One Big Adventure
An opportunity to log in some of the thoughts and activities of our homeschooling family of eight. We love books and good food and aspire to a Christ-centered, multi-generational, agrarian life.

Friday, June 27, 2008


We have had a very busy and blessed month this June. We have so many BIG things to be grateful for in addition to all the little, everyday things.

...continues to do well. His counts continue to be good, but not too good, and the side effects from his chemo seem to be relatively minimal. Developmentally, he is moving along in a number of ways. He LOVES to help and he seems to really like order (not that he is always orderly, but he seems to prefer things to be more orderly rather that more chaotic!). His two favorite things to help with are laundry and emptying the dishwasher. He is really good at putting away the serving forks and spoons and the forks and knives. He does get confused with the spoons. We think this is because there are two places for spoons--they are separated by teaspoons and soup spoons--and he doesn't yet have a concept of the difference between 'big' spoons and 'little' spoons. He also likes to help put laundry into the washer (it's a front loader--yes, we really like it) and to take it out and put it in a basket to go out to the clothesline.

A few days ago, I was working in the livingroom and needed something from the diningroom. I was on my knees on the floor, so I looked around to see who was close by that could bring me what I needed with less effort than would be required to get up and get it myself (in other words, I was being lazy). James was the only child nearby and I was so glad to see a positive teaching opportunity! (then I didn't feel so bad about being lazy). I told James what I needed and asked him if he could get it for me. He said, "Mm," with a quick nod and swaggered off with purpose. He went straight for the item in need, picked up and swaggered back, delivering it with a definite pride and sense of purpose! I was tickled. He never ceases to amaze and he is such a delight to watch. I love to see him discover things that I wondered if he would ever do or notice.

The Homestead

During the past month, my dad offered to contribute enough to allow us to purchase the siding for the outside of our house (it has been wrapped in various brands of 'Tyvek-type' paper). It wasn't long before the siding was delivered and a local friend/builder sent his crew over to get the first side of the house finished (our friend and my dad have both been concerned about this 'weather' side of the house not being finished). Vern and Owen worked along with David's crew and learned a great deal. They have been able to finish the front porch (it looks GREAT!) They plan to keep working their way around the house doing all they can to get all the siding up. Having siding makes a very pleasant difference in the way the house looks. We are very grateful!

Not long after the siding got started, it was time to slaughter chickens. It's not the prettiest homesteading event of the year, but it is worth it! We really like knowing where and how our food was grown and processed.

Friends came to help and to learn and we were so very grateful they did. We got an early start to the morning and about 2-1/2 hours into the day, Vern sliced his finger sharpening his already-quite-sharp filet knife. It was a pretty deep cut. I had the worst time looking at it. With all we have been through with James, I thought perhaps I could handle it, but, alas, I have not arrived. Once I finally scraped myself up off the bed (thankfully, I didn't hit the floor, though it was close), we decided that we could leave Phillip in charge, with all the children helping and I would take Vern to the Urgent Care clinic. We tried to get into a doctor's office, but no one had space and we considered the ER as well.

The rest of the helpers and learners arrived while we were gone and everyone dove in to help. Vern was out of commission for the rest of the day (with four stitches, and instructions not to get his finger--left index) wet. We had planned to do a record 150 chickens and there was no way we could have made it without all the help! It was a longer day than we had hoped, but ended up being an immersion experience. We are very grateful to have friends who stick by us in a crisis!

My aunt lives just down the road from my mom, about 3 hours north of here. She and her husband have lived the rural life for some 40 years or so and there place is an inspiration. My aunt and my mom are both great with landscaping and if that talent is passed along genetically, you would never know it by looking at the yards we have had over the years. My aunt realized that she very much needed to divide some of her many plants this year and she was planning to toss the divisions into the woods, until she thought of me! (Hallelujah!) She mentioned her intentions of dividing plants to my mom and wondered if I could use them. My mom offered to provide all the 'filler' to complete the project and she provided lattice to provide the 'backdrop' under the front porch, some of the more 'evergreen' shrubs, soaker hose to make watering MUCH easier, some supplemental dirt and pine straw for mulch.

Then they dug up everything, loaded up my aunt's SUV (to the point that my uncle teased that it looked like the lead car in a funeral procession) and drove down to our place. They arrived Wed afternoon, emptied the car and arranged the plants. Early Thursday morning we set to work in the shade and for nearly three and a half hours we dug, planted, watered and mulched. We were all pretty excited to see the transformation and are glad to have some green life in front of the house. Now I have to take really good care of it all (green thumb that I am not). If I pass this test, they said they would bring more cuttings, divisions and volunteers in the Fall!) I am hopeful that they have made it easy enough for me to be successful!

Lord willing, I have the beginnings of a heritage here that I can pass along to my children when they begin their homes. I am grateful for the heritage of beauty I have and for a very thoughtful and generous mom and aunt.

Love, Stephanie

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Another one bites the dust

I have never been great with cameras. I do like pictures, but it seems to me that whenever I really want pictures, the camera (whichever one we happen to have at the time) doesn't want to play. I remember three birthdays in row for Katie that the camera broke just before or during her day.

Two Christmases ago, we received a wonderful digital camera from dear friends. I loved that camera. It worked so well. Until the fateful day I bumped it with my elbow and it ended up in Hannah's cup of gatorade. Sigh.

After a time, we replaced that camera with a cheaper model. The camera had an incredible delay which meant if anything was going on, we usually missed the shot we were trying for. But we did get some good photos and it was fine for more panoramic, minimal action shots.

The children loved to use it.


Well, one of the children (who shall remain unnamed), took the camera to get pictures of something cute the kittens were doing outside. And dropped the camera. Now it takes Amish-style photos. You can see there is a face in the picture, sort of, but there are no features.

I find I am savoring moments of watching the children more again, since I can't jump up (or send one of the children) to get the camera so I can take a picture.

I think that is a good thing.

Love, Stephanie