We had to get passport photos taken recently, because the older six children all needed their passports renewed and we need to apply for permanent residency within the next week or two. Taking those photos is quite a challenge! Here are the best we came up with; they will work for the residency application, but we had to get professional ones for the passports.
A beautiful fall day–Esther enjoyed watching these steers out her bedroom window.
One night, we ran out of hot water, so my oldest son fired up the coal range. He stuffed it full of pine cones–and soon this is what the oven thermometer registered! I made him quit feeding it at that point. We had hot water!
Bigger brother reading to littlest brother!
This is the way to do math!
Finally, I have this post ready. I started it two weeks ago! I’ve been having computer problems; I bought a new laptop to replace my Windows XP desktop, since after this coming Tuesday it won’t be safe to use it online, and the new laptop was not working right. We sent it back to get fixed, and haven’t gotten it back yet; hopefully sometime in the next week! Anyway, that, plus the fact that for four days this past week our power was turned off for seven hours a day made it hard to do anything online–besides just daily busyness! “Apples—I said, ‘Give me apples!’” This is Chessie, the cow we’ve had for nearly four years now. She’s rather spoiled.
Mrs. Moo, the cow we’ve been boarding and milking since I dried our cow off the end of January. She moves back with her owners when they move to their new farm the end of April.
The neighbor’s bull, who was with our herd for two weeks so Mrs. Moo will have a calf next year. We’ll probably see him again when it’s time to think about that for our cow.
Chessie again, two weeks before calving.
We went to the garden at the other place and filled the bed of the truck half full of onions, half full of ears of corn, and then the corn stalks on top! I liked the expressions on their faces in this one! They had fun throwing corn stalks out for the cows to eat! Look how dry the hills were! That was a month ago; now the hills are green again, since we’ve had rain a couple of times.
I’m excited about what we’re using for Science this year for the boys. Until now, we’ve always used Sonlight Curriculum’s Science, which is a variety of subjects each year and mostly Usborne books. They have activity sheets to go along with the books, and the curriculum is all right as far as it goes. I was starting to feel, though, that we were just scratching the surface of all the different subjects and never digging in deeper, and the boys were getting very bored with it, groaning when it was time to do science. That’s not what we want! Well, sometime around the first of the year I noticed some science books come up on an email list I get, on which homeschoolers around New Zealand can buy and sell books they don’t need anymore. These books were published by Apologia Press, and I knew how much my Mom liked the high school level books they put out. Esther used one last year, and loved it–I never heard her talk so much about what she was learning as with that book! So, I took a closer look on the Apologia website at these books, for elementary students. I liked what I saw! They have six books for younger children, covering Astronomy, Botany, Zoology (three years: birds, fish, land animals), and Human Anatomy. There is a hard cover textbook for each level/subjects, and a notebooking journal to go along with it, with lesson plans. There are actually two notebooks for each textbook, one for older children and one for younger. I was able to get a couple of the textbooks, and notebooks for the Human Anatomy book, from the email list, so we could take a good look. Wow! I liked them immediately! The boys picked up the one about fish right away and were fascinated; one boy even started doing a project from it. I decided, though, that since we had the notebooks for Human Anatomy that we’d do that one this year, and ordered more notebooks so each boy will have one. One of the boys is still proclaiming loudly that the book is boring, and one is ambivalent, but the other two are enthusiastic–and I love it, too! This book glorifies God as Creator and designer all the way through, and shows clearly how wonderfully we are designed. So far, we’ve studied cells, and the boys each got to draw a diagram of a cell (not a simple thing, by the way!). Now, we’re studying bones and the skeleton, and when we happened to eat chicken the day we learned about growth plates we actually found a growth plate on a chicken bone! The notebooking journals provide a great way to write down what they’ve learned, and draw pictures. Some pages have questions to answer or activities to do; we’ll be building a “personal person” for each boy as we go, with overlays to glue onto a picture, showing the skeleton, muscular system, nervous system, etc. I am so thankful to have stumbled onto this book!
Breakfast time for two happy little boys!
See the crack? My washer did that suddenly one morning! We decided it was time to stop fixing it and get a new one.
When I’m too busy to fix lunch or don’t have leftovers to heat, I sometimes let the children make their own lunches. This was my oldest boy’s lunch on one such day: Three pieces of cheese bread, two eggs, in a sandwich with two slices of bread, and two pieces of cinnamon toast! He ate it all, too.
I enjoyed watching these three playing together on this water tank one evening. They had great fun up there!
The Saturday after we moved, the first Saturday since the beginning of December that we were free to do what we wanted to instead of working on the house, we were invited to a Sunday School picnic with a church in Waikari that we attended one time before. One of their families lives way up in the hills over Hawarden, almost to the mountains, and the picnic was there. After enjoying the meal and fellowship all afternoon, we drove to the end of the road before coming home. The views were spectacular!
We were finally able to move on February 15th. That was quite a busy day, as you can imagine—actually, it was quite a week! We had been waiting for the power to be hooked up so we could move, and on Tuesday that week it was done. The electricians finished rewiring the house on Thursday; we cleaned Friday and moved Saturday! Wednesday was spent finishing the kitchen and painting. Thursday Gayle and the boys moved our firewood while I did things at home. We were very thankful for help cleaning on Friday, and for friends who helped us move on Saturday. We didn’t get very many pictures, because all hands were working so hard with the move, but I’ll share the few we did get!
The cattle had to move that day, too. It is about 7 km from the old house to the new, so we walked them down the road. From left to right are our steers, Curry and Checkers, then Red Heifer and her mother, Mrs. Moo (Nervous Nellie), the cow we’re milking while ours is dry. She goes back to her owners when they move to their farm the first of May.
As we went past our former landlord’s house, one of his dogs joined us! We couldn’t convince him to go home, so he went with us the rest of the way, and then Gayle took him back when they went for another load.
Our new home! This is the back door, the west side.
The littlest fellow still needs naps, although he doesn’t necessarily want them. One evening he fell asleep, and I laid him on the couch. When he started waking up awhile later, he ended up like this! While we were working on the new house, he took naps on a blanket in the corner of the living room.
This is a close-up of the windowsill in the living room. For 16 years, flies and bees had been the only occupants of the room! We scrubbed the white windowsill, then sanded and painted it—now it looks much better! I was amused at the layers of old paint on the outside; can you see all three?
This has been another busy day. We started out butchering roosters and making tomato juice, and while I cut up the roosters the boys worked on their projects. We also picked apples and made applesauce, and the boys helped their daddy cut off the rest of the cornstalks from the garden and bring them home; we’ll husk the corn tomorrow.
Now it is tomorrow; I didn’t get this finished last night. So, I’ll add the pictures and try to get it posted today!