Move on down the road

•February 7, 2017 • Leave a Comment

We’re well established now in the homeschool curriculum we’ve been using for the past few years. We did shake it up a bit when we added a science class at the local classical school this past semester. It was a successful experiment, and now we’re back to our science class with a local homeschooling family. In our own classes at home, we use Math-U-See for math ūüôā It’s a great curriculum for someone with dyslexia, since it provides manipulatives, and requires you to use them for the problems. Then we use an online curriculum called K12 -which has a wide variety of classes from which to choose. We’ve used their Literature, Science, History – all were a positive experience, but we’ve stuck only with their literature – doing the others cooperatively with other families. History and Science are much more fun with a crowd!

At the moment, we’re reading The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – a beautiful book that I’ve heard about but never had the chance to read. So many parallels to life! Nature, having a contrary disposition, thinking negatively – all subjects addressed beautifully in a way that captures the imagination. So fun that I read the whole thing ahead of schedule ūüôā E’s reading has radically taken off the past few months – and the love of reading which we’ve worked at establishing these past 12 years seems to not only have taken root but rapidly sprouted new branches. We’ve nurtured it with nightly read-aloud and constant availability of audiobooks. Seems to have worked, since each morning finds him in front of the library bookshelf, in search of another good read.

Checking Out Strange Birds

•January 24, 2014 • Leave a Comment

We moved to a new state, and have been curious about the types of birds that would show up at our feeder this year.  I usually put out seeds during the winter, and in Boston, we got downy woodpeckers, cardinals, blue jays and your Imagerun of the mill sparrows.  This year we have a nice view of our back deck from the home school room Рso I decided to splurge and put out a heated bird bath.  Eeya, now in his third year of home school, suddenly became interested in my project, and has been actively participating.  I had read that you can provide water to the birds during the winter, and they appreciate it.  Wow, did they!  Our deck has become a regular songbird spa!  I put out thistle seeds in small feeders and an Eastern Bird mix in a larger feeder and have gotten a wide variety of birds that I knew existed in Boston, but had never seen.  The first couple to show up were a tiny pair of red house finches, otherwise known as Mexican finches.

Enjoying little things

•July 28, 2011 • 1 Comment

A little shell-shocked from all the decisions this year!¬† Lost track of the blog trying to make good ones.¬† As a result, I am now home-schooling my son – a daunting, yet wonderful task.¬† Much time has gone into researching books, types of teaching, approaches, homeschooling communities and support systems. We’ve spent a lot of time this summer trying out different schedules, books, online methods – so we can have an approach by the time we “really” begin in September.¬† All in all, we’re both enjoying it, and are finding it an extremely exhilarating approach to learning. Yes, it’s really just an extension of what we began with gardening…still messing with dirt.¬† All the change was disruptive, so we’re also spending time this summer enjoying the beach, ice cream, playing with the dog and generally recharging our batteries for the new school year. We took advantage of a burst water pipe to have the plumber finally install our built-in fridge ice-maker.¬† We all giggle every time we run down to the kitchen to get a glass of ice water (cubed or crushed, what a luxury!)…thank God for little blessings.

Life is but a tissue of habits -Henri Frederic Amie- (so make good ones -me-)

•November 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Ah yes, habits.¬† I’m so disciplined at maintaining good ones, but all it seems to take is a few weeks away, and it becomes so difficult to pick the habit up again!¬† Well, a few weeks away during the end of July is all it took for our garden to become an untamed jungle.¬† A swollen disc in my spine upon our return did not help the matter at all, as what was required was tons of weeding.¬† We made the best of it, and weeded out the greatest monsters around the tomatoes, and beans, enjoying the fruits of what was able to survive. We did end up getting a good amount of pear shaped yellow tomatoes, tomatillos, zucchinis (of course), and pole beans.¬† Now that we’ve gone through the first year, we’ll probably plant less next spring, concentrating on arugula, lettuce, tomatoes, tomatillos and peppers.¬† Our trusty fence did make it through, and protected our already weed-challenged crop from any additional damage!¬† Looks like raised boxes next year, filled with weed-seed-free dirt.¬† Without the challenge of weeds growing at 10 times the rate of the plants one wants, we may be able to concentrate on some other aspects of the gardening that are more enjoyable. In the meantime, what will I write about? I decided to expand the scope of my blog to include other aspects of the creative life – like photography, our new puppy, baking, knitting, painting, weaving, and other things I get my hands into (and that I get my son into!).¬† Ergo – the change of title on the blog. Bis spater (until later)!

A Red-Bellied Woodpecker

•July 7, 2010 • 2 Comments

The heat has driven us to visit the garden only in the wee-early hours of the morning, when it is comfortable enough to work for an hour or two, without fainting! ¬†In addition to our usual little house-wren, singing to us from his post, today we were visited by a red-bellied woodpecker (if I have identified him correctly), and a hummingbird. ¬†I wondered if there were hummingbirds in this area, as I had never actually spotted one. ¬†I saw him only quickly, and he looked like a speckled brown – I’ll have to see him a few more times before I speculate on what type of hummingbird he is… ¬†The woodpecker surprised me with his size, at least the size of a small seagull, and quite beautifully marked, with a ladder pattern down his back. ¬†Watering was in order today, with yesterday having been (hopefully) the hottest day of summer at over 100 degrees F. ¬†The plants looked great though, and unstressed. ¬†We’re getting a few ripe tomatoes, some cukes and radishes, which we’ll make into a quick pickle, and a nice bunch of yellow bush beans. ¬†Life is good.

Time flies when you have children (and when you’re having fun)

•July 5, 2010 • 1 Comment

Papa has finally come to believe that no wild beasts will breach our amazing fence and chicken-wired gate. ¬†This means that he’s now suddenly taking an interest in our garden. ¬†He spent a few hours with us earlier this month building this beautiful support for the pole beans. ¬†They wasted no time in climbing to the tippy top, and now he must return to fortify his structure. ¬†Eeya has kept me away from my computer, now that he’s free on summer vacation. ¬†That has meant no posts recently, though the garden has kept us busy. ¬†We have had a regular supply for a month now of arugula, leaf lettuce, radishes and basil – and just now we should be ready to pick the first beans. ¬†The plants have truly exploded in growth, and there are huge bright yellow blossoms on our zucchini’s and cukes. ¬†The weeds grow about 4x as fast as the plants, and we regularly spend most of our garden time tearing them out. ¬†The House Wren meets us on every visits, firmly planting himself on the farthest corner post of our garden, and entertaining us with his beautiful warbling during our toil. ¬†Something wild visited and tried to dig under our fence, but didn’t get very far. ¬†It was so annoyed that it proceeded to strip the leaves off every marigold around the perimeter of our garden! ¬†Glad we spent all that time digging the trench.

When You Have a Hammer, Everything Looks Like a Nail

•May 25, 2010 • 2 Comments

Photo: Andrew Brookes / Corbis | Source: CNN

So now that we have our garden paradise, suddenly everywhere I look, people are talking about gardening and gardening with children. ¬†Here’s a snippet of what I’ve recently run into: ¬†Another blogger, liked by a friend on Facebook, whose postings are quite varied and I’ve enjoyed at The Gardener’s Eden. ¬†I especially enjoyed a recent entry about homemade pizza with Arugula and Asparagus – the veggies which are now almost ready in the garden. ¬†I’m amazed at how many of the other gardeners in our little community garden are growing asparagus! ¬†It seems like quite a process – starting with digging a huge trench – one which I’ll save for a later year. ¬†Then of course there’s Johnny’s Selected Seeds, the amazing place up in Maine which provides me with some of my more exotic and heirloom seeds. ¬†I adore the teaching videos on their site – they were so helpful to me in these first phases of getting the garden going, and I’m finding myself constantly referring to the individual plant care and growth information in their printed catalogue. Then on¬†BostonMamas.com, there was recently a nice commentary on the joys of gardening with children by Boston Mama Christine Koh. ¬†I heartily agree with her suggestion to keep it simple, let the kids help choose what to plant, and don’t worry too much about seeds going this and that way, they’ll probably grow anyway! ¬†She also gave out some great links to Real Simple’s ideas on having a small garden or even container gardening which we used to practice on our roof deck in Charlestown, overlooking the Boston Harbor and downtown. ¬†Finally, the fine artist in me must mention a wonderful icon painter named David Clayton, who will be teaching a unique summer course called The Way of Beauty Atelier at Thomas More College, and recently had a post on gardening and how it relates to man’s relationship to God and nature. ¬†So what are you waiting for? ¬†Get out there and plant a seed!