Still getting the kinks out.

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This will be my attempt to add a gallery of photos instead of a few that disappear when I add another one!  Grrr…

The experiment seemed to work, so here are some shots from the work bee/greenhouse raising project that we hosted at our place.  We had some great guys come to help, mostly from our church, but Grandpa, too.  We had such a nice day of work and fun.  And a lot got done on the greenhouse project.  That was two Sundays ago, and now we actually have it pretty-well done, except for a few minor tweaks.   Just in time for the cold weather that is descending upon us.



An Autumn Day Out

Fall has got to be the most wonderful time of the year!!  For me, anyway, the fall season brings the most enjoyable weather–crisp days, bright sunshine, and gorgeous colors combine to form a most glorious symphony of delight.  The best way to enjoy the Fall is to get outdoors and experience it!   And all the better, if it’s with good friends.

We took a little drive to a town that was central to both families, and met our friends at the Life Down on the Farm corn maze.   All of the children had such a blast running through the corn maze.  We moms were a bit nervous at first about them getting lost in the corn patch, but we soon realized that you can’t lose five whooping and hollering kids, even in a huge maze of corn!    We could keep tabs of where our children were at pretty much all times, just by ear.   We had a map to lead us out of the corn, but I’m afraid we created our own exit route in the end.  The kids were just small enough to squeeze through the stalks, so they saw potentials for exits pretty much everywhere.

This was really a great place to take a home school field trip.  I’d have to rate the greatness more for the experiences we got to participate in more than for the educational value, but that is not to say that the farm was lacking in educational opportunities.  The animal barn provided a look at lots of your typical farm animals:  little goats, mama pig with lots of little piglets, another friendly pig who liked to be petted (not by me), a baby calf, ducklings, chicks, chickens, roosters, bunnies, donkeys, big goats, and a llama.  Probably more, too, but one animal I did not see on this farm was a cat.  They must have had one, as I thought that all good barns need a good mouser, but I just didn’t see it.

We literally stayed at the farm all day!  No one wanted to leave!  The kids got to just be kids.  Riding bouncy ponies, jumping on a huge jump pillow, burying themselves and each other in corn kernels–these were just a few of the fun things.  Oh, and I can’t forget the hayless hayride and the patchless pumkin patch.   That was something new.  We all piled into the hay wagon, incomplete because of the lack of hay!   At least a real tractor pulled the wagon towards what they referred to as the “pumpkin patch”.  We got to ride over the farm land down a hill to where we could see a large spreading oak tree, or it may have been a maple tree, but it certainly was not a pumpkin tree!  Yet, under the branches, all under the shady parts of the tree, were pumpkins!!  Strewn all about like windfall apples.  No vines, no garden, but here was the pumpkin patch.  Now, I was not raised on a farm, nor was I brought up in the country, even, but my mama and daddy did teach me that pumpkins do not grow on trees.  But it did make a cute country scene, and someone had to think outside of the pumpkin patch to figure out a way to sell pumpkins on a farm that did not grow them!   So, we enjoyed the ride, even if we did scratch our heads a bit over the lack of hay when they termed it a hayride!

We shared many grins and giggles that day.  It’s so nice to see children enjoying the simple joys of childhood together!  It is equally refreshing for two slightly weary-with-life homeschool teacher-moms to get a day where the demands of life don’t demand so much, where the boys get along because they are played out, and where friendships can be picked up right where we left off last time we met, knowing that although time has passed, the friendship is still as new as it ever was!

Up to our ears in Sweet Taters!

First Fruits of the sweet taters

Last Sabbath, a friend shared some interesting tidbits on the humble sweet potato.  How nutritious it is, how to grow and harvest the tuber.   A valuable talk.  And it reminded me of the LONG row and a half of these sweet things that we had in our garden.    With frost threatening  in the near future, I knew that the time had come for the harvest.

We made digging a part of our afternoon project (we try to do one every day, for experience in useful work and service) for several days last week, but we only really got about half the row dug by the end of the week.   So, today we just made digging up the rest of them a part of the family’s goal for the day.  Banana Man Dad helped tremendously when he ran the tractor through the rows with the subsoiler, unearthing plenty of tubers.  We still spent the better part of the day digging, transporting, and arranging.

Now comes the curing process.  Action A’s bedroom has been designated as the curing room.  He moved in with the other boys for awhile, while we keep his bedroom at 85 degrees or more, and at high humidity for the potatoes to cure.    A space heater is providing the heat, and a vaporizer is for moisture.  So, now, sweet potatoes occupy every spare foot of floor space, bunk bed space, and any other area we could figure out to layer, stack, and store them.  We have honestly never had this many sweet potatoes before, and we want to try to do it right, as the reports say that properly-cured sweet potatoes really improve in flavor and, well, sweetness!

Here is the wagon-load of the first fruits.

Messiah’s Mansion

“Thy way, O Lord, is in the sanctuary…”  ~Psalm 77:15~

The Biblical sanctuary provides a model of the true sanctuary, which is in heaven.  By studying the earthly model, we can understand more about the plan of salvation and what Jesus is doing for us now in the sanctuary above.   We have wanted to learn more about the sanctuary, and from time to time have studied parts of it with the boys.   Today, however, we had the opportunity to take a tour through the Messiah’s Mansion, which is a full-scale model of the Biblical desert sanctuary–a model of the model, really.

I was honestly expecting a quick pass through to look at the articles in the sanctuary, but we got a 1 1/4 hour tour, where the guides explained in detail the things we saw and their Biblical and spiritual meanings.   I left feeling like I want to learn more about the meanings of the things we saw.

As a part of Bible and nature class these last two weeks, we have looked at the meanings of the colors in the Bible and the sanctuary service.  We took last Tuesday’s Nature Day to collect specimens from nature of every color of the rainbow.  We then pressed the leaves and flowers and took them out today.   So, we assembled a rainbow book and glued the specimens to the correct colored page.  They came out pretty well.  Little Acorn was very proud of his book, and took, as usual,the most time on his.  We learned that pressing morning glories does not work too well (they stuck to the pages of our book and ripped because they were so fragile).   And, as usual, the gluing activity made for a sticky bunch of boys, table, floor, and yes, faces! 🙂  (Still working on not eating the glue)

I am excited that the local church here is beginning a series of classes next week to go deeper in learning about the sanctuary.  The kids will be studying things from Daniel and Revelation, and also making a sanctuary model to bring home.   I think this sounds really neat, and we plan to attend.   They will also have sanctuary classes for adults simultaneously, and I don’t know if I’ll get to go to those or if I’ll stay with the boys to learn with them.  Either way, we are looking forward to what we will learn in the next month or two.

I guess I could have taken pictures at the Messiah’s Mansion, but it somehow seemed a bit sacrilegious while they were explaining everything, and I didn’t.  Just me…so here is the link for more information.

Family Greenhouse Project

More tools and help

Little Acorn and Daddy

Here comes everyone

Beneficial bug

Scoping and scrapingArea for Greenhouse

Pictures for a new project for the family–Banana Man is putting up a new cold frame so we can have year-round produce!  Yay!

So far, the ground has been leveled, scraped/graded, and the soil has been enriched.  The boys got to help drive the skid steer, so they loved that!

The anchor posts are the current project.  The boys already help all they can, as this seems to them like a real man’s job!  But, we will all help in some aspects, and winter veggies will be a wonderful treat once the cold frame is ready.

I will post progress along the way with periodical pictures.

Surprise Lunch

We studied this week some about the stars, and how God garnished the heavens (Job 26:13).  This naturally led us to a discussion of what a garnish is and how it is normally used, like in decorating food.   Our lesson suggested that when you use a garnish, it can make the person receiving the food feel special because you cared enough to take the time to make it look nice.  This then prompted the boys to start making plans on how they could do something like this.   They decided that they would make lunch, and I could leave, and they would “surprise” me.  I could see wheels turning about just what could be found in our kitchen with which to garnish lunch.

I have to admit that whenever the boys want to banish me from the kitchen (and we’ve done this before), I always feel a bit of fear and trepidation at turning them loose with no supervision.  And for good reason.  They are great at “creating” but not quite so good yet about worrying what the place looks like in the process.  I often find myself wondering at all the noises and giggles, and what it could mean.   But I also remember doing this kind of thing for my parents when I was little, and how much pleasure my brothers and I had anticipating our parents’ surprise.  So, I agreed, but on the condition that I could sit in the next room and crochet–minding my own business, but close enough to avert any kind of huge plan before it got carried too far.  They agreed with this, and so lunch was prepared amid whispers and tip-toed movements, so that I couldn’t hear.  I was happy to let the boys create, and since I smelled nothing burning and no one was arguing, I sensed that the preparations were moving along smoothly.

When I was called to lunch, the table was spread with food, but all covered up (food and all) with our lace Christmas tablecloth.  After our prayer, the food was unveiled.   Everyone had done his part to make something special, and I could see that they each felt proud of the part he played.  The food was yummy, and all neatly arranged.  But it wasn’t until the dessert was uncovered that I could see the super creative work that had gone into this meal.  They had made a sort of rice pudding, and this is where the garnishing took place.  Sprinkled over the top was a generous amount of coconut sugar, dates, Gorilla Munch cereal, and …..A RAW EGG???????   Un-peeled, at least, and right there in the center of the dish!   That was certainly a surprise!  We don’t actually eat eggs around here, but had bought some awhile back for some science experiments, and there were a few left over.  Well, they did their creative best at using real food to garnish the dish.  I was quite amazed!  We shared the egg with Daisy, who was only too happy to accept it, and we had a good laugh and ate the rice dessert, which, by the way, was delicious.

These are fun times, and we will certainly look back on them with fond memories and great laughs!

I didn’t take a picture of the food.  But I did take one of us just after eating.  This is me saying thanks to the boys.

Saying Thank You for the great lunch!

Pumpkin Math

Action A measures height and circumference of his pumpkin.

Little Acorn measuring circumference.
We used this word casually and allowed the boys to have hands-on practice with what it means. I think the meaning will stick better this way than with drill of definitions.
Acorn’s pumpkin was the widest.

I tried to take a picture of the boys, and look who barged into the shot!

And look who else just couldn’t be left out!

I think we’re all here now!
Crazy Daisy and Babes!


We did a hands-on math day today in honor of Fall.  Pumpkin Math!

We took weights, lengths, circumferences, estimates, and graphed all of our results on a bar graph.

Each boy got a pumpkin and got to experiment with many different math terms and calculations.

To estimate circumference, each boy cut a string corresponding to the length that they thought their pumpkin’s circumference would measure.  Then they measured the actual number and compared.  Action A actually got his estimate and actual length equal, and Little Acorn was only one inch shy of being an exact match too.  Little Ambulance Man didn’t do so hot at estimation;  his number was about half of what the actual measurement was.

Afterwards, they each got to decorate a pumpkin picture to match themselves.  Eye color matched, the pumpkins got the # of teeth that each boy had lost so far, and the same # of stripes as the boys’ age.  That got a little crazy!

But, all in all, Pumpkin Math was a great educational experience for us all!

Little Acorn took an estimate of what he thought the circumference of his pumpkin would be. He then measured it and compared it with the actual circumference. Only one inch off! Pretty good!

Bountiful Blessings of Fall

Little Acorn Boy and I jumped at the opportunity for free green beans for the pickin’ by some of our friends here. We picked and picked and got two buckets full.  Not bad. Little Acorn is a great talker and a pretty good picker too.

Next day for part of our school, all of the boys got to help “snap” the beans. We listened to stories while we worked, and the time flew fairly quickly.

We ended up canning 28 quarts of green beans, and are extremely grateful to our dear friends who offered them to us. They will taste SO good in the winter! Ambulance Man already asked me if we were going to open some today. “No way!” Not all that work to just open them up and eat them right away. We have to SAVE them for awhile, then it’ll be really worth it to  enjoy them!

I’m very thankful for my great worker boys.

Ambulance Man and all the boys helped snap this many beans!

All the Little A’s are proud of 28 quarts of beans! What a gift to have been given these, just for a little work! All right, it was a lot of work, but so worth it!