We've been working on the house a lot, as always. It's getting to be pretty hard-core at this point, though. Yesterday the garage door was installed, Hubby cut an access door to the garage, and I painted one of the upstairs bedrooms. I set up a little bed for Princess in a downstairs bedroom, so she can nap while I work inside the house. Yesterday I was able to have spend 2+ hours painting, sans kid, which was wonderful. We're expecting to move in sometime in September so I'm hoping to get back to a regular writing schedule in October.
1. Hobby farm: The raccoon of the last post came back and killed one of my two good chickens, so now I have one good chicken and one recovering chicken, as the other injured chickens died shortly after the attack. The GOOD news is that I slowly nursed my sick chicken back to health. It still has one eye closed, but is eating, drinking, and roosting by itself now. Even if this chicken never lays eggs again, I really want it around as company for my well chicken. I think it will be springtime before we get any more chickens.
I found several patches of poison ivy in my strawberry patch. This is VERY bad news, since I work in the patch almost every day, and from my experience the plant is difficult to get rid of. I'm going to cover up well when weeding (thankfully the weather has cooled down) and try to pull any ivy that I see out there. In the meantime, I'm working on a new setup for more strawberry plants—hopefully one that doesn't include poison ivy. I'm in the middle of my third outbreak for this year. 😞 If you have any poison ivy control tips, please leave them in the comments.
2. Food & Groceries: I dehydrated free apples from our orchard, to make apple chips with. For a couple of hours of work, I got a half gallon of apple chips. I also made yogurt. Other than that, I didn't do much cooking besides basic meals.
3. Garden: I harvested beets, Swiss chard, kale, cucumbers, peppers and herbs from the garden. Having so many greens available has really cut down on the need to buy fresh or frozen vegetables. This week I'll probably be freezing some chard and kale, just because there's so much of it.
I cleaned out the storage areas in our entry way and found some tiny potatoes—most of which had sprouted. I took a few minutes and planted them in one of our empty garden beds. They won't grow a whole lot between now and October, but at least they won't rot in storage. I also found gladiolus bulbs and four amaryllis bulbs that are starting to sprout. I'll probably plant the amaryllis bulbs to flower in November (too early, but I don't want to wait any longer to plant) but I don't know WHAT to do with the other bulbs. Are glads good for another season if they sit dormant that long?
Lastly, I planted some extra chives in a pot for my kitchen window sill.
4. Orchid: YOU GUYS, ONE OF MY ORCHIDS BLOSSOMED!!!!! ALL BY ITSELF!!!!! So far I haven't seen any bud blast, which has been the bane of my existence for the last five years. The orchid that bloomed is big, white and absolutely gorgeous.
I also worked on a few things for Princess. Obviously she's too young for preschool, but she already knows colors and shapes and has started counting by rote (kind of... in a "one, two, SIX!" kind of way). In light of those things, I'll probably start introducing numbers and letters this year. I made some dot/number flashcards with index cards and contact paper, then punched a hole in each card and threaded them onto a cheap Dollar Tree key ring (they come in a pack of 8 for $1.00). I did the same thing with three sets of Walmart flash cards (North American wildlife, the solar system, and dinosaurs) as well some letter flashcards that I bought at a garage sale for $0.10. I hung all of the rings near the kitchen table, so sometimes during breakfast we can look at some of the flashcards together. Lastly, I painted some wooden letters that I bought on Ebay for $5.00. I painted them blue and red like the popular Montessori letter sets, which often sell for $20.00-30.00. I'm really not sure how much of this our daughter will absorb, but since she has learned most of her colors and shapes by books, I think the flash cards will be a good extension of that.
Year 1: Ancient History (5000 B.C.- 400 A.D.) plus Biology (or age-appropriate variation)
Year 2: Renaissance (400 - 1600 A.D.) plus Earth Science and Astronomy
Year 3: Early Modern (1600-1850) plus Chemistry (or age-appropriate variation)
Year 4: Modern (1850-present) plus Physics (or age-appropriate variation)
By the time a child is out of high school, they've been exposed to the information three times, each time in a more detailed way. The elementary years are focused more on memorizing facts and dates, which doesn't make sense except little kids are champions at memorizing stuff. "Memorize now, apply later" seems to be the idea. While a complete classical curriculum is far too much for me to teach as a parent (Latin or Japanese poetry, anyone?), I love the idea of a repetitive cycle for science and history.
Anyhow, as I was reading this, I realized that I have about four years until Princess is in first grade. That means I can go through the cycle once myself (because I love that kind of thing), poking around at garage sales and thrift stores for things that might be helpful during her first four year cycle. If any of you have ideas or resources for preschool or early grades, please let me know what to look for!
I believe that is about it right now for frugal accomplishments.
Until next time,