Thursday, July 2, 2009

Life at ElCloud Homeschool/Homestead this week ...

Today the sky is clouded with a soft gray layer, and a gentle rain is falling on the clothes I forgot to remove from the clothes line yesterday.  (oh well)  Our 23 chickens and 1 guinea hen are also getting a shower, since we still haven't fixed up the coop for them.    Since the 13 Ameraucana hens were digging nesting pits in the dirt yesterday, they probably needed the shower anyway.  I think the digging means they are about to start laying.  I wonder if they will all use the same spot, as our guinea hen usually lays hers in the same location each day.  If not, we'll be having daily easter egg hunts with the colorful easter eggs the Ameraucanas lay.

I have two boys sleeping on the couches in the living room beside me.  They stumbled out earlier, said hi, laid down, and fell asleep again.  Molly-dog did the same thing on the floor beside me.  Although she didn't say hi.

The garden is enjoying the cooler temps and this morning's rain.  We planted so many seeds and new plants this past weekend.  Some are new to us, and we may be late on others, but it's worth a try.  We planted pumpkins, spaghetti squash, zucchini, cantaloupe, watermelon, sweet potatoes, burgundy beans, and tomatoes. We already had wax beans, green beans, lima beans, and potatoes planted.   We harvested the last of our peas, and half of our onions.  I blanched and froze the shelled peas, but I am still in the process of chopping and freezing the onions.  I like doing that, even with store-bought onions, because they are ready to use in many of my dishes.

Ahh ... now I am typing around the 3 year old, and she's decided it's time to have a conversation.   She's telling me all about our adult cats, and our baby kittens.  Now she's telling me about the baby bunny we rescued from one of our outdoor cats yesterday, and put in a rabbit cage on our porch.  I told her that this morning Daddy and I rescued another one, and put it in the cage as well.  I guess I'll send children out to pick grass and clover to feed the baby bunnies today.  We put lettuce in yesterday, but I remember when we had a house rabbit for awhile that iceberg lettuce isn't really healthy for them.  We do have carrots, too.  I'm not certain this was wise, but we really couldn't stand by and watch the cat eat baby bunnies.  He's supposed to be catching RATS, not bunnies.

Speaking of our baby kittens, they are 2.5 weeks old now.  Most are doing well, but one is definitely a runt.  I should bottle-feed him more often, but I keep forgetting to ... or he gains weight and I hope that he's improving and quit, only to have him slack off again.  Melody is a good mama, even though this is her first litter.  For the first time in our cattery, we have a waiting list to contact first when they're ready to go to new homes.

There is no water running into the house today because the main pipe into the basement started spraying everywhere yesterday.  We don't use many cardboard boxes in the basement, but the ones that we do use sit on top of plastic totes since the basement does leak when it rains.  Unfortunately if it's raining inside from a spraying pipe, they can still get soaked and ruined.  Two chairs, and 4-5 boxes are soaked.  We'll see if any of it can be saved or not.  I filled pitchers and buckets with water, and if I have to, I can turn the water main back on long enough to re-fill the pitchers.  Life will be interesting today, and the laundry will have to wait another day or two.

The girls are still excited about their first 4-H judging event yesterday.  They took their sewing projects in for judging in the Fiber Arts category.  13 yo A's 9-patch pillow received a blue ribbon.  12 yo R's striped drawstring tote bag also earned a blue ribbon.  10 yo C's watermelon drawstring tote bag earned a red ribbon.  If you're not familiar with 4-H ribbons in KS, there is Purple first, then Blue, then Red, and finally White.  I'm so used to thinking of blue-ribbon as being first place, that I usually forget that purple is best when we're at the fair.  Now that we've been judged once, it's much clearer to me.   I won't forget again.  Since none of the girls earned purple ribbons, they won't recieve any of the grand champion or reserve champion prizes.  But it was a good first year ... and a good first attempt at sewing with their sewing machine.  They may not take sewing in 4-H again (they're undecided), but they will continue to sew. 

8 yo J will be spending his evenings and weekend finishing his woodworking project with Steve.  His judging is on the 7th.  As usual, he dislikes the boring work of sanding involved in the project.  I told him it was similar to his sisters not liking to iron their seams open or take the time to pin each seam in sewing.  But those tedious details make a better finished product.

Our 2008-2009 school year is officially finished, but the TOS Homeschool Crew has also officially begun.  Our first review curriculum (Grapevine Bible Studies) is shipping, and we'll start that soon.  Our school year won't officially start until August 17, but we'll be doing light schoolwork before then.

Baby G is awake now, and snuggling in my lap for his morning feeding.  He's crawling, pulling up, and cruising along the furniture now.  Unfortunately, it also means he sometimes over-reaches and falls down.  He has a bruise on his cheek from the coffee table at the moment.  But at least he falls over backwards less often.  He is our first baby in a non-carpeted house and it was hard to get used to the little bruises on the back of his head when he was learning to sit up.  We actually used the boppy pillow with him while he was learning to sit, and I've never used it that way before.

The past several weeks Baby G was slowly cutting 3 more teeth, and ended up with an ear infection.  They're finally all in,  and he finished his antibiotics ... but now he has a summer cold, so he's still miserable at times.

More and more of my day lilies are blooming.  The fair is early enough this year that I might be able to enter day lilies in the open class flower category.  Usually all our flowers are gone when the fair gets here.  I'll have to see what is still blooming next week.  We don't really have any veggies to enter, and I'm not ready to try to enter our chickens.  Maybe next year one of the kids can enter our rooster.  I know I'm not practiced enough at bread baking to enter that category, so I may just fall back on my Grandfather-in-law's beautiful choice of day lily varieties he planted and enter those only.  Next year we all hope to enter photography.  Some of the girls want to pursue it as a project, and I enjoy it, as well.

I have a stack of books I'll be reviewing this month and part of next month.  And then I really am going to slow down on book reviews.  Curriculum reviews will keep me busy enough.

I've rambled on long enough, and I can't think of anything else to share ... so it's probably past time for closing this post.    This feels like a chatty letter written to my friends, so I'll close with


1 comment:

  1. Hi April,

    It feels like a chatty letter written to friends, too! My friends and I used to write long, long, looong letters, before the days of email, and the letters were a lot like yours.

    I hope your water problem is soon fixed, and that the baby is feeling better and that the runt of the litter will grow.


    Annie Kate


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