We Are Deep In the Heart of Texas

Nomadic seasons of farming adventures with nature thrown in to include; a pinch of family, snippets of friends, counting our blessings, paying IT forward, home school, and the spicy things I decide to rant about.







Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hibbidity Dibbidity: Bug Porn

The boys and I discovered these moths on our back porch answering Nature's call to procreate.  They stayed like this the entire day.  My simple explanation to Saenz and Zephyr was they were making larva (babies).  Saenz is at the 'gross out' stage when concerning reproduction while Zephyr is really hooked on all things related to girls.
Our little farm garden is expanding.  Currently we have planted: cabbage, kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, 2 types of carrots, asparagus, onions, cilantro, 3 types of tomatos, turnips, leeks, curly leaf lettuce, mustard greens, sweet potato, beets, raddishes, parsley, pole beans, cow peas, collard greens, okra, butternut squash, zucchini, crooked neck squash, jalapeno, habanero, oregano, 2 apple trees, 2 pear trees, 2 pomegranite, 2 black berry, 1 concord grape, 4 muscadine grape, and 1 lime (it survived the ice storm on 4 Feb).   

I have plans to add: corn, more variety of tomato, cucumber, watermelon, cantaloup, vine peach, chives, Greek oregano, Mexican oregano, basil, lettuces, garlic, spinach, and many others.  We have plans to add fruit and nut trees as follows: peach, fig, lime, lemon, orange, avocado, walnut, pecan and maybe a hickory nut if we can find it. 

One of our garden beds is only 15' by 100' feet, the other is 15' by 15', to have a garden the size to feed one person, a 1000 sq foot garden is required to feed one person for a year if crops are rotated -- or so the books say.  So this year, we are experimenting and will probably double it next year.  Since we are novice growers it is best to start small and manageable until you get good dirt stained nails under your belt. 
The one thing our farm sorely needs is rain.  Our area is in a drought situation already with a burn ban since last month.  So if ya'll will do a rain dance and push it our way; we would really appreciate it.  Those dark skies were full of promise yet, no rain.  SIGH

Now onto homeschool news, we have ordered and recieved our butterfly garden and ant farm -- just awaiting the occupants to arrive by mail.  Thanks to Jana C over at http://homeschoolingintexas.blogspot.com/; Zephyr was super stoked and wanted to try the same home growing experiments as her children.  We have also ordered the Lady Bug habitat, some bug models to build, and Story of the World Vol 1 & 2.  What I like about the Story of the World (history), is the lessons are short enough to keep even Zephyr's attention.  So thanks Jana for cluing us in our your finds from Nest Learning.

There are a few of resources, I would like to pass on to other homeschooling parents.  Time4learning is a wonderful site, that actually tracks multiple core subjects, progress reports, time spent logged in, unit studies; I use it when I don't have time to one-on-one and have to work about the place or just need a break.  Super Teacher Worksheets for printables and other down loadables like progress reports, report cards, lesson planning and such.  On April 11th, Super Charged Science's Aurora will be hosting a free tele-video class.  For her site, a yearly membership is $55 however, she has free class materials or videos from time to time.  I especially like the way she has her syllabus drawn out.  It is a schedule, I can keep with the materials I already have on hand.

I don't know about other home school parents but, I don't follow a set curriculum.  I just find most are far too expensive, limited in scope, or have a 'Christian slanted theme to the lessons.'  While, I don't mind religious based learning, I just find some subjects relating to Math and Sciences to be distracting when a subject is presented with a religious view.  I am a strictly the facts kind of learner and this hold true with Saenz as well. 

I just want to say, Thanks to all my followers for reading.  I know my posts have become sporadic.  I apologize; it is just a busy time of year for us with farming, gardening, and teaching lessons.  I hope you still find the content interesting enough to leave comments from time to time.

I just hope all is well in your slice of heaven! ~:> Mal

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Email I Found Waiting For Me

This is a beautiful way to greet any day.  A recognition from the man who has given your life so much, and continues to add to it through the years.  Thank You My Hubby for making me smile and cry all at once.

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MY DEAR WIFE..

Today is your birthday-
A special day indeed;
May God bless you, I pray,
And meet your every need!

God made you, my darling,
To be my only wife;
And that's the greatest thing,
That happened in my life!

For,
Marriages when God-made,
Can never lose their charm,
And do we as God bade,
Our hearts are always warm.

'Happy Birthday, dear wife;
You're special in my life!!
Through all the ups and downs, and all the in-betweens you are still the
love of my life. May God bless you with many more.

YO VATO"

Please go about your day and enjoy your slices of heaven.  I know I will as I celebrate mine; now begining its 45 year.  I have so much to be thankful for and must declare it now.  Without my family; I would be a miserable soul.  To my family back in Bama and Cali; you gave me --  my foundation.  To my hubby Gilbert (hugs), Saenz, Zephyr, Junio, Jaylin, Sarah, Sid and Lisa plus the cast of 1000s here on the farm;

Ya'll gave me wings --- I love you!
(in all my forms)
Ruca, Red Neck, Mad Marge, Mal, Maliss, Grandma, Woman, Mom

Friday, March 18, 2011

Something I Feel I Must Pass On

I found this article by Rebbeca Dube on Today's website.
"Little girl loved: One father's open letter to a young rape victim."
http://moms.today.com/_news/2011/03/18/6294525-little-girl-loved-one-fathers-open-letter-to-a-young-rape-victim

And then followed it to the open letter on a blog highlighted in red.  Such a beautiful letter.


"[Editor's Note: After reading our MyBrownBaby post, "Gang Rape In Texas: When Will We Stop Sacrificing Girls In Defense of Black Boys," Nick was moved to pen this letter to the 11-year-old victim. I extend a special invitation to the mothers and fathers who've read this powerful prose to leave empowering and loving messages to and for this child, and the many more like her, here at MyBrownBaby and at the Little Girl Loved FaceBook Group started by MyBrownBaby friend Robin Caldwell. We also suggest you follow @littlegirlloved on Twitter and, with the hashtag #littlegirlloved, share this post and the many e-letters we hope to collect for this child. Let’s lift her spirit and let her know that if her town won’t support her and her family, we certainly will.]


Nick Chiles, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, is the author of eight books, including the New York Times bestselling tome “The Blueprint: A Plan for Living Above Life’s Storms,” co-written with gospel legend Kirk Franklin. Nick also writes for several publications including Essence, where he frequently pens stories about fatherhood and manhood."

http://mybrownbaby.com/2011/03/black-father-kicks-off-a-love-letter-campaign-in-support-of-the-11-year-old-gang-rape-victim-in-cleveland-texas/

So I found myself posting (sharing) this beautifully written letter to my Facebook friends and I thought I would share this letter with those who pass this way.  My heart is so sad and full for the young girl who had to endure such torture at the hands of many. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fun Schooling, A Little Bit of Rain, Texas Star Energy Refund

This weekend we experimented with different measurments of vinegar and baking soda.  What we learned is; we should wait until the wind is not a factor.  (hard to do where we live.)
In this attempt we place vinegar into the bottle first then had the baking soda stuffed in the balloon.  We noted that the vinegar / baking soda solution became cold during the mixing process.
Next we tried behind a wind block (the car), with baking soda added into the bottle with a vinegar filled balloon.  In this experiment the boys and I learned not to do this way again.  Because we could not add enough vinegar to react to the baking soda because -- a barrier is formed atop the baking soda when the two meet.  Our hypothesis --- try again on a windless day, the solution cools during the reaction, and how the experiment is set up will affect its outcome.
Hubby and I decided to start teaching stories from this Children's Bible to help give our boys some lessons in our faith that is centered in Christianity.  Later in the year, I will introduce them to lessons from the Torah, Quran, Buddhist texts,  and other 100+ faiths of the world.  Also, this will give them some sort of religious foundation to build up from so they can make the decision about which faith they will follow if any.
Now who could not use some 'found monies?'  I was doing a happy dance to finally recieve this check from the Texas Appliance Mail-In Rebate program. Wooo Hooo! Gotta love going green when it actually pays some green backs into ones' pockets. :O)

Finally, we were the recipiants of this lovely gift called rain.  Let me tell you, our ground was so hard from lack of moisture; that small cracks can be found.  I am guessing this little soaking gift from heaven will turn our grass green. 
Now this is one website I wanted to pass on to all of you.  I found it a few months back and there was not much to offer.  However, since then Bill Gates has made a large donation and others to get this website up and fully functional.   So I wanted to pass this information along to those: teaching, homeschooling, in college, or is helping out children with homework.  http://www.khanacademy.org/ 

This website has thousands of videos with lessons from 9 to 15 mins in length showing how to work math problems and other subjects.  So far there is an extensive amount of simple math, algebra, physics, finance, economics, accounting and many other subjects to be added. This website is free (accepts donations) and a parent can set up an account to monitor and track their students (children) working the problems or lessons they try.  You can not beat free especially when it is a quality program. 

Hope ya'll have a wonderful week.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

You Know The Country Is Part of You When

You love to spend time with your crew as much
as they do with you.
You go from being afraid of your birds; to net catching --- to walking up and placing your hand on their back then carrying them out of the garden for the 50th time.

Much has changed with our boys since we moved here to 'our little slice of heaven' in on January 7th, 2006.  Yet one thing has remained the same; you can take the boy out of the country but, you can't take the country out of the boy.

Awaiting the arrival of our older children and grand kids. Wooo Hoo! I am hope your slice of heaven is as blessed as ours.
Take care,
Mal

PS  Continued prayers for those Affected and Effected by the quake and tsunami in Japan.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Gardening and Homeschool Lessons: Week 2

How lucky for us that one of Mr. Larry's gifts (Grumpy Gramps) was a subscription to Weekly Reader program with the added Life Pac for science.  So, when I broke open the packet yesterday Zephyr found this issue right off the bat.

Week 1: http://saenzmom.blogspot.com/2011/03/our-garden-seed-project-week-1.html
Planting Day: http://saenzmom.blogspot.com/2011/02/welcome-to-world-boudan.html

Later today, we will water the beans we have already placed in the yard.  And will decide where to place our melons and squash since, they are about ready to put in the garden.  It has been a bumpy road trying to fence the chickens out of the garden area we have next to our house. The feathered monsters keep trying to get to our tender seedlings.  I will take some pictures later of our progress when it is not so cool outside. 

Brrrrr, in the 40s this morning but is around 65 degrees now.  For South Texas it would be a really stellar day if not for the chilly wind. Hopefully this afternoon will be warm enough to take the boys outside for watering and transplanting.  Zephyr woke up with a cold this morning -- thus I am waiting for more heat.

Sad news, one of the turkey poults died late yesterday.  I have no idea why -- they are not over crowded, are dry and warm.  Grrrr, now I understand a bit better why there is a saying:

TURKEYS LIVE TO DIE...... Kinda sad really

No news on my sister yet.  She was still in the hospital yesterday with the staff running a bunch of test.  So far, nothing has shown to be the cause of her strokes.  I firmly believe the science of medicine is really an ART form  instead of science since, each individual is unique.  What will work for a few will not work for others.  Hopefully soon; she will find a doctor who listens to her entire history and is clued in enough to treat her as an individual instead of as a member of the herd.

Okay, off to teach some phonics and hopefully more reading to Zephyr. I hope your slices of heaven are full of blessings.

Mal

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Do You Ever Feel Like You've Hit a Wall?

For each break through we have in homeschooling a  road block pops up to whip us about for awhile.  It took me a better part of this passed six months to get Zephyr to a place where he is learning how to read.  He now can pick out about ten words and knows half of the alphabet's begining sounds.

His first sentences are:

The cat sat on my hat.
The boy wants a toy.
Zephyr is a boy.
Mom is a girl.
Zephyr wants a toy.

Not rocket science but a firm start.  We used flashcards to learn new words and practice letter sounds through out the day almost every day.  So, when he was able to read those words this morning.  Mom did a happy dance.  Then we sat down to read The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs.   I guess tomorrow our game will be to pick out all the MICE and MOUSE words on a page since today's was 'at' 'the' and 'a.' 

Now on to Saenz's progress, we are deeply stuck inside the quagmire of learning how to convert fractions to decimals.  When I am on break with Zephyr; Saenz and I are at the white board practicing.  Saenz has a tough time with keeping his work aligned properly (dysexlia) so, he gets frustrated easily with math.  So I have to keep reminding him that he is not going to fall behind here and we will keep practicing until he gets a firm grasp before moving on.

I think this bothers him because feels like a failure.  When in fact, I know he is getting the hang of doing the problems and has made progress from just a week ago.  So the rest of this week we will focus on science, art, history, and grammar to give his brain some reset/focus time.

My sister, Tammy is back in the hospital.  She did okay on Saturday through Sunday and then had another seizure or stroke on Monday.  Needless to say, she is back in different hospital this time.  No word yet on how she is doing.  I am concerned since, I detected her slurring her words the last time we spoke.  Later, I will call my neice to find out the lastest test results.  So just keeping her in my thoughts and prayers and hopefully the doctors will find why she is having such difficulities with her health.

Hoping all you are having a wonderful week in your slices of heaven.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cranked Up the Husky, Tree Trimming, a Visitor

Cubby bear wanted a ride so he climbed aboard.  The grass is not high enough to mow yet.  However, the chickens started following us.  They have learned there is mighty good picking after we mow the grass.
 Delaware rooster and his ladies.
Amerucana rooster and his harem.
'OH CRAP! I've been spotted.' 
RUN before Banjo chases you Mr. Roadrunner.
Next weekend when Junio and the grand daughters come down; we will be moving our goats to the front for fresh grazing. Hubby trimmed this front tree back so the goats will not be able to gnaw our cover tree.  Can't believe he can drive the farm truck that is stuck in fourth; it needs a new transmission.   So many projects, so little money and time to get them all done.
The swing oak tree are covered with these.  Interesting to look at I must say. Do you know what these are because I don't? 
 DO YOU MIND? Privacy here....
We bid you adieu because there is still much work to do!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Waiting for the Rains

This was what the sky looked like yesterday evening.  Promising but no rain.  Hubby and I did the farm chores together.  This week has been a little nuts here and in the world it appears.  

Farm news:  Roux and Bercer died; we tried to get them to bottle feed to no avail.  Then one day it was so hot, Lady Walver was also found dead.  Talk about a kick in the gut.  The boys and I caught a injured Northen Cardinal; she also died of her injuries.  Leaving me to wonder; if I did the right thing.

Family news this week: my sister is in the hospital she had a stroke.  The blockage in one of her cranial veins is too close to her brain for surgery.  So, awaiting news to find out what the neurologist is going to recommend.  I know she does not take care of herself nor, the Crohns that ravages her body.    It is just heartbreaking to know how close she came to dying and how shitty she was treated because she is: poor, female, and without health insurance.

Another sad bit of news, a distant male cousin lost his three month old daughter to SIDS.  I can not imagine the pain nor anguish he and his family are feeling.  Another great uncle passed this week though he was quite advanced in age his passing makes one think of their own mortality. 
On to something more invigorating.  Friday, I took the boys out for lunch.  Lets just say I am super happy to be living in the country.  When we got home; we found the door ajar so I went in to investigate.  Only to find a hen took up residence in our home.  She left us a poopy present on the stairs, over turned a few sprout cups, and promptly took to laying us an egg.  The boys and I got a good chuckle out of this and I said quite a few prayers of thanks because the outcome could have been worse.
This morning, I allowed the boys to sleep in late since it is the weekend.  Hubby is busy working over time down in Corpus.  The pole beans were looking lovelingly outside for the promise of rain.  The temp has dropped by 30 degrees, I am thinking next weekend these beauties will grace our garden. 

We have made a major discovery.  Seems little Banjo is quite content to chase and harass our hens.  I can't say that I blame him since, a few are so brazen they will steal his food from his bowl.  So, we have blocked him into the main yard after finding him with a chicken and pulling her feathers out late yesterday afteroon.  Luckily I caught him in the act.  The boys and I concluded that Banjo was probably the reason Chewy was injured in the first place.    Animals will be animals.

Grumpy and I spent some time looking out the window at the passing clouds.  He is quite the love bird here lately and so curious.   He and I sometime just chill out and listen to the sounds of the house.  We both wish you a beautiful weekend and hope your weather is stellar in your slices of heaven.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Say Hello to Chewy

The boys went outside to check mail and Zephyr came back in worried about a 'baby bird.'  He said Banjo kept messing with a red bird.  So, to get him to chill out; I went outside with him to see the 'baby bird.'  Well it is not a baby and Banjo had not killed it.  Meet 'CHEWY,' a cardinal.
Chewy is steady giving me 'stink eye' for having caught him. 
 But if you notice in this picture; 'Chewy' is missing some tail feathers and thus he can not fly.  He tried hopping away from us and we gave chase with a net and an apron.  After I bagged 'Chewy;'  I gave him the once over and he promptly tried to kill my thumb. (The apron saved me becase he attack it instead.)
Do you see him sticking his beak out at me planning my demise?  
Chewy almost got chewed on and then promptly tried to chew on me.  Here he sits until he can fly safely away.  There are too many critters that Chewy would make a delightful snack.  Sorry Chewy.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Our Garden Seed Project: Week 1

Last week, the boys and I planted seeds to see how long it would be before sprouts appeared.  Bean sprouts were the first to appear at three days.  As you can see the surprise 'cups' will be ready to transfer to the beds before long.  

http://saenzmom.blogspot.com/2011/02/welcome-to-world-boudan.html

Mom, took the time to write numbers on the cup bottoms to equal to her cheat sheet as to what was actually growing.  LOL Doncha hate surprises?  It is hard to plant and maintain a vine plant next to one that likes their space.  * means the plants have sprouted

1.  Jubilee tomato *  2.  Big Boy hybrid tomato  3.  Artichoke 4.  Brussel sprout  5.  Parnips  6.  Swiss chard  7.  Vine peach 8.   Lemon mint  9.  Strawberry popcorn  10. Roma tomato * 11. Rhubarb 12. Garlic chives  13. Black diamond watermelon 14. Iroquis melon  15. Minnesota hot chili (rooster's) 16. Butternut squash* 17. Turnips* 18. Leeks 19. Banana melon 20. Banana squash 21. zuchini squash 22. Okra ,
coffee cups*, I forgot to write them down
one flat box of Chantenay carrots
one bowl of purple pole beans* one bowl of white beans *
This was the cup placement this morning after he turned them to face away from the window.  Zephyr has learned that plants will change their growth direction to face the sunlight.
He noticed a little bit ago, the sprouts have changed their direction back to face the window this afternoon.  So our experiment now, is to see if the sprouts will have a 'S' curve in the morning.

Having fun with gardening.....

The Art of Friendship and Good Neighbors

Yesterday, we went to the Maguglins to trade eggs and just visit.  My boys are just thrilled to run around their property. It is fun to watch the children play together outside because they run around and burn up energy.  What is really cool, each time we go there we learn something new.

Mrs. Sobrina taught us about caring for show rabbits   We had no idea they had to be of a certain weight nor the standards for judgement for the farm shows around the area. Their rabbits are weighed daily, have tattoo'd ears, have to have their under coat brushed out and look like their litter mates.

WHO KNEW? 

Then, we watched their show pigs which are Hamsphires (English breed); and they require a certain type of ration to lay down weight and fat properly for judgement. What is interesting about their show pigs and a major difference from our hogs (feral)are their body structure.  The Hampshires have really large hind quarters that are heavily muscled and makes them look quite hippy.  Then on top of their backs are deep crease to which helps to show their fat content.  Mrs. Maguglin which probably weighs a 100 lbs soaking wet just hopped -- right into their pen and herded the pigs into their play yard.

Zephyr loves to run about their place looking for spent shotgun shells like a treasure hunter.  And Saenz loves to chat and be a boy with the Maguglin's oldest son.  The best thing about having another homeschooling family so close by, who are from this area; is knowing we can ask questions.  This means I have a source to learn how to become a better farmer, mother, and teacher.  WIN WIN in my book.

Later in the day they came over to drop off some homemade bread.  Saenz and Zephyr took the Maguglin children out to see the animals and swing under the oak tree.  Overall, Tuesday was a lovely day spent with good friends and great neighbors.  Can't ask for more....

Hope ya'll are enjoying your slices of heaven!
Mal

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Moments I Live For

There are just some small gestures that lift my heart and gives me wings so these are the moments I live for:

1.  The secret kiss or hug from my teenager.

2.  Waking Zephyr up with hugs and kisses only to see him smile with closed eyes.

3.  A pinch or pat from hubby as I walk by him.

4.  Animals who follow me around like I am the Pied Piper.

5.  A phone call from a friend.

6.  Seeing a report on the news of strangers helping each other.

7.  Random acts of kindess.

8.  Finding money in my jeans pocket.

9.  Watching Banjo stalk the guineas only to find; they are in fact stalking him.

10.  Seeing a baby born on our farm.

11. Watching my menfolk play with each other.

12. Seeing the 'Aaa Haa' moment when I am teaching my sons.

13.  My sons confiding in my their secret desires, dreams, hopes and aspirations.

14.  My sons coming to me with their fears, concerns, or misgivings.

15.  Knowing my boys trust me.

16.  Watching the small daily miracles in nature.

17.  Learning something new every day.

18.  Getting an actual letter in the mail.

19.  Being remembered

20.  Hearing small children talk to adults with manners and respect.

21.  Hearing adults talk to small children with manners and respect.

22.  The smell of fresh bread from the oven.

23.  Laughing, playing, working with my family together to accomplish things.

24.  Finding a really great sale on things we need; and having the funds to buy it.

25.  The trust that comes from being able to have electricity, water, food, access to healthcare.

26.  Listening to Saenz and Zephyr's stories and their make believe worlds.

27.  Being able to count my blessings.
I am sure there are probably a million more reasons but, I am truly blessed and I hope you all feel the same way in your slices of heaven.