I’ve been quiet on the blog lately, which is unfortunate because we’ve had such a fantastic couple weeks. I love to record days like these for two reasons: 1. So I can go back and reread them years from now and remember more vividly what a wonderful time this was; and 2. So I can give a shout-out to all the amazing people who bless our lives on a daily basis.
Two major things added to our daily schedule have kept me away from the blog at night. The first one is simply that I’ve been using my computer time to work. My most recent freelance job is mundane data entry, but hey, it pays the bills. Well, the extra bills. Well…the fun money, anyway: Leila’s art box subscription, days at the pool, etc. As a freelance writer, the jobs that cross my desk usually fall into one of two categories: the fun, creative blog post type (like Little Passports) or the straightforward copywriting type (websites, advertising, translation). Even the second type has its perks. I love learning about different sorts of industries and businesses. This data entry I’m doing is for CAE, so I’ve been reading about robots and simulators and all sorts of cool, techy stuff.
The second thing added to our daily schedule is farm chores. While Elwood and Pam are away, we’ve been feeding and walking and loving on all the animals in the barn. We spend a minimum of two hours a day doing this, and more often than not, three hours or more. We’ve got the feeding down to a science: feed the pig, prepare the slop for the next feeding, hay in all the stalls, refill the water buckets, take the calf and the goats out to pasture, collect the eggs, scoop the poop, give Atalanta some corn.
We’ve named most of the animals: Atalanta, the war pig (too many funny stories with her to count); George, Ben, Lucky and Junior (the male sheep); Dandy, Mopsy and Flopsy (three goats); Daisy and Go-Go (the kids); Granny and Eden (two of the ewes); Taffy (a rabbit); and Marble (the turkey). Then there’s Massy and Fergy, the cows, and Winnie the calf.
For the first time in a long time, I’ve had to set an alarm in the morning and wake the kids up so we can do the morning chores. As we approach the barn, the animals start calling to us with their grunts and bleats, baas and moos. One morning, Phil said in passing to my kids, “Those baby goats really love you guys,” and I could just see my kids’ chests swelling with pride. We most often go before we’ve had breakfast, before we’ve even gotten dressed or brushed our teeth. It’s the animals first! It teaches us good work ethic, pride in that work, and also humility. It’s feel-good work. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, if we’re tired or hungry, if it’s hot or cold—it’s a wonderful routine. The farm is waking up for the day. Phil and his crew are bustling about getting things ready for visitors. And we’re so proud to be part of that.
The evening routine is even more magical. The farm is silent. The animals are calm. We feed, water and walk. And then the kids play while I just stand there, breathing in the air, in awe at how beautiful the smallest details are. Our time with this responsibility is coming to a close, so we’re soaking it up as much as we can.
Someone asked me if I still want a farm after having done all this work. The answer is, even more so.
Still, at this point in our lives, we can’t be at the farm all day. There are other things to be done. Math is one of them. The kids and I have been enjoying our new math program. Leila can read numbers in the hundreds now, and soon we’ll be passing into the thousands. We had a fun unit on measurement and another on data collection. Noah and Zahra still struggle with the hypothesis making and testing, but they love the word problems.
We’ve been learning more about essential oils and experimenting with our diffuser. The kids love it when I diffuse blends for focusing in the morning. I must admit, I’m a little addicted now. But who wouldn’t want to walk into their home smelling like citrus or go to bed breathing in the scents of lavender and spruce? And I’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg with the therapeutic benefits. After curing Saïd’s heartburn with essential oils, I’m slowly but surely making a believer out of him, too, haha.
More time at home lends itself to more creative projects. We play with Fifi a lot, and Zahra and I have decided that we’re going to write a children’s book about her hedgehog. We’re excited about this and devising all sorts of adventures for Fifi.
We also have book club twice a month. This has been great for getting us into the world of Franco-Canadian literature. We lean toward American classics mostly because that’s what I know; but this fall, we’re finding some really nice Canadian literature thanks to this book club curriculum from Communication-Jeunesse. Our groups are small, but the kids are very keen and we’re having fun.
We also have piano lessons! I’m teaching Noah and Leila, but I also have three other students (two adults and one of Leila’s friends). Every Friday, we go to my friend Julie’s house. I give her a piano lessons, and she gives my kids riding lessons. Noah chooses to ride Mariposa, the donkey. They even took her on a trail ride to the park. Last week, Leila and Shelby rode the pony to the front of the house to meet Romi as she was getting off the bus. How great is that?
Then there’s the Nook. What a fantastic lineup of classes we have this fall! While the schools are lamenting the loss of home economics, we’ve got Kristin teaching sewing. I can’t sew, but I love to just walk around this class listening to the hum of the machines and watching the kids collaborating on projects. They’re making reusable snack bags now. After the first class, Zahra came home so excited about knowing how to use her machine that Saïd put her to work right away hemming shirt sleeves.
And while other schools are lamenting the loss of art, music and drama, we have all three: arts and crafts, drama, dance, choir, music and movement, drawing and art.
Physical education? We’ve got capoeira, yoga and soccer. Science? We have robotics and marine science! Language arts? We have creative writing, French and Arabic! Humanities? We have Canadian geography and history!
Every session, I am blown away by the talents these parents have and their willingness to share. It’s to the point where we can’t fit everything into the schedule!
And then there are the wonders of the farm. Last week, Phil showed the kids how the giant combiner machine works and let them sit in the driver’s seat.
Last, but of course certainly not least, we’re having fun just spending time with our friends and being a part of our vibrant community.
So now we’re caught up. We may disappear for a while again.