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Archive for the ‘Unschooling’ Category

Daisy gets her butt in gear.

Spring has sprung at the Green Goddess Gardens.  No matter what your calendar says, or how much snow is currently outside YOUR front door (sorry Aida), winter is over here in Savannah.  Ring the bells!  Hooray!  Hooray!  Okay, fine, so it does still get down to the upper 30s some nights, and we’ll have at least one more good freeze before the warm weather is here for good – BUT –

The robins are back.  The trees are budding.  Green shoots are breaking out of the earth and reaching for the sun, who climbs higher in the sky and stays longer every day.  I have all but abandoned my socks.  This is a time of much rejoicing for our heroine Daisy.

And yet…

I spent as much of the winter as I could snuggled in my bed.  I read there.  I wrote there.  I ate there.  I made my phone calls there.  I watched movies with Little Boy and the Herban Cowboy there.  I was, as ol’ Bill Shakespeare would say, a slugabed.  It was glorious.

Now that the weather is turning, there is suddenly SO MUCH to do.  All the crap I procrastinated all winter is piling up and beginning to laugh at me behind my back.  Tree removal.  Toilet repair.  Little Boy’s haircut.  Making skin cream.  Fixing bikes.  Pruning plants.  Cleaning the chicken coop.  Oil change. 

And that’s just what I’ve been putting off because it was “too cold.”  I’ve also got a filthy house, no clean laundry, and an empty refrigerator/freezer.  There’s also the spring garden to prepare and plant. 

My To Do List has somehow achieved sentience and is trying to kill me.  And my winter inertia is making that a very real possibility. 

So today Little Boy and I hauled our lazy behinds outside, blinking hard at the bright sunshine.  We breathed deep, clear breaths into our dusty lungs.  We shook off the winter and got to work, shoveling compost, raking pine straw, and sharing our sandwiches with the chickens. 

It does feel good to get moving, though you couldn’t have told me that yesterday.  I guess that’s it then.  My winter pity party is over, and my butt is officially in gear.  Time to stop driving the Herban Cowboy to work and let him ride his bike for the workout.  Time to start my morning walks back up.  Time to haul Little Boy to the library in the bike trailer.  Time to forage for wild greens and herbs.  Time to go outside and play.

Meet me out back by Aida’s glider and wear your play clothes.

Roses from the Herban Cowboy, sent backstage when he came to see my play (The Good Body @ Muse Arts Warehouse). Also pictured: seeds for the spring garden!

When summer comes, I'll plant cucumbers here again. This year I'll plant them in these raised cement thingies I found at the dump.

Is it me, or is my compost pile starting to look like the Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock?

Yarrow sprouting through the pine straw outside Little Boy's bedroom.

First veggie bed is ready for compost, mulch, then planting. I'll have to protect this bed from any freezes we still might get.

I need to move that wagon before they figure out how to hop the fence with it and devour the garden.

That is my toe, not a juicy worm Mavis. Back off, bad girl.

Aw. Looked like 5 fat, pink worms to me... --Mavis

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Daisy discusses death with a three year old.

Little Boy and I saw a dead squirrel today on our walk.  It was totally gross.  It floated in the murky water of the lake at Daffin Park, patches of skin gone, revealing nasty smooth white skin underneath.  Sick.  It took me a minute to even identify it as a squirrel it was so weird looking.

“Look at vat Mommy!” Little Boy shouted as he ran towards the concrete edge.  “Eew what IS it?” he crouched to get a better look.

“I think it’s a squirrel.  It’s dead.  Eew.”  and then I added, “Aw, poor thing.”

“Aw, poor fing!” my little parrot echoed.  Little Boy wanted to stay and observe the dead squirrel some more, but I was eager to continue our walk, so we moved on. 

As we walked away, he called over his shoulder, “Bye Dead Squirrel!  I hope you feel better soon!”

I had a moment.  Do I let it go, or correct his understanding of death?  We’ve had discussions about it before.  He has seen dead animals, we’ve told stories of long dead relatives (like the Herban Cowboy’s late father “Grandpa Andy”), and we’ve even discussed how the dinosaurs died a LONG, LONG time ago, before there were even any people on the planet.  I have done my best to answer his questions as honestly as I can, in terms I think he can understand.  So far he’s been very matter of fact about it all.

So I said, as gently as I could, “Well, Honey, that squirrel is dead.  She’s not going to get better.  She’s just gone now.”

He continued walking for a moment, then stopped and turned back toward the dead squirrel.  When he turned back, I was surprised to see big, fat tears welling up in his little eyes.  “Well…” he began in a cracking little voice.  “Well…”  He was obviously thinking very hard about what he needed to say.  “Well, Mommy, but I don’t WANT the animals to die.” 

“Oh Honey.”  I swooped down to be Mommy and we hugged for a few minutes.  I broke the embrace and got face to face with him.  “Are you feeling sad about that squirrel?”

“Yes,” he replied, looking honestly more heartbroken than I’ve seen him in a long time.  And then he repeated it, and I swear his cute little chin was actually quivering, “I don’t want the animals to die.”

What could I do?  I hugged him to me again and he let me hold him without wiggling free.  I said, “I don’t want the animals to die either, Sweetheart.  I know it’s hard for you to understand right now, but that is how things have to be.  That is life, my Love.”

We walked on and he muttered, “But I don’t WANT it to be.”  We held hands and walked to the playground and talked about how important it was to have as much fun as we can every day, having adventures and making people laugh and helping people along the way.  Before long, he was laughing and showing me how he can go down the slide backwards.  Showoff.  I don’t know where he gets it.

Little Boy in the backyard.

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Aida has some ‘splaining to do.

Daisy asked me to write something for the full moon.  Actually, it is part of my commitment to this blog and to the other cowgirls to do so.  And I was about to.  I really, really was.  And then, life kind of happened.  It tends to happen to me a lot this life thing.  Lately, I was wondering about my ability to follow through on my commitments and I have a pretty shitty record.  So, to make it all up, I was going to write this stellar (lunar!) post.

Also on the agenda for this past week was a trip to New York City.  I’ve never been and that was high on the Big Boy’s list of things-to-do-in-this-lifetime.  So, we were going to head down on the 23rd and be back today.

Oh, readers, all two of you….how funny Aida is when she tries to plan.

To catch you up a little bit, I’m now living in a little apartment across the street from an old graveyard tucked into the forest up the mountain on an unpaved road.  I grew up in the Caribbean and have spent the past five years living in Savannah.  To drive up an unpaved road in the waning days of December is a skill I thought I had mastered.  I have.  My car apparently has not.

One night, oh yeah, the night of the full moon, specifically, when I was going to have written this great piece of blog literature that would go down in the annals of the best moon blog post of this week, there was a winter storm.  I’ve never let a good storm stop me.  I mean we were driving back to the woods after a couple of days with our cousin’s in New York.  We had just ridden a ferry across Lake Champlain after getting lost about twenty times.  A little drive up a hill?  Please.  I once drove my little white W bug (a gift hand assembled by my dad) for a couple months with no starter.  I know hills.

One third of the way up, in a snow storm, my the unpaved road became a treadmill under my car.  Oh we were pedal to the metal, but not going anywhere.  It wasn’t even the steepest point of the road, we’d already tackled that one.  But, the car was tired-or cranky, or whatever other anthropomorphic attribution we can muster.  So, I left it in the ditch.  I grabbed the dog’s leash with one hand and some groceries with the other after slinging my ten pound backpack over my shoulder.  The boy grabbed the rest of the groceries and his attitude and off we went.  In the dark.  In the snow.  Up a hill.  Where bears live.  Some of us (I’m lookin’ right at you Big Boy) have not yet learned the skill of the steady trudge.  So, whine, whine, whine…run to catch up….pant, whine, whine, whine was his chosen method of getting up the hill.  Mine was march, march, march…clutch heart in an effort to remind myself to not kill this child and march, march, march…pull predatory dog back into a sustainable shoulder to leash ratio and march, march, march.  Fine, full disclosure, when I had any breath left over, it was finely channeled into some very creative cursing.  I have a gift, what can I say?

We got home to the cat.  Popped in a movie and slept.

The next morning, wanting to feed two birds with one biscuit, I took the dog with me back down the hill (about a mile and half to two) to the car.  The plan was to start it up and see how I did with getting it out of the ditch in the daylight.  Raised to be conscientious of other drivers on hilly roads with blind corners, I’d left the hazards on.  I kept expecting to see the blinking lights around the next corner.  I didn’t.  Instead, I found the vague outline of my car.  I unlocked it manually (you know, actually sticking the key into the hole and twisting?) put the dog in and started scraping snow off the windshield.  I tried to start it.  I know, readers, you’ve already arrived at this conclusion.  Dead.  Dead.  Dead.  The battery didn’t even give me a little dashboard light action.  Nada.

So, just as I was about to lose hope, a huge pickup slid up and rolled down its window.  (By the way, Vermont, that wasn’t the first car to pass but the first to pass…I’ve got my eye on you no.)  I didn’t even wait for him to ask.  “Could I get a ride into town?”

And, that is how I got a ride to the first gas station in town from a taxidermist who was just delivering a bear he’d stuffed up to the hunter on my hill who’d bagged it.  At the gas station, I got myself some fresh,, hot, homemade chili and asked how I could get into town proper.

“There’s a bus?”  (Still snowstorm, everyone.)  Sigh. I stepped outside to scrape the last chunks of chili into my blue-tinged lips.  I decided to go ahead to the post office across the way and get my p.o. box since I don’t get mail service up my mountain.  When I came out, a young man (don’t get too excited, I mean a REALLY young man…again, sigh.) asked me if I was the lady that needed a ride into town.

Yepper.  That was me.

So, one stop closer.  I was able to get a ride from the only person I know in town back to the car to rescue the dog (had you forgotten that he was still in the car?).  She very kindly gave me a ride back up to my apartment.  The roadside assistance folks had told me that it would be about two and half hours before they could come tow the car.

After an episode of Dexter (rented from the family run video store), I re-packed my bag and hiked back down to the car, this time alone, to wait for the towers.  Things do tend to look rather homogeneous under a thick blanket of snow that was growing thicker by the minute.  So, when I reached the place that I though my car should be, I uttered a curse and rounded another corner just to make sure.  But, nope, the car had already been taken.  So, for a second, I stood there and weighed my options (for those keeping score, I’ve already walked more than 3 miles in the snow, in a storm in less than 4 hours).  Options: 1. lie down and let the cold take me while I wept.  2. walk the two miles home UP hill. 3. keep walking.  Tenacious to a fault, I kept walking.  And walking.  And walking.  I only fell twice.  I only shed one lone tear.  I only used up 1/3 of my encyclopedic cursing knowledge.  After another two miles, boots soaked through, heart hurting from all that cold air, chin numb, someone gave me a ride into town.  Right to the place where why car was waiting.

And I got to watch three more episodes of Dexter while I waited.

The next day, after shelling out my Christmas fun money into four new “Arctic Claws” tires and a new battery, I could not get out of bed, I felt so sick.  So, Christmas eve was spent in bed watching movie after movie trying not to vomit.  Christmas was spent in much the same way.

But, in the words of the Big Boy, between all that whining: “At least now I can say I’ve been on a real adventure.”

Of course, when we walked up from the abandoned car that first night, I watched as my son spread a little foam onto his upper lip and chin and with his new razor, shaved for the first time.  All that did was lend additional surrealism to these past few days.

And that, my friends, is why there was no awesome full moon post.

 

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Daisy butchers a Dickens classic.

I am not getting you a Christmas present.  There, there; dry your tears.  It’s not as bad as it sounds.  Really.  If you think I’m a Scrooge, join me for a Christmas Carol, Herban Cowgirl style.  First, let’s follow the Ghost of Christmas Past to an amalgam of Little Daisy’s childhood Christmases….

By Thanksgiving, my mother would always announce (quite emphatically and sadly) that This Year We Were Not Going To Have A Big Christmas.  She would explain to my younger sister and I that we were very fortunate to have all that we did, and Christmas isn’t about getting presents anyway.  Then, over the next few weeks, my sister and I would watch as the drifts of brightly wrapped packages got bigger and bigger under the tree, eventually spreading across the living room floor like an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Then of course, Christmas morning would arrive, and with it, all the rest of the toys and goodies that Santa had left for us in the night.  It was a toy orgy beyond most children’s wildest dreams.

I was always excited for Christmas, and eagerly anticipated its arrival, but so much about the holiday confused me, even at a young age.  Why do people put up decorations and do Christmas stuff for weeks before the actual day?  Nobody does that with any other holiday.  Why do we get/give so many presents?  In the stories, Santa only brings one, and what do presents have to do with Jesus being born anyway (my mom always said it was because of the Magi, but they only brought one present each as well)?

I was too young to be able to articulate it, but I always wished for a truly simple Christmas.  There was something about opening ALL those presents that made me feel uncomfortable.  I also spent a lot of time thinking about the Jewish kids, and wondering why Santa never left them any presents.  On a side note that the Herban Cowboy thinks is hilarious (he grew up Jewish), I always assumed that any undecorated houses at Christmastime were where the Jewish people lived.

Enough idyllic Christmas scenes from Daisy’s childhood; the Ghost of Christmas Present will take it from here.  First of all, I do love getting gifts for people.  I love finding something that makes me think of someone I love, knowing that they will love it.  I love the look on people’s faces when they receive a gift that truly touches them.  What’s so difficult about it?  Make a list, check it twice, shop, wrap, give.

Of course what works in theory often falls apart in practice.  Making the list, even when I check it twice, I invariably forget at least one very important person.  I really hate shopping, but when the stores are twice as crowded as normal and everyone seems to be rude and pushy and angry for some reason, it’s even worse.  I also hate wrapping presents.  I don’t know why, but I always have.  I’d rather be waterboarded for an entire minute than wrap any kind of gift. 

So the actual giving part is the only part of this entire process that doesn’t irritate me.  And don’t even get me started on the boring, awful Christmas music.  I know some of you love that stuff and that’s fine, but imagine the most annoying music you can think of being played everywhere you go for an entire month.  Gah!

Sometimes I make homemade gifts for people, but I do that year round anyway.  And some people think handmade gifts are cheap.  I’ve even had someone say to me, referencing the bath salts I just handed her, “It’s hard to be able to afford gifts for everyone.”  I just let it go, but I always want to explain to people that I have enough money to buy them a gift but I chose instead to… Uch.  You know what?  Nevermind.

I do feel pangs of guilt when I hear my mother or sister talk about how many gifts they’ve gotten for people and how much shopping they still have to do, because I know that all they’re getting from me are secondhand books and homemade soup mix (hastily wrapped in brown paper).  It’s hard not to judge myself because I’m not putting as much thought or effort into their Christmases as they do mine.

Perfect. The house is now decorated. Pass the eggnog.

So where do I go from here?  How do I celebrate the holiday in a personal and meaningful way without succumbing to the pressures of the perceived expectations of others?  This is where the Ghost of Christmas Future gently takes our hands and leads us to a vision of the Christmases to come.

Daisy’s utopian Christmas?  One present for Little Boy from mom and dad, and one present from Santa.  One small Christmas tree covered with two strings of lights and a bunch of old ornaments.  Homemade food and drink, freely shared with friends and family.  We’ll spend a weekend making presents for our extended family, each year a different project; salt dough ornaments or handmade cards or whatever crafty idea suits our fancy that year. 

In my imaginary future Christmases, I feel no guilt for not celebrating the way others do.  I give what I can, when I can.  I accept gifts with grace, without feeling the pressure to reciprocate. 

I’ve already started making these changes towards my ideal future Christmas.  This year I Freecycled all the decorations except the tree, two strands of lights, a box of ornaments and our stockings.  No garlands, no wreaths, no extra Christmas tchotchkes.  I got my nieces one book to share.  My mom is getting some homemade lentil soup mix in a jar.  The Herban Cowboy is getting some sexy flannel PJ pants (I’m going to burn his nasty sweatpants so help me).  A few of my Cowgirl friends will be the lucky recipients of some books I no longer want in my collection. 

And that’s it kids.  No guilt, no shame, no pressure, no excess.  This may sound crazy coming from a non-believer, but I’m pretty sure it’s what Jesus would have wanted.

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Daisy changes her plans.

Today’s post probably won’t be too long.  I’m at my sister’s house just outside of Nashville, my sister and brother-in-law are out training for a triathlon, my mother and Little Boy are napping, and my almost 5 year old nieces are enjoying some non-sleeping quiet time.  I’m sneaking in some blogging and Facebook time.

I didn’t mean to come here to visit.  I had plans this week to take Little Boy swimming at the pool and beach, go to Oatland Island to see the animals, storytime at the library, and plant the cool weather garden beds.  Then Saturday my mom asked me if we’d like to go with her to visit my sister.  Well.  I just saw my sister not long ago.  I have plans this week.  It’s a whole day’s drive.  I’ll miss the Herban Cowboy (who stayed to work and take care of the animals).  A week is too long away from home.  I hate traveling.  Blah blah blah excuses, blah blah blah negativity, blah blah blah.

Then I shook myself back to reality.  Mere hours after posting that life is a learning experience and every opportunity is to be relished and enjoyed, I was making excuses for why I couldn’t do that this week.  I get so annoyed when I catch myself doing things like that.  It’s not like I have a real job, or even any appointments this week that can’t be rescheduled.  So, I packed the cooler with healthy snacks, threw some clothes for me and Little Boy into our suitcases, and kissed the rest of our family goodbye.  My mom was driving up anyway, so we just hitched a ride with her.  I don’t get to see my sister enough.  Even if we totally already hung out for 4th of July.

So here we are.  We survived the long car trip.  My sister’s house is big and clean and comfortable.  Little Boy is having the time of his life playing with all the “new” toys and reading all the new “books.”  He’s also getting some reinforcement where behavior issues are concerned.  Here, he gets to see that the consequences are the same for his twin nieces as they are for him.  They are required to say please and thank you and remember to speak politely to others, just like he is.  He gets some practice taking turns.  He gets help negotiating his feelings of frustration and sadness when he doesn’t get his way.

We’re also doing fun stuff, too.  We played soccer this morning.  We’re going to the pool after naps.  Tomorrow we hit the Nashville Zoo (Little Boy hopes they have chimps and gorillas and big baboons and monkeys).  We’ll also do some time on the playground and take some walks.  The women may sneak away for some mother/daughters shopping (some things never change).

I miss my Herban Cowboy, my little house, my kitten, my chickens, Aida and the Big Boy.  But it’s good to be with my sister.  Even if she’s as far from Possum Living as I am from the moon (seriously this house is huge).  This is not what I planned for this week.  But I’m really glad I took my own advice, ’cause me and the Little Boy feel like we’re in heaven.

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Daisy takes you on an internet tour of unschooling.

People ask me all the time where Little Boy goes to school.  They are often shocked to find out he doesn’t go to any school.  Then people want to know where and when he’ll be going.  I’m not sure, I always reply.  I guess we’ll send him if he ever needs to go.  I’m a little baffled by the hubbub honestly.  I mean, he’s only 3.  He still craps his pants for crying out loud.

Just about every toddler mom friend I have has their kid in a school of some kind by the time they’re 2.  Some kids love it, others are terrified, they all seem to have fun eventually.  I guess if I had to go to a job where I needed something for Little Boy to do during the day, I could put him in a program.  But why if I don’t need to?  I’m just not so sure classroom education is the only option for a happy, smart kid.

Lots of people bring up the social aspect, implying (or sometimes outright saying) that I’m depriving him of an essential part of childhood.  Of course, if these folks spent a day in Little Boy’s company, they wouldn’t worry so much about his social skills.  He’s often intimidated in the presence of tall adults or boisterous kids, but he handles himself well around all people (children and adults), not just a room full of kids his exact age.  I like that about my kid.

School is a building where kids can go to learn about the world from specific teachers.  There is a curriculum, study units, standardized tests, and kids are kept in same age peer groups.  Some schools are amazing.  Some schools are dangerously awful.

Homeschooling is school, but the building is your home, and the specific teachers are the parents.  There is still a curriculum with units and tests, but there is much more freedom.  Schedules can be individualized, and kids are not kept separate from other age groups.  Homeschooling can be effective and satisfying for families who do it and love it.  It can also be limited by the knowledge and experience of the teacher/parents.

Unschooling is learning without the school.  Teachers are everyone.  There are no schedules or units or tests.  There are no rules.  It is learning anarchy and I love it.  It’s not a few hours out of each day, it’s a way of living all the time.  If you love answering every question that comes out of your kid’s mouth (even if the answer is “I don’t know.  Let’s find out.”), then you might have fun living this way.

My 3 year old son can write half his name.  He knows what sounds over half the alphabet make.  He sounds out simple words like NO and CAT.  He makes up songs and stories.  He manipulates puppets, including lip synch and different voices.  He can identify by name and distinguishing characteristics, over a dozen different species of dinosaur.  He knows how to feed chickens, and that animals need fresh water all the time.  He knows the ingredients required to make chocolate chip cookies.  I could go on and on of course.  The point is, when he wants to know about something or how to do something, he asks me.  Or his father.  Or his grandmother.  Or Aida.  He watches others and asks about what interests him.  Then he listens carefully to the answers (I know this because he’ll bring things up later to talk about it again).

Unschooling is a way of life.  If you choose to live this way, I’m sure you’ll meet plenty of unschooling kooks (every group has its weirdos), just as you’ll get to know some truly amazing people who never went to a school.  So without a curriculum, and with infinite options that depend on the individual needs of each family, it’s hard to compile a good list of unschooling links.  I guess that means the first link on my list is…

THE ENTIRE INTERNET.  Well, maybe not the ENTIRE internet, but the web is a resource new to this generation and has put a wealth of information (the good, the bad, and the inaccurate) literally at our fingertips.  Let your fingers do the walking indeed!  Want to know how to do something?  Google it!  Someone probably uploaded an instructional video on YouTube already.  Just make sure you cross reference, check your sources, and be aware of advertisements and marketing.

Sandra Dodd.  This is the only unschooling site I can honestly recommend at this point.  If you are thinking of unschooling, or just want to know more about it and how to “do” it, look around Sandra’s website.  She’s written about the different aspects of the unschooling life, and her observations are mostly free from the condescending tone so prevalent on a lot of unschooling websites (honestly, there are WAY too many unschooling websites that bash homeschooling and schools — so distasteful to me — quit pooping on other people’s good time!)  Anyway, the point is, I liked Sandra’s site.  She’s a big ol’ nerd (SCA?  Really?) with a good sense of humor and she seems really happy with her life and family.  I found a lot of good ideas and insights here.

http://sandradodd.com/

Live Free, Learn Free

Live Free, Learn Free used to be an unschooling magazine run by 2 friends of mine from Texas.  Terry and Shana and their (awesome) son were my first introduction to unschooling.  They had a website too, with articles written by unschooling families (from the magazine).  There were also pages of educational weblinks and resources, and they handpicked their sponsors based on their personal ideals.  But despite the magazine’s success (or because of it), it became too difficult to produce.  So Shana compiled the best of the magazine’s first year and published it as a book, which is available through cafepress if you’ve got a few bucks and are interested.  I’ve got my copy.

http://www.cafepress.com/LFLFMagazine.162974059

Insert local place name here.

For unschooling ideas, head for your local zoo, aquarium, museum, park, festival, art gallery, historic site, river, lake, beach, nature trail, farm, farmer’s market, construction site, dump, train station, etc, etc, etc.  Learn what you can, and help your kid learn what they want to know.  They can paint a picture of it later, or write the story of what happened, or just pretend they’re sharks.  Our favorite place to go here in Savannah is the Oatland Island Education Center.  It’s a rehabilitation and rescue center for injured wildlife, as well as a place for groups to come for classes and camps.  There’s a farm with all your standard farm animals, as well as wild animal enclosures (fenced in areas of the marsh, not cages).  Little Boy loves it here.  Especially the alligators.

http://www.sccpss.com/Schools/Other+Educational+Centers/Oatland+Island+Institute

The Public Library.  Seriously, go to the library.  What do you want to know?  It’s in there.  The Chatham County library system is online.  I enter my card number and I can browse the stacks at home, putting holds on what I want so they’ll be delivered to my neighborhood branch, even interlibrary loans — for $2 they’ll get me any book in any library in the country.  CDs, DVDs, daily newspapers and magazines, internet access, kid section with crayons and paper — now if they only sold coffee (*sigh*).  I’m providing the link to our library, so if you don’t live in Chatham County you’ll have to google your own.

http://www.liveoakpl.org/

Well, that’s it kids.  Today we’re filling the veggie beds with dirt, digging for worms and bugs, spreading compost, and planting seeds.  Such a lot of playing to learn about.  If you’ve got favorite unschooling links or resources, leave them in the comments.  Thanks!

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Daisy shows Little Boy how to work hard in the yard.

I spent most of today indoors, avoiding Mt. Dishmore.   A guy comes to my house once a month to spray poison to kill the roaches that took over my kitchen a few short months ago.  I’m kind of skeeved about the spraying of liquid poison in the same room I prepare food, so after the stuff dries, I pull all the dishes out of the cabinets, sweep them out, and wash all the dishes.  Even with the few things I have, it takes me a few days to slog through the pile.

Oog.

By this evening, I couldn’t take it anymore.  I could no longer pretend that I was just about to do another load of dishes.  The Herban Cowboy and I got the Little Boy dressed (he was naked at that point for some reason), and we all went outside to do some serious yardwork.  The HC took the push mower to the front yard to take a whack at the bahia grass that has set up residence there, and LB and I cut ourselves loose in the gloriously overgrown backyard.

First we let the chickens out.  They cluck and flap and run around chasing bugs.  It’s fun to watch.  I settled myself in my chair and put my feet up to watch the chickens eat the weeds, but I wasn’t there long before I noticed the golden tomatoes on the vine along the fence.  I interrupted Little Boy’s impromptu song (something about “it’s possible”), and we went to harvest some veggies.  We found treasure:  some bell peppers, white chinese eggplant, and 7 orange tomatoes. 

I sat in a patch of pine straw in what will be the cinder block bed, surrounded by eggplant, bell peppers, tomato vines, sage, and basil.  Little Boy sat in my lap and we counted and organized our little pile of produce.  LB asked me if we could eat it.  Thinking he meant tomorrow (like we were talking about) I said, “Sure Sweetie.”  I heard a crunch, and turned to discover he’d taken a big bite out of one of the white eggplants!  It wasn’t as delicious as he expected, so he moved on to the bell peppers.  He ate two of those and shared with the chickens, who by this time had realized we were holding the good stuff.

By this time, the mosquitoes had found us, it was getting late, and I was sweating anyway.  So we petted some chickens, gathered our harvest and met Daddy inside for a bath and stories.  So I haven’t finished the dishes yet, but that’s okay because we worked so hard in the garden.

Vitamin C. And probably a few soil microorganisms.

The girls come to investigate.

They're really clucking and bocking like grown up chickens now. They'll still get a lot bigger in the next few months.

"Here girls! Look Mommy I'm sharing!"

Betty the Araucana. She and Mavis are rivals for the position of Top Hen. We'll see who's on top once they all mature...

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