Wednesday, June 26, 2013

my Lord is in charge...

Do not be afraid for I am with you. Do not look around, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will keep hold of you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Monday, June 24, 2013

Days Go By...

It seems there is always so much to do...

Chickens:  A few months ago, a cousin/friend gave us 3 leghorn chicks. The dog killed one and we were left with two. I recently put them in with the bigger chickens. It seems like though we only have 9 chickens, we have 3 small flocks: the tetra tint flock (3), the brown chicken flock (3 americaunas and 1 buff orpington) and then the leghorns (2). My younger son says the buff is multiracial, because she is accepted by the americaunas and the tetras. Funny how we observe our social status situations upon the chickens we have. Odd. :)

Since the chicken family grew, Charlie made two new laying boxes from scrap wood of old pallets.
The leghorn chicks are getting bigger and I hope will be laying soon...but, they will have several weeks before this happens.
These chicks are quite confused about the night time routine of their new home. They do not understand that they are supposed to be in the coop at night. The other night it was raining outside and I found them perched on the chicken yard door. You can see the dry spot beneath one of them, where it had been raining for awhile.

I finally installed their new nest boxes this weekend. When I installed them, the broody butt chicken, Gray, liked them...but only for a few minutes. I guess when she found there were no eggs to tend, she was disenchanted.
The leghorns have to be physically placed in the new boxes nightly. They will not roost or nest with the other chickens. Lately, they have taking to roosting on the roof of the coop. I am so happy with this new arrangement.

In the past week, goldfish were added to the rainbarrels to keep the mosquito population down some.

The new tomato cuttings are growing well. 

I gained a new yard ornament from a recent neighbor. I like it.

The elephant ears are filling out nicely. I love how they billow in the breeze and I can watch them from the windows of the study as I complete my work assignments.

With all of the recent rains, we have been under attack by black ants. They seems to be multiplying. I finally called our exterminator. He brought me veggies from his garden. :)

A neighbor down the road gave me a new flower for the yard. It bloomed the first night on my porch before I could even get it in the ground.

Then it bloomed on the first night it was planted as well.
Another homeschool mom/friend asked if I would grow her some garlic. So, I planted some more. They are now sprouting.

A deer ate all my bean sprouts. So I started some more. It may be late in the season, but I am going to try. These were planted today.

My child says I am in a canning phase. Three jars of corn were canned yesterday and two jars of green beans. I made spaghetti sauce to be canned later tonight. I prepped zucchini and squash for canning.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Embrace the Weeds!!!

yeah!!!  i know it is an odd title, but i seriously think i am fascinated by weeds lately... 
people either have a love or hate relationship with weeds...when i cared about my lawn and having a well manicured front yard (to not disappoint the neighbors, because "what would the neighbors think?"), i hated weeds. they were evasive and in the way. i wanted them dead and gone. the last four years have changed me...i am not sure what about all the changes...
i do remember when my older child was born and i was learning how to cook and trying to figure everything out, almost everything we ate came in a box. i loved those wretched hamburger helper type meals. now i would not touch those suckers with a ten-foot pole. give me fresh veggies and fruit any ole' day. :)  about 5-6 years ago, i started to really care about cooking. i started to like it and the more i did, the fresher our eating materials became. boxed and prepackaged became freezer food moreso. at this point in time, the only vegetables in the freezer are ones i prepared and froze. all produce is fresh, or from my freezer. fresh produce is grown and gathered from our gardens or someone we know. or it is bought from with the produce co-op i work with and gathered fresh from the farmers' market. i will not say that i boxed item is not occassionally eaten, but it is typically not done so but every other month or so. the next step is to move to making my own cultures for my family and gong to a more raw diet than i already have.
but back to the weeds...once you start to eat raw, you start to recognize the weeds for the herbs they are. i have embraced these plants for their uses - medicinal and for eating. they are awesome. in a quest to make a more edible yard, these weeds are loved now. i no longer they grow there and pick them now. free food!!!  :)
but, have you ever stopped to notice how a weed grows. no matter how we try to stop it, we cannot. we may kill one, but two more spring nearby. remember the cliche of growing like a weed
so, last year i saw a weed growing in the road, where it should not grow. it made me think of Christ. He went where he was not wanted. He grew despite the odds. He raised us up.
that weed made me think about my walk. it made me think about where i need to be and where i ant to be and where Christ is trying to take me. i wanted to have the tenacity of a week. i want to be that adverse.
strangely, when i look back over the year, i think i may be getting there.
earlier this week, i was headed over to a friend's house for a visit (to keep her kids!) and i saw a weed growing at the road drain. it should not be able to survive there with all the car pollution blowing out upon it. it should not survive there growing in the concrete cracks. the seeds should not have been able to take root in the concrete and blossom to height. BUT, it did...

so, i admire these little weeds. can you begin to imagine the things you could accomplish in life if you grew like a weed? what is Christianity were to grow like a weed? what if we sprang up like weeds? what if we were adverse like weeds? what if we were tenacious like weeds?  i think there might be a reason all of these plants are everywhere...maybe Christ is trying to tell us something...look around you and embrace the weeds. :)

All in one day...Yep!

What does a homeschooling mommy do when the child is away and the hubby is at work?!?!?  :)

I made a birdbath. 

And, then I dropped it.

Then I spent the next 2+ hours cleaning up shards from all over the floor of 6 rooms of my house where it all splattered to...  :/

I built a raised bed from wood scraps. The compost was turned to add to the bottom. The chicken coop was swept for nitrogen fodder. Soil was added to the top. Six heirloom variety tomato cuttings that had rooted were planted. Trellises were added.
I played with the dog and she enjoyed the water hose in the heat quite a bit. :)

I gathered cucumbers and one zucchini from the gardens.

I canned 6 jars of garlic pickes and 2 pints of dilly beans.

Goldfish and algae eaters were added to the rainbarrels.

I had to move the broody chicken to be able to collect the eggs.

All the plants were checked for deer damage. She ate most of one hydrangea bush I just planted, some of another, and the last one looks like it was mainly partially spared. 

After I finished teaching my course for the night, the dogs provided entertainment in a game of tug.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Arm Updates!!!

My younger son's 4th cast from his rugby injury came off last week and he went to a wrist splint for the next 3(+) weeks...He was finally able to wash his hand and part of the lower arm and commented on how much better it felt. He did not have to support his wrist and hand with the other and this was nice to see...such an improvement. His latest x-ray does still show the wrist is broken, but it is healing and this is a good thing!  :)  


Monday, June 17, 2013

Shatters and Shards...

I got this idea on looked like this:
   The link to the pin is within the picture.

A friend went with me a few months ago to an antique mall and I bought the class pieces to make something similar. Blue glass is expensive around glass was not. I planned to create a birdbath to put in the front yard or near the garden areas.

I played with the glass pieces to create something I liked.
Friends commented and I chose a pattern...and then the glassware set in a box in the house since the end of March, because I have not had time to mess with it again...
So...last week I bought the glue that the dude at Home Depot SWORE would hold so well...
This weekend, I started gluing the sections together. Last night I finished it and left the glue overnight to cure. This morning the project was finished. It looked like this:
I went to go place it outside and, then, it looked like this... 

I spent the next 2 hours or so cleaning the floor and pulling shards from my fingers...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sake of One-vs-Greater Good of Many

Do you ever have something that really weighs upon you??  I am sick of hearing about sacrificing for the greater good.

My husband and I like to watch the television show Person of Interest  together. I was watching one of the episodes today while working on some stuff for my universities. It was playing in the background. The main character discussed sacrificing one for the greater good of many. Now this bothers me...

It mainly bothers me, because this was said to me by a pediatric nurse in relation to my younger child many years ago. I do not remember what the nurse looked like. I do not remember what else I did that day, but I do remember her words. I still hear them. They whisper at me sometimes when we are at the doctor.

This happened when my child was 4. He was in 4K at the school at taught at. He had climbed a bobbed-wire fence at the back of the playground to retrieve a ball that had went beyond the boundary lines of the schoolyard. He got cut on the fence and developed a staph infection in his leg. At the time he was currently on medical waivers for most vaccinations of multidose. He was medically allowed straight dose vaccinations only due to a life threatening reaction to the thimerosal preservative in his MMR shot when he was 13 months. We had to have titers drawn annually to check antibody levels.

There were a couple of children in his class who had active pertussis and there was a local outbreak. I took him to the doctor to have him seen for the staph infection. Titers were drawn and the antibodies for tetanus and pertussis in his system were depleted. He needed a tetanus shot for the staph, but no straight does vials were available due to the war. My only option was to decide if he was to receive a multidose vaccine injection of DTP or nothing. The staph infection was bad enough I had to decide reasonably quickly. The nurse brought in the "thimerosal free" multidose injection to convince me. I was leery. My son had recently been diagnosed ASD, amid other disability labels, due to his thimerosal reaction and subsequent brain damage at 13 mos from the MMR shot. I read the packaging insert. The issue here was that thimerosal free was just a term. The vaccine still contained a trace element of the substance. It was still in there and was packaged to be promoted as thimerosal free. It was not thimerosal free. This was a lie. Small print matters.

After deliberation of how bad the staph infection was and no pertussis antibodies present with an active infection in his own class, he received the vaccine...huge mistake. He seemed to do well at first. He received the vaccine and the doctor said he could even go back to kindergarten for the rest of the day. We went back to school/work. He collapsed soon after. I had to rush him back to the ER. The nurse explained how he was having a reaction to the shot. The doctor soon noted it was a second reaction to the thimerosal. The thim-free shot made him have a reaction to the thim present in the shot. I reacted quite strongly. The nurse explained how some children have to suffer a reaction for the greater good the vaccine does globally. Excuse me.

And suddenly, this morning, I think about Lot and his escape from Sodom and Gomorrah. The Lord saved one. Lot was saved. The Lord was willing to not destroy if just a small number could be found. In the end, it could not and the family escaped (except the wife ultimately). God did not sacrifice Lot. He saved him. Jesus died for me to be saved. He died for my child. He died for one. He died for all, but He died for one. The Lord does not sacrifice one for many. He saves the one. He focuses on the one.

I also remember a talk radio show from the other day by Herman Cain. I like this man. I would vote for him to be President. I like his views and his thoughts and his politics. He made a comment about the new stance taken by the Justice Department regarding the legalities of speaking out about islam. As a Christian, I have a huge issue with this. Although, as an American, I respect the rights of others to have rights. Herman Cain was speaking about how this statement by the Justice Department bothered him, but he felt that someone had to protect the rights of others, everyone. Cain's point was that if an American muslim speaks out on an issue, he/she has a right as an American to do so. If an American Christian speaks out on as issue, he/she has a right as an American to do so. We may not agree with each other politically, spiritually, or other issues, but we are afforded the same rights under the Constitution and those rights must be protected, no matter your race, creed, ethnicity, sexual origin, or religion or spiritual beliefs. I agree with this. Cain noted how if the rights of one are violated, it is the gateway to violate the rights of others. If the rights of one are taken or violated, it sets the precedent to do so for the rights of others.

You cannot let some rights be taken for the greater good and expect to keep individual rights. The two ideas cannot coexist. The idea of sacrifice of one for the greater good of many is a farce.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Minimalist Living and Life

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because even homeschooling educator mommies can make mistakes!!"

It has been a whirlwind of events since May 30. Though in actuality, it has just been life.

My younger son was supposed to be going off to camp in the mountains. A colleague from LDA had secured him a place in an adventuring camp. He has been before and loved it. It was a great experience for him before, but it is a bit beyond our finances to be able to afford him the opportunity to go. He was supposed to spend the weekend whitewater rafting, rappelling, and doing a ropes course. I had planned to spend the weekend in the mountains recuperating from what seems like a series of weekdays with no weekends. I was supposed to go on a foraging hike that I had scheduled some time back and wanted to go to the wild foods market. After he broke his wrist, he could no longer go to the camp, so I thought the mountain weekend was out. Alas, despite the broken arm, we left for the mountains anyway. I was able to get a lot of work done and some rest. We went to the wild foods market together. The foraging hike was cancelled, due to my getting sick almost as soon as we arrived in the mountains.

While we were away, my bestest neighbor moved to a new house a few miles away. So, that is a total bummer.

We were gone for 4 days. We drove home quickly to get to a scout meeting. Then we came home for one night to leave again the following morning for four more days.  While home, I had a few moments to check my between rain and rain and more rain.

The cucumbers I hand pollinated are coming along. The first one I did is small, but growing. It appears one of the rosemary plants I transplanted has taken and is doing well.
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We left for FL on Monday morning and arrived by Monday afternoon. I went to serve as an advocate for an IEP for someone we love. :)  I remember fighting those fights so many years ago for my younger child. These IEP meetings for this child feel personal to me. It was a pretty good meeting, much better than I anticipated it would be. I am hopeful that the meetings will continue in the future like this.

When we were pulling into FL, we stopped at the rest stop to take a short break. While we were there a small bird swooped down and bit/nipped my son. I have never seen this happen before. It did not break the skin, but it did nip him pretty well.
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We were able to visit some friends and see family while there. Tropical Storm Andrea was getting more into formation of an actual rotation while we were down. The weather was touch and go most of the time. We did find a window of no rain and good weather while there on Tuesday afternoon and we hit the beach. My son could not swim due to his cast, but he did move along the beach with the metal detector and played in the waves up to his knees. The undertow was quite strong, so I was unable to swim. But just a little bit of beach can solve a world of issues.
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We saw some cranes. These birds always strike me as exotic and beautiful.
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We drove home after four days. We had been gone 8 days in total. We were trying to stay ahead of Andrea...but we did not do this quite so well. The rain was torrential to say the least. It was an awful drive. When I got home and was finally able to check the gardens the next day, it seemed like the plants had exploded - literally.
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Photo is loading  This is a squash plant. It had attached itself to the neighboring tree limb while I was gone.

Photo is loading  Photo is loading   These vegetables were a test to see what would happen if we placed sprouts into hay stuffed into containers. I read about the straw bale gardening method and I was trying this out for just a trial...When I left 8 days ago, these were just sprouts. Now, they have exploded - through the fencing placed there to keep the chickens out and all over the place. I have just decided to let them go and see what they will produce.

Photo is loading  This little guy was on my front walk after the rain. (Chicken food!!)

Photo is loading  The luffas are doing well. I have three of these planted. Two are doing well. One is struggling.

Photo is loading  The chickens are always ready to say, "Hello!!"

On the second day we were home, I weeded the front area where I have the elephant ears and the grapes. I noticed a strange huge bulge under the mulch. I did not remember seeing this bulge here before. About two years ago, my husband spread plastic under the mulch to keep the weeds back. (Now they just sprout in the mulch.) I have cut holes in the plastic through the years where I want to plant stuff. I dug the mulch back to reveal that the elephant ears have sprouted below the plastic. I do not know how this occurred with no sunlight, but it did. I cut holes to let them grow through and then dug back more mulch around the base of the rest of the elephant ears. This revealed one more such area, though of smaller growth.
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I have gathered all the potatoes from the potato beds. We have many of these now. I harvested a whole BiLo cloth bag full of potatoes with my cousin on Sunday while we were home. Now we have those and ours. My older son and his girlfriend did come by to get some and take some of them with them. But, we still have more than a few. The potatoes were all collected along with a few onions and cucumbers on Sunday. I was able to add new compost to the bed and turn the soil. I then planted the rhizome sprouts of some ginger root I had set back. It also sprouted while we were gone so it was time to get it in the ground.
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Photo is loading I was able to get the spring onions in water. We will use the tops for about three week and then cut them down to just the bottom base. I will replant the bottoms of the onions to regrow them. These collected today are regrown from used bottoms. It can be a never ending cycle of use and growth if done efficiently.

A picture I have fell off the wall while we were out of town. I have to repair the frame. It busted on the corner. The old glue goop had to be removed and it had to be sanded to be reglued.
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In the past two weeks, I have found out my older son and his girlfriend are expecting a baby. The baby is due January 15. We will not know the sex for awhile now. The baby and mommy-to-be are doing well. This is good.

Conversations with my older child revealed something about both of us we had not discussed before. I think we can safely say we are minimalists. I do not like to have many things. It is wasteful to have items just for the sake of having them or for their beauty or the name brand. My older son is much the same way. I live and have raised my children to not seek after things in life just because others have them. Now that he is going to be a father, he is getting unsolicited advice from every corner. Everyone has an opinion, whether he wants to hear it or not. The thing he knows, because it is how he was that babies do not need expensive clothes or brand new furniture. He also knows babies will not remember later in childhood and in life if you lived in an apartment or a huge house when they are born. What a child will remember is how you love it and how you spend time with it. Quality counts with a child, not the items bought for the child or the amount the items bought costs. He knows this. I told him he was perhaps like me - a minimalist. I hope his child is as well. This is something I am proud to say.