Out of the Mouths of Babes

Turkey, Bunny, and I have been reading the “Little House” series, and we’ve made our way partway into The Long Winter.  Today’s chapter started with Laura and Carrie going to school for the first time in the town of De Smet, Dakota Territory. Turkey and Bunny were astounded that the teacher started the school day by reading a Psalm from the Bible.  Even though they’re home-schooled (or maybe especially because they are), they know that they don’t teach about Jesus in our public schools, so it was quite a surprise that they could read from the Bible in theirs.

Turkey, inquisitive guy that he is, had to ask me some questions abour that.  “Mommy, they were having Bible time at school?  Like we do?”  So, I told him that they used to read from the Bible in public schools, but they don’t do that anymore–they just don’t talk about Jesus in public schools.  And, in his unique way of looking at things, I think he summed it up rather eloquently:

“Did they forget how to talk about Jesus?  They should go to church, and maybe then they’ll remember how to teach about Him.”

I guess that’s all there really is to say.

Getting Ready

I have now purchased all of my “need” items for our homeschool (I, of course, still have a list of “want” items a mile long, but I’m taking it one thing at a time!). Most of it I have in hand–I’ve been to the parent-teacher supply, and gotten a calendar and an alphabet line (and a fantastically loud, old-fashioned school bell, to ring at the beginning of our school day–not a need, I know, but I just had visions of taking a bell in hand every morning, and since they had one, I couldn’t pass it up!). I got our basic supplies from Target and Wal-Mart–everything ranging from an extra bookcase to safety scissors to finger paints. I’ve placed three (I think) orders from Amazon, and have all but one–I’ve received all of the Little House on Rocky Ridge chapter books already (and my very own copy of The Well Trained Mind, which I can’t wait to take a highlighter to!), and am just waiting on my classical music compilation and a new printer cartridge (so I can print the Olympics lesson stuff I found online). Ryan picked up my CPH stuff for me, so now I’m just waiting on my Sonlight order (which may arrive as early as tomorrow–woo-hoo!) so I can really delve into my materials and get organized!

Speaking of getting organized, I’m planning on using my evenings next week to set up the school room (also known as the guest bedroom, but I think I can make it work for both). I have to set up the new bookcase (which has a great, no-tools assembly–thank you Target!), and get all the books and CDs organized between the two bookcases we’ll have in there–I’m thinking of using one for core materials and school supplies (I got a nifty little storage box for crayons, glue, scissors and such, which conveniently fits perfectly on the bookshelf), and one for “fun” books and CDs (but aren’t they all fun?!? I love books!). I have to hang up the clock I got (and it would help to remember to put the battery in first, I’m guessing–better put that on the to-do list, too) as well as the calendar and alphabet line. What else? Hmmm–need to drag up the card table and chairs, as that will be Turkey and Bunny’s desk, at least for this year. Also need to move the bed and changing table into their new locations, and set up the surge protector so that it’s in the right place for the lamp, CD player and phone. I think that’s all…but I’m probably forgetting something! Anyway, I’m really looking forward to getting it all set up, and if I’m feeling really ambitious, maybe I’ll post a photo of it when I’m done (read: maybe I can get my kind husband to do it for me, since I don’t know how!)

My Favorite Things–Books

I own a lot of books. A whole lot. And my taste in books is pretty varied. I will admit that most of what I read is Christian fiction (primarily Biblical), but I also have a lot of other genres on the shelf. I thought I’d share a list of my very favorite titles from my bookshelves, in case anyone is looking for some new summer reading.

Anything by Francine Rivers, but my favorite two are And the Shofar Blew and The Atonement Child

The Lowlands of Scotland series by Liz Curtis Higgs (the second book, Fair is the Rose, is one of the most heart-wrenching tales I’ve ever read!)

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

And, the authorized sequel, Scarlett, by Alexandra Ripley

A Skeleton in God’s Closet by Paul Maier

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (a favorite from my childhood that I still pick up from time to time!)

The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls (I’m enjoying sharing these with my children.)

Me, Myself, and Bob by Phil Vischer

Katharina Von Bora by Rudolf Markwald and Marilynn Morris Markwald

The Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella (embarrassing to admit, yes, but I do enjoy some chick lit from time to time.)

Sisters, Ink by Rebecca Seitz (combining my two favorite hobbies, reading and scrapbooking, and actually doing a good with both!)

Dress Your Best by Stacy London and Clinton Kelly (what can I say? I loved What Not to Wear back when we had cable)

Magdalene by Angela Elwell Hunt

The Grandma’s Attic series by Arleta Richardson (more books from my childhood that I can’t put down)

Captivating by John Eldredge (I think all daddies of daughters should be required to read this!)

Right from the Start by Shirley K. Morenthaler

Antiques by Sharon Gillenwater (her other Texas books are also good, but this one is my favorite)

Women of the Bible by Ann Spangler (this is supposed to be a daily devotional, but when I first got it, I sat down and read the whole thing straight through. Not sure the theology is always 100%, but it’s really interesting.)

The Millennium trilogy by Judith Reeves-Stevens and Garfield Reeves-Stevens (When I was reading these books, I felt like I was watching a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine movie. Extremely well done, keeping the characters true to themselves.)

Haddasah: One Night with the King by Tommy Tenney

The Potluck Club series by Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson

A Pioneer Woman I’m Not

I’ve decided to venture into the world of vegetable gardening this year. Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not because of rising fuel and food costs–with all the money I’ve sunk into the blasted thing so far, I could probably do a full week’s worth of grocery shopping. No, I did it for two reasons. 1.) I’ve always liked the idea of gardening. It’s some kind of primitive thing I guess–tilling the land, growing something for my family to eat. The whole hard labor followed by the fruits of my labor thing. And also B.) I thought it would be a good learning experience for my children to see how something grows from seed (or seedling in a lot of cases) to a vegetable bearing plant.

So, aside from the effort that went into digging the rows for the garden, (I had no idea that what is I guess is a clay based soil would be so hard to dig through and so heavy!), and the lugging around 40 pound sacks of topsoil, there are many gardening struggles I was previously unaware of. For example, I am familiar with the concept of drought. I’ve heard about it on the news since I was a kid, read about it in the Little House books, etc., etc. I know that too little rain is a big problem for farmers. I had never considered, however, the problem of too much rain. As it is right now, I appear to be down one cucumber and two broccoli plants because of flooding. It also remains to be seen how many of the carrot and radish seeds may have been washed away. Part of this is, I’m sure, due to poor drainage and a bad slope in the backyard, but I think it’s also partly just that there has been so darn much rain the last few weeks, and plants only need so much water. Lesson learned.

Problem two, which I had considered, but kind of brushed off as not a threat–something eating my plants. Bigger threat than I anticipated. Not only did something (rabbit? skunk? bird?) have the nerve to go after on of my beautiful and amazing smelling basil plants, it apparently had no taste at all, and decided that the basil was no good, leaving the poor leaves to wilt on the ground. And it wasn’t enough to take just one leaf, but whatever it was took every leaf off of one plant. I was really looking forward to fresh pesto, too…

The third problem, which was actually the first one I ran into, was also not something unfamiliar to me, but something I certainly wasn’t expecting in late April–a late season frost. The only things that survived that calamity were the broccoli that can’t hold up to rain, celery, and the onion sets. I suppose I should have known better, but I was eager to plant, and in my defense, my experiences with living down here so far have suggested that late April is a great time for planting.

Problem four, which didn’t actually cause any damage, thankfully, but easily could have, was hail. Good thing for me, the hail was mostly pea sized, but I could see how quickly plants, especially small ones like my seedlings, could be flattened by hail.

Problem five–lack of sun. Now, I know there are some rays of light getting through, even with the crappy weather we’ve been having, but my plants are looking decidedly not green enough, so I’m guessing they’re lacking in the photosynthesis department. Both the plants and I have had enough clouds, thank you very much!

So where does that leave me? I’m just waiting for a plague of grasshoppers or a horde of hungry blackbirds (I read the Little House books a lot as a child, and I’ll admit, also as an adult!) to attack the garden next. I can’t really imagine what else could happen, but I’m sure if it can, I’ll find out about it soon enough. It’s really sobering to consider what trials farmers face–how many things can go wrong each year, and how much of it is completely out of their control. It makes me quite grateful that I don’t have to depend on the land for my survival, and that there are grocery stores and farmers markets where I can get all of the fresh produce I desire, without having to do the work or depend on the weather and wildlife to cooperate with me! I’m happy to have my little garden as a learning experience and pleasant diversion that gives me something fun to do outdoors.

To summarize what I’ve planted, even though I’ve already lost some of it–four broccoli plants, three cucumber plants, three jalepeno plants, three each summer squash and zucchini plants, three roma tomato and six beefsteak tomato plants, three celery plants, one cilantro, four basil, one set of onions (why are they called a set?) and an envelope each of carrot and radish seeds. So, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens, and if I actually get any produce out of this garden this year at all!