08 June, 2006

Blogger was hiccoughing yesterday...

I have the end of my day in the life post, but couldn't get it up yesterday. You'll be seeing it in a few minutes!

[Update: It's done!]

07 June, 2006

A Day in Our Life

Today, I thought it would be interesting to blog the way through our day. I'll be updating throughout the day and we'll see how it goes.

Our main plans for today are to do school, pay bills, write the grocery list, finish mowing the front yard, weed the garden, and go out tonight with Hubby. It's his normal game night, but we haven't seen much of him and we'll be eating dinner together, then I'll drop him off at the gaming store and do some grocery shopping with the kiddos. It'll be a late night, so I'm letting the boys sleep in.

7:00 hit the snooze and sleep until 7:20.
7:20 get up, get Hubby ready for work (lay out his clothes and sit and talk while he gets ready).
8:00 Hubby is out the door, I wake Mary up, then hit the shower.
8:25 Showers are done, rooms are clean, beds are made. Mary fixes our breakfast while I check email.
8:45 we eat and discuss the plans for the day.
9:05 Mary is supposed to be reading her story Bible, but is dancing around the living room to her favorite Celtic band. I put in a load of wash.
9:15 I remind her to start reading, she relucantly begins. I sit down to pay bills.
[update 1--10 a.m.]
9:25 Ian comes downstairs.
9:40 finished bills, Ian is eating breakfast. I check on Mary's reading progress and start on the grocery list.
9:50 Mary finishes reading, then starts whining when I tell her to get her Latin books. Evidently she doesn't feel like doing her copywork today. I send her to get them anyway. Ian is whining that he doesn't like his breakfast and wants something else.
10:00 Alex isn't awake yet and Mary is still up in her room, so I head upstairs to see what's going on.
[update 2-12:15]
10:15 Alex is up and sort of dressed (his pants are in the dryer, but he has on boxers) and eating breakfast. Mary has finally settled down to do her Latin. Ian still isn't finished with his breakfast yet, but he's stopped whining.
10:25 the grocery list is finished, the boys are driving cars around the kitchen and Mary is still doing Latin.
10:45 Mary finally finishes Latin, after stopping to play at least 3 times. The grocery list is finished. I go to do phonics with the boys.
11:00 We correct Mary's Latin while the boys play a computer game. Then Mary reads to me for a few minutes.
11:20 Playtime! I go fold laundry, in between kissing boo-boos.
11:45 The kids clean up downstairs while I make lunch. Mary puts in a load of dishes and sweeps the kitchen. Ian straightens the family room and vaccums. Alex takes all the toys to the basement. I direct them for about 5 minutes, until everyone gets going on their task.
12:15 check chores, then lunch.
[update 3-1:30]
12:40 lunch is over and we get ready to go outside. It looks like rain, so we need to get things done quickly.
1:15 The rain hit, so we had to come in. I got the mowing done, but not much else. We are getting cleaned up and ready for reading time. The boys are watching the tail end of Jimmy Neutron.
1:30 Time for our read aloud. I will read for about 20 minutes, then we'll have about a 1/2 hour of resting time/free reading.
[update 4-5:15]
3:00 Reading time got a bit out of control (I just can’t stop them when Mary is reading a zoo book to the boys and teaching them about the different animals), so we are having play time while I make some calls and get some business done.
4:00 We finally start formal school! First recitation (Latin, Greek, math), then a Greek lesson for Mary. She is starting to translate simple Greek sentences, so I introduce the concept of diagramming. We learned about parsing when we started with Latin sentences, so it seemed appropriate to cover the next thing.
4:45 I hand Mary some math problems and tackle Copybook with Ian.
5:00 I assign Mary her Spencerian copybook assignment, and go to get the boys ready to leave.
5:15 We clean up any outstanding messes and go outside to wait for Hubby.

We are currently reading _The Magician’s Nephew_ as our read aloud. I consider that to be literature study and modern history study (England in the late Victorian period). We are on a hiatus from CW and D’Aulaire’s, but we will pick back up on those in the next couple weeks.

06 June, 2006

NAIS Doublespeak

The USDA has released a new publication, The National Animal Identification System: A Guide for Small Scale or Non-Commercial Producers. Others at NoNAIS.org have questioned the veracity of this publication vis-a-vis the actual government regulations currently in place. I'm going to go with the assumption that everything in the publication is the honest truth. It's still scary enough that way. I'll break down the areas that seem to be the most glaring:

  1. "Participation in NAIS is voluntary." Today it is, but there are plans to make it mandatory by 2009.
  2. "USDA's NAIS efforts will largely focus on commercial operations and animals…” (emphasis theirs). Okay, so that tells me that the majority of the regulations were put in place with large commercial producers in mind. This is supposed to make me feel better how? Knowing I may be subject to rules and regulations not designed for my position is hardly making me calmer.
  3. "In all states premises registration is currently free." Note the currently. No guarantee that it will remain free, but a subtle carrot. If you register now, you may avoid the fees.
  4. "If your animals never leave the farm of birth or are only moved for custom slaughter for personal consumption, you will not be asked to identify them or report their movement." So, if I have meat custom slaughtered for sale at the farmer's market, I need an ID. If I sell a lamb to a neighbor, I need an ID. And the one place where food contaimination is likely to enter the commercial market if I only produce for myself is the one place that doesn't require an ID. That makes sense.
  5. "Reportable movements are those that involve a high risk of spreading disease, such as moving livestock from a farm to an event where a large numbers [sic] of animals are brought together from many sources." Okay, so trips to vet? Reportable. Hit the county fair? Reportable. Attend a breed show? Reportable. Even though each of these places would already have records of your prescence, you are still required to report? Why?
  6. "Data concerning animal movements and locations will be held in multiple, secure databases managed by private organizations and state animal health authorities." Yes, I trust private organizations with my personal info. They *never* get hacked. (note sarcasm)
  7. "Group/Lot ID is an option for animals that move as a group through the production chain (i.e., groups of pigs or chickens). USDA recognizes that tagging every individual animal is not always practical." Well, that's a load off my mind. *I'll* have to tag every animal, but the big producers get a break. Thanks, USDA.
  8. "The primary purpose of the NAIS is to enable rapid animal tracing and disease containment in the case of an animal disease outbreak or other emerging animal health concern among US livestock and poultry." Oh, well, that's just great. Do you know how they "contain" disease outbreaks? They destroy any animal that may have had contact with an effected animal. So, if there is an outbreak of disease at the chicken factory down the road, they may "contain" it by killing my poultry simply because they are in the same area, even if they show no signs of disease. Thanks again, USDA.
  9. "Under the NAIS, the following criteria describe non-commercial producers: ... 2. Individuals whose animal movements are limited to those moved directly to custom slaughter; movement within a single producer's premises; local fairs and local 4-H events." Okay, so it looks like we can go to the fair without registering, but breed shows still aren't exempt, and they are ambiguous about whether custom slaughter for sale is exempted. Looks like that organic meat you used to buy at the farmer's market is now going to be a lot more expensive.
  10. "Voluntary registration of premises does not obligate producers to identify their animals or to report the premises-to-premises movement of their animals." True, for now. The plan is for mandatory animal registration by 2009.
  11. I won't copy the entire list of "Scenarios that would not call for animals to be identified and/or movements reported in the NAIS," but if you look closely, they are all tied to animals' locations of birth. If they are ever sold (excluding trading poultry for some reason) they will be in the system. So, if you have a bad year and the coyotes get your lambs, welcome to the NAIS. You won't be able to purchase new ones without it. Also, this is going to lead to eventual problems with genetic viability on farms as producers only cross breed from their own animals and never introduce new genetic stock. Bye-bye endangered breeds.
  12. I'm going to skip most of the question and answer pages, as they just reiterate what the document said earlier, but I want to focus on #16. "What about individuals' religious freedoms?" I'm glad to know the USDA is sensitive to my beliefs. I'm glad to know they won't be making Old Order Anabaptists use computers. However, what about my deeply held religious belief that I need to keep my animals out of government databases in case the Tribulation should come in my lifetime and I'm not raptured? The answer seems to be, well it's voluntary. But we all know that while it may be voluntary now, they are going to make it mandatory.

Judging from this, should NAIS be enacted in it's current form, the day is coming when I will no longer be able to take an animal to the vet, buy or sell animals, or market my animal products. And, that's assuming that everything in this document is absolutely true. Some of their statements here don't jive with previous statements, so I can't be sure.

Sorry, IE users.

I just looked at my previous post in Internet Explorer, and it sticks all kinds of funky commented-out script code. I normally view in Firefox, where it looks fine. I promise to go in when I have time and edit the HTML so it doesn't look so funky. That's what I get for composing in Word.

03 June, 2006

Family Disaster Plan

It's hurricane season again, and while Ohio isn't a hurricane prone state, it's still a good time to review/comeup with a family disaster plan. Here's a brief outline of our plan. It goes from the fairly common to extremely unlikely, but better safe than sorry.

Level 1-24 hour shelter in place.

v Store 4 gallons of water.

v Have oil lamps and lanterns available with oil and candles.

v Have 10 pieces of wood available (if winter).

Level 2-72 hour shelter in place.

v All level 1 prep plus:

v Store 10 gallons of water.

v Have 40 pieces of wood available (if winter).

v Transfer all frozen foods to chest freezer.

v Spare batteries for radios.

Level 3-24 hour evacuation to center.

v Have enough food and water with cats.

v Map of back roads to center.

Level 4-72 hour evacuation to center.

v All level 3 prep plus:

v Transfer all frozen foods to chest freezer.

v Suburban running with ½ tank of gas.

v Have “toy kits” for each child.

v Pack essential school books.

v A favorite blanket for each child.

v A book for each adult

v Bible.

Level 5-72 hour to 1 month shelter in place.

v All level 2 prep plus:

v Water decon tablets.

v Alternate power source to run fridge, freezer, stove, radios, and well.

v Enough food to last 3 weeks.

v Extra candles/lamp oil.

v 1 cord wood (if winter).

v First aid kit with sutures.

Level 6-long term evacuation to center.

v All level 4 prep plus:

v Sheets and pillows.

v Extra TP.

v All school books.

v Extra books for adults.

Level 7-long term shelter in place.

v All level 5 prep plus:

v Solar power for fridge, freezer, stove, radios, and well, with battery and generator backup.

v 3 months worth of preserved food.

v 1 cord wood if summer, 3 cords wood if winter.

v Chainsaw, two man saw, splitting axe.

v 5 months fodder for farm animals.

v Army field surgical kit.

Level 8-long term evacuation-no shelter.

v All level 6 prep, plus:

v All level 5 prep (excluding full cord of wood and alt. Power source), plus:

v 2 evacuation sites in opposite directions.

v Meeting locations on the way to sites.

v Suburban full tank of gas.

v Tent, backpacks, cooking gear, sleeping bags, hand axe.

v 15 gallons water.

v 15 gallons extra gas.

v Army field surgical kit.

NBC Evacuation:

v All level 8 prep, plus:

v Fine particulate face masks

v Iodine tablets.

v Military ambulance with NBC filtration.

v HazMat placard ID book.

NBC Shelter in place:

v All evac prep, plus:

v Hasty fallout shelter.

v Homemade Geiger counter.

Our list may look radically different than many for three reasons. 1) We live in the country and provide much of our own food. 2) We have limited access to water in a power outage. 3) Hubby is in the state guard and they run a center for distributing disaster supplies, so I know how well stocked our shelter would be, as that is our evacuation location.

Now, progress on the list. Still don't have farm animals, that's a biggie for long term shelter in place. We have all the things we need for levels 1-4, except that the suburban has a huge oil leak that we don't have the money to fix right now. For level 5 we need the decon tablets and the power source. We could make do without the power source if we absolutely had to, but not if we don't have the decon tablets.

Level 6, we're set, but for level 7 we would need the saws and the surgical kit. Level 8 we need only the things I've already mentioned not having. For NBC evac we would need everything but the HazMat book. We are in the process of getting a functioning de-miled ambulance for to take to reenactments and there is only one thing we need to get to make the NBC gear functional, so that I why I list that.

For NBC Shelter in place, I know how to make a hasty fallout shelter and we have a good place in the basement to put one, I also know how and have the supplies to make a homemade geiger counter. Now, I don't seriously forsee there being a NBC incident severe enough for us to have to shelter in place that wouldn't kill us right out, but I figure better to know how to do these things than not. (And yes, I am a bit of a freak).

I will say that some of these scenarios seem pretty unlikely, but I myself was in an ice storm where some families were in shelter-in-place mode for a month, due to the amount of time it took to get electrical service reestablished. Personally, it was only 2 weeks for us. The first week it was too dangerous to leave the house and the second we could go out to get supplies. In that instance, no shelters were set up at all, but the high school was providing shower facilities for the outlying families once their power was restored (again, about 2 weeks).

So, what's your family's plan?

School schedule

So, I've been working on our schedule for school this fall. I will have two official students for the first time, and the farm chores are getting bigger, so I need to make sure we get everything in as efficiently as possible.

Here is what has made the cut for Mary (soon to be 9, 4th grade, or Year 2 of grammar school):

Grammar and Progym:

  • Latina Christiana I with Lingua Angelica. Then begin LCII.
  • Elementary Greek I, then begin EGII.
  • Classical Writing: Homer (lite).
  • Spencerian Penmanship, books 4 and 5.
  • Rod and Staff Arithmetic 4.
Classical, Christian, and Modern Studies:
  • Christian Studies I with Golden Children's Bible.
  • Famous Men of Rome, with study guide.
  • Modern Studies: I haven't picked them yet, but we'll read about 3 books about Colonial times.
  • mostly ag, since we will be on a learning curve with the ducks.
  • I'd like to do a few physics experiments from a book I got at the local teacher's supply.
I've decided on a two-week rotating schedule.

  • Daily: 1 lesson in Math, 1 page in Penmanship, recitation of grammar forms (Latin and Greek) along with memory verses and prayers, any poetry we are working on.
  • Day1: Latin-begin new lesson, introduce vocab, saying and background, learn/review paradigm Greek-review previous lesson Christian Studies-begin new lesson, read story together, learn memory verse (if a long lesson, do 1/2) FMOR-read and review previous lesson.
  • Day2: Latin-work independently on parts A and B from lesson. Greek-begin new lesson, learn memory verse, introduce vocab. Christian Studies-copy memory verse, answer verse questions. FMOR-read story together, discuss, learn memory work.
  • Day3: Latin-review vocabulary, discuss grammar using examples from Latin and English (can be FMOR, Bible, or CW sentences). Greek-work independently on verse copywork, day 1 and day 2 lessons. Christian Studies-discuss any background information, do any mapwork, review memory work, answer some comprehension questions orally. FMOR-work independently on 3 comprehension questions.
  • Day4: Latin-work independently on parts C and D from lesson. Greek-review vocabulary, discuss grammar using examples from Greek and English (can be FMOR, Bible, or CW sentences). Christian Studies-work independently on 3 comprehension questions. FMOR-discuss any background information, do any mapwork, review memory work, answer some comprehension questions orally.
  • Day5: Latin-review vocabulary, work on derivatives. Greek-work independently on day 3, 4 and 5 lessons. Christian Studies-timeline work, answer more comprehension questions orally. FMOR-work independently on 3 comprehension questions.
Week 2:
  • Daily: same as above, and read next story in Bible.
  • Day1: Latin-begin new lesson, introduce vocab, saying and background, learn/review paradigm Greek-review previous lesson CW-A&I day 1 FMOR-read and review previous lesson.
  • Day2: Latin-work independently on parts A and B from lesson. Greek-begin new lesson, learn memory verse, introduce vocab. CW-rough draft. FMOR-read story together, discuss, learn memory work.
  • Day3: Latin-review vocabulary, discuss grammar using examples from Latin and English (CW sentences), include CW grammar level. Greek-work independently on verse copywork, day 1 and day 2 lessons. CW-improve rough draft based on WP level. FMOR-work independently on 3 comprehension questions.
  • Day4: Latin-work independently on parts C and D from lesson. Greek-review vocabulary, discuss grammar using examples from Greek and English (CW sentences) include CW grammar. CW-final draft. FMOR-discuss any background information, do any mapwork, review memory work, answer some comprehension questions orally.
  • Day5: Latin-review vocabulary, work on derivatives. Greek-work independently on day 3, 4 and 5 lessons. CW-dictation and copywork. FMOR-work independently on 3 comprehension questions.
At some point during the year (Jan I hope). Mary will be willing to write more at one time and we can condense the Christian Studies into 2 days. Then on day 5 we will do "modern studies." She will be reading a book in American History and we will take the day 5 block to discuss it. I hope to do about 1 book every six weeks. I figure 4-5 weeks to read, then 1-2 weeks to do a project on it. That comfortably has us doing 3 books for the year. I may also have her do science readings independently, as she likes topical science books. Lingua Angelica covers music, and our modern studies projects will cover art, so I think that's about it.

It should take us 20 minutes for recitation, 10 minutes for a math lesson, 30 for grammar, and 30-an hour for Christian Studies/CW/FMOR. Total instructional time on my part: 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Then I give her an hour and a half for independent work and an hour for reading (30 min school, 30 min free). Finally, I count an hour a day for PE/nature study (AKA playing in the yard and doing farm-related chores). That's 30 hours a week, about where I'd like to be. In Ohio, we have to do 900 hours a year. So, we have to do 30 weeks of school to meet the minimum. We generally school 32 weeks (taking 6 weeks off at Christmas and 4 in the summer), so that leaves me 2 weeks of slack for days we don't feel like doing anything.

Now, for Ian. He will be 5 and officially in Kindergarten, or Year 1 of Primary School.

Grammar, Christian Studies, Modern Studies, Classical Studies, and Progym:
  • Copybook 1 from Memoria Press.
  • Hey Andrew, Teach Me Some Greek level 1.
  • Phonics Pathways.
  • Listen to Lingua Angelica.
  • Arithemetic worksheets from the blacklines to Rod and Staff Arithmetic 2. My goal is to cover addition with sums up to 10, but if don't get that far, no big deal.
  • working with the ducks and what we discover in the back yard and garden.
Ian's schedule will be the same every week.

  • phonics: read 1-2 pages.
  • arithmetic: do one page.
Day 1:
  • copybook: Read a Bible story.
  • greek: learn to name and recognize 1 letter.
Day 2:
  • copybook: Language lesson, look at words he knows how to read, learn the definitions of unfamiliar words, possibly begin grammar work.
  • greek: Learn to write letter.
Day 3:
  • copybook: memorize verse or poem. Copy verse.
  • greek: review letters learned.
Day 4:
  • copybook: proofread copywork. Cumulative memorywork review.
  • greek: none.
Day 5:
  • copybook: illustrate verse or poem.
  • greek: review letters learned.
Phonics should take about 10 minutes, likewise with math. Copybook and Greek should take a total of 30 minutes together. So, that's 50 minutes a day with Ian. Alex (3) should take about 10 minutes total, 5 of phonics and 5 of playing with numbers and shapes. That's about all he has the attention span for. So, that's a total of 2-2 1/2 hours of school work with the three kiddos. And in another 1/2 hour of read alouds and I'm devoting about 3 hours a day to school. I think that should be very doable. This might increase slightly as Ian's reading improves and he begins to read books to me, but that shouldn't be more than 1/2 hour a day, at the most. I'm not sure of the rotation of subjects throughout the day or the times we will work things yet. I figure that will depend somewhat on what chores we have to do and everyone's mood each day.

news on the NAIS front

Well, it looks like the NAID may not make it as a mandatory program. However, if you read the comments to the article, several other things seem to be on the horizon. Firstly, the USDA has not given up. They continue to pressure people into getting a premisis ID via their various wings (mostly notably 4-H and the land-grant university extension system). Congress is pretty apathetic, as no one has been letting them know what their position is on the program. WRITE YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS! Let them know what a crappy idea this is and how it will lead to the loss of property rights, the freedom to farm, and the freedom to buy locally grown animal products. It will also lead to the loss of biological diversity, as farmers like me will be given the choice to not produce or to produce with a much higher overhead or in direct conflict to the law. Now is not the time to become complaicent about this as it would likely be the biggest Big Brother intrusion into family farming to date, and it needs to be stopped.

And speaking of Big Brother intrusions, check this out. I mean seriously, what have people got against farmers? If I didn't know better I'd say the whole thing was one big conspiracy. Now, for the record, I abhor factory farms. I abhor people who think that the best way to raise a cow is in the smallest, muddiest lot possible. I hate the chicken factory down the road where the chickens never see the light of day and we have huge issues with the flies from the manure. However, the government already has regulations in place to take care of this. As the state has gotten involved in egg production sites (I refuse to call these things farms, since one could show up in the warehouse district of any major city and you couldn't tell the differnce) things have gotten better. I still don't like it and I'd still like to see them go to the "factory free range" system where the chickens are kept in groups on small plots of land with small houses. It doesn't take up that much more space and would be a lot friendlier to the chickens and the environment.

But, I digress. At first it surprised me that the environmental lobby would be taking so much interest in regulating a natural, wholesome substance. But then I thought again. It makes perfect sense. These are the people who believe that keeping a cow in a pasture is infringing on its rights. These are the people who believe that Communism is the way to go. It makes perfect sense that they would want to clamp down on anything that smacks of being outside of government control. Especially when they can make money for their organizations in the process. Keep an eye on this. I don't think it's going to happen, but it could be the next big thing on the horizon.

Saturday Garden Update

Well, we got plenty of rain the last couple of days, and it looks like the pickling cukes are coming up already. However, it looks like I've got something eating the leaves on my cabbages and peppers, so I'm going out this afternoon to spray. I've got a 1-gallon pressure sprayer that I use to fertilze (either compost tea or fish emulsion). I'm going to fill it up with 1-part dish soap and 9-parts water and see how that does on preventing pests.

01 June, 2006


Well, the garden is finally in. This is the first time in my life that I've gotten a vegetable garden completely planted before the 1st of June. I'll update the side bar later but here's what's going on:

  • radishes are in and being eaten. I've let a couple go to seed and we'll see what I can save.
  • carrots are starting to get big and I need to thin them some. Hopefully we'll be eating them in a couple weeks.
  • sugar peas are in, but they were hit hard by the late frost and are not producing well.
  • beets still haven't come up. I replanted them, but nothing so far. They take a while, so I'm hoping to see something soon.
  • lettuce is doing well. We've been plucking and eating the outer leaves on the heads that are starting to form. The patch is very weedy, and there's really not much I can do about it. I'm pulling what I can, but I'd loose a lot of lettuce if I tried to get it all.
  • I thought I'd lost the leeks. They died back after I transplanted them, but they seem to be doing okay now.
  • Onions and garlic are doing well. I've been thining the onions and we've been eating them green.
  • English peas are doing terrific. I should have plenty to freeze and can to last the year.
  • Potatoes are growing well, as well. The plants are getting to be about calf high.
  • Broccoli looks like it should start forming heads soon, lots of new leaves starting in the middle.
  • The pickling onions (Bianca D'Maggio) I transplanted have taken well.
  • The celery I transplanted seems to have died off completely. I don't think anything has been eating it, seeing as it is right next to the onions, so I'm not sure what is up there. I did plant more from seed and expect to see sprouts soon, but it may be too late in the season to get much.
  • The cabbage transplants have gotten established and are putting on new growth. The others that I direct seeded are starting to sprout.
  • The pepper transplants seem to be doing well, but there's no new growth yet.
  • I lost every single tomato seed I planted was killed by the late frost we had about 2 weeks ago. I had them outside to get acclimated and forgot to bring them in. I did buy some at the garden center. Hillbilly is a red heirloom with orange stripes, I got two varietys of yellow, one of cherry, and one of grape. Total of 36 plants.
  • My pickling cukes were hit by the same frost, so I've direct seeded some in. I just checked the cupboard the other day and I had thought we had enough pickles to last the year, but we are getting low on dill chips and bread and butter chips, and we have no spears at all.
  • I planted two varieties of corn, yellow cross bantam, and early sunglow. I planted them last week, and they are already sprouting.
  • I planted beans about a week ago as well and they are sprouting too. Always soak your beans overnight before you plant!
  • I have watermelons, spaghetti squash, carving pumpkins, and sugar pumpkins that haven't come up yet, but I only planted them this week.
  • I picked the first strawberry today. The new ones I planted this year have started to send of runners, so I may not have to buy any more next year, we will see.
  • All the raspberry bushes but one died (okay, I only planted four and they were from Walmart, so that's not too bad). The one left is vigorous and putting on lots of new growth. Maybe we'll see some raspberries this year.
So, the last things we have left to do are to plant one more maple tree (we were blessed with 3 for free) and put down grass seed in the front yard (we were blessed with it as well) and we will have all the planting for the year accomplished. Then we can get on to finishing the woodshed and starting the stone front steps. After that, we have to build a duck house and put up pasture fencing. We're going to try to get the ducks next month, so we need to be ready for them to be outside in about 2 months.

(As an aside, I'm working on a post about our plans for school next year, I'll try to have it up this evening.)

[Update: I also have two lilacs I need to put in up by the porch. There that's really it. I promise.]