Sunday, June 22, 2008

Planning, planning, planning...

Summer is time for me to start the countdown to school starting again (10 weeks, 9 weeks, 8 weeks...). At 10 weeks I get into my summer schedule of walking/gardening/cleaning in the morning, and working on projects in the afternoon. By 9 weeks I'm rolling.

At 8 weeks (that was last week) I painted the boys' bedroom while they were at camp. Their room is the "bonus room" over the garage, i.e. a huge room, with one window facing north. It had dark green walls when we moved into the house 2 1/2 years ago, and looked a bit like a cave with a very bumpy floor (it is a boy's room, after all!) and dark corners to hide things in. It's now a huge room with light tan walls and no dark corners. In fact, until the boys came home from scout camp, the room was even carpeted with carpeting instead of you-name-it! But the boys have been working hard on making their chores routine, and one of those chores is to clean up the floor of their room - so we'll see how they do! I have confidence that they'll meet that weekly challenge - they are Boy Scouts, after all.

So now we're down to week 7 - the planning week. This is when I start planning for next year's school year. Not that I haven't started already - the curriculum is chosen and some is even purchased, but the planning that needs to be worked on is exactly how the days, weeks and months are going to look. Do we give up a separate Bible study in favor of Tapestry of Grace's world view study for rhetoric students? Do we take the Logic course quickly or more slowly? Was one year of forcing piano lessons enough? (did that one year achieve the goal I had of both boys being able to read music?) And how much time do I set aside for math? How deeply do we need to delve into Latin? These are the questions that have been floating around in my head while I've been gardening, cleaning and painting.

This is the week I sit down with the computer, my Tapestry of Grace curriculum, the internet linked to the library web-site, and hopefully a realistic set of expectations for my boys - neither too high or too low.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Summertime and the livin' is easy!

After a beautifully cool spring, summer is easing its way into our neighborhood. Highs in the mid 80's and lows in the 60's is great weather - but the afternoons have been pushing (and reaching) 90. Can true summer be far behind?

Yesterday was a working day - put in another small raised bed for blackberries. Now our future fruit harvest should consist of blackberries, red raspberries, 5 kinds of apples and peaches. I also ordered 2 more kinds of apple trees from starkbros.com, so in a few years we should have fresh apples from July through mid-November...and applesauce for the rest of the year!

The garden is growing quickly! The zucchini plants are getting big, peas are getting tall, and I saw a cabbage butterfly leaving unwelcome eggs on the broccoli plants. I haven't decided how far to go in abandoning the true organic spirit of gardening. Last year's garden was quite a disappointment with how well the pests grew compared to the vegetables, so I'm thinking that this year I'll use a small amount of pesticides to keep the squash bugs and cabbage worms in check.

Now that school is done (or mostly) I'll be able to get back into my routine of working in the garden for about 1/2 hour in the morning after walking the dogs. That's the most enjoyable part of the day for me - before the sun is high, while everything is still fresh and cool. We walk our two miles through the neighborhood, then the dogs chill in the back yard while I clean up their messes, fill the bird feeders and take care of whatever needs to be done in the gardens. I know that tomorrow morning it's going to be weeding the flower bed at the mail box. I started on that yesterday morning, but quit when Floyd was ready to take the trip to Lowe's to get the lumber for the blackberry bed.

At the same time that I'm working outside, I can get some serious birdwatching done! More on that next time....