April 24, 2011

Easter Fishing

Later on Easter Sunday we met up with the Dabbs family at Lake Michie (pronounced Mickey, get it right).

Teagan caught her very first fish!

The girls caught at least 2 fish each (I lost count) using their princess pole.

In fact, the princess pole was getting so much action that Joshua had to give it a try!

I caught the only bass of the day (small mouth). It was bigger than my arm! See?

Joshua found a turtle. I believe he is a baby river cooter. At first I thought he was a red belly, but he has a flat chin...and red bellies are more of a coastal turtle in NC.


Easter Morning

We all got up at the smack of dawn.

After divulging the contents of the family Easter basket, we headed out to Sunrise Service followed by breakfast with our friends from CUMC.


April 22, 2011

Flower Dissection and Imbibation

I woke up on Friday, the last day of our Spring Break, and asked the kids what they wanted to do. So we spent the better part of the evening doing science experiments. We carefully dissected flowers and labeled the parts on a worksheet. We also looked at a piece of each section under the microscope.

We started some carnations in colored water to be able to visually see the water travel up the stem and to the petals.


The Worm Book

This book is like having a Worm Bible. It's much better than Worms Eat My Garbage.

In my quest to grow organic food and live "green", I've discovered vermiculture. A typical compost pile can take 3 months to a whole year to be ready to use as fertilizer. Worms can turn kitchen and yard waste into cold (ready-to-use) compost in as little as 30 days.

Worms also need very little attention. You feed them once a week, inspect the bin for predators, and leave them alone. The leave them alone part seems to be the hardest here. They are very interesting to watch, and my youngest has upset the bin almost everyday to see how much the worms have eaten.

The Worm Book walks you through each step of worm farming. My favorite part is the trouble shooting: what to do if your worm bin smells bad, what if my worms escape. Worm composting attracts other species to your bin. Knowing which visitors are bad guys and which are good guys is very helpful. It even gives advice on how to get rid of any pests you don't want. Information like this sets this book apart from the others I've looked at.

However, we will not be making use of the final chapter: Cooking with Earthworms. *blech*blech*patooey*



This is a great picture of me and my family when I was little. There I am on my daddy's lap. It's such an "80's" picture. My parents were in their 20's, I was almost 3 and my brother is 2.


April 21, 2011

Love for Japan

My favorite business in Butmoor:

The Love Shack

My friend Stephanie was hosting a benefit for the victims of the Japanese Tsunami. She's donating the proceeds to the Red Cross from any clients who come in and get the Japanese Kanji symbol of love done.

In support of our friend, and to get a really cool tat, Jaci and I made an appointment together.


April 13, 2011

The Backyard Homestead

This book has been a terrific read. The illustrations are very nice. It's packed full of advice and ideas for a beginning homesteader.

My dream is to one day own my own home and make the land produce enough to supply most of what we need. I'm starting very small. One new crop and project a year. This year I added corn and vermiculture.

This book is very good at helping you lay out your homestead in whatever space you have available. Then the book divides off into topics: growing crops, raising animals, and wild food. It gives a lot of detail on each subject and is very easy to understand.

I've still found that I need more specialized books for some topics. For instance, I am looking for a really good book on growing tomatoes. The Backyard Homestead has a great section, but very little about the dos and don'ts of tomato growing.

I do love this book and have read it through several times. I feel empowered to raise much of my own produce and have big plans for my future garden.


April 7, 2011

Waiting in the Car

Kelsea has been taking driver's ed. Her classes are 30 minutes away, which means more time in the car. We're homeschoolers, we're used to it.

Maybe, I do take too many pictures. :P


April 4, 2011

Un Moving Day

After lots of house hunting and really being disappointed by what was on the market (and the rental rates) we decided to negotiate with our current landowners. So we are staying put for another year.

I grew up as an airforce brat. We moved a lot. The longest I've ever lived in one home is 6 years (and that was as an adult). When the itch to move comes on it's hard to scratch. The only cure is to rearrange the house.

My living/dining room is an awkward L-shape. I decided to cut it off and make it rectangular. I turned the end part of the L into office space.

We homeschool and I try not to make my house feel like a classroom. This is hard, sometimes impossible, but we do what we can.

I also cleaned off the back deck and rearranged the furniture.

It feels really nice comfortable again. I don't have the moving itch. All is well.

Where did March Go?

March came and went too fast! It was a great month. I got so many things done and planned more projects for the near future.

I planned out my garden, built a bunny cage, read some great books, decided where we will live for the next 12 months, and started worm composting.

The kids and I have been studying the Renaissance and Reformation era in history and tons of Biology. Kelsea started driver's ed. Ishmael and Joshua are going full swing with Boy Scouts. Jeremiah is feeling somewhat left behind in Cub Scouts.

I'm swinging back and forth between filling my free time with exciting new projects, and working hard to have free time between school and work. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with it all. And sometimes I feel like I should be doing more.


April 2, 2011

Butterfly Kits Part 3: Release Day

YAY! All five of our painted lady chrysalises hatched. One thing we've learned is that a butterflies kept inside don't fly. They crawl and shake out their wings, but they don't fly. It's a little sad.

The weather was pretty bad for several days, so we continued to care for and observe them.

Finally the storms all passed and the weather warmed up. As soon as we brought the cage outside the butterflies started fluttering around. One of them wasn't wasting time saying goodbye. He was gone as soon as we unzipped the top. I think he was the eldest.

The others were a little more sentimental in their goodbyes.

And now...they are gone. I'm a little sad. The habitat is empty. I'm going to miss them.