trailer until it is too full to keep adding. This takes about 5 days. Then Tad or Nathalie brings it here, empties it and then takes the trailer back for me leaving it outside of barn for my convenience. So each day when its cool in early morning, I do chores then water the garden and lastly, lay down more paper, water, lay manure. This makes my garden area for next yr nice and it grows daily, rather than sticking with it for 2 solid days and being tired of the same task.

See our working tractor? Frank was very pleased with the performance yesterday. To the right of this picture in front of the hose, is a new bed. I build beds this yr for new plants, and we are putting in a fall garden. The beds are built by digging down in the soil and layering goat manure/straw, fertilizer, agriculteral lime, epsom salts, local cow manure and earth, I do this layering several times until I have a bed. They are not all shaped proper, its just whatever space is between or next to other plants/beds. This makes a loose aerated bed for little seeds and roots.

The newspapers and straw make for a no till garden, as well as no weed. As I pull weeds from between the plants, I lay newspaper/manure in the spaces there as well so next time I do not have to weed. If I need a space for new seeds or plants, I just plant into the newspaper by tearing a little hole.
We are not doing traditional row gardening. We have tried that, I cannot keep up with the weed growth. So while my great-grandparents are likely rolling over in their graves, I will continue to garden in new and easier ways. This last picture shows you rows/hills. These are built up beds and have newspaper in between to prevent weeds.
Thats it for now, the children and I prayed last night for it to be 6 deg cooler today than yesterday, and our wish was granted so we have been working outside all day!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Chronicles of my life

Can you read into this picture? Can you tell a story of my life from it? Well here I can. The huge zuccini? I thought the plant was a squash plant and honestly didnt notice the green zuccini amongst the green vines. No they are not edible in my opinion but the goats will love them. The squash, well they DID come from the lovely squash plants. Why just squash and zuccini? Well, Ks soil is black and enriched with minerals, but its too silty in some areas so it has to be made loamy either with manure, composte, good fertilizer etc or mixing sand. We are doing the first, but this generally takes a year. So our tomatoes are growing well, because I have fixed the dirt around the individual plants before they died, but the peas and greenbeans and many other things died from tough soil. The pumpkins, squash, zuccini and cucumber plants have thick roots that can push thru the soil so they grow! Now you have dirty garden gloves and kitchen scissors from the garden, dirty dishes, dirty cabinet, rising bread, empty beer bottles. Thats my life right now. Busy, messy, too much to do but really quite wonderful.

off to clean the cabinet and cook some fresh squash and onions!

Late birthday pictures

These are late pictures for Nathalie's birthday. We have the same birthday, July 10th. We gave her a bike, mom and robert gave her money and clothes, dad gave her money and some new earings, my sister scarlett sent her a schliech figurine from Europe, the kids collect them and they are made in Europe and my sister also sent her some lovely new clothes. So she finally has something NOT farmish she says from Nana and Aunt Scarlett!

Frank, of course, made the cake and as usual Nathalie wants so much junk and sprinkles on it, it turns her stomach halfway into a small piece but its her world!

Here she is spitting on her cake as daddy said. All in all, a great birthday. On a funny note, she asked around 9 am on her birthday, "Mama, what can I do since its my birthday?" I was in the barn when she asked this, hanging over the barn gate and I responded, "Here baby, take this pitchfork and muck the south barn out for me. Oh and happy birthday." She gave me a stinky look and replied, "Well thanks mama and happy birthday." Later however, after the barn was done, I was presented with a homemade card and flowers from her and a, "Many Happy Returns of the day mama!!!"

And what did I get for my birthday? Well this is two fold. My husband, because he loves me and wants to give me what I want, has insisted on a new bathing suit that I do not need but do badly want. What I asked for was that he spend extra money towards getting tractor parts so he could fix the reverse on the tractor. He obliged and spent many days on his leave working in the heat on the tractor, and its now put back together, assumably fixed just waiting for one part. I say assumably, its a very old tractor that may exhibit other behaviour problems, its a wait and see game!