spectating participant

March 30, 2008

sunday sustainable

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 9:29 pm

it’s been a crazy busy weekend, seems like we’ve been going here and there non-stop. today we got to meet with some other local folk interested in sustainability issues, yay. also got to talk to someone running the upcoming Sustainable Living fair in Carroll County — look for it in May. I plan to have a table there, which will make that an interesting weekend as I guess we’ll leave PDF at the crack of dawn, hopefully be presentable enough to run a table at the fair, and then return to PDF that evening to catch the ridiculousness of the big burn. :)

March 27, 2008

yay freecycle

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 6:48 pm

i was starting to get nervous that freecycle wasn’t going to come through for me on some clothing needs that are coming up later this year. in fact, I’d finally contacted a friend who does consignment sales to see what she had on hand in order to start buying items. seems thats all i needed to do because the same week I planned to meet with her, I scored three freecycle lots of clothing, just what I needed. I still need some more stuff, but I now have faith that freecycle will indeed meet my needs in this area, yay. :)

March 26, 2008

evil napping behavior

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 5:18 pm

i’m at a point that I basically need a nap every day that I go out somewhere. problem is that I don’t want to take a nap so I put it off and put it off and put it off until I’m then about to collapse because I’m tired — of course, at this point, it’s really too late to nap without throwing the rest of the evening off — but not napping is no longer an option.

in other words, i’m going to bed, sigh.

March 25, 2008

netflix queue?

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 3:22 pm

Did nexflix used to list the movie rating in the queue? I think so — because I thought I used that so that I could always have a family friendly movie on hand for pizza-movie nights.

There is often strange stuff in my queue, it’s nice to have the rating there as the titles mean very little at this point.

March 23, 2008

homeschooling alex

Filed under: family — suzanne henderson @ 8:10 pm

I’ve been coming back to the idea of homeschooling alex again and again. It seems very clear that this is something I want to do, but I also know that it isn’t that easy of a decision to make either. We did the homeschool thing once before and it wasn’t fun. Also, alex and I don’t get along perfectly, or anything remotely close to perfectly, and I know that homeschooling could really tread on that relationship. Also, next fall will involve a whole new family dynamic that I also need to take into consideration.

But, even with all the reasons not to, I still keep coming back to this feeling that it is something that would be a good thing to do for her. I’ve spent many years fully supporting the idea of public school and wanting to be sure my children went to public school, but the reality of the situation has proven time and again to not live up to my expectations of what children should learn. It seems like schools have lost the ability to teach children and are now simply catering to the testing requirements mandated by state and national measures. I don’t see anything in the schools the resembles the educational foundation that I feel children should get. Testing requirements continue to erode the overall curriculum and all that is left is just math and reading and few regurgitated facts.

Add to this continued disappointment in public schools - and the schools we’ve attended are actually decent school comparatively — is the fact that alex really struggles with getting challenging work and being engaged in her school work. Because she rarely completes out-of-class assignments, her teachers have begun taking that as a sign that she can’t do the work. The reality is that the work isn’t engaging and she doesn’t want to do it. Because she doesn’t do her homework and sometimes her school work, her teachers said that they will not allow her to continue in the advanced classes next year. She’s already bored with the work in these classes, I can imagine how much work they’ll get out of her next year when she basically repeats the material she’s doing now.

So, my frustration with the schools is really making me want to try this homeschooling thing again. but, I also can’t shake the fact that this might be a serious challenge. Talking to alex about it isn’t all that encouraging either. On one hand she wants to stay in school so she can go to PE every day — yeah, as though that is a reason to stay in public school — and then she’ll be all over the homeschool idea for un-encouraging reasons, such as wanting to go on field trips her her friend. I try to paint realistic pictures of what homeschooling would be like, but she constantly swings on pendulums in understanding and listening, it seems.

So, for now, it’s still and idea, an idea that should be best left untouched, I feel. But, we may give it a test run over the summer - something alex isn’t excited about, but i want to see that she will do the work involved before trying to do it full-time. Of course, there is still the time issue and the fact that this is probably more than I should take on right now.

Garden: March 23, 2008

Filed under: garden — suzanne henderson @ 2:54 pm

- Our broccoli and unknown seedlings have started on true sets of leaves.
- We planted cabbage, brussesls sprouts, and more broccoli last weekend. We had to put a heating pad under the tray and they are now sprouting.
- This weekend, we started some asparagus seeds and thinned out some more of the unknown seedlings into individual trays.
- We picked up 4 strawberry plants while at Home Depot looking for seedling trays.

We were pretty disturbed to find that Home Depot sells seeds and potting soil, but no seedling trays — uhh!. Guess they aren’t used to people really planning out their gardens and extending their harvest by starting seeds indoors. But, while we were disappointed to come home without the trays, we were happy to have some locally grown strawberry plants in the car with us.

In other news, the plan is to bring home 5 baby chicks next weekend. We’re still a little unsure about what will become the brooder, but we’ve at least cleared out a space for them. I really want to order some 20-week pullets now that I know that means we’ll get fresh eggs sooner, but Chris isn’t as excited about that plan. So, we’ll keep with the starting small plan, which is probably the best plan.

March 20, 2008

clothes on the line

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 3:36 pm

First day of spring and we’re now done using our dryer for the next few seasons. I love hanging clothes out on the line and I love how fresh they smell when I bring them in. I thought that I’d keep doing it during winter, but when a free dryer showed up (we were without one when we bought the house), it became an easy solution when the temps started dropping. It was still a bit chilly hanging stuff out, but I figure the first day of spring is as good a time as any.

March 19, 2008

Updated Bill Pay

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 7:38 pm

SECU has been really hyping up their new, improved online bill payment system. I finally got a chance to check it out and can’t see anything worth cheering about. Not sure if it’s cause they’re credit-union-small-beans or if they just know nothing about online bill payment, but they seem rather clueless about how to make online banking a positive and powerful experience. I don’t really mind the home-grown feel to their online banking, it does get the job done, but I had high hopes that they were finally implementing a sophisticated system — guess I’ll just have to be patient for another 5 years in hopes that by then they’ll have finally crossed the threshold of online banking I found with other banks almost 10 years ago.

March 9, 2008

Garden: March 9, 2008

Filed under: garden — suzanne henderson @ 1:43 pm

A quick update on this year’s garden:

We ordered seeds from Territorial Seed Company on February 11 and they arrived within a week. At the same time, we also ordered from artisticgardens.com and the seeds never arrived. I contacted them after a couple weeks and our order had been lost, so I re-placed the order on March 4 and the seeds arrive on March 8 (sans one back-ordered packet of pumpkin seeds).

We started seedlings last Sunday (March 2): broccoli and mystery seeds. We set the broccoli seedlings on top of the office computer monitor and the mystery seeds hung out in the kitchen window above the radiator. The broccoli sprouted tall by Thursday (March 6) and the mystery seeds were pushing up a day later (March 7). Since sprouting, we’ve moved my wire craft shelving to the living room window and have put them there in hopes of getting a decent amount of sunlight. We’re also supplementing with artificial light, since the days aren’t quite long enough yet, and need a better lamp stand in. We may also add some white sheeting to help reflect more sunlight at the plants as well.

Yesterday, Chris and I went through his stock of seeds and added them to our spreadsheet (which I hope to make publicly available at a later time). We have 82 packets of seeds on hands and more than 52 different plant varieties, which includes companion-planting flowers and two specialty crops (luffa sponges and kale walking sticks). Some of Chris’ stock is many years old, so we’re not sure if they are all viable - but they have been properly stored cold and dry and there is a good chance they’ll all be good. The broccoli that sprouted were from one of the older packets since the ones we ordered from artisticgardens.com had not yet arrived.

In somewhat related news, We’ve been reading “Animal, Plant, Miracle” in the evenings before bed and I’m renewing my interest in eating locally AND adding interest in eating in season. The author basically journals her year in food and doing the same and I think we’ll incorporate as much locally grown and seasonally appropriate foods into our diet as possible, with hopes at being fully in-season by next year (which will also be easier when we have our root cellar, freezer, and jars of canned foods available to consumption). Reading this book has also shared new information, such as the connection between Monsanto and Territorial Seed company (no more ordering from Territorial for me) and heirloom versus hybrid seeds. I plan to order a few more seeds for this year from either Baker Seed Catalog or Seed Savers since getting more information on the importance of heirloom plant varieties and diversity in our food sources.

Items we still need to buy for our garden: seed potatoes, garlic, onions, strawberries.

Today gardening to-do list includes making up a gardening journal to help track data on seedlings, transplants, maturity dates, harvest, and all that good stuff. I may actually move my gardening journal over to my business site since it may be slightly more relevant there in terms of gardening in Carroll County and possibly directing more work my way — gotta love passive advertising, I guess. May also be moving all my crafting posts over there as well, but thats another subject altogether.