Monday, August 3, 2015

Garden Ups and Downs

Believe it or not, we are still alive!  Life has been busy and hectic and full.

In the garden:

We were hanging on anticipation as our tomato plant blossomed, then grew small, green tomatoes. There was one the size of a plum - a heroic proportion for our garden!  I checked on it every day, watching for signs of the first red tinge of color.  I went out last evening to visit it, only to discover it was gone.  The deer have eaten each and every pepper and tomato plant. We will have to fence in a portion of the garden next year - there's no getting around it.  I can't tell you how disappointed I was, but I am sure you know the feeling.

We grew about 6 pickling cucumbers. We sliced them and put them in brine in the refrigerator.  They were tasty.

I've harvested two squash.  Most of the squash and pumpkin plants died. We had an infestation of squash bugs which got the best of the plants.  There are two plants remaining which are full of blossoms and hope.

The kale, chard, and lettuces did well. Our first crop is tilled under and a fall crop is planted. Greens thrive in our yard and the deer don't bother them at all. *small blessings*

The potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and onions are all still growing. I'll let the potatoes and onions go until the tops start dying off a bit.  The carrots and parsnips will remain until the first frost.

Our herbs did well this year and our blackberry bushes produced large, juicy berries for the first time.

I know the growing season isn't over, but for me it feels like the garden and I are in a strained relationship. It's not performing the way I expected. I think we need some space. I'll be perusing farm stands in search of produce I had hoped to grow myself. I guess I'm in search of a surrogate garden.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Final Cut - 8th Grade Home School Outline

I don't know about you, but summer has certainly flown by.  The new school year will be here before you know it.  We plan on starting August 17th.  I already have our first week planned and a supply list made. It feels good to have that out of the way.

As I stated in my previous post things were sure to change and they did.

We are going to start out with Real World Math and then transition to Khan Academy.  

While I wanted to use The Life of Fred for some of our math, I really didn't want to invest in the books for a supplemental program.  I will keep my eye out for used ones or perhaps borrow them one by one from another home school family. I like how the Fred books keep things interesting and fun, but I don't think they provide enough substance for a complete program, especially for 8th grade.

I still plan on combining this with other subjects.  I have books picked out that coincide with US History and Science. We'll be utilizing these for reports, vocabulary, spelling, etc. 

We will be using this book for Nature Study which includes Q&A. Of course we have our bees and meet once a month with our local bee keepers. 
We also have a book of science experiments that includes Q&A as well. That sure makes things easy!  
We are using the documentary: America, The Story of Us  There are study guides provided for each episode on the website.  I have a few other resources that I've printed off the internet to go along with this such as a lap book outline for the Constitution, a week of living like a pioneer which will include no electricity for one day, making your own butter, hand washing clothes, etc.

I will be planning the school year week by week. We will be using composition books (one for each subject) to work in.

The hardest part about planning a school year, is knowing when to stop looking for more resources! There is so much information out there; it's easy to get overloaded with data which actually creates more work in determining which direction to go. My advice, plan an outline of the concepts you want to achieve for the year, then look for resources that meet your needs, obtain them, then...stop!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Gardening with Life

My sister has a huge yard. In prior years she has planted large vegetable gardens. She now has 3 little ones, ages 1-7. Rather than giving up gardening all together, she decided to work within the confines of her house perimeter.  She has lettuce and herbs planted in pots where she can easily access them for watering and harvesting. She tucked in a few tomato plants in between the shrubs. 

 Knowing your boundaries and accepting your season in life is the key to keeping perspective.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Dublin, OH

A recent work trip took me to the small town of Dublin. It's only about 20 min from Columbus. I found this short hiking trail that led me to an old cemetery. Most of the stones were dated in the mid 1800's,

I was able to attend a charity event for the Ronald McDonald House  at the Brothers Drake. The stories of these families were incredible.  The charity provides housing for families while the family members are seeking medical treatment. It was really encouraging to see so many positive people in one place.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Rainbow Chard

 Note for next year: Plant more chard.  It does so well in our garden.  I love leaf crops because you can harvest from them numerous times and they keep replenishing their leaves.
 I love how the chopped stems look like confetti!  They are good to eat as well.
I love sauteing chard in a bit of olive oil. Sometimes I add lemon or garlic.  It's good as is or mixed with other veggies. Add to slightly mashed potatoes to sneak in some greens for picky eaters.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summer Blooms in the Yard

We planted a wildflower mix by the bee hives and they are starting to bloom. They get dappled sunlight and seem to be doing well.

 I love these fuchsia blooms, they are so feathery.
 Day lilies grow wild all around here. Our neighborhood is full of their orange and yellow blooms.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Summer Things

Outdoor concerts

 The Brothers Comatose

Indoor concerts

 Mandolin Orange

 Wild flowers

And a new necklace created by Buttefly Bones made from a bug eaten leaf and pressed butter cup.