Sunday, June 29, 2008

Clifty Falls

The "clifty" part should have warned us that the hiking was uphill - both ways. Or so it seemed that we were mostly always hiking up huge hills. Interesting, isn't it, that you don't much notice the change in elevation going down. Going back up is a different story. And, who would guess that flat Indiana has enormous drops and cliffs?

We consulted maps and looked for landmarks, and somehow, still ended up hiking a trail we had decided was too long and rugged - over 4.5 miles. William would be revitalized when we came to a creek or rocks to climb up. In between, he kept up the chant that his legs just wouldn't work much longer. At over fifty pounds, he had the choice of walking or remaining behind for bear food. He decided to keep going.

The day ended at a large creek where the kids all played in the water and threw rocks, and then climbed the observation tower to see the Ohio River.


Anna has an alternative suggestion to home-based learner: self-taught genius.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Rose By Any Other Name....

Amid threats of thunderstorms and hail, fire and brimstone, we are going hiking today at Clifty Falls. We'd visited it last September and because of the drought, found it Clifty but no Falls. We hope to have a bit of water to view, but in the stream beds, and not on our heads.

In my small mind today is the thought that I've always been uncomfortable with the term "homeschooler". It implies school desks, textbooks, an American flag in the corner of a room complete with blackboard whiteboard (lest I show my age). I am asked about my "qualifications" and grade books, how I keep track of attendance (uh, if the student doesn't report to class I would call the police). It's the "schooler" part that bothers me, though certainly, we have times when "home" doesn't really apply either, since we are often on the go.

When we faced the decision as to whether to send the kids to school or not, we decided to take a positive approach and choose to learn at home because we thought it best, not because it was the only alternative to a bad situation should it develop. As we proceeded, we liked it enough to not change. Yet, it never really looked like "school" and all that implies with the mindset, the paradigm of school culture. It was more about "learning" and less about structure of "school".

Often, adults ask my kids questions like "what grade are you in?" or "what school do you attend?" because they are unable to formulate real questions that show interest (and that you would use with an adult) like "do you have a hobby?" or "what interests you these days?". It is with these limited questions that we end up replying that we "homeschool". There's that word again, school, reinforcing all that it implies.

I've decided that "homelearner" is a better description and answer, for we don't do "school" the way the word implies and learner gets more to the heart of the change I'd like to see in and out of schools. Still, the home part conjures again the poor isolated child that is never socialized. Ah, how about "home-based learners". I may try that on for size. Perhaps, it is only a name, but sometimes, Mr. Shakespeare, words can change things.

Thanks to It's All Nurture and her post on being a "non-schooler" (also a good choice) for the blog topic.

We're out of chicken food, so I'm off to get more quickly before we leave. Buffy, who is our very oldest chicken, has decided to lay again. Miracles do happen. Just to be ornery, the two Aracaunas decided to not lay eggs since Buffy is.

You can't grow flowers in pots if miniature horses get up on your deck and eat them.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Science Friday - Flagging

Recently, we noticed a number of dead branches in what are otherwise healthy trees in our yard, particularly the weeping willows. We correctly suspected cicada damage. The female uses her oviposter like a tiny saw, making two parallel lines that split the twig and there she deposits her eggs. This causes the twig to die and hang down, which is why it is referred to as "flagging".

The above photo shows the slits in the twig. Using a compound microscope, we were able to view the little rice-like eggs that were in the holes. We put the branch back outside so that after the eggs hatch, the nymphs can burrow down into the soil and grow for the next seventeen years. By the next time we see them, William will be twenty three years old and will, like the cicada nymphs, also have transformed into a different creature altogether.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

An Open Letter to Tiger Woods

Hi! My name is William. I read in the newspaper that your leg is broken. I wanted to make you a card so you feel better. I am your big fan. Get well soon! William

Guest Blog Contest

This week's contest is for a $5 Stuffmart gift card. To enter, simply post a comment about your most horrible-est or funniest customer service experience. Please make a fake name up for the company or business, because I don't want to get sued and neither do you. If no one participates, I get the Stuffmart card, since I spend our entire paycheck there anyway.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Renaissance Man

William continues to refine his list of future occupations: 'struction worker, fencer (meaning professional sword-fighting fencer, not fence builder) and piano teacher. He sees no reason why he cannot be all three, and perhaps he can. He also would like me to arrange lessons in swimming and diving because he's going to dive on the Olympic team (he saw the US tryouts on TV), gymnastics (ditto), tae kwon do with use of the bo, and fencing. For him, the sky is the limit.

I find it ironic that he is trying to see how many things he can get in to while I am trying to see how many things I can get out of.

Farm Notes

Two black roosters were given away this past weekend to a family in the country that had 18 new hens that needed a little male companionship. They also took one of the comet mixes that seemed roosterish. This left four that may or may not be hens. I moved them outside with the remaining black hens and they all seem to get along okay.

William, of course, told me that the comet mix that I gave away was his favorite and why did I give him away? At least I'm not a true farmer: A rooster? Off with his head!

Monday, June 23, 2008


For those of you that receive RSS feed of my blog, you should know that I often publish my blog and then look at it online, only to see a glaring error that I somehow missed while writing it. Often I'll be reading it and "Doah!" as Homer Simpson would exclaim, I see a grammatical error or completely stupid mistake.

I would compose it on MSWord, if the *&^$%* manufacturers would sell the program with the computer like they used to in the good ol' days. Now, you have to pay an additional untold number of dollars, the down payment on your house, the money you were saving for a new car, to be able to interact with the real world with .doc files. (And yes, I do know about Wordpad but it's just not the same, you know? It's like decaf coffee.) Just a pet peeve.

And the Winner Is.....

Rod! of Flockfold Kids! with the answer to trade the minivan. Several of you came to that conclusion, but Rod had an element in his answer that the radio story suggested: that our vehicles should be rated in gallons per mile, not miles per gallon if we are to save gasoline.

Remember, you were given that:

1. The vehicles are driven the same number of miles per year.
2. There was no mention of load and it is to be assumed the same load - i.e. you don't haul feed bags in your minivan, weighing it down.
3. How "cool" the vehicle looks while being driven isn't a factor.

The only objective was to save gasoline. To get this answer, Rod converted the miles per gallon of the minivan (18), the station wagon (28), the sedan (30), and the hybrid (50) to gallons per mile: 0.056, .036, .033, and .020 respectively.

There were two possible combinations, the minivan with the hybrid, and the station wagon with the sedan. By looking at the gallons per mile, you get .056 + .020 = .076 gallons per mile if you keep the minivan, and .036 + .033= .069 gallons per mile if you trade the minivan. As Rod says, "bye-bye, Eugene". You use less gallons per mile (.069 versus .076).

Neither miles driven nor the price of gas was necessary to determine this answer of reducing the number of gallons of gasoline used. Of course, in real life, it is more complicated - highway versus city driving, who is in the car, maintenance of the car. All things being equal though (as in this problem), we could reduce our oil consumption by getting the biggest gas guzzlers off the road as soon as possible.

So, congratulations, Rod, winner of the McD's gift card! Bon appetit!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Science, uh, Saturday

This week on Science Friday Saturday (okay, so I missed it by one day, sue me), moths and butterflies seem to be everywhere. My young son as yet hasn't discovered that I don't know everything. "What kind of moth is that?" he asks.

I'd like to have encyclopedic knowledge and spout off "Oh, that is a Grammia Anna from the Arctiidae family of moths" because William no longer is satisfied with "it's a black and white moth!" He wants to know what kind it is. My answer usually is "we'll have to look that up when we get home". And so lies the problem with being an older homeschooling mom - busy and preoccupied, I forget to look it up. Several days later, here I am, scanning the internet, having long lost the teaching moment.

Do you know how many butterflies and moths exist? Do you know how many images I had to look over to find it? The creatures aren't at all catagorized like I would: Yellow Moths, Brown Moths, Moths with dots on their wings. No, we get Thyatirid Moths, Doid Moths, or Prominents, like I'm supposed to know what those are. That's why we moms say "It's a black and white moth. Eat your french fries and shut up."

But find it I did! The moth in question was beautiful and I'd never seen one before. It is an Anna Tiger Moth . We also found the following and I've not yet found its image on the web. Anyone care to help identify?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Stuff This

How did we get to this? I wondered as I checked out at StuffMart. Somehow, customer service has slipped to all time lows. Jogging around a store of a couple of acres, I select my items. The milk is in the far back right corner but the dog food, equally important, is in the front left. After getting in my morning workout just doing a little shopping, I put the items on the conveyor to checkout. Having done that, I must then stand by as a bagger.

The cashier puts the items in the bag, turns the turntable so that I can reach the bag, and I'm expected to load my own cart. As I stood doing this the other day, the cashier told me that she was "running out of room here" but I was still loading the conveyor. Hurry up, I'm sure she was thinking. HOW have we women, who do most of the shopping, allowed ourselves to be treated so? How is it that they've managed to get us to do all the work and pay for the privilege? After spending over $300 (I used to think a good day was getting out under $100), does anyone ask if I need help out? No, I now have the task of gingerly steering the cart with bags that don't quite fit as well as the unbagged cart, watching that William doesn't get run over, and then loading the car myself. Something is wrong with this picture.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Learning to Think

We are all concerned about rising gas prices. I enjoyed listening to NPR today (Car Gas Mileage May Not Be All It Seems) as they talked about making the correct choices to reduce the amount of gasoline we use. Are we making the right decisions as we choose the vehicles we drive? Here's a math puzzle presented on the show.

A family has two vehicles both driven the same number of miles per year.

One is a mini-van which gets 18 miles per gallon. It could be traded for a station wagon which gets 28 mpg, gaining 10 miles per gallon of gasoline purchased.

The other vehicle is a sedan. It gets 30 mpg but could be traded for a hybrid car that gets 50 mpg, gaining 20 miles per gallon of gas.

Which vehicle should be traded in to minimize gasoline consumption?

(Answer to be shared soon. Please leave your answer and supporting theorems in the comments section. Anna solved this problem in under a half a minute, while I sat and figured a more, shall we say, roundabout way to get to the answer.)

The problem should be more complicated though. You have three vehicles, two of which are paid off but pitiful. These two are driven at sporadic times, sometimes on the highway, sometimes through town. You don't know how many miles you drive - it depends. While pulling horses, increase gas usage to only 10 mpg. You don't know how many miles you pull horses, only that you have to and this vehicle can't be traded because new trucks cost more than houses.

The minivan is paid off, but about 50,000 miles over the expected life of vans of this model. It has a name, "Eugene". You can't possibly trade it because (did I mention it was paid off?) it is like part of the family, even if it does have a peculiar odor to it. How could we do that to Eugene?

Trading in vehicles isn't a math problem, you see. It is a logistics problem - how many people you need to cart where and with what equipment or animals. It is a cleanliness problem - Eugene isn't picky and in a new car, well, spills just wouldn't be taken quite so calmly. Trading cars just simply can't be reduced to a math problem.

Anyway, take a pot shot at the above unrealistically simple problem about saving gas.


When I woke up, my first thought this yesterday morning was that the hot tub repairman was coming. It had taken two weeks to get this appointment. I had also, the night before, promised the kids that I'd take them to the science museum, library, and William's piano lesson in the morning. Obviously, I didn't check my calendar first. (Well, actually that wouldn't have helped, since I'd forgotten to write it down.)

After several tries, I finally was able to reach Mac, the repairman by phone. He'd left a message that he'd come between 2:30 and 3:00 p.m., right in the middle of William's piano lesson, but when I talked to him, he was unable to say what time he'd be here.

"Can you give me a ballpark?" I asked, frustrated. "I have my day to plan and can't sit around all day waiting for....."

Mac* interrupted. "Ma'am, I can't tell you when I'll be there. Honestly, I don't know how I'm going to do this."

His voice was choking and he was beginning to cry. I am thinking at this point that wow, this must be a really difficult employer and who knew that being a hot tub repairman was so stressful? Then, Mac told me that he'd just found out that his step-daughter had been murdered six months ago, and he didn't know how he was going to get through the day. He choked out that he'd come if he could and hung up on me.

I looked at the phone, stunned. I quickly hit caller ID and called him back. "Look, Mac, I'm really sorry for your loss and what you're going through. I'll be praying for you today. My hot tub can wait. Maybe, you should take the day off and be with people you care about."

Mac then told me that there wasn't anyone. How sad. He had composed himself somewhat and said that if I called the store and left payment information, he could come without me being there. I again told him I'd be thinking of him, and hung up.

When I called the store to pay, I asked if they knew their employee had a serious situation going on, and she said that yes, she did but they'd told him to just "do his best". I told her that they needed to check on him, that he had relayed there was no one in his life to care, and that he didn't seem to be doing so well. She said she would, and thanked me.

We went on with our day, seeing the dinosaur exhibit at the museum, eating lunch at Subway, stripping the library of all it's children's books, and attending William's group lesson at piano. Mac called as the lesson ended; he was at our house. When I got home, he was sitting cross-legged in front of our hot tub, most of the repair completed. I crouched down beside him and asked him how he was doing. He'd made it through the day, and said he wouldn't know until he got home and told "the other one", I'm assuming another step-daughter. I asked, not wanting to pry too much but wanting to be there to listen, if they'd just discovered this news. No, he said, "they'd" known in December, but had just "seen fit" to tell him. He didn't share who "they" were.

As he left, I again said I'd be praying for him, and offered him a tip, which I usually do for repairmen, so they can get a bite to eat in the drive-through before the trip back. Mac declined.

"I don't mean to offend you..." I said.

"No, it doesn't offend me, but I can't accept it. Not today."

Some days, money and hot tubs, they just don't seem so important.

*Name changed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


He's not the first Lester, but rather Lester Jr. The name seems to stick to all our roosters as the phrase "Lester the Molester" just seems so apt. When it comes to his hens, Lester is not at all concerned about their romantic desires. He's all business, the boss, and in return, he will point out the choicest morsels of food and fight off any intruders to death if necessary (which is what happened to Lester Sr., killed by a dog through the fence).

I'm always amused to hear about people that are about to have "the talk" with their thirteen year old kids. At our place, the talk starts about age two or three when the child laughs, "Look, Mommy, Lester's riding on the back of that chicken!" And, I say no, Lester is fertilizing her eggs. At that age, you usually get an "oh" and that's the end of it. Of course as they get older, the questions require a more detailed explanation.

Having farm animals teaches so much, science, bringing life into the world, death, how to handle emergencies, how to love. We've lost something in our culture by being disconnected from our food sources. For example, I've many times been asked if we must keep a rooster in order to have eggs. I then explain to the adult that no, hens have eggs daily just as humans do monthly, male or no. I am happy to field such questions, such as do we eat the fertilized eggs (we do) because I'm happy to share what we have.

I hear Lester now, crowing his head off, waiting for me to release them from the coop. He starts this time of year at about 4 a.m. Two of the five ugly black chickens (an unlikely mix of one quarter Arucauna, one quarter Cochin and one half black Silkie) are roosters. They will easily be re-homed through Freecycle, though I try not to think about their fate once they leave here. I try to find them homes at horse farms, where they are prized at eating bugs. The yellow chicks (I still don't know what breed) are as yet unsexed.

Farm Notes
On NPR, I heard a story about a farm that uses horses for pet therapy, something I have wanted to do with our minis. To my delight, it is about 20 minutes from my house. How fortuitous!

I got a load of hay yesterday. We made it through the winter with what we had bought, though perhaps had Bay lived (the boy liked his hay) we might not have. When I called to buy more, it wasn't yet ready or "cured". It looks to be a good year for hay so far.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Who Dunnit?

Country-style living magazines always impress me with photos of covered porches casually decorated with rocking chairs and pots of flowers. Though limited in time, I try to put out a few flowers here and there in unusual pots. Lately, I've noticed disturbances in my flower pots. Someone has be flattening my petunias. I was even more distressed to find the dirt from my impatiens scattered all around. (see photo to left)

Who was to blame? Daisy shows little interest usually, though I asked her to smell the pot to see if she could find the culprit.

I was inclined to blame the cats, though not Jack (pictured) but Lazarus who likes to mess with things. It never dawned on me to blame the chickens, who are usually penned up, but I had let them out to hunt cicadas! They were the criminals. They have been successfully penned up again, and the flowers are now staying put in their pots.

Monday, June 16, 2008


"There are things worse than death," said our neighbor as he trimmed our horses' hooves. He was thinking of his son, "Nick" After a safe tour of duty in Iraq, Nick was in an ATV accident while out riding with his buddies late at night. He wasn't wearing a helmet. The blow to his head changed him forever. His mom sits by his side every day, measuring a good day by a twitch in his eyes or a movement of a finger in response to a question. It could have been so different.

A young motorcyclist once told me that he chose not to wear a helmet. It was his life, he said, and if he died, he was the one to pay. If that was true, I'd call that "natural selection". Don't let the dumb ones reproduce. But, the victim doesn't always die. Sometimes, the victim's family has to watch the injured lay there and hang onto a shred of hope that he'll recover, knowing as the days pass so passes that chance.

Lauren called me in a shaky voice last Wednesday. Anna had been bucked from her horse and had hit her head. She was physically okay, but she was developing memory loss. After a long day at the hospital, it was confirmed that she had suffered a concussion but with no bleeding. The lining of her helmet was cracked right up the backside. Dh wondered if it had a warranty on it. I told him yes, that we'd just cashed it in: it saved her life. (The photo shows the crack on the inside shell of the helmet.) Today, she is fine with a few scrapes to show for her ordeal.

I don't understand, really I don't, why I still see adults ride ATVs, bicycles and horses without helmets. Aside from the poor example you set for children, you risk everything you are and your child's mom or dad. I myself would be dead or worse had I not been wearing a helmet 10 years back when my head hit the road when I fell from my horse. And for children, it should be a non-negotiable set-in-stone rule of riding anything, including casual sitting on the horse or vehicle in the yard.
And for all you folks that want to send me (again) the email about how when you were a child in the "good ol' days", you didn't wear a seatbelt or carseat, jumped off roofs, ate lead paint and generally took no safety precautions, you were the lucky ones. Some people aren't here to forward those emails because they didn't survive. Wear your helmets!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Lost in Translation

"Boys have a way of humiliating a parent," said my friend. To illustrate, she wrote the following guest blog. She felt she could not post it on her own blog, wanting to protect her son (and possibly herself?) from further embarrassment. I consented to share her story anonymously. Luckily, she and the characters in the story have a great sense of humor.

This past weekend, my parents offered to watch my son,"Joe." Since my parents were working at the local church yard sale, Joe joined them. Making himself very useful during the unseasonably HOT day, Joe went from around the yard sale pouring cold water for the various workers.

After pouring numerous cold cups of water for one group of older ladies, my son politely inquired, "Is there anything else I can do for you all?" One of the ladies answered, "Yes, it is so hot! Please, pour that cold water on my head."

Well, my 10 year old son is VERY literal. He is also a pleaser. Have I told you that my innocent out-of-the-box son is VERY, VERY literal? Combining these traits, when he was asked to "pour the water on the woman's head" -- he complied -- by "POURING THE WATER ON THE WOMAN'S HEAD!"

As the water dripped down the front of her head onto her pants, and she squealed in surprise, I can only imagine Joe's response. As surprised as the nice little old lady was -- Joe was just as confused. She DID ask for him to "pour the water" on her head after all. Thankfully, she had a great attitude about it. It makes me wonder if she too raised a very literal son.

The moral of the story is BEWARE of what you say around 10 year old boys!

To protect the innocent from embarrassment, the name in this blog has been changed.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Italian Concerto

My daughter's recital on June 6, 2008 at Comstock Hall at the University of Louisville. She's playing the Italian Concerto: Allegro by Bach.


I placed my hand on the shoulder of HC's mom, and told her that she must be doing a wonderful job with her daughter, as I saw a tremendous improvement in her attention span and behavior from last year. After she picked her jaw back up off the ground, she said, "Really??" I assured her that though I know that she continued to have challenges with HC, that not having seen her in a year, I could see the difference. I told her to hang in there, that her hard work and love would continue to pay off. I could see that the woman had tears in her eyes.

I wonder how often this woman receives a bit of encouragment from other parents. It is more likely that other parents look at this beautiful, bi-racial child adopted by older parents with disapproval of her interactions with the class and other kids. Even without training in early childhood behavior, one can see that HC marches to her own drum. Yet, how often does our society judge rather than encourage and support? God has great plans for HC.
Look in the right margin, and you'll see a new button that says RSSFWD and invites you to enter your email address. If you do so, you'll receive this blog by email. This replaces the Blogarithm service that did the same thing. Blogarithm was bought out by RSSFWD. If you prefer to have it sent to your email address rather than checking the actual website, you have this option.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


In one week, William went from not wanting to play the piano to deciding that he would become a piano teacher so that he could have "Mr. Jeremy" as his boss. Mr. Jeremy is Dr. Jeremy Dittus who taught Dalcroze Eurhythmics at the Suzuki Piano Institute. And William loved the class. The fancy name is a method of teaching, literally, good rhythm, using experiential knowledge.

Using only his piano and singing voice, Jeremy had the younger class moving the whole hour, listening for when the music stopped and when it began again. The melody when up and then down again. He taught the idea of a musical phrase. William loved the movement and activity of the class. You can read more about it at
The older kids took Eurhythmics at a higher level. The concepts presented in Lauren's class were well above my ability to understand. Who knew that there was a 9/16th time signature or a 12/16th? Not me. My music education didn't go much beyond 3/4 or 4/4 time. Particularly interesting to me was watching a bunch of (predominantly) white kids used to sitting still at a piano trying to use their bodies to find the rhythm of the music and feel the music.
One down side to this class is that I will have to do a week of listening to my own music to get the "Elevator" song out of my head. "Elevator, why don't you take me up, up, up, up, up....."
Farm Notes
Roxie and Chiron are getting along famously.
My new chickies are growing fast and I need to fix up a yard and some kind of roosting box for them. I still don't know what kind they are, and need to call the neighbor who gave them to me for that information.
Last year, I had some gourd or squash plants that never did turn out any produce. That's because they weren't gourd or squash at all, but hollyhocks. My sister identified them and said that it took them two years to bloom - this being that year. Sure enough, two days later, I have pink blooms.
I bought two bales of hay at $7 a bale to get us by until I can get some early next week. It has to "cure" before I can put new hay in my barn, or I run the risk of burning down the barn.
Really, I don't mostly mind the sound of cicadas nor am I freaked out when they land on me - except I really don't like them crawling up my neck. I feel for the people in the Bible plagued by locusts. I'm letting the big chickens free-range this week to go cicada hunting. All you can eat buffet!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cicada Ringtones?

Okay, what brilliant person thought that one up? My adsense ad (see to the right) is currently advertising cicada ringtones. First of all, I refuse to pay for another ringtone even were my current ringtone to play the Beverly Hillbillies theme song. Sorry, I'm not adding yet another feature for a small fee. And why I ask, would I want to hear even more cicadas?

Today, we were stopped in town by the slowest moving train. We turned off the car to save gas, rolled down the windows, and had to throw out cicadas that kept flying in the window. At least they were the lucky ones. Moments earlier, several had smashed themselves on the windshield leaving white smears as I hurtled down the highway . That reminds me of a cicada joke: What is the last thing that goes through a cicada's mind as it hits your windshield? Its butt.

P.S. Arg! And so I publish this post and the adsense ad is now something else. Well, it did advertise cicada ringtones. Really.

Wordless Wednesday - Quarter Pounder (Really!) with Cheese

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Barely a Whisper

My sister, Diane, turned and looked at me with an expression that silently said, "Is this guy nuts or what?" We were in a "Master Class" for Pre-Twinkles, kids that were going to begin piano lessons but have not yet played, and the teacher, Bruce Anderson, was whispering. The whole hour.
His whispering was intended to illustrate a very Suzuki idea - that modeling behavior and setting the correct environment was critical in getting the behaviors and learning outcomes we adults desire to achieve. For example, he said, you don't yell at your children to get them to be quiet. By the end of the class, not only were all adults whispering our responses, but the children had sat quietly for an hour.
Outside the room, Diane asked if he was planning to do that all week. Agitated, she remarked that she had adult ADD and didn't think she could take a whole week of whispering. I agreed it was a bit unusual, and aggravating. Surprisingly, by the end of the week, it didn't seem to bother either one of us as much. Still, it was difficult for two people who are multitaskers in motion to just want someone to tell them a lot of information quickly so that we can move on. Yet, on the last day, Bruce raised his voice slightly above a whisper to talk to observing teachers and parents. Little Allie, a four year old, tapped Bruce on the arm and whispered, "You're supposed to whisper!"
So we did it, my sister and I. We tolerated one hour a day of whispering, and saw clearly the illustration that setting the environment (quietly playing the Suzuki music, turning off background noise, taking softly) all resulted in behavioral changes in the children.
My purpose in bringing William to the Suzuki Piano Institute was to see if by being around other children playing piano, he would finally consent to even approaching the piano. He's been resistant in the past, I think due in part to the embarrassment of having attention focused on himself. By the end of the week, as you see in the photo, William not only played notes but asked to do it. For a more traditional approach, this may seem insignificant, but for us, it was big. He wanted to do it. We are hoping that by starting lessons this week in a group with two boys of similar age, he will continue to be motivated to play.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Hottern' Blue Blazes

Whoo, is it hot! And I went out in it! Had to go to StuffMart to restock after a week of being on the go. Dh says he doesn't know why they even bother to print him a paycheck. We ought to just have it direct deposited to StuffMart and we can just go over there and have our purchases deducted from our account.

We are about out of hay, but luckily, the middle pasture has some grass. We are slowly letting the horses onto it and will let them eat that until next week when my hay guy promises that he'll have the first cutting. Likely, I'll have to take a number to get some.

My writing time is short today, for even though it is late, I promised William that he could run through the sprinkler before bedtime. Maybe more writing time later?

Saturday, June 07, 2008

I'm Back!

...and you didn't even know I was gone! The week went by in a blur as we attended the Suzuki Piano Institute in Louisville. In addition, I happily hosted my sister and two nieces who attended with us. For homeschoolers, getting out the door at an early hour on a daily basis was a challenge. Planning wardrobes, packing lunches, getting animal chores done, and eating breakfast was challenging enough. Being on a full-day schedule, talking all day to people (!) and attending classes was both rewarding and exhausting. (We are so spoiled!) Both William and Lauren gained many wonderful learning experiences.

I have many little tidbits and thoughts to share from the week, but it is late, and I just wanted to check in.

Quick Farm Notes:
I imagine that the audience who congratulated Lauren on her recital performance didn't realize that to attend the institute, the girl had to get up very early to care for dogs, horses, chickens and cats. Anna was kind enough to help and to attend a few days to share it with Lauren and William.

Maggie, the miniature horse that foaled Roxie a year ago, has been sold along with her "husband" to a family in Indiana. You might remember that although Roxie was given to us, Maggie remained the property of our neighbor. She wanted Maggie to stay with her husband, Easy, as they'd been together since they were very young.

It will be very sad to see her go, but Mags is a broodmare, and will be happiest being with Easy and raising babies. However, this week, of all weeks, we had to wean Roxie so that Mags could leave tomorrow for her new home. We've let them be together at night, and Roxie, at nearly a year old will be fine. Chiron and Roxie could keep each other much wanted company, but Chi tries a little too hard and hasn't learned yet that chasing a girl without stopping around the paddock does not endear her to you.

We are about out of last year's hay. I hope our hay guy has some more.

The humidity has arrived along with the cicadas. Speaking of which, I hear Jorgen (Gotland pony) ate one today. Yuck!

More tomorrow.


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