A Child’s Education And A Poem For Fall

Malachi and Sonora enjoying a cool fall day.
Malachi and Sonora enjoying a cool fall day.

Our two kids have enjoyed the opportunity to be home schooled these past two years.  My wife does a fantastic job and while our homeschooling looks very little like a traditional classroom, the kids are having fun learning.

One of the great things about home schooling is the ability to identify our kids passions, dreams and strengths and then spend more time focusing on them.  There are no bells telling them it is time to move on if they are in the middle of a project or are caught up in the heart of a chapter of a good book.

Malachi is all about story.  He loves stories – both reading them and writing them.  His love for writing has tumbled over into poetry as well.

Poetry is such a great outlet for beginning writers – it’s shorter, grammar matters less and it’s fun.

Today Malachi wrote a poem and I thought I’d share it.  As the leaves begin to fall and the temperatures drop, he naturally chose to write about fall.  Enjoy.

——————–

Leaves

will fall one by one

surely now fall

has come.

Grass will die

and flowers fade.

Green to brown and

crumple down.

The golden corn

swept away.

Winter comes

around the bend.

————

October 2013

Parker Wagons at Harvest

Filling up the Parker Wagons

The Parker’s metal

sides bulge

like fat pigs

gorged on grain.

The tractor strains

a mighty heave,

wagons ease from soft

end rows.

A dusty country

road welcomes

this swaying

train,

a tractor and two wagons –

green wagons,

green tractor

like spring,

like hope.

Toward home

the tractor goes,

to the auger,

to the bin,

to the thought just

months away

of the planting once

again.

——————

October 2013

Painted Floors

IMG_2646When we moved into Grandma and Grandpa Deckert’s house back in March, we knew we would have a bit of work before us to get the home into the kind of place we would want to live.

We began slowly to make it our own, a not so easy process as in every change there was a bit of nostalgia, a piece of Grandma and Grandpa that would go with it.

We hung onto the living room carpet – circa 1966 – a bit too long though and after pulling it out wished we had removed it and the 47 years of dust and debris and decomposed padding that came up with it.

In keeping with Grandma and Grandpa’s spirit of frugality we opted to do something different with our floors that would save us some money and yet allow us to add a bit of our own Bohemian, earthy sensibilities.

And so we painted them.

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The Living room sub-floor painted a deep brown.
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The pattern in the hall.
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Consuelo used a home-made stencil for this pattern.
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The living room floor before the Turkish rugs.
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Beautiful sub-floors – who would have thought?

The hall turned out fantastic.  Several coats of paint followed by three coats of an oil based sealer.

The living room will probably need to be redone next summer.  We used two coats of brown (should have done three) and decided to forgo the fumes and use a water based sealer (two coats) instead of the more smelly oil based.

The oil based is so much harder and thicker.  It’s bomb proof.

Our living room brown is already beginning to chip in places though – two active kids do little to help that.

It’s character I guess and will be an easy fix next summer.

Potatoes Galore!

Planting potatoes is hard work.

Digging potatoes is sheer delight!

A few weeks back we began the glorious work with fork and and buckets of bringing up the potato harvest.

It was a good harvest, but we think the year might have been a bit too wet and figure the company who came to spray for dandelions may have hurt our production a bit too with a bit of drift and the yellowed, curled leaves that resulted back in June.

But we had quite the harvest none the less and now have several buckets of potatoes in the basement.

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Working together.
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Finding the hidden spuds.
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Potatoes Galore! (Is ‘galore’ the only adjective in English that follows the noun?)
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Digging potatoes with Grandpa – a family affair.
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Picking a few apples as well and enjoying fall.
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And lots of Butternut Squash.

Patio Pallet Table

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I completed my first piece of furniture using a recycled pallet and I am pleased with how it turned out.

I learned a few things about pallets and now have a better understanding of how to work with them and have hopes for completing a set of benches for our back patio as well.

I need to find a few more pallets though.

I did pick up 10 small pallets from the Marion landfill this weekend – all of them solid oak and weathered a bit.

I’m excited to figure out what we can do with them and to find out just how difficult they are to work with – oak is very hard wood after all.

Anyway, here are a few pictures of the table I built.

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Planting Potatoes

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Ready to be planted.

It has finally come to pass that we were able to plant our potatoes.

Our goal is to grow enough potatoes to last until March or April of next year – we did that once a few years before moving to Turkey and would like to do it again.

I’m not sure if we ordered enough seed though – it’s been a while since we’ve done this and so we lack the recent experience we need to know exactly what we are doing.

But we are keeping records so that we can keep track of what we planted, what did well and how much we produced.

At any rate, it was a lot of fun to prepare the garden beds and plant.

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Colorado Rose potatoes – we’ll see what these are like.

In so many ways, gardening and growing our own food is just another part of cobbling together a lively hood, a life here in the states.

It is a slow journey, one that recently has felt a bit buried in the darkness of discouragement and wondering if we can do this.

But there is something about digging in the dirt, about laying down seed with the hope – and the faith – that from that dark grave, new life will grow forth.

I believe.

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Planting peas as well.

Of Pallets and DIY Projects

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Wooden Pallets.

I have of late become interested in using discarded packing pallets – those ubiquitous wooden piles you see behind most every store – to build things.

I’ve seen a fair share of ideas online and have pallets for the taking – as we all do.

Two projects have wandered in for now.

The first will be to turn a very clean, nice pallet that I found on the farm into a coffee table of sorts for our back patio.

Our future table for the back patio.
Our future table for the back patio.

The second stack of pallets is set aside to become the future home of a small rabbit, a pet for the kids.  I had a rabbit when I was young and now they want one too.

I think I have enough wood in the three pallets to build a good sized hutch for the four footed future family pet.

We’ve done some research, looked at what others have built online and have a fairly good idea of what we want to build.

Malachi insists on a living roof so I think we will grow alfalfa up on top, an easy snack for a hungry hare.

I’ll post more pictures as the projects come together.  Right now we are deconstructing the pallets, probably the most difficult job, but not nearly as difficult as some would make out.

All in all it has been a fun project to work on with my son.  And that makes it worth it no matter what the end result looks like.

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Next up, a home office.   image credit

Spring! Finally Here.

April 22nd?  Really?
April 22nd? Really?

Our winter here in South Dakota has seemed to drag on a bit further into spring than I would have expected.

It is our first spring in the states in over five years and so I have been looking forward to it with some excitement.

In Turkey, I always relished that first morning that I was able to comfortably enjoy our balcony for my morning routine of journaling, reading, prayer and quiet.

The birds singing, the air crisp and the feeling of fresh air a marvolous reminder of the beauty of this world.  I’ve been looking forward to that moment here as well.

We have a nice back patio too and I’ve been getting it ready; sweeping off the leaves, cleaning the winter grime from the few pieces of patio furniture we have, and waiting.

Waiting.

Waiting seems to be a theme in my life.  I’ve been back in the states now going on ten months and I’m still waiting to feel settled, to feel like I can settle.

I came across a quote from Paulo Coelho the other day that seems to mark my progress.

Waiting is painful.  Forgetting is painful.  But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.

Perhaps a little melodramatic but it in some ways gets to what I’ve been working through these last months.

For now I wait and hold to Charles Stanley’s words:

The Scriptures contain many stories of people who waited years or even decades before the Lord’s promises came to pass. What modern believers can learn from the patience of biblical saints like Abraham, Joseph, David, and Paul is that waiting upon the Lord has eternal rewards.

This morning I ventured out to the back patio for my first morning outside in the fresh air this year.  It is supposed to be 78 degrees today.

Spring is here.