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Monday, April 21, 2008

Computer & Life Update

We almost got a newer computer this weekend. It was a pretty good deal, but ended up not working out. The fellow who was selling it, though, has some others he might be able to sell later, so we might be back in action in the next couple weeks.

Once we get a better computer set up here, I will be able to post photos of the lovely children again, who are much bigger than they were two months ago. I will also be able to post pictures of my projects, like the leg warmers I finished yesterday and the dish cloths.

Since Amira's ballet recital is coming up in a couple months as well, I'll have photos of that to share. And she'll be wearing the expensive recital costume all summer, as I doubt she'll fit into it next year, nor have any reason to wear it, so she might as well get the use out of it. I'm thinking she can use it as her Halloween costume, if we work things right.

I'm going to try to use Rich's work computer to post my menu plan tonight, so I won't have to take hours to do it on this one.

We have eight weeks left of our official homeschool year. My goal is to be finished with school before Amira's recital. I want to get us through this cycle of history, since I want to make sure they have a good overview of the ancient world before we move on to post-Roman era and Middle Ages. We are going to spend some time on history and science this summer, and we always do religious education, but mostly we'll have time off. This is both so the children get a break and so we don't have to worry about trying to teach right around when we have the baby.

Right now, we're busy putting in our vegetable garden. We have big plans this year, but it is a new plot, so we aren't expecting huge yields. The chickens and ducks are producing well, though I think we will let the ducks go when they go, because of the mess they make, and work in turkeys instead, as we can get good meat and maybe a few eggs, without the mess and stupidity. There is a reason people use the phrase sitting duck. Maybe if we had more room for them to forage and we had a natural pond, instead of the relatively limited space and the pretend pond we have to clean, having water fowl wouldn't be such a pain. They are nice ducks, and lay an egg pretty much every day, each one, but I don't think the drake is successfully fertilizing any of them, so we're feeding him and giving him house room for no reason, really, and he's too old to want to eat him. They do eat up the slugs, though, so our garden will benefit from that. There are a couple varieties of ducks and one type of goose I really find interesting, but until we can get 30 acres somewhere to farm, I think we'll stick with chickens and turkeys.

The hives are doing well, we expect to at least double our honey yield from last year, and actually expect more than that, as this summer doesn't look to be as cool as last year's was. Rich has one at a friend's fruit orchard, so they get a better crop of fruit and we get tasty honey. They've given us fruit from their orchard every year, and we just started giving them eggs. It's a pretty good deal. This year, we may have enough honey to start trading with that as well, and not just for our use and gifts. Given optimal conditions, and with our two hives, we may get up to 22 gallons of honey this year. We have had another trade like that with a friend who does lots of vegetable and flower gardening, so we get a fresh basket of organic produce and flowers each week and she gets eggs. I love bartering like this.

The haggling gene has evidently skipped me, as I cannot stand negotiating price like Rich does, but trade is right up my alley. That's actually part of how we got into this whole chicken and duck thing. There was a family in town who raised chickens and ducks, who produced far more eggs than this one couple could use, so we traded with them, I baked an extra loaf of bread each week and they'd give us 18-24 eggs. When they got out of raising poultry because of the husband's failing health and the wife's work load, we had to go back to buying store eggs, and they were so insipid that we got serious about getting our own flock started. This is our third year of it, and it is a fun way to have fresh food. The boys help us with the birds and collecting eggs, giving them table scraps and grass clippings, and all of us benefit from them. The children are learning about caring for animals, and have a bit of responsibility attached to it, which is a great thing for them. Also, we still maintain the no pets that don't contribute to the household standard. We are looking into getting a cat as a mouser for that reason. This is a pet we all would enjoy, but it would provide a great service to our house in the woods.

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