Friday, May 29, 2009

Our Garden is Planted

We planted our vegetable garden last weekend (and I'm just getting around to posting the pictures now). This is the first year we have been in the same house long enough to plant and grow and hopefully eat and store our own vegetables. I have been reading about and planning my vegetable garden for years, so it was amazing to finally get my knees dirty and my hands into the earth.

It's important to me that the kids learn where their food comes from, how to grow it and experience the pleasure that comes from preparing and eating food you have grown yourself. Both of my grandfathers were amazing gardeners, unfortunately I could not learn from them, their knowledge and wisdom died with them, what a missed opportunity. I have to follow instructions from a gardening book. My wish is that gardening becomes second nature to my children and becomes intrinsic to them.

Almost everything was sown directly into the ground which is more cost effective, especially if you want organic plants.

I couldn't resist this garden plaque, it seems that they made it just for me, how perfect!

I have been using this book From Seed to Table A Practical Guide to Eating and Growing Green by Janette Haase. Its a month-by-month guide to growing a significant amount of food in a small home garden.  She provides clear instructions for the gardening year from planning to planting to harvesting, storage and seasonal recipes.

The Earth is mother, 
Of all that is natural,
Of all that is human.

-Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), German abbess, poet, mystic and composer

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pioneer Philosophy

In keeping with the pioneer theme we seem to have going on around here lately I have posted up some new words of wisdom. This pioneer philosophy is well suited as our new mantra.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

School Reading

I've been doing a bit of my own unschooling, which stemmed from Vintage Chica's "Summer Un-school", that I signed up for a couple of months ago. The controversy that followed absolutely astonished me and I had to read up on the topic some more myself.

I still don't get why the "radical unschoolers" have a problem with calling it "Summer Un-school", to me its like someone stated in the comments, why would a vegetarian/vegan discourage someone from trying vegetarianism/veganism? The opposite should be true, if you really are that passionate about your philosophy/lifestyle then you should be encouraging others to try it and not feel threatened by that. You certainly cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.

Enough said, well except: thank you to Erin for hosting Summer Un-school on her blog and for so gracefully and articulately taking all the "heat" for it, what an amazing opportunity you have given our children and our families to learn and to grow. And thank you to all the other unschooling mamas who are sharing their experiences.

My oldest attends our local public french immersion primary school and loves it. The challenge we have is that Canada is a bilingual country (english & french) and since we live in Ottawa (Canada's capital city) bilingualism is a necessity. Both myself and Scott were never given the opportunity as children to attend french immersion school and are now only english speaking. If we were to homeschool our children we would not be able to teach them french, they would have to take french classes and would not have the benefit of immersion. Thus, if they at a later time wanted to or needed to enter the school system they would have to take the english stream. This is a major consideration and obstacle.

This summer I will take the kids lead, help them to learn, to explore, to grow, at their leisure, on their own will. I will follow their own natural curiosity, I will be their social convenior, their chief researcher, their chauffer, their exploration companion, their documentarian, the carrier of the library book bag. I do have activities, crafts, field trips, adventures planned to fill in some gaps but we will have our summer un-school.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sheep Shearing Festival

We have been waiting all year for this (well mainly me) . . . The Canadian Agriculture Museum's Sheep Shearing Festival! Considering how wool, in its many forms, has become such an important and present part of my life and the kids', it was an awesome experience to learn together how a sheep is sheared and what happens to the wool after.

First the sheep get their toe nails clipped and then they're sheared.

The whole process only takes about 2 minutes.  Although it may look like the sheep is struggling she was actually quite docile and the sheep are not harmed.

We learnt that Canadian sheep are primarily sheered for the beneficial health reasons for the sheep. The wool from a Canadian sheep only sells for about $2 and it costs $5 to sheer them. Whereas, the wool from a sheep in New Zealand for example would fetch around $30.

Madison and Carter got to try their hands at carding the wool and feeling the lanolin. They both gave me their carded wool to knit something with. There were also spinning, knitting, and weaving demonstrations. I can't wait to learn how to spin wool with a drop spindle which is something I plan on learning next winter.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Sleeping with his stuffed Willy (named after our dog) and his Waldorf doll

"What do you mean I'm not supposed to be in the pots and pans cupboard?"

"Oh I'm not going inside Mom, I love it out here . . . that is unless there's something to eat in there!"

Pressing his face up against the window after his sister and brother just finished drawing with their window crayons.

Climbing into the tupperware drawer.

Why stand at the train table when you can sit right on top of it to play?

Riding in the wagon helping to collect firework for our backyard campfire because he always wants to do whatever his big sister and big brother are doing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009



Nature lover

Loving big brother

Fisherboy (his 1st fish!)
Here's the score this season:
Madison - 3
Carter - 1
Scott - 0

Craftster (his first embroidery!)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Repurposed Pillowcase Skirt

I made Madison a summer skirt from a repurposed vintage pillowcase I found on one of my many thrifting adventures. Its really simple, no pattern, I just cut the pillow case in half, leaving the side and bottom hems and then sewed an elastic into the top. You could use bias tape at the bottom or even add ricrak or some ribbon to fancy it up. But, Madi had strict instructions that she did not want any of that.

I also made her the headband she's wearing from some fabric I got from a used clothes "Swap till you drop" on the weekend. I will be making many more summer skirts and many more headbands for her and for myself. I love skirts in the summer and the headbands keep my fly-away frizzy hair somewhat at bay.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Pencil Crayon Roll

I made Madison a matching pencil crayon roll with the fabric from my knitting needle case. I'm thinking of making some matching aprons with the rest of the fabric . . . back to the sewing machine.