Backwoods picture by Steve. As a treat to himself upon completing a chainsaw safety course, Iain has invested in a chainsaw of his own. After much research he went with this one, which he has been very happy with. He’s been helping Steve to clean up some dead and down wood on our property, with Elijah along to assist.
We’ve recently come to the conclusion that the boys have outgrown the wilderness program they have been attending for the last year. Together we have decided that for now they will continue to immerse themselves in nature after a more self directed fashion. We’ve set aside one full day out of the school week where, after the basic daily math practice and language arts have been completed, the rest of the day is theirs to devote to often experimental, adventurous, passionate, outdoor education. For now I’m letting them go where they will with this, but from time to time I’ll have assignments for them; things to look for, to think about, to explore, to hopefully inspire. So far the older boys have been devoting the bulk of their time to gathering wood for sugaring off in the spring. As you can see, the wood gathering mentality has proved contagious and is trickling on down through the ages. That little one there? Never one to be left behind, she scaled the wall one day when she heard them off in the distance!
They are all very excited and pleased with our new plan. Today I watched Galen make a tidy stack of shingles for a structure he has in mind. Given support and space, I’m always awed by their creativity and determination.
I just can not believe that our littlest love, our sweet tiny baby girl, is officially closer to two years old than to one. It is mind-boggling and inconceivable and yet, undeniably true. She calls herself “Ser-ee-a” and sings and dances all through the house. She loves that hat and a certain bright colored patchwork skirt that she often pulls on over or under whatever else she has happens to have on. She is exactly the same height that Elijah was at her age and looks just like him when she’s sleeping. She thinks that his 13 year old self is the most fun person in the whole wide world. Many times a day she runs through the house calling, “Sijah! Sijah!” wanting him to scoop her up and take her off to play. Her attention span for listening to board books is much longer than anyone’s attention span for reading them. She loves to be outside and hates to come back in. She would stay out all day if she could, preferably playing in the sand, splashing in water or swinging. Nothing could brighten a person’s day more than to have her run and greet them with a jubilant, “Hiya!”. She is really the most darling, funny, determined, sweet, giggly, smart, cheerful, strong, utterly fearless, beautiful, little creature that anyone could ever hope to know. Our hearts are so full.
Let’s call this post 38/52 and 39/52 as well, shall we? I count at least 5 kids up there, so yes, I think we shall!
Our plans for the last week and a half were upended. Many things shifted and changed. We had company. Various family members from out of state visiting, leaving, others coming, some returning again. I’ve barely touched the computer in the last 12 days and I have an inbox full of unanswered (mostly unread, eek!) emails.
Galen is working on a homeschooling project, gathering and recording stories, to start compiling a family history. He was conducting interviews throughout the week. So far it has been a beautiful, moving and poignant experience, at least once he got past a fit of giggles over the first one.
My father oversaw music lessons for the week.
Have I mentioned that I’m learning French? Galen and Mairi wanted to study French because of ballet, so I am learning along with them. It would not be my first choice of second language, but it can’t be denied that there are some fabulous patterns in French, so there’s that at least. Also, it turns out that I’m part French, which I totally didn’t know until like this part year, so maybe this somehow makes up for lost time?
After an unusually warm start to September, autumn is finally starting to set in. Last weekend we harvested all of our squash and made our first batch of applesauce. This weekend I pulled out my wool tights to go to a corn maze. On my sister’s last night here we roasted peaches and ate them topped with homemade vanilla-caramel ice cream. We’ve been eating way too many sweets. She added a few rows to the now well-known blanket. It feels good to start to settle into the inward arch of our year. I think Mairi Rose and I will plant some bulbs in the garden this week.
I wanted to thank everyone for the kind comments and messages over the last several weeks! They really do mean the world to me.
Mairi Rose: With her eager little gap-toothed smile she the very portrait of a true 1st grader!
Seraphina: She really is the silliest of girls sometimes!
We’ve had a damp and chilly weekend here and I’ve found myself sick, yet again. Thankfully it’s just a cold this time. For those who are keeping score; since the beginning of June, that’s 2 colds, 2 infections (totally unrelated to the colds), some strange virus I can’t remember the name of that turned the skin on my torso into flesh toned leopard print, and of course Lyme Disease. That’s without counting other debilitating things like the pinched nerve and so forth. fun, fun.
We made apple butter, roasted tomatoes, tilapia chowder and many pots of tea. I cast on for Mairi’s birthday sweater (dress actually). My long lost, missing, size 6 curricular needles finally showed up in a hat Iain had been working on. The dress yarn is bright and cheery and I’m greatly enjoying watching it knit up into neat little gathers.
About the tilapia chowder! I keep meaning to update that recipe… It’s delicious the way I posted it, but if you really want to make it into something amazingly special, replace the water with broth, make sure to include yams, don’t skip or skimp on the dulse or tarragon and use a really creamy canned coconut milk like this one for the last part.
I know I say this every year, but we really don’t let them drink coffee!
See how they’ve grown…
Some how there were very few pictures of Galen the last several weeks? It happens that way sometimes, where one child isn’t represented for a while. At other times there will be a ridiculous surplus of photos of that very same child (see the post below!).
Some highlights: A tree fort in progress, late season sheering, a first tooth lost, berry picking in her new favorite hat, the joy of a new play space, and a tiny girl who continues to climb into or onto everything she can find.
Mastitis is the ailment of the week. It’s just been a constant barrage since the beginning of June. I’m starting to have serious concerns about the abilities of my immune system.
I’ve been watching talks given by Shefali Tsabary on YouTube. There is great strength there. I plan on checking our library for her books.
I wanted to thank all of the people who have commented on this post. I was truly touched by your observations and kind words. These days, for the most part, there are only a few people who comment regularly here. Sometimes I feel like I’m mostly just talking out loud to myself. It was nice to be reminded that there are other people out there, busy people like me, who don’t always have the time or the desire to make their presence known, but who none the less, are still appreciative of this space.
Mairi Rose- My amazing strong girl!
Seraphina- My poor sweet over-tired babe!
Galen and Mairi Rose: In the garden!
Seraphina: After watching me cut her brothers’ hair, she climbed up into the chair (this one is a great climber!), wrapped the towel about herself and pulled her hair out to the side, going, “eh! eh! eh!” Since I can think of almost nothing that would induce me to snip off those precious curls, we made a great show of combing out her hair and pretending to cut it.