Thursday, October 31, 2013

In Which It Was A Blustery Day

The wind and rain came last night, just as predicted, so I'm glad I snapped a bunch of photos before.

Remember the beautiful mystery tree?

The wind arrived first and nearly stripped it.

The leaves are huge.  They can be really a real mess when it rains, so I had in mind to make the boys sweep the driveway, but - good news!

The wind took care of them for us.  Some have blown into a pile next to the driveway, and the rest?
Well, who knows whose yard they ended up in.

Up in the woods, the maples are taking on their winter look.

Gunnar liked kicking through the dry, rustly leaves.

The wind did some other interesting things.

Look on top of the dead snag...

That huge branch, hanging at an angle, is probably 6 or 7 inches in diameter... wonder when it will blow down?

And this old leaning tree - still living - continues to hang over the trail, hung up in two other trees.

Around here we have a lot of Big Leaf Maples (acer macrophyllum).
Yah, the leaves are really big.

Gunnar commented that it was a good thing we already knew where the trail was!

And lastly, we checked in on another leaning tree... seems like its lean is increasing.
What do you think?

A couple weeks ago...

And now.

What is it like where you are?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Things That Are Not Fair

Tate was hunting today with Grandpa Grasshopper.  His property backs onto DNR land, so they can just hike right off the property onto public land, where hunting is permitted.

As opposed to our neighborhood, inside the city limits, where it is not.

They saw three deer.  One was a buck.  He was 750 feet away (too far for Tate to shoot) and bolted as soon as they saw him.  Deer season closes tomorrow.

Grandpa brought Tate home around four.

At which time, there was a spike (buck with one-point antlers)

standing insolently in the intersection in front of our house.

They slowed to look at him.  I think he sneered at them.

They pulled into the driveway, in a large Dodge diesel pick-up.

The little buck wandered up through the yard, and

crossed the driveway just a few feet away from the still-running truck,

and passed into the neighbor's yard.  I watched him out my window, sparring with another spike for the next several minutes before they both wandered off.

The Rules

It's been a lot of years since our kids have gone around the block, extorting candy from the neighbors, but for any of you in that zone, may I point you toward one man's perspective on the ritual.

From The Book of Davidicus: When You Eat of the Spoils
     by David Regier.

3  Of the spoils of your wandering, you shall devote a tenth of the firstfruits to your father.  But take heed that you devote what has chocolate, so that he shall be pleased with what he receives.

Read the rest, here.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

This Morning... Brrr!

Out my window, early this morning.

I love the way the sky fades from dark to light in the east.

The only clouds in the sky, and they didn't last long.

The camera tricks your eye - when I took the photo, it was MUCH DARKER than it appears.

And what's this?  Our first frost of the season.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, October 28, 2013  

Outside my window...  still dark.  The wind is blowing and scattering the leaves.  Glad I didn't make the boys do a lot of sweeping/raking over the weekend - where are the leaves, now?  Up the hill, in the woods?

Hearing...  a tree that needs to be trimmed back hitting (lightly) against the house, rustly leaves (is rustly a word?), and a very quiet house.  I got up a bit early... like an hour early.  Oops.  Our power must have gone out in the night and when I realized it, I reset my clock wrong.  Oh well, it's not often I'm up before Tate!

Pondering...  Kerry and Wyatt got home last evening, in time to all have dinner together.  And I realize... oh boy, do Wyatt and Tate butt heads a lot!  Not all bad (but some is).  They're very competitive with each other.  Arrrrgh.

Praying...  for Kerry's work situation and possible solutions, for Tate - going hunting today, for our homeschool, for Wyatt's time at the high school... the usual.

Thankful...  for my wonderful family, for my boys doing well with their schoolwork, for some friends I got to catch up with yesterday afternoon, that everyone is healthy, and for this morning - which will be just Gunnar and me for awhile.

Wearing...  ratty old clothes to go for our walk (exercise... we walk fast, up and down hills, and get sweaty).  Later?  Probably jeans and a sweater.  There's a definite change for the colder in the weather!

Creating...  a fun and easy idea for a birthday gift that I can't show you yet!

Going...  to drive Wyatt to school (since I'll be out anyway), Tate to my parents' (to go hunting), and then back home with Gunnar.  You know, because I'm a Stay At Home Mom.  (eyes roll)

Reading...  just finished Theras and His Town with Gunnar, and about to start Desert Gate, and Archimedes and the Door of Science.

Looking forward to...  all three boys are going on a CAP Bivouac next weekend.  I was not too excited about it (camping out? in November?) until I found out they have an actual camp to use.  They'll have cabins to sleep in.  Great!  You go!  They'll be doing Emergency Services training, which probably means a lot of "scenarios".  Good practice.  So Kerry and I will have a weekend at home just the two of us.

In the kitchen...  hurray for leftovers!  I made a big batch of cheesy-potato-vegetable soup in the crockpot yesterday, along with some cheese-and-onion bread.  The apple crisp all disappeared, but the rest will make a good dinner for tonight as well.

In the learning rooms...  Wyatt has a lot of work to do to stay on top of his Chemistry and Government studies, but he's breezing along with his school work.  Which reminds me...

Let's just say I'm very underwhelmed with the "books" they're reading in high school English.  *sigh*  Homeschooling has certainly spoiled us in that regard.  With both the other boys using Sonlight history this year the difference is especially notable.

Around the house...  I'm enjoying the "fall look" :D

The Mother Load...  got a few things done this weekend (found three missing socks behind the washer!) and added some new work.  One of our neighbor's, a recently widowed woman, offered us the use of her fenced and deer-proof garden space for next year (since we can't seem to keep the deer out of ours!).  She's very generous.  Tate and I were over there on Saturday rototilling and planning.

Something to remember for later...  the way Gunnar uses the phrase "of late".  He told me, "I've been very busy, of late."

A favorite quote for today...  
Many things we need can wait.  The child cannot.  Now is the time his bones are formed, his mind developed.  To him we cannot say tomorrow, his name is today.
     --  Gabriela Mistral

One of my favorite things...  a comfy chair, a cup of tea, a scented candle, and a good book.  I know that's four, but see it as a unit ;D

A few plans for the rest of the week...  schooling, cooking, cleaning... Messiah rehearsal, CAP, and the boys' bivouac.

A peek into my world...  while I was taking all those fall pictures I knew that all it would take was one good wind and the leaves would all swirl away and be gone.

I think that wind has come!

Now fall looks more like this...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Homeschool Science

Like a lot of homeschoolers, we do most of our science in the kitchen.  Gunnar and I cooked up this little project together.  Do you know what it is?

Yah, it's a foam - a closed-cell foam.

Here's how we made it:

Much to his delight, Gunnar got to use his new knife (no kitchen knife for him) to cut a chunk off a bar of Ivory soap.  (Must be Ivory - other soaps won't work.)

This, of course, required much cleaning of the blade of the *NEW* knife.

That accomplished, we popped the soap into the microwave and turned it on.

Immediately the soap began to grow!

We had to stop the experiment, midway, to scoop the soap back onto the plate.
(And I hope you appreciate that I'm keeping it real here... IOW, yes, I know the micro needs to be cleaned.  Badly.)

The soap maxed out its size in about a minute.

When we heated the soap it softened and became more pliable.  The air and water trapped inside the soap were also heated.  The water vaporized and expanded, causing the soap to expand and become a foam.  The finished product - the foam - cooled, shrinking slightly, and became firmer again.

Science nerd question - 
was this a physical change or a chemical change?

Always the funny guy, Gunnar wanted to save the foam and trick his brothers ;D

Friday, October 25, 2013

Autumn Falling

You know how squirrels, well squirrel away nuts for the winter?
We're taking advantage of the last bit of good weather to store up experiences,
as well as working around the yard and house to get ready for winter.
We've mowed for (possibly?) the last time this year,
raked leaves, stored things like the bird-bath and the hoses,
removed all the window-screens, and cleaned the furnace filters.
(Loads of fun, you know...)

But it's not all chores - Kerry and the boys joined some friends from church for a hike up Oyster Dome, down Chuckanut.

And me?  Well, I already told you it's the color and the beauty that I'm hungry for.
I ran Tate up to my parents' house earlier this week so he could go deer hunting with Grandpa
 (no luck yet, but there are a few days left).
I brought my camera along so I could share with some of you that maybe don't have fall (Joanna :D).

My parents live on fifteen acres, in the woods, way up on a hill.
It's gorgeous there all year long, but I think it's especially pretty now.

We've had over a week of foggy mornings and the air is still pretty hazy, even when it burns off.
You can barely see the lake at the bottom of the one-mile-plus driveway.

I just missed getting the school bus in this photo.
Even with homeschooling, there's something nostalgic about school buses in the fall.

And.... this is my favorite part of the drive, right here.

Do you know what kind of tree this is?

I'll give you a clue - they like to grow near water.

Need another clue?

When they go to seed in May, it looks like falling snow.  ;D

Monday, October 21, 2013

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, October 21, 2013  

Outside my window...  still dark, but the fog usually indicates a sunny day is coming.

Hearing...  Wyatt getting his bike out of the shed to ride to school.  He can take the school bus, but prefers to ride his bike.  Me too, since I don't need to go pick him up ;D  (He's only there half-day.)  But soon it will be too dark and too wet to ride safely.

Pondering...  Joanna, you're right!  I was thinking of you when I posted the second batch of fall photos :D  But of myself as well.  The truth is, I love color and light!  And around here, we do have green year round (The Evergreen State) but in the winter, all the plant life goes dormant.  Under dark, gray, cloudy skies, green and brown can get very drab.  I'm soaking in all the autumn splendor I can hold, as if I could store up beauty and color against the long, cold, dark months ahead.

Oh heavens, that sounds more depressing than it is.  When all is yuck outside, I use a lot of color and light inside the house.  But - oh - this season is glorious!

Praying...  work for Kerry, for sick kids (not mine, thankfully), for the week to go smoothly with everyone staying on top of things.

Thankful...  the boys had a fun weekend (movie marathon!) with Uncle Dave, and we got Naomi thrown into the bargain as a bonus.  Lots of fun :D  Also thankful for the one-day women's retreat I attended with friends from church - good teaching and fun to be with "the girls".

Wearing...  old, ratty things for our morning walk.  Then probably jeans and a sweater.

Going...  to finally get the upstairs rooms swept/dust-mopped.  It's overdue.

Reading...  N.D. Wilson's 100 Cupboards series, along with Tate and Gunnar.  And we're ALL enjoying it.  Also, reading C.S. Lewis' Perelandra aloud with the family, but it's taking forever as our evenings are so fragmented.  *sigh*

Looking forward to...  a tidy office (today's project).

In the kitchen...  leftover stew for dinner tonight - perfect as Wyatt and I will be out to rehearsal tonight so we won't be eating together.

In the learning rooms...  oh boy.  I need to go through Wyatt's stuff from last week.  I try to schedule all his home-school work in a four-day week, (which is what I do for the other boys who are FT homeschool).  That way, Friday can be a lot freer, or it can be a catch-up day if needed.  And Wyatt often needs it.  He's not lazy, it just takes him longer to get his work done.

He was so proud of himself last week because he was keeping up on everything - doing great.  And then came Thursday.  He and Tate both had eye doctor appointments that ate up most of the afternoon, and the dilation drops threw their eyes out of focus for the rest of the day, and staying caught up went right out the window.

He worked hard over the weekend, but we already had family stuff planned that I wasn't going to take away from him.  So... this week he's going to be going flat-out, since he's got plans this weekend as well!  (Going to a CAP training weekend for NCOs.)

Around the house...  we only had Naomi here for a little while, but had to move things around to keep them out of reach of little hands, AND to keep her away from the front window.  She loves to pull herself up on the (low) windowsill and look out at the yard and street, but we couldn't let her near

With two adults and three responsible boys keeping an eye on her, it wasn't a problem :D

The Mother Load...  did not get any attention at all over the weekend, and looms over me like an avalanche about to fall.  *sigh*  Time to review my motto...

When you do stuff, stuff gets done.

I know, I'm a deep thinker and all.

Noticing that...  clutter breeds.  Ugh.

Something to remember for later...  my boys... they are a bit strange at times.

We were playing with Naomi.  Playing the "What does the _____ say?" game.  She knows chicken - bok bok.  And bird - ca-CAW (lots of crows around).  And one or two others.  On the way home from church we saw lots of cows, so we started asking "What does the COW say?"

Meanwhile, we'd been joking about an old "Silly Songs With Larry" episode (yah, Veggie Tales!) called The Yodeling Veterinarian of the Alps.  And in a strange cross-breeding of conversations came up with,

"What does the cow say?"

One of my favorite things...  order.

A Bible verse...  Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him
and He will make your paths straight.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  Messiah rehearsal, CAP, youthgroup, Tate's checkup... lots of routine.

A peek into my world...  a brand new pumpkin spice candle - yum!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Indian Summer

Autumn Song
Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

Let's go down the road together, you and I,

Let's go down the road together,
Through the vivid autumn weather

Let's go down the road together when the red leaves fly.

Let's go searching, searching after
Joy and mirth and love and laughter--

Let's go down the road together, you and I.

October's Bright Blue Weather
Helen Hunt Jackson

O sun and skies and clouds of June
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October's bright blue weather.

When loud the bumblebee makes haste,
Belated, thriftless, vagrant,
And goldenrod is dying fast,
And lanes with grapes are fragrant;

When gentians roll their fringes tight,
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burs
Without a sound of warning;

When on the ground red apples lie
In piles like jewels shining,
And redder still on old stone walls
Are leaves of woodbine twining;

When all the lovely wayside things
Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
And in the fields, still green and fair,
Late aftermaths are growing;

When springs run low, and on the brooks
In idle, golden freighting,
Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
Of woods for winter waiting.

When comrades seek sweet country haunt
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers hour by hour
October's bright blue weather.

O sun and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October's bright blue weather.

Autumn Day
Rainer Maria Rilke

Lord, it is time.
Summer was very grand.
Now cast your shadow on the sundials,
and loose the winds on the open fields.

Command the last fruits to be full;
give them two more southerly days.
Force them into perfection and
chase the last sweetness into heavy wine. 

Who has no house will not build one now,
Who is now alone will stay alone,
will wake and read and write long letters
and wander up and down the streets restlessly,
driven like leaves.