homestead happenings: teeming with wonder, generosity and joy
I’m driving the kids and their friend Mathew to Junction Creek to sail the boat Dan and Col made earlier. (From the nautical diagram Col thrust at me an hour before Dan was scheduled to leave for hunting, causing me to contract with high-school academic anxiety. Figured I’d study the instructions after kids were sleeping, but Dan took Col outside and they built it in 20 minutes. Whew).
Cleared for wild waters. The winding and then releasing of the rubber band activates the propeller. Physics!
Driving to the creek, Mathew tells Col and Rose how his family’s recent trip to Denver included a long stop at Children’s Hospital. When my kids ask why, Mathew sighs at their daftness. “Because of my brother – because of how he’s changing from a girl to a boy.”
Mathew and Rose
This is true. Mathew’s teenage sister is becoming his teenage brother. Mathew understands this transformation at face value, without judgment or fear.
“Is he getting a penis?” Rose asks.
“Rosie,” says Mathew with another sigh, “it’s not polite to talk about that.”
I marvel at these kids, how trusting they are. Their minds are these expansive places, like acres of fertile soil waiting for seeds to drift down and take root. Or maybe it’s more like making sauerkraut – how all the bacteria needed are already on the cabbage, you just provide the right environment for them to proliferate; I can almost picture my children (and yours too) teeming with wonder, generosity and joy like a knobby old carrot crawling with lactobacilli.
On the Homestead:
It’s interesting living with a creative, engineer-type kid for whom process trumps product. Hello, squirrely piles of flotsamy forgotten project in every corner.
:: Playing with blocks when you’re seven is predictive of teenage drug and alcohol abstinence, right?
:: We just wrapped up a 4-week homeschool co-op unit on Earth Science. I taught the kids about weather, meaning, as usual, first I taught myself. Here in the Southwest, we have copious cirrus clouds (very high, wispy), which are least likely to bring precipitation, wouldn’t you know. In the summer, we get more cumulonimbus (thunderheads). It’s very rare to see stratus clouds (those thick “bedsheet-type” clouds). What kind of clouds do you see most in your region?
Col’s cloud poster.
The Homeschool Co-op Homies.
How is Rain Made Experiment:
Also, for our weather class, my dad did a really cool, easily replicable experiment with the kids to show the cycle of rain. Put a plate in the freezer for 2 hours. After 2 hours, heat up water in a tea kettle. Place cold plate above rising steam. Watch plate form water droplets and rain down. Wow. Water evaporates off oceans and rising, hits very cold clouds, condenses and rains down.
:: My homeschooling trust muscle is strengthening and I’m feeling less twitchy about everything. The less preconceived notions I have about what Col and Rose’s education should look like, the more the kids lead me to what is valuable, interesting and appropriate for them right now. For instance, today Rose drew a picture of herself, her Baba, and her Nana. “Now, how do you spell: whoever this is for?” Rose asks me, “because I’m going to roll this picture up, put it in a bag and leave it outside, for whoever it’s for.” Okay, writing, spelling, art. Check.
Col’s been drawing these elaborately detailed ships lately. Rose is always after him to include, along with giant octopuses caressing the ship, practical things like bathrooms and beds.
The fun part is getting Col to describe what he’s drawn, if you have an extra hour or so.
Occasionally, I can get him excited about labeling the parts of his drawings.
Bone eskalators: all the rage at archeological digs.
:: Today Col and Rose skyped with my parents for the first time. It was so cool. My parents were just like their in-person selves, so good-heartedly fond of the kids.
Listening to my parents read Ivy and Bean over Skype while I pretended I had a babysitter over. I used to think being a grown up meant having matching bedding. Somehow that ship hasn’t come in for us yet.
:: Nice trap for the bear who’s been visiting our compost, but, whoops, sort of prohibitive for the 8 humans who use this walkway daily.
Bears! Seriously, we have so many black bears in our town this year. One afternoon the kids played with friends all afternoon at a neighborhood park while a bear cub slept above them in a cottonwood tree.
:: Our guest room! Actually, this is Col’s old room, where he used to sleep before moving in with Rose. Apparently this is now the lego room, which could use a little feng shui.
The lego peace sign that the kids made for me, before, incidentally, spending a 1/2 hour arguing over whether it was time to reuse the pieces yet. Symbolism?
:: The freezer is a cheerful place this time of year.
:: Backyard salads improving with frost (but beware drowsy yellow jackets deep down in lettuce folds).
:: Coldframe, mostly planted.
Winter squash curing…AKA, too busy to shuttle them inside. Can you over “cure” them? How long do you cure yours?
Today, Rose shows me the two-seater on her lego car. “It’s a 2-person chair,” she explains, “for 2 husbands.”
Me: “Two husbands?”
Rose: “Yup. One sits here, and the other sits next to him.”
Col: “Can you even have two husbands?”
Me: “Well, right now in some states it’s legal for two men or two women to get married…blah blah blah political rhetoric and social commentary…and someday the president will say it’s okay for two men or two women in any state to get married.”
Rose: “Someday, I’d like to marry two men.”