Sunday, May 31, 2009

Garden Weekend

I like to get the vegetable garden in before June, and May 30 just makes the cut.  Saturday was the first uncommitted day I've had in several weeks.  The weather was hot and sunny, but by moving the garden umbrella around to various spots, I spent the hottest hours of the day working in portable shade.   

Here are a few snapshots of the constant work in progress.....

The red worms always amaze me.  We, or rather they, make much of our soil.  During the fall/winter/early spring I had a steamy pile of leaves and grass clippings cooking by the driveway.   
I'm a little late getting my seeds started.  
The vegetable garden space and my portable shade.  I planted purple bush beans, red celery, white pumpkin, zucchini, Genovese basil, peppers, Scarlet Runner Beans, lettuce, and carrots.  
One section of the garden is thriving with cool weather lettuces, sugar snap peas, cilantro and Walla Walla onions.

The raspberries are just forming.
The kids and I went garden junking last week at the recycling center.  Daniel found a bunch of bricks for his garden area, and Annie found this wash tub and garden gate for her area.  
The campanula 'bell flowers' are in bloom.

This week I am going to have the kids plant their garden areas using a modified 'homestead' agreement.  They get to keep their area if they work and develop it.  If they let it go, I will be the claim jumper and will come in and take over.  :-)  At this point, they have cleared their areas and Daniel has helped top dress his area with crumbly red worm compost.  

It feels like summer!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I've been busy doing things other than blogging.  This school year has been one of tremendous activity and change.  Looking back over the school year I'm not sure where to begin, but at some point I'll pick away at what we've been up to.  In a nutshell, however, we joined a new home school program in our area called 'Classical Conversations', and it was a wonderful, rigorous, wild ride.  I taught a 5th/6th grade class which was time consuming, delightful, and challenging. The challenge for me involved changing from a relaxed, eclectic curriculum to one in which we were accountable each week to have assignments finished and ready to present.  This was true for the programs in which both kids were enrolled, and it was a big change. 

Home schooling has been rather time consuming, but I've been up to other things as well.  At the risk of sounding like an ungrateful user of free programs, I haven't blogged as much lately because I experience Blogger as being clunky, time consuming, and frustrating.  I've been sidling up to the Facebook free trough where you can upload photos in a flash, jot down a few thoughts, and be on your way. It would be great if Blogger could take a few tips from the Facebook 'photo album upload' option.  In the spirit of jotting down a few thoughts, however, here is a snapshot of what's been going on....  (Oh, and the kids hate having their ages as their 'blog names', and have teased me about how their names have to change each year.  OK, I give up.  I'll just call them by their names, Daniel and Anne....)  

Daniel's Classical Conversations 'Challenge A' middle school class.

The grammar school portion of Classical Conversations ended the year with a whole group symphony class for fine arts.  The kids had the opportunity to 'conduct' the 'orchestra'.  
The 'Foundations' grammar school (K-6) classes fill at eight kids.  Teacher heaven.  :-)
Creative pursuits for me......practical gardening.  I love to plant things we use, mostly in their fresh state.  I freeze some items, and can 'specialty' items like jam and jelly.  With our bumper crop of cilantro, I have much cilantro pesto in the works for the freezer.  
May is the birthday rush, with both kids having birthdays, and my dad as well.   We celebrated Anne's 11th birthday with lovely friends and an 'Ugly Doll' theme.  

My dad's birthday is sandwiched between the kids' birthdays, and I decided to stick to handmade gifts for him.  He loved, loved, loved the Christmas jelly, and there were more berries and jelly bag juices from last summer's crops waiting in the freezer.  I combined strawberry jelly bag juice with apple for a jelly batch, and cooked/sieved raspberries and blackberries for a thick, seedless jam.    

We celebrated Daniel's 14th birthday with dear friends and family and, at his request, a homemade 'Italian Cream Cake'.  

Now that the birthday rush is over, we are focusing on end of the year recitals, track club practices, more gardening, and much needed organizing.   In the mix of the busyness, though, I love to clip and dry flowers and dream of more handmade gifts.