Saturday, October 29, 2011
(Editor's note: Sophia says she is too busy getting ready to add more!)
In addition to a short, but sweet visit from the Walker/Thomas family (see Ruby-Doobie-Doo below)
and our regular routine of the week (we seemed to have found some ease in it lately), my personal focus has been making the animal enclosures as safe as possible while we are away and getting ready for rain.
To these ends, the Stewyurt now boasts an expanded awning over the deck and an expanded and secured backyard for Rosie (to the left of deck in picture).
Special thanks to Eli who really stepped-up and fully partnered with me in the labor-intensive task of putting up the dog fencing. For those of you interested in construction and/or geometry, the awning provided some serious problem-solving as I was forced to fit a square roof onto a round wall. In addition to the expected angular challenges, nautilus-like spiraling and some leveling issues ensued. I won't bore you all with it, but if any of you want to hear more, let me know.
In addition, we have more fencing for goat security and a new, automatic outdoor light for the garage.
In other events of the week, did anyone else get to enjoy game 6 of the World Series? Wow.
After a Halloween in San Rafael, we will be on our way. I'm not sure we will be able to blog much (or at all) while we are away, but we will have lots to share when we return.
We wish you all a November crisp on the outside and warm on the inside.
Yesterday, our neighbor's nine-year-old son came over to tell us that the doctors have given his dad only weeks to live. His words: "he is going Home." What a brave boy to be able to speak that way of his father's predicted passing: a passing too soon for one too young with too much love and work still to give.
Life is short and unpredictable. Joy is fleeting; contentment can be elusive. While this is a special time for our family--an adventure--we forget so often that all of our time is special. May we remember. And when we face pain and the unpredictable, may we find strength and support. We wish, pray, hope, and trust our neighbor and his family have these.
Friday, October 28, 2011
I spent my day in the garden. It was a beautiful day.
The Summer garden continues to produce, though I feel almost ready to be done eating cucumbers, zucchini, and tomatoes. The flowers keep going too.
I've said it before. Life is so sweet. I want each moment of it.
And I feel a heavy awareness this week that it doesn't always go on as long as one hopes or expects.
I can't imagine how one says goodbye, or goes on after the one loved has died.
Tomorrow we'll go home to San Rafael for a couple days of work, then Halloween and onto a plane for Phuket, Thailand via Hong Kong.
I feel ready to not work for a while. I haven't taken an away vacation since I broke my foot our first day at Hornby Island, B.C. I spent all my remaining time off having surgery, then recovering. I'll be more cautious this trip. No skim boards for me.
I'll see my parents, who I've missed.
We'll report back with photos and stories of our adventures.
On Monday, we are leaving for Thailand, so I thought I'd give an overview of it's history, environment and culture.
The furthest back history recorded is 4000 B.C. Scientists found pottery and metal work from that time. In the first millennium A.D., there was the arrival of the Thai people. Then, 283 years later, written Thai language was invented. Much later, during 1850-1874, Western influence increased and slavery was abolished. Later, in 1973, Thailand switched to democracy, but in 1997-2006 the country was in turmoil.
Thailand also has a very rich environment. It has many rain forests which are full of birds and monkeys. There are also 7 types of venomous snakes living throughout Thailand. Thailand, which some think is shaped like an elephant, has 3 seasons: a hot season, a dry season, and a cold season. During the cold season, there is sometimes even ice.
One of the ways Thailand is very different than America is their culture. Their manners are very different. You can eat as soon as you are served with a spoon fork or chop sticks. Your bottom half is considered dirty especially your feet. Because of this, things touching the bottom half must be kept separate. Monks can not touch women in any way, so if a woman even wants to give a monk something, they have to pass it through some one else. The people of Thailand also greatly respect their king and expect the same from you so be careful.
Hopefully that will give you and idea about where we are going.
Caroline was amazed. Her mother didn't love her. Or did she? "Well, lets call your parents then," the plump lady said with a sigh.
A sudden feeling of panic washed over Caroline, she didn't want to go back!
To be continued...
First on our schedule was a pig race/eating healthy thing. It wasn't really a pig race it was mainly a play of the three little pigs heathy style. Next on our list was a wagon ride that started in about 20 minutes. We all had our eye on a carmel apple so Papa let us get some to share (one every two people). As soon as carmel apples were wedged into every hand(well almost every hand, we were sharing), we loaded the Hay Wagon.
Once the Hay Wagon had reached it's destination ( the pumpkin picking place ) and stopped moving, I jumped out of the wagon and ran around determined to find a good pumpkin. Finally, my eyes rested on the one and only warty pumpkin!
Then when everyone was satisfied with their pumpkin we were again loaded onto a vehicle. But this time not a Hay Wagon, a train! The train showed us old - fashion stuff. When the train finally screeched to a stop Mama went over to the giant pumpkins (that were rotting) and took some seeds to plant next Spring.
Now that the Charter school had left we entered the famous corn maze for some fun.
Now you know why only a few of us wrote...
Saturday, October 22, 2011
After finishing a couple of projects, I grabbed a book and strung up a hammock under the deck. It was late afternoon and the sun was well below its high point for the day. The land is transformed around here since rain came a couple of weeks ago; everything has a glisten. Tree leaves passed speckled light in different shades of green, vibrant and rich. Bright mossy edges bordered the oak branches growing dense with their unpredictable directionality.
I settled into my hammock and it was easy to let go. I swung gently from a warm ray of the sun into the cool shadow of tree branches, then back again to the sun. The temperature was perfect. The kids were crafting inside together (cooperatively!). I wasn't worried about something else I should get done. I drifted and dozed a bit, didn't bother to crack the book. I was just there.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
In this book, while Jason is a Camp Half Blood, Percy Jackson, the Son of Neptune, also loses his memory and finds himself in a Roman camp. He and some new friends go on a quest and learn that Greeks and Romans must work together to defeat the most powerful goddess of all: Gea the goddess of the earth.
Previous Chapters in earlier posts.
To be continued...
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Sophia's Experiment: The effect of soil on the height of plants
Grace's Experiment: The effect of different kinds of Manure on a bean’s length.
Eli's Experiment: To find the effect of water quantity on a bottle rocket and find the one that flies the highest.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Finally, my 5 year knit project: the hippie capelet. It still needs some refinement, but it is also warm. And finished.
We got interested in miniatures when I (Grace) looked at our doll house and realized that there was only one double bed for 5 dolls: a Mom, a Dad, a set of twins, and a big sister. So I decided to make a bunk-bed and another double bed (editor's note: see previous blogs) and since then we have been interested in miniatures.
|papa's doll (party outfit)|
|mama's doll (coat, hat, and a dress)|
|mama doll (no coat)|
|mama doll ( only the dress)|
|a family picture|
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Outside my window…Blue morning glories have grown up the fence in the kitchen garden. The tomatoes plants look dead, but are still producing. Among the dried out summer weeds, grass seedlings emerge, answering the recent rain. It's sunny. And the children have gone to school, so I am alone.
I am thinking…That the getting out of house today was filled with tension. It started sweetly. We milked Frida and Opal as the sun rose. No one put her muddy feet in the bucket. The mamas climbed up willingly, and their milk is creamy. Warm homemade bread and soft boiled eggs with our breakfast. Enough time to get it all done. But then some unnecessary, not-funny teasing, and harsher reactions. Shift to too much intensity, and Gracie tears.
I am thankful…for some time to myself today. For black soil ready to shovel into the clay packed garden beds, and seedlings eager to stretch their roots out. For my sweetie, who helps us get things done, and wrote me a song. And my job, which feeds my soul some late nights. For time to make and grow and read things.
From the learning rooms…The children are in Grass Valley with their homeschool peers. Eli does his math and history, but is most excited by what he reads in Discover Magazine. The girls are making miniatures and reading about polymer clay techniques.
In the kitchen…The dishes are washed. The morning's milk is on ice. Yesterday's bread is bagged. Sophia's spaghetti sauce is properly canned and in jars. The pumpkins we harvested are cooked and waiting to become Thai curry. I won't cook today, but the sourdough starter will keep bubbling, and the pickles will continue fermenting in their vat on the counter.
I am wearing…My grubbies from milking, and my slippers. My reading glasses are on the top of my head. That's new. My vision for close has gone fuzzy.
I am creating…I think I want to make sewing patterns from a few of my favorite winter cozies (yoga pants, wrap shirt..). And a six panel skirt out of thick fleece. I finished my 5 year knitting project. It's a striped short cape/ poncho.
I am going…To stay home.
I am wondering…if the animals will be okay while we are away. Most nights I sleep with our window open, to listen. There've been no losses for a while. We haven't found someone to do that for us.
I am reading…Isabel Allende's "Island Beneath the Sea". I tried to read it in Spanish, but I'm not ready.
I am looking forward to…seeing my parents next month in Thailand.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Breakfast was duck eggs and leftover oatmeal. It was pretty good, if I do say so myself.
About 8:15am we roused Eli from his lair.
By about 10:45am we were done with "schoolwork" and it was "project time". Grace played piano and researched miniature craft ideas.
Sophia and Juliana made spaghetti sauce for lunch and canning. Yum now and later!
Juliana made bread (note: it was awesome).
Eli read a lot today and played some Minecraft on the computer.
Joey worked on recording a song and the awning over the deck. Don't get the wrong idea--I'm usually solo on the construction projects.
We had lunch together in the afternoon.
In the evening, we drove to town for Eli's soccer practice and Joey's karate (I'm doing karate to join Eli's practice, but he has a conflict with soccer on Wednesdays).
While in town, we picked up some items we need for tomorrow.
After dinner, we were hoping for some family reading and a viewing of "Eyes on the Prize". But we were too tired. It was a good day. I hope you got a better sense of what some of our days are like.