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16 March 2018

This Week: Garden Planning and More

A peek into what we did this week in our classical LDS homeschool.

I'm excited: Once upon a time, I used to participate in the Daring Bakers cooking challenges, but I struggled to keep up and dropped out after a while: it was too hard to be consistent. When I finally felt ready to try again, they had finished. And I haven't found a different baking challenge -- until now. King Arthur Flour is hosting one. And they're doing Gruyère-Stuffed Crusty Loaves. I'll need to find the fancy cheese, but otherwise, it's ingredients that I've got on hand. However, it's a method that I've never tried before, so that ought to be fun to do.

In the mean time, I made lemon scones. It happened to be Dragon's Baker Day (his day to be kitchen helper), and he wanted to know why we were "bleeding the lemons" which kind of cracked me up. I have to admit, the poor lemon was pretty beat up by the time we'd zested and juiced it. But the scones were yummy.

It's also garden planning time. OK, maybe I'm a little late to this party, but I'm planning my garden anyway. I've been learning about cool season crops and when to plant things, and how to keep things growing in the garden one after another. I've got my eye on an Apothecary Rose that I'm hoping to get. My friend and I are planning to split an order from Goodwin Creek Gardens. My big goal for the garden this years is simple: show up. I'm thinking that if I do that on a regular basis that my garden will probably look considerably better than it has in the past. Naturally, I'm using my Bullet Journal to help me with the planning. This was my first draft, but it quickly became apparent that this kind of format isn't going to help me figure out when things will be done harvesting.

This year, planning is more than just picking out seeds: I've been watching Stacey Murphy on YouTube, and she talks about crop planning. She figures out everything and puts it on her calendar ahead of time, so that she knows when everything is going to be ready to go. I'm working on finding the days to maturity information for the veggies I want so that I can build a crop plan like what she's talking about in this clip. Having a plan, which she suggests putting right into your calendar at the beginning of the season, will also help me to keep thinking about the garden when I see tasks keeping showing up in my planner -- and that will help me to keep showing up in the garden.

So after I'd watched her video a couple of times, made a first attempt at a garden schedule specific enough to tell me when things are done and could be replanted so I can put it on my calendar, I tried another format, based off of the one that she shows in this first video. And I discovered why it is that people are buying seeds in January and February: you need to look at the packets to do this kind of thing. I also discovered why she uses mostly the same plan every year: this is a little tricky to work up, and it takes time. Working off of last year's plan would be very efficient. However, before you can reuse a plan, you have to build it and use it the first time. So here I go.  Months and weeks across the top; plants go down the side.

She's got some stuff on trellising as well, and I'm thinking that I need to build at least one of them this year. Watching gardening videos like this always leaves me feeling like I wish I had more garden space... but while I could dig up some grass I'm also growing children, and they need space, too!

As far as school work, the week has largely been amazing. Probably the most exciting thing is that we've made some new friends, also Ambleside Online homeschoolers, and we now have an appointment with them to Skype on Saturday afternoons and speak Japanese. This is amazing. An answer to prayer. My new friend T-san. speaks more than me; she lived in Japan for a couple of years. I am so excited; I've known for a while that my conversation skills are the weakest part of my language learning, simply because I have had almost no real humans to talk to in Japanese except for my children. We played Uno, using as much Japanese as we could and still have the game function at a level where the group would all understand, and it worked. And afterwards I headed to HiNative and got some more words and phrases to practice with the kids this week before we do it again next week. T-san's daughter has been somewhat reluctant to use her Japanese, and my kids don't know tons, but happily use what they've got in a cheerful mix of the two languages, so we all have something to offer each other, and I'm just so pleased. I think this will do good things for everybody involved.

We read books too. Lots of them, which is one of the best parts about homeschooling. We had this gem from Beatrix Potter this week. Cracks me right up; the Bad Fierce Rabbit is getting what's coming to him! Don't worry; he only loses his whiskers and tail.

Hero(11) has been getting more and more competent in the kitchen, and we decided that he was ready for a new phase: once ever other week (so once on each menu I make) he gets to choose the meal and is responsible for making it start to finish, including doing dishes at some point on that day. Tuesday was his first "Dinner Day"; he made meatballs with couscous and pineapple slices on the side, and it was delicious. We've had a rotating "Baker" for a long time -ever since I decided that I can't handle having all three of them help in the kitchen at once- and he'll continue to do that when it's his turn, but I recently realized that in 6-7 years he'll be gone and out of the house and need to have enough competence in the kitchen that he neither starves to death nor dies of malnutrition. He's off to a good start, and I think this next step is going to be good for him: organizing the whole thing start to finish is just different from being an assistant. Poor Dragon; he's not ready for that much responsibility yet, but he's a little bit green over the new thing.

 All the kids are growing up, and the smooth school days this week have really made that apparent. It's amazing what you can get done when everyone goes smoothly from one thing to the next, and how much time that leaves for fun projects in the afternoons. We played on our Minecraft server both Monday and Tuesday, and Miss Kitty(5) got out her weaving kit. Dragon(7) is making serious tracks through Harry Potter 4, and he's built a fort in the living room every day for quite a while now --which doesn't bother me because he's pretty good about putting them away when asked to do so.

For Mother Culture this week I watched a Drive-Thru History Adventure video about Biblical geography with the kids; learned about Herod the Great. I'm not sure why they call him "the Great"; he was a bad, bad dude. More than a touch of megalomania, I'm thinking. Turns out that killing the little boys like he did was... completely in character. Wow. I also read a Yoga Journal magazine, and I've started doing a new thing with my scripture journal, putting in pages for people who catch my attention. I did this page on Vashti, and I'm working on one for Edward Partridge who is interesting for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that he's my ancestor. But also because he's described as being "like Nathaniel of old": without guile. I'm looking forward to digging into that concept; guile isn't a word that we use much, and I want to know what kind of quality that the Lord was praising in my Grandpa Edward, and understand the nuances of what is going on there.

Linked up with the Homeschool Review Crew and the Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Weekly Wrap-Up

1 comment:

Anne Chovies said...

Lots of fun stuff going on at your house. Interesting stuff!


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