Saturday, October 31, 2009

More Fall Fun

Thursday night we all planned to go for our annual visit to the Pumpkin House. At the last minute Lydia and Nolan traveled to Ohio with my parent to visit Uncle Jake and Aunt Delilah and of course the cousins. We decided to take the other two kids anyway and we invited one of Kellen's friends.

We were surprised at how much more there was still to set up. It probably was only about half set up, but still very cool. We may return early next week to see the completed work.

Look! We found the treasure map! :)

Yesterday Kellen and I broke out the leaf blower and rakes to try to clean up the front yard. It is amazing how many leaves come down in our tiny front yard. We are chopping the leaves to use as mulch and compost, but Kellen felt cheated when I was only sweeping them up because there was no pile to play in. So, we raked everything into one pile first. Then we chopped them up.

The kids had a good time playing in the leaves. I greatly enjoyed the physical activity on a beautiful day. The asparagus will appreciate the nice cover of mulch and the compost pile will turn those leaves into some pretty soil for the rest of the garden. It was a fun and productive afternoon.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Lambs

For the most part we allow our ram and our ewes to run together year round. Sheep cycles run with the seasons, like rut with deer. The ewes begin to cycle when the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler. Gestation is about 147 days. All that figures together to give us lambs around January of February.

Imagine our surprise when we noticed a few weeks ago that Maggie looked very close to lambing. We put her in the nursery pen and waited. Every morning Lydia goes out and checks for lambs. Last night Tim thought he heard Maggie during the night. This morning Lydia went out to check and didn't come back. Nolan went out to see what was going on. A few minutes later he ran back into the house yelling, "She had her lambs!" Then he was right back out the door. She had two little rams.

Checking the gestation chart, shows that she must have been bred in late May or early June. She had lambs still nursing then that had been born in January. I can only assume that our cool, wet spring must have caused her to cycle early. The other ewe that would have been breeding age at that time does not appear to be close to lambing though. Strange.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Recycling Field Trip

Today we traveled with a couple other families to Rumpke Recycling in Hanging Rock, Ohio to learn a little more about the recycling process. We've recycled for a long time. We started when we lived in Akron where recycling was easy. We had curbside pick up and only had to place our recyclables in blue bags and set them out with the rest of the trash. It was so easy, why wouldn't we recycle?

When we moved here about 4 years ago that easy recycling went away. They don't pick up here, and at first we had a hard time finding a place to take the stuff. We did eventually located a drop off that was convenient for Tim to drop off while driving for work. The only problem is they do not take glass. Since moving here our recycling has been mostly consistent. We save metals to scrap and get paid for. Plastics are taken to the drop off. We shred our paper and use it for chicken bedding. Cardboard we burn, but glass ends up the trash, though that may change. Rumpke takes glass. They are not close to us, but Tim drives right by there every week. They also pay for cardboard, paper, and newspaper.

Our visit to Rumpke was interesting. They are a multi-purpose facility with drop off bins and buy-back facilities for the public, general trash collection for nearby communities, and corporate recycling services. They purchase recyclables from the public or from businesses, sort them, and bale them for further processing.

The picture below is the baler. The second picture is shredded paper purchased from a company that provides shredding services to other companies. The third picture down shows cardboard that has gone through the baler. Our guide estimated that all the cardboard in the picture below would make about three bales.

This picture shows plastic products purchased from a nearby Pepsi facility. The white tubs were made to hold some sort of chemical, but the stacks to the right of that are brand new bottles and labels that had been discontinued and were no longer needed.

A couple of interesting facts we learned today:
  • Bauxite Ore, the raw material for aluminum, is no longer available in the US. All raw materials for new cans must be imported.
  • Making a new steel can from raw materials can take four times more energy than making a can from recycled steel.
  • Recycling a single plastic bottle can conserve enough energy to light a 60 watt light bulb for up to 6 hours!
Recycling just makes sense to me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fall Fest '09

For the second year in a row, the building we use for our homeschool co-cop was not available for one of our meeting dates, and we decided to have the group to the 100 Acre Wood instead. It has been dubbed "Fall Fest."

We never did get a count of how many people came. Most of our co-op were here, and there were also several other homeschooling families that came, and one family that pulled their kids out of public school for the day. We are guessing there were close to 100 people on the farm yesterday.

Much of the group went on a nature walk and hike to the creek. We visited the animals, played games, took hay rides, and roasted two small hogs for lunch. I didn't get a lot of pictures, but here are a few. I know that some of you were happily snapping away. Can't wait to see the shots you got!

The Hogs the Night Before.

5:00 AM Lighting the Fire.

12:00 Mmmm Mmmm Good!

Donut Eating Race

Who Needs a playground?

The Kittens were very popular. Why didn't anyone take them home?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Should I be Concerned?

I am a little concerned about Nolan. I think perhaps there is something wrong with his feet, or maybe his legs. He just doesn't look right when he walks. I wish I could say that this was a one time event, but he has been doing this for weeks. For some reason though he only behaves this way in our house. Do you think I should take him to the doctor?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Nina and the Pinta

Last week we had a little pre-Columbus Day field trip. The Nina and Pinta replicas were in town, and we joined some fellow homeschoolers for a tour. It was very interesting. I was a little shocked at how small the ships were, considering the voyage that they took. Our guide shared a little history with us about the ships, the voyage, Columbus, and navigation at the time. Here are a few pictures from our visit.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Now Entering the Pre-teen Years

Kellen and I have been butting heads a bit lately. He is showing us some glimpses of what the teen years may be like. It ain't pretty. But sometimes it is rather funny.

Part of his school work includes a daily writing prompt. He picks from random prompts at Writing Fix. Today his prompt was, "When was a time you laughed when you shouldn't have?" He chose to relate an incident that occurred earlier today. Imagine you are hearing this story, it will make more sense. This is what he wrote, "A time I laughed when I should not have was when mom was talking to me and told me I was habitual. I asked her what that meant. She asked what the root word is. I told her it was bitch."

Now what he didn't explain is that we were having a serious conversation about how he habitually has to be asked to do everything multiple times. And that after we finally got to the real root word of habitual, he continued to giggle throughout the whole conversation. When I would look at him and ask why he was giggling, his response was, "Oh nothing." Of course we all know exactly what he was thinking about. I am sure he heard nothing that I said after that incident, and the conversation will need to be repeated. Right now he is watching me type while he has a permanent marker dangling from his nostril.

Lord, help me! I don't think both Kellen and I will survive these next few years.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Fall Fun

The Fall Festivities are in full swing. Wednesday night we went to the Corn Maze with a group of people from church. I've never seen such tall corn in my life. We entered the maze with family friends, four adults and eight kids. It was quite the adventure. We were the first of our group to enter. We were the last to exit. I know some of you are heading there also. All I can say is the route from #3 to #4 is killer. Good luck, and don't let the kids navigate!

Today we went to the Pumpkin Festival with our homeschool co-op. All the kids got pumpkins to decorate. Vivian made a bunny. Nolan and Lydia made deer. They had a lot of fun decorating the pumpkins. Kellen carved his.

After the pumpkin decorating fun, we walked around to see the exhibits. We mostly hit the historical ones. We watched a potter, a spinner, and a blacksmith. We saw a few animals and looked at some animal hides. We watched apple butter and sorghum being made while enjoying time together and with friends.

I love fall and all the fall festivities that come with it. Soon we will be hosting a fall festival of our own, and roasting our first pig here in the 100 Acre Woods. You can be sure I will be posting more about that later!