Today, I am deeply honored to have a guest post at Carrie’s fantastic space, The Parenting Passageway. Carrie invited several mothers to talk about growing into motherhood, and all of the stories shared have been so interesting and lovely. Enjoy!
My plan for the year is sketched out, and I thought I’d share it here, to inspire any of you who are working on your own planning, or even those of you who are not homeschoolers but still might take some ideas from it. A few quick notes – my daughter is only 4, so these themes are mostly centered around nature and the seasons, and the work on our farm and home that we’re doing anyway. When I say the theme of the week is bees, for instance, we’re not doing a scientific study of how bees work together in a hive and fly, we’re just doing some cooking with honey, reading books that have bees in them, and doing some bee crafts. Our story that week might (or might not) have bees in it (I’m trying to memorize stories to tell aloud, but I’m telling most of them for at least two weeks.) So, I hope that makes sense – the themes help ground me in choosing stories, books, songs or verses, and crafts. Hoping this is helpful to some of you, and feel free to ask questions.
Squirrels & Nuts
Root Children Going to Sleep
Solstice & Christmas
Candlemas/St. Brigid’s Day
Root Babies Waking Up
Chicks & Ducklings
And there you have it, folks! Hope this is helpful to some of you. Blessings on your weekend.
Shekinah, grant me
this grace: let these hands
shape dough once more,
let me be the one to light
the morning fire, to stir the pot of soup
with the big silver ladle.
Let me seek the blessings
you have hidden all around us
in plain sight.
Let me bend down once more
to lift the snowy cover
and grasp the crisp lettuce
heads, let me feel that cold
shock, saying You
are alive – now kneel down
and give thanks.
(c) Adrie Lester 2011
There is so much to love in late summer. Right now, it’s actually chilly and pouring – we lit a fire in the woodstove today so that the laundry would dry, but that was fun, too!
Right now, we seem to be spending most of our day in the kitchen. I’m so grateful to be eating and cooking again, and my cooking philosophy these days seems to be, Cooking something? Why not fill every burner on the stove and bake something in the oven while you’re at it? A little ridiculous, and also awesome. In the past two days, we’ve made these herbal coughdrops, oatmeal bread (recipe from the Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book), canned tomatoes, moussaka, apricot-blueberry crisp, Amanda’s Carrot-Tomato Soup, pumpkin-hazelnut biscuits, and more canned tomatoes. Somehow I seem to have hardly made a dent in the tomato crop. A good problem to have, I know. Especially this winter, when with a brand new little baby it will be even more incredible than usual to open a jar of tomatoes, heat it in the saucepan, and declare, “Dinner’s done!” Yes indeedy.
We’re also beginning to ease into our homeschooling rhythm for the year. Our supplies have arrived (mostly from the wonderful Meadowsweet Naturals, thank you Pamela & family) and my plans are made through May. I’m re-reading Simplicity Parenting, rising early in the mornings, and generally feeling more at peace than I have in quite a while. Today, Ella and I took a walk in the pouring rain and it was lovely. We saw wild hops ready to harvest, and elderberries just starting to turn. She’s asking when the snow will come, and cracking herself up into hysteric giggles. I’m loving this incredible four year old, who spends most of her day in make believe, who can cut tomatoes with a sharp knife, and so often wants to help. This girl who says to me one night as she is falling asleep, “Mama, I wish we were at Lake Wyola. (pause) When will I die?” Which pretty much sums up how most of us spend our thoughts if we are not careful, doesn’t it? Wishing we were somewhere else, and wondering how long it will all last.
Right now, we are ready for the crisp fall to arrive, but also savoring these days of melons and peaches and blooming flowers. I hope you are, too, friends.
We finally found something to get the whole family out for a walk in the woods – a wild mushroom hunt. (and yes, we are extremely careful. Ben did a post about this over at the Wheatberry site – check it out if you haven’t already.) Ella knows that we never eat mushrooms raw, that we wash our hands when we get home, and she gets to see Ben studying his manuals to make identifications. If we can’t identify it 100%, we throw it out. If Ben does identify it, he cooks up a very small amount, eats it, and waits 24 hours for any signs of distress before cooking up a whole pan full. (Sometimes people can have reactions even to edible mushrooms.) The walk, on a trail near our house, was gorgeous, and we found more mushrooms than our basket would hold.
Have a great Sunday! Ben will be doing his workshop on growing grains in New England and working with draft power today at Animal Powered Fields Days, and I’ll be canning tomatoes like crazy.
Hi everyone, thanks again for coming along for a week in our life. Whew, that was intense! It was very unusual for me to be on the computer every night uploading photos, and I must say I’ll be glad to take a little break from that. But it was also really fun, and helped me stretch, especially with photos. There are so many ridiculously beautiful photos int he world, and I often judge my own too harshly. This week reminded me that imperfect photos are often still wonderful, and still tell a story.
And now, your questions.
Blueberries – We got ours pre-ordered from Benson Place in Heath, MA. They do use organic practices, and you can also do PYO. They are truly delicious. As locavores who try to eat more than 90% locally grown organic foods, these blueberries (along with apples) are our fruit for the winter. We simply put them in mason jars and freeze them. We also put up some strawberries and blackberries from our garden, but we never have more than a quart of two of those.
Baby – This next little one will be joining us sometime around New Year’s.
Hornworms – I’m sorry to say that if you’re finding tomatoes with bites missing, and especially plants with leaves eaten off (some of ours are almost skeletal – eek!) you’ve probably got hornworms. You’ll also notice their black poop on the leaves.
Tomato Canning -I do a super-simple tomato canning/freezing. I simply take out the core, chop into chunks, and heat up to a boil. (Yes, I leave on skins and seeds – that’s good fiber! And way too much work to remove!) Then I pour into jars, cool, and freeze, or pour into jars, add lemon juice and salt, and process in a hot water bath. I usually freeze some and can some. I plan to put up at least 30 qts this year – it’s one of the summer staples we use the most year-round.
Grease Car -How fun that some of you are considering grease cars! We love it. Basically, any diesel car can be converted to grease, or you can try to find one already converted (ours was). The conversion is a few thousand dollars, and involves adding a second fuel tank and lines to the engine. Ours is a VW Golf, and the bottom of the hatchback is a giant grease tank. When you first start the car, you run on diesel until the engine warms up, then you switch over to grease. Our car gets 45 mpg. We are super blessed to live in the birthplace of greasecars, so there are several mechanics and also several options for buying pre-filtered, ready to use grease. It’s currently $2-3/gallon. More info at www.greasecar.com
Grain Mill – The one in the photo is this one, available through Nova Naturals. It’s a very nice hand-crank stone mill (made by the same German company as our giant mill at the bakery), but it does take a lot of work to make enough flour for a loaf of bread! I usually only use it for flaking grains (like rolling oats), and last fall Ben got us a small electric stone mill for home (we have this one) – we like them so much we’re about to start selling them at Wheatberry, actually. It is such a blessing to have freshly milled flour – the taste still amazes me, and I love knowing that I’m feeding my family all that fresh goodness.
This weekend, we
went mushroom hunting & started trying to cultivate mushrooms
wished a little friend Happy 1st Birthday
climbed tractors in party dresses
Hope your weekend was peaceful, friends. I’ll be back in a day or two to talk about just that- peace. Thanks for sharing this week with us.
Up at 6 am. Time to sit before a few minutes and do one Sun Salutation before Ella wakes also. Strangely enough, the dish elves did not come. We do them ourselves.
Oatmeal again, with blueberry syrup from yesterday on top. Awesome.
Ella’s very excited to make popsicles while the oatmeal cooks. Blueberry-yogurt. I really wish we had stainless steel popsicle molds.
Last night I did not go to bed at 5:30, I just wanted to. Instead, we moved this futon down from a storage room to the living room/dining room. We have seating now! How crazy. It feels inviting. (And no, I didn’t do heavy lifting, I swear.)
Sweeping up. I also wish they made adult-sized rainbow brooms. I would totally get one.
Our little friend arrives to play for the morning. Dress up, walks outside, popcorn for snacks, popsicles, playing with dough to be made into challah later.
While they played with dough, I worked on a wee little bootie. It seems impossibly small.
Playing in the hose before dinner.
The table getting set for Shabbat dinner. Another chance to welcome peace into our house for the coming week.
6 am. Awake to see the pink clouds, yoga, meditation, listen to Beacon and knitting.
Making yogurt for the first time since this pregnancy began.
Making blueberry syrup.
Tomatoes ready to go into the oven for slow roasting.
She wanted to scrub the dishes. I said, Of course.
Blueberry syrup finished.
February baby sweater finished last night. I just need to sew the seams and put on buttons. And, you know, have the baby.
We went to the lake with friends, but I didn’t bring the camera (too much sand). Made it home in time to see friends who are only in town a few days. I served them (can you guess?) blueberries and sliced tomatoes.
More mason jars – thank goodness!
Tomatoes, halfway roasted. Took them out of the oven to make cornbread for dinner.
Dinner – chili made with our tomatoes, beans, and chuck steak.
Bathtime. It’s 5:30 and I’m ready for bed. Leaving the dishes in the sink for the elves to do.
* Thanks for all your sweet comments! I promise to answer all your questions at the end of the week. So feel free to ask!*
5 am. I woke up before my alarm, totally psyched. 5:10 am, everyone else woke up, too. Oatmeal with peaches and blueberries for breakfast, how lucky are we?
Breakfast for Cole and the girls.
New fabric and elastic arrived today, so we sewed some shorts. So easy.
We have an article in the Boston Globe today!
Daddy’s home kisses.
Another post-dinner tomato harvest (and hornworm harvest, ugh). Two baskets filled.