Sep 17

Let’s Pretend!

9. CampfireLet’s pretend! Oh how I love to hear the grandkids say this. I still remember playing when I was very young, using bricks as houses, little sticks as people, and stones as cars. When we were a little older my sisters and I would go down to the creek and make believe we were indians and gathered leaves for pretend food and caught wild horses.

Our kids played pretend too. They played horses and army and dug tunnels to visit friends far away. One of the things they did was to would get inside an old cable spool and pretend it was their submarine!

So it is so much fun to see the grandkids continue on with their make believe world. But pretending isn’t all fun and games as one might think. It is actually important for their developing brains. Their imaginative play is helping them to learn to solve problems, cooperate and think flexibly. They are learning about their likes and dislikes and their abilities. It helps them to make sense of their experiences. It is also a way to express their feelings and explore scary times, like going to the doctor.

There are lots of ways to help kids have imaginative play. The most important thing you can do is make free time. So much time is taken up with scheduled activities and technology. Some children have no time for this important type of play. When they finally do have unscheduled time, they aren’t used to it and give up and say they are bored. So if your kids (or grandkids) are engaged in pretending, don’t rush them onto the next thing. Maybe instead you should join in and say “Let’s Pretend!”

Aug 17

Whistle while you work!

Hartley sticksWe have a surprising amount of work to do around here on our little mini farm. We mostly enjoy being outside and working but some chores are not as enjoyable, until you mix in the grand kids.

We had a storm roll through that left some tree damage. There was a large dead tree that fell near our driveway. Dean cut it up into manageable pieces to restock our campfire wood.

I helped him pick it up the logs and move it to the campfire area. We looked around and there were still millions, well maybe not that many but a lot, of small sticks. Dean said let’s leave these and see if the grandkids want to help pick them up when the come on Sunday. Well they did. They all really enjoy when family Sunday dinners involve the campfire and we cook hot dogs and maybe even s’mores!

All helped with this daunting work and they did it cheerfully at least the first few trips! Number Four carried one load and wasn’t a big fan, but she did happily water trees for me, another job that needed to be done. One loved showing off how many sticks they could carry, right Mr. Number Three? Another one took the work so seriously. Little Miss Number Five had heard me sing the first line of “Whistle while you work” and the next load she sang her own little work song all the way to the pile. We were all just in awe and so tickled with this little just 2 year old making the work load lighter. Thank you all our little helpers!

Jun 17

View From My Window – Old Goat

6.Allie strawberriesOur namesake goat, Alabu ( Allie) is getting older. This past May she just turned 12. Nubian goats, (her breed) have a usual life span of 10 to 14 years, so she is definitely getting up there. We notice she doesn’t shed out to a sleek smooth coat in the spring like she used to and it takes a little extra to keep her at a good weight.

She doesn’t like goat feed that you can buy at the farm store, but she will eat some black sunflower seeds and she devours drench. Dench is liquid vitamins for goats. You usually give them after they give birth but I have started giving her a little every day. She also gets supplemented with stuff from the kitchen and the garden. I recently found out she loves strawberries. I have 150 plants and lots that aren’t really worth eating because they are super tiny , deformed or bug eaten. I had been saving them for the chickens but now they go to Allie.

Here is an interesting thing about old goats, they don’t know they are old. They really don’t slow down. I still look out the window and see she is up on her hind legs butting heads with Midnight. She runs up the hill to me when I call her and still acts like a kid ( pun untended )! She is very bonded to our pony Caddy, but very jealous of her people spending time with him instead of her. Whatever care Caddy is getting she tries to get in the middle and get it for herself.

The other day our grand daughter Miss Number Two was watching me do my morning barn chores. I put fly spray on Allie, just because Caddy had it and she wanted it too. Miss Number Two said, ” Grammy you sure do take good care of your animals!” Well I’m glad she thinks so and I hope she learns to treat everyone that way.

Jun 17

Independence Day

a2a27ec0-eb1c-43d6-ba95-ffd2d689958cWhat is The Fourth of July? Is it just the first holiday of summer or another day off from work for a party? In the past it was always called Independence Day and there is a reason for that. Independence Day celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by delegates from the 13 colonies in 1776. The Declaration of Independence changed the course of history. It celebrates the experiment of a new kind of government. For the first time in history, the people, not kings or conquerors, would rule a nation. Elected delegates would vote; representing the will of the people, because they declared it is a natural right for man to be free.

After the vote, John Adams writes to his wife, Abigail: “Yesterday the greatest Question was decided, which never was debated in America, and a greater, perhaps, never was or will be decided among Men. A Resolution was passed without one dissenting Colony ‘that these united Colonies, are, and of right ought to be free and independent States, and as such, they have, and of Right ought to have full Power to make War, conclude Peace, establish Commerce, and to do all the other Acts and Things, which other States might rightfully do…’ This . . . Day . . . will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. . . . It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

So on this day, July 4th 2015, Independence Day, have a party, celebrate, have fun, just remember what you should be celebrating. I am celebrating the fact that I have the ability to worship God, live my dream, be independent and own my own business making our healthy skincare products! What about you? What are you remembering and honoring about the fourth of July?

May 17

Many Hands…little hands

vacuumMy mom used to say ” Many hands make light work”.  I remember she often said this when we would help her can the bushels of tomatoes that came from our garden at the end of the summer.  When I had my own children I read if you don’t let your toddlers “help” you with chores around the house, they won’t want to when they are old enough to really help. So even though it always took longer to do chores with a toddler, I considered it an investment in the future. My future, that eventually they would be capable of helping with chores and their future, that they would become productive adults that have learned that work is part of life.

I know my kids heard ” Many hands make light work” a lot growing up too. I always let them “help” with dishes and cleaning and of course canning too. When they were 7 and 10 we moved to a small farm. Then there was lots of opportunity to work together.  We did a market garden and our young daughter did most of the planting without complaint. Now we have grandchildren, six so far! Last time Mr. Number Three was here, at the tender age of 4 years old, he came into my office and announced my kitchen floor was dirty. He sheepishly looked at me and asked if he can use my vacuum. It makes my heart glad to see our kids families carrying on the tradition of ” Many hands make light work”.