Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Day in the Life...

Today we really began our full lesson cycle. I thought I would post our day, just to share with those who are curious and of course the family and friends who are checking in from tie to time.

So today we...
  • got up had coffee (well, I did)
  • Tended the chickens
  • Made and ate gf pancakes
  • Cleaned up the kitchen and did our morning chores
  • went for a walk around the neighborhood
  • Did our yoga and movement activities for a start to our day
  • Wrote in our journals
  • GM did some math
  • GD and I read the first part of Little Falcon
  • GD read the first chapter of Mouse Tales
  • GM read another chapter of his third grade reader
  • We read How The Tewa's Found Their Way Home.
  • Went to the park
  • Went to the store for some new Good Books and a new Learning Candle
  • Went to the Farm for our veggies
  • Came home did our independent study work
  • Made dinner (grilled salmon and fresh salad)
  • Read GD the second half of Little Falcon

Tonight we will play a game and the kids will hear a story from Dad. Likely another Jataka tale. Then it is off to bed by 8pm. (Im hoping)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Another reason to support your local CSA

From Farmer Mopnte of Los Poblanos Organics

Contracting Network

I will remember this year (and when a farmer says year, we really mean growing season, fyi) for many reasons, but mainly just for two—the growing season and the expansion of a network.This year’s growing season has been the best that I have yet to see in NM. Granted it is only my 4th one here, but still it is a year that I have been waiting for since March 2003. We have had some good growing years up until now, but no amazing ones. And as I look at the contents of this weeks box, it is hard for me not to smile.For some reason or another the stars have just been in alignment this year for LPO. A large part of me knows that it is just Mother Nature cooperating with us with climactic conditions. But there still is that small part of my hubris that wants to claim that we might actually be learning something throughout our trials and tribulations. Shoot, the two are not mutually exclusive, so maybe both are happening. Hopefully so.Besides all the good that seems to be pouring in from the fields, our network is expanding. Well, maybe that sounds misleading. When I think of something expanding, I think of expanding ones distance. But we are actually shrinking our network’s distance, so maybe we are in essence contracting our network.We are attracting the eyes of more local growers as viable way for them to easily and effectively distribute their Organic produce. And by we, I really am referring to you, the members. I have very little to do with it, but it is through your support that allows us to move (eat) large amounts of produce, which entices local growers to team up.You see, as a mid scale grower (maybe 10-100 acres) you run into a marketing dilemma. And that is this, you are too big to effectively sell through Farmers’ Markets. Those markets alone cannot sustain the financial burden or move enough product for a farm that size.So that leaves the grower with having to wholesale their produce through what is called a clearing house. And many times, the clearing house will not sell it to the final consumer, but to a retailer or possibly yet to another wholesaler. What ends up happening (as we all know) is that there is then constant pressure for the grower to drop their prices. A very pride swallowing act for any grower to have to do. And a terrible cycle that needs to be relieved of its duties whenever possible. And through a tight local network of growers and ranchers, everyone wins.So why then is it different when LPO becomes the wholesaler, you might be asking? And it is a good question. The first important point to look at is that we are not a trucking company. We act merely as a distribution hub for local growers. They bring it to our cooler, we pack boxes right there, and then you get it that week. Simple and tight. It is almost a straight line from the farm to your casa...more or less. But you get the point.The other important factor to look at is the overhead issue. The larger the wholesaler, the larger the overhead, which in turns leads to increasing prices for consumers, and decreasing profits for the grower. There is Food Industry Economics 101 in one sentence. And I honestly do not know if our overhead could be any leaner than it is right now. Not without losing sanity.And being a grower I know how it feels to haggle with someone over price, so we do not do it. We ask the grower what price they would like to see, and 9 times out of 10 it is totally reasonable. For growers know that it is through that “reasonable” price where they can sell the most product. The free market is a beautiful thing at times, and actually can promote a win-win situation for all the parties involved. Very sweet.
Enjoy, Farmer Monte

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Success disguised as failure

Well, I have been working so hard to get to begin our lessons on Tuesday the 5th. I think I became fixated on it and lost sight of the fact that while I do need a good start date, I also need to remember to choose what is best for us and our family. The house has been ripped apart and I am working on getting it back together.

Initially I felt that if we didnt start on full blocks this Tuesday that I was starting off on the wrong foot and that I was already sort of failing. However, the truth of the matter is that because I am able to see what we need and address it, moving things around to set us up for the best possible beginning, I actually think this choice was a big success. I have kicked myself in the past for holding fast to a date or an outing because I felt we needed to do it, even though my heart told me it wasnt the best choice for us. Then it all goes woncky and I am like " I knew this wasnt a good choice for us, why didnt I listen". So this time, I listened.

We are doing some of our practice work, and our reading so we are getting in the flow, but we will not start our lessons full on until next week. I need these extra days to finish getting the house together and to allow myself the time I need to feel that I can fully turn my attention back to our lessons and our rhythm.

I have downsized a LOT of our things and the relief is enormous! I even donated a lot of our old linens. WOW that was hard. I dont know why, but it was really hard for me. I even woke up this morning thinking I had made a mistake, but I know it was the right thing to do. Wedding gift linens that dont fit our bed, old character sheets that the kids got as gifts and we never use, and the hardest, the cowboys linens from their first big boy beds. That one is still hurting me a bit. :-( In the end though, we have to really downsize. I CANT maintain all this and be successful in the things that matter to me, homeschooling, and creating a nice homelife for us. It is just TOO much! I really need to continue this and change my outlook on "things". I feel so much guilt in getting rid of things that have served us in our lives. I feel that I owe it to them to provide them with a nice home and keep and care for them. I know, Im crazy, but that REALLY is how I feel.

Anyway, we are all feeling good around here (except that Grey and Maggie have a stomach thing going on) and the mood is improving with each bag of donation and load of laundry. Im excited now for us to really get started next week. That is how I want to feel, not frantic and pressured!!!!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

In the groove again

Wow, the past few weeks have really been insane. Worth it, but really just overload, every day!!!! My goal was to get the inside of our house done (ish) by today so we could start our lessons. Here we are, and with the exception of putting some things back together and away, we made it! It has really been a race to the finish. I have been pretending in my mind that we are on an episode of Trading Spaces or one of those shows where you do a ton of projects in one day to meet the deadline. It sort of worked. :-)

So we are moving right along and really enjoying the results of everything. The lights in the kitchen are wonderful, I can finally see in here. The countertops rock and Im loving the new space they give me for things like baking and having my laptop near by with my coffee. I fel like it is my domestic headquarters now. LOL I can bake, clean, pay bills, have coffee and work from the heart of the house. I love it. We got the viga in and stained and it is wonderful. One thing I really insisted on was haveing a viga in our home. I just couldnt imagine living in New Mexico without one. A viga is basically a large column that is a tree without bark. They are beautiful and SO New Mexico. Due to the fact that our home will have more of a Northern New Mexico style , we had to use a square cut viga instead of a round one to go with that style. The round is more of a pueblo style, so it would have looked awkward and forced. So square it is, but I still love it!!!

Anyway, on to today and this week...

I am having my coffee and reviewing my plan for today until about 9am. Then we will start our day with a walk, well I will just list it...
  • Walk around the neighborhood
  • Begin lessons with our journal writing
  • While GM does math I will read "Little Falcon" to GD
  • Indep Reading
  • Play a game together
  • Lunch
  • Go to the Bosque for a nature exploration afternoon
  • Home
  • Quiet time
  • Practice Time (math work)
  • Free time
  • Make track molds from local animals
  • Dinner
  • Evening Rhythm

We arent doing a full lessons day today, because we do better easing into things a bit, but tomorrow will be better, with movement and the beginning of the Geo block.

I will write later to see how we did.