How does your garden grow?

With lots of hard work – that’s how!

pic 198

Here is our garden as of yesterday.  Each crop has a special memory tied to it: I planted potatoes with the kids as a norther blew in, me digging a trench while two kids dropped in seed potatoes at a spacing measured by a stick and two kids covered them. Even though a bit chilly, it was gratifying to be out there with my little crew. I remember another night in the dropping temps, covering little plants by flashlight with tarps weighted by rocks. Even the corn has a crazy memory of planting and weeding as the weather first rains, then hails, then turn sunny and oppressively muggy all in about 45 minutes while we worked. pic 194

A crazy amount of rain has really helped our efforts along – but also necessitated some erosion control.

pic 149

Last weekend we recruited some labor from Brian’s brother and procured a trailer load of compost from the nearby horse farm.  The owner kindly used his tractor to load us up.

pic 148

It’s crucial to keep the grass competition away from our peach trees if we want good growth and production. The compost will go a long way in maintaining the weed pulling we did when the Big Event group came to help out. The trees are so happy and beautiful – and there are even a few little peaches this year!

pic 153

After landscaping with Brian’s brother, the next day we unloaded the rest of the stuff onto the garden. Iris was our main help.

pic 155

Brian tested his new toy – a super tiller that takes quite a man to handle. It does a fantastic job breaking up soil and mixing stuff in.

pic 156

Ivy took this picture to prove that I help a little – even though Brian does the real muscle work. Eden and I unloaded most of the compost. The kids were all super good while we worked and at the end they helped sweep out and hose down the trailer to be returned. Then we all bounced along down the road to return it – it was getting late and I told them they were so cheerful and helpful that they got to have a trailer ride instead of just being put to bed.

pic 201

Yesterday we pulled our onion to make room for the next crop. Iris tried the onion flowers but I don’t think they suited her. Eden and I had a big discussion over which plants were potatoes and which were tomatoes – confusingly similar words.

pic 215

Iris takes a break from gardening to go swimming in the rain bucket. Same day as previous picture, second outfit. These kind of days the children literally have to “wash up” for meals!

pic 209

Brian is a count the cost kind of guy and really, gardening is  probably only worth it because we really like it. I love that it makes an excuse to be outside, it provides an opportunity to teach the little ones and some of the produce I would grow just because it tastes better. I’m glad God sends the sun and rain and only a few pests each year so I have time to learn how to deal with each one. If gardening was the first job in paradise, maybe it’s no wonder we enjoy it so much.

Archiving ideas

We’ve had several co-op days where I recreated and expanded on some unit studies I did back when Lance and Ivy were little. To save the work of researching several years from now when I need to do it again, I thought I’d post what we did:

Three little pigs

This was a new unit I created which turned out to be a lot of fun!

pic 029

First we read the story, then built the three types of houses. The boys did the heavy lifting on the brick house.

pic 030

When houses were complete, I used the blower to test the construction. Only the brick house survived the huffing and puffing!

pic 033

Next we did piggy bank math – stacking the proper amount of pennies on each numbered pig.

pic 035 

Made pig-in-a-blanket for snack – they thought this quite funny.

pic 038

While we waited on the snack to bake we acted out things that pigs would do – here they are eating the toy food.

pic 040 

We also painted “mud” onto pigs. We ended with a yummy lunch of pig-in-the-blanket!


Last week we read about dinosaurs. Most of my previous activities couldn’t be replicated for our class so I chose some new ones. The book I wanted on a dinosaur dig wasn’t at the library so I just read one of the silly ones, “How does a dinosaur say goodnight.” The kids liked it but it left my projects somewhat unsupported. Oh well.

pic 137

Here we used macaroni to make a dinosaur skeleton. I had to set rules on how much pasta could be eaten.


We made dinosaur feet from paper bags and danced to the “fossils” song from Carnival of the Animals by Saint Saens.

 pic 134

Then we split up with half working a dinosaur puzzle…..

pic 135

…and the other half digging for salt dough fossils and bones (yes, it’s more than half but this was at the trade off point).  This was very popular with everyone!

pic 140

Final activity was a baking soda and vinegar volcano along with the older kids who had studied that very subject in their class. Plastic dinosaurs were properly buried in lava.

That will do for now. I’ll try and post two more classes soon.

A little project

Katie wanted to help me out last week and when our first project (finding and assembling the crib in the barn loft) fell through due to lack of hardware, I had to come up with something else.

There was a little table I had been thinking to make for our entryway and now seemed as good a time as any. So while Katie cleaned the shower (which had been bothering me for a while) I drew up the plans and cut the boards.

pic 127


I finished cutting about the time she finished cleaning and together we  assembled the table.

pic 132

Start to finish it took about two hours and supplies cost me nothing – just boards from a fence my brother took down and whatever screws I could scrounge. Amazing to me is that it sells for $100 on etsy. Felt like I had earned money that afternoon!

pic 129

Here’s the whole entry way for perspective. Supposedly guests could put their shoes there. It was a fun little project.

A moment

pic 163 

This is a picture of a perfect school moment. I was in the middle of it and realized that all were busily doing what they were supposed to and so I wanted to document the moment. Because “a moment” is  a good description. I was playing a sight word game with Lance and Ivy, the two younger girls were working on scissor skills and Iris was exploring her connecting blocks. It was a good moment and it’s going in my thankfulness journal!

Random events

Here’s a few fun things we have experienced recently!

pic 007

Big Event – about 15 college students came and helped us move dirt, clear garden space and split wood. The kids kept them well entertained at lunch and the big guy on the left was Eden’s special buddy the whole time.

Livestock show: Cousin Connor was showing his meat chickens so we went to watch and experience the atmosphere.

pic 004 

We observed the cows

pic 006

Said hi to the pigs and watched them get a bath…

pic 003

And played in the sheep and goat scale. You can squeeze 6 kids in at once!

pic 022

On Easter, we went to my parents church and enjoyed some beautiful music. Then everyone went out to watch a helicopter drop Easter eggs.

pic 024 

Here they come!

pic 025 

The actual hunt was a mob scene but that didn’t seem to bother the kids. The fact that they got to wear their most beautiful dresses that morning was an added bonus to the day. Afterwards we enjoyed lunch with my parents.

pic 073

AWANA drive in movie night. Were given a cardboard box and told to create a car. Lance wanted a fast car with fire, found a picture online and we copied it. Ivy had a host of ideas and things changed as we went along until we ended with a sort of camper. Her car was awarded the title “prettiest orange car” while Lance got “coolest hot rod” – which in my thoughts is sort of an oxymoron.

pic 012

New grass planting requires watering – a perfect spot for fun on a warm afternoon.

pic 046

April showers bring…..muddy children! These two have some incredible leg muscles; they played in the squat position for over half an hour! Mom and Dad read a book while watching from the garage.


And this is what the big kids enjoyed during that time. This came after a walk where we saw the neighbors enjoying water on a trampoline and that made everyone “so hot” that we had to do the same!

Page 10 of 193« First...89101112...203040...Last »

Subscribe to Blog