Friday, December 11, 2009

What I've Been Up To (in case anyone out there still reads this blog, ha)

I'd like to say I've been neglecting this blog because I've suddenly become so busy with holiday excitement that there is no room for such things. Nope, life is pretty much as slow as it has been. This is not to say that I'm sitting around feeling bored. The nice thing about having almost no scheduled time is that you can fill it with things you've always wanted to do but haven't because there was the excuse of a deadline/event/etc. coming up. Oliver is home far more than he's gone, which is a very, very nice change, so I even have help with the boys. So, what to do?

There's the book writing, of course. I'm not making as much progress as I'd like, but the story is taking shape and I have about 20 pages written that I think I may actually use in the final book. The rest is scrap, but it's still useful. The biggest challenge for me here is to have a block of time to work on it. All too often, I sit down and start writing, then someone or something needs my attention and I never get back to it. A lot of it is being shaped in my head, though, so I work on it even when I'm not actively typing. It'll get done one of these days.

Then I have my gardening gig. The radishes are developing; I could see a nice bulge on one of them when I checked them this afternoon. Hopefully, they will all start doing the same thing. The chives also are going well. I almost lost them when we had a really heavy thunderstorm a few weeks ago because I hadn't taken the time to drill holes in the bottom of their container.

The rain here tends to come down with the same force as someone dumping a huge bucket on your house. It ends fast, but, wow, the amount is crazy. This is especially interesting when you live in a trailer. The sound is incredible. Oliver came home one day after another brief dumping shower to report he'd heard it loud and clear in the two story building he works in. His office is downstairs. Yeah, I was at home waiting for the roof to collapse it sounded so loud. We've yet to have a rainstorm that lasts all day, though. Mostly, it comes and goes in a half hour or less.

The rainstorm that almost murdered my chives was at night. I woke up to find all these little green shoots floating on the top of mud puddle that filled the container. I hurried to drill holes and drain the dirt, then carefully replanted every last one of them. Amazingly, they all survived, and I am really looking forward to using them when they get a little bigger. I think the spinach seeds were drowned out, though. They never came up, so I've planted jalapenos in their place.

Gardening has got me thinking about compost. We have no garbage disposal here (although, we were very, very lucky to have a dishwasher; almost no one else here seems to have one...I would have been a very unhappy woman without one), so we are constantly dumping food into the garbage. I could really use some decent compost when I figure out how to build a couple raised beds. I plan on doing a version of square foot gardening, and compost is definitely what I need.

All that rotting food in the garbage has got me thinking about how to turn it into the compost I need. I can't, however, start a big, stinky pile outside our trailer. Not only will the neighbors hate me, but we will be swarmed with bugs. We have more than enough of those already, so we need to do it inside. I'm planning on using Bokashi, which is a Japanese method that basically has you layering your food scraps with a material innoculated with beneficial bacteria. You seal it up into an air tight bucket, then when it's full let it sit for a few days. Then you bury it (or, in my case, use a container with some dirt on top), then in about two weeks you should have compost ready. The stuff basically pickles in the bucket.

The one big problem I'm running into is that I can't find the Bokashi bran online without being charged a lot for shipping. I ran across a method of making your own, so I now have a little science experiment going on in the kitchen. Oliver thinks I'm a little on the crazy side, I think, but I'm pretty fascinated by the whole thing.

It's a very empowering thing to be able to produce things on your own. Living here is going to teach me a lot about making do and coming up with creative solutions for stuff I can't just go out and buy anymore. I think Wyatt is catching on to this, too. A couple weeks ago, he wanted a donut. Instead of begging to go to the store, he asked me to make him one because, "we've got to do it ourself". I'm rather proud of him for that.

Speaking of Wyatt, he is doing so well with this reading program we've been using. It's a computer program that I found through an online homeschool coop. It wasn't very expensive buying through the coop, and I'm really glad I decided to go with it. Wyatt is a very tech-savvy kid. Other than keeping an eye on what he's actually doing online, I really don't have to help him with anything. He just finds a new game on the site he's allowed to go on (the Lego site is his latest obsession), then figures out how to play it by himself.

I wanted something that played to that strength and interest, and it's going very well. He's gone through ten lessons (I have him repeat one if he hasn't really grasped what it taught), and there are practice sentences with each one. Today, he read through the three sentences they had with no help at all. It's the first time he's really applied the letter sounds and other skills he's gaining to actual reading. I'm very excited for him! It's an amazing thing to watch your child learn something that will be such a life-changing tool for him later in life.

I will have some new pictures soon. I took the Lumix to the store today and got a nice shot down the aisles. I forgot to take one outside, though, so I'm going to wait until I get that to post the store pics. It's very nice having my camera back. Getting clear pictures with the Olympus was so difficult.

That's about it for me. What's new with you?

6 sonar pings:

Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

You ARE busy! You are going to come out of this time a totally different woman! I am really having fun reading about your adventures and discoveries :)

Judah is desperate to learn how to read. He, of course, wants to be just like Eve. I am just not at that place right now... the thought of taking on one more thing is very overwhelming, but I bet he would like the computer program you guys are using. Maybe you could e-mail me the info?

I am really looking forward to hearing about your composting! Eve would like to garden next summer (in New Mexico! The land of the sun that fries everything to bits!) and a compost would be great to have for the soil.

Looking forward to pictures!

-Andrea

Wife of a Sailor said...

Yup, you definitely are busy. And I still read your blog :)

The Mrs. said...

im still reading!!

im intrigued by the reading program. I'm kinda like andrea, tob wants to learn but im just overwhelmed at how to teach that.

we compost here, but since we live on a farm I'm pretty sure wild animals eat from it at night!

Mrs. 2nd Lieutenant said...

i read it!

and i would so love to compost. it just feels so wasteful throwing out so much. hopefully, when we get to a place and stay there for a while :)

Peggy said...

You might want to check out starfall.com. It's a free reading site that I actually used in my classroom. It's fun and easy to use.
We have a raised bed garden that we use square-foot gardening in. It works well as long as the boys or squirrels don't get to it first. For composting could you do a sealed box/tub outside? I've considered trying that. Keep posting about it. I'm interested too!

The Firths said...

Wow. That's a lot of stuff. Best of luck getting it organized. When you have any breakthroughs, please let us know. I'd love to be able to accomplish more sometimes... :)