Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Farm Day

Gillen fed all of his birds very quickly with the help of his new bike.Yet another duck meeting was held on top of the compost. Maybe they need the high lookout point to plot their escape. Of course, these males don't fly. It is so much fun to watch them try. The females could easily escape if we were watching the males attempting flying maneuvers. Maybe that's the plan!
The presently unoccupied beautiful dwelling that was built for brooding hens:

Real estate is on my mind. We are deliberating about flying the home (not farm) coop ourselves to nearby land where we'd expand the farming. Big decisions...

Regardless of where any new fields and hearths may soon be laid, the maintenance continues on the steadfast stand-bys. The farmers took off the old hoop house plastic today to replace it, for the first time in six years. Nicolas is hoping to pass all of that plastic on to carpenters or to a construction crew.
We're staying grounded and cautiously looking up, trying to make sense of the possibilities.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

New things

Brain freeze:
Gillen made clear popsicles (we are getting more exciting things to freeze today. We are out of anything but vegetables right now ;)

Nicolas and Gillen have new mountain bikes. Nicolas is riding his back and forth to the farm and he and Gillen have gone to a few challenging trails. They are loving it! I want one too.

I am taking more walks with Tuki in the fallish air.I received a bike delivery of one of those cool red flowers that pop up every year around now.When the kids and I played Quiddler the other day they could make their own words, without any help. They are getting so old and wise.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

There's Nothing Like Some Recognition..

to chase the blues away:
It is from Mama K, who I see has a lovely blog with great music.

The best part - I get to pass it on to seven more bloggers. I am going to give it to a few of the brilliant blogging unschooling moms who have most inspired me over the past several years.

Rue - who may have just gotten this award? So what. She can get it again. Too brilliant.






I have to get in a few of the women who are so creative and patient with their younger kids, and who both happen to live in very cool areas of the world:

Jodi in Australia

Rachel in Chicago

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A reveal

This is the corner of the kitchen where our refrigerator usually stands. Nicolas realized that it was leaking and we moved it outside (where it now no longer leaks) in order to pull up the linoleum, dry out the floor and then re-glue it all back to normal.

Moving the fridge meant removing part of the wall, which meant revealing dingy, tired (and filled with some tiny shells of dead animals) insulation and revealing decades-old paint colors that don't match the rest of the kitchen, to our visiting friends from MN (well, originally) who, last Sunday, were coming to call.

As if they cared. They were too busy being cool about the fact that Kyra's arm had gone straight through a cracked window in our door. Thankfully, she only had a small cut on her elbow but I sure would have preferred that we'd fixed that pane before their visit.

Actually, we had a great day. They may even return. ; )

I only bring this up to reveal a corner of my home and life that is far from perfect. I have many. I usually don't dwell on these corners. I'm pretty great at finding the pearls. But today, despite laughing boys playing with their visiting friend all day and lots to keep me looking up, I got stuck in my head for a while. You know, that self-indulgent, no-real-reason-for-having-emerged mood where you want to shut the door and watch old movies all day, alone.

I didn't.

The tile is back down and the fridge goes back into place tomorrow, with lots of leverage under it to keep it from leaning on our sloping floor. I too am feeling myself pulled back into balance.

Every once in a while, the cobwebs need to be seen. Don't you think?

The Muscovy Ducklings

Gillen counted them.There are seventeen. They are surviving, actually thriving, and getting really big:

Monday, September 22, 2008

"Living and Learning", post conference, with friends

Last week, Deanne visited us for a few days with her two youngest kids. Joseph is Jesse's age and Angelica is Gillen's age. They had plenty in common. One night they put on a talent show:
Gillen dancing to "solja boy"

Joseph was back in his masquerade costume, this time dancing to "Macho Man". He and Angelica also choreographed a dance that was amazing. Gillen's exuberant mc-ing brought down part of the curtain. Eek! Sewing is in my future.

Emboldened by how much fun he had dancing in the big Live and Learn talent show, Jesse danced several times! One of several final bows.The day that Deanne and her kids arrived, the boys had dug out old suits that they wore in family weddings a few years ago and reenacted Broc and Ben's "Soul Man".
Jesse stayed in his outfit the whole day, even while jumping on the trampoline and while playing a long game of flashlight tag.

Joseph is a big "Transformers" fan. He and Jesse share this passion, as well as many others.
At the farm, introducing them to our favorite of Helen's chickens - "Mohawk Dude".
Gillen held a Zinnia bud in the hopes of getting a butterfly to land on his hand. It worked!
I am so glad to have had this chance to get to know Deanne better. It was a really nice visit.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A really good date/an abundant life

Gillen and Jesse were invited to spend the night at a friend's house in Atlanta on Saturday. We were asked to drop them off early on Sat. and pick them up late on Sunday. They don't get to see Max very often. They were thrilled.

So, Nicolas and I were on our own. We started our date by going to a bookstore and buying books, some of which were from the 30% off back room stash, so we felt free to overindulge. We got a Butterfly reference book, a series of books by Emily Rodda that Jesse can never find at the library, a book about how to publish a book (thinking way ahead here), Annie Lamott's Bird by Bird(thinking about eventually writing again), and a John Grisham book for Nicolas.

What a great way to start a date! I used to spend so much time in bookstores when I was a struggling actor, browsing and not buying, that it still feels indulgent to actually buy a book, especially more than one!

Then, we ate at Watershed - a wonderful restaurant that carries Nicolas' vegetables and has gourmet southern food, as well as fantastic blue glass containers on shelves all over the restaurant. I love blue glass. I bought some at that world's longest yard sale last month.

After eating, we walked around Decatur. I discovered a yarn store. I have been wanting to go back to knitting (not that I had a productive history with it or anything) and have been thinking about knitting socks. So I bought a pattern and needles and yarn.

We escaped the 97 degree heat by going to the new Coen Brothers' movie - Burn After Reading, which is hilarious.

We went home and watched more movies and the next day, we went to a play produced by an excellent Atlanta Theater group - Theatre du Reve. It was written by a Belgian playwright and included my favorite Atlanta actress (also a founder of the theater group) - Carolyn Cook (who is also a homeschooling mama). The play was housed at the 14th street Playhouse space where my brother and I (and many talented friends) had Barking Dog Theater, for years, back in the day. It was the first time I'd been in that space since then.

We picked up happy boys who had spent half the day throwing eggs out the window with parachutes and different padding to see if they would break.

And the fun continued...we hung out with Kelli and her kids all day and night yesterday and Deanne is coming with her kids tomorrow night. Farm pictures will happen soon. It is cooler, so we may all want to be there more often.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pinky Falls

There are very few places from my past that I get to revisit. The houses that I grew up in were sold long ago and I live a long way from the northern cities that I associate with "home". But there is a place down here that still makes me sigh with the comfort of returning to the well-loved and known. It is a small city on the top of a tall mountain - Highlands, N.C., where my grandmother and father both used to own homes. It was the fairy land of my childhood. In my dreams, I have a thatched cottage there, where we go with friends and family on weekends, or even for months at a time.

One of my favorite spots in Highlands is a watering hole known to the natives as Pinky Falls. My brother and I played there a lot when we were visiting my father, jumping into its icy water after a blackberry-picking walk down the curving street from my father's log cabin.

It was so sweet to watch Gillen and Jesse playing there a few weeks ago.

Jesse is playing his ongoing game "Fight to the Finish" on his private sand island:
A sign of fall:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Back to the farm

The farm was a welcome sight yesterday, though I wasn't ready for it still to be so darned hot .

It's hay baling time:
As great as these two weeks away were, I was really glad to get back to fresh vegetables. Eating in that cafeteria at the conference made me appreciate how lucky we are.

Gillen is carrying Red Cayenne peppers (and is still wearing his arm band from the cafeteria - not completely ready to be home) .

I ate lots of these Nebraska Wedding tomatoes yesterday:The okra greeeeeew!
So did the ducklings:

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Live and Learn moments, the final year:

This was the last Kelly Lovejoy-produced Live and Learn conference. It was my fifth Live and Learn. It was a bittersweet week. There were several fantastic tributes created to Kelly that included pictures from all of the other years' conferences. And the people who were not there this year created a palpable void, for me anyway. But I did meet so many interesting and peaceful parents, reunited with other amazing people and, most importantly, the kids had a blast.

The talent show is always a huge highlight. This year was particularly great. Jesse danced to "Mamma Mia" and had the audience doing the wave for him at the end.
The above boy is the world's next Bob Dylan. He was an amazing performer and lyricist and he brought down the house. I know that I am going to be glad to have so many pictures of him one day, to be able to show that I knew him back when...
Broc and Ben brought the soul to the night.
Above is Camille. She is quite a talented young tap dancer and one of the sweetest six year old girls I've ever met. I was lucky enough to get her as my fairy godchild in the drawing so I got to give her tokens of my esteem.
One of the highlights of the talent show is watching all the kids who gather on the floor, close to the stage. It's not just the little ones. When Fire asked all of the girls to join her on stage to dance, Gillen always leaped up there as well. Who wouldn't follow Fire, anywhere?

Gillen had a good turnout for his hemp friendship bracelet "funshop". Abbi and Alec Traaseth came and brought lots of other cool teenagers with them, which was really fun for him. The picture below shows Emma Fuller and her oh so loving mom, Beth, whose Peaceful Partnership talk was fantastic. As I told her, she could talk for an hour about paper clips and I would be glued to every word. She is a talented speaker.

Max, throwing his whole body into the bracelet making, as he does with everything. He is such a talented, self-taught dancer. I could watch him break dance for hours.

I didn't take as many pictures this year. I was too busy listening, and talking. But I did bring my camera to the beginning of the Masquerade Ball, before I started singing karaoke.... Here are some of my favorites:

This first one is of my favorite couple, Abbi and Nic, who looked a lot, that night, like the main characters from The Princess Bride:Cameron morphed very persuasively into Hunter S. Thompson!
Gillen made his mask at Robyn's mask-making funshop:

Kelli T. :
Alec:Above are Kyra, Alec and Tim. Below are Marie Antoinette (Mindy) and Little Bo Peep (Sophie).

Joseph :Duncan Lovejoy, and his dad.
It was an eventful week, proceeded by many adventures in the mountains the week before. I am tired, deeply tired, but grateful.