From the Garden, a wee bit of Heaven….

1 May

Graham Thomas, a glowing yellow scented rose

So, the merry Month of May is also Mary’s month for those who still follow tradition…crowning statues of Mary with rings of roses and other flowers, the extra heaped about her feet. A beautiful bower to be sure!
It is also the time when weddings start gearing up with the glory of the weather and garden and bird song, and May Day-something we celebrated growing up in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Due to the huge population from Scandinavian countries, we inherited their wonderful customs and foods (Danish Pastry is The Best!). We would learn dances and preform, the climax being the dance around a May Pole with its multicolored ribbons-beautiful. Then we feasted on all the goodies brought by families, oh it was glorious!

To celebrate this wonderful month, here is a bouquet of roses, picked in the morning before the rain had a chance to make the blooms soggy…

Sitting on the wagon seat…

A little bit of Heaven, right in my

A parting view, over the wagon seat…pay no attention to the weeds, they belong to my neighbor! 🙂

(NOTE: Sorry about the CopyRights, but it had to be done. I do sell the photos, so if interested, contact me @ helenrr @ (must remove spaces). Thanks!


Golly, a month goes by fast!

1 May

It seems so silly, to promise to blog, and then…not blog. Ha. I have a life, really, and it seems to take all those really good ideas and trash them. Sigh. Oh well.

So, I am, with God’s grace (the only way really) going to try to blog more…not just about kids, or flower pictures, but other things…like the state of the world and how I feel about it. Or recipes. Or food, and my thoughts on eating. 🙂 Or chocolate and wine (which go together very nicely thank you!)

So let May begin! Mary’s month….

Looking back…reviewing our homeschooling days…

3 Mar

Looking back at the past 16 years, well longer really, 22 years, I marvel at how much my children did on their own, that was not part of a curriculum, class or other scripted educational exercise. We started homeschooling when my daughter was 5 (and a half) since she was already well past the area kindergartens, and the private schools were well past our means. Even with her younger brother in tow, we managed to blow through the kindergarten math, reading, phonics et cetera and play, enjoying the world and seasons. Eventually, I managed the knack of “after the fact” recording, where I would figure out where everything fit in the assignment forms after the children did something, built something or we went somewhere, or….Looking back at those assignment sheets, they are crammed-yes, there is math, English, science, etc-but the projects, the art, the life experiences! WOW

(Least you think my children are out begging on street corners – my daughter graduated with a BA in psychology from SFSU, and is looking to work on her graduate degree, among other things. My middle son has graduated from high school and is living on his own and working on a cattle ranch as a cowboy and doing general all around work including welding. My youngest entered the only local high school (that we’d consider ) and made it into GATE classes. Not bad for having fun homeschooling!? eh?) (Alas, none of them are social misfits, and have friends and an awareness of the world that puts “PAID” to the whole socialization myth.)

My 3 managed to cram a lot into every day and week. They still do, too. My middle son is the child who basically taught himself through unschooling, while the other two were close behind…as a matter of fact, none of them are afraid to go and figure out how to do what they want to do and to find the funding or materials for it. Which is good because my bank account is not a bottomless pit of money, it is just a pit ….without much in it 🙂 Of course, my yard and house were pretty much a hopeless mess, but lets not dwell on that, shall we?

So for this post I thought I would pull out some recent examples of their creativity…and what was learned through each experience.

First the middle child…
Who decided to grow corn. What was impressivee was that he did all his own research, found his field, bought or got materials donated, and even made this handy plow (left) out of found materials. He eventually had a crop, that is until the deer came and ate it-even replanted three times. Sadly, we never saw the corn harvested and he never found out if he would have had the finances come out the way he figured. Possibly, had he invested in deer fencing he would have come out in the red, at least last year. Then this year he would have perhaps made a bit. Life changes though, and he is now too far away to maintain the field.

Some may think that this project was a failure, after all, he never harvested a crop. However, he learned a lot, and applied a lot of collected knowledge to make the corn field work, at least until the deer won. He learned perseverance, that there is more than one way to water corn (or that there is more than one way to approach a project), he learned to utilize found lumber and other things to build a fence and make a plow, he even used knowledge from an agriculture class to prepare the field and find seed and drip tape. No crop of corn was harvested, but a crop of learning, of experience and lessons in life was harvested, and that is what his life, our life, has always been about. It will carry into the future with him and help him be a can do type of person, something that is getting very rare indeed.

As for my other son, here is an example of what happens when you give a child room to imagine, to just play with out directions. Well, and a huge collection of Lego’s 😉 He loves Star Wars, but also adventure and fantasy. So one day they all morphed into a Indian Jones meets Star Wars sort of stage setting.

Here you can see what I mean, the rough and ready are taking on the droids. I believe the light and dark blue is water while the figure in the middle is a ‘statue’. Oh, and here is a knight just in to help-see him there on the far left, emerging from the watery depths?

What I find fun is that he uses Lego’s in ways my brother and I never thought of, such as the knight coming up from the deep.

The next photo shows Indiana Jones taking out a droid…ouch.

Again, someone may say, so? all kids play with Lego’s. True, yet many don’t go past the usual play and kits. Some, like my son spend hours planning, building sets or models, photographing them and publishing to Lego sites. They chat with other Lego hobbyist about anything Lego, and beyond. My son is much more aware of events taking place in the world today than many adults I know of, which makes him much more astute, especially of the political and economic climate. In discussing these current events with him, I have found him to be much more questioning of decisions made by the current crop of politicians, which is a good thing to learn early on. I want to stress I don’t force these conversations, but do remind myself to stop and listen when he wants to talk. We have a lot of lively conversations, that is for certain!

So there is just a very small piece of our journey. Next post (which will be soon, I hope!) I will share some of our favorite ways to learn through homeschooling and unschooing….hopefully they will help someone else find joy in their children and the journey of learning in life.

more photos, just because…

12 Feb

I can never seem to create a wonderful and clever post-they are there, just not on the page!
So I resort to photos…

Lemons, just after a rainstorm

A young flicker, sunning himself – taken through a glass door.

More to come….

Randomness explained

24 Dec

A random list of photos, I know, but I am cleaning out my ‘blog’ file. These were meant to be posted a long, long time ago. Sigh, I have good intentions, but I just don’t seem to put them at the top of my ‘to do’ list!

‘Peace’ in the garden, a gorgeous rose, originally named Rose d’Ore in France.

One of my favorite photos of Mike and Lefty at the Western Bonanza Livestock Show in February…Lefty was enjoying the people/cattle watching.

“The Wife of Bath” a lovely Austin rose, in full fig.

“Love-in-the-Mist” in a gorgeous blue, such a fun flower, with funny seed pods…a favorite as it will replant its self and come up over and over again.

“Peace” in Bud.

So there you have it, my collection of random photos…for now!

Just a Little Bit Behind….

23 Dec
Updated pictures of the garden

Looking towards the back fence and the garden shed

Looking towards the front, note morning glories I didn’t plant!

Looking at the zinnias 🙂 and Potatoes (a failure, just a pound for all the foliage) and the compost

A beautiful green tomato with ‘glitter’-so pretty in the sun

Well, as you can see, I have not posted in a good long while…so many more important things to do and so, this blog has languished… However my garden did not languish. It grew and grew, especially the Italian squash, which went every where! Next year, I think I will plant one. Also, all the squash will go in pots! They need room to roam and I can put the beds to better use…
The tomatoes did well, even though they weren’t ready until October. I just used the last of them up-after covering the plants against freezes and rain, I let them go and last weeks freezing did them in! Garden Clean up, here I come.

(More catch-up posts to come)

Just gotta catch up, some how!

16 Aug

Well, here it is the middle of August and I was going to try to post more often, well, at least weekly. Sigh. Today I haven’t much time, we are off to see Randy Travis at the local fair. I love how he sings, and he is very nice and funny as well.

Our summer has been busy and the latest thing keeping me busy is my job, dog sitting Mike’s new puppy (who is yet to be house broken, but we are working on that) and the garden. Darn fog has come in daily and the tomatoes are so slow in growing and ripening! I don’t know about you, but I love good homegrown tomatoes-there is nothing like them! If I have extra I will freeze them…if I don’t use them up in sauces or salsas that is 🙂

Here are some photos of the garden that I took before I traveled to San Diego to visit with my cousin Susan. By God’s good grace, those plants have gotten bigger-I will have to take some more photos of them again!

Note the tomatoes in the buckets and bins-that is because they are heirlooms and I have bad luck with planting them in my soil. I followed the instructions found here and so far, so good. I only had about 5 die or simply disappear. 😦 And they left no forwarding address….
Okay, so I only have about 14 or 15 counting the volunteers…(why do they always do so well? I want to know the secret!!)

This is a shot of the zinnias, mint in pots, rhubarb in bigger pots and the potatoes (yes!) in the garbage can and the compost behind the barrel. The barrel will be planters for fruit trees next year, while the soil has been moved so it is not so unsightly.

A parting shot of the beautiful koi in a garden in Encinitas. With luck I will post more about that visit later…you should visit it if you are near there as it is both peaceful and beautiful.

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