Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Springtime joys

Judging by my number of blog posts recently you might guess that our homeschool is on spring break. You would be right. :)  We have all been enjoying our break from school and I've enjoyed having so many hours suddenly free. I even- gasp- got every last bit of laundry washed AND put away the other day! A rare thing indeed. So now let me share what we've been up to around our little homestead since spring began.  

This was the first day of spring- it was snowing while the sun was shining! Winter and spring seemed to be debating back and forth whose season it actually was. There was snow, hail, sun, rainbows, clouds, blue sky, the works. 

We've spent several fun evenings playing our recent favorite family game, Agricula. (See, even when we're not outside farming we are inside playing games about farming ;) ). 

First the children built this "temple", and then they hammered with the extra nails and wood my husband provided them for hours upon hours! It's rare one project holds their attention for so long at once. They sure used up a lot of nails! lol

Speaking of holding the childrens' attention, on this day this little creature had quite an audience. If you can see right in the middle of the photo there is the face of a little.. mole, vole?... creature. My 6 yr old noticed him out the kitchen window. Soon the whole family was at the window watching him dig and dig. It was very entertaining how he'd throw dirt out of his hole. And then he dug another hole just the same way about a foot to the right. Must've been the back door we decided.

My dear husband built a bunk bed! I had been wanting one in the little boys' room for quite some time. My husband is so good to me. :) And the way he put that bed together over one weekend- you'd think he builds furniture all the time!

My husband has been having much better luck with his hide tanning lately! Here Baby T is posing between cozy sheep and coyote hides. 

The frogs are back! How I love love love hearing their frogsong all spring.  They are croaking loudly right now as I type. Two nights ago I took a couple of our eager boys out to the pond, flashlight, net and jar in hand. We managed to catch a little froggy guy, plus 2 huge, weird, water bug (?) things. We watched them in the bathroom sink for awhile and then released them back in the pond.

My teen son captured this great shot of Grendel shaking after a dip in the pond. 

The rest of the photos I took today.

We had bad luck with our last batch of eggs in the incubator. This duckling is the only one that hatched! So he's probably lonely and thinks he's a human. He lives right on the floor of our busy dining room so he gets lots of attention. 

This is our naughty Highland calf. He is still small (and naughty) enough to climb right through our fences so he just goes wherever he wants. And these days he wants to graze on all the new spring grass growing everywhere. Down there to the right in the picture is our bee hive. Did our first batch of bees survive the first winter on our homestead you ask? Well, the answer is no. 

Easter crafts made with tissue paper and glittery glue, tempera paints, chalk pastels, crayon and watercolors. Each idea I found on Pinterest. I really only discovered that website's usefulness this month when searching for Easter crafts! Wow, what a handy site. ;)

I never got a chance to type about it but a few months ago we bought a new mattress for my husband and me. It was such a frustrating and confusing thing because we didn't want to get a new mattress full of toxic flame retardants. That is why we had been sleeping on our old (and I mean old!) mattress for so long past its comfortable stage. I researched online until my head ached- I'm sure anyone of you that has mattress shopped understand! We decided we just couldn't afford an organic mattress. But trying to determine what the next best thing is is confusing! There are a lot of different opinions, and not many tests to back things up, and many questions just can't be answered, such as "exactly how long DOES a mattress off gas?" Or, "how badly does one off gas the day you bring it home verses 2 months later"? In the end we finally decided to order a locally made, new mattress that had been out of its plastic wrapping for a few months and had been a floor display. We hope it got the majority of its toxic off gassing done with before we had it delivered. Sigh.

And! The weather is good enough for movies outside again! Last night my husband and teen set up the projector and chairs, and I got the blankets and popcorn. We all watched our library movie on that big white door there (well, it looks like a door, and should be a door, but the people that lived here before apparently took the shop doors with them and plywood was nailed up in their place..). It did get pretty chilly and quite windy by movie's end. And there were mice running around all over the ground in front of the wall! Immediately to the right of this picture is our sea of cans and bins full of livestock feed and grains. The spilled grains provide a lovely buffet for the mice. 

Mr. 4 yr old having fun on some farm junk in the sun. ;)

The piglets are doing what they do best: Eating, growing, and stinking. 

Notice none of the sheep came up to me when I was standing here. They were all too busy with their heads down munching on the new grass.

Squinting in the sun:

This doe is due to have bunnies tomorrow. We actually have 7 due in the next week. 

Here is our garden. Not a whole lot goin' on in there right now, although some of our raspberries and blackberries survived the winter! I know it is calling my husband's name much of the time. There are so many projects and tasks he wants to accomplish this spring! He's still working his software job. Often he commutes to the city (an hour away), sometimes he gets to work from home. 

Since fencing in the last few of our ducks we had left, we haven't lost a single one to coyotes. We've brought their numbers back up and they seem to be doing fine. However, we often talk about how much we (and they!) would prefer to have them on the pond. Maybe we could fence the pond for them, maybe we should have the pond dug big enough it doesn't dry up in summer, maybe we should just keep them fenced and fill in the pond because I am so paranoid of my kids falling in it! 

Tomorrow we are getting an enormous load of wood chips delivered. We'll be using them to cover all the muddy blob areas, such as in the duck enclosure and around the rabbits. The mud has been so deep and gross in some spots on our farm! It's like a cesspool between the rabbits and sheep stall....We're looking very forward to those wood chips.

Here's what I found on my peek into the chicken coop. Several of our new little Leghorns who will begin laying this summer, and a big ol' turkey in a nest box. 

The entertaining things one can find in areas where children play!

And the cows? Nowhere to be seen. Not when there's grass growing up on those hills!

It is time for me to go put dinner together. Tonight we'll have some sort of quiche. We have a super abundance of eggs! :) And then I'll work some more on lesson planning for next week. Which reminds me, just in case any reader is interested, Rod & Staff curriculum is on sale right now, 10% off until April 15th. Then beginning on May 1st, all their prices will be going up by 10%! So, if you are like me, you might want to jump at your chance to pay less on your coming years' Rod & Staff goodies than you ever will be able to again!

Happy spring!

Shared at:

The Clever Chicks Blog Hop

Mountain Woman Rendezvous 

From the Farm Blog Hop


  1. Spring is such a lovely season - the warmer weather to look forward to, the opportunity that awaits!
    Hopefully your garden will happen soon.

    Your husband is very talented to build that bunk bed - it looks very solid and sturdy. Well done to him!

    1. Thank you, Jay! I read your comment to my husband. He mumbled some humble thing about not being a very talented builder. But I know he is lying. ;) The bed is very solid and the boys love it.

  2. Hello there,
    I am a fellow homeschooler currently in Az. from Co. and possibly moving (hopefully!) to Idaho. I used Rod and Staff for math and I was wondering what other subjects you would recommend it for? I would love your input. I ordered Challenge Math this year after reading one of your posts and the 9 year old loves it. Thanks! I have 3 boys ages 10, 9, and 7. I enjoy reading about and admiring your farm. Thank you for sharing it, you are quite an inspiration to me. We are striving towards such a life!

    1. Thank you for your kind comment JennyJames. We use Rod & Staff for math for all the youngers (my oldest is in Saxon Algebra). I also use Rod & Staff English for all. I find that program a perfect fit for us, even though it is written by Mennonites and does discuss the history of that religion here and there in my teen's English text. But that's really a non-issue for him. We do the book orally for my 2nd grader because I find the writing load is just too heavy for him at this point. He does copywork a few times per week for writing. Next year I will begin having him do all the writing in his English text.

      We've used the Pathway Readers and workbooks a few times. I enjoy them but find the spaces provided for writing in the workbooks too small. We also began the 2nd grade Health and Manners set this year, only to put it away for being too... weird. Not basic and straight forward like the math and English. I very frequently ponder the Bible & Nurture Reader series but haven't tried them yet. They look wonderful but I like to keep my life as simplified as possible and am wary that those books just may not be necessary for us...

      I use all of their preschool workbooks for ages 3-6. Love, love those books. Your boys are too old for them now, but I want to mention them in case anyone else is interested. What I love best about them is their simplicity- the pictures are of farm related things, families growing food and milking cows, dad going to work, mother baking at home, many animals but nothing fantastical or fake or from television. Just old fashioned goodness.

      We don't use the history or science because I'm so happy with Story of the World an Apologia but that doesn't stop me from drooling over them in the catalog. My Rod & Staff catalog is my most favorite. I order many books from them for Christmas- I adore their storybook selections!

      If you go to the website, you can request a curriculum sample for any grade. The samples are very helpful- the size of a magazine and give you a very good idea of what they offer.

      I'm happy to hear that your son is enjoying Challenge Math! Mine did as well. We have used several other math books written by Edward Zaccharo and have loved them. I always recommend him!

      Are you guys thinking of northern or southern Idaho? Maybe we'll be neighbors. :)

    2. Thank you for all the information! I am trying to figure out what all to order but I am definitely interested in the English, Literature, and handwriting as I liked how they have the copy work and require the kids READ cursive as well as write it. I think the Pathways look great too. Love the wholesomeness of the various material. It does look like maybe some things cross over from English to the literature materials so I am trying to figure out what combo to go with. My thoughts and prayers are with you all as your daughter continues to heal and that new babe you are expecting continues to grow. What a wonderful life you have!

      We are still awaiting news on the possible transfer we have been praying for, non-stop, all of us, to southern Idaho. So even though we won't be neighbors maybe our paths shall cross :) Oh how we miss the seasons and fresh air and friendly country people. I am having trouble blooming where I am currently planted!

  3. Great to see what is going on around your farmstead!

    Have you seen Christian Light Publications curriculum before? The preschool is the same as rod and staff--wondered how it compared. My 5th grader wants to try school next year and we are going to let him (b/c it's the last grade in the little elementary school near us...and it may be a good experience for him--but that is a long story...) I was planning on using 2nd grade CLP for Z, but wonder if this might be a good fit for him...I wish I could see the two curriculums side by side. Do you do the complete one or the basic one? We have a hard time fitting in everything (history and science are not every day here... reading/math/language arts/geography are).

    1. Kris I've not ever tried CLP. We use the readers from Christian Light Education.... but that's different. :p I guess I answered about how much R&S we use in my wordy comment above. The math, the English, we read the Pathway Readers (and sometimes use the workbooks that go with them), all the preschool books, and I just may try the Bible Nurture Readers series one day. I also adore the storybooks R&S offers. :)

      We do history and science each twice a week. We read related books outside of school hours at times...

      Have any of your children tried public school before? That sounds like a tough decision to make!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Spring is indeed a beautiful season. And by the looks of it, there’s no doubt that you all enjoyed it, what with all the outdoor and indoor activities you've had. And with regards to shopping mattresses, I agree. It’s really challenging to shop for new mattresses, as you have hundreds of choices. And I’m glad that you finally found yours. But in any case that you would like to buy again, you can visit the Mattress Magic website and check there before heading out.

    Jeff DuBois

  6. Praying all is well with you and your family. I read your blog, and miss hearing from you!

  7. tự làm kem dưỡng da mặtrất là tốt cho da mặt chúng ta
    tự làm kem dưỡng da ban đêmcó công dụng làm trắng da một cách hoàn hảo nhất
    cách làm kem dưỡng da tự nhiênhãy click ngay nhé.
    tự làm kem dưỡng trắng da toàn thânan toàn nhất .
    tự làm kem dưỡng da từ thiên nhiênbằng những vật dụng cần thiết hằng ngày.
    tự làm kem dưỡng trắng da tại nhàHOT HOT HOT
    tự làm kem dưỡng da mặt tại nhànếu bạn chưa biết thì vào xem nhé1
    làm kem dưỡng da mặtVì ban đêm là lúc da hấp thu dưỡng chất hiệu quả, các lỗ chân lông giãn nở, da hô hấp và trao đổi chất mạnh mẽ nhất nên dưỡng da ban đêm là việc nên làm để ngăn chặn quá trình lão hóa
    cách tự làm kem dưỡng trắng daCó một làn da trắng mịn luôn là niềm mơ ước của hàng triệu chị em phụ nữ.