I was picking up a wedding gift at an antique shop the other day, and saw a fun tray marked at $2 with a few scuff marks on the edges. With the spinning wheel and chickens on it, I’ll admit I was sold right away. I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to put it to use.
The scenery around here is changing in a hurry, most notably the soy bean fields. When the fields turn from green to gold, it feels like Fall is actually here.
The kids have been taking advantage of this gorgeous weather that’s not too hot or too cold and going outside to see the cats as often as they can. The kittens are getting big. Silje has been spending a lot of time out there especially, just getting to know our new cats. She told me, “Mom, I know ‘Boots’ is the most shy, but I’ve learned that when I sit as still as I can for about 10 minutes, and just read a book, she comes right up to me to cuddle. She doesn’t like being chased, and doesn’t come quickly to play like the other ones. She just needs a couple of minutes to get used to you.”
It was then when I thought. Yes. This is what I want for my kids. I want them outside, slowing the world down a bit and watching the habits of animals. Is there any better way to learn science? There’s something about nature that opens up and relaxes the mind. Some things you cannot even notice without sitting in the silence of it.
Honestly, I worry sometimes about dipping my foot into the abyss of activities and sports and running around to this and that. Something deep in me wants to slow down (not extend) their childhood and surround them with creation. I want them to intimately know things that are real and good. I want them to lay in the grass, dig in the dirt, climb up trees and stare at the clouds. I’ve found that one easy way for us to connect with creation is keeping animals. I’m not a cat person, but these cats sure are helping my cause.
Silje is recording her observations of the cats at various ages, and has already started to study up on common kitty sicknesses, and home remedies we can have handy should any of them develop anything. Always a vet at heart.
I’m so pleased with the cats so far. We catch them eating mice an alarming number of times. Seriously? We had that many mice? One of the orange ones, Milo, likes to pounce on leaves moved by the wind. It’s a riot to watch.
A friend of mine needs to lighten her chicken coop by 2 chickens by winter, so she has enough space for them all. So our measly chicken number will go from 7 to 9. Our coop can hold about 20 over the winter. I’m so anxious to get easy access to fresh eggs again. I cannot believe that number got so low. We lost about 30 chickens total this year to predators. (We replaced the whole flock at one point.) I’m so glad we have Missy now. She’s such a great guardian. I don’t want to go through that again.
Knut had Silje collect the chestnuts falling from the tree near the chicken coop. The shells fell off softly, and she divided them up and left them in the kitchen for me. I’ve never had chestnuts roasted on an open fire, but it sure sounds like fun if they make a famous song out of it.
Knut then researched online that our type of chestnuts are not very edible. Well, he said something about some people eat them, but you have to soak them and boil them and then remove some poisonous part that is bitter and give you a stomach ache, and then you can roast them and then mash them into some sort of porridge.
“Great.” I said. “You do that if you want.”
My plan is to actually just put them in a pretty dish or something for Autumn decorating. Perhaps a little dish on my new tray.
It may not look it from the last picture, but Ingrid is actually starting to fall into a much easier to handle sleep routine. Our new found routine that the Fall school days have is rubbing off on her. We’ve had a few days in a row now of naps and getting to bed around 9. It’s made my days so unusually productive.
Well, on this particular day she struggled with her morning nap, so I put her in this saucer toy while I got some things together in preparation to go to town for our homeschool co-op and some other errands. After a few minutes, it got strangely quiet, and she was just out. So I let her sleep for there for 20 minutes or so before we all had to load up in the van. I just thought it was a funny sight.