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Archive for October, 2009

We’re starting to feel like real homesteaders! We care for our goats, James butchered a deer, I canned applesauce, and we went around visiting a bunch of the local farms, wearing our own heavy duty boots! Now, all we need is our own land…

Goats

The baby goats are so much fun to watch. They jump and kick and butt and frolic all day long. James put an old dog house with a ramp up to the roof into their pen when I was having a hard day, just because he knew they’d make me smile. (Thanks James, it still makes me smile). Misty especially (the smallest, white kid), has a ton of energy. She attempts the craziest stunts and tries to boss the bigger boys around. Aslan, as we might have guessed, is turning out to be quite a farmer. He loves animals, helps take care of them and he intuitively knows what they need. Even James sang the goats to sleep one night, and now they maa at him in the evenings because they want his attention!

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Deer Meat

A friend of James’ enjoys hunting deer, but his family doesn’t eat the meat. When he shot two of them, he offered James all the meat he wanted. James spent an afternoon getting the meat off of the deer, and he, his mom, and his sister worked on cutting up the meat until late at night. We filled the freezer! I’ve realized that I love deer meat more than any other meat, especially when James prepares it for me! It’s a bit too late for James to take a hunter’s ed course and get a hunting licence this year, but that is certainly a goal for next year!

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Applesauce

We spent a couple afternoons on applesauce. On the first, my mom and I canned together, because I hadn’t done any canning in several years. My mom’s Pampered Chef tools, specifically the Apple peeler/corer/slicer came in extremely handy. When we got to her house, I had already explained to the boys what we were going to do. They were very excited about canning, especially after reading and loving the book Blueberries for Sal. I totally predicted what happened next! I used the amazing apple peeler/corer/slicer.  Both boys were mesmerized by how quickly everything happened, and were fascinated with the apple-peel-spaghetti, and they both wanted to use the machine themselves. I helped each of them run a couple of apples through. Aslan asked a ton of questions about how each function worked, and then satisfied with his new-found knowledge, he went downstairs to see Milo the cat. Shiloh on the other hand tried more and more vigorously to help with every single bit of the process including taking the old core off, putting a new apple on, turning the handle as fast as he could, and putting the finished apple in the pot on the stove. He is such a helper! It reminds me so much of how my brother and I were when we were young. I was like Aslan, wanting to learn and then getting bored. David was always the one sticking around to help my mom in the kitchen. I had a blast with both of my boys though!

The second afternoon, we prepared the applesauce together outside. James got his turn on the apple peeler/corer/slicer and started playing games with the spaghetti it made. The goats eagerly ate all of the apple scraps.

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School

Officially having a school time has become a bit more difficult for a couple of reasons. First, we have two vehicles now so sometimes we go to town instead of staying home all day every day. Second, Liesel went from taking two naps a day to only one. This means no longer have a nap for me to focus on the boys and a nap for me to take a break myself. Nonetheless, we try to get in some projects when we can. This one came from some cute frog wrapping paper. The boys cut out the frogs, glued them to paper, wrote ‘FROGS.’ On Aslan’s yellow paper you can see two frogs kissing, twin blue frogs, and triplet red frogs. On Shiloh’s blue paper you can see several flies, frog tongues, and even a fly with a frog tongue. We found some amazing colorful frogs online, used stamps from the library to make a circle of the lifecycle of frogs, and caught a little tree frog that happened to be sitting on the back steps. Our frog theme was originally inspired by getting to see full grown frogs and frog eggs in some plant ponds at Still Waters Aquatic Nursery owned by our friend Kathy earlier this summer, and then seeing tad-poles and tiny but fully developed baby frogs later on. The tiny frogs were about the size of the tip of my finger and were so cute! I couldn’t help but squeal each time I caught one because it was so unbelievably perfectly developed yet so small!

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On one of James’ days at home, Liesel and I left him and the boys to do school together. The lesson was on deer hunting. They learned about gun safety, following game trails (cat trails in the back yard), how to make a ‘D’ for deer, and what different tracks look like. When I came home they were all standing around a pillow which James had fluffed up, and they were testing to see what each of their ‘tracks’ looked like when they walked across the pillow. They even had the dog walk across! James drew deer tracks and had them do dot-to-dot to make their own.I was very proud of James for completing a day of ‘unschooling’ as some would call it. The boys were so excited to tell me all about it. James’ favorite part of the day was when they were hunched down in the field and he asked the boys what the most important thing to remember when hunting is, and Aslan yelled, “Being quiet!” He has since learned to whisper that answer. Here are the little hunters in their camouflage sweatshirts, and in pajamas, coats, and boots playing outside first thing in the morning.

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Liesel’s 11 month photo

Yes, I realize that she’s already passed her first birthday, but I’m behind on posting! This 11 month photo will have to suffice for now because I haven’t gotten her 1-year pictures off of the camera yet. She started kissing around this time. At first she would only kiss me. She would often do it first thing in the morning as we were waking up in bed. So cute! A couple weeks later, she insisted on holding her brothers’ faces still and kissing them on the lips. I was so sad I didn’t have my camera then! For a while, James would ask for a kiss in bed and she’d crawl away from him to give me a kiss! Finally, she started kissing James. It was probably the beard that had intimidated her. We all love Liesel kisses!

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Wedding

James got the honor of being a groomsmen in the awesome wedding of his friend Leon Eggers. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly at the wedding. It was a neat to see the unique personalities of the bride and groom come out in everything from the wedding colors (orange and brown) to the food (lots of sweets in gumball machines!) to the other decorations (real goldfish on all of the tables!)

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The wedding was in Seattle. We never told the boys where we were going, but when they saw all the big buildings Shiloh exclaimed, “See those! That means we’re in the city!” One of his favorite books is Harold and the Purple Crayon, in which Harold draws a city full of big buildings. Another book that we’d recently checked out from the library was The Little House, which tells the story of a house who lived way out in the country and over time, a big city was built up around her.  I was very proud of them for putting two and two together and recognizing a city!

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Festival of Family Farms

The Festival of Family Farms marks the 1-year anniversary of this blog! Going to the farms on the east side of Skagit County has become a family tradition for us. This is the fourth year we’ve gone. We have a blast!

Picking out pumpkins…

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Going on a tractor-pulled hay bale ride…

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Petting animals…

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Finding treasures in the hay…

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Sitting on a mammoth donkey (as the pony rides were cancelled last minute)…

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Learning all about Alpacas…

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Felting shapes out of their wool…

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Falling asleep after a long day…

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And at the last farm, Aslan said, “I’m not tired, but I think I’ll lie down…” Shiloh and James joined him…

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And that is all for now. I can’t say I’ve quite caught up, but soon I’ll get the more recent pictures off of the camera and onto the blog!

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