Saturday, May 30, 2009

an old dresser . . .

Today feels like it is going to be a productive, but restful day of work around the "homestead." We are finished with the garden and now the work of maintenance comes in. WEEDS! We will spend some time weeding the area and hopefully keep most of it under control.

In the big barn, there is a heap of junk that the owner has had there for years; old sofas, mattresses, glass cases, and some old dressers to name a few things. Since we have been here, the scrounging part of my personality has had a heyday looking through all the junk to find hidden treasures. I have used quite a bit of the old barn wood to make sculptural pieces for my Etsy online store, and have found little rusted odds and ends to work with to my delight. Currently I am working on a furniture piece that I am refinishing. I found an old dresser when we first arrived here and I moved it outside to have the children store their outside pots and pans in. Throughout the year, some of it has weathered nicely and some of the wood has warped a bit. Last week, I thought about refinishing it and making it an inside piece of furniture, so I called the owner to ask if I could keep it. I began by correcting the warped pieces and nailing and gluing some of the loose parts. I absolutely love fixing old things! When it dried, I filled the nails holes, sanded the wood a little, and began to stain it. Last week I bought some new hardware for it and now I am waiting for the stain to completely dry. It turned out to be a beautiful piece to add to my eclectic collection of furniture. I'll probably use it in the dining room or kitchen to act as a bureau to house some of our cast iron cookware.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

warped training ground . . .

WARNING: This post is sort-of a complaint . . . but more of an observation.

Today I took the day off from school/work. It is getting a little crazy there and it seems that it is only getting worse.
Yesterday, the Vice Principal came into my room again, for the twentieth time or so, and yelled at the students for their bad behavior. I was shocked that he slammed the door and then proceeded to yell at the students threatening them, and trying to guilt them about their bad behavior. And I am talking BAD behavior! They just sat and endured the lecture. They are good at that. I am sure they were thinking "as soon as he blows off his steam, he'll leave and we can get back to what we were doing." He mentioned that he was embarrasses by them and their behavior. I think he is finally getting tired of their behavior and now it is starting to irritate him. The last weeks of May however is not the time to start disciplining the students and wishing they would stay home for the rest of the year. I have resolved to stay out of the madness, quietly go on about my business without any feathers being ruffled, every two days take a sick day off, and then quietly leave. This is SO unlike me . . . I have never been a quiet one that just follows the crowd and and makes no waves. What a trying and learning time. Also, in my resolve I have also decided not to bring up anything that I am having a problem with. Yesterday when he asked me, in front of the students, if I was embarrassed by them and their behavior, I came close to not even saying a word. Just blankly staring without communicating anything one way or another. (which is extremely hard) Instead of telling him that I was embarrassed, I told him that I was disappointed in their behavior. Truth be told, I am not even disappointed in their behavior, instead, I am concerned that the children are not being allowed to feel the consequences of their actions, and therefore will have a warped sense of how fair life is when they are grown. This training ground, at school, should prepare them to have experiences that they will face in the real world. The world that does not stop for them. The world that directly administers consequences for all of our actions. The world that doesn't wait . . . time stops for no one.

For years I have asked parents if they felt they were prepared for adulthood by their school experiences. I have never met a person that has said they were completely prepared for their adult life and there was nothing their parents and teachers should have done differently to help them more. In fact, just the opposite is true. All the people I have spoken to on the subject have said that they wish their parents and teachers would have told them how hard it was going to be when they get on their own. I am afraid that we are creating a population of people who believe that they are the center of the universe, they should be understood and and accommodated on every occasion, and that they have the immunity to avoid the MANY consequences of our decision making.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

the chicken hotel . . .

So we got the chickens in the mail today. 7:30am, I am about to leave for school, and I hear the phone ring. I think, "who's calling us so early on a Wednesday morning?" It was the post office saying that the chickens we ordered are in.
When I got home, the children said they already named a few of them . . . all fine a dandy until we CUT THEIR HEADS OFF and eat them! Nolan built the structure for them to live in. A chicken hotel with a indoor area AND a patio! They are going to live it up large for the week or two before we stick them outside. For now, the are on the enclosed patio.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

being added to the mix . . .

The children have been working hard getting some planting done around the place. The garden now has some plants in it, with more to come. The boys have tried to tackle the big job of setting up a sturdy structure for the tomatoes to grow up on, and all the girls planted some herbs and some flowers up near the house. They also found some wild onions in the woods and took some starters from them to plant. It is a VERY GOOD THING to see children working in the dirt, planning where to put crops, and tending to them. I am excited to see the addition of a few more animals being added to the mix this next week. We were supposed to receive chickens this week, but due to an order mishap, we won't get them until next week. The straight run of 50 Buff Orpingtons will be arriving at our local post office for us to pick up. A straight run is when a group of chickens are scooped up without regards to the sex of the chicken. You get what you get. We are hoping to get a mix of course of layers for egg production, some to use as meat birds to eat, and we will keep a cock or two to help fertilize some eggs. It all A NEW WORLD of information and practice for us.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

getting it started . . .

Last week our friendly country neighbor's son came over with his tractor and plowed us a little area to start our garden. Nolan and Ildi have been working out all the math details trying to decide where to put all the plants. All the children took part in planting seeds in starter trays and we are patiently waiting for them to get big enough to transplant outside. Funny, but our garden area is as large as our entire grass area was in California!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

a timeless message . . .

I am always torn when sitting down to write something. Partly because I feel like writing about our lives seems indulgent, and partly because I feel like I need to express a greater truth for the benefit of mankind.

Both seemed to be prescriptive, a format that I need to follow and a mode that I am not sure I am wanting to stay in. In reading countless other blogs, I value the differing styles of personal accounts, and appreciate those that write for a greater audience the timeless messages. And sometimes, this "gobbledygook," that I started with today, helps me to solidify what it is that I am trying to say, what I want to communicate, what I want to express. And in this case, it's nothing! I have NO purpose in writing today, I have nothing profound to say, no experiences to share, I am wasting my time.

But, in any event, God is good. Family relationship is paramount. And a rolling stone gathers no moss. . . . . . . . I REALLY like moss. (that statement is not an analogy of my life :)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

a lot of work . . .

Today the boys mowed the grass for the first time this year. WOW was it a lot of work. Compared to our teeny little plot of grass in Pasadena, this 3 acre farm home land is GINORMOUS! It took Nolan and Asher more than three hours just to do the basics of the job.

Recently I have been spending time building my online etsy store. I am creating all sorts of art and crafts looking to see what types of products sell, what people are most interested in, and how to market the store relatively cheaply. I purchased an online book for the first time that gave me some GREAT tips that I have already started to implement. In addition, I have also begun writing some articles for What an interesting avenue. I am really enjoying writing in the step-by-step fashion. If you get the chance, check out some of my articles there. Click on members and type in gfout to find me.

Ildi ordered our chickens today and we should receive them in the mail near the second week of May. The children are all excited to finally get some of the animals we have been talking about getting for two years. It is really happening now. The next purchase is our COW!