renovations

A Random Series of Un/Fortunate Events

Last weekend, the clocks sprung forward an hour for Daylight Savings Time. Ever since, "springing" out of bed has been out of the question for me. I've felt tired all day, every day, and am really hoping that this weekend will help me make the final transition into the new schedule. The spring time change is always the worst for me, but seems worse than usual this year, not sure why. (Anyone else wish that the almighty "THEY" would pick one and stick to it, for-crying-out-loud?!)

Maybe the tiredness is accentuated because the weather simultaneously went from "warm and sunny" to "freeze-your-knackers-off and gloomy", which doesn't help at all.

Despite that, the week has plugged on at it's normal, relentless pace. The boys are in another round of swimming lessons for three days a week until the end of March. Unfortunately, it is in the morning this time around, which really messes up our school schedule on those days. By the time we get home, not only are we past their brains' peak operating times, but they are also tired from the swimming. Some days, my pokey middle child hasn't finished his "morning" subjects until 5 p.m.... or later. The other two are sometimes not far ahead of him. It can make for kind of a long day, not to mention that we are falling further and further behind in our "afternoon" subjects of history and science. Thank goodness we are not Alberta-government-aligned in those ones!

Last fall, I joined a ladies Bible study group to do a study on James by Beth Moore. We just finished it up this week (crammed an 8-week course into four months :-D), and I am so thankful for what I learned through it. It has helped me to become much more proactive in my faith, in the sense of not only seeing the need that surrounds me, but looking for ways that I can actually do something about it. It can still be frustrating to see so much wrong in the world and feel so inadequate for the task of making a difference--but I can still make a small difference. And the small things that I can do might just make a big difference in the life of somebody. We never know what long-term impact our small actions can make on the world, whether for good or for bad. The study also inspired my assignment for Week 2 of the songwriting course I am taking from Berklee professor Pat Pattison, which you can read about here.

Last weekend, I cajoled Jason into doing a renovation project that has been on the back-burner since moving into our current trailer. When we moved in, the linoleum throughout the house needed to be replaced. The addition was done before we even moved anything into it (by yours truly, I am proud to say), and at the same time as we purchase lino for that project we also bought laminate for the larger boys' bedroom to cover the disintegrating 35-year-old linoleum that was there. We got a great deal on the flooring through Spirit River Flooring (it really does cost less, there!), partly because we weren't being very picky about colour, partly because they had a sale on laminate at the time, and partly because the saleslady was very sympathetic to our situation of having to replace our home because of the mould issue, and did the best she could for us on the price.

Fortunately, when we purchased the first trailer, the previous owners had just put laminate into the smaller bedroom in that trailer, and they had three leftover boxes that they gave us. That bedroom is almost identical in size to the room Jude currently occupies, so we figured we would have more than enough laminate to do the floor in there without purchasing anymore, even if it meant lifting some out of the old trailer.

However, despite getting Noah's and Jabin's room done last spring, and having the best of intentions to get to Jude's "fairly soon," it didn't happen until this Sunday past. However, once we got started on the project, it only took a few hours to empty the room (including taking apart the bunk beds), lay the flooring, and move everything back in. Jude got to bed a little late, but since it was the first day of the time change, he probably wouldn't have fallen asleep earlier, anyway--night owl that he is. The three boxes of laminate were the perfect amount to cover the floor, so we didn't even have to lift the "used" stuff. :-)

It's nice to have that project out of the way. It seems that stuff like that doesn't happen in the summer, because it is way too hot indoors. Maybe we should look at getting a window-mounted air conditioner this summer, because frankly, I am kind of amazed we got through last July without my guitar cracking and without all of us turning into little pools of water and minerals in our beds.

At any rate, while Jason was cutting floorboards outside last Sunday, he let our Alaskan Malamute (who is now a 17-month-old "teenager," with all the grace of Goofy in a China shop, and the self-discipline of a two-year-old), Thunder, run free. During the warmer weather we were having last week, we had been tying him up to prevent untimely chicken deaths as we let the chickens out of the coop to enjoy the sun. The snow, at about three feet, is high enough that these excellent flyers don't feel that the run fence is a particular hindrance right now.

Jason was keeping an eye on him, but it doesn't take long for this speedy dog to be on top of any little thing that he thinks might entertain him, which was the case with one unfortunate hen who strayed outside the run. Jason interfered before she died, but since Thunder had been tossing her around like a football, she lost all but one scraggly little tail feather, nearly all the feathers on her back, and several square inches of hide, as well.

So, needless to say, "Rosie" (as we have now dubbed her) has been spending the last several days in the house in a large plastic storage tub that doubles as a brooder for small batches of chicks. She is past the critical stage--she didn't go into shock and die, and after several bouts with hydrogen peroxide and colloidal silver, the wounds have closed up and appear uninfected--and yesterday, she even started walking around in her little tub, eating stuff, and clucking gently at us when we checked on her. If it weren't for the missing flesh at a most inopportune location as far as roosterly "affection" is concerned, I'd actually send her back out today. As it is, I'm wondering, How long will it take for a chicken's hide to grow back?! I guess we'll see. The poor thing will have to be in "solitary" for another day or two, at least.

Well, you're pretty much caught up, and that's enough rambling for one post. Happy Thursday, friends!

The End Draweth Nigh...

Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night.
— Hal Borland

I can't believe summer is almost over. There are way too many things still on my "to-do" list for that to be allowed.

For most of yesterday, and the rest of today, I have been/will be planning out my homeschool year. Of course, I have a general idea what I'm doing, having picked topics--now I just need to decide what we're doing when, and what activities will go along with it. It is fun, and exciting, and I know that if I plan it now, the year will go much better.

This year, for the first time since we were in Arkansas, I will have all three boys home. I am really looking forward to it, especially to maintaining the "we-know-how-to-play-together" dynamic that took most of the summer to achieve. (Of course, as I was typing that, I heard Jabin start wailing because of something Jude did. Figures.)

Seriously, though, I noticed a real change in the dynamics around here from July to now. It was like a year in school, mostly with children his own age, made Jude forget how to play with his brothers. His self-admitted favourite thing to do in June was to pester them. IT WAS DRIVING ME CRAZY!!!

It took several weeks, but what I was hoping would happen was finally realized--Jude and his brothers seemed to re-equalize their dynamic.

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Then, last week when we had a couple of rainy days, I realized that they had been creatively finding things to do all week, and mostly getting along in their play. They had built stuff, played dress-up, played outside, and were uncomplaining about the limited "screen time" I allowed them.

YAAAAAAAAAY!!!!

Anyway, despite my typical "the-summer-is-almost-over-and-the-projects-are-still-undone" panic, we have been knocking a few things off of Ye Olde To-Do Liste, some more "for fun" than others.

The weekend before last, I made a wreath I've had the supplies for for over a year. The little wooden "preserve" jars with the "Fruits of the Spirit" on them were actually a garland that I got in a garage sale. The hemp twine holding them together kept breaking, and I had no good place for it in the new trailer, besides. So, "a- repurposing we will go." Add a wreath, ribbon, and decorative potpourri, plus a few silk flowers, and Voila!

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(My one peeve with it is that the last fruit [dangling below the bow] is spelled "Self-Contrl." Made in China, anyone?...)

Also, it no longer hangs over the mirror. I didn't like it there. :-)

Last fall, we switched out the diesel heater that was originally warming our addition (and went through ginormous amounts of fuel) for a wood stove that was a gift from my mom and Mike. Jason built a tiled base and wall-cover heat shield (technical term? Dunno.) from tile that was given to us by our friends the Mundts and also the Stanleys from some of their leftovers. We got very creative in making a symmetrical pattern with what we had, and it turned out pretty good. Unfortunately, it was already late enough in the year that we could not actually remove the stove long enough to mortar and grout the ones on the base, as the addition would be too cold without the stove running for it to cure properly. So, in the last week, Jason has been tackling that project. He mortared down the base tiles, and got almost everything grouted before running out of grout! We are hopeful that he will be able to match the colour, but just in case he can't, he left symmetrical sections of tile ungrouted to make it look a little less "unplanned." :-)

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Since the rest of the room is full of items that would normally be filling up the area in this photo (like the wood stove!), you can see that I am using this convenient flat surface to sort out my textbooks at the moment.

The white case in the far back right is a beginner Japanese course. Jude decided he would rather learn Japanese than French this year. I told him I was game--it is a useful language to know, and I will learn it with him. Should be fun. Also, we are hoping to be able to put the boys in karate this year, so it will complement that nicely. (In most karate dojos, the students need to learn basic Japanese terms anyway, such as counting. I still remember how to count to, uh, ten! Also, I can say "I did it!", but that's from watching Heroes. :-D)

The plastic bag over the stovepipe has a bit of creosote that fell down into it, plus some water from the rain--not sure why that is, since we re-shingled the addition this spring, and Jason just re-tarred everything. Musta missed something. Anyway, last night a moth flew down the chimney (Forest Tent Moth--only about a million of those around here right now) and got caught in the bag. It can't seem to find it's way up again, and the flapping against the plastic is freakin' me out...

One more exciting bit of news. Last Tuesday, we got 40 chicks from a mongrel used-to-be-purebred-heritage-breed flock of chickens. They are meant to replenish my own decimated flock. (If you don't remember what happened, my dog did it.) They will be pretty little going into the winter, and we won't know for sure which ones are roosters until around February. However, I'm hoping that they manage to keep each other warm this winter and we can actually start getting a decent number of eggs again by spring. Right now, they are just li'l cute balls of multi-coloured fluff!

Anyway, I should go feed my kiddos some lunch, then keep working on "school."

Happy Tuesday, friends!