September 2013

Monthly Archive


Posted by on 21 Sep 2013 | Tagged as: children, environment, Family Matters, garden, Gardens and Life, good things, house building, parenting, seasons, Uncategorized

Yesterday, it was raining rather hard by the time we got to the house in the evening. So, no pictures to accompany this post But…

There is progress. The wooden forms that used to hold the concrete in place are removed. Jeff, the concrete man, has scored the concrete (expansion joints to prevent random cracks as the material flexes through temperature changes), and put a sign up: Please do not walk on cement.

The fennel plant is finishing its bloom cycle for the year and the seeds are almost ready to harvest. I use fennel seed to make home-made sausage and other things, and sometimes just to nibble on. So although this can be a highly invasive plant, for me only one plant has survived over about 8 years and has never propagated as far as I know. I didn’t walk in our garden-garden yesterday (I was wearing my school clothes), but the orchard looks amazing. The Asian pear with the soft-ball sized fruit is finally (two years later) sending up a new leader, so I will prune back lower branches this autumn once the leaves are down.

Matthew is now up at Western Washington University, a college junior living in the dorms for the first time. It will be a good learning experience for him. We are hoping he will be able to focus on his studies. Next quarter, hopefully, my income will be enough to help supplement his financial aid. He is (I think) looking for work-study, and hopefully isn’t rejecting the kinds of tasks I did in college because the “don’t pay enough.” I wonder, when did I manage to teach my children that no job (earning absolutely nothing) is preferable to a job with low wages (earning something and building a reference for an even better job)?

Grant is looking forward to starting his college classes on Monday. I hope he has everything ready… I wish in so many ways that I were able to drop him off for his first day, but I know he’ll be fine. He’s a great kid. He needs to apply for jobs, but there is a job fair this coming week at the mall near our home, and perhaps he will find something there.

We’ll see. It is the time of the autumnal equinox, and the weather is definitely autumnal. We should get a nice big rainstorm over the next couple of days, and I will start thinking about apple pie filling and hot mulled cider and other delicacies. The wheel of the year is turning, and the six months since the fire are behind us. A few more months, a couple more seasons, and we should again be home on the land we have cultivated and loved for so long.

A full week teaching!

Posted by on 15 Sep 2013 | Tagged as: children, education, Education Professional, Family Matters, fun, Gardens and Life, good things, house building, Kid Activities, seasons, teaching, Uncategorized

I am still having pretty much the time of my life with the 7th and 8th graders I get to work with. There are plenty of things that are confusing, but I have so much support that I only have to ask a question (or if I have to fix things retroactively) and I get all the help I need. It’s a wonderful “nursery” for a new teacher.

And the students I have are quirky, interesting, energetic, and good-hearted. I have really lucked out with this assignment. Although I have a “full house” in my Language Arts class (30 students! – no room for more desks) I am having so much fun learning about them, thinking of ways to help them and challenge them, and I wake up smiling (most days) just thinking about going in.

And I go in earlier than I have to, most days — I don’t officially have kids until 4th period and could put off going in until partway through 3rd period — but as a morning person anyway I get up with Tom and go in early. So I am there early enough in the morning that I can see some of the other teachers (I catch one mentor-type at 1st period planning and another mentor-type at 2nd period) and then get a tutorial on anything I want help with for my students by sitting in on a master teacher’s 3rd period… (I get the room immediately after her kids leave).

It’s like a nice, soft cocoon where I can grow the wings I need for my next teaching assignment.

This week, we do some benchmark testing, establish regular routines and talk a little bit about setting personal goals for literacy. I am going to try a modified model akin to that of the “Two Sisters” whose workshop I attended in June. It won’t be as smooth or elegant as their approach, but I already see how I can incorporate some of their ideas in the well-rounded curriculum already established in this school.

And Matthew starts at Western this week (moves in to the dorms) and both boys start their classes in another week (Matthew as a junior, Grant as a freshman (H.S. senior)). Tom goes off to a college reunion in Walla Walla at the end of that week. I will be pretty busy by then just trying to keep up with my workload.

And then, of course, the house…

Buckle up, folks, it’s going to be a fast, fun year!

First things first…

Posted by on 11 Sep 2013 | Tagged as: Gardens and Life, good things, house building, Uncategorized

September 11, 2013, foundation poured

September 11, 2013, foundation poured

It’s a lot bigger in person… Color will be added next, and then walls. And a roof…

The first week…

Posted by on 06 Sep 2013 | Tagged as: good things, teaching, Uncategorized

I don’t have the energy to talk about everything, but after 6 FULL days of preparation, this is what the classroom looked like Tuesday evening.

My educational home for the next 9 months.   Before students arrive.   My desk is the one by the window (you can see me standing  behind it), and my roommate's desk is on the right.  I like sharing this space with this teacher.  We get along so well, even though we have very different teaching styles.

My educational home for the next 9 months. Before students arrive. My desk is the one by the window (you can see me standing behind it), and my roommate’s desk is on the right. I like sharing this space with this teacher. We get along so well, even though we have very different teaching styles.

And, after three days it still looks pretty much the same. Next week, we’ll start some really important learning — educational tasks but not very much new yet. For now, we are still evaluating the students and figuring out what they need from us as teachers. It’s a lot of work, and it’s very very fun.

This is a GOOD place to be!