Thursday, December 29, 2016

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Adaptive Handlebars

A while back, I came across some examples of people using pvc to adapt handlebars for kids with limb differences.  I forwarded it to Nathaniel, and today it was warm enough for him and Gyunay to try it out.
His little arm fits into the pvc, so now he is learning to control the scooter with 2 "long" arms.  He's always been able to ride his scooter, but he has trouble controlling it, since he always veers right.  Now he can turn left for the first time.

And here is Nathaniel adapting his tricycle.  Actually, this tricycle was originally Elijah's; it's went through all of the kids.  

Being able to really ride a bike will be huge for Gyunay.  He wants to so bad, but it is really difficult for him, and he sometimes flips forwards over the handle bars.  The trike is super low to the ground, and he never goes fast, so he hasn't gotten hurt, but it is a concern.  Plus, he really wants to ride a bike.  So although he doesn't know it yet, he is getting a 12" bike with an adaptive arm on it for Christmas.  Right now it is hidden.  I hope we have decent weather on Friday, so he can try it out.  (We are doing our Christmas here Friday, before we spend time with family.)  It's supposed to be freezing rain later and back into the 20s tomorrow, though, so you never know.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Mornings with Gyunay

Gyunay has preschool four days a week, but he's in the afternoon class, so after we get the big kids off to school, we have the mornings together.  Lately, he's really enjoyed playing with play dough, so today we made some more.  He requested orange, and then for a second color he chose yellow.  
He was so delighted to see the white play dough turn colors!  Here's a look back at a long time ago, when I made play dough with Lydia and Malachi:
It's been a popular activity here for many, many years.

And you can see the edge of our Advent wreath to the left in the photo.  I've been meaning to do an Advent wreath at home with the kids for about a decade; this year, I finally got it all together.  The kids made the candles (they are just rolled sheets of beeswax).  The boys made the purple ones, and Lydia made the rose one.  They have really enjoyed lighting the candles at dinner.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Hanging Around

Nathaniel hung the kids' new swing chairs.

Malachi's is hung as well, but I don't have a picture of him in it yet.  Elijah got a different chair that he enjoys.  These are all from my inlaws, since we do presents with them at Thanksgiving.  (Which works out very well for everyone, I think.)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

November Harvest Totals

November was naturally slower than the summer months, but we did have more produce than usual due to the very late frost date.  I harvested parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme at will (and I can actually still harvest these herbs from the herb gardens outside), as well as basil, dill, and mint.  We also had a good amount of cherry tomatoes for the first half of the month, plus:
211 eggs
1 Bulgarian pepper
1.5 pounds of tomatillos
1 tomato
1 carrot
and a handful of raspberries and snap peas.

I do still have peas growing, as well as carrots, lettuce, and radishes in the playroom and outdoors.

I have been planning and plotting next year's gardens, as well as working on growing some cool season crops in the playroom.  I've also toyed with the idea of raising turkeys next year, but I baked another of our home-grown chickens last night and it may have changed my mind.  Turkeys are more expensive and take longer to raise, whereas the chickens taste fantastic (and I've never been a fan of chicken) and finish out quickly and relatively cheaply.  Plus, turkeys take up a lot more space in the freezer.  So now I'm thinking that I may just raise 2 batches of meat birds, in spring and late summer.  Chicken is a very popular meat around here with all of the kids, and I like raising chickens.  They really are so easy.  I've also toyed with the idea of raising non-flying ducks (like Peking), but I would definitely need to do some more research on that.  Right now, more meat chickens are winning the debate.

My biggest garden plan, literally, is to make a tall hugelkulture bed.  That will be interesting, and as I get closer to actually building it, I will take pictures and have updates.  I'm not sure yet which plants I would plant in that bed.  Also, I am building a square foot garden, with 16 squares, for the kids to each have 4 squares to grow the veggies/fruits of their choice.  They are all quite excited about this plan, and I think having their own plots will make them more eager to garden.  There will be a trellis on one end, so they will each get one space for vining plants.  Malachi has already picked out that he will grow crescent beans, green onions (this one surprised me!), cabbage and maybe carrots.  The crops I'd like to plant next year (but am not sure where I will fit them all!) include: tomatoes (30-40 plants), cherry tomatoes (3-5 plants), Bulgarian peppers (10-12), green and red cabbages, cauliflower, lettuce, carrots, snap peas, crescent beans, white cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, cantaloupe, pumpkins, sunflowers, corn, zucchini, other squash?, kale, radishes, onions, kholrabi, sweet potatoes, potatoes, sunberries, tomatillos (5-6), arugula, calypso beans, swiss chard, and the usual herbs.  Turnips and beets are also possibilities.  And although I'm not devoting my garden space to broccoli, I think Gyunay will grow a square of it, and maybe Elijah as well.  I think I'll have to talk some of the kids into growing some of the produce I want to grow in their squares!