Quote of the Day



We are hot. Washington is not supposed to be hot. Our only defense is to be wet.



Time for an egg report. I have on hen that is laying, the curvaceous blond hen that we named Eva Peron. She prefers to lay her eggs at the base of the chimney, I would prefer that she use her nesting box.

They sleep in the top floor of their chicken ark and My Gift from a Generous God usually lets them out between 6 and 7 am. In our new plan, he merely lets them down the ramp at that time, and then I let them out later. The last few mornings it has worked; we find cute little eggs in the nesting box where they belong.

Here is a pic, to help it all make sense.


not one of the difficult kids

Yup. That is what Dandy's day camp counselor told us at the end of the week. That our son, the one that is usually the Difficult One in other contexts, did not make the naughty list at day camp. We are so pleased. I can't possibly share with you how many hours of coaching and parenting and intervening and fretting this accomplishment cost us, nor how pleased we are to -- at least not on this occassion -- to not be the 'in-trouble' family. Yeah Dandy!

In other camp news, he got to go knee-boarding and inner-tubing and roll in the dirt and sing and romp and came home filthy and exhausted. It was a great week.


quitting: intuition

I’m usually quite compulsive about finishing any book that I started, but I’m giving up on Intuition by Allegra Goodwin: heavy on description, skimpy on plot.  I stayed with it to the half-way mark, waiting for either a plot development or a character that I could care about, but to no avail.

Have you read it?  Did you like it?  If so, please let me in on what I missed . . .



We found a clutch of 5 little eggs in the rose garden last night, snugged up in the corner where the chimney joins the house. This morning there was another one there.

Any chicken readers out there with good ideas on how to convince them to lay their eggs in the nesting boxes, not in the garden?

day camp

Each child has or is having the treat of day camp this summer. Chickadee finished her week last Friday, coming home so tired that one evening we found her dozing of standing up with her head on the counter. She came home every evening sticky and dirty: pine pitch, dirt, pine needles, what have you. Dirty, tired, and happy -- she loves camp.

Dandy goes off to camp this week. I signed them up separately as I wanted her to have her own experience; she too easily allows her life to become a mere derivative of his. Not a life-habit I want to encourage.



Just in case you care, 3 of our 9 chickies turned into roos, 2 of which we rehomed, so we are now down to 1 rooster and 6 hens. The hens much prefer the new ratio as those young roosters are rather single-minded and persistent.


homeschool planning

We have a new system in place, thanks to all the horizontal time I have had for planning. I am too weary to be up very much, but too well to actually sleep during all my down-time, so I plan and scheme.

First, I made a lovely chart for each child.
From Drop Box

Then I set up folders for each subject.

They use Math-U-See (which rocks!) and are fairly independent with it. They watch the video and do the worksheets and I correct them. At this pace they will get through a little more than one lesson a week. If a lesson seems really hard I can print extra worksheets off of the Math-U-See website and add them to the folder.

Each child has a basket of >10 page sequenced readers. Dandy has Open Court Decodables and Chickadee has the same, along with some BOB books. They read them to each other and to the pets until they can read smoothly, then they read them to a grown-up. If you visit us, we may ask you to be read to.

This folder contains a mix of word-puzzles, draw-and-write sheets, some projects from Language Lessons for the Elementary Child, poems to copy and make into lapbooks, the workbooks for the Pathway readers, etc.

We use the Sequential Spelling which (duh) lists words in sequences: ow, cow, how, plow, growl and so forth. Words that the kids miss during Sequential Spelling time make it their own private lists. So, though 5 words a day may seem like a lot, they are 5 words in a familiar series, so it is more feasible than you may think. This folder merely holds a constantly updated list of missed words.

We use the Prima Latina material for vocabulary lists and the audio CD for correct pronunciation. The children can make flashcards and drill each other. Again,
this folder holds a constantly updated list of words.

We use the Story of the World audio CDs which I got from the library and put onto my iPod, along with the Bible (where there is overlap) so that each day the children can listen to one bit (4-10 minutes) and then make an artifact. I just ordered the History Through the Ages Timeline figures and we'll start making our giant wall timeline. If making an artifact for the timeline doesn't suit them, they can do a draw-and-write.

As the history curriculum unfolds, we will feed in the science. Right we are still in early history and the development of agriculture. Our science lesson for this part takes part in our own agricultural projects, with some hands-on domestication of animals on the side.

As I'm typing this up, I realized that I need to start over with Genesis 1:1 and Plate Tectonics. I love how, if you just teach history, you'll hit all the sciences as you go.

As an aside, my niece mentioned to me that she had several teachers who did not teach any history, as it wasn't on the WASL, our state's standardized test. ARGH.

Back to the plan, if all the chart is complete by Friday evening there is a treat, ice-cream or pie at the corner diner most likely. If it is not complete by Friday evening, it will get done on Saturday morning, which cuts into free-play time.

The other happy benefit of this plan is that, after attaching the relevant worksheets to the chart, I can pop the whole thing into a file to document to the state that I am filling my hourly requirements.



Days Go By

At the recommendation of our lovely and intelligent home-schooling cousin (a published poet no less), we bought Days Go By for Chickadee. At first glance, it looked to be too difficult, so we set it aside.

A few weeks ago, I found it, secreted underneath her pillow, with a bookmark about two-thirds though. At last, we have reached the covert reading stage! I quietly rejoiced and didn't let on, wondering a bit if she was understanding it all, or just barely slogging through it.

Over the weekend, I had separated the quibbling siblings which left Chickadee without external amusements. She went up and got her book and settled herself into the hammock from which she read aloud, fluidly and accurately, to the chickens.

Yippee for reading! And thank you to our lovely and intelligent cousin who told us about the books, saying (as best as I recall) that I will like them as the children in them do chores and have to be respectful to their grown-ups. :)


a stalker

So, yesterday morning I step out onto the deck to look at the weather (wet) and the yard. I wave to the chickens and step back into the house.

Once inside, I notice that my cat is staring at my feet with one of those intense I-am-cat-I-see-your-soul sorts of stares. I glance down. Nothing. She still stares. I look behind me and there I find Eva, my favorite hen. Apparently Eva is of the opinion that each and every time I step out there, I need to feed her.

Let's just hope she doesn't learn how to use the kitty door.


goat poison antidote

Oh how I wish that I had had this mixed up and waiting for us in the freezer. Next time we'll be ready.

1/4 C vegetable oil
1/2 C cooled really strong black tea
1 t ground ginger
1 t baking soda

Use this when your goat is vomiting and foaming at the mouth and nose because she ate something she oughtn't. For more info, visit GoatWorld.com.


The Thirteenth Tale

Really enjoyed this story which reminded me a bit of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca and a bit of Wilkie Collins Woman in White. An eccentric British novelist hires a bookish shopgirl to listen to, and record for posterity, the novelist's final attempt to tell the truth. Trouble is, some truths are unreliable, as are some narrators. Can you figure out what really happened before the reluctant biographer does? I highly recommend The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel by Diana Setterfield.


our first egg

Dandy found our first egg on the ramp this morning: tiny little thing, but a real egg none-the-less. Our chickens are 3.5 months old.