Tuesday, June 10, 2014

playing in the back yard

We have been living here for almost 4 weeks now.  I still plan on growing some of our own food, but we are going to ease into that instead of diving in at full speed.  My current focus for the space is play, relaxation,  connecting with nature, and exercise.  With that in mind, we put up two hammocks in the shade, arranged some log pieces as stepping stones and borders for a sand pit, and planted some sunflower seeds.  I also picked a spot for the compost pile.  I have composted in a wire hoop before, and in a revolving drum.  This time I decided to go with the loose pile because it's free, it's simple, it has more room to grow, and I could get started composting right away.  I put it under the ficus tree because it will stay moister in the shade, and because there is already a pile of leaves there from the ficus, and because it's close to the house.  David brought home 7 straw bales which are currently set up as a fort for the kids.  He also fixed the wheelbarrow, provided hoses for irrigation, and gave the kids bows and arrows.  They have been playing "Native Americans" ever since.  Solana and I have both shot arrows into two different neighbors' yards, so we have had opportunities to meet some of our neighbors.  I had no idea I could shoot that far.

Friday, May 30, 2014

moved in

We have been living here for two weeks now.  Moving all our stuff from the old house to here and then unpacking is pretty much done.  We also bought used and new furniture to set up the house.  We are almost done with that part.  There is still some organizing of things that I need to do, but the rough draft is in place.  This week I took a deep sigh of relief and found pleasure in the daily routine again.  Lotus and I went to the old house several times to tie up all the loose ends there and returned the keys.  Afterwards we went to the beach and frolicked in the sea, sand, and sun.

David has found an immediate use for the back part of our property, which I refer to sometimes as "the field".  He bought an electric dirt-bike motorcycle.  He was smart to not tell me about it until it showed up here.  I probably would have said it was not necessary; however, now that it's here and Solana learned to ride it (it's just her size) I'm glad that he didn't give me a chance to protest.  It's fun, it's quiet, and it turned my cautious 9 year old into a biker!  She even gives Lotus rides on the back and taught two of her friends how to ride it.

Lotus has been spending hours riding her bicycle around the long driveway.  David makes obstacle courses with the empty cardboard boxes from the move, something I never would have thought of doing.  We are all spending much more time outdoors.  I'm grateful, grateful, grateful that we found this place.

I'm reading a book about permaculture.  It inspires me to learn more, and to become a garden farmer.  The thought is also a bit daunting since I know I would need help, both labor and advice.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What's in Spring Valley, California?

David and I signed a lease for on a house on a 0.63 acre property. Doesn't sound like much but for San Diego that's a big yard. The house was built in 1926 and it's 1,024 square feet. My hope is that I will be spending most of my time outdoors.  There is a large area in the back that is not landscaped.  It has a few trees, but it is mostly a blank slate awaiting our creativity. Tomorrow we will start moving in and start our adventure in urban homesteading!

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Tale of Squeak

Solana made this book and dictated it to me.  I left the grammatical errors in; they'll be cute later.  The girl's name is pronounced Tall - ia.  The pictures of the illustrations is just a sampling.

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Thalia.  It was six days before Christmas.  She was in her room, playing with her doll's hair, and whistling too.  That night, when she was reading The Long Winter, which was the book she always reads every night, right before she went to bed, she stuck out her tongue at her doll.  She didn't like her doll very much.  Soon she dropped off to sleep, like dropping off a mountain when you're sky diving, or like when you are jumping off a diving board into a pool.  But anyway, despite those things, she got very, very sleepy, and then she went to sleep, obviously.

Five days later, it was Christmas!  There were five presents under the tree for her.  She didn't ask for much.  And even if she did, she would only get half, and she liked that.  The first present she opened had green wrapping paper with polka dots.  It was a new basketball.  The second present was a beautiful picture of the sunset.  The third present was a new lamp.  The fourth present was a new coloring book.  The fifth present...oh oh oh! was a LITTLE STUFFED ANIMAL!

She hugged it, and hugged it, and hugged it!  Then she said, "Thank you, Grandma!"  She said loudly, "I'll name him Squeak!"  It was a little bunny with a bow tied around its neck.  It had beautiful button eyes.  That night she slept with it.

Years later, they eventually moved.  They had to get rid of a lot of stuff.  But they didn't get rid of Squeak.  They did get rid of her basketball because she was tired of sports now!

As years went by after they moved, Squeak needed reparing, because he got burnt on the stove and because he got played with a lot and got very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very worn out.

When they first moved into their new house, the first thing they got was the bed.  The mom and the dad slept on the couch, which was the second thing they bought.  They had three kids in the family:  Jason, Alexander, and Thalia.  Thalia was the youngest.  The only one she was older than was Squeak.  Squeak was now very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very worn out.  He lost one of his button eyes, his bow came undone, he was stained all over and very patched up.  When they were all settled into their house, Thalia finally got her own bed.

Thalia shut the door of her room when she was going to sleep.  She remembered something.  She had left Squeak in the car.  She could not sleep without him.  Her dad was going to the skating rink.  He was just leaving.  Thalia jumped out of bed in her underwear, running out into the street to stop her dad.  
 "DAAAAAD!" she called.  Dad stopped the car.  He thought it was some random stranger hobo.  
 He got out and said, "Hey man, your dad isn't around here anywhere, and you'd bet--"  He stopped talking.  
 "Dad, I need Squeak," Thalia said.  So her dad got back in the car and handed Squeak to Thalia.

Thalia was so thankful to have Squeak back that she even said her prayers that night.  (She usually doesn't do that.)  But she could barely go to sleep, even with Squeak, because she was 14 years old now and she had to go to high school and she was really scared about it.  She had never left the house without mom or dad before, except when she dated that hobo in Hollywood.

After they had lived in their house for a couple of years, they had to do a yard sale and move.  Thalia hadn't helped with the sorting of give-away and not-give-away.  When she was just browsing the aisles, as her mom was trying to make a deal with this weird lady, she found Squeak in one of the boxes!  She said, "MOMMM!"
Her mom stopped talking to the weird lady and looked over at Thalia, and said, "Whaaat?"
"Why did you put Squeak in the donate box?!" Thalia said and began to cry.  
Her mom looked at her like a cow standing in the middle of a railroad track looking at an oncoming train, and she said, "Because you're 14 years old.  You don't need a stupid stuffed animal anymore.  Plus, you're going to high school, and all the other girls and boys will tease you.  But you can keep it."

The next day she went to high school for the very first time in her life.  Because she couldn't go when she was eight, obviously.  In her suitcase she brought you-know-who.  I'll just say it anyway, Squeak.  A few weeks later, the other girls in high school started to notice that she always carried around a little stuffed animal bunny.  Guess what they did.  I'll just tell you.  They took it from her!  They carried it all around recess saying,

Little Miss Tattletale
Squirming like a beached whale
Wanting to tell on us
But you cannot trust
Little Miss Tattletale

This went on for weeks and weeks until they finally got their diplomas.  She was glad to be home in her own snoring bed with her brother Alexander.

When she was 16, she married a handsome young muscular man.  They lived very, very happily together.  Thalia had something in the back of her suitcase but she had forgotten what it was.  After she had five children she finally decided to clean out her old suitcase from high school.  The first thing she opened was the old spiderweb-filled back pocket.  She found Squeak.  She hugged it and hugged it, just like she had all those years ago.

The End

Sunday, July 7, 2013

end of May, June 2013

Here are pictures from the last month or so.  The first one is Solana looking out over Indian River in Florida.  This was our last bike ride over the bridge, so we stopped to take pictures.

Here are the girls at the Orlando airport, leaving Florida.

You can barely see Lotus here, waiting for Solana outside the Junior Theater in San Diego.

Double piggy-back ride!

 David is fishing in the background.

 Here is Solana at a birthday party for a friend she made in the homeschool group.  Solana is planning to go to school in the fall, but I still get to homeschool Lotus!

Lotus made this "horse" and her name is Pretty Cool.

This was Solana's first day of crocheting.  She made a very long chain.  Then she learned slip stitch and single crochet, and her next project was a pot holder, which is still a WIP.  Then she made part of her Halloween costume, which I cannot show you yet!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

around our house

 Here is Solana in our front yard.  As you can see, there is no grass for us to water.  There is a big tree for shade, and a roof over the front "porch" for more shade.
 These lovely plants are in the back yard.  Succulents seem to do well in this dry climate.
 There are five of these tall evergreen trees along the back of the property.
 Solana's room and our bedroom have windows facing the back.
 There is a rose bush in the corner.  It's in need of some pruning.  The oranges are juicy and sweet.
The hot tub is finally fixed!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

House Tour

 Here is your photo tour of the inside of our house here in San Diego.  Next time I'll show you what the outside looks like.  This is Lotus in the family room, adjacent to the kitchen.  Behind me are doors to the screened patio.
 This is the other view of the family room.  The hot tub is out on the patio awaiting repair for a leak.  Anyway, we spend a lot of time in here since it's next to the kitchen and has lots of light.  We play board games, have snacks, read books, and make fires for hot dogs.

 Here is the rest of the kitchen.  I love the big windows over the sink.  The morning light comes streaming in to wake me up and warm me up.  I have a rainbow maker there too.  The stove is electric, but I'm getting used to it.  The fridge is magnetic (unlike our last one), so it got covered fast.  There is a large pantry and coat closet to the left.  The door leads to the front room (dining room.)
 This is the front room, which we use as a dining room/art and crafts room.  I was going to clear off the table for the photo but I didn't get around to it.  I have a desk at the far end with the laptop in it, but it also has an ironing board on it at the moment--for melty beads, not laundry!

 Lots of light comes in these windows, which overlook our front yard and Cowles Mountain.  The front door is next to that fan.  There's enough space next to the table for dancing!
 This is Lotus' room!  This built-in shelving was a great bonus.  The drawers underneath have the dress-up clothes.
 The kids spend lots of time in here.  Solana did the zebra and giraffe paintings.  Lotus grabbed a bunch of frames and nick-knacks while I was unpacking and set them up in there.

 This mirror came with us from our Savannah house.  The door there leads to the garage.  The dresser is from 1952, and Lotus loves it.  It has a little wardrobe section on the right.
 Our bedroom.  The window doesn't open because there is an air conditioner installed in it, so we basically only come in here at night or for naps.  One of the bathrooms is off of this room, and the other one is in the hallway.  I didn't take any pictures of the bathrooms; they're not very interesting!
 This is David's room.  It has all the guy stuff in it.  We girls enjoy coming in here too, though.  He has a comfy couch and we have a family movie night on Friday or Saturday nights.
 Here are David's desk and photo albums.
 Solana's room!  She made the fish hanging from the ceiling.  It even has a baby!  The stuffed animals are in the closet (reduced inventory.)
This is the girls' bunk bed.  Solana picked out the outer-space sheets to go with her blanket.  Astronomy isn't just for boys!  Lotus picked out the horse sheets.  The desk is much bigger than shown.  Solana listens to cds and makes art here to her heart's content.  She has a view of the orange tree.  "Uni" the unicorn is on Lotus' bunk.

Come visit us!