Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Over Coffee

Do you have a cup of coffee with you? Do you even drink coffee or are you one of those people who can actually function in the morning without this most delicious beverage? Well, sit on down anyway. I wish on this beautiful day that you and I were sitting on my back porch with our coffee and catching up. Oh, and I do so want to hear what is going on with you today, so please tell me.

Fall is gently blowing a cool breeze this morning and is sending summer away into happy memories. This weekend was the first of these cooler days and crisp skies, and Saturday found us on a farm! Some friends of ours have a charming farm and when they sent out an invitation to friends to help with a barn raising, well, I got all happy inside. We said we would come even if we are city slickers with no knowledge of barn raising. As life in wont to do, things did not go as planned. They were behind schedule and we were the only people able to come, so we got to take an up-close look at their farm. My kids rode horses, make ink out of berries, chased chickens, and had themselves a good old time. I got to talk with a good friend and see a little of what life on a farm entails. A lot of work, that's what. But you know what? It only made my longing for a farm grow even stronger. I knew it from the moment our tires left the paved road and we were bouncing along on two dirt tracks with a strip of unworn grass down the middle, the dog barking and following us as we made our way to the farmhouse. Cows to the left of us, pigs to the right, and chickens, chickens everywhere! And in the kitchen, mason jars with such colorful foods on every shelf. Dinner was outdoors and after the dishes were done, we left for home tired, dirty, and sad that our day was over. Yet my heart was the happiest it has been in ever so long.

To throw a little reality into this post, I am really struggling with finding a rhythm for our schooling. Peter is a little tornado of activity and the minute I focus on something like reading with Jack, he has taken out a shelf of books. I put our pack and play in the classroom, but he is not content in there for long (maybe five minutes, and that is being generous) and then no one can focus on anything but the piercing screams of a baby who wants to be free.

I am also starting to worry about the upcoming move. I don't know what to pack, what to store, or when to do any of this. Ack. I wish I could magically transport us overseas without all the fuss.

Thankfully, I have thrown open the windows, turned off the A/C, and each time the panic starts to rise this morning, a billowy breeze comes through the window and sends my worries swirling with the leaves. Don't you just love these days? Go on, tell me. I've got a fresh cup of coffee!


  1. Store the pack n play! ;-)

    When we started homeschooling, Faith was a toddler. We schooled in the basement, with a gate at the stairs, and nothing she could reach that wasn't ok for her to play with. She watched Sesame Street at 11 or whenever it was on, but other than that she played or one of the boys (not doing school at that moment) played with her. Not that the room didn't look like a tornado has swept through at the end of the day...

    Keep him fed and watered (I think that's a Mary Kay Clark quote), rested and safe and eventually he'll get used to it.

    PS black, very hot with just a wee squeeze of honey. Two cup minimum. Wish I could enjoy it in your kitchen!

    1. The only trouble with letting him toddle around is the giant lego table with various masterpieces in mid-progress. He has learned to shake the table until the pieces slide toward him. I guess I should be thankful that he is so smart! I am really praying that the house we get in Germany will have a basement!

      For now, my coffee is black too. I have gotten used to it and may not go back to cream in it when I can. We shall see. Oh, and my kitchen is always open for you if you ever travel this way! (Colonial Williamsburg has great deals for homeschoolers right now)

  2. Farming sure is a lot of work, but it's wholesome work. And rewarding work. In the mornings, we finish milking now just before the sun peeks over the horizon. In the dusky light, fog hanging in the hollows, grass heavy with dew, I walk across the fields with the cows trailing along behind me, and I just breathe in the goodness. I watch the cloud bottoms turn rosy, listen to the dog chasing rabbits through the tall grass, inhale the warm scent of bovines, and thank God for the gift of this place, for trusting me with the care of these animals, for the body strong enough to do this work. That's my favorite time of the whole day.

    As for babies at school, I have no advice. It's just hard. I have a book called Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready which has lots of ideas for homemade toys and games that sort-of have a purpose. And since babies lose interest in their toys rather quickly, the fact that they are made mostly out of recyclables is nice. I suggest doing whatever you can while the baby is awake and getting to that very important reading lesson while he sleeps. :-)

    Just out of curiosity, have you looked into whether the dairy allergy is really a gluten allergy? I've been wondering about this for a while, because nearly all dairy cows are fed grain, and if gluten passes through your breastmilk, you can be sure it passes through theirs, too. Based solely on circumstantial evidence and customer testimonials, it seems that most people, maybe all people, who don't tolerate regular milk well have no trouble with raw milk. Some people, though, seem to be allergic to the raw milk as well, but they seem to be also allergic to gluten, and I have absolutely no way of investigating this phenomenon. :-) If gluten is the real problem, though, you'd have to be super certain that the cow you get milk from is really exclusively grass fed. All of mine get grain, but I've wondered about keeping at least one just on grass.

    Well, my coffee cup (fresh cream AND sugar) is empty and I have to go milk those lovely cows again, before dropping my girls off at the extension office for their first day of 4H Teen Leadership Academy. (They're so excited!)

    See you later!

    1. I felt like I was "breathing in the goodness" when we visited our friends farm.

      I think you are right about the baby and school. I need to adapt our schedule to his and work around the tornado! I'll see if the library has that book. I have one geared more for Therese's age, so maybe she could make the toys and Peter could play with them. Keep them both busy.

      I don't think ours is a gluten allergy. We eat bread daily with no noticable bad effects. I have been giving Peter a little yogurt now and then. The formula we use to supplement for calories is milk-based. I made the switch a couple months ago and he seems fine. Next week, I am planning on trying to move him slowly over to cow's milk and get rid of the formula. Since we will be leaving for Germany in a couple months, I will wait until then to try raw milk. I think that Jack and Therese might be able to drink it, based on what I have read.

      I hope the girls enjoy their day of 4H! Have a wonderful day!

  3. Praying for peace and calm for you during this packing and moving process. Will they provide furniture over there? When we lived in Germany (many, many moons ago!) the army provided basics like beds, and some tables, chairs, etc. since they would only allow a certain weight of household goods. My Mom put about half our toys and games in storage, and our piano. But most of our stuff came with us.

    1. Oh, boy, Kris, do I ever need those prayers! I can already feel my anxiety kicking in and that is not a good thing at all. I know we can get temporary furniture until ours gets there and I think we can get some appliances for the duration. I am still trying to figure it all out!