springy bits

overwintered greens, delicious honey from a friend, oxalis in a sunny window, bananagrams fun with friends, plant starts in the dining room, tulips, hardening off some of our babies (kale, cabbages, broccoli raab and piracicaba), peas and cilantro, larkspur volunteers aplenty, (coneflower and poppies, too), a quick mamas' overnight with a dear friend to a nearby campground with hot tubs and cabins on the river........ and her fairy garden.

it's supposed to be freezing the next two nights, but mostly these days it is feeling lovely and spring-like, and I'm loving it!


homeschool happenings

we're in a pretty good groove around here in terms of homeschooling.  we enjoy our slow and easy mornings.  she wakes and goes about with a little list of things she one day decided on her own were her 'morning chores'.  she lets the chickens out, makes her bed, brushes her hair and teeth, and gets dressed.  and then often gets a little listen in to whatever her current audiobook is while I do yoga or make tea and breakfast, and then we convene for food and a start to the school day.  which lately looks something like this:

language (these days it's a lot of reading aloud, intro grammar, and handwriting/spelling practice)

math (adding and subtracting with regrouping, fractions, math facts, telling time, etc)

science/nature studies (a smattering of mostly birdwatching, human body study, earth science, weather, botany, animal studies)

geography/social studies (just finished up our North America study, making map of NC, reading about women in history)

art class

one of the beautiful things about homeschooling is that there is also ample time for reading books in bed, playing outside, gathering with friends to welcome the change of seasons, and working on the garden together now that spring is here.  some of our new favorite homeschool activities are her ukulele lessons and a weekly poetry tea with good friends.  she is still doing horseback riding lessons, and now that the weather is warmer we will likely start going more regularly again.  she and papa are also starting to do some 'shop' classes together, and today they built a swing for her doll.  also, she is loving knitting.  especially using pencils instead of needles, even though I keep offering needles.


eating, reading

The autoimmune diet continues.  Basically no dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, nightshades, alcohol, added sugar.  It's pretty limiting but I've gotten fairly used to it.  I am a creature of habit so once I got my new routine down it's been fairly smooth.  Going on 7 weeks now and I'm only just now playing around with adding a couple things back in.  Seed spices like nutmeg, some ghee from grass-fed cows, egg yolks. To my surprise and dismay, I noticed the numbness and tingling a lot more the days following the egg yolks.  No fun.  I mean, we have chickens!  I love eggs!  We'll see.

So - loads of veggies.  Loads of coconut in all forms (including the homemade coconut milk above, and the flour that results).  Some fruit.  Some meat.  Lots of soups still.  A whole lot of butternut and spaghetti squash.  Greens.  Sweet Potatoes.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.  I was actually telling a friend just yesterday that I hadn't been noticing the numbness and tingling much these days and then last night and today it's been worse again.  I had the egg yolks in 'pancakes' (I am using that word ever so loosely here- they were basically banana or pumpkin with a couple egg yolks and some coconut milk and maybe a spoonful of coconut flour- they left a lot to be desired) Saturday and Monday morning.  And then the symptoms returned.  Could be something else, who knows.  Such a rabbit hole, all of this.  The reading and the experimenting and the mindfulness-ing.  Sigh.

Anyway, books.  Along with a fairly sizable stack of books on autoimmune fun and thyroid health, I've been keeping up with my fiction reads as well.  Here is where I admit to having never read To Kill a Mockingbird before (there may have been some cliff notes action in high school, but I think we were just assigned other books and then I never picked it up in adulthood), so I read that and Go Set a Watchman recently.  The books pictured above.  I have Braiding Sweetgrass and News of the World up next.  Also, Hillbilly Elegy.  Anyone read that?  I am hearing mixed reviews.  Mike just read it and if I'm quick I can maybe read his copy before it's due instead of having to wait until it's my turn in the library queue.

For now, time to go hit the hay and finish reading about this grumpy old Ove.

Happy Spring~


goodnight, february

 We had a warm February down here in Western NC.  I know many have, in many places.  Frighteningly many places, really.  This is the second year in a row that we haven't been able to tap the neighborhood sugar maples (we haven't had a long enough period of cold and then freezing nights and thawing days before the trees set bud).  I don't like having to buy maple syrup after making our own for three years, but that's not the real reason it bothers and worries me, of course.

 So yes, a sunny and mostly very warm February.  I actually didn't set out to sound so gloomy about it, but sometimes I can't help it.  I mean, who doesn't love sunshine on their shoulders, right?  But still........ ugh.  There are so many things out there, hugely important things, that rely on seasons and the appropriate playing out of natural rhythms in order to move along just right, and often I just can't help but feel anxious about it.

 Anyway- a February wrap-up, that's what this is.  And so here goes:  Claire invited a new neighbor over for a tea party (our new neighbor is a woman in her 60s who lives two doors down with her two miniature dachshunds.  Claire has become fast friends with all three of them, and it is quite sweet and reminds me of my own childhood friendship with an older next-door neighbor.  I need to tell some stories about Lulu, sometime......), we continue watching the birds regularly for Cornell University's Project Feederwatch, there are plants in sunny windowsills, eggs a plenty once again, daffodils blooming everywhere.  Witch hazel blossoms, and the plum tree, too.  Grape hyacinths, violets......... I've even spied a few dandelions.  A wonderful visit with a dear sweet baby cousin of Claire's and my lovely sister-in-law.  Seeds are started, peas and spinach have been planted, the garlic we planted in the fall has a solid 6" of growth peeking up through the leaves.  I have spent the whole month eating mostly broth and vegetables and meat and a bit of fruit and coconut thrown in.  I miss crunchy.  Maybe soon.  I've aimed to do yoga every day and just about made it.  Not quite, but pretty close.  I've read a few good books and just started another.  I suppose it is noteworthy as well that I wasn't sick at all this month.  A little scratchy throat from time to time- thwarted each time it would seem by a couple days of regular dosing of good homemade tinctures and extra tea and rest, but nothing that really got me down and out.  Looking back, it seems February is often a month that I finally succumb to a bit of wintry illness after thinking I've just about gotten away with not.  Not this year, though.

 She got a new jumprope for Valentine's Day and has been happily hop-skip-jumping around with it.  There have been several barefoot days.  There was even a day, last Thursday, when it hit the high 70s and we pulled out the blue plastic dollar store kiddie pool and Claire splashed around in it at lunchtime.  In February.

 The plum tree is out in all her glory now.  Just in time for a 28 degree night last weekend.  Things are still looking okay though- the bees were all over it today, their legs heavy with the bright pollen.  The tree looked almost as if it were buzzing itself there were so many honeybees and mason bees and various other pollinators on it.  I think we're supposed to be back into the low to mid twenties in a few nights, so........  we'll see.  We didn't get plums last year because of a similar pattern, so I'm not getting too hopeful.  We'll just see.

And now, March.