Monday, November 22, 2010


   As Sequoia puts it... it's snowing cats and dogs!
a brief sunny break in the storm
   We hardly ever get snow, so it's really exciting!!!  The timing couldn't be worse since we were supposed to leave this morning for California.  But, I still love every second of it.  I totally do not want to do anything I "should" be doing.  I just want to go play in the snow!  Baraka, our gigantic goof-ball dog, has been in his bliss.  He just keeps rolling in it and bounding around the yard and nudging little snowballs down the hill then chasing after them.  He LOVES the snow.
   We have decided to hold off until tomorrow to make the trek to northern Cali.  (Sorry folks!) We'll get there eventually, but driving in the midst of a snow storm doesn't sound so appealing.  I absolutely love how snow just brings everything to a stand-still.  Even if my plans are what come to a screeching halt!  It's been dumping all day and it's still coming down as I type this.  The winds are picking up rapidly and the lights keep flickering.
Honey Bee hive in the snow!
   Luckily, we have the warmth of our woodstove on such snowy, cold days.  I have to admit, the cozy factor played a major part in the decision to hold off until tomorrow.  Staying snuggled in by the fire sounded awfully nice....
   Not to mention, leaving a homestead full of animals in the midst of such a storm is not such a responsible thing to do.  Especially with baby animals in the mix.  Everyone is hooked up with heat lamps and several inches of fresh bedding to snuggle into.  I'm sure they'll all make it through just fine, but I feel like a jerk leaving them.  I think I've been out to check on the the chickens and turkeys at least eight times today.  In honor of Thanksgiving, here are a couple shots of the Toms:

   I hope that you all have a fabulous holiday week!  I know that we will!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Learning Plans

OK... the really boring part of homeschooling: writing the learning plan.  It sounds like it should be exciting.  But when it's a document simply being written to satisfy the state, well... not so much fun.  My eyes are beginning to cross as I sit here at the computer working on these documents.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Baby photos

   Here are some promised photos of the adorable new arrival, Napali Jr.

I love how you can see the little egg tooth in this one! (the tiny extra point on the beak)
and mama Napali!

Monday, November 15, 2010


    Here's a visual peek into our first few weeks of learning through living....

Quiet book work time
Baking for friends
    A field trip to the zoo....
Sequoia becomes a turtle at the zoo!
Snake at the zoo - photo by Sequoia
Bengal Tiger at the zoo - photo by Sequoia
    Mushroom hunting with friends....
a toppled giant

a coral peeks from from a mossy grotto

Cedar, Sequoia and Dusty chat as they weave through the old growth

Steve, Sequoia, Cedar, Dusty and Paul toting their bounty

   And more baking....
the kids take it to the next level...

piping delicious butter cream frosting onto their home-made pineapple cake and pumpkin muffins!
   The above reflects only a snippet of all that we have been doing.  I can't wait to post more on all that we are up to on the homeschooling front.  After all the text-only posts, I felt I owed you a photo post.


   We had quite the surprise this morning!

   Sequoia and I were quietly hanging out in the living room and Cedar wandered in still bleary-eyed and half-alseep.  As he plopped onto the couch and rubbed his eyes, trying to catch up with those of us who had been awake for a good long while, we heard the faintest noise.  It took a solid 15 seconds before it hit all three of us simultaneously just what we had heard.  Recognition flashed across each of our faces and we all three dashed for the wood box.  We cleared it off as fast as we could and threw open the lid.  Sure enough, there peeking up at us through the feathers of its proud and anxious mama was a tiny, perfectly egg-sized, peeping baby chick!

   The sweet little bundle must have just hatched because it was still damp from life inside an egg!  It's back fluff was still slicked down and shiny.  Both kids squealed with delight and excitement.  This is the first egg to hatch from one of our hens (in their recollection).  It's not for lack of trying on the part of our hens or roosters.  Oh no, those boys chase the ladies around all day long jumping on their backs every chance they get.  And several hens have sat and sat and sat... and sat on their eggs, to no avail.  We have come to think that Napali (mama hen) is just a magic chicken.  She is undoubtedly the coolest chicken ever.  We love her very much.

   So, our morning plans immediately shifted gears.  What had begun as a slow, sleepy, quiet morning, suddenly turned to quickly getting dressed, brushing teeth, and jumping in the van to hurry to the feed store for a water font, chick feeder,  chick starter and new bedding.  We had a baby to care for and nothing was going to slow us down!

   We got home, cleaned out the wood box of anything and everything, filled it with a nice thick, warm layer of bedding, built an edge along the side to prevent the chick from falling out, stocked them up on food and water, hung some netting to protect it from that cats, then stood back and admired the itty-bitty new arrival.  Actually, we hovered and cooed and fretted and stared as if it were a new born baby of our own.

   Sorry for the lack of photos.  The little whipper snapper arrived just in time for some nasty weather that has settled in.  In fact the lights keep flickering as I type this.  I am hoping that some point tomorrow offers some decent light for a mommy and baby photo opp.  I am also keeping my fingers crossed that the babe survives the cold snap that is expected to hit later this week.  Tomorrow I plan to hang a heat lamp.  What's with these birds?  Easter in Autumn and chicks just in time for Thanksgiving!?!

Fall Cleaning

   We have spent the last couple of days cleaning up the property.  The inspiration: the last of the leaves have fallen from the big leaf maple that towers over our house and yard.  Now that the leaves are all on the ground (and not still streaming down) we can actually rake 'em all up and not have it look as though we did nothing 20 minutes later!  Gosh, that feels good!  So, what started as simple raking and hauling, turned into a full blown clean-up.

   Ever since the tree fell on our house nearly two years ago, we've not kept up with the patio/yard area so much.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe it's the impending construction on the destroyed part of the house.  Or maybe it's the indecisive feeling that looms over that area since we are still trying to figure out just how we wish to rebuild.  Or maybe it's that we have focused our energy on the gardens instead.  Or maybe it's just that we have been so incredibly busy, it hasn't been a priority....

   Whatever the reason, the neglect finally came to close (or at least a brief interlude) this weekend.  And it felt darn good to give that area a good solid dose of attention and care.  The leaves are all raked and hauled to their winter resting places (mmm, yummy compost for next year's veggies!), the grass is mowed, the garden tools/stakes/trellises/pots/etc put up in the garden shed, the grill accouterments tucked away for the winter, toys sorted and stowed, gardens mulched and put to bed, kindling split and stacked on the porch, and happy chickens with lots of fresh warm bedding.

   I know that likely sounds like a strange mix of things to be covered in one area, but the part of our property that's not forest is not very big and it was one BIG tree that fell.  It covered a lot of ground and affected a lot of things.  For those permies reading this, that tree fell through zones 0-3.  Geeze!

   Another added productivity bonus: Steve finished tearing up the kitchen floor!  YES!!!  Yet another project years in the making.  So, now all the flooring is out and all we have to do is stay on task and get the new floor down!  I cannot wait, I mean really can't wait, to have a finished kitchen floor.  It very well might be the highlight of 2010 - if it actually happens in 2010.  Here's hoping!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Quiet Mornings

   I live for quiet mornings.  Really, I do.  I love them so much it's a little obsessive.

   This morning did not disappoint.  As I lay in a drowsy half-asleep state trying to jump back into a dream in the early hours of darkness this morning, I was brought fully into the word by a text from a far-away-friend telling me she loves me.  And that I am a bad-ass mini van mama.  (yes, we bought a mini van - something I swore I would never do)  So, I literally woke with a smile on my face.  Can't beat that.  Now I am relaxing well into my second hour of a quiet, sleepy house.  The wind is howling like crazy outside, the rain's coming down, candles are lit on every windowsill, the dehydrator's humming away drying yet another round of bountiful mushroom harvest, the kids are snoozing, and the house is filling with the smell of coffee steeping in the french press (thanks Steve!).  I don't think that I could ask for more.