Several months ago, we were sent a box of Covid tests by the government, because we live more than 20 km from the nearest testing station. They expired in December, and we had never so much as opened the box, so I let the school children experiment with them. They tested all sorts of things… lemon juice, kombucha, whey, broth, mud, cow poo, the cow’s nostrils (the milk cows were right outside our windows that day). Much to their disgust, nothing tested positive! I enjoyed watching them write down their predictions and the results they got.
We got some good pictures of our little girls over the past couple of months! This was an evening we went to visit some friends. One of their children spread dish soap on the trampoline, and the children all had great fun! Later, we bathed Miss Joy and the youngest of the children of that family.
The little girls occasionally make soup. Here, they are stirring soup in “pots” over “stoves.”
James bought a new backpack, and put Miss Joy in it to test it out. She was delighted!
The girls were walking around one day eating sorrel leaves and checking the strawberries for ripe fruit.
One of her brothers gave Miss Joy a camera, and she had great fun playing with it for a few days.
Elijah arm-wrestled the little girls one day! I was too late to get him wrestling with Miss Joy; she needed some quality time with her thumb and blankie after losing.
Miss Joy put this cloth on her head one day, and then brought me the camera and asked me to take a picture of her.
Something that our children like to do occasionally, since the older ones have full licenses now, is all go out to eat somewhere, leaving Gayle and I at home alone. They don’t do it often, and they don’t get fancy; fish and chips is a favorite. They went to town one evening in January, bought fish and chips, and ate them at a trailhead on a hill above Greymouth. Then, they walked to the end of the track, enjoying the scenery and each other. Esther and a couple of the boys took pictures on their phones, and then I borrowed the pictures.
Left to right: Mr. Sweetie holding the food box, Elijah, Little Miss, Simon, Miss Joy.
The Grey River in the foreground, Cobden in the middle, and the Tasman Sea out to the horizon.
Part of Greymouth
Looking up the Grey Valley. Left to right: James, Mr. Sweetie, Simon holding Miss Joy (who informed me later that she had walked up the entire track!), Mr. Imagination, Elijah, Little Miss.
The Grey River and Grey River Valley
My three girls–Little Miss, Miss Joy, Esther
Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.
Then, Miss Joy wanted to do it, too!
Off they go down the track!
Meanwhile, at home, I made a special candlelit meal for just the two of us! It was a very good evening.
A few weeks ago, I remembered a funny video Esther took in September 2010, so we found and watched it. It made me laugh again, just as in the past! The baby is Mr. Sweetie. Seth is in the yellow shirt on the bike. Simon has a yellow and brown striped shirt, Elijah has a blue striped shirt, and Mr. Diligence is the cute little fellow in the maroon shirt. They sure have grown up since then!
This was yesterday, with Little Miss and Miss Joy starring. Puddles were made for children!
One sunny afternoon, our little girls went outside to play. Little Miss packed a snack for the two of them, and took out a sheet, and they had a picnic together. I got the camera up just too late to catch the cat who wanted to join them!After their picnic, the girls went to the empty section in front of our house, which had just been mowed, and raked up the grass. First, Little Miss buried herself in it.
Then, Mr. Imagination joined them, and they organized the grass clippings into walls to make rooms of a house! They spent at least 2 1/2 hours playing outside that evening, having lots of fun. It was getting pretty chilly before they came in. The cat liked having them out there, too!
The little children got their legos back last week, after a month or so without them. When there is a dispute about legos, I take them away for a month—I refuse to arbitrate disputes such as, “He took my piece!” or “She has my man!” If they can’t work out these problems without my input, they don’t need to play with those toys. They have a lot more fun when they only have them periodically, anyway. This time, Simon remembered a website we used to use, which has plans for all sorts of lego creations. He got me to help him find it, and they printed out several different things to build. Little Miss is delighted with her train!
Mr. Imagination chose an airplane, and with help from a friend, got it put together.
Here are a couple of pictures that I asked Esther to take with her camera in March, when we were visiting friends in Canterbury. The children were playing on the hills and in the creek on the farm, and found these geckos. They had a lot of fun with them!
Can you believe the first of June has arrived already? This year is flying past!
Here is the canoe the boys have built. Mr. Intellectual worked on the epoxy a day or two at the beginning of the month, then pulled it out of the garage into the sunshine to get the epoxy dry. With the cold, wet weather we’re having, it’s been next to impossible to work on this project.
One morning while her brothers did school, Little Miss played, “Going to a Conference.” She took all her dolls along. Here, she had been singing, pretending to be in a meeting; later they went to a bedroom (she carried all four at once) for lunch, and then went to the hallway to “sleep at Katie’s house.”
The boys noticed a pear tree across the road, beside where the cow grazes, with pears littering the ground under it. They asked the owner of the property if we could have the pears, and he gave them to us, so Gayle and the younger boys picked them all up one Saturday. We made a couple of large pans of pear/cranberry crumble–yum! Mr. Imagination and Little Miss helped me peel and cut up the pears for it.
When I placed an order recently for schoolbooks, I added the last two Pleasant Valley Farm picture books to the order for Esther. When they came, she showed them to these two, and they jumped up and down and squealed in glee–they love those books!
One day this week, we noticed a 20-foot shipping container being loaded into this truck! We had never seen that done before. Notice the rain falling heavily in this photo? That was the story of our week. For five days straight, we had torrential rains, for a total, here, of nearly 10 inches.
Mr. Imagination took this picture of a digger he is building. He loves to put things together.
Little Miss apparently brought a wasp in the house on her hair one day. It stung her just below the eye. She screamed for a good while. The next day, when I took this photo, it had swollen some, but not as bad as I thought it might. We had put plantain on as quickly as possible–it really helps!
I guess Mr. Sweetie was quite impressed by the way his milk foamed one day! I have several boys who love foamed milk (Esther found a foamer at a secondhand shop recently), but our milk often won’t foam.
This was our living room one evening this month. Simon and Mr. Diligence were listening to an audio book on Simon’s phone (which is only used as an audiobook player, by the way!). It looks like Mr. Sweetie was trying to listen in, as well. These boys are addicted to audiobooks.
My artist, Mr. Imagination, with the horse he made from marbles one day.
I took quite a few pictures of the children in March! Here, we were doing a science experiment about camouflage. I bought some M&Ms, and they crumpled colored papers in three of the colors of the candies. Then, we put equal amounts of each of seven or eight colors of candy in the basket with the paper, and they were to see how many of each they could easily find in a minute. After counting and recording their results, of course, came the best part—eating them!
Mr. Imagination and Little Miss were playing with the marbles one day and made pictures with them. I let Mr. Imagination take photos of their cats. The first is his, the second is hers, and they made the third together.
The little boys asked for a box that came in the mail, one day, and they cut it up to make swords and shields. Little Miss wanted her own set, and struck this “fierce” pose when she wanted her picture taken.
Little Miss badly wants her hair to be braided now. She hardly has enough, but she loves the results when I take the time for it! (She just saw me writing this and said, “That was when I had long hair.” Now she wants me to braid her hair again!)
Mr. Imagination was picking up leaves to “start a campfire” one day, with Little Miss and Mr. Sweetie watching him.
Last year, Simon gave Little Miss some cosmos plants for her birthday. This year, Esther bought her some seeds, so I started several plants. I couldn’t believe how huge they grew! She has loved having her own flowers to pick, although she can’t reach very many.
While I was in the garden with the camera, I grabbed this picture of our marigolds. I haven’t grown many flowers in the past, but have decided it’s fun to have a few scattered among the vegetables.
Spring is here! Some days sure don’t feel like it, but more days are warm than a month ago, and the grass is growing.
The first garden work was done in mid-August. Simon took the rotary hoe (rototiller) through part of the garden, after I showed him what needed done. It broke after he got some done, though, so he tore it apart and took one part to a local man to get a replacement shaft made. We picked up the finished piece the day I took Simon to Christchurch to get his Learner’s Licence; that night, Simon and Mr. Diligence stayed up till midnight putting the rotary hoe back together. He felt like he had to do it because he was leaving home a couple of days later and wouldn’t have another chance!
This is the lemon tree right outside my kitchen window. So beautiful!
Esther babysat the day I took Simon to Christchurch. She sent the boys outside for a break at one point during school. They started wrestling, and Little Miss was telling them to stop!
When it didn’t work to order them to stop, she tried to manually separate them!
And the rest of the pictures from May! This is a fairly common sight in the morning; here Mr. Inventor is doing his typing lesson while his cat keeps him company, and Mr. Sweetie is trying to get himself started on his Math in a cozy spot in front of the fire.
After a heavy rain, the underground cistern overflowed, so Mr. Imagination and Little Miss had great fun playing in the puddle one morning. Great fun, that is, until she got muddy—see the picture below! Then, she was done. Because the cistern was overflowing, and we had no need for the water, I let the boys pump it out to the duck pond. They forgot to turn the pump off at bedtime, though, and Esther discovered it sucking air the next afternoon when we were away! Oops. It’s refilled now, though. Quite a contrast to a few months ago, when we were saving water in every way we could. We’re so thankful for rain!
Mr. Sweetie was playing with a candle one day. The wick was long enough he was able to get it to curl around like this, and he wanted to take a picture of it.
On chilly days, the fire is a main focal point.
I’m not sure what these two were up to. They made a line of the Childcraft books along the hallway. And the blankets wrapped around them? I don’t have a clue!
Mr. Sweetie and Mr. Imagination again.