Sunday, May 30, 2010
Farming is a delicate balance of hard work, joy, and occasional tragedy. We've had both this week.
First the good stuff:
Our 4 week old ducklings enjoying roomier quarters and their first taste of the great outdoors.
Our 3 week old turkeys checking out their new digs.
And there are 41 fertile duck eggs cooking away in the incubator. They'll be hatching in about 2 weeks.
And now the bad stuff.
Thursday afternoon, while we were out having a grand time weaving at co-op and watching J enjoy a drop-in Modern Dance class at the school he wants to dance at next fall, something (probably a fox) staged a mass slaughter at our place. We came home to find that our entire adult duck flock had been wiped out, along with half of our chickens. Our remaining chickens are furious at having to be kept locked in for a couple of weeks to make sure they stay safe -- they are trying to escape every time the coop door is opened, and they are smashing the eggs they lay in protest to the confinement.
Here's Joy, one of our collies, on patrol in the pasture. She's spending her days down there for awhile, to intimidate any predators from coming back in.
We're all sad at the animal loss (especially a really special pet duck we lovingly referred to as "Blind Duck," because she was), but this unfortunately is the price that is occasionally paid for caring for and loving animals. I guess the joy we experience on a daily basis from being surrounded by these little living, breathing marvels is worth having to deal with the occasional heartache.
I'm off to buy a few more adult ducks, who will be kept locked in like the chickens to keep them safe while that fox is still raising it's young. Honestly, I don't mind donating the occassional bird in order for baby foxes to grow, but it really stinks to have them kill more than they can possibly use.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Our final chapter found Malidoma undergoing the "baor" (learning) of his people, the first task being to 'see' a tree. It was a struggle for Malidoma, but eventually he saw "his" tree as a beautiful green woman, and he was able to progress with his education. J drew this momentous occasion (as did I, below).
Zoo Boy chose to draw the plane that Malidoma saw in the sky one day soon after finishing his learning tasks. He knew that he would be leaving his village on one of those planes to take his learning to the west soon and live up to his name, which means "Befriends the Stranger".
J's chapter summary. The summary we wrote together was actually longer than this, but he's been struggling a bit with writing out the longer summaries, so I shortened it for him so that he could feel more successful with it. It seemed to work, he didn't tire and didn't need a break in the middle, as he has for the past few chapters.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
It was a wonderful experience, and he got to keep the ball he threw out. Unfortunately the team went on to lose the first game of their double-header, but they had an exciting rally during the last inning, just not enough to pull out the win. We left after the first game -- it was beastly hot sitting in the sun in those stands!
Monday, May 24, 2010
Here's J's journal entry for this week, about the dance recital, I'm sure to no one's surprise!
Zoo Boy also blogged about something personal, I think for the first time. It's a pretty simple effort, but still, I'll take this over pages and pages about Pokemon!
We swapped our West African dance this week -- we're now learning the Kpasta (which is pronounced like "pacha"). We had gotten really good at the Gahu over the past two weeks, and this new dance is much more physically demanding (although it's a shorter dance overall). We're having an easier time learning it though, now that we're used to the unique chest-pumping and arm rhythms. I think the dancing is my favorite part of this cultural unit, and I can't recommend this DVD strongly enough for it's instructional value (and appeal of the dance instructor!! Hubba, hubba!!). It's Traditional Dances of Ghana with Nana Yaw Koranteng and Aziza Music and Dance Ensemble, produced by VR Productions. We bought it off Amazon.com.
In addition, he's finished his Kumon book of cutting and is on to the next workbook in the series which involves both more complicated cutting and some pasting, working not only on his fine-motor skills, but also his motor planning. This is all independent work for him, he asked me to buy the pasting workbook after finishing up the cutting, so he's working at whatever pace he sees fit, usually one project per day. He tells me that he intends to go through the entire small motor skills series. Fine by me!!
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
I am entirely unsure what sort of seating we'll get tomorrow and what type of video clips might be possible, so I thought I'd give a little preview of J practicing his "wolf dance". Of course, this is bound to look different on a huge (and I mean HUGE!) stage with them in costume, but here is our budding ballet star and his partner, M, doing the Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf dance from the Sleeping Beauty Ballet:
If I do say so, that's not bad for only one semester of ballet.... (J, I mean. M has been dancing for years.)
On to the real thing tomorrow!
Zoo Boy draw Malidoma being taken by the strange man. I left the details of the kidnapping intact, but modified the more intense details of the abuse he suffered at the hands of the Jesuits. Basically I removed the physical abuse, but left the psychological stuff, as I felt that it still made it clear that this was a great struggle for Malidoma as he grew up, without scaring them with the physical violence (which for my kids would have been an issue).
And here's the class all standing on top of a Keva structure they made together to hold all of their weight!:
Then we had our "share day" activities this past Monday, which included an opportunity for us to share the joys of Keva building with others in our Monday Homeschool community. Here's Zoo Boy's final project of the semester:
And J's final project, the US Capitol:
Of course, the building still continues at home:
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
And here he is during his final Musical Theater Class, working on a dance to the song "Seasons of Love" from the musical Rent:
Stage rehearsal was last night, and was QUITE an experience, I assure you. He was totally wowed and loved every minute of it. I was pretty close to completely overwhelmed and wondered how the heck we ever got involved with this. But it's what he wants to do, so I'll just suck it up and roll with it. Who am I to stand in the way of budding talent?
Hopefully The Map Man can get some video footage at the recital so I can post some clips. I'll be backstage helping J with his costume changes and making sure the boys use the right dressing room. (Ahem.)
In any case, I'll start with the end of last week, and our 2nd part of the Malidoma Some story. In this chapter, Malidoma's grandfather passes away, but not before conferring the wisdom of the ancestors upon little Malidoma. J chose to draw Malidoma's attempts to listen to animals like Grandfather.
Zoo Boy drew a scene where Malidoma accidentally left the gate to the family compound open and allowed the livestock in to ransack the place. In his drawing, Malidoma is herding the chickens back out of the compound. (You can see a basket of millet that they upset in the lower left corner.) This is definitely a case of him drawing from his own experience to match the story -- he regularly herds our ducks out to their daytime pasture! A pretty cool moment for me to see him make that connection!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Since we're in such an intensely time-consuming period for both our homeschooling and our outside activities (I feel like I live at that dance studio....), and our cultural dancing is filling our exercise needs nicely (and then some!), we've been taking shorter walks in our neighborhood rather than spending as much time in the state forest. We'll move back to the forest once things settle down a bit, but in the meantime we're finding plenty to keep us feeling connected to Spring right on our own street.