My van has been in the shop since Tuesday evening, so we have been at home for most of the week. I was really dreading my forced time at home, but I have enjoyed it immensely. We have made more time for reading, baking, and playing outside. It would be nice to have some visitors if I am without my van for too much longer, but I could really get used to staying at home a lot more often.
Today, we decided to have our learning time outside because it was such a beautiful day. All of the kids were learning about seeds for Science Friday, so I brought out some books and their science main lesson books and crayons and a big blanket. We talked about all of the different seeds that we would like to plant in our garden this year. We read _The Carrot Seed_ by Ruth Krauss, and talked about how believing in your seeds is as important as daily care. My friend Carrie was our co-op leader on Monday, and we used one of the verses that she taught us about seeds: In the heart of a seed buried deep so deep/ A dear little plant lay fast asleep/"Wake!" said the Sunshine "And creep to the light!"/"Wake!" said the voice of the raindrops bright./And the little plant heard and it rose to see/What the wonderful outside world might be. In this picture, the kids are all pretending to be seeds. For lesson book work, Clover, Indigo, and Willow drew pictures of their vision for our garden this year. All of the pictures were lovely. Clover drew lots of different-colored heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, radishes, peas, sunflowers, carrots, and onions. Willow drew watermelons, cherries, strawberries, peas, carrots, and pumpkins. Indigo drew a huge butternut squash. Nova could not be persuaded to draw because he was too interested in fixing his little garden rake, and spent the whole time using Daddy's screwdriver to work on it.
Next, we did some more practical gardening work. We have been raking up thatch and leaves from our garden space all week long. There was a huge pile of it at one end of the garden. The kids wanted to use it to start a big bonfire, so I agreed that we could do that after lesson time. The boys were so impressed with me. They had never seen me chop wood. Clover remembered seeing me a few times, but the boys were under the impression that only Daddy knew about wood chopping. So, I chopped some wood while the kids gathered bark and twigs for the kindling. They have watched lots of fires being built, and are more experts at it than most twenty-year-olds. They made the "fire teepee" (bark/twigs/a few leaves, bigger sticks, logs), and I lit it. Then, they spent about an hour piling thatch into the wagon, pulling it to the fire, and happily tossing it into the blaze. I cannot say enough how happy and well-behaved my children are when they have work to do.
The kids had some play time while I sat by the fire and read for a few minutes. They took turns on the rope swing, and Willow gave out rides on the tricycle. Indigo helped me gather up some wood that Panda had chewed. He never gets tired of putting wood on the fire, so we kept it going for a long time. All of the kids wanted to have races. Clover is the fastest, but she lets the boys win from time to time.
We came inside as it started to get dark, and Clover remembered that she had planned a baking project. The boys wanted to help make chocolate cookies. They got their aprons on, and sat around helping and tasting. The cookies were so good! We saved a bunch for Valentine's Day, but we couldn't resist eating a few after dinner. There are still plenty for the picnic that we have planned for tomorrow.