Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Hellooo! Helloooo! Helloooo!

Hi friends.
I have been very busy. Obviously.

But - it's coming along!!!

Please check out my hard work today, Here. It's going to be a huge compilation of virtual fieldtrips.

It's not done, but it is begun, and I'm proud of the work on the site.
For homeschoolers and nons, unschoolers, and textbookers. :)

Oh! And feel free to click on an ad, if you are so inclined to support a working homeschooling (via unschooling) Mama.

I hope to be back very, very soon!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

in my head

I woke up a couple of hours ago.
Haven't been back to sleep.
You know how it is.

'Specially if you've got somethin' on your mind.

Tonight - this morning - whatever - it happens to be business.

My friend Aubrey (and Soleil and Xavier) came to visit us today, and we enjoyed a wide variety of discussions, among then a conversation that she had with another friend of ours a couple of days ago regarding business, website and ads.

I've been seriously thinking about getting rid of the Backyard Capers subscriptions for about three months now, and just doing ads instead.
The reason I didn't in the first place is that I wanted a pleasant design, and ads tend to make me feel chaotic. I like orderliness.
But as Aubrey pointed out, if I'm going to do the work for BC anyway, I may as well get paid for it.
I don't have loads and loads of subscriptions, even though I really think it's a great service.

Another reason that I haven't changed it to ads instead of subscriptions is that it means a complete overhaul, a complete change of design.
More work. :) (I'm not afraid of work, you understand, it's the "Give me just a minute...." when my children need me.)

Lastly.... I have subscribers, and it will mean a refund to them. Not a big deal, but still, inconvenient, and a bit of money.

I think what I'll have to do is to design the pages one by one, when I have extra time :), and get the ads in them. A few of the subscriptions are coming close to expiration, so I won't have to worry about those.
If I started now, I could probably have it completely ready in two or three months. (Done at my leisure and not stressed out about it.)

It would be nice to be linked with lots of other locals, and especially nice if Steph gets another local project/blog going.

I think that I've checked enough stuff out tonight that I've made up my mind about it.
I can just do google ads for now, and link with/advertise for locals if I feel that I want to stay dedicated to the project.
It'll mean dedicatedly blogging at BC, and getting serious about putting in local parks, hikes, and such, but that probably won't be so bad.

I'm tired and rambling.
Think I've worked it out well enough that I can sleep now...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

almost laughable

yesterday i read on the "no child left inside" site that "Children as young as five showed a decrease in ADD symptoms when they were engaged with nature."

Do ya think?

Could it be because some children are "naturalists" in their thinking?
Could it be because they are outside, learning and exploring freely instead of sitting in a closed room being told to memorize?
Could it be because they are free to move around?
Could it be because they are actively making sense of their world?

I would laugh if it weren't so painful.

not to be denied

i'm not usually one who denies my climate.
i don't plant tomatoes before the first (if i'm feeling daring) or second week in May (we have a frost date of May 15 around here, and often get snow in May), and I don't usually have fits if it does snow in May.

but this i tell you - i refuse to lock up my house again this year.

the furnace is still on 62-63 (though it's not coming on very often), but friends - my windows are cracked.
i need them open.
i refuse to be shut up and locked in any more this year.

i need fresh air.
i need the changes the spring wind brings.
it's the renewal, the cleansing, the rejuvenation that i refuse to shut us off from.

even if it's damned cold i'm still inviting it in.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


dark brown soil
bright green living.


today. now.

garden center
no - in two weeks.
blueberries, then.
dwarf cherry tree.
yellow azalea
sod gone
tree root
damned tree root
tree root
no sod -tall, beautiful bushes instead
tree root!
Tree Root!!
hmm. Maybe dwarf cherry in back, then.
fox gloves.
cup n saucer
Aaah, columbine!
now here...
now there...
Friendly daisies...
organic Miracle Grow
(And conquer?)
Raw hands.
What's that smell?
The garden looks different, says Little Son.
Yes, well....
I no help...
Want to water? No, not the plastic containers, the green living things....
Oh, my hands...
So warm.
Burning cheeks.


'Til tomorrow, then, Friends.


Aside from my Little Son being sick :( I am so very happy today.
P. Allen Smith greeted me this morning, and now I'm watching its proceeding show.
I am so eager to work in my front yard, today!!

I think I am taking out the four rose bushes at the front fence (I don't particularly like them, and they take all the sun in the front, and I have like 18 or so rosebushes in the back) and I believe we are putting in a dwarf fruit tree in front (either peach, cherry, or apple - something we'll eat) and we are placing a blackberry (or two) bush in the front, along with raspberry transplants.

Since we're planning to grow food in our front yard and plan to grow them quite thick for privacy (we're very tired of our neighbors minding our business) we'll put in lots of beauties, too, to keep it appealing.
That's where the tall Shasta's come in, and I think I bought a dozen foxgloves yesterday. I prefer cottage garden style anyway, so mixing tomatoes with cucumbers and daisies and lupine is quite acceptable to me.

Well - think I'll fix my first glass of tea, put on a couple of layers (to be taken off as the day progresses) and get to it.

Have a truly lovely day.

Friday, April 11, 2008

one more day...

Can I make it through one more day of cold? (High of 48 degrees and north wind predicted today.)
I'm not certain....

The weather-people say sixty and sunny tomorrow, seventy on Sunday, and 78-80 on Monday and Tuesday.
I have been living (solely) for this for the past several days.
I have gotten many inside chores done so that I can live outside in the sunshine for several days straight.

I want away from televisions. I want away from cartoon network games. I want away from synthesized and simulations.
I want my heater off and my windows open.
I want bare feet that are not cold, sun on my skin, listening to birds and dirt under my fingernails. I need it. I am becoming frantic and desperate.

I'm not certain I can make it.
But I shall try....

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Medicated Child

I thought it must be on YouTube, so I went looking for it.

Here's the first part (youtube), the whole thing can be viewed on PBS, the link is here.

There were so many times during the program that Eric would come in (or stayed to watch the train-wreck) and I would just find myself shouting and bubbling over, near tears, angry, seriously depressed, suspect of parents, angry at doctors (especially when one mother made an appointment to find out what the alternatives were, to make sure she was doing the best for her child, and leaving with the appointment with the subscription increased instead of decreased) and terrified for the children, and physically ill over seeing their twitches and tics develop.

As all this was happening, I thought of my little son, and his pre-bedtime romps, and how he runs from room to room, stops and does a little wiggle or dance, and runs off again. (Especially if he's not had enough physical activity during the day.)
He has started staying up later - sometimes staying up 'til 11:00 or even midnight.
I thought about this beautiful child - often times full to bursting with energy, a child who does not like to write or draw, a child who has no interest (hardly ever) in doing fuzzy crafts.
I thought of how he craves shouting with laughter.
How physical contact with his Daddy is such an essential -imperative- part of his day.

I thought of someone else parenting him (and all the children like him) and trying to get him to sit in school and pretend to be listening if he were feeling exuberant.
I thought of someone else being his parent at bedtime, and insisting that this child "Go to bed and go to sleep Right This Minute" (instead of being annoyed at the -seems like- middle-of-the-night rambunctiousness, as his daddy and I sometimes are).

My child is not a raging maniac.
He is a little boy.
He gets frustrated at computer games (and old computers that crash every few minutes), he jumps and hollers during an exciting cartoon, he talks animatedly about prehistory, informing his mother and father about evolution, and he has energy to spend.
He (quite naturally for him) sleeps late and stays up late. I think he prob'ly gets that from his daddy.
He is an excellent communicator, is loving, is rambunctious, sometimes loud, and always expressive.

I am terrified and sickened to think that another would judge his exuberance as something that must be controlled with drugs. I don't think it's in question that he would be.

I do not keep my son at home because he is unfit for society, or unfit for school.
I keep my children at home so that I can nurture who they are, and give them a safe place to be themselves, fully and exuberantly.
I love who they are, and shall never consider changing who they are with medication.

I cannot tell how strongly I feel about this abomination of doctors and experts (be they psychiatrists who admittedly do not know much about the drug effects) or teachers or parents who don't know what to do with this child.
I find it the most heinous of offenses that they would look to this child and ask "What is the matter with you!?!" and medicate, instead of finding out what has caused the child to feel so frustrated, angry, irritable, pissed off, disrespected, cheated, abandoned, and sorely misunderstood in the first place.

When will we look to understand the cause of our dis-eases, instead of covering up the symptoms?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

babies on pills

I'm sittin' here on my couch, doing my mom's taxes, watching Frontline on channel 7 (PBS) and tonight it's about young children on drugs.
ADHD misdiagnosed - now calling it bipoloar. (Formerly known as manic depressive.)

Babies. Bipolar babies.
Babies on Lithium.
I can't decide if I need to cry or throw up.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Then ....and Now (or) The Romance of a Watermelon

It seems like folks are always lamenting The Good Ol' Days.
Complaining about how grand things were Then, and what a Sad State of Affairs the world has come to, Now.

A sentiment I most assuredly do not share.

I'm not saying that the romance of the past holds no magic for me. Please. Historical fiction is one of my great loves.

I am saying that it confuses and saddens me when I here people say "Back in my day.....", with a dreamy look in their eye, as if their yesterdays are the only days worth living.
I always think, Well, this is your day, too.

This sentiment (that this is your day, too) is such a big part of Who I Am.
It is reflected in the way I celebrate my life, it is apparent in the way I am raising my children, it is portrayed in my political choices (that I believe strongly in Freedom and Liberty), and it is probably obvious in my daily life - such as walking away from the dishes whenever I feel like it. :)

I honestly don't see that life in a by-gone era holds more romance or magic than today.

Aside from the obvious - famine, women being eighteenth-class citizens, people in general not being seen as equals, chamber pots :) and not having a convenient place to dump them - even in the fifties - a place our folks now would call the good-ol-days we had lots of issues - among them, women being patted on the head, and being told "There there, little lady, don't you worry your pretty little head about it," wide-spread human inequality, and certainly no real choices in the way we educate our children.

I think that if you only look around -- look at your grocer in January, and you'll find watermelon. We have access to flour that doesn't have weevils and little stones. We can eat fresh vegetables in the wintertime.
Of course, if you live anywhere near my neighborhood, these things came from far away - and swiftly put an end to your 100 Mile diet.

And there are atrocities, certainly. Nuclear energy comes to mind. As does Stovetop Stuffing and Hamburger Helper. (I could be entirely wrong in judging these things as imitations of food, I don't think in my life I have consumed either one.)

But - and it is a hugely significant one - we have options. We have choices.
Yes, there is flour with all the nutrients taken out and then put back in, but there is also organic whole grain flour. There is (still!) utilization of fossil fuels - but we have the option of harnessing energy with the sun, and with wind. Yes, it's expensive, and not an option for me, personally, that I can see, but beeswax candles and lampoil were expensive, too.

It is absolutely not my position to be trite and to say "Yes, these kids today are hooked on text messaging on their phones, and people are not interacting in personal ways -- but look at all the lives cell phones save!" (we don't have cellphones in my family) It's a ridiculous point, and not relevant here.

My point is... we have so much opportunity, and so many options.
I love that I can connect with (even on a deeply intimate, and often spiritual level) with folks (women) that I have never met, that live a thousand miles away.
I am so spectacularly grateful that in this day and age, school is a moot point. Obsolete, as my husband says.
My son can (and does) ask "what is the biggest berry in the world?" -I made that up- and I can jump on my little laptop and have in-depth information for him within two minutes of his asking it.
I love that we live on the outskirts of our capital city, and my husband can and does ride his bicycle to work when he is able.

I love this life.
I love this time.

I love this pineapple sitting upon my counter.


I didn't mean to be unforthcoming or cryptic in my post yesterday... I had a really bad few minutes (regarding Mrs. Kravitz, remember her?) and I went through a myriad of emotions in a very short time (mostly fear) and then dh said something Really Stupid (his words, not mine) that made me feel even worse, and and and.

But I'll probably write it someday soon (or not) for posterity's sake.

I am recovered, now.
Thank God.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sacred Life Sunday: The Outside

Working outside today held surprises for me.
I thought yesterday that my SLS (funny, that's my initials, too) post today would be about dirt, digging, and connecting with the earth.
I thought it would be about getting in touch with my compost, the soil in my flower beds, staining my feet, and compacting dirt under my fingernails.
I thought my connection with Spirit would be via my environment outside my front door.
I had no idea (and would not have chosen) that it was going to mean "The Earth that lives Across The Street".
Sometimes life is surprising... even when you try to live without expectations.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Photo Challenge: Friendship

Growing Naturally project

Well, I did it.
I made it official.

It is my hope that we can bring together seasoned homesteaders, folks who know a bit about sustainable living, unschoolers (and homeschoolers) with dirty feet, gardeners, people with ideas and families looking for ideas.

I'm so happy that MamaK and LadybugZen are joining me. :)

Maybe we'll even get a few more!

(I'm thinking dirt for Sacred LIfe Sunday today... doesn't that sound appropriate?) oops!
Sunday isna 'til tomorrow! :)

Please check out the Growing Naturally project! I'm really excited about it.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

growing naturally

Well -
How to begin?

Maybe I should begin with Julie's gorgeous forest of plants.
Then maybe I should say that I started checking into urban homesteading last year, and ran into those folks in Pasadena (online, not in real life).
I want chickens. Maybe I can thank Teri for that, or maybe I wanted them long before then. Our neighbors have them, and I love hearing the roosters, it makes my heart so happy. And I learned around three years ago from my father-in-law that poultry manure is one of The Most Desirable fertilizers.
Recently, ladybugzen and her beautiful boys joined a "Green Hour: No Child Left Inside" project, as I mentioned.
Very recently Tara posted about Sustainable Living, and has joined Urban Homesteaders -- reminding me.
Yesterday Sheri posted of her latest project, a tree swing.
Eric (dh) and I have been talking for a year or three of tearing out our second driveway (we see ourselves as a single-car family permanently) and putting in tomatoes and sunflowers and and and.

All these things, friends -- all of these things have made me take notice the last few days.

I wandered around my front yard today... making plans.
Take that out.
Put that from here over there.
What can I put here? There are tree roots, and it's always dry.... maybe yarrow and mullein (native plants).
This pine tree, with the limbs so high.... aaah... would be perfect for our tree swing.
For our science fair project, we are studying, quite literally, our own back -I mean front- yard.

All of this has made it apparent to me that we are certainly interested in living and growing in a natural direction.

I am forging ahead with my Growing Naturally project.
To me it means growing vegetables organically, learning organically, making good use of what we have, being ourselves, eating naturally as we are able (as un-processed as possible - hopefully ever-increasing), being in tune with our environment, being familiar with our surrounding habitat, maybe getting certified for a wildlife habitat (a dream of mine), canning, freezing, stepping lightly, being eco-conscious, world conscious, and conscious, too, of our fellow man.

It will also include nature studies, nature journals (at least one for myself, the babes can make up their own minds), learning about tracks, scat, dens and burrows, symbiotic relationships in our area, and learning about all native wildlife and plants (I think dh has us covered on that one).

This isn't about being hardcore, it isn't about great sacrifice, and it isn't about not living our lives as best suits us.

It's about learning. And being. And loving, and living, and thinking, and even representing ourselves and the people we are naturally.
It's about our interests, our selves, and our environment.
It's about growing.

what punctuation are you?

I took this quiz (Childs Play had it up this morning), then thought, Well, probably I should change the movie (from documentary) to drama.
It didn't make a difference.
Says I'm still a colon.

You Are a Colon

You are very orderly and fact driven.
You aren't concerned much with theories or dreams... only what's true or untrue.

You are brilliant and incredibly learned. Anything you know is well researched.
You like to make lists and sort through things step by step. You aren't subject to whim or emotions.

Your friends see you as a constant source of knowledge and advice.
(But they are a little sick of you being right all of the time!)

You excel in: Leadership positions

You get along best with: The Semi-Colon

What Punctuation Mark Are You?

The "You aren't concerned much with theories or dreams... only what's true or untrue." is prob'ly right. Though I am an emotional creature.

I don't like to make lists. Too stressful when I don't get them done. (that recovering control-freak thing.)

The "You are brilliant and incredibly learned." is soooo nice to hear - it's about time someone acknowledged it!

laughing. I'll be enjoying that smirkingly today, thank you.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

shiny, happy moments

seeing Honeypot pack up her purse (filling it with legos and foam bathtub letters) first thing this morning, with the exclamation "I'm going to the li-bary!"

seeing this...
hearing my Little Son in the next room humming "R-E-S, C-U-E, Rescue Aid Society!, Head held high, Tough the sky, Our hearts belong to thee."

playing Carmen Sandiego Great Chase Through Time with Little Son.

finding these jewels the earth offered me.


We interrupt this broadcast for a test of the Emergency Life Interrupts System.

Namely, spent the (whooooole damned) day on the old dino computer completely wiping it out so that we might play the children's software on it. (Vista can be most irritating.)

I think we've got it now.

Shall we try again?
I want my money back (well, er, time) from yesterday anyway.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

shiny, happy moments

I've been wanting and wanting and wanting to do a "these are a few of my favorite things" post.
Just little things that make me smile or feel good throughout the day.

I'm feeling particularly fine these days, so I think now is the time.
How 'bout week of it?

i'm just sayin'

Oil (gas) companies had a record high profit this year, and heads are being called to Capital Hill to 'splain it. They (the heads) say it's not only because of the price of gas, but it has to do with tax breaks, too.
Exxon had a record profit (again - also in 2005) of 40bil (40.61, actually) and had huge tax breaks.
That'd be by Uncle George, of course.
I'm not complaining about something out of my control, or blaming, I just don't drive much to do my part - ie I refuse to play.
I'm not bitter, I'm not angry, I'm not feeling victimized or trapped.
I'm just sayin'...