Sunday, May 9, 2010

On the Homefront

So I'm really despising my youngest dog right now.
Notice anything about this line of raspberry plants? Like maybe the one in the middle is missing?

And this hole is an example of the three others that used to have three huckleberry plants and one blueberry plant. All those plants were also pulled up by the roots and shredded.

And this feels like the worst of it. This was my sweet little pear tree. As you can see, some animal (most likely Humphrey) pushed the chicken wire down, pushed over the tree, and ripped off all the branches and leaves.

Sigh. I don't know what to do about it. The front yard is for smaller plants and vegetables and flowers. The backyard was allotted for the fruit trees and bushes. Things that wouldn't fit in the front garden. I ache that six fruit bearing plants are gone (right on the cusp of the "landscape artist" that removed about eighty percent of my strawberry plants and all my raspberry canes! because they were invasive) and want to replace them right away. But that will be COSTLY!!! Not to mention that I don't know how to prevent Humphrey (or whatever did this) from striking again.

It's quite depressing actually. But I suppose even small suburban "farms" have losses, so I'll just pick up the pieces and start over on the fruit bearing plants. Again.

On a nicer note: we've acquired three new chickens. With the promise of them being good layers. Two chickens (the allotted amount allowed in the city limits) just wasn't enough to supply the eggs that our six person household uses.

Especially when Hazel starts brooding. Hens don't lay eggs when they are brooding. And she seems prone to it. I have to pull her out of the nesting box a couple times a day just to get her to eat. And when I reach for her she fluffs up huge. Trying to look bigger for predator me, I guess.

This is Sophia. One of the new ladies. She's a screecher. She goes kinda velociraptor in the mornings. I hope the neighbors won't be upset by these new additions.

I broke out the food dehydrator for the first time the other day. My friend Jenny gave this to me after she replaced it with a newer, snazzier model. It was a fun and yummy experience. We had a bowl full of too ripe fruit and I hated the idea of how much food I WAY TOO OFTEN throw away, so Robert and I chopped and sliced up two pears, three apples and three bananas. Yummy!

And Robert is feeling a little more artistic these days with his markers. I try to encourage art as much as possible for him because a) I love art and want my kids to express themselves in this way, too, and b) I sense that he finds it difficult to express his needs, desires and thoughts ... so maybe he could do it through his art. The kicker seems to be that he only wants to use these dry erasers and the wipe-it board. A lesson in impermanence for me! I like saving art work and have a bin in the garage with my favorites through the years. But he isn't creating anything permanent for me to keep. So, I thought I would start taking pictures of his art, thereby making it "permanent" for me. (He's also hating pictures taken of himself. He gets extremely pissed when I sneak in a picture of him.)

This rainbow is the most positive piece of art he's created in a year. He usually draws monsters, fight scenes, people being abducted or possessed by some otherworldly substance ... things like that.

I'm still waiting to hear back from Therapy Solutions for Kids about getting his O.T. started again.

And I have to say, that since Aubrey has been back to school (a private one Paul and I picked out for her: Eugene Waldorf School), she has been ecstatic both at home and at school, AND Robert and I have slipped back into our old snuggly, connecting routine. We read a lot together and play board games.

I'm also having him do some 'school work' in workbooks. He does about five easy math problems once a day during the week (too easy if you ask me -- I know he could do harder stuff and part of me wants to give him harder stuff to challenge him, but I also want him to feel successful and to not associate "school" or "homework" with this awful horrible terrible thing). And the one he hates the most is handwriting. I also have him do a front and back page in a writing workbook. This takes a super long time -- sometimes includes tears, wasting time and general outrage. Sometimes he insults me, too.

I think it is his challenges with fine motor skills that are preventing him from enjoying the experience. So I bought him a couple of ergonomic pens that are supposed to cause less hand strain. I wish there was a pencil alternative.

And I don't know if I'm supposed to be working on printing with him or cursive. Going into fourth grade next year means writing in cursive, but he barely knows how to print legibly.


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