Friday, October 31, 2014


Last weekend while I was sitting at the garage sale, contemplating exactly why I bothered to have a garage sale and counting the three quarters that I made that day, I saw a familiar pick up truck pull into the drive.  Aaron & Adrian had come, not to buy toddler clothing or 80's dishes, but to bring Deuce Bigalow, their Nigerian Dwarf buck, over to our place.  Since I couldn't convince them to take all the garage sale stuff off my hands, I sent them and the goat down the road to our place where Paul would help them unload his stinky ass.

Deuce will be breeding MamaGoat and maybe Annette this year.  Even though Pyewacket (Annette's doeling and her eventual replacement) is big enough to be bred, I'm going to hold off until next year.  The goat population is getting a bit out of hand and I'm going to have to admit that Paul is right; we have too many milk goats for what milk we do drink.  And although we do trade milk for hay, I can't use that as an excuse to keep the extra milkers going.  Feed costs are getting too expensive.

So Deuce and Studly are pen-mates.  As was expected, they butted heads and rammed each other for half the day until both of them were exhausted.  Now the only head butting occurs when one of the ladies come over to take a look-see or when the grain dishes come out.  Typical animals.  Wait a second, my husband is kind'a like that when we go out....except he doesn't get as excited with me as he does a cheeseburger.  Not that I blame him.  I'd shove right past Tom Selleck for a big, juicy cheeseburger with grilled onions and all the fixings.

Wait a second, where was I going with this?

Oh, the buck goats.  Studly will only get one of the Boer gals this year and Herman will breed the rest of the Boers because as soon as I'm sure he's successful, I'm putting his stankyass up for sale.  From next year on, Studly DoRight will be our resident stud.  He'll be able to breed all of our current does as well as their doelings the following year.  At that point, we should have enough does in the herd that we can stop building the herd and start eating the herd.

I didn't want to have any more early births like last year so I've put off breeding until just recently.  Dilly was bred a few days ago and Penny (the Boer/Nubian cross) was bred last week, both by Herman.  But we're not going to be able to count on Penny's kids because I finally sold her!  She went to her new home earlier this morning.  Whoo hoo!  One less mouth to feed.

Oh wait, we added Deuce to the heard; that's one more mouth to feed.

I guess I'll just call it even then.  Sigh.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Why wasn't I informed about this?!

Bruce Jenner is seen wearing nail polish.  House of Cards actress dies.

Why are THESE things popping up in my "News" section (who is Jenner and what is House of Cards anyhow??) but there's not a single mention of it being NATIONAL CAT DAY ?!?

Had I known earlier and I would have made catnip cookies or something.

So here's a toast to all you cat lovers out there (and all you closet cat lovers) and your feline companions; those who have left pawprints on our hearts, those that have moved on to their next kitty adventure, and to those bundles of fur still with us, shedding hair onto our supper plates and purring their way into our lives.

And trust me, you've GOT to watch THIS cat commercial.  I've watched it fifteen times already and it just doesn't get old.

Have a Meow-meow-meow evening!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Big Five-O-O

Yesterday I finished the tenth bag of chicken feed for the Creepy Meats.

Let's do the math, shall we?  Ten, fifty-pound bags.  Five hundred pounds of chicken feed.  Thirty-two chickens.  That's over fifteen and a half pounds of feed per chicken.  And today I have to run out to the feed store to buy a couple more bags.

They were eight weeks old this past weekend, but we didn't butcher any of them.  In theory, eight weeks is the target date to get those poopy poultry processed and into the freezer.  But they weren't filling out as nicely as I had hoped.  I put some of the smaller chickens into a seperate pen outside hoping that they'd put on more weight since they wouldn't have to compete with the rest of their heavier penmates.  The rest of the group is still in the barn.  Which is a total pain in the butt as I have to clean out the pen twice a day because of all the poop.

I didn't mean for them to be in the barn so long.  Normally we'll brood them for a couple of weeks in the barn then put them outside in the chicken tractor or the dog kennel.  But this year I just didn't get around to it.  The chicken tractor needs some minor repairs and the dog kennel is in a spot where I wouldn't be able to easily move it around.  So the Creepy Meats stayed in the pen.  And in hindsight, I would have saved tons time by fixing the chicken tractor or moving the kennel as it takes me at least a half hour each day to clean out the bedding in their pen.

I have a plan though.  I just have to get around to it now.  We'll see.

Speaking of five hundred, did you know that Small Farm Girl celebrated her 500th post yesterday?  Go over and say "Hello" and congratulate her on the blogging milestone.  Also, did you know that she's writing for a magazine?  If you want to check out her first article, here it is:

Congrats SFG!  Let's get working on another 500!  Well, you, not me.  No way I'm hauling another quarter-ton of chicken feed to the Creepy Meats.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Deconstructing the Strawberry Bed

I finally got back into the garden where we had the yellow jacket "incident" and was ripping out weeds.  In the midst of my weed-ripping, I took a good, hard look at the strawberry bed and decided that since there were more strawberries OUTside of the bed that I would just rip them all out and transplant them someplace else.  Of course, it wasn't as easy as I thought.  I kept finding more strawberry plants and what I thought would take just a little bit ended up taking two hours....then Paul and Rhiannon brought me a tea.  An iced tea.  Because it was 85 degrees out.  So I quit weeding for the day.

There is a big plastic tote filled with the plants as well as a smaller tub.  Except now I'm not quite sure when to plant them.  Heck, I don't even have the slightest idea where I'm going to plant them.  Do I plant them now or do I somehow overwinter them in a bucket of sand or something and then plant them in the spring?  I guess I have some internet research to do.

Paul made the mistake of suggesting that we plant them in elevated boxes and I thought that was a great idea....except we don't have any elevated boxes.  Which means we (we, meaning Paul) would have to build them.  And there's already a ton of things on the To Do list.  Mom gave me a garbage bag filled with asparagus plants that I still have to find a place for and the four mulberry trees that I managed to bring back from the dead still need holes dug and planted.  The jalapeno peppers need to be picked (although not by me; I refuse to even touch those intestinal demons), the tomato jungle is still putting out green tomatoes (future green tomato & onion relish) and the herb garden needs to be weeded & whacked back, I need to pick the last of the basil and dry it and have to harvest the dried okra pods for seed.

I thought that gardening season was over, but it seems that it's just begun.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


I was pitching the last of a round bale of hay to the goats this afternoon and got nailed by something on my neck.  I smack at whatever offending insect bit me and look to where my hay fork was just yanking hay from and see, you guessed it......a swarm of hornets coming out of the ground.

I mean, REALLY?!?  Two separate hornet nests in two consecutive days?!  You've got to be freaking kidding me.  The sting on my armpit is still swollen and now I get stung on the neck.  You know, because the Universe apparently hates me right now.

I threw the hay fork across the yard, ran inside (all the while swearing at the hornets and my gawdawful knack for finding stinging insect nests) and once again stripped to make sure there weren't any stowaways in my clothing, and told Paul that I refused to go outside until the ground froze solid.

Unfortunately, I had to eventually venture back out to feed everyone supper so my vow to stay indoors until February was broken.  And on the way out, I passed the garden where yesterday's nest was unearthed.  Paul and I went out last night to try to eradicate the nest under cover of darkness with a dousing of gasoline.  Did you know that yellow jackets post sentries at the entrance to the nest at night?  You know, in case someone wants to come and screw with them after dark.  Like with flashlights.  Which they are most definitely immediately drawn to.  Ask me how I know this.

Anyways, the gasoline dousing didn't get the entire yellow jacket population of the garden hive as I still saw a dozen or so buzzing in and around the nest.  The only consolation I have is that they must be really busy cleaning up the bodies of their dead brothers & sisters and have to live with the smell of gasoline in their underground home.  

So what is it with all the wasps around here?  Are there really that many nests in the wild that we find them every stinking time we turn over a rock or a log or a bale of hay?  Paul turned up two yellow jacket nests just earlier this summer and I knocked a bald faced hornet nest off the deck that same day.  And after my encounter this afternoon, Paul asked me if the yellow jackets built nests in trees.  Because, yep, there is another nest in a dead limb in the big oak tree next to the goat pen.  It's like we've got a big ol' "Welcome Hornets - Free Continental Breakfast" sign in the yard.

I don't give two shits if wasps (yellow jackets, ground hornets, whatever) are supposed to be "good" for the ecosystem by eating lots of other insects.  Besides, some of those insects that they eat are beneficial insects.  So I say screw 'em.  Later tonight we're going to go back out and pour more gasoline over the garden nest and do the same with the new nest in the hay.  Until at last, I will throw down my enemy and smote his ruin upon the mountainside.

The nest in the tree is going to have to wait though.  It's in a tree that was marked for cutting down anyhow, but time hasn't allowed for it to be done yet.  At least we know the nest is there.  Imagine the "surprise" Paul would have gotten when he felled it and an angry swarm of hornets came at him.  And if we don't get to it before winter, the entire colony (except for the queen, damn her) will freeze to death anyhow.  Although it's not as personally satisfying as knowing I destroyed the bastards myself.  Yes, I am evil.  But I can live with that.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Weeding, interrupted

I finally made my way into the garden this afternoon.  It was a cool 70 degree day (relative, MamaPea, it's all relative) and overcast.  Perfect for weeding the horribly overgrown strawberry beds.

I don't know what happened, but my strawberry bed looks like it was doused with napalm.  Almost every plant inside the bed was crispy and dead.  There were, however, survivors that managed to make their way outside of the bed during the year.  I left the travelling berry plants where they were hoping that I'd get to transfer them to another bed thus doubling our strawberry yield.  But it seems that those plants I destined for a new bed are going to be going right back where they were running from.

At some point during my weed-ripping (and tossing them to the very grateful goats), Paul took pity on me and came into the jungle garden to help me out.  Just like last year, I let my lamb's quarters go bonkers and they had taken over a section of the garden.  Paul decided to tackle the 6' tall plants (I refuse to call them weeds, they are too yummy to be called a weed) but before he could do that he had to drag out a tarp that had been sitting in there for, say, the past four months.

While I was bent over (grunting, sweating and probably swearing) trying to yank out the gawdforsaken prickly sida, I swore I heard a low humming sound.  I stopped my weed-ripping and tried to focus on the noise.  Hmmm.  Maybe the distant sound of a helicopter.  I continued weeding and Paul continued yanking on the tarp.  I heard the humming again, and again I stopped to listen.  I asked Paul if he heard that.  And as I stood and looked up, I found out that the humming was actually buzzing.  Paul had pulled the waterproof roof off the entrance to a yellow jacket's nest and there was a gathering cloud of the effers coming out from the ground.  I glanced towards Paul on my sprint out of the garden and he was still standing there, tarp in hand, just staring at the menacing mass of stinging insects like a deer mesmerized by the headlights of a Mack truck.  Fly, you fool!

He finally snapped out of it and ran out of the garden behind me.  I was swatting and swearing and trying to smash the stinging shits off my body.  When we made it to the relative safety of the porch, we realize that we both had some inside our shirts / pants.  So we stripped faster than a couple of horny teenagers and threw our clothing off the porch.  Paul didn't sustain any damage, but I got stung three times, once in the armpit.  Which still hurts like the dickens, even now nine hours after the initial sting.

So if you're wondering if I went back in there to finish my weeding, I most certainly did not.  And I'm still trying to convince Paul to go out there tonight and douse the dickens out of the nest with some diesel until every last one of those buggers are dead.

Paul's Take
In response to my wife's recollection of this afternoon's events involving the yellow jackets: An undisclosed amount of fermented malted barley beverages may have slowed my reaction time down just a little bit, although this delayed response may have been to my advantage as the hornets did not perceive my slower exit out of the area as much of a threat and instead went to attack the woman running and screaming obscenities.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Her First Concert

Yesterday afternoon, Rhiannon and I were in a whirlwind.  We hastily finished evening barn chores (almost two hours early, to the delight of the goats), bathed, put on some fancy clothes (i.e. those not covered in bits of hay and dried chicken poop), a spritz of perfume and took off for town.

Rhiannon's never been to a concert, so she was pretty excited.  Heck, I was pretty excited.  It's not often we meet Paul for supper in town and then go to a concert.  The main parking lot was full so we had to hoof it a bit.  Which was fine as the weather was beautiful and I'm telling myself that the exertion burned off some of the cheeseburger I scarfed down just a half hour earlier.

I got extra exercise as well since I had to leave Paul and Rhiannon in the main lobby in order to run back to the car to retrieve the tickets.  Which I purposely placed on the dashboard so that I wouldn't forget them.  At least I didn't leave them at home; I would have hated for Rhiannon to be late for her first concert:

Just kidding.  Although, can you imagine Paul at a boy band concert?

Me neither.

But seriously, we did take Rhiannon to her first concert last night, but it was much better (and probably much classier) than Beiber.  Well, I'm assuming it was better....I've honestly never heard a single note from that Justin kid.  I'm sure we're not missing anything.

The local college auditorium occasionally hosts musical groups or bands, but this was the first I heard of a piano and violin recital.  When I found out about it, I jumped on the phone and ordered tickets.  Very reasonably priced at $10 for adults and $5 for students.
Tatiana Roitman Mann in blue (Pianist),
Tien-Hsin Cindy Wu (Violinist/Violist) in pink.
We were treated to close to an hour & a half of beautiful classical music and the womens' performance was spectacular.  We heard pieces from Beethoven, Dvorak, Debussy, Stravinsky and Brahms.  I didn't want it to end.  But as they say, all good things must come to an end.  Who the hell said that anyhow?  Like, really?  Do good things really have to end?  Why doesn't it go, "All bad things must come to an end"?   Seems more fitting if you asked me.  Which you didn't.

So even though we live in what seems like the middle of nowhere, we do have some culture in this little hick town.  Just make sure you knock the dried-up chicken poop off your boots and put on a shirt that doesn't smell like buck pee on your way off the ol' homestead.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fungi Munchie - Coral Mushrooms

My Ag teacher friend and I went to a goat parasite seminar last week.  Since it wasn't really a kid-friendly thing, we figured it was safe enough to let the husbands watch Rhiannon while we were away viewing a Power Point presentation on goat poop.

Before the goat seminar (which pretty much sucked), we had supper at their house which included beef stew, rolls and fried mushrooms.  But not any ol' mushroom.  Wild Coral mushrooms!

Aaron (Ag teacher's husband) has this uncanny knack for finding mushrooms.  Like, he'll be driving down the road at 50 mph and spy a patch of morels growing in the ditch.  A recent find included two huge zippy bags filled with these babies:

Some of which he drenched in a seasoned flour mixture and fried up for supper, and some of which came home with us.  I've already sauteed a bunch of them in butter (and ate all by myself) and there are still a few left that have to be cooked today or they'll end up in the compost pile.  Maybe atop a grilled venison burger......Mmmmmm.  

It's too bad that I don't have an "expert" mushroom person around here.  Although we don't seem to have any morel or coral mushrooms on our place, we do have an overabundance of what I think are honey mushrooms.  Unfortunately, they have a poisonous look-alike; Jack-O-Lantern mushrooms.  And the fact that these mushrooms are causing a lot of our oak trees to die is another bummer.  So we have mushrooms...but none that we want.  

I'm going to take Rhiannon for a little hike later on and see if we can find any edible munchies out in the woods.  And I might even take the rifle with in case we go from searching for herbivore munchies to stumbling upon some carnivore munchies.

Friday, October 17, 2014

There's something missing

Like, maybe, sweet potatoes?

That's my harvest.  Granted it was my first time trying to grow sweet potatoes in the ground, and the deer continually "cropped" the leaves every chance they got.  But seriously?  That's it?!  My "Sweet Potato In A Tub" experiment did better than this.

Oh well.  There's always next time.  At least I hope that the deer got fat on my un-fenced garden munchies as I'm going to be putting a broad head through at least one of them in the very near future.

My teeny-tiny-can't-even-call-it-a-garden this fall was also a bust.  Three quarters of the green beans I planted were torn up by the armadillos and it seems that the curse on my squash continued on past the summer.  Susan was nice enough to send me some globe zucchini seeds and I planted five hills of them for Fall.  There were tons of flowers on them.  There are still tons of flowers on them.  One hill (of three healthy plants) put out one zuke.  One.  And the rest of the hills are about on par.  There is one more decent sized zuke that I'll harvest when it's of adequate stuffing size, and then hope that the four other little baby globe zucchini make it to maturity.  

I don't know if it's the soil or the weather or the universe just hates me, but just about any type of melon or squash did jack this year.  One cantaloupe from one plant.  One watermelon from one plant.  Two, maybe three anorexic looking butternut squash from each plant.  And the vines were lush and thick with flowers.  Apparently all male flowers.  It wasn't as if there were dead or rotted fruits after the flowers fell off, just the stems that held the flowers.  Apparently I've got a garden filled with gay vegetables.  Either that or I'm so severely lacking in natural pollinators that I'll be having to hand-pollinate everything from now on.  

There are also strawberries missing from my strawberry garden.  Like, the entire bed is void of any strawberry plant.  I noticed the plants sending out runners this summer so I let them go crazy, thinking that I'd harvest them in the fall and move them to another bed to increase my strawberry holdings.  But now there are very few of the travelling plants and none in the original bed.  It almost looks like they were burned or something.  Not having had strawberry plants for more than two years, I have no idea if this is what they "do", if they only last two years, or if the universe in fact does have it in for me.  

Monday, October 13, 2014

Goats on Meth

No, that's not my goat (sheep, actually).  But I suspect
if goat emotions physically manifested themselves
when I have grain around, that is what they'd look like.
That's the only way I can describe my goat crew's crazed and insane attitude towards grain.  With the exception of Herman and Studly, every single one of them goes completely and totally batshitcrazy when grain (or chicken feed) is around.

They go nuts around feeding time.  And if I just so happen to be hefting bags of grain from the truck to the barn any other time, they go nuts.  If I go into the pen with a container larger than a coffee mug, they think it's a grain bucket and they go nuts.  If I open the lid on the metal garbage cans that hold the chicken feed (outside of the pen, but within eyesight), they go nuts.  Gawdhelpme if I go into the milk parlor / feed room to get something other than feed during non-feeding time because they go, well, you get the idea by now.

I've been pushed, shoved, climbed on, butted, yelled at and snorted at all over a handful of corn.  I don't know how goat keepers with tons of goats feed grain in a bunk feeder.  There is no way my goats could do that because they would scarf up the feed so quickly and there would be such a battle at the feeder that I fear there would be casualties.....probably me.  And that's why I have to clip each of the effers to the fence for feeding and keep the goat and chicken feed under lock and key.

It's not like I'm starving them.  If anything, the non-milkers are getting caprine versions of a muffin top.  And it's not like they always have to guess when they'll be fed.  I feed at approximately the same time every day.  The milkers get fed goat chow morning and evening and the others get fed only in the evening.  They all have pretty much 24/7 access to hay.

But no matter how much I try to keep an eye on them, no matter how many times I think I check my back for a goat, one of them inevitably ends up sneaking or shoving past me to get to the goods.  A few weeks ago they got into the Cornish chick pen.  Luckily none of the chicks were stomped into oblivion.  But yesterday, Penny snuck past me while I was watering the chicks and got into the pen to try and scarf down the crumbles.  She knew damned well she wasn't supposed to be in there, she knew damned well that she was going to get a size 9 boot to her backside and screamed at, but she did it anyways.  The insane drive to snarf down as much chicken feed as she could before being forcefully yanked out of the pen was just too strong for her to resist.

Unfortunately her drive to get to as many feed dishes as possible while dodging my boot and avoiding my grip caused quite the ruckus in the pen.  A goat running around in an enclosed space with a bunch of small, fat, not-very-mobile chickens was a recipe for disaster.  I managed to get her out of there without any actual chicken deaths, but one of them now has a bum leg.  It's not broken (I don't think), but he's not able to walk very well.  Oh, he's still managing to make his way to the feed and water just fine, but I'm wondering if I'll end up butchering him in the next few days.

Paul said he wanted to try a homegrown "Cornish Hen", so he may be getting his wish this week.  If we keep to the "Eight week butchering day" rule, the rest of the Poopy Poultry will be ready for processing two weeks from now.  But unless they really start bulking up, I have a feeling I'll be cleaning out the pen for an additional two weeks.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Outside looking In......

....or inside looking out.  Or on one side wanting to be on the other side.

The creepy meats are continuing their daily assault on my every time I go in the pen to feed them.  Never mind that I've not once fed them outside of the pen, but I'm convinced they just want to make a rush at me to knock me down and eat my eyeballs.  During their delirious feeding frenzy, one or two of them will make it out the door and get chased around the yard by the older laying hens.  Last night I wasn't able to catch the escapees so I let the stupid buggers sit under the barn for the entire night.  I really didn't want to because the loss of two birds means the loss of two wonderful, succulent, crispy skinned chicken suppers, but I also really didn't want to shimmy my fatass underneath the barn where it was muddy and mucky from the torrential downpour we received earlier in the day.  Luckily, they survived the night and I scooted them into the pen again (while every other chicken wanted out).

Herman is also upset that he's on the other side of the fence.
Nettie teasing Herman.....what a hussy.
Breeding season has kicked into full blown Oh-Me-So-Horny mode and there is the nauseating smell of buck piss and the muffled, grunting noises from the does.  Annette sounds like she's sick or in labor.  It's pathetic.  I wish I could hand out caprine condoms just so she could get some lov'n and shut the hell up.  Last year I had my does bred early and I don't want to repeat that experiment again.  It's just too cold.  I know that the goats get bred earlier so that their kids are larger for the County Fair, but it's just not worth having to worry about hypothermic kids or me freezing my bumm off in the barn waiting for a kidding.

So the ladies will just have to wait it out for another month and Herman will just have to be satisfied with sniffing and snorting and tongue-flapping and pissing on himself (ick, ick and quadruple-ick).

And I will have to continue pulling his stupid noggin out of the fence (no fewer than sixty-five times a day) and then go sandblast my hands in a feeble attempt to rid my flesh of the smell of buck piss.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bald Knobbers and Sassafras Suckers

Today's blog title sounds a bit strange, if not mildly obscene (to those of  you have such minds....not thinking of anyone in particular...PP...cough-cough), but it is honestly a very appropriate - and clean - description of what we saw and did over our weekend.  We took a little drive through some very beautiful and scenic back roads over the weekend.  Although just the drive would have been reason enough to go out, we actually had a destination in mind:
One of our homeschooling newsletters had a link of "Pioneer Days" events going on in the local (and not so local) area and this one looked really interesting.  I just learned about it on Thursday but was able to schedule a quick day trip for Saturday.  A picnic lunch was packed and we were set to go!

Most of the road we travelled was state highway, but once you got off the secondary paved road ( twenty years ago), it was a 3 1/2 mile drive on a dirt road to get to the property.  The road was well maintained (as far as dirt roads go), but you still got the feeling that you were, in fact, at the "Edge of The World" as the sign posted on an oak tree proclaimed.  It also suggested that you check your brakes because if you were travelling in a vehicle with questionable stopping ability, you might end up over the cliff and in the creek below.

A two mule team pulling a wagon full of excited kids (and adults) passed us by as we entered the event area, and there were other horse and mule drawn carriages carrying people through a loop around the main gathering.
We hopped on the horse-drawn buggy powered by "Flame" and Rhiannon and I got an exciting ride along the creek.  Rhiannon got to wash some clothes the old fashioned way, saw soap being made and wood shingles being split by hand....all in one stop.
Moseyed over to where all the clanging was coming from and saw two different blacksmiths doing their blacksmithing magic:
We went over to the Civil War table where we saw what a solider would have in his knapsack:
Stopped by a sweets tent and bought a couple of suckers and then looked in at what seemed to be the norm for encampment protocol (white canvas tents, iron cooking grates, coffee boiling in pots and cast iron pots filled with beans):

There was also a wagon for supplies and a table set up showing what would have been common "pantry" items on the wagon:

Imagine Rhiannon's surprise when I showed her the basket of these and told her what they were and what they were used for:

Then we stumbled upon some one's supper being cooked.  Which was well guarded, to say the least:

Wool (and dog hair.  yes.  dog hair) being hand spun:

A lady who does chair caning:

Horse-powered doo-dad (yes, that's the technical term) that crushes the sorghum cane and a molasses cooking demonstration:

We sat and enjoyed some great music while eating our picnic lunch:

And last, but not least, some hands-on weapons practice.  What 5 year old kid wouldn't want to throw a tomahawk?!

There were also vendors selling everything from sassafras walking sticks to brain-tanned deer hides.  Tables with antler handle knives, deer hide purses, custom made long bows, wooden whistles, some iron work and a book for sale by a local author (who just so happens to work at our local library) on  the Ozark vigilantes known as the Bald Knobbers.

There is plenty of parking, people with golf carts available to shuttle you to & from the lot, porta johns, a large pavilion to provide shade or shelter and food stand (with the biggest burgers I've seen) if you didn't pack a lunch.  The entire area was groomed and neat and it was very family friendly. It was a great little get-away and I hope that we'll be able to go again.  If you're in the Ozarks in October of next year, might I suggest you take a little jaunt and go check it out?  You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Homeschooling and Flashbacks

I've been neglecting a few things around here and the house.  I haven't been replying to comments as much as I used to, and I apologize for that.  I truly appreciate every one of your comments (except for that guy from Dubai who says I have a large sum of money waiting for me if I'd just give him my bank account number), and I will try harder to reply back to them again.

Why the neglect?  Why has the garden gone to pot?  Why haven't I vacuumed under the bed in over six months (who am I kidding, I never vacuum under the bed, Mom usually does).  Why are there a hundred and sixty-two items on the "ToDo" list that still haven't been crossed off?

Well, I do have a small excuse.  Actually, that excuse isn't that small anymore; she weighs in around fifty pounds.  And even though we've been teaching her things for years now, we "officially" started school at the beginning of September (i.e. had to file with the local powers-that-be to make sure they can get their $$ even though we're not sending her to school).  We've been somewhat involved with a local homeschooling group for two years now, but there never seemed to be much that she could join in on.  I taught an art class for a small group earlier this summer and found that I really, really enjoyed doing it.  So I agreed to do another nine week semester this Fall with the larger group.

Whoever thinks that it's easy to homeschool must be insane.  I can't believe how much prep work there was for me (as the teacher) to get a semester of art going.  Granted, this is my first time pretending to be a teacher and I'm sure things will go more smoothly as time goes on, but really, I wouldn't blame a person one bit if they tried homeschooling and ended up putting their kids into a public/private school after finding out how much work was actually involved.

I've been lucky enough to find a homeschooling mentor of sorts.  She has four kids; a seven year old, a five year old, a three year old and an eighteen month squishy baby.  She has already been through a lot of the stuff with her eldest son, and her girl is the same age as Rhiannon so not only do I get to pick her brain on the things she's already done, but we often get together to do subjects like math, science and reading.

And I finally got around to making Rhiannon her own little school area.  Black Susan approves.

I've also been scouring garage sales for the past few years looking for textbooks and other items we can use in our homeschool adventures.  And would you look at these golden oldie gems I've come up with:
Remember seeing commercials for these babies in the 70's? 
I had the Speak & Math and my sister had the Speak & Spell.
We were soooo cool back then, not everyone had a computer in 1980.
Even though I've been having flashbacks and enjoying playing, I mean teaching Rhiannon, with these "old time" educational products, we do not totally shun modern technology. I subscribe to two online programs, get a lot of ideas from the net as well as use youtube often for watching programs or videos that aren't available at the library in their DVD collection.  One day during our Biology lesson, we were focusing on plant parts and since Rhiannon was munching on peanuts, we you-tubed "Harvesting Peanuts" and learned how peanuts were planted, grown and harvested.  Most of our subject matter comes from every day life or what we just so happen to be doing that day (i.e. the Peanuts lesson).

I'm really liking homeschooling and the occasional teaching stint and I hope to be able to continue it as long as possible.  Although once we hit sentence diagramming, I may have to get her a tutor because I totally, thoroughly, absolutely hated those things:
Does ANYONE ever, ever use these stupid things?
I had nightmares in grade school when we did them.
I'm convinced the nuns made this shit up just to screw with us.