Wednesday, April 30, 2014

This morning my son walked downstairs in his cozy crumpled green and black plaid flannel. His eyes were still sleepy as we looked at each other. Six hours earlier had I walked down the same stairs dressed for milking cows, had a cup of coffee, and drove to work in a misty fog that slowly switched to drizzle. As I turned left onto the farm road my music went silent and the Emergency Management Alert System sounded an alarm to take cover. A tornado was hovering 30 miles south and moving north east at 25 miles per hour. I decided to skip the farm and made another left turn into the driveway of the farm manager's house.

When I knocked on her door she said, "Oh thank goodness you're here. Get inside. Come sit by the television and watch with me." For the next 30 minutes we listened to torrents of rain alternating with periods of creepy silence outside as we watched the radar show the storm approaching. We discussed farm policy in such situations, how and when to run the pumps if there is lightening, and when to simply open and the gates and set the cows free. She also listed the safest places on the farm to weather a tornado---including the crawl space under her house. I told her the storm was just going to have to take me to Kansas, if it came to that. I know what kind of spiders live in crawl spaces around here.

When the worst of the storm was past we went down to the farm and started working together. For the next several hours we worked. Sometimes in pouring rain, sometimes in mist, sometimes in drizzle. All the time in wet clothes with wet cows, pulling milk, and cleaning up. Wet manure is extra heavy. And parlor cleanup, of course, requires a lot of water and use of the demonic hose. I can't tell you how often I've lost control of the damn thing and sprayed myself in the face. But not today. Apparently the Gods thought I didn't need spraying today. I was wet enough.

We finally got to a good stopping point, put the cows up, and quit for the day. I drove home, took care of my goats, and shucked off all my sopping clothes into the washer. 15 minutes later I was tucked into my favorite chair all dry and beginning to consider plans for the rest of the day when I heard my son's feet on the stairs. Turning to see him I said, "Hey there!"

"Good morning," he replied, "Its a bit moist today." 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Speaking of facebook theft, I lifted this image off the page of a friend of a friend. It was snapped at a party where I should have, would have, been. Which is close enough for stealing rights. Right?

In any case, look! How could I not steal? 
And the accompanying story: "When we were kids, Dad would enchant us by catching bumblebees (carpenter bees) with his bare hands and holding them to our ears. They would buzz like crazy. We were mortified and delighted at the same time! (The ones with white spots on their faces are boys and they don't sting.)

He was doing this today on Mary's & George's porch - catching bees and holding them up to unsuspecting folks' ears. Some were a bit startled! Made me chuckle. Fond memories."

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Prom was last night. They had a great time. I snapped a few pictures and stold a few off facebook:
What a awesome group of kids! But where are Saul and Domino?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Oh my goodness, Chase Mielke and I disagree completely:

What students really need to hear is this: "I'm here to help you get what you want." And for schooled kids it might not hurt to toss in: Unlike blowhard men of privilege who think they know more about your life than you and who have been studiously trying to change your mind to serve their convenience, while convincing you it's for your own good.

Let's pull up a "positive" response in the comment's section of his essay because it has the ring of common experience: "This is AMAZING. My youngest son just started college. I have three sons. I’ve struggled with these issues with all of them. I’m going to print this out for them (and me) to read over and over again. I would sell my soul to be able to reach them. This helps put into words what I’m trying to teach them. Thank you"

She says she would sell her soul to reach her kids (who, she implies, weren't happy in the system -- and what pulled them apart?) but she would not question the system nor dare step outside of it. Basically: It's not working for us so something must be wrong with us. How many generations have to suffer through, at what cost to society, before we consider genuinely overhauling the school system itself? Unschoolers say: This stops now. We change now.
So very tired. So much going on this month, all.the.time. Basketball started yesterday. It didn't suck.

Friday, April 11, 2014

He said: Most people assume that the basic design of schools, as we know them today, emerged from scientific evidence about how children learn best. But, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

You know, I think he's quoting me almost word for word, here. I don't care. I'm grateful Mr. Gray has the degree to say such things with official authority.  I hope academic educators start listening soon.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Eleven years old and home from her first beauty parlor experience. I'm not willing to take after her with kitchen scissors ever again. We've both been through that enough. She gets horribly matted and because of that, itchy. And shedding season is about to begin. So we hit the beauty parlor. She got dropped off in the morning, washed, conditioned, blowed-dry, nails, ears, and a haircut. We picked her up this afternoon, softest dog I've ever met! I think she's proud and happy. Our other dog, Jackson, freaked out a bit when he saw her. I'm not sure he has figured out who she is without her stink. The goats about lost their minds when they saw/smelled her. They do not recognize her at all.
Truth? We are not beauty parlor types, it was a bit expensive, and I don't care. Totally worth it!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

 H Driving
 My friend, Mark Hedlund, created these images in Death Valley. No filters, just nature.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Theoretical physicists are coming up with some very startling mathematical suggestions this century. Their math might be pointing to the existence of multiple universes running concurrently with ours, in which the principles we hold dear, the law of gravity, for instance, may not apply. So science seems to be teetering on the brink of suggesting science can't prove anything--ever. To quote Alan Lightman, "We are living in a universe uncalculable by science." Is that a startling idea?

I brought this up with my son and he had already heard about some of these new theories. A friend of his explained some scientists think there may be as many as 21 dimensions in parts of the multiverse. For a quick recap, we are living in a 3 dimensional universe, as far as we know.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

When you take a class it should change your life. Institutional school has dimmed this truth by becoming the structure of life for kids. Eclipsing the time, energy, and emphasis on what would otherwise be their actual lives. Life for kids today has to ooze in and around the massive bulky totality of 13 years of schooling before they are allowed to proceed with their own thoughts and life experience as a way of life. When you choose to give time and money to someone to teach you, change should happen. You should be moved, altered, and improved rather than co-opted. Consider the Ballroom Dance class of a year ago, for instance.

The kids were invited to go ballroom dancing at an elder care facility. There was some reluctance and a bit of fear going in. But the day turned out to be very very sweet and worthwhile. Of all the volunteer projects we've done, I thought this one was the most palpably helpful. It seemed to create tangible engagement and connection for everyone involved. Before we could begin there was a bit of necessary cleanup and set up. I watched this woman pitch in while humming "Keep On The Sunny Side" to herself. She was quietly awesome, plus purple.
The kids introduced themselves and demonstrated. Notice the fellow dressed in denim? He looks bit bored, don't you think? They all did...teens dancing, yadda yadda...
We didn't know he was just waiting for a chance to pop a can of dancing whoop ass. His name is Ross. He made the girls laugh, cracking jokes, as they danced. He was out for a spin, for sure. Almost all the residents wanted to dance.
 All the teens danced with almost all the residents. Lots of grace and social practice. Lots of fun.
 This image pretty much sums the day .
Life changed and thank you, great teachers, for helping us grow.

Friday, April 4, 2014

It turns out, Ry has a very natural artistic eye for photography and an excellent sense of composition:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Be loud
And move with grace
Explode with light
Have no fear
Be loud
See the world
Be yourself
Don't hide away
Be joyous
Because you are you
Be loud