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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 😆

 

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By The Goblin Child

Facts About Cows

There was a dead calf so we decided to cut it open so that is why we are doing facts about cows.  We took the dead calf to the pasture and then we started cutting it open, but the knife wasn’t really sharp enough.  But we got it cut open.  We saw and talked about the intestines, then mama tore them out.  Then we talked about the liver.  The liver filters the blood and makes it clean for the rest of the body.  We wanted to see the heart, but we couldn’t get to it because the skin was too difficult to cut with the knife we had.  Since we couldn’t see the heart we cut the neck and found the esophagus and saw the rings of muscle in it.

We cut open the stomach. Last night mama and Lala fed the calf some colostrum. All the colostrum spilled out.

I felt disgusted, and like I would throw up. Mama was fascinated.

It was cold but mama said it was beautiful out. 8 thought it was all too gross and rode home with Lala

I want to learn more about the insides of calves and cows.

By The Goblin Child

 

My Side Of The Story

We were looking through the calves. My daughter was on the fourwheeler behind me. My father in law was putting out bales of hay for the calves.

As we drove across the pen I said look a chipmunk! It was hopping across the pen, big and grey with it’s long scaly tail stuck straight in the air.

That wasn’t a chipmunk! It was a rat!

Daisy was on the fourwheeler behind us. She’s a good rat dog. I started calling to her, trying  to get her to notice the rodent.

It was getting away though. I floored the fourwheeler and we aimed at the rat. It disapeared beneath us.

Slamming on the breaks I turned to look behind.  It was still running. Leaping off the fourwheeler I ran for it still calling Daisy.  She wasn’t caught up yet, I was there, I did it. My dad always told a story about him stomping a rat that ran under him while he stood talking along Lower Wacker in  downtown  Chicago. I had to  do it, the rat was under my feet already. I forced myself to stomp. The rat squirmed, wrapping  up around my boot. I could feel it. Screaming in  fear and horror at what I was doing I kept stomping, to keep it from  crawling up my leg as much as anything.

Daisy finally got there. I stepped back  and let her finish up.

The Goblin Child was cackling historically on the fourwheeler then hopped off to come see it for herself. Upon inspecting the now very dead rat she shrugged and we walked back  to the fourwheeler and home.

Daisy was  left with her prize. She carried it off the other direction.

The Funniest Day Of My Life By The Goblin Child

We were checking cows on the fourwheeler. It was raining ice pellets. I was cold, my face and fingers were numb.

All of a sudden mama started going fast. I didn’t know what it was. Until we stopped. Mama was in such a hurry she got some mud on my pants as she leapt off the four wheeler. Then I turned around and I saw Daisy barking at a RAT! It was scurrying across the pasture, it had jumped out of a bale of hay.

Mama stepped on the rat, and it curled up around her foot. She was screaming! She was wiggling her foot around. Next thing I knew Daisy had killed the rat.

I walked over there and looked at it. I was laughing like a wild beast! It was funny to see mama screaming because she was scared the rat wrapping around her foot.

Then I got back on the four wheeler and laughed all the way home.

the end

 

 

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.

 

 

Ghost Towns

As I reached for the old brass door handle, worn with time and use, thousands of hands opening the same door over the last hundred years, I was over come with a sense of our place in history and future wound together ad one.

As we stand now is as our ancestors stood before us. We all have our place in the story that time tells.

The old folks tell of businesses past, once thriving and new, now empty husks of buildings, windows blanks eyes staring into a time where they no longer fit. Their proprietors once active members of the community, helping those in need the best they are able, watching helplessly as the town died around them. We listen to them talk, trying to grasp the impossibility of what they say.

Now we stand at the entrance of one of the last business in town. Of course the required bar stays busy down the street.

The couple who run it are growing old. So is the building. Though its tiled tin ceiling is tall and unblemished by the ugly dropped ceilings that have defiled so many grand structures and in  the back the old hand crank elevator stands, a work of art in its utility and simplicity, the roof shows stains from leaks and the walls are cracked. Like on the owners, age is starting to wear hard.

How long will it be before the doors close here too? How long before a for sale sign falls to the floor, dreams of new owners long forgotten as windows break and the ceiling gives in.

We will be telling our grandchildren stories of a time when  we used to shop there. They wont be able to believe that we can remember back to a time when that old ghost town still had stores.

 

Spring Snow

Pausing on the wind swept crest of the hill I turned and peered back the way I had come. From this high vantage point it was possible to see the whole pasture without having to drive it. Today I was happy to be on my gas powered mount instead of a horse. We could go as fast as possible, as fast as I could stand.

The snow was light but wind driven. What a day to skip my cap. Without the protective brim each snowflake stung as it burrowed into my eyes. I drove with head down, stocking cap pulled low, trying to protect my eyes.

It made it hard to look around, the sole purpose of this trip. So I sneak quick glances up around.

The cows aren’t officially calving yet. Not due for a few more days. There always has to be a few early ones though.With the cold weather coming in I want to be sure we don’t miss an early arrival.

No cows are off alone in a far corner. Nothing to worry about yet. I hurry home, with the wind now. The snow hitting my eyes still burns but is easier to avoid. My hands ache with cold. The warm weather for the last few days has made me forget that winter is not over. I should have worn warmer gloves.

Back at the buildings I stop to visit the horses. It is still snowing but above the sky is turning blue. Blue above, grey and snowing below. A horse snorts in my ear, shedding hair sticks to everything. Spring is coming. Eventually.

Category: Cows  One Comment