Thursday, March 26, 2015

books & teas & bees

These are the things that are filling up my free moments.  Free moments are those times not full of darling kiddos, Sweetheart, schooling, cooking, cleaning and the endless laundering.  Thankfully, there are some.

I've long combined books and tea, but the bees are a new thing.  More about them soon.

Since we've moved here we've been haunting the library.  It's so nice to have a "real" library with tons of good books and actually open six days a week.  We basically max out several cards every couple of weeks with additional trips made in between to pick up that one book that was on hold and just arrived.  Somehow, that "one book"  seems to gather friends that must come home as well.  Ahem.

While certain members of the family seem to be in ruts about certain book types, I've been all over the three levels of the library collecting treasures along the shelves.   I've not read this much non-fiction since I was in school.

So, we fill our four rather large baskets to the brim with super hero books (all the kids), bunny books (Pumpkin & Cupcake), bear books (dumpling), fantasy stories (Pumpkin), anything on Thor (Pumpkin again), physics fun for Sweetheart and all sorts of things for me.

I've read more books than I can recall since moving here.  It's so great.  I've been reading biographies, legal thrillers, Classics, cookbooks, spiritual books, and some amazing books on permaculture.  I also finally figured out how to download books directly from the Gutenberg Project direct to my Kindle and I can also check out Kindle books from the library.  I wish I had a list of all the books I've read so far this year, but I always seem to forget to write them down. 

I've found new, wonderful authors and read tons of old friends again.  Some of the books have been total duds.  Not all those were finished.  Since I have enough good stuff to read, I'm not going to waste my time on the junk.

It's been funny, some of the books I was so excited to find at the library have been completely disappointing once I start them.  There were several beautiful books that I'd read about on-line, but just found dull when I finally had them in hand.

I really enjoyed reading Jen Hatmaker's Seven earlier this month.  So much to think about there.   It's worth an entire post in itself, but that will have to happen a different day.

The other books I'd like to write about have been the permaculture books I've been reading.  We learned a lot the hard way in Idaho.  As we're trying to plan out this new property here, I'd like to try to do things right the first time.  We've got a pretty blank slate at this time and a lot of work ahead of us, but I'm excited at the possibilities.

I just like so many of the permaculture ideas.  They make a lot of sense and resonate with my heart.  As I am still immersed in several of the books, I'll wait to say more.

This brings us to the bees.  When spring arrived the first year in Idaho we discovered the giant tree behind the house was filled with bees up in the hollow.  We were excited and hoped to move them into hives.  That first year Sweetheart ordered some very nice hives online, but we weren't able to do any more than that.  There was simply too much else to deal with. The next year, the bees were simply gone.  We have no idea what happened to them.

We moved the hives with us back to Colorado.  This month, we started taking some local classes on bee keeping and have enjoyed them quite a lot.  Bees are fascinating.  We're ordering several packages of bees that are scheduled to arrive the end of April.  It'll be interesting.

I'd been thinking about different things to teach the kids about for our next Science topic.  After the bee class last weekend, I decided that's it.  We took a quick field trip up the road to a huge honey making operation earlier this week.  They have an observation hive and lots of information for the kids.

At the library yesterday, I picked up quite a few kid and adult books on bees.  We also have several fruit trees here that are in bloom and so we've been observing bees and reading about them.

It's so nice that the kids are no longer afraid of bees.  That's being kind.  They used to be afraid of flies.

Somehow, after living with all the hornets in Idaho they just don't care any more.  They were all bitten by the hornets at least once and have overcome their fears.  The hornets freaked me out in the beginning, too, but with so many of them you just had to learn to live with them.  Ugh.  It was awful.

So here, we're planning on limiting our livestock to bees and chickens.  No more goats or cows for me.  And I'm glad, so very glad.  :)

I need to sign off for now.  (I'm honestly wondering if anyone is still reading since it's been so long between posts.)  I want to end on a high note though and let everyone know that the house in Idaho did finally close, thereby closing a difficult chapter in the book of my life.

Monday, February 02, 2015

A Quiet Place

I find myself needing a quiet place these days.  I want to write and share and delight and entertain and teach, but I walk past my computer, and keep on going.  There is nothing wrong at all.

I am reading a lot and writing on paper, but that doesn't show up here, does it?  I also can't seem to get my pictures and my computer to play nice and I find this place looks all wrong without a bit of beauty.  (Hence, the old picture reposted above.)

I took few hours last week alone and even took my camera with me, but between the clouds and rain I never took it out of my bag.  I did write and read and sip a cup of really good coffee.  (Mmm...Mountain Mudslide...)

I laughed aloud, which may have disturbed those around me, but I couldn't help it.  And I read so many books last week, I couldn't even tell you which one I found so funny.  I do know I read Unbroken yesterday.  I finished it at lunch today, so I remember that one.  It was good, but after three books dealing with WWI and WWII I've got to step away from the trauma of it all.  I don't think I could survive war with as much as simply reading about it troubles me. 

I also wonder when I will learn not to even pick up books that have anything to do with new stories with Jane Austen's characters.  Sigh.  Always a disappointment.  It is just so hard to resist something with Pemberly in the title, isn't it?  Someday I will learn and just walk away and reread the real stuff for the upteenth time.

We're having such fun with school these days.  I've been reading about the Civil Rights Movement since MLK Day.  It's so interesting to learn and teach about and rather timely as well.  Also, as we seem to live in very white areas of the country, it is so important to me for my kids to be understanding and compassionate and loving to people to appear different to them.  I want them to know that inside we are all the same.  There is so much to this one subject I could write about, but that's another post.

We're also working a lot on geography and maps.  We're learning to draw the world.  Our focus is more on location than shape, but we're all improving. 

I even sat down for awhile after school was done and just practiced drawing maps myself.  Cupcake was playing outside and it was so nice and sunny that I took my atlas out and some paper and happily drew while she played.  As I labelled certain landmarks on my maps I thought about stories I've read set in the different areas.  It was neat to see how the geography shaped the stories.  I probably need to get a life, but it was fun. 

We all wanted to burn the grammar book today with its lesson on two-point paragraphs.  It was painful.  For a lesson trying to explain expository writing, it managed to obfuscate the point and bore us all.  Luckily, most of the lessons are really useful and I know tomorrow's lesson will be better.

We also finished E. Nesbitt's Book of Dragons which was free on Amazon for my Kindle.  I thought it was hilarious and so very English.  My kids love anything with dragons and laughed along with the stories.  We may have laughed at different parts, but that's ok. 

Well, I think I've chatted on enough now.  I'm sure there is something I should go clean.  But I'll probably just go look for another book...Good night.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Update on Joanne

There is an update from Joanne on the 4th Anniversary of her stroke.  :)

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

greedy for life

"In my experience when people once begin to read they go on.  They begin because they think they ought to and they go on because they must.  Yes.  They find it widens life.  We're all greedy for life, you know, and our short span of existence can't five us all that we hunger for, the time is too short and our capacity not large enough.  But in book we experience all life vicariously." 
 --Grandfather from A City of Bells by Elizabeth Goudge

So, I finally found an Elizabeth Goudge book to read.  (Thank you, Brenda for the long ago suggestion.)  It's a sweet little thing and I am enjoying it immensely. 
I just typed this out here because I liked Grandfather's thoughts so much.  What a delightful character.  I've got to sign off now,  as it is Quiet Reading Time and I want to get back to my pages for these few minutes of blissful silence that remain.  Then it's back to school to finish morning work and art class.  We all like art class time, too.
What are YOU reading?


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