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It has been a hectic end of the year at the dance studio followed by big family reunion for my dad’s birthday with an added dash of renters moving without paying several months rent. I am just now feeling like I have caught up to myself.  To get back into the swing of the old blog here are some scenes from the recital show “Peter & the Wolf.”  Thomas was Peter.

Peter & the bird

Peter & the bird

This year was the first year for the studio to have a partnering class. It’s really the first year they have had boys tall and strong enough to think about doing more than very basic partnering. The young lady is “The Bird”.  This is Thomas & Ariel’s first onstage “catch”. Sorry I don’t know the correct terms. It is very cool to see this after so many years of classes. Makes a momma proud!

Thomas & Ariel (the Bird)

Thomas & Ariel (the Bird)

 

This was part of their dance. The same dance as the above picture though I cannot remember which came first.

There’s more pictures but I have yet to find where I downloaded them to the computer. If I can get some of the clips of the show downloaded from facebook I’d like to post those too.

We are shivering in temperatures that I thought we had left behind when we left the state of Illinois twenty plus years age. Southern houses are not built for northern winters! With low insulation and a wind chill our house has been a brisk 55F inside. I love summer heat and sweat. This picture pretty much sums up what I wish the temperatures would allow us to do. (Besides huddle under blankets)

Sooner or later it will warm up…

 

Snow Pictures

Living here in the mid-South we might get one good snow a year. To remember those few precious flakes I get out the camera and take pictures. Sometimes as a reminder of all the fun kids can have in the snow and other times (& most often) to remember the snow. Sometimes there is plenty of snow with lots of good fun that is funny (Dr. Seuss) and other times the snow most resembles frost on the leaves than true snow. Here’s a few shots of our snow from the beginning of December.

Two little girls

In other news: I have a list of projects that need to be done when small children are not around. Since the grandkids are off visiting their other grandmother, this week is the perfect time to knock a few items off the list. Today’s project was cleaning and mostly organizing the pantry. Since the son & family have been living with us our poor pantry has taken quite a hit. There’s much more empty space that usual making the job go a tiny bit quicker.

I’m pleased with the results. That poor pantry is maybe 6 by 10 but has a garden bench/seed starting area across one end, two full walls of shelves for food storage, a wall with craft drawers & school supplies. One corner is taken up with a chimney. From the writing on the wall it seems at some point in the past the owners of this house could turn the switch one way to use their gas furnace and the other to use wood. I do wish we had that option today! Sadly a large portion of the head space is overly large duct work. It hangs from the ceiling and ends right about my temple. I am about 5’3″ ish (standing up straight) so it must hand down about 3+ feet? The height is a hazard and my head is attacked at least once a month though the only solution to that is to pay better attention. *sigh*

Now off to nestle down with some seed catalogs and hot beverage. It’s a brisk 30ish out and very chilly. Go ahead and laugh my kids in Minot believe 30 degrees is short sleeves and no jacket weather. The weather will warm up and return to my favorite sweat inducing temperatures Sooner or Later.

It’s been a very eventful year is a mild understatement. If you know me on facebook that will explain the lack of real posts and it most definitely explains the lack of blogging. I’m not sure what I’ll write about first but I do one hundred percent need a place to vent, sort and contemplate.

The second son (Nikos), wife and two children have moved in with us. It’s a learning experience. All I can say…it’s a learning experience. I am a good mil because I keep most of my opinions to myself and try to follow whatever parenting rules or style they have chosen. I do this with all my children but to put it bluntly it ain’t easy. Especially with this group. So yeah I need a place to sort, vent and contemplate.

On moving a blog

For most of my blogging life I have had two nearly identical Sooner or Later blog sites – back up for all the bad things that can happen to host sites. Xanga is in the middle of a fund drive with a “will be closed down unless…” for added force. Because the two sites are nearly identical it really is not a huge worry of mine but my Xanga friends need moving address & this is the “new” one.  But it isn’t really. Anyway the rest of the post is the background & a welcome to old friends. Forgive the inelegant writing.

Ah the joys of not knowing what xanga is really going to be doing/going in the future. It’s been ages since I’ve written regularly, getting out of the habit is easy to claim but the truth is the real problem is “where to start…”

Did I ever explain how I came to have a blog?

  1. Get a computer
  2. Do a search on homeschooling
  3. Discover the blogging world
  4. Sign up for the yahoo group associated with AmblesideOnline
  5. Read really late at night because the baby wakes to nurse every 2 hours.
  6. Read a post in the homeschool (conservative) group from domimatrix
  7. Wonder who in the world is gutsy enough to post in a conservative group with a name like domimatrix…that’s just…just…
  8. Click to her site to realize that 3 am reading should have be annamatrix
  9. Want to comment but need a site to post
  10. Make a blog

And that’s how it began :)

The story continues with – go to log in one day and discover that the site’s been hacked (or something) cause it DISAPPEARED!

No really, it was totally gone for several day or longer and everything was gone. When everything finally returned I decided *that* would never happen again. I had found another free site, created by a homeschool family and created an account. That blog is also named “Sooner or Later” and 99.9% of the two sites are exactly the same. There are a very few posts written that were not posted at both places. As each site upgraded I had to learn to adapt – ha! What usually happened was a back & forth with one being easier to add links and the other to add pictures. Eventually I did figure it all out (mostly) and one was almost as good as the other depending on mood and post content. One site backs up the other & when the internets glitches I have a bit of insurance that all will not be lost.

Why all the history?  Here is my “backdoor” if you please Sooner or Later on homeschooljournal. This is NOT the other homeschool blog that most of the homeschool world is/once used. This is a much smaller site, a bit plainer and wordpress.

WordPress?  yes I have a wordpress account. The plan is to set up a Sooner or Later blog there – again as a backup. Not too certain I will import all my past posts though. A few posts will be protected so only friends can read them. I don’t want to erase them but who needs trouble dredged up?

 

Hop over to the other site & let me know you arrived safely. Comments are moderated the first time please be patient. The link again:

Sooner or Later

Hope to see you around…Sooner or Later anyway…

 

 

I haven’t been posting much but that doesn’t mean that nothing is going on – quite the opposite in fact. Some of the goings on have to do with the on going drama that’s been the subject of recent posts and some of the goings on have to do with a project my sister & I have been discussing. The drama will be updated fairly soon – maybe even tonight as I have had time to process the latest installation but it WILL be friends only or whatever that is currently called. The previous installations will also be hidden also.

On a more cheerful note!  Sister and I always seem to have something going on – somethings that are interesting and I would like to think that others would like to read about. They are usually homesteading or do it yourself related. Sometimes more like do yourself in than what was intended. I had an idea (my dh just ducked) that went something like this:

  • We are doing all this cool stuff that nobody but us knows about
  • On two different budgets
  • In different parts of the country – Illinois and Arkansas. Extremely rural and kind of Urban.
  • In overlapping stages of life – I am older, married longer, more kids while she is younger and has fewer kids. I am reaching the do-it-or-get-off-the-pot stage of life. :) Our kids do overlap in ages so that is a big plus. I have young kids so I have not forgotten how much help they can be…and if you add a touch of sarcasm you will have my meaning.
  • We both write so there will be consistency in posting.
  • And we get to get around my biggest pet peeve – we will actually be DOING what we are writing about, or researching, or explaining why we do what we do. I have found blogs that do this but
    • they rewrite without actually doing
    • they have no kids
    • they have lots of money
    • or if they have no money they live in places with good resources for resale or scrounging. Listen Craig’s List is wonderful if you live where people actually make money to buy stuff they end up selling cheap but when you live where people do not make good money…if they are selling stuff you need it’s usually almost the price of brand new. Craig’s List works best when there’s money around.
    • they don’t explain why they did what they did
  • Plus while we agree an quite a lot of things we also have different points of view on some parts of life. Really my baby sister puts up with her oldest sibling dancing on stage to Lady Gaga while wearing feathers on her rear-end. She is a nurse who was a single mother for several years & did quite well for herself. I may have ideas but she has the “get her done” gene. We are a nice compliment to each other.

 

An example of what some of our post would be about: in the past month Sister has learned to make cheese from goats milk and gotten her first shipment of bees. I have started comfrey and found a site I would highly recommend for those also interested.

Then there’s this thought: there might be side ads to see how that works out for money. I DO NOT expect much along those lines – not at all so why try? I found some cool heirloom corn that is absolutely beautiful! I joined the supporters of Native Seeds/Search to get my name on the list. I had been a member years ago because I believe in their purpose found here and here. After awhile I did not renew as we lived in town with limited garden space and no room to experiment with seeds. Shortly after joining, I received an email that the corn seed was available at a cost of $8 for 50 seeds. After much, much contemplation I could not justify spending that much for any seed when my last two gardens have been terrible due to drought and lack of time. Becoming a member at the squash level for plus seed price means each seed kernel would be $.76 each. BUT if we did by chance have a couple of dollars in the ad fund it could go toward some seeds or perhaps an idea we wanted to try. OR if we have a blog then such purchases are research and the cost could be justified happy

I ran the idea past my sister who seemed agreeable – agreeable enough that she had a few ideas of her own to add to the mix. For such enthusiasm she gets promoted: instead of Sister C she is Christine in IL. laughing

This blog will still be here – I want more personnel thoughts, musings and kids to remain here. There is a reason this blog is not, nor will ever be, linked at facebook.

But we need a name!  Sister suggested “Right Here, Right Now” as the opposite of “Sooner or Later” but umm…that seems rather militant and more a call to political action than to gardening. Plus it does not help identify what we are writing about. Sister had other suggestions which have slipped my mind.

Sister just messaged me with these suggestions: Garden of Weedin, Hometopia, and Growing Homes

Ideas? Suggestions? Recommendations?

 

Last Halloween, or more precisely the day after Halloween, we went to Walmart and I let the kids choose a few of the cool pumpkins and squash that had  been marked down after the holiday. We went with the idea to get “cool” looking ones but with some gentle nudging from Momma the choices were both cool and long storage. Over the years I have read many articles, garden books and catalogs proclaiming how long lasting this squash was or how easy to store that squash was and I wondered how much was true and how much was hype. What’s easy to store in the frozen north is another story in the mostly warmer south.

“Keeps easily in the kitchen” – is that a centrally heated kitchen kept at a balmy 78F? Perhaps a wood stove heated “open the door before we have a heat-stroke” warm? Or a simple “put some more clothes on 65F is not cold!” These are the kitchens of a friend’s daughter, another friend, and my home where during the last cold spell we cheered when the inside reached 60F. The “cool bedroom” needs further clarification too. Being a curious person I decided to do my own testing. All squash were kept in the same general area: those in the kitchen were stored in assorted corners with varying degrees of stuff piled in the same corner, some were in the adjacent front room under the fish tank stand with the remaining few (mostly painted pumpkins) in the hallway next to the kitchen. It’s a weird set up. The kitchen and front room have no dividing wall between and might as well be the same room.

We got (I think): long island cheese, maria di chioggia (but not as bumpy as Baker’s Creek) or Burgess buttercup, red kuri or golden hubbard, delicata, butternut, and another one I cannot find a picture of right now.

So far they are held until last week. One small red kuri is beginning to grow mold (but it also was spilled on) and a butternut is feeling soft. The colors are beginning to fade or change but overall they have all been great for storage.

 

Buttercup squash – the bellybutton looks like our squash

Picture from Rare Seeds

 

Maria de Chioggia Picture from Voice in the Garden

 

If you follow the Voice in the Garden link you will see a picture of several winter squash – we purchased all but the warty orange one. They warty ones were all gone when we got to the store the next day.

We baked the Maria di Chioggia. It had an extremely hard shell so I cut it into four pieces and baked it in the oven with some water until soft. The cooked squash was left to cool & then I scooped out the seeds and turned the pulp into a most excellent pie. Truly it was awesome – no strings anywhere, good firm flesh so no watery while baking, nothing that would make the most finicky eater turn up their noses. My picky guy would have had an entire pie if I would have allowed it. The only bad of it all…I should have saved the seeds that were inside instead of baking them. Maybe they would not have been true but maybe they would have. I also should have identified it before the color started fading, or at the very least, before it was baked. Live and learn I guess.

After looking at lots of Maria de Chioggia and butternut pictures I am 90% positive we did get a Maria squash. There’s a lot of changes in storage and after baking. :)

In other gardening news: I started seeds today. Why yes it is late for some of them but not if your garden soil contains a high percentage of clay which dries out and warms up very slowly. No use having plants ready to plant in the cold soup of a garden.

Today’s was: onion seeds, some cole crops and a few tomatoes. I had a “squee” moment this past weekend when the brand new never used starting tray from last year turned out to be a tray & warming mat combo. We now have three seed starting mats and could use more. Now that winter proofing items are on clearance I bought some rolls of good clear plastic to re-do the mini greenhouse my sister gave me a few years ago. She didn’t use it much and gave it to me. Between the sun and the wind the plastic fell apart at the end of last years seed starting season. She didn’t use it much because she found a wonderful homemade seed starting set-up. I should have her take a picture because I’d like to own one myself.

That’s about all the news from the garden front. Still no camera cord though the dh assures me it *is* right there on the desk. It will get found…Sooner or Later…

 

 

I lost an amazing amount of links when my first computer died and quite a lot when the new computer’s virus removal required a hard re-install. To try to get back some semblance of order I’ve spent the past few evenings trying to make charts and sort out years to rebuild what was lost. Pulling out an enormous folder labeled “Mom’s Homeschool Binder” and browsing through I discovered it was created when we got our first computer. At the time I knew very little about cutting, pasting and printing. This is a good thing as in my ignorance of basic word perfect and printing most of the pages have addresses at the bottoms. I re-discovered a link to pictures for Shakespeare – not goofy cartoons but quality pictures worth having the kids spend time coloring.

Here’s the Shakespeare page. Here’s a sample:

The three witches

Macbeth and Banquo meet the three witches on the blasted heath.

The site is called Clip Art Etc and is designed to be safe for teachers and students. For those of us who are trying to build a Book of Centuries this page of Ancient and Medieval History should be very helpful. I’m thinking my friend might want to check it out too.

Trojan horse

The Trojan Horse

This pictures would have been useful a few weeks ago when we were finishing up “Fifty Famous Stories.” Fortunately there’s pictures to go along with “Thirty More” we are reading now.

 

Hope this helps someone too!

 

 

I was digging around the pantry, trying to clear off the garden bench to make room for the whole seed starting business when I came across a box I didn’t recognize. Trying to dig out is also a synonym for “get rid of junk” so I opened the box and discovered a box full of old seeds. Not only were they old seeds but they were seeds I had no memory of putting into that box. From the dates on the various packages those seeds should have been fed to the chickens two years ago during the “great dead seed purge” but instead they hid out in the pantry.

Now a box full of seeds – even a small box full of seeds- is a lot of seeds to just throw away or feed to the chickens. After the last “great seed purge” I learned that many of the seeds I assumed were dead mostly likely were not. That the chickens had quite an expensive snack. (and enjoyed every bit too!) This time I decided to be a *real* gardener and test the old seeds. hurray (insert sarcasm)

I bought some sturdy plastic sandwich bags & some paper towels, plugged in the heat mat and set to work. The seeds I tested ranged in age from 2002 – 2011 and included beans, corn, melons and a couple of odd items. I got the paper towels wet and began counting out seeds. Do you know how that works?…

How to test:

  • count out 10 seeds (cause that’s way easier later) or more if you have a lot of seed to spare
  • place them neatly on a damp paper towel
  • fold the towel over and place it in a sandwich baggie. Leave the baggie open enough to keep from molding but closed enough to keep from drying out.
  • Place the baggie containing the damp paper towel wrapped seeds in a warm place – my warm place was a heating mat with folded cloth under the seed tray.
  • wait for the average sprouting time for the seed type being tested. In this case the average was 5-7 days and I waited a week. (Seven days for the math impaired.)
  • carefully unwrap the paper towels and count how many sprouted. The term for sprouting is germination.
  • IF you tested 10 seeds then each seed is 10% so 5 seeds = 50% germination rate.
  • If it’s early, early, early throw away the paper towels & sprouts. If it’s not you *could* plant those sprouts but you also just ripped off delicate roots and they might not recover ever. Grow yes, grow their best no. Be brave & throw them on the compost heap.

Now about those rates. There’s a lot of info on the web about what % means what and that is something a gardener has to decide for themselves. For 50% I’d be willing to plant twice as think *if* it was a lot of seed, was expensive or was rare. For <50% it gets harder, kind of, but usually those seeds are fed to the chickens. Unless they are treated with fungicide. For >50% the higher the percent the better chance the seeds have of being kept and planted THIS YEAR. Weak seeds can mean weak plants so it’s really a judgement call based on personal preference.

How did mine go?

Well xtra sweet corn – the little tiny seeds – do not last much past a year in good storage conditions and being left in a box on a shelf in a pantry is about as far away from good storage conditions as you can get. Dark…it was dark so we get good marks for dark but that’s all. ALL the seeds of any xtra sweet corn were dead. However, corn seeds from older style corn were just fine with good to great germination. Golden Bantam was a champ and good seed viability gets added to all it’s other good qualities.

Melons were a mixed lot. Ginger’s Pride – a heritage seed from Baker’s Creek in 2009 and 85% germination rate. One seed was in the middle of growing a root and one seed was maybe, just germinating. Still that’s exceptional! The rest were for all purposes dead with 0-10% germination. Those are will be chicken feed.

Peanuts – dead. Not just dead but dead and gross. A warm, wet, dead peanut five days later is a smelly, slimy mess.

Razorback Southern Pea – well it’s the exception to any rule. The germination was about 10%. There were a couple that looked like they might be germinating but maybe not. However, this seed was developed here in Arkansas by an avid gardener. The seed was offered to Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and they offered it in smaller quantities that sold out early in the season. Two  years ago there was a drought and for spring 2011 the catalog said “coming back next spring”. Last year there was another drought and this year’s catalog did not even list the seed. When I typed in the catalog number the website did show “not available.” So I am going to put two or more seeds is a pot and start them inside. I do not expect very much but any seedlings will be better than none & I will use any that do grow to produce seed to save for next year. It seems a shame to lose a seed that was grown for this area.

Earlier this year I tested some seeds with a slightly different story. Two years ago I planted seeds – moth beans from Bountiful Gardens and then drought came. Now moth beans are small plants and I just assumed they died in the drought. Imagine my surprise when I went out in October and found bean plants with dried bean pods full of seeds. Slender tiny pods but still pods. Either those seeds I planted hung on until fall rains OR they re-seeded themselves. Doesn’t matter cause I collected the pods, put them in a decorative flower pot thingy and promptly mostly forgot about them. Occasionally I’d see and think “I need to do something with those seeds” but the reality is I’d forget again. When I found them this time I did a seed germination without the heating mat. Instead I just plopped the poor things on the water heater because “it’s supposed to be warm” (it isn’t) and when I checked it was almost 100% germination. Yes, after two years of truly cruddy treatment in the garden and in the house they still grew!! So those are getting planted AND I ordered more. Drought & heat resistant – they are from India after all.

There you go – the germination test for this year. I do not test tomato or pepper seeds, old seeds just get planted thicker in the pots & separated if they all grow. I’ve seen what a tomato seed can go through and these seeds have been down right pampered comparably speaking.

Apparently Baker’s Creek isn’t selling Ginger’s Pride this year but I did find a link with a picture. Looks good doesn’t it?

If I find the camera cord I’ll post a picture of my pantry set up there’s quite a lot going on for such a small space. I’m pleased with how it’s doing & just have minor tweaks left to do.

 

 

I’ve been teaching the early childhood class at the studio for two and a half years now. The first year I became teacher midyear after it became obvious that the teacher was doing a half hearted job which ended with her quitting.  I was told the recital theme, handed some music and left to my own devices. With my personality type, those devices were pretty good but the show was derailed by the big 100 year flood. Preschoolers who have not had class for six weeks, practice for two days and then have to drive for an hour just do not do well. Not to mention most of the families were well into their summer plans and did not bother to call let alone attend. The second year the theme was chosen, I was handed music (late) and produced a show. That year ended with the resignation of the studio coordinator due to most of the same behind the scenes reasons that I quit the chef’s job. This year…

This year I was told that the costumes had been chosen for me and those costumes looked like miniature tuxedos and I would need to find music. hmmm…music suitable for both preschoolers, for tuxedos and for ballet…can we please just give the lady who doesn’t watch tv kid’s shows a migraine right now. I did find one. One that I was just a teeny bit concerned about but it does suit the tuxedo theme so very well.

Got These Chains on Me from Phineas and Ferb cartoon show.

Here’s where I try to embed the video: only I can’t do it so just click the other link

So I don’t hear from the LadyBoss and I’m wondering about those costumes. After several requests for a picture, link or old chewed up catalog to look at I am asked “Do you have a theme so I can choose costumes? We really need to be getting them ordered soon.” Ok…well no I do not because YOU said they were minature tuxedos. So she picks out three costumes, comes in when I am extremely busy trying to get desserts out to the food service and asks “Are you busy? I need you to look at these choices and choose a costume.” Uh..there’s 30 desserts on this counter, I’m swirling whipped cream on and you want to know if I’m busy?!” But what I said was “I’m kind of busy but I’ll be finished soon and then I’ll look.” Two minutes later she’s in with a book, holds it over the desserts and I choose a costume.

Wonder why I quit? or why I don’t quit altogether?

So now I really, really need a theme…some ballet music…and everything else that makes up a recital.

Monday morning, half asleep and not wanting to wake up further an idea floats into my mind….Imagination…Imagination would be a good theme…Imagination…

I think it will work. The Phineas and Ferb song’s chorus has a line “don’t say imagination is morally wrong.” And there’s a cute Sesame Street song with Earnie & the moon…

But the imagination song wasn’t with the moon, instead the search brought up an even better song that is perfect for a ballet number.

And here’s where I try to embed the video for this song.

Only it won’t work either so here’s the link for Imagination Song

I learned a square dance when I was in middle school that is cute and rather easy to learn. I also learned a song in grade school called “Tingolayo” or “Tingalayo.” The dance fits the tempo of the song as I learned it however in searching I have not found a version at that speed. Most of them are extremely slow – too slow for the dance I have in mind. I did find this Tingalayo that is faster than the rest and I can make it work.

That leaves learning a folk song or two, a nursery rhyme and something dramatic. I have ideas and am working on getting them fleshed out. Coming soon: recital part II.

 

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