around here

a handful of our late spring/early summer goings-on.

flowers, bird nests and eggs, fruit, homemade cider, an afternoon on the sailboat of some good friends, reading material, and good eats.


homeschool :: first grade year complete!

We have officially finished up our first grade homeschool year (well, I am supposed to still give her an end-of-year test, which I will do at some point this summer), and I think it's safe to say that we are all three feeling pretty great about it.  Claire continues to be enthusiastic about our school set up, as do her papa and I.  I will happily keep going on in the same manner and direction until and unless she requests otherwise, but for now we're feeling like homeschooling is where it's at (for us).

We covered so much this year~  We studied North and South America (making maps, and studying each country in both continents and writing a page of interesting facts and information for each one- though we did study the US in a bit more depth than the others and took a turn for a while into US History 'light'), did all sorts of science (focusing mostly though on botany, biology, the human body, and the solar system) including, at the end of the year, delving just a bit into basic taxonomy and classification (which I myself loved in college), lots of reading and writing, spelling words, a touch of grammar, all sorts of math (coin counting, place value, clock-reading, a bit with fractions, addition and subtraction with regrouping, a bit of simple multiplication), and a smattering of other fun stuff such as ukulele, horseback riding, daily afternoon art classes (she comes to work with me), building projects with papa, and Project Feederwatch.  I truly enjoyed developing a personalized 'curriculum' that worked for us, for her.  I can't claim to really have much of a clue or direction about how I did it or if what I did was better or worse than using some other curriculum/approach, but it sure seemed to have worked for us, so I'm calling it a win!  I've made lots of notes already about second grade- how we'll approach things the same way or differently, what sorts of things we'll focus on, etc.

And so, now on to summer........  she is filling the extra time so far in much the way I'd expected she would- listening to her audio books, drawing, playing the ukulele.  We are both making simple lists of things we'd like to do this summer, some things grander and more complicated than others, but to be honest a lot of it boils down to water and fruit, really.



in the garden :: bloom and grow

we've been eating our way through the snap peas these last couple weeks.  the eggs are piled up high on the counter, usually a couple dozen at a time, at least.

we are picking kale and cilantro and parsley and basil to add to our meals.  the first round of broccoli raab has bolted, as has the lettuce.  the spring spinach is done.  beans, squash, cucumbers- all planted.  tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers are in.  the flower beds are starting to explode (larkspur! poppies! nigella! coreopsis! coneflower!) and the garlic is sending up swirly little scapes as it prepares to flower.  I mulched the onions recently and was pleased to see them looking strong and sturdy (starting them from seed, they are so wispy and fragile when we first plant them).  tiny tulsi babies are sprouting up here and there where they've volunteered themselves.

I could almost have a whole garden of tulsi/holy basil.  what an amazing smell and an amazing medicine.  every time I work out on the farm lately I squirrel away a few more little tulsi volunteers to tuck in here and there.

some of the blueberry bushes are over my head now, the raspberries are coming on strong, and the elderberry patch has grown and spread to a rather obscene size for our little yard.  we have a few blackberry bushes that are quickly spreading, the figs are starting to grow the tiniest baby figs, the grape vine is looking like it will be quite productive, and we may just get some apples and hazelnuts this year.

but really, these days- it's the flowers that have most of my attention.  I feel as though I could just stare at them for hours and quite honestly, I do.


weekend fun

Our past two weekends have been so very full and fun.  Seems to be the way with May and October, I think.  They are just such glorious months that so many good and great things are packed in on the weekends.  I admit I'm generally partial to weekends where I spend a lot of time in the garden with tea (often in pajamas until I realize I'm getting a bit dirtier than I'd meant to) and we hardly leave home.  Sometimes, though, a good dose of full-on fun and adventure is good, too.  Last weekend I helped work the taproot tent at the Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville.  Early on Friday I set up a loom for some free-form weaving.  On Saturday I spent the entire day hanging our art show for the after school art program I work for, and then on Sunday I was back out at the fair all day talking to folks about the magazine, weaving, indigo-dying, and making seed bombs with lots of little ones.  It was such fun.  I've subscribed to the magazine from the beginning and have fairly recently begun to write for them a little bit and I mean it when I say I really do love it.  It is such a thoughtfully and artfully curated collection of stories and art and projects.  Add in the fact that there is no advertising in the magazine and voila!~  it is grand.

This past weekend saw us at LEAF, the fabulous Lake Eden Art Festival that takes place just a bit down the road from us twice a year.  We skipped out on Friday because of thunderstorms and instead Claire and I had dinner and watched a movie with our dear friends.  Saturday and Sunday were warm and sunny and there was music and storytelling and hula hooping and dancing and Claire's LEAF favorites, kettle corn and bungee bouncing.  She also fell in love with weaving on a big loom up by the barn, and I so enjoyed watching her serious, concentrated expressions as she wove.  I'd requested NOT to have breakfast in bed on Mother's Day because I wanted to get up early and get in the garden, so instead I was made mid-morning tea and we had a nice visit with a friend who will soon be moving this way from the Austin area.  Papa had done a little shopping around on Saturday as Claire and I listened to Sara Watkins, and he chose a really beautiful necklace for me as a Mother's Day gift.  We don't typically do a lot of gifting, and I was more than pleased with my tea and the card Claire made for me, so the necklace was a very sweet surprise.  After that, back to LEAF (well, actually first there was some bee excitement, but more on that another time) for some more music and sunshine and time with the best of friends.

I'm filled up on sun and fun and as lovely as it all has been, I will say that looking ahead to this coming weekend, I am pleased to see the only thing on the calendar is dinner with good friends.