Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Featured at WV Farm 2 U.

Photo credit: Beth Rankin

Well yes, we are still here. And no I haven't forgotten about this blog. Getting gardens  and hay in, and farmers' markets are keeping us super busy.  Our farm has been featured at the blog for WVFARM2U. Check it out, Farming for the Family.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Chickie Love

How many chicks have come and gone through this farm? Hundreds, but I can't stop being fascinated with them.

I love when they arrive. They are nothing but tiny bunches of fluff; so soft, so adorable. I take each one out of their shipping box, give them a drink of water, and then sit and watch them awhile. They know just what to do. They scratch at the ground. They find the feeders and the heat of the warming lamps.

They grow and change quickly. After a couple of weeks, they have lost some of their fluff. Wing feathers and tail feathers are there instead, but the chicks are still cute. They are still curious, and I still love to watch them.

Yesterday, we moved some 2 week old chicks outside to one of the chicken tractors. I watched for a little while. At first they were a little confused. "What is this place with the strange green floor?" It didn't take them long to figure out that floor contain delicious things like clover, grass, and bugs. Soon they were exploring. One would find a particular treat and start running around while the others chased trying to steal the treat. They discovered the dried grass in the fencing that got stuck after Kellen last mowed, and in typical broiler fashion, they also discovered quickly where the feed was located.

Later that evening, the warming lamps came on and they all congregated near them in the center of the pen. Those lamps also attracted the bugs and soon chicks were jumping and grabbing moths, mosquitoes, and other bugs. Then they'd try to get comfortable under the lights. Just when they found the best place, some other chick would come along and push them aside, or they'd fall off the roost. It really was quite comical, and Tim and I sat there for over an hour watching them. 

In a couple of weeks and they will no longer be so cute and fun to watch. I guess that is a good thing since most of these are broilers. But in a couple of weeks there will also be a new batch of chickies to watch and enjoy. I can't wait.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Crafting at My Speed

 We really have a wonderful and active homeschool community. It truly is a blessing.

This year one of the moms decided to offer the other moms a crafting class while the kids were in their music classes. This is not my strong suit, but I'm adventurous.

Together we made a disappearing nine patch quilt. Well beyond my skill level alone, but with friends it was fun and turned out lovely. We made decorations for a dance. And then we started on rag rugs.

I've always been envious of my friends who can sit and crochet or knit while having a conversation, watching kids or TV, or waiting for an appointment. I've longed to be able to do something productive, creative, and practical during those down times. They all promise me it truly is easy, and I'm sure it is after you get the hang of it, but there is a learning curve involved.

A couple of winters ago I tried my hand at crochet. It was frustrating to me. I finally did get the hang of the basic stitch, and I made a chain. I made a very long crochet chain, and nothing else. That was the end of my attempt.

When we started on rag rugs, I knew this was a craft that was more my speed. No skill involved. No learning curve. No creativity necessary. I loved that it could be made entirely of scraps, as in free! The center of my rug is made from scrap material from my sewing friends. The rest is made from our old clothing that was too worn or stained to sell or give away. Something practical made from things I'd otherwise be throwing away; that I like. The fact that the learning curve is almost non existent is something that I can love.

My first rug was started with our class, and finished during family movies nights. It now resides in our bathroom. It may not be the prettiest rug ever, but I love it.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

A Little Nugget that Stuck

We are bombarded with 1000's of pieces of information on a daily basis. The vast majority of it doesn't stay with us, and even less of it actually impacts us. Then sometimes, something small, something that doesn't even seem that important at the time sticks, and later has an impact.

Two years ago I attended our regional homeschool conference with two friends. Talk about information overload. The two things that I learned from the conference; Tim Hawkins is even funnier live, and I loved the Notgrass curriculum. Not to take away from the conference. I really enjoyed it, but those are the highlights two years out. And there was one other tiny piece of information that my friends shared with me.

Mary & Angie's oldest kids are older than mine. They went to workshops about highschool while I just wasn't there yet. I do not remember which workshop or speaker it was they heard, but I do remember they mentioned a program through Duke University for talented kids.

I went home and looked up the information, and some how it stuck with me until the next summer. That year Kellen took the SAT through their talent search. He qualified to participate in their programs, but the programs filled up so fast (as in the day registration opened) that is all we ever did with Duke.

This year I wanted Kellen to take a college level standardized test again. Honestly, I didn't know if there was another way for him to take it except through a talent search (still don't know btw,) I searched google for 8th grade talent searches. I found Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY).

I really didn't expect much from the program. We had gotten excited the year before for Duke's program, only to be disappointed. I expected even less when I went to sign him up for the ACT and realized I'd waited a little too long, and he wouldn't take it until April. But we went forward. He took the test, and we waited to see the scores. They were good; very good.

Late last week, before the scores were even released to us, we got an email from CTY congratulating Kellen on his scores, and inviting him to apply for the three week summer program, and the scholarship for rural students. Tuesday morning, over the phone, he was awarded the scholarship.

We will get more details next week, but this July he will be spending three weeks with other talented students studying one of the class subjects that he picked. I'm so excited for him!

I am so glad that this nugget of information stuck with me! Thanks Mary and Angie for passing it along. I hope too that it might stick for some of you out there with academically gifted kids. We'll keep you updated on the program as we go.