Friday, January 28, 2011


My children are entertained by these things. I was alone this morning, early, drinking coffee. Watching the sun come up at the back porch. It was a lovely quiet time being alone-I enjoy this. Yesterday the weather was warm and lovely and Nathalie had been fighting a cold, so I kicked the kids out for fresh air and scrubbed my house, dusted and organized the main part. Bedrooms to come next wk... I was looking around at our neat, clean home this morning thinking, this is a nice place for children to live. I wished to share it with Frank, wished he was sitting here enjoying the quiet clean house with me. Knowing that our children have these things to enjoy.

This is my tripod, or Franks. He bought it for me but he uses it also and we love it. The kids use it more than both of us do. This video camera was a christmas present from Frank to Nathalie. The kids video all sorts of things, they put on puppet shows and plays-mostly about star crossed lovers. Why is that? I dont know but there is ALWAYS a therapist in the show!

Now the pencil sharpener... we never have a good one. Its always a problem in school, so Frank found and sent this nice pencil sharpener. Someone (surely not me) was supposed to get some screws and adhere it to a spot on the half wall where the children's school books stack. Well, somehow, this and that happened. Tad got tired of this, and he asked me can he screw it down I said no because I feared for my wood surfaces so he took things into his own hands. See the result? It works SO well too! They can sharpen quickly and the sharpener doesn't fall over. This is 100 mile an hr tape, very similar to duct tape but quite a bit stickier. That will be fun to clean off...

Thats our entertainment for the day. Off to run errands!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


If you ever loved somebody put your hands up... No I wouldnt let my daughter dance to anything Nellie sings, wait, yes I would! Thats what she is doing.

I have to tell my son to drop his weapons before we go town. He is prepared, if I am down at the barn with them and run into any problem-he has the tool for the job. He can cut or chop anything open or apart, in quick order. "No mama, let me, you might cut yourself. No thats wrong knife, use this one, mama can I just do it I feel nervous watching you. No the knife doesnt go TOWARDS you mama." I tell him, "Tad I am an adult, I know what I am doing." He raises his eyebrows and pats me kindly as if he understands, mama is dillusional. Then, rather than cutting open the bag of feed that I am fighting with, he pulls the little string! I finally have this down myself after him showing me for, oh say 3 years???

Today is wonderful warm weather, now while I do love snow and winter I can truly say I love spring and fall nearly as much and today is spring-ish. Clothes are on the line, and I kicked the kids out. Yep, no school today. Other kids, they get a snow day. On snow days, my kids do school. Probably more than other days because its so cold out. Today, I kicked them out to fill their lungs with fresh air. I have the heat off and the windows open, but it is not at all THAT warm, so I have a fire going. Nathalie has been fighting a cold, and we dont want it. I am cleaning the house this morning, and airing it to get rid of her cold germs. I am buring orange oil and giving her plenty of herbs.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A New Pet

We have a new pet. I do not have a picture of her, or him, yet but maybe tomorrow. It is a skunk, a pretty skunk which I think is a pregnant mama skunk trying to nest in our ducks little straw bale house. The drawback is this, I am pretty sure this same skunk that I spotted becoming our pet this evening was the one who killed one of my ducks last night. Which, are also my pets. And I have pictures of them.

So I am torn, what to do about my new pet eating my old pets? Here is the thing. I could shoot, or trap this skunk. But more would come. If I am going to have this problem today it will be next week also. So now the ducks get moved to a closed in barn at night. No problem, they are happy to go. Easy to catch and carry, being pets.

The skunk pet is harder to carry. But I believe she is a mama, she is nesting. And I cannot kill her, because they are basically non-violent. She was just eating. I will leave out a little bit of food for her at night, and assume that she will repay this by not spraying me...

It is very unlikely that she will spray, skunks have warnings before they spray and most (unless terrified) will give 3 warnings and quite a bit of time. You have to invade their private area, or threaten them. I do not feel she will spray anyone and if she does we wont die. And plus, she is my new pet! I will call her Suzy.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Making a pattern

This is a pattern for a diaper cover. I saw the style for years online before I made one. I have been making then since, oh before we left Sc so at least 4+ years. I make the pattern by deciding my rise and crotch width, then dividing my waist by front and back and adding on some for stretch.

1 finished pattern, 1 nearly finished in a different size. The quilter's ruler is very helpful in making patterns and also setting snap placement on diaper fronts.
A finished cover. This is 100 % wool which breathes well so is good for winter and summer. Wool is naturally waterproof while on the sheep, lanonlin is the oil that makes it so. It is removed before carding and spinning the wool but you can put it back in by soaking the cover in some warm water with dissolved lanolin in it. This wool happens to be both washable and dryable, though most wool is hand wash or dry clean only.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

See my snow???

Yeah I know I just took a picture of my tractor in snow. But that was more snow. And this picture, if you look closely, SHOWS the snow FALLING!

Bbq grill isnt pretty, I know, but once again it shows you the falling snow. That is essential because there isn't a lot on the ground yet. A lot of our snow melted in warmish days the last 2-3 days but we are getting some more. The radio said, this morning, that we would get 5-8 inches today possibly and thats good because I will get drifts, and maybe will have up to 2 ft. I would be happy then. Well, happier. I am already happy as an individual, snow cant actually make or break that.

See? My driveway was clear, now it is redusted. And its pretty...this snow is more hard and biting but its sticking and lovely.

The back porch, my ugly flower pots. My poor white truck out there wishing he were in the garage probably but there is no space for him in there. The trucks have to man up and stay outside so that the cars can enjoy the warm garage.

One of my goats doesnt like this weather, and I feel badly for him poor guy... The rest seem happy as long as they have extra hay to eat. The chickens avoid snow like the plague but they have a huge barn all to themselves and a heat lamp. I should get a picture of them perching in the doorway.

Off to help divide fractions.

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday, I blogged. It was a good post, it was a good school day. We got a lot done.

Today, I was awake (in my opinion) before the witches rise and it was too early and dark.

Yesterday, I had this deep inner fear that the snow wouldnt come back. Some people feel during winter, it will never come spring again. Not this year. It wont, we are stuck in winter. I fear that summer will come. I fear the snow is done, though it was only our first real snow that was fading.

Today, its as cold as a ball bearing left in ice. And its snowing. Bits of ice that burn when they land on your cheeks. I stood outside in my pajamas at 7 breathing it in and feeling saved.

Yesterday I realized even more how much school depends on me, not just because I am the teacher, but because what I love they love. What I am good at, they will naturally take to eaiser than what isnt natural for me.

Today, math isnt natural for me. Though it is my favorite subject. Today I am sure my son will not learn to spell more than his name correctly. In actuality, he is doing well in sp comparativly. He isnt a naturally good speller but if I keep up with it, it will come easier to him.

Yesterday, my snow fears affected me but not too deeply.

Today the snow makes me feel good, but today... I miss my husband more than I have in over 2 months. Today I want to wear headphones and listen to my favorite songs and sit with a cup of hot tea in a chair by the window. I want to watch the snow fall and cloak my world.

Yesterday my head was in order. It was nice, like a clean closet.

Today I realize, I throw my clothes in the closet floor because I like how it looks. I like how it feels to go through it and decide what to wear. I also like my messy head and I cannot keep it ordered. So I wont try. Today, I wish my husband was here to keep the order for me because thats what he does.

Back to school. Because yesterday, today or tomorrow, thats the most imporant thing I can possibly focus on in their lives. Love, attention and education. No matter how quiet I feel today.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

School schedule

We have a new school schedule. I am not 100 % sure that the kids will love it, but as the teacher I honestly do not care. We have learned that with Frank gone, we are falling behind in a lot of areas. We get the essentials done, school, animal care, the house is at least clean enough to be safe, we are fed, we are warm. But oh we are running late! So I have started getting up much earlier, and now I am ready to get them up earlier. This took me a few days of having time alone, getting the house reorganized and getting the schedule made up.

Homeschool doesnt take more than 2 hours per day in most cases, at this grade level. They are in 3rd and 4th grade. Some things can be done by themselves, things like handwriting and copying spelling words. I still have to quiz them on the words, and check handwriting/circle incorrect things or things that need to be written again.

This is one of our 3 boards, we dont use this one for presentation or board work. It is for scheduling only. I already changed the board for tomorrow, as by 10 this morning they were done with all but the last 2 items. We started at 8 and that included half hr music for each. They will be done by 11 with everything. The laminated sheets magneted to the board, show what will be done each weekday. So we do science 3 days a wk, geography 3 days a wk and a game daily along with our school work. I added on some things in wipe off marker because thats the point of a laminated schedule.

The kids will now get up at 7:30 everyday and they have a sheet on the refridgerator which is now memorized.

Eat breakfast and clean up from breakfast
Make your bed
Dress in day clothes
Clean up your laundry/clean and dirty
Brush your teeth and hair
Start your board work

This is working well. They can both read the board and get started. Some things they have to do opposite of each other, like map labeling. Whatever map we are on, is a laminated sheet. I printed off maps from this website and laminated them. We have one for each map that is filled in, and one that is blank so they study and fill in until they are ready to do it without the filled in one. This saves paper, I have less things to stack up and decide keep or not keep. Their spelling book is a text so it isnt a workbook, they each have a notebook that their words are written out in, but they have to take turns. The spelling text is hard to pore over together.

They are in the same grade in everything but reading. History, science and geography are all considered unit studies. As they are so close in grades they move together in these studies. Spelling is the same, because Nathalie is a strong speller and Tad is not. Handwriting is also the same, because they are both practicing. They know how to write, so its not learning anymore just honing their skills.

They are in the same grade in math because Tad is in the 4th grade in math, and Nathalie is in 3rd grade this year but is well ahead in math so is also in 4th. They are doing fractions right now which is simple and fun.

Nathalie is in early 3rd in reading because she is catching up still, she was a slow start on reading. Tad is comfortably reading at a 9th grade level in his head, though stumbles in 6th+ grade level books when reading aloud. Sometimes he stumbles when reading his grammer aloud and that is 4th grade. That is what we are working on this year for him in reading, ability to read aloud smoothly. His comprehension and speed are so good now we really dont go over those, he just does a graded book report for every book he reads and that gives me a good idea of his comprehension. Also that solidifies good handwriting, spelling and proper sentence and paragraph structure.

We do music theory 2 times a week, music practice 7 days a wk and music lesson 1 time a wk. We also do 4h which is fun, but we are going to be more involved that I had planned. I enjoy it, I like the other parents/families and the kids have made some good friends both homeschooled and not. They did their first 4h presentation at the judged model meeting Saturday and apparently, did very well. They were complimented by the judges, leaders and parents for the rest of the day! We went bowling with the group and had a great time. They will do another presentation in Feb. They are clearly not shy or embarrassed and lack no confidence, which was a big surprise to several parents. Its a misconception that homeschooled children lack in social skills or confidence.

So thats our week in school, and we will continue to stick to this schedule. We have to fit in a library day every 2 wks, trip to recycling center (both this afternoon) and once a month knitting guild meetings! Oh and all of our work around here, 4h projects for next years fair...and a whole bunch of other stuff!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Anyone who knows me at all, knows that my mind is a big scattered mess. These pictures do not go together in any sort of organized post. Its called cleaning the hardrive, or going down memory lane. My babies were so young, most of these pictures are more than 2 yrs old. The sunsets here are so beautiful. Some of the pictures are just random, but mean something to me. This last one, well, its just a good picture... the forearms and jaw line, gets me every time.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Some photos

Nathalie is at the kitchen table and says, I miss daddy. He would say to me, have you been kicked today? No. Well, lets put that on the agenda. And then she says, mama says dont run in the house. But when daddy is home, we wrestle and then he runs and then we do so we get to break the rules. Tad says, you break that rule when he isnt home. Yes she says, but its not okay then. Mama says Stop Running and if daddy is here, we all three just run. Hmm. Sounds like mama is being undermined!!! This MUST stop. Until he is home and then, well, okay fine...

This picture of silly faces is for Frank. Tad says, he wonders what it would look like if a goat blew up. He thinks Frank would know this answer, though Tad thinks it would just be a puff of smoke.

Apparently we are all missing him today. I saw this picture and thought of him. I love sunrise/sunset photos and so does he. In spring, we get fog pictures and those might be my favorite. This was taken a few evenings ago before the snow.

Yes thats a vacuum hose in the picture... and poor posture while he is playing. Usually they put music on a stand and sit straight or mama says, straighten up and play that song again with better posture. I like to see Tad play, he is good at it and he loves it.

This photo is dark and grainy but I like it. Somehow it was a moody day, and the photo matched. It was taken some days ago. For me, winter needs snow. I think I could become tired of it and feel dismal if we had no snow, the snowy days are usually sunny and bright and rather warmer than just the bitter windy days. The kids have been out for an hour today and are now in eating breakfast and getting ready for school. On break they will be back out for an hour, they spent about 4 out in the snow yesterday.
Nathalie just asked us if we ate her stuff bear which seems to be missing. They are full of it today... off to educate my offspring!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow day

We have a 4h meeting tonight. Here is the vehicle I am taking, because its 4wd and also I am going to have to clear the drive with it regardless, may as well have the kids hop on the brush hog and off we go! Just kidding... we do have 4h and I likely will clear part of the drifts with this beast.

We had no snow yesterday, we went grocery shopping at 6 pm yesterday for a few things we would miss if we were snowed in. Driving on snow doesnt bother me at all, but its sure easy to just stay home. We stocked up on wood here, we have a huge pile in the garage and then started stacking here. Makes it easier on snowy days.

I woke up at 2 am and looked out to see this beautiful, fluffy, white layer of snow. My kids love snow, as do I. I went out to the goats this morning and found they had already sullied their snow with feces, pee and hoof prints. The chickens, however, were very hesitant and chose to stay in their barn even after I opened the door to set them free. The ducks didnt go into their house at all, instead their web prints show me that they did nothing but enjoy the snow all night. Ducks dont sleep, they cat nap and they like snow and cold.
The kids woke up at 9 and jumped out of bed and got dressed and went right out without breakfast. Now that they have that out of their systems they are happily doing homework by the warm fire place. It is beautiful and fluffy and I love it, the kids and I both wish Frank was here to enjoy it with us. He would put snow in their pants, and down the back of their necks. And push them down in drifts multiple times. And throw large snow balls at them. Wait, what? We WANT that? Thankfully he doesnt treat me that way... just them!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Education and country kites

Eric, Justina and Tristin were over for dinner and to help me with a project. The electrical socket by the bucks pen wasnt working. It became wet apparently, by the rust and corrosion inside. Eric replaced this for us and here he is taking apart the old one for the boys to see how it works. Both of them knew the names of some of the components and had a good idea of how it all works. Tad is very fascinated by electricity though he does seem to respect it... A good time was had by all, and it must be said that Justina knew some of the components by name, that the boys didnt know!
And here we have country, er, redneck, kite flying! Tad and Nathalie both tied plastic sacks to 550 cord, and flew them. It was a sunny,windy day. They were in the field together but I didnt have my camera.

Tad obliged and got his going in the front yard. He said you can let out the string as the wind takes it, and they only had one kite stuck in a tree. I didnt ask what tree, but in our field, there are no trees. There are few trees on our property! I think this plastic sack kite flying can be filed into education as well. And it was a good source of entertainment for them and me!