Oct 15

View From My Window – Teach Them Well

Teaching gardeningTeach them well.  Just in case you haven’t figured it out yet, we really love having our grandkids come up and hang out here. Dean would tell you that we like the free labor.  But anyone who tries to get work done with 4 kids, between the ages of 2 and 6 would tell you it is more work to have them “help” then if you did it yourself.  But we just enjoy having them around.

I saw something recently that reinforced what we did with our kids, and now teach our grandkids too.  What am I talking about?  Getting kids involved in work, creative activities that are a reward in itself.  Teach real life skills like gardening, raising animals, repair skills, sewing, cooking, camping, hiking, exploring and helping others. Things that shape them. These things give kids a real feeling of accomplishment and are important life lessons.

Working with your kids and grandkids on projects, adventures and responsibilities like these not only teach useful skills, they also instill values, self-reliance and caring for others. We enjoyed our kids when they were little – not to say we don’t enjoy them now too :o) – and they worked along side us and also learned to like the things we liked, x-country skiing, rock climbing, camping, horseback riding etc.  I think letting your kids be involved in your life is one of the best things you can teach them.

Aug 15

View From My Window: Carpal Tunnel

I’ve had carpal tunnel pain on and off for years. If you do a lot of repetitive motion you are more prone to get it. I think mine started 20 years ago when I did a lot of canning. About 4 years ago I had some tests done and surgery was suggested. I decided to try alternative therapy first. I splinted my hands at night and did stretching exercises during the day. It really helped for about 3 years. But it had gotten to the point that it was keeping me awake at night and nothing was helping anymore.

I finally just had the surgery.  I thought it was funny that after I had my surgery I found out my brother had his other hand done on a Tuesday, my little sister that Wednesday and me on Thursday. Anyway, after surgery you are only restricted by your pain, not that bad, but I pretty much didn’t do anything at all for two days. I also had to keep it dry (yeah, I wasn’t very good at that, but I’m really good at re-bandaging). By 2 weeks l thought I had full use of my hand but found out clipping Chia was a little too much too soon. But my hand hasn’t bothered me at all at night since the surgery. So I’m happy that I finally had it fixed.  A big thank you to Dr. Ferrara for a great job and for being so nice.

Anyway I just thought I’d share my experience since I know a lot of people also experience carpal tunnel pain.


Jul 15

View From My Window: Soap Boxer


clara boxing Oat and HoneyNumber Two was feeling sad because Number One is at summer camp all day having lots of fun without her. So I asked Number Two ( I can’t call her that in person because she gets mad as says I’m 4) if she would come work at Alabu and she was excited to come and help. Well I knew she would brighten up my day, but I had no idea she would be such a good soap boxer.

At first she was a little disappointed that I had already stamped the boxes, but it turns out Number Two is a first rate soap boxer. If you buy our Oat and Honey soap chances are it was boxed by Number Two.  Learn how from an expert Soap Boxer.  Watch Number Two in action below.   She is a great helper and we are both having fun.

Jun 15

View From My Window: Startling Creatures


Snapple TurtleIt seems as if all creatures great and small have come to life around here lately. We are always happy to see the hummingbirds come back, but there are a few creatures I’d rather not see. Although it is better to see them so I can avoid them I suppose.

So far we have seen lots of deer (hope they are not checking out the menu in my garden), turkeys, fox and pileated woodpeckers. I almost ran over 3 woodcock chicks when I was wheeling mulch to the garden; it startled me when I saw the mom fly away and I stopped in my tracks until I figured out where all the babies were hiding in the grass. Then while I was mulching, I was startled again by a large toad, also not a big deal once I realized what it was.

Dean inadvertently picked up a small northern brown snake in the mulch he was bringing me; he was deposited in a bucket and brought back home on Dean’s next run to the mulch pile. These are all creatures that can startle but I’m not really afraid of them. Then Dean pointed out that there was a large snapping turtle out near the garden. It was a really big snapping turtle. Ok, that is one I am afraid of. It made me shudder to think my little grand babies ( I know they are not quite babies anymore) were out playing just an hour before we found the snapper there. Fortunately Dean is not afraid of much and he asked Mr. Snapper to get in a bucket and he was able to move him to a swampy area away from where my precious grandbabies play.


Apr 15

View From My Window: A Dog Story

Chia ready for rain I hope you don’t mind another dog story about our dog Chia. A few years back I wrote that she is getting a little more neurotic with each passing year. Chia will be turning 9 this summer. Last night around 1:30 Chia was up and scratching on the door. Sometimes it is just that she heard a cat outside the door and she goes back to sleep.

I knew she had gone out as usual before bed, but after she scratched a few times, I felt compelled to get up and take her out. She is not a big fan of the dark and patiently waited for me to turn on the flashlight so we could walk out to her “spot”. But it was soon apparent nature wasn’t calling her. Chia happily complied  when I suggested we go back to the house. Then I heard the reason for her restlessness, thunder. I hadn’t heard it before but now I understood her anxiety. We headed up the stairs to our bedroom but she stopped halfway up and wouldn’t budge, more thunder. I decided to see if she would settle down if we stayed downstairs.  But as I tried to get comfortable, I watched her pace as the storm grew closer, getting louder with lightening filling up the room.  I decided to go to bed and see what happens. By this time Dean was awake and I could tell Chia “no” when she scratched on the door a few more times. Finally she decided to sleep by the door until 3:30 when the storm finally passed over.

So spring is here and so are thunderstorms. We seem to get a lot of them here. I have learned a few things over the years that distracts her from her fears.  During the day I can play fetch with her; but in the middle of the night, not so much. I will have to remember to keep my Rescue Remedy in the bedroom this time of year.