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It’s a Parade! November 26, 2008

Posted by Laura in Family, Homeschooling.

Unlike children, adults actually enjoy quiet “boring” moments when no one is talking.  I’m a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom whose husband travels a lot so I get my fill of “quality time” with the children.  I was having one of those “I need a sanity break” moments today and I thought I had figured out a way to get one.

After a quick salad, I put the toddler down for a nap, strapped the 15 pound infant into his “frontpack,” and left the older children finishing their lunch.  I thought I would get a little exercise and have a few moments of solitude walking in our driveway without anyone making demands of me.  I put on some Chris Rice music and headed out the door to be alone (okay, at least with only the infant, but that’s something).  It was not to be.

Our driveway is a hair under 1/4 mile long from end to end with the house being at the crest of a slight hill.  The driveway is paved which makes it great for walking, bike riding, etc.  I headed out on foot to try and work off some baby weight.  I had hardly made it to the toolshed before two dogs joined me.  They jostled me and each other trying to get their heads up under my hands to be petted.  After acknowledging them both with pats and compliments I continued on.  Another 100 feet and two cats came barreling past me, quickly throwing themselves onto the pavement immediately in front of me and rolling onto their backs to have their bellies scratched.  I obliged and continued on.  At about that point, I picked up a small herd of goats who paced me from their side of the fence giving me the rough side of their tongues for not bringing treats.  I spoke to them by name and made my apologies for the oversight.

I managed to make it to the mailbox without tripping over any cats who continued to do their speedbump impressions right in front of me (never have I met felines who accompany humans on walks, but this is frequent with them).  I herded the dogs away from the street and started back up the hill.  When I got to the barn, I picked up a flock of about 25 chickens.  They assumed that my general heading toward the henhouse meant they would get fed again and they swirled about my ankles as I walked.  As I neared the house, the bovine bellowing began and the cows picked up the pacing where the goats ran out of fence.  Just to make the picture complete, both Benjamin and Rachel were on the porch waving me down when I reached the house.

So goes the life of a homeschooling, farming woman.  It’s certainly never lonely.


Incoming! November 14, 2008

Posted by Laura in Family, Scouts.

Benjamin has enjoyed cub scouts since he finished Kindergarten and joined as a Tiger cub.  He is now a Webelo and loves it as much as ever.  At the meeting last night, the boys got to build a catapult to work on an “engineering” badge.


Nearly finished.


Now, let the war begin!  (And Lydia wasn’t left out of this battle.  She ran right through the middle of the combat gathering up ammo- ping pong balls- as fast as she could).


Rachel and Timothy took cover out of harm’s way.


Pretty cool project!

4-H Speeches November 13, 2008

Posted by Laura in 4-H, Family, Homeschooling.

Public speaking is listed as one the greatest fears people have.  Though Joe is an old pro at it with all the conferences he does and courses he teaches, public speaking is also one of the hardest skills to master.  It is no simple feat to give a well-organized, informative presentation in a confident and effective manner.  It can take years to become comfortable speaking before your peers, or worse yet, your superiors.  For that reason, we feel that it will be more easily accomplished if our children get an early start.  That’s not to say that we are pushing them into careers that will require it.  It’s just that we would like them to be well-rounded and prepared for whatever God calls them to do.  Here they are giving speeches to their peers and the parents.


Fourth graders all have to speak on the topic My Family.  Benjamin had practiced and practiced until he hardly even needed to glance at his notecards.  He made a point of making eye contact with his audience.  (I apologize for the picture quality-  I was zoomed in pretty far from the back of the room.  The leader also promises to have his name spelled right by the next meeting).


Rachel spoke on a topic near and dear to her heart- cats.  She read several books and looked up information online so she could develop a speech that told about their needs and development, personalities, and appearance.  She felt very nervous but it didn’t show when she spoke.

Both children did a great job and we are proud of them.

Good-bye to the Toy Story Two November 1, 2008

Posted by Laura in Farm.
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For the past year and a half, we have had two donkeys, Buzz and Woody.  This was my brilliant idea.  At one point, we were losing chickens to predators at an alarming rate but we wanted to add more livestock to our farm.  My reading suggested that the way to go was to get donkeys as guardian animals.  After much convincing, Joe agreed and we purchased two young half-brothers from a very gregarious old farmer not far away.

Woody and Buzz, named for some long-standing favorite movie characters.

This experiment will probably have to go in the “failed” category.  As we improved our periphery fences, the need for guardian animals decreased.  At the same time, the southeast was plunged further into drought and hay became scarce and expensive.  And just to add insult to injury, the brown donkey bullied the goats and calves he was purchased to protect.

We’ve become kind of fond of Buzz (the white one) and thought about just selling Woody.  There is something pleasant about equine companionship even if they aren’t “working” animals and we still miss our old horse Gus.  But we don’t need the donkeys and their upkeep was too costly not to factor in, so we listed them both for sale online.

Yesterday the new owners came to get them.  Neither Buzz nor Woody made themselves easy to load, but Woody showed his true colors and sat down on his rear end, refusing to move.  He was determined not to get in that trailer for a bucket of feed or anything else.  Finally, he was outsmarted and outmuscled though and off they went.  The pasture seems kind of empty now, but they are going to live close by so we’ll be able to drive by and wave.