Going to the pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkins is a family tradition. Usually Hon doesn't get to partake in it with us because there's usually a day off school when we go, and this year was no exception. Well, it wasn't really a day off school, but we weren't playing hookie, either. There was a homeschooling group going, so we decided to join in on the fun. Since moving here to Ohio we usually go to a place up near Grove City, but this year we decided to be daring...exciting...live on the edge... We went to Weber Farms in Jackson. It was so worth the trip!
Our day started here with the daily grind of chores. As we were doing that the clouds covered the sky and it looked like rain any second. Cold, too. Even so, we piled in the van and off we went. Surprise! I stopped at McDonald's to have coffee with some friends on our way. I hadn't done that in the five weeks since starting homeschooling everyone, so I felt I deserved 30 minutes of coffee and gossiping with friends. I even bought the kids something to drink so they weren't completely wigged out at what we women can talk about in one 30 minute stretch. As we sat there the clouds took over the sky and it looked like rain any second.
On our way to Weber Farm we noticed something. The clouds stayed back and there were blue sunny skies. The weather was warm, too. So warm, in fact, when we got to Weber's we took our jackets off. We met some wonderful families while we were there. The Weber's gave us an awesome hayride tour of their farm and then dropped us off at the pumpkin patch to pick out the pumpkin of our choice. This year I decided since Young'un had gotten some more growth on, everyone would be carrying their own pumpkin. Sharon's rule was, "You want it, you carry it." I don't want to rehash past excursions of me carrying five mondo-size pumpkins in plastic Wal-Mart bags, struggling to get them back to the hayride guy, let alone the van. Let's just say it wasn't a pretty sight...and I notice I'm rehashing...but all the pumpkins made it unscathed. Hulk I am not, but I went to great lengths for those pumpkins that would be rotting soon after carving their guts out. I will say, I felt sorry for this woman. She had three kids with her, too. The youngest picked out a little bitty gourd (she got off easy on that one). The middle boy picked out a middle-sized pumpkin (just right for his size). The girl, on the other hand, picked herself a bohemoth gargantuan (as in something of monstrous size) pumpkin. She had struggled and struggled with it. Everyone else was on the hay trailer to head back. Honestly, I would have volunteered to go wrangle that pumpkin in, but then I thought, "Naw, been there done that." I know, bad Sharon. I did, however, watch her kids while she went to wrestle that monster pumpkin through the field and into the hay trailer. And she did a good job of it, too. Afterwards we made the nice trek back to our starting point where I treated the boys to an apple cider slushy. Y-U-M!
While we were enjoying the slushies, Mrs. Weber told us about their corn maze and said we could take a walk through it. Thank goodness it was daytime because at night when it's up and running there would have been a real person hanging, one on a coffin, and loads of other creepy sights, sounds, and lights. I'm a horror wuss. Young'un has inherited my wussy-ness. The two of us would be no good to anyone if we were there in the dark, but in the daytime we had a grand time tripping (er, walking) through the corn maze.
Afterwards, on our way home Hon called to see how it had gone. We told him all about the fun we had and the gorgeous weather. He told us he was not only still working, but it had been cold and rainy all day. Wow, what a difference an hour and a bit east can make! I decided to make the trip totally worthwhile by stopping at a yarn and fiber shop in Jackson (Wise Man Woolens) on the way out. Yup, the kids suuuuure were excited about that! Ok, so they weren't but I met a fantastic woman, bought some fantastic sock yarn, and more fiber to add to my ever growing collection.
So, there you have it folks. We drove, we rode, we ate, and we had a wonderful day! Couldn't have asked for a better pumpkin wrangling day! Now to get them carved up before Halloween... Smiling & Waving, Sharon
I know, I've been bad. I haven't told a story in forever and a day. It's not that I haven't thought about you, thinking of all the stories I could share, I just haven't wanted to buckle down and put fingers to keyboard. You see, I am homeschooling our kids. It can be a very loooong day. Oh sure, you know already that I've been homeschooling Eldest through Ohio Virtual Academy for this being his second year now, but you didn't know I started homeschooling Young'un and Eldest, too. Yup, we're about to finish our fifth week together. I'm not sure if I want to head for the hills or find deep satisfaction in knowing I am playing a larger role in their education. Having been an educator, I'd like to think it's the latter.
I've found that Young'un needs more help in math than was thought. Oh sure, we knew he needed help, but not HELP! (Yes, I meant to use those red shouty italicized capitals.) This week we've been working on writing different types of essays, like expository and persuasive. Today we started on a descriptive essay. No big deal, right? Right. The lesson book says he is to write an essay on where we live. He is to include paragraphs on sights, sounds, and smells. You would think living on a small farm this wouldn't be a problem. Let me tell you, it is. Let me also mention, by the way, that Young'un's spelling and writing capabilities definitely came from Hon...okay, maybe my dad, too. More so my dad. It's like pulling teeth trying to get him to spell a word right, let alone get his point across. I bow to the person that invented spell checker. Without it, Young'un would be forever looking words up. Did you know "our" is spelled "are?" Well, today it was.
Anyhow, back to the descriptive essay... He described our farm by using the word "nice." Remember, this is to be descriptive. I practically had to stand on top of the table, grab the fan like a madwoman, and swing off it like a monkey to get him to give me any other description. Finally there were results without me having to go through that, but it may have been fun. Then it came to the sounds. Let me remind you, I spend most of my day with three boys. What type of sounds do you think I hear a lot of? Yup, that's right. Farting. It's gotten to where I've threatened knitting lessons if they don't stop that nonsense (or at least take it to the bathroom). My olfactory system can't take much more. So, when we got to the part about listing sounds, and Young'un got this devilish gleam in his eyes, I just knew what he was going to do. I had to put my foot down, and tell him, "No, absolutely not! You are not going to include anything in your descriptive essay about farting!" Then he went through the whole whiny whiny thing wanting a good reason why. Then Roxie did one of those big dog stretches and let one go, which didn't help the situation. I hung my head and sighed. Even so, I shot down the thought of farting as a descriptive sound. Burping, too, just to be clear. I knew I would one day pay for giving Kid the book, "Walter the Farting Dog."
When we made it through the sounds we had to head into the smells. Boy, this is rough! Remember, it's a small farm...but it's a farm. There's lots of smells that go with those sounds. Of course, first thing Young'un thought of was the smell his brothers farts and burps, but I shot those down right away. In the end his rough draft had made mention of general animal sounds and smells, a better description of our "nice" farm, and what he called, "The smell of weird water," because our water can smell like sulfur, especially when I need to add stuff to the water filter down in the cellar, oh, about like now. Blah! Some time tomorrow he'll take that rough draft over to the school computer and type it in. Then I'll read it to him just as he wrote it. After that we'll banter back and forth about punctuation and other grammar necessities. Hopefully by bedtime tomorrow he'll have that descriptive essay finished so we can move into the joys of a persuasive essay on Monday. He has to decide if he's for a bridge or a ladder for a treehouse, and then write an essay to persuade other kids why that's the best choice. I know he's going to choose the bridge. He's my kid. I know he'd want that more than a ladder. There are other ways to get into a tree and I've seen them being used.
So, there you have it folks. I've got all the boys home for school now. We're plugging along and it's not going too bad, save the descriptive essay where we had to battle over including whether farting and burping should be included. You may think I should have allowed it, and in a way I think maybe I should...but then again, I don't want to deal with angry embarrassed brothers. If they're going to be angry and embarrassed over anyone writing about them, it's going to be by my writing. It's a simple joy, but one I truly relish, especially after a day like today when I deserve chocolate. Smiling & Waving, Sharon
Have you ever gotten something that you are so happy with you just have to share it with everyone? That's how I feel about my shawl. I'm sure many of you probably already know about this shawl, but while I was outside (in my nightgown and boots, of course) this morning Hon took some pictures of me wearing it. Let me clarify I do NOT like getting my picture taken, but digressed for this, because I am so deliriously happy with it and really wanted to show off the beautiful work my friend, Kimberly McAlindin does.
Let me take a step back and tell you a little story on how this shawl began... This past summer was the Tour de France. While that is going on, a website (http://www.ravelry.com), has a fun competition running at the same time called the Tour de Fleece. Teams have friendly competitions and show off the fiber creations they have put together during the tour. I was on Team Namaste Farms with friends from all over the country. We had our own friendly competition among ourselves, also. There were lots of great prizes from fiber and spindles to more fiber and the piece de resistance...the TdF shawl. Kimberly graciously donated her talents to designing a shawl for the person that spun up the most fiber during the tour. Now you might not know this about me, but when I see something I reeeeeally like, I reeeeeeally work to do my best to achieve the goal. I pity the person at an auction that wants the same thing I do. I spun my fingers off for three weeks, making sure to spin at least a hank of yarn a day and sometimes I got lucky and did a bit more. I'm a slow spinner so it was a long day to complete the task. My family was great about it and didn't really bother me, letting me spin and spin. In the end, my spinning marathon paid off and I won the shawl. I still honestly can't believe I did it.
Kimberly told me she'd either knit a shawl from yarn she has or she'd knit it from mine. Seeing as I've never had a shawl, I decided to spin and dye some yarn that would make the shawl even more meaningful to me. I dyed BFL, Alpaca, Icelandic, and milk fibers shades of blues and greens then set off spinning. After I mailed my box of yarn to Kimberly I really started to get nervous, thinking she was going to freak out at the hodge podge of yarn. I could invision her opening the box and then throwing hanks of yarn at any family members that dared to walk by. I was nervous for weeks.
Then the day came that Kimberly gave a preview of my shawl. It was a little itty bitty peek. What I could see when I squinted was beautiful! I had no doubts Kimberly would come up with something spectacular, but that little scrap of a picture showed me there was a lot more to her creation. Finally the day came when she showed a picture of the completed shawl. Oh my goodness, my jaw dropped on the floor! I kept going to the computer and looking at the picture, figuring we'd have to get a new keyboard for all the drool I had deposited on it. I was so unimaginably happy! All I could do was wait impatiently for the mailman to deliver it. Just as I was about to do a woogie woogie dance around the mailbox to get it here quicker, the mailman showed up...with my package. Tadaaaaaaa! My shawl was home...on my shoulders...where it was meant to be.
So, there you have it folks. My special shawl. A shawl that truly means a great deal to me. Kimberly said she knit it using a hairpin lace technique and a crochet edge. She has truly blessed me with an incredible gift and I appreciate it more than my story can convey. Thank you so much, Kimberly! And thank you, Hon, for taking out the camera and clicking off some pictures even with me being fussy about it. Smiling & Waving, Sharon
I'm the queen of our farm, although the animals wouldn't agree. My title is Head Chicken Wrangler, but most days I'm just called Mom. Life on a farm is full of family and hard work and I wouldn't have it any other way.