Saturday, 27 June 2009

Colour My World

For the record, this is what our first house was painted too. I love the blues.

This is the future color palate of the downstairs. Sort of. The cherry is the guest room, the orange is the living room (but we have green and white stripped couches) and the green is for the dining room. The kitchen right now is open to these but won't be once the buffet is restored. The kitchen will be blue and white and yellow.

I got Duration Interior from SW for the living room, 2 gallons for 6$. That is normally 50$ PER gallon. They happened to have the exact color I picked out in their mistint pile? How weird is that. Then the cherry is a mix of a free red and a 3$ wild currant. The green I will have to buy. I'm ok with that.

Any thoughts? Oh and here is a picture of the living room right now:

Friday, 26 June 2009

Farm Life

Yesterday I had to take an axe and chop the head off a baby chicken that had gotten into the puppy's run and been injured beyond recovery. The fact that it was still hanging on was a miracle considering its injuries. In fact, I thought it was dead and when it blinked at me when I layed it on the burn barrel I was startled. I don't have a hand hatchet yet so I used the wood ax. I explained what was happening to Lil'Bug and she said, "Don't worry Mama, the chick's name is ToodleBug, like me, and it's already in Heaven." And then in one swift chop, the deed was done and the carnage cleaned up.

This week has just been one of those weeks.

Speaking of feeding pigs, this morning we cleaned up the garden and pulled all the bolted lettuce, spinach, and radish. The pigs will be eating well today. Yum yum. We'll be planting okra in the row we cleaned I think.

Berries are fully in season. We have gooseberry, mullberry, and black raspberry. If you are local and I know you, give me a ring (or email). Sunday and Monday I am opening up the fields pick your own. While you're here bring a fishing pole and pull out 10-20 fish from the pond. I think that's the average catch for a 4 year old around here. LOL.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

What is this?

Run down of the things and stuff:

Baby crying for watermelon, mama goes to slice it up to feed baby crying for it. Melon is rotten. Not the worst part, imagine a champaign bottle shaken. Right. The freaking melon EXPLODED when I pierced it with the knife. All. Over. EVERYTHING.

Wasps. Nest over back door.

Ankle deep in pure pig poop.

My boots got left by the back door and then it rained. Also wasps like pink, wet boots.

My purse spilled in the back of the car, then the car door got left open and then it RAINED on everything.

96 degrees. Husband working from home. Laundry all done but in a giant pile waiting to be folded. Can't find anything that doesn't make me look like a back up dancer for MTV Spring Break house party or that is not technically winter clothing. Head to Walmart. Find really cute 100% organic t's on clearance for 3$. Woot. Change in parking lot because daisy duke type dress was really THAT bad. Seriously. Why is something like that in my closet?

8 days until my sisters wedding! Yay! :)

5 days until my favourite aunt comes to visit for my sisters wedding, 7 days until my favourite cousins and 2nd cousins arrive for said wedding as well. 3 days until I paint my living room orange. 2,3446,676,67687678689.....days until I catch up on laundry. Just saying.

Busy busy.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Smile for Mama!

Very Good Berries

We've harvested about 65 pounds of strawberries and I've given half of those away. Sharing the love. Also, my fingers started to bleed so processing ceased to be fun. The berries just keep on coming. Next up, gooseberries, mulberries, and then blackberries.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

This Little Piggy Stayed Home

This week our four little piggies moved from the piglet holding pen (ie corn crib section of the chicken palace) to their new digs in the pasture.

Moving them was fun. Or funny. Depended on which end of the pig you were dealing with.

Anyway, this is the pig house Dearest built. We'll paint it soon.

They are so very happy now. They bound out to see me when I bring them food.

My helper.

This little piggie stayed home.....

That's Bacon and Eggs. So named so we can eat Bacon and Eggs and eggs someday soon.

One Fish, Two Fish, Spikey Fighty Fish

We fried them up in cornmeal and Cajun seasoning. Mmmmm m m m m m. These are bullhead catfish, the largest here is about 12 inches, but they caught a 14 incher tonight.

It is pretty amazing how easy it is to catch fish in our pond, these buggers fight back though. Good thing they are tasty. They have spikes and teeth and will bite.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Beets beets, hit that beet

We made a beet and zucchini smoothie today. Think pink. We also put yogurt, mango juice, and frozen strawberries in it. Still not sweet enough.....added ice cream ......perfect. It was all slurrrrrrrped down in about five minutes. Good stuff. Very pink. But very, well, earthy. Ok, fine, there was a very distinct flavour of dirt that we had to add more ice cream to hide. Apparently that's just what beets taste like? I assure you they were thoroughly scrubbed and all dirt was removed prior to being smoothied!

Today we also made cheese noodles, weeded a bit, played with chickens, caught up with mama friends, planned out the week.

The pigs are on the pasture now and look so much happier. They come when they are called and it is so adorable the way they bound and trot.

All in all it was just a very quiet, little day. We needed a day like that. Also, I am sorry I made you cry Aunt Bee. Very very sorry.

My little sister is getting married, yippee! To Aunt Bee: I am so very happy for you. Please ignore my little selfish tantrum. I love you. <3

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Honoring Each Other

We put a lot of emphasis on honoring our children and who they are as individuals. This is part of unschooling, possibly the most important aspect of the lifestyle.

What I have been trying to do lately is to honor the other people in our lives as individuals as well. That is not as easy especially when people are family and radically different. Because honoring is respecting who they are and their boundaries even if they tromp on ours, or if their lifestyle is completely foreign to how we live- even antithesis.

For example, I have a big ol ranty blog entry festering in draft mode about big expensive weddings. Of course that is inspired by my sister's encroaching event. It stays in draft because I can't find any value to putting it out there. Who cares if my wedding was like 10,000% less expensive than hers? It is very similar to the time when I criticized a couple for wanting to build a three bedroom edition onto their seven bedroom mansion when all they had and planned to have was two children. Waste of space. You know what? None of my business where or how people spend their money. If a big expensive one night shin dig makes you happy then all the people employed are better for it. No one is forcing people to pay for it, it is all by choice. Who am I to get all high an' mighty about it?

The real reason I was feeling so acidic about it is two fold. I chose not to be a part of the wedding party, I practically begged her to forgive me and not include me. It would create less drama for her all around given my estrangement from the main part of the family. What that means though is that I also got excluded from all the accessory events like the shower and bachelorette party and dress fitting and cake tasting and and and all of those things. Every last one of them. Which just brings the reality of the family situation into sharp detail for me. It hurts. Sometimes doing the right thing is hard, other times it is harder. This is one of them.

The second part is that I am really anxious about the wedding itself. Other family that will be staying with us critiquing my parenting over the phone doesn't help. Especially since it is obviously from things she has heard and doesn't know from me directly. The wedding will put me into the pit of vipers as far as family goes, the estrangement has valid reasons was mutually agreed upon by most involved and the one individual who was not part of the discussion but the main reason for is dangerously mentally ill. Makes a fun cast for a tension and alcohol fueled expensive formal event, right?

So never mind the rant. Expensive weddings hold up our economy. I'll be going to one soon. I'm nervous. There you have it. Back to the main point. I may not understand my sisters desire for the event but I need to be better at supporting her and honoring who she is.

I need to be more supportive of other family members too. Our farm is a family effort and each person brings different talents and desires both to the table. While I want a big apple orchard, I certainly don't want to be out there alone picking apples and hauling them to market. It's a family farm not a Mama Podkayne farm. Sometimes that also means having an understanding of other family members' food phobias and making allowances when preparing shared meals. It means keeping Diet Coke in the ice box. There you go.

The whole idea of this is bigger than individual situations or conflicts though. It is about looking at each one and asking, is this important to me or to them? How important? Is it worth creating a negative space or moment? I use this with my spouse, child, and now other family. Sometimes it means that I get pictures of cows hung in my hallway because it makes MIL happy, and that makes me happy, and I am indifferent to the cows. It's just stuff, but it is her talent and her contribution and that has value. Sometimes it means just letting go of the idea that I'll get my laundry room vented outside anytime soon. I'll but a fan in the window and launder on cooler days. It's just not worth it to pitch fits when there are so many other things that Dearest is working really hard on.

This is just the beginning though. I am working on a more peaceful family life. Sometimes I just hightail it to the gooseberry patch when I should mediate or be a voice of reason, but I am more of the flight rather than fight type of bird.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Cold June

This June has been busy but really cold. I got the sweaters back out of storage and tonight we'll have a burning log in the fireplace.

For the past two weeks both babes and I have been sick with various horrible things that included but were not limited to amazingly high fevers, vomiting, diarreah, exhaustion, infected toenail, hives, and sinus infection so bad tear ducts were leaking goo. Knock on wood, we are out of that mess.

I managed to pick about 30 pounds of strawberries in the midst of that. Washed, chopped, and froze them. Then I was too sick and Abby came and filled a 5 gallon bucket of berries because they still had to be picked. If it gets at all sunny or warm in the next few days, I'll do it again. The patch isn't very big, so the production was a bit of a surprise.

Also, Lil'Bug is sick of strawberries. I never thought that was possible. LOL.

I'll be blogging with no pictures for a bit, the MacBook has been sent back. The week we got it they came out with a faster, shinier one that is cheaper. We are exchanging and upgrading. Unfortunate timing? Perhaps. It will all work out.

I've also reached a turning point in our dietary lives. I went to buy my favourite snack crackers, artisan cheddar wheat thins, and looked at the ingredient list. Why can't food be made out of food? The kettle chips we buy, the generic store brand even list salt, potatoes, sunflower oil. That's it. What can't crackers be like that? Grrrrr. I just can't buy stuff that has so much additives added that the actual food ingredients are listed at the bottom.

So that's the latest.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Deeper Thoughts on Parenting

This has been stewing in my mind ever since I saw it posted on a local homeschool thread. There was an article posted about the damaging words, "You are the parent, not their friend." and how this particular saying is usually presented as a justification to be mean to a child.

It should come as no surprise that I agree. I can only hope that I am Lil'Bug's and Blueberry's parent AND friend. I do not think that these two things are mutually exclusive. Friendship is based on affection and trust. I am not, however, their peer and that simple piece of the equation leaves more responsibility on my shoulders to show them kindness, honesty, and keep them safe. They emulate my every actions and words, from Blueberry picking fruit over my shoulder as I weed the strawberry patch to Lil'Bug explaining to grampa that blue Gatorade make our normally brown poop turn blue.

Someone on the thread found a definition of friendship as someone attached through affection and esteem. Those words are what stuck with me. How wonderful it is to be attached to my own children through affection and esteem. The argument I have heard is that my children won't respect me, but I think the opposite will be true. As I respect them, they will respect me, because they will have learned it from me and from the trust we have established. Too often I have seen children whose parents are strict and cruel turn to lying and deceit simply because they are afraid of their own parents or they rebel in other ways and lose themselves. I want my children to know themselves and to flourish. I offer my friendship as part of raising them.

Last week LilBug "borrowed" my camera without asking. She then took a picture of the sun. I was worried that she had wrecked my camera and she was too. As soon as she did it she knew something was wrong, but instead of hiding it she brought it to me. She knew she should have asked, but she didn't now taking a picture of the sun would hurt the device. The key point is that she trusts me enough to come to me for help even when she knew I would be upset. She trusts me. I pray every day to nurture that bond into her adulthood.

Bluberry is growing into a person too. Not only do I model friendship with her, but to her through my interactions with Lil'Bug. She too copies little things I do, little kindnesses, hugs, and snuggles, but also the bad things. Her first words were "good doggie" and "nnnnnnno no no no."

So in all I do not have to show them who is boss. They know that I am the household manager and parent and they look to me for guidance and affection. If I had to demonstrate this through acts of cruelty, I would not really be the boss. Think of it this way, in the workplace would a boss be mean and punish to demonstrate authority?

A relative said to me last week that I better nip some character attribute of Lil'Bug's that she perceived as a flaw in the bud. She said I would have quite the battle ahead of me if I ignored it. My response: If I start to view it as a battle, I've already lost. I am choosing to not turn my home into a battleground of me vs. the children. There is more at stake than just obedience.

So that's the beginning of the thoughts I had from that thread. More to come later I am sure.

The Chicken Palace More Progress

This is Crayon. Lil'Bug's pet chicken. Crayon will not be Sunday dinner.

This is the almost completed grain bin/corn crib conversion to a chicken house. Pretty nifty.

He's still going to build one more of these boxes, but this will do for the 12 birds that will start laying in about 6 weeks.

The Art of Not Blogging

I admit, I've been a terrible blogger the last three months. I will try and play catch up here tonight. Spring on the farm is so busy and the computer I was working on was taking a downward spiral in functionality. Excuses.

Tonight (or maybe at naptime) I will post!