Wednesday, October 26, 2011

First Time Visitor

We have had an interesting year here birding wise. First of note is the lack of Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches over the winter. These little birds are usually in abundance at the feeders all winter long. I only saw 1 Nuthatch all winter.

The spring migration brought the usual suspects passing through. White-throated sparrow and Harris's Sparrow are two we look forward to seeing. We always hear the White Throat before we see it. Our ears are tuned to its song of "Dear Sweet Canada Canada Canada".

Our resident Merlin has been active, leaving his trail of feathers and beaks for the little ones to find, much to the chagrin of their mothers. Myself excluded.

This week, however, we had the joy of seeing a Blue Jay. Athena was pretty excited to see one. It was her first time. When we lived in Peace River, Alberta, they were as prolific as sparrows. Still, I never tired of seeing them. Beautiful birds.

Athena named him James and he comes by right before lunch each day. We are hoping he stays for the winter so we plan to go get some peanuts on the weekend. Until then, we'll keep the feeder filled with black oil sunflower seeds and cross our fingers that he stays until then.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


1st year.
A little late in starting unfortunately.
Seems if you don't start at 3 years old
then by the time you are 7 you are way behind.

No matter. She loves it anyway.
And she is always sore the next day.
One muscle or another.
I am a little surprised as she runs around like
an animal half of the day.
Obviously different muscle groups.

The following pictures are our attempt
to get her in the Saute (jump).
Here we go!

Too soon.

Way too soon.

Too late. Already landed.

Gosh, way to soon.

Got it!!

Although this picture captures the spirit
of this little one best.

Monday, October 17, 2011

On Days Like This

We are back from a week off of schooling. It was not exactly a holiday as we re-did the third level of the house. Or shall I say that Paul painted the walls, changed the baseboards and trim, painted doors and changed lighting. It was a good renovation. It feels like we created a whole new living and learning space. It is so bright and fresh and fantastic.

 I had some time to do some cooking and baking. Turns out I CAN bake now that I realized my oven is about 50 degrees off. After adjusting for the difference things have been coming out of the oven looking better than ever. We had pumpkin scones with a spiced glaze.

And my favorite... soup! This weeks fare was Carrot Habanero. So thick and jam packed with veg. And the heat of the habanero, subtle but not too subtle. Just enough to warm your insides.

Oh, and I have discovered if I put the leftover hot soup into a mason jar it seals itself so I can keep it in the fridge for a little longer before eating it again. Brilliant!

We also used the week of holidays to prepare the yard for winter and clean up the garage and basement. Good stuff. We spent time outside stacking wood for those cold winter nights. We filled bird feeders and raked up some leaves.

 Speaking of feeders we witnessed two oddities to these parts. In the same week we saw a hummingbird (in October!!) flitting around the last of the blooming roses and we also saw a pair of Blue jays. A first for us and very exciting for little Miss A. I also saw a fledgling Merlin. Kind of late in the year but I know little about raptors so maybe not. The picture isn't very clear but in truth I was afraid to be dive bombed by its mama. Falcons are fast!

And today we were "back to class" and the day went so well. It was a perfect homeschooling day if there even is such a thing. We got most of the book learning done in the early part of the day. Math, spelling, reading lesson, grammar. She had a little break and we did some crafting. Paint, linen and apples and an ironing board. She was so excited to use the iron but so proud that she did. Pictures to follow when the project is complete. After we cleaned up from the project we did some science. The Water Cycle to be exact. This girl loves all things Math and Science. We stopped for lunch and after we played around with some musical instruments. We mimicked rhythms and sang some songs together. We tossed beanbags and she finished reading her fourth chapter book aloud to me since September. Good good stuff.

I want to remember the way this day unfolded. I want to learn from the rhythm of it. It ebbed and flowed in a way that I imagined this little learning path unfolding for us. For her.
Although I don't expect every day to be this darn good, it is nice to have these touchstones to keep us plodding along this extraordinary life!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


At long last my travelling husband is taking some holidays. This week in fact. Despite being stuck in Denver for an extra day (grrr) he has been with us. At least he has been in the same location as we are. Things to do you know.So this week he is painting the third level of the house. This is where our classroom and television room are, oh, and the fish. Can't forget the fish. As you can see, he is with us but not "with us". Just the same, I like having him here. I get a glimpse of what normal must be like.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration at Jill and Clint's house. First time in 20 years that I haven't hosted. It was so nice and relaxing. And Jen is hosting Christmas dinner so I am off the hook for the year. It is nice to have grown up children who can do some of these things.

And Athena is off school this week which is one of the many benefits to homeschooling. She has been spending a lot of time outside in the unseasonally warm weather and spending a bit too much time on the computer (gasp). Hey, I told you the classroom is decomissioned for the week so it won't hurt for a few days, right? She did, however, put on a lovely little dance show for me the other night. I found this invitation on my chair in the living room.

She is also making stuff. She is always making stuff. And with a bit of expired whipping cream, a tooth pick and some food color (thanks to Jen and Pinterest) she did this little artwork. She loved it.

And just to make this post a real mix up, we have a pair of collared doves hanging  around the yard. I don't really know what to feed them. I tried Vector cereal but they weren't interested. Oh well, black oil sunflower seeds is my only other offering.

 And last but not least, this was one of the cutest things ever. Cash and Alphie, my daughter's dogs, who weren't allowed in during the Thanksgiving dinner, ruefully watched us through the window, on top of the picnic table in the back yard.