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Adventuring

We’ve been going over at least once a week and checking on the heifers. In a pasture near them there is a water hole. It’s fed by a spring that at some time someone cleaned out and dug a big hole around. It is quite the bubbling spring for this area. On past it the creek runs water. Before it, nothing.

We’ve gone before and thrown our fishing lines in. Not really in hopes of catching anything. We can see lot of fish but they are tiny. Instead just for something to do while we hang out together.

We went again today. Both kids had a pole and were left alone to figure them out. Or not. There was some success. Then they, one of them, got bored and started to wander. Across the creek  and up the ‘cliff’ on the other side. Eventually we followed. Up the cliff and across to the old windmill.

The windmill isn’t used any more. The tank under it is empty and collecting junk. All around it was more junk. Great junk. Foundations and remains of old buildings. We wandered thinking of what once was. We discussed how people would have chosen this spot to settle. No, not the trees near by but something to do with them. Yes, probably because of the spring. An easy close place to get water in this dry empty land.

On down the fence away from  the old building site then back down to the water, A different water hole. More big cotton woods offering shade and music. In  this hole we could see bigger fish. Still not big enough to eat but who wants to actually catch them anyway. Our poles were back at the first water hole though. Out on a fallen tree 8 decided to dip his feet in and Daisy decided to follow. We found a baby turtle shell, minus the baby turtle. Now we all had treasures to carry along.

The fastest way back was to follow the water along the base of thee banks. Or not. It quickly became too steep and there were nettles. We ended up climbing the cliff, with me carrying the pipe, turtle shell and a weird round thing I wanted. It was alot to carry up a cliff. Some how we made it then back down our original path and back across the water.

We were too tired to go back with fishing rods as originally planned and went on to check cows instead. We’ll come back next time. I hope.

Wild Child

How in  the world is this child supposed to be ready for school in two weeks?

He has spent the summer mostly naked, covered in  mud, and as feral as a wild animal. He wanders the garden eating tomatoes like an apple. Is in and out of the pool or hose constantly through out the day. He drives fourwheelers, and some times the pickup.

He is fearless and tough as nails. Except for his feelings, those are tender and soft. He will often cry after he has accidentally caused hurt to someone and say that he’s mad because he hurt his own  feelings.

He can’t sit still and loves adventure. He loves tractors and computers, helping the guys do their work. He’s funny and kind when he’s not driving us crazy.

Hopefully school can  handle him, and not break that spirit.

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Endless Summer

This summer that seemed endless just a few months ago is winding down. School is set to start as normal in a couple weeks.

I am looking forward to it with relief and excitement bit also with dread and disrepair. While a little time away from the children would be nice once in  awhile, for the sake of the cleanliness of this house and to get work done on my job, I also hate to see them go and never feel like we took full advantage of summer while it was here.

We have been doing our best not to waste a moment of the time we have left.

I needed to run to the library to get some work done on the summer reading program we are doing. Better late than  never and better on line than not at all.

While I recorded the book reading and played on their tablets in the cool air conditioning of the library. With that done went downtown.

The children love to stop and get smoothies at the coffee shop in town. I am happy to oblige them whenever possible. When we went to get them though we noticed the coffee shop was doing lunch. It twas a bit early but with their father out working summer fallow we had all the time in  the world. We put in our order for lunch then took our smoothies to the park. Playing and eating I loved every time they exclaimed over how small the toys had gotten sine our last trip there. It had been awhile.

When it was time to go pick up lunch we took it to eat at the gazebo. Between bites and after they ran to the little park next to the gazebo park  and played on the toys. There was a new piece of equipment they had been wanting to try. Apparently it wasn’t as good as it looked or it was just too hot. Before long they were ready to go.

I had thrown goggles and towels in  the car and we took the gravel road home past the lake. We’ve been making good use of the thinngy that lets us play music from the phone through the car speakers and love singing along together to Peterson Farm Bros and Farmer Derek. Pasture Road has been our theme song for checking cows all summer. We drove and sang and were to the lake in no time.

The good spot to get to the water, down at the end of the road was empty again. We waded, I waded, they snorkeled and ran through the water until their teeth chattered with cold on the hot sunny day. Laid out inn  the sun then waded in again. The Goblin Child puts her face down inn the water and swims all over the place like a fish. 8 build sand castles and gallivants about splashing and making a huge ruckus.

Then chilled to the bone it was time to go home. Another day of summer carefully not wasted.

Vacation

We been running and working so hard all summer there hasn’t been time to breath, much less get out and do anything fun.

Other than work.  Work is fun.

I still can’t believe it isn;t early spring. Summer should be just coming not almost over. When I realized that school was going to be starting shortly, maybe, I  decided we had to get out and do something.

Wheat harvest was just finished, short and sweet this year. Just a few days long and not much wheat in what was harvested. The next day was supposed to be unseasonably cool. I had  been waiting for a day like that. It was time to take the kids to Toadstool!

My hard working husband even took the day off work and came with us.

We went to the Cook Shack first. It was on the way. The kids haven’t been  here before. They were fascinated. Everything had to be explored. They ran through the town like real old west hooligans terrorizing the locals. The slated their thirst at the bar with a root beer.

I had one goal while we were there and had to get pictures of the infamous horse skull with the halter grown in. It makes the rounds on social media regularly and I wanted to show it in it’s natural habitat.

Then we went to Toadstool. It was packed. We got the last parking spot and grabbed a picnic table. I had packed lunch and we were getting hungry. The children drank their root beer and could barely contain themselves long enough to eat.

Once freed 8 took off down the trail. Or somewhere near the trail. Or not. He climbed every peak and tried to kill himself. It was the best playground he had ever seen. We gasped, held our breath, squeezed out eyes shut. Somehow he never did fall down a cliff or off a mountain. The Goblin Child followed behind at a much more sedate post but still did her fair share of climbing.

After making a lap around the short trail, with children walking quietly beside us by the end, we got back inn the car and headed into the depths of Sioux county. I wanted to go past Montrose and see the battle sight and church. There was a pickup backed up to the door of the church and the sound of hammering coming from inside. The kids and I went to look around the cemetery then wandered back towards the church. I had thought there was a plaque somewhere telling about the history of the area but didn’t see it anywhere. Maybe the people working would know.

Inside a young man and his grandfather maybe? Were hard at work. They were restoring the church to its original state and doing a wonderful job. They had no idea about a battle ever being fought there though or any historic plaque. I think it was out in the pasture, way off the road. We weren’t going to try to drive out there in the car. We would have to read about it at home.  The battle  and the town

From there it was back south towards the hills again. There was a small park I remembered stopping by years ago, before the fire that had cleared most of the trees out of that area. I could only hope the park hadn’t burnt too. It was marked on the map we had so maybe it was there. The children were restless and my farmer husband is not the fan  of the badlands that the rest of us are. I hoped I didn’t disappoint everyone.

After winding through the creek bottom and worrying that we had missed it somehow we came to the place, marked by a big entryway sign. Coffee park. We pulled in and it was just as wonderful as I remembered. There was an old set of playground equipment. The dangerous kind the kids love with a huge set of teeter totters that nearly gave me a heart attack, even after their escapades at Toadstool. A babbling creek that ran clear over rocks. Carefully mown and maintained out there inn the middle of nowhere. We ran and played and wadded and sat on the bridge and read, relaxing in the cool shade.

From there it was up Pants Butte road, the closest we come to mountain climbing out here. I loved it. The kids were not impressed.

Fort Robinson was on the way home so we stopped at the Ice House Ponds, not a place we had ever been before. It was beautiful but everyone was tired and getting grouchy. After a bit of playing and fish watching we headed for home. It had been a great day and a fun mini family vacation. We’re going to have to try to make it up that way every summer.

PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPppppppppppppppppppppPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP[PPpoOOOOOOPPpPpppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp-ppppppppppppppppppppppppp chips I want chips mama!!and mick and ike. I want water!

 

I told them to write something. I guess this counts.

School is still going good most of the time. Yesterday I let them stay in instead of coming with to feed and it was awful. Today I made them come and they were great again. Apparently they need lunged before getting down to work 😉

The Goblin Child flies through a days worth of school work in an hour when she’ll sit down and concentrate. They each get one Mike and Ike, or whatever candy we have on hand for each paper finished then a jackpot of free time on the computer when school is finished.

My favorite part is when they work together, usually on math. The Goblin Child quizzes 8 on the answers and they work through them together, on her math homework that is. Nothing cements knowledge like teaching someone else.

It’s been really cold the last few days but when it’s nicer out they are coming with to feed and helping feed the bottle calves.We have three right now and it’s a big job for them. The Goblin Child is old enough now to hold a bottle on her own. It can be pretty intimidating and heavy. The both got hammers the other day to help do repairs to the calves windbreak and didn’t even bash themselves in the face.

They come with most of the time to check cows. 8 is very good at driving the 4wheeler he can drive all the way through the pasture and is getting really good at backing it. The Goblin Child wont try yet but she will drive it through gates, which is better than nothing. They both are good at working the controls in the feed truck and helping with that.

 

 

Great Timing

Now. Now when riding your horse isn’t politically correct, The Goblin Child has decided she wants to ride horses.

All this time I’ve been trying to get her to participate, to get her to do ground work or just sit on a horse and she’s refused.

I was working with Harvey the other day and she ordered me to lead him over to a place where she could get on. Of course I let her. The next day she decided to sit on Rusty while we worked and go for a ride. Yesterday I saddled Smoke for her and we went for a walk. 8 decided he wanted on behind and the four of us walked out to the mail box and back.

8 decided at the mail box that he wanted to walk. He is very slow. Smoke was headed home and going fast. It made for an interesting trip.

 

Pony Poetry

This was a prompt for a poem for little kids. Kind of a fun looking project I thought. The kids not so much.

It took me a few days to find time and get them sat down.

From The Goblin Child about Harvey.

As black as the night  (never mind that he’s actually a bay -my comments not hers)

Like coal

An elegant pretty horse

My pony is as pretty as they can get

 

From 8 about Smoke   -some help from me

As old as a mole rat (?!) The Goblin Child thought turtle

Like an old weathered tree

A goofy fun nice horse

My pony is tall and really good

 

My demo about Rusty

As smart as they come

Like a dog not a horse

A beautiful red boy

My pony is practically perfect

Not exactly great poetry but it was kind of fun for the five minutes I was able to get them to sit still and think a bit.

Still Schooling

It’s been busy around here. Although we are just starting this having school at home thing it is going pretty well. That might change after a few weeks 😉

We’ve fallen into a bit of a routine, wake up and eat with my husband before he heads off to work. School is being taught at home and someone needs to make that possible and be there to support the teachers just like when they were teaching from the school.

Then we go feed cows. With school going this wasn’t mandatory, now it is. After feeding we check the pasture for new calves. Back home we do our school work. Short bursts and lots of reward for their work. My daughter is blogging as part of her schooling. She needed work on her writing, how better to learn than to talk about her experiences of the day. My son, in preschool, is doing his sisters math homework. Why not take something he likes and is good at and concentrate on it? We can tailor their learning to their individual wants and needs far better than a school that has to keep the whole class together in their learning.

Then free time on the computer or outside.

The rest of the day is spent playing, working, learning. Who says any one of those is separate from the other?

I firmly believe in the importance of play as learning, now we get to do it. Checking cows we learn about science, how a body works, what is inside of us, or cattle, how calves are born, what happens when things die. We use math, counting new calves, remembering what number we were on  clear until we find another calf.

They’ve been helping get the garden ready to plant, digging the remaining, still very edible, carrots from last year, helping clean out the greenhouse, and they will soon help plant the seeds of cold weather plants.

We’ve had in depth computer science classes, something we are lucky to be in the unique position to be able to offer much better than schools are. They, and the cousins, have helped build a computer and make repairs.

They’ve gotten better about playing together, learning about team work, as long as they think they are causing trouble. Hauling old posts out of one pile and stacking them in  the middle of the garden. They learn so much in that little act of defiance 😆

 

Country School

It’s official now. School is canceled for the next two weeks. To start with.

On the first day today the staff had to go in, we don’t have any cases anywhere near us, this is just an excess of caution. School is going to go on from a distance. They went in and got prepared.

The cousins came over since their mom had to go in.

We started the day by checking cows. Calving is starting and they need a close eye kept on them. They can be watched even closer if there are many children here who need kept busy. We followed the path that is safe to get through, avoiding deep snow drifts and any hill that is too steep. Talked about exactly what needs to be looked for in the cows and to be sure to check the far corners for any cow that wanders off alone. For the rest of the day it was their job to go make sure there were no new calves.

When there are new calves they will get to learn  about anatomy, science, even sex ed. Something farm kids generally have covered. They learn about what to look for when a cow is having trouble, how to tell if a calf has nursed. Maybe they’ll get to help pull a calf as the season goes on.

Inside there was computer time. I love watching them play together, together online and together in  the same room. They jump up and down  running to each others computers, they talk and plan, It’s a very social undertaking.

In between games they wrestled and played. Games were invited that had never been heard of before. The laughed and spread toys from one end of the house to the other. Or we all went outside. They disappeared off to climb hay bales while I  worked a horse, then wandered back muddy and bedraggled.

Late afternoon as everyone got tired and hungry we made cookies. 8 wanted to make sugar cookies. Make them in a pattern, square, star, square star. I  was sad to tell him we didn’t have a square cookie cutter.

But, who needs a pattern to follow!

We could cut out our own! We could make his square, we could make triangles, we could make any shape we wanted. It could be geometry!

Together the kids figured out measurements and ran the beater. Then, armed with the roller, butter knives and forks we began  to role out the cookie dough. Flour went everywhere, except on the table. Dough stuck to the roller. Little fingers scraped it free of the table. There was nothing square about the squares. The tip was cut off a triangle. The Goblin child held it up. Look! It’s a…   What’s the name of that shape again?

We made some guesses. No, No, not that. Oh yeah, trapezoid! Well if you say so dear. I have no clue.

One of the misshapen shapes looked like the state of Alabama! We were off on a new kick. I pointed at a square, look we have Colorado too! Or maybe it’s Wyoming? I can’t tell for sure. The others morphed into Illinois and Nebraska.

There did even end up being some stars.

Maybe tomorrow we’ll make it as far as getting some of them frosted, there might be a few left.

The teachers are getting homework together to send out. I’m hoping we can  continue on with it in  our small group. The older ones can help the younger ones. Nothing helps cement learning like teaching it to someone else. The younger ones may even be able to help the older ones. With geometry at least.

It will be like the old country schools, all the grades together. Learning, playing, working.

A few extra pictures of all the kids playing together along with our homeschool day.