Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Teach Your Children Well

We are starting school. For those of you that don't know, I homeschool our three children. This year they are in second, fifth, and sixth grades.
The most common thing people say about homeschooling is that the kids won't have any social skills. Obviously they have not met my kids. My children are the most friendly kids you'll ever meet. And they don't differentiate between old or young, cool and uncool, disabled and not. They love meeting new people. Everyone to them is a potential friend.
Homeschooling is what you make of it. There are families whose children are reserved or socially awkward. But there are also children in the public schools who are that way. But you know what? At home those awkward children are not called names. They don't sit by themselves at lunch.
Having said that, I don't believe everyone should homeschool. There are families that just shouldn't do it.  You don't need to be smart or a licensed teacher to do it, but you should be somewhat organized and extremely committed. You should be absolutely convinced that you are doing what is best for your children. You need that for the many days that you question your sanity. 
The days when you want to ship your kids off to a foreign land. 
The times when you want to lock your bedroom door and cry for an entire week.
 The days when you'd like to strangle the person responsible for inventing math.
I wonder how many homeschooling mothers give up because of math?!

One of the nice things about homeschooling is that it only takes a couple of hours each day. That is unless your son stares out the window instead of doing his English paper. Or your daughter writes in her journal instead of finishing her math. I have to share a funny story that happened with Sissy this past year. She was having one of those days in math. I sent her to her room to work on it without distraction. Later I came across her diary for that day. It went something like this.
9:10 Mom is making me do my math in my room. I don't want to do math.
  9:16 math not done
9:23 math still not done
9:42 math is still not done
10:06 I'm not done with math yet. I wonder why it takes so long to do math
10:15 math not done
And so on.
This went on for about two hours! This was one of the funniest things I've ever read! She eventually finished her math. And it only took a couple of minutes to do it once she actually concentrated and got to work.
I don't do any set curriculum. I pick and choose according to my kids' learning styles. Another nice thing about homeschooling is that you can slow down on a subject your child struggles with and breeze through those they are gifted in. I get to change curriculum mid-year if it isn't working with one of the kids. Each child learns differently and needs to be taught differently to get the most out of schooling.

It is amazing how much a child learns from daily life! They learn math from shopping and cooking. They learn extra reading skills because they have the time to read. They learn about gardening and animals and work and personal relationships. My kids ask questions about things constantly and are encouraged to look up the answers. They love to learn facts about animals and places and people. They learn a lot of these things from watching their parents or other adults. They don't learn from other kids how to treat peers or parents or how to act.
They also learn to dress themselves appropriately for the weather.

These are a few of the things I love abut homeschooling.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

What Garden?

I have been so busy this week! I apologize for my absence. I was finally able to check out the blogs I follow this morning and came across this one.

Those of you who garden should check it out. Make sure to click on the link to the "illegal" garden. It is a work of art. I could only dream of such a gorgeous garden, front yard or back!

I hope to be back with you tomorrow to show you some of what I've been up to.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Vine Garden

Mr Farmer thought I needed to do a post on how we water our vine garden. It is roughly 1/4 mile from the house in an area with no access to running water. We have a water system out there to catch rain when it rains. However, this year since we've had no rain, our rain barrel is empty. We needed to come up with another way to water every week or two.

This is what we came up with.

We fill the barrel with water up at the house.

It amazes me how much water pressure we can get.

On the right are Burrell melons, like a cantaloupe. On the left are Orangeglo watermelons.

Not many of the pumpkins have germinated. It's just too dry.

In the foreground are my zucchini. Behind them are acorn squash. Beyond that are cantaloupe. We brought in a small cantaloupe the other night.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dog Days Of Summer

 It has been so hot lately that we have taken pity on the pup. He barks at the door to be let in. When we let him in, he flops onto the vinyl floor as if he can't make it one more step.

Then, we forget about him.

Then Mr Farmer comes home and finds him on the carpet. Buddy isn't allowed on the carpet.

Mr Farmer has a talk with Buddy.

Buddy listens attentively but remains on the carpet.

Mr Farmer has to get tough.


Buddy tries to hide.


"Sir, kind sir. Please forgive me for my tresspasses. I'm a good and loyal dog who lives to keep your family safe. I protect your chickens. I rarely harass your cats, except for the striped one who shall remain nameless. And you'd have to admit, he deserves it. Do you know he tries to eat my food? And the way he walks across the yard as if he owns the place. I just can't let that slide. What's that? The carpet? Get off?"

"I'm invisible. I'm invisible."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Do You See What I See?

Sunday we were sitting in the living room watching tv and Mr Farmer looked out the front window. This is what he saw in the yard.

We don't get them in the yard very often. In fact, almost never, though we have them in the fields all the time. She was there to eat my forsythia bush. I think so much is burnt up around here that she came to the yard for food and maybe to find water. The photos were taken through the window from inside the house, so the quality isn't very good.

Saturday evening I brought in another 7.245 pounds of tomatoes. Things are definitely slowing down in the garden. I am now in waiting for the next batch of tomatoes to grow and mature.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Today's Another Day

Remember the nursery rhyme, "Rain, rain, go away. Please come back another day."
Well today is another day. Rain, please. 

This was our pond in 2010

This is the same pond in 2012.


Mr. Farmer has been mowing where the water used to be. See Buddy? The water is usually up there. Supposedly it's not funny that Mr Farmer got the tractor stuck in the pond. Or so he told me when I  laughed.

When he mows where we typically mow, he just stirs up dust.

Now I'll leave you with a few pictures of pretty flowers. Flowers not ravaged by heat and drought.

Friday, July 20, 2012

My New Toy

My new toy has finally arrived! I purchased a new dehydrator this year. My old one was a cheap one bought many years ago. It just didn't do much and was so small. I ordered a L'Equip Filterpro dehydrator. I am a Bosch dealer and this is one of the models I sell. 

Right now I am dehydrating peaches. We bought 3/4 bushel and then had to leave. They really needed to be put up. The ones that were not good enough to can, I decided to dehydrate. I am so excited to see how they turn out. I have some cherries and bananas that I want to do next. And I want to do some fruit leathers.

Here is a picture of the object of my affection.

Side view. Six stacked trays. It can stack up to 20!

Peaches during the drying process.

I also canned 8 quarts of peaches. I realize there are only six in the photo, but eight wouldn't fit across the counter and these were so pretty lined up with the light coming from the back.


Barn Bathroom Door

The bathroom in the barn is the main area we have worked on so far. It's important to have a working toilet when doing work away from the house! One of the first things we made was this.



It's a sliding door on a track. We made the door itself from barn wood from the old barn that once sat here. The ring handle and the lock were also finds from the old barn.

Mr Farmer made the straps from flat iron that he forged over our turkey fryer. Then he laid the hot steel over the hitch of his pickup and shaped it. He likes finding ways to make things without buying the correct equipment. He thinks it makes things look more handmade. He's right. I also like that we use things found around most people's homes so that others can try it if they want.

We purchased the rollers in the garage door section of our local hardware store. They are for garage doors and would roll on the garage door tracks. He wanted the kind with a ball bearing in the center hole rather than just a hole. These were that majority of the cost of the door as they were $10 each.

The track was a piece of scrap he got from work. He gets lots of scrap from the packaging that equipment comes in. You should see all the nuts and bolts that are made just to ship things and meant to be thrown out!

And there you have it. A rustic, handmade door for less than $30. You can purchase these types of tracks, but they cost several hundreds of dollars just for the track and rollers. Or you can make your own with a turkey fryer and trailer hitch!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I Say Tomato, You Say Tomato

It doesn't quite sound the same when it's in writing, does it?

The tomatoes have slowed a bit and I have slowed down in showing them to you. I'm still getting roughly 5-6 pounds every day or two.

Several were over a pound a piece!

I have also been bringing in the zucchini. We have eaten quite a few, made some blueberry zucchini bread, and given several away to family.

The other day I found these two acorn squash. The green one I was aware of and had been watching. It was the first one to emerge. The yellow one? I found the yellow one. It was a later emerging one so I can't figure out why it is yellow. Any ideas? I've never grown them before so maybe it's normal. I just have never seen a yellow acorn squash. It is still solid, like the green one. Is it still good or should I give it to the chickens?

And now for a couple of photos of hot cats and flower gardens.

This is one of the beds right outside of the shop.

From this angle, the kittens look as big as mama, but they aren't. They aren't nearly as fluffy as they were before the hot weather, either. I hope the fluffiness grows back when things cool down.