Monday, March 30, 2009

Neat Day

It was a cool and clear day. Hubby and I had to fertilize our strawberries, we do this by hand. (And since we are completing our changeover to organic methods, we are feeling holier-than-thou with our HELLISH expensive organic fertilizer.......) Don got the tractor loaded on the fertilizer and headed down the driveway....with Holdy helping him drive. He unloaded bags and we started off - 1o lbs per 200 foot row. The boys played in the ditch - clearing leaves, playing poohsticks thru the culvert, and basically doing their best to fall in. After lunch we all headed out again, the boys with buckets to pick rocks. So my 3 boys and daddy lugged rocks off the field. (Have I mentionned that we live on Boulder Hill and we grow rocks here in addition to strawberries....) Did I mention Don brought a battery out and hooked up a ghetto blaster and blasted AC/DC???? Can you say perfect day? Can you say aching back? Can you picture the angelic five year old bouncing down a row singing "I've got big b........."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hugging Fingers

"Look Sawyer, my fingers are hugging...Can you do this?" Says Holden to Sawyer with his fingers laced with one another... "Of course I can," says Sawyer, demonstrates. "Hay, Can my fingers hug your fingers?" says Holden......oh the gems that come out of the back seat driving to get groceries.....

The most awesome soup....

I used my stock to make cold carrot soup......I've made it before so I knew it was YUMMY......Briefly: add 2lbs carrots, 1-3 teaspoons curry, 1 teaspoon thyme, onion, 1 - 2 tablespoon minced ginger and fresh garlic (1-? cloves) to your homemade chicken stock, simmer til carrots fall apart, strain out all solids add to blender with some liquid, add 2 cups plain yoghurt, blend. Put back in stock, add some buttermilk if you'd like. Serve cold or however you like......Why haven't I been making this or something similar with my chicken carcasses? (I'm picturing all those parnsips still out in the garden....I wonder what cold parsnip soup tastes like?)

Monday, March 23, 2009


I buy locally raised chicken from a neighbor. They are phenomonal to eat. And then I throw out the carcass. Yep guilty. I hazard a guess that none of our moms or maybe our mom's moms would have dared throw it out. WASTE. The nutrients that went into that chicken. The medicated food and stress it avoided. What am I thinking? Our planet in so much trouble. So I boiled that dang carcass on the stove tonight and we're having chicken soup tomorrow. Not because I particullarly like it, but because it is criminal to throw something out that is so full of goodness still.
I'll probably love it. When did our culture become sooooooo wasteful?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More Wonder

I entered a contest about what unschooling meant to me here. And thought I'd post my thoughts here too......Perhaps Rachel Carson was the first unschooler, a quote from the film, "If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life. " She strove to preserve this sense of wonder in her son.
Did you know that Kellogs uses GMO sugarbeets now? Yep, engineered to withstand herbicides. This is the sugar they use in their cereals.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Sense of Wonder

We just came home from watching this movie as part of the 100 city tour. A Sense of Wonder. Rachel Carson. Silent Spring. These are such amazing words. Amazing person. Amazing writer. Amazing message. Amazing Failure. 16 pounds of pesticides per person per year sprayed today. I am horrified. One of our best friends sprayed pesticides from a plane when he was young, ten years later fought cancer. I cried through the movie. I cried for my children and our earth. I cried because we lost a brilliant woman to cancer so young. One of her messages was connecting children with nature young, to preserve the sense of wonder they naturally posess, before they lose it. Isn't that our goal?
I will be making more of an effort to buy local organic produce that we don't grow ourselves. (I have an issue with commerical, wide scale, trucked-for-thousands-of-miles organics....)
My mother is in Arizona right now visiting a friend. She tells of miles and miles of produce in rows, with not a weed in sight, dark green, the desert. Trucked straight from the farm to the supermarkets....Can you imagine the impact of such farming?
I have so much swirling around in my head I can't get it down in an organized manner....
Here's a great mini news report including Rachel speaking......

Thursday, March 12, 2009


How that word holds so much meaning. It's a good label, right? Or is it. Is any label good? If your child is labelled autistic, learning delayed, gifted, short, smart, fat, athletic, artistic, musical, troublesome, ADHD, it changes how they feel about themselves. So my story goes....A good friend has a super cute fairly precocious boy, who is now 10. At 3 or 4 my friend was convinced he was gifted. She sent him to the right schools, did extra "work" with him, drilled and when he went to school in K and grade 1 he was ahead. And bored. And she wanted more for him at school because he was gifted. So she had him tested. And guess what, he didn't meet the "gifted" criteria. But to her he is gifted (as are all our children in our own eyes). She pulled him out of school right when she had another baby and her marriage was falling apart. It was not a good scene. But that's another story in and of itself. Has all this been good for him? (and for his younger sibling who didn't have the benefit of mommy's undivided attention for 5 years???) I don't think so. At one point I sent her an article with this - shoot can't remember where I got it - I thought it was on Alfie Kohn's website.....basically the premise was that kids who are labelled gifted then become afraid to fail and disappoint others. (Ok googled "gifted, labels, negative, failure" and came up with tonnes of articles related to this - here's one. ....And I found it in my email to her sent 2 years ago. You can see I am anything but subtle, but she is the same......And it was so interesting that she did not pick up on the damage a gifted label can do but on the fact that she says "good boy" not "good effort" and "good work" - I've heard her tell him how smart and gifted he is!!!! Have you figured out my friend is my cousin.....) So the labelled kid stops challenging themselves and pick topics, projects and activities only that they know they can get good marks on - the easier less challenging, less chance to fail ones. And if I'm not being clear here THIS IS HOW WE LEARN THINGS, BY MAKING MISTAKES and CHALLENGING OURSELVES. (Ok don't know why I yelled, I know I'm preaching to the convinced.) The whole point of learning becomes to maintain the "A"s and not to discover something cool that is interesting. Does this sound familiar to anyone? I was like this. I was labelled "smart" early so I became afraid of failure. I selected based on the grade I could get. I couldn't learn anymore I was so concerned with regurgitating for tests. The most fun with assignments I had at university was when I managed to break out of this mold, about twice. This is exactly what I am trying to avoid by keeping my kids at home. I don't want them labelled and then become their label. I know that they would be well behaved (my 7 year old was in kindergarten) I know they could do all the work required of them easily, I know that they probably wouldn't be the ones getting attention because they would do what they were told...and then what would they start to do to get attention? Did I mention that I wrote SH!T and F&CK on the bathroom wall in grade 2. YES Grade 2. And I got caught. And the very sharp principal made me go home and tell my parents myself. WOW. The psychology behind that. Wow another meandering post...that makes sense to me. And my google search above now has me reading a whole pile of related articles.....
Here's a great article for happy healthy life loving kids

Monday, March 9, 2009

Horrified - Rethink your life.....

We had a small presentation by the Region's Recycling Expert today. I was horrified by what I heard. Ok, so here's my brrief story. Don and I were trying to purchase a home, and I promised God (ok remember I'm not religious) that if we got it, I would recycle more responsibly. Well, guess what, we got it. So I started being a psycho recycler.....(I had recycled when living where there was a blue box program, but in this area recycling took more energy and time......long story.) So I put everything in to recycliing. I don't use plastic bags for lunches - I always pack in tupperware, I minimize my use of saran wrap (apparently one of the WORST things in a landfill), I use tupperware or something similar, I rewash my ziplocs, we make our own beer in plastic bottles we've used for 4 years that we bought at a garage sale, I return all returnables, we compost, my couches are from the garbage dump, (seriously nice black leather couches that could have been sold as new, go figure) so I do my share. Now I find out that I'm putting things in the blue box that aren't recyclable - like plastic packaging, lids of milk jugs, lids of stuff - so I'm making work for them. The amount of garbage going into the landfill in this area has increased by 50% and our population has only gone up 13%. I was SHOCKED. GONE UP??!! What the.......????? I thought as a society we were more concious. Then I think of the packaging in food, toys and at Canadian Tire around everything. I think of the disposable furniture at Ikea, the disposable kitchens at discount renovation stores, the DOLLAR STORES FULL OF MADE IN CHINA UNRECYCLABLE CRAP, the plastic crap toys everywhere. Fashion. Renovations. OH MY GOD. SICK SICK SICK. What are we doing to our planet? Then, to top it off she gave the kids a "present" a smencil, a smelly pencil (ok fragrant) made completely from recycled a NON RECYCLABLE plastic package. The irony. Anyone read Omnivore's Dilema? A whole 'nother rant coming soon........

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Teacher Visit - Cool Stuff

Ok, for once I didn't panic about our teacher/facilitator visit. I just ticked all the relevant boxes and she read to my littlest and away she went. She has definately come to see where we are coming from. Of course, I tried to get August to "write" something for me to give to her. He wrote in all big letters. Ok, so by distinguishing the upper and lower case letters by big and small I've created a kid who is confused about the letters. Is a lowercase b BIG or little? It spans two lines, it's not "small" like a lowercase o......So now to change my terminology for him and for the remaining two boys. I got a mini panic thinking about how I need to "work" on writing with him more. Do I? Probably should - reading today I pointed out to him the lowercase letters....will this sink in? I guess I need to try and find meaningful ways to get him to write stuff down......
So then tonight when I was trying to read bedtime stories guess what August was doing? Writing his song down. He made a short tune on the piano today and he wanted to write it down. So he had the music lines drawn, the base and treble clef drawn and was trying to put the notes down.....SO COOL, and so nothing to do with me!