This is our story as we teach our children to love learning and to love living. We stay up late to count the stars, we climb mountains to see the valleys, and we even swim in the rain. The sun does not always shine on our adventures, but we do learn from them, all while thanking God for the world he has given us. This is our homeschool journey, designed for our family and far away friends, but all are welcome.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Our 2013 Garden

Well it seems like this blog is becoming more and more random and  less and less frequent. I can't really apologize for that as the boys, dogs, and the house are keeping me real busy.

For the past six months or so we've spent a lot of time working in our garden. When I say we, I do mean me and the boys. They have been learning II Thessalonians 3:10 well this year... "that if any would not work, neither should he eat." Besides, what boy does not like to play in the dirt. I think their favorite chore this summer was digging up earth worms and adding them to our compost pile!

I'd like to say I'm done with it for the season, but not quite. We have snow on the ground at the moment, but when it thaws I plan on putting some compost in a few places and also pulling out whatever weeds have crept in. Still, for the most part, I suppose I can say we are done. We harvested the last of our carrots not too long ago. The only things still growing out there before the snow came were my parsley, sage and mint, and there was more there than I could possible use.

Here is a glimpse at what we did this year. The majority of the pictures were taken in June; My camera was not working most of the summer.  Next year I hope to have more pictures as things grow. Until then...

It's the first week of June here... This is our new carrot bed, with strawberries planted in front. The small bush on the left is a kiwi plant. We won't see any fruit from it until next year, or maybe the year after.

A view from the kennel. The short plants in the front of the kennel are the start of our sunflowers. We also have mint growing along the fence.

A wider view of the garden. In the distant right you can see our raspberry and blackberry bushes. In the back on the left you can see the start of our zucchini and butternut squash.

And this is where the cucumbers got planted. I've never had much luck with them until this year. Looks like I finally found their spot!

Bee balm, oregano, cilantro, rosemary, sage, chives and parsley... The straw in the back is the potato bed, and behind that you can see the start of our lettuce.

Up top is where the zucchini, butternut squash, and corn are planted. Down bottom are the cantaloupes.

Hmm, where's Bessie? And do you see the baby sunflowers on the left? Then we have our lettuce and onion beds. Then some rhubarb I was recently gifted and behind that the start of bell peppers. In the top left of this pic there is another view of our raspberry and blackberry bushes.

Looking at it all from another angel, and now we see one of our tomatoes. If you look carefully you can see the pole beans growing on the right side of the onion bed.

This is Sawyer's iris. He picked it out and planted it himself, right in front of our berry patch.

Here is a view of the garden looking down from the top of the boys' play set. You can see here where we have a few more tomatoes planted on the left.

And yet another view.

Tictock is guarding the strawberries... Bessie likes to eat them right off the plant! We also learned this year that she likes to eat raspberries and blackberries right from the bush too. (And we don't talk about the all the zucchinis, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, and who knows what else she swiped off the counter when I wasn't looking!) 

Now both dogs are on guard... we do have a few pesky squirrels and chipmunks and apparently Bessie does not like to share her food. This year she delivered me two dead chipmunks, a squirrel, and a bird! Way to defend our food supply! 
This is our new back deck, not quite finished. It is the first week of July here, and it is the only shot of the almost fully grown sunflowers I have. See them growing taller than the 6-ft kennel?

Now we jump forward to September 17. Harvest! Even the flowers are home grown. Here we've got corn, cantaloupes, tomatoes, butternut squash, sunflower seeds, cucumbers, potatoes, bell peppers... Onions and zucchini had already been harvested. The corn here is actually the last of it. Most of it we enjoyed mid-August. I have not pulled any carrots yet. 
September 25... Thanks Shirley for taking these pics... it is our first carrot! It's a bit bright, but you can see the carrot greens overflowing the bed!

Another pic of our first carrot. You can see one of my sunflowers dropping in the background.  By this point I had already harvested the ones that were in the kennel.

And this is some of our first carrots and potatoes, and more butternut squash, sitting on top of cucumbers. I wish I had taken a picture of those... we had lots and lots of cucumbers! 

Coen is excited to find the broccoli. It is now October 4th. Most of the garden has already been harvested, so I wasn't really sure if I was going to get anything from these plants. But I did!

Time to dig up the potatoes! We ended up with just over ten-pounds. Planning for more next year.

Carrot anyone?

Tomatoes, for my tomato lover. Most of these became sauce. 

Since this was the first year I have ever attempted to grow carrots, I was fascinated by my results. This is what our average carrot looked like. We also had several that were larger and a few smaller.

Grown on compost and organic soil!

The final carrot harvest on November 9th. It was close to 20 pounds! 
All together, we ended up with: 

  • 14 quarts of marinara sauce
  • 8 cups of taco sauce
  • 12 pints of pizza sauce
  • Several other tomatoes that got eaten and not counted
  • 10 cups of cubed beets
  • 8 dozen zucchini muffins
  • 16 cups grated zucchini waiting to become muffins
  • 10 pounds of cubed butternut squash
  • 4 cantaloupe (they did better last year)
  • 6 dozen ears of corn
  • 12 quarts of chicken soup veggies (carrots and onions)
  • 4 heads of broccoli
  • 10 pounds of potatoes
  • carrots chopped and bagged for 4 carrot souffles
  • 1 carrot cake
  • carrots shredded and bagged for 4 more carrot cakes
  • 12 more cups of shredded carrots for I'm not sure what yet
  • 5 more pounds of carrots still in my fridge
  • spinach, cilantro, sage, chives, onions, basil, and parsley are all also in my freezer
  • Plus I have 12 cups of red cabbage in the freezer, but that was given to me. 
I think that is about all of it. I have no idea how much lettuce we ate this summer, but it was a lot! Same goes for the cucumbers. We also had a good radish harvest in August. I'm not much of a radish fan though, so I never planted anymore after that. And we did have a couple meals of green beans, but I neglected those so our harvest wasn't as good as it could have been. 

The boys, and Bessie, ate nearly all the strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries right from the bushes this summer. I guess it was easier than coming in for a snack. I'd only get some if I was out there at 6:00am before they up! 

I guess that is it. I hope you enjoyed. If you want some chicken noodle soup, or zucchini muffins, just let me know when you'll be by for a visit! 

Happy Harvest and Happy Thanksgiving my friends! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

LOVING NETFIX! Scamabled States of America and Disneynature: Wings of Life

We've had some wonderful finds on Netflix this week I thought were worth sharing...

First up, The Scrambled States of America! We found this one completely accidentally. I have a pretty little blond 4-year spending some time at my house at the moment and was look for something educational for her to watch while the boys sat to do school work. While searching Netflix for "Scholastic" we noticed that Amazing America had a picture on the title image that looked a lot like the game that has become oh so popular in our home since we started our State of the Week study. Sure enough, Scholastic: Amazing America has 5 episodes, and number five was exactly what we thought it was!

For those not familiar with Scholastic's television programs, they are quit simply animated readings of the books. Altogether, the episodes are:
  1. If You Made a Million (money)
  2. Johnny Appleseed
  3. Martin's Big Words (The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)
  4. So You Want to Be President?
  5. The Scrambled States of America
All three children enjoyed sitting still and watching these episodes one after another, followed with the boys and I sitting down for a quick game of Scrambled States.

Now last night, we had a bit of an impromptu gathering at our home, with 9 children running around outside while the adults sat of had some fellowship. As the sun was setting, we decided to bring them in and put on a calming movie for them. That's when I found Disneynature: Wings of Life on Netflix. When you are a homeschooling family, there is nothing like getting in an hour-plus of unplanned science! To add to the free learning, I went online today and found the FREE Wings of Life 26-page educator's guide for Grades 2-4 on the Disney Nature website.

So today I say, "Thank you very much Netflix and Disney!" And now I am signing off to go enjoy the science activities with the boys... I know we have some of the plants mentioned growing right here in our own yard.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Finally a new computer!

We finally fit a new computer into our budget, so I can get to catching up on all my unfinished posts and share some new adventures.

And since we have a new computer, we decided to subscribe to IXL for the upcoming school year. The boys really love that site, but deciding who gets to do the 20 free math problems a day is always a challenge. Now that we have a new computer, and I discovered that they can also do problems on my tablet, I figured a subscription was worth the investment. My decision was made final when I got a postcard in the mail from that let me know that if we register with them, a free membership, we could get a nice discount on IXL and a ton of other homeschool resources as well. So that we did!  Be sure to check them out... you can even make free student and teacher ID cards at the co-op's website.

As for our State of the Week, we will be resuming that mid-September, with another family of 3 children joining us. We will be first doing a review of the states we've already visited, and then moving on to a new one. Not sure which state is up next yet, but we are all looking forward to getting back to our United Cakes of America cookbook!

That's all for now. Hope you all are enjoying your summer...

Broken Link?

Throughout many of my posts you will find links to other web pages I have used to gather information for teaching my children. As of the time I post them, the links are valid and do contain the information I refer to.
If you find a broken link, or a misleading one, please let me know.


The adventures we have and the methods we use may not be suitable for all families. Our approach contains a blend of love, guidance from God, a desire for adventure, an appreciation for the outdoors, and a fair share of mistakes. No artificial ingredients have been added. If you attempt to use our methods, please do so with caution, knowing that your family may grow closer in the process. Due to daily learning, the opinions and views expressed in these posts are subject to change without notice. Happy schooling!