Saturday, April 30, 2011

How often do you mow??

I mow about 15 acres of our farm. Part of that 15 I mow each time I mow.  Other parts, I only mow about every 2nd or 3rd time I mow.  Around the house I always mow, but the other side of the barn and the orchard and vineyard I only mow every 2nd or 3rd mowing.  Mainly I mow that just to keep the bugs and insects at bay so they don't eat on my grapes and fruit trees.

Yesterday, I finally mowed for the first time this year.  Others have been mowing since March.  Twice I had planned to mow, but it rained.  Then, on days when it was nice enough to mow, I had other things going on, or was out of town.  So, it didn't get done till yesterday.  I love to mow, I find it relaxing.  Of course I am on a rider.  Mowing that much would not be so relaxing with a push mower.

At first I felt bad I hadn't mowed.  But, after I went into town and bought the fuel, I felt a lot better about it.  I paid around $32 for fuel for the mower.  And, that didn't even fill it.  That filled all of one tank and part of the second.  Not to mention what I spent in diesel going to town to get the gasoline....I also didn't mow everything, as several spots were too swampy to mow.  I thought I'd give my husband a break this time.  Normally, I try to mow the swampy areas and each time I get stuck.  I used to have to come in the house and get him.  Now, he recognizes the change in pitch from the  mower, and just gets the truck and chain and comes to me, rolling his eyes as he pulls me out. 

For the last 2 years, I have mowed less, and let the front and east hay fields get a little bigger.  Considering the price of fuel, I think they will get a little bigger this year as well.  It will save fuel and we will get a few more bales out of each field.

If you drive by and see I haven't mowed...I'm not being lazy, I am being frugal...I think I will lower the blade to the lowest setting, and mow it every 18 days.  Last year I mowed it every 13 days.  The first year we were married I mowed it weekly....but fuel was much cheaper then.

I've tried to convince the husband we just need a goat, but so far, he hasn't bought into that idea.  He has ill visions of a goat standing on his car or truck, and that gives him the shivers.  So, until he gives in, I guess we will continue to support foreign Arab oil fields to have short grass, while we ignore our untapped underground oil stores here in the US of A.   Ever notice the countries rich in oil ride camels?  We get our oil from them and drive the gas guzzlers.....

Somethings not right about that picture, and the gas isn't getting any cheaper.

I've cut back on my driving about all I can.  I live in the country, so I can't really walk too many places.  I know it was my choice to live in the country and could move to town to save fuel.  But, remember, we are farmers. We grow your beef.  What we save by growing a majority of our food here on our farm probably equals half what extra we spend in fuel to get around as a result of living in the country.

I am showing my age when I say I remember when gas was 17 cents a gallon at McBrides gas station in Warrensburg MO.  During a price war, gas might even get down to 9 cents or 11 cents.   I also remember when it shot up to 72 cents a gallon when I was in junior high and went to summer camp at Ozark Christian College in Joplin.  My dad was so worried about making the trip because the gas was so expensive.  Ahhhh...the good old days.  You could mow the entire lawn for less than $3 then.

So, this homeschooling, penny pinching farm mom will be looking for other ways to save and cut back this summer, to compensate for the price of fuel.  Any ideas you want to share, post them!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Spring on the Farm

Spring on the Farm
Spring on the Farm  will be held at Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and State Historic Site on Saturday, April 30th, 2011 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Spring has come to the Watkins farm and join us for a day filled with fun and learning!  Witness 1870’s style sheep shearing.   Enjoy our American Livestock Breeds Conservatory display of rare and endangered livestock.  Take a stroll through our heirloom garden while 1870’s attired interpreters prepare the raised beds and plant vegetable seeds saved from our heirloom plants the year before.  Other activities will include toy making, wood stove cooking demonstration, rag doll making, and more. For further information contact the park office at (816) 580-3387.

http://www.watkinsmill.org/calendar.html#spring


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Used Computer Sales

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City school district is selling late-model
Apple computers for $50.

<http://webfusion.kcmo.org/coldfusionapps/surplusproperty/PropListPublic.cfm
?%7bts%20%272011-04-19%2008%3A51%3A10%27%7d> See Complete List of Computers,
More

The school district said the computers were used in classrooms and offices
and are in solid condition. Officials said that the computers could be used
by people and families who need access to basic computers.

<http://www.kmbc.com/download/2011/0419/27601658.pdf> See The Computer
Specs

Anyone interested in buying the computers can do so through the
<http://kcmo.org/CKCMO/index.htm> city's website.

City officials told KMBC's Maria Antonia that they have sold 80 so far. The
computers are being sold at 2600 Parvin Road. The office is open from 9 a.m.
to 4 p.m. Money orders or cashier's checks are accepted. With tax, the cost
of each computer is $53.68.

KCMO City Website: http://www.kcmo.org/CKCMO/NewsArchives/041911C

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Free day at Powell Gardens in Lone Jack MO

Powell Gardens is free this Friday, April 22 in honor of Earth Day.  This is also Good Friday this year and would make a wonderful family trip.  The tickets are normally a touch pricey and the gardens only open for free once a year.  Powell Gardens is a series of gardens in different styles (some fancy, some 'natural', some exotic, some fruit and vegetable, a chapel, a tower with lookout, fountains) that you tour on shady and sunny paths.  There is also a trolley that takes guests from garden to garden (although you can walk too.)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Missouri History and FREE for a limited time ancestry.com records

A friend facebooked me this link to day.  http://www.windingriver.com/. 

It is full of history of Missouri in and around the Kansas City and St Joseph areas. It tells of various local exhibits, library archives and museum information.

If you didn't know it, this is the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. The civil war was fueled over slavery and rights of the states, and was the costliest battle on US soil, and the bloodiest. It lasted 4 years, and more Americans died during those 4 years, than all our other wars combined to date. The first battle of the Civil War was Fort Sumter, on April 12-13, 1861.

Did you have any ancestors who fought in the Civil War?? From April 7-14, marking the 150 year anniversary, you can research the millions of Civil War document on Ancestry.com for FREE. What a great history lessons for kids, combining family history with our countries history!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Great field trip idea

This one is making the rounds on some of the homeschool email loops. 
There is a Medieval Fortress in Arkansas, open for tours. For more information, go to
http://ozarkmedievalfortress.com/  It is in Lead Hill, Arkansas, located halfway between Springfield MO and Little Rock.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Homeschool Prom in St Joseph MO

Prom invitations and reservations will be available tomorrow in the kitchen
area of Enrichment Classes at Grace Evangelical from 1:45 - 6:00 p.m.

Unsolved Mysteries: Prom 2011
The St. Joseph Homeschool Prom will include an exciting Murder Mystery
Dinner this year! Mark your calendars for Friday, April 15 from 6 - 10 pm
at the St. Joseph Country Club.

Menu: Cemetery Field Green Salad with Blood Oranges
Stuffed Pork Chop or Stuffed Filet of Sole smothered in Guilty Gravy
Twice-Interrogated Potatoes
Sing-to-the-Cops Vegetable Medley
In-hot-water Dinner Rolls
Tea/Water/Soda
Death by Chocolate Dessert
Coffee/Tea

Schedule: Please arrive between 6:00 - 6:30 for complimentary pictures.
Our social time will include sparkling punch, and the chance to receive your
props, alter-identity, and clues about the murder mystery. A three-course
dinner will be served at 6:45 pm. At the end of the meal, a special tribute
to the senior class and resolution of the murder mystery will take place.
Dancing will follow until 9:30 pm. We are pleased to host Christian DJ Seth
Mason again this year to keep things fun on the dance floor!

Invites: Pick up your special invitation with detective magnifying glass
at Tuesday classes or after the Grand Finale.

Price: Tickets will be $30 per person and on sale from March 30 -
April 12 at Tuesday classes or via email. All homeschoolers in high school
(grades 9 - 12) will be invited and each student may bring one
non-homeschool guest and/or several homeschool guests (friends can be male
or female). Students from other homeschool groups are always welcome.
Parents are also encouraged to come for the dinner and dance and enjoy the
evening.

Dance Practice: Paul and Chris Stickler will be offering a FREE dance
workshop
this weekend. Watch for details and come practice your waltz, swing, and
fox trot!

Couples: The formalness of this occasion is what makes it special-not
whether students come with a date or not. We recognize and fully respect
the courtship goals of many families, and this event is not focused on
pressuring anyone to date or form couples. In fact, the majority of
students came without a date the last two years! Our Prom atmosphere
strives to encourage conversation and mingling among all students. The
dance will include a variety of line dances, group actions, and chart
toppers from other eras, as well as the Mother-Son and Father-Daughter
dances.

What to Wear: We endorse modesty and recommend wearing your best clothes.
Tuxedoes and long formals are not strictly required, but always welcome.
Cinderella's Closet will be open this Saturday April 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 3
p.m. Junior League members will assist the girls in choosing one gown with
shoes and any accessories for free at the AFL-CIO Community Services Store,
1203 N. 6th Street (off St. Joseph Avenue).

RSVP: by April 12 to Reid or Candise Schmidling
Mail payments to: 18 Eastwood Drive, St. Joseph, MO 64506

Questions: Candise at 816-671-0562

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Contest Results

Today was the day Emily went up to the next level for the Optimist Speech contest. She came in third for the girls division.  (The also had a boys division).  She did very well!  Mind you, Emily is only 14--and her competition were 16 and 17.  In fact, out of both divisions, she was the youngest contender and she held her own.

We also learned a lot from getting to watch and listen to the others.  She learned several tips-both good ones and bad ones, so it was a good learning experience.  In talking to the girls division parent, we learned she has been doing this since 7th grade, and this was her first time to take first place.  What Emily learned from that was practice and experience do pay off.

All of the kids were very very good, and very knowledgeable on their subjects.  Both the boys winner and the girls winners were from Maryville.  Others were from Savannah, St Joseph, Plattsburg and more.

Regardless of if you are homeschooled or traditional schooled, students need to check out their local businesses and clubs for speech contests, essay contest and demonstration contest.  In our area, our electric coop also offers various youth programs, sending the winters to Washington DC.  Not only do the kids get experience, but also the chance for trips and scholarships as well.






 

Last day of homeschool coop

Today was our last day of homeschool coop until the fall.  The girls are going to miss going, and I am going to miss the kids that were in my classes!  I was a teacher for one and an aid for two others.  But, the girls have contact information for most of their coop friends, so I am sure they will be staying in touch over the summer months, and we are planning on having them all out for a cookout in May as well.

The class I taught was "Fire and Personal Safety".  The kids I had were older kids.  We covered a variety of subjects the last few months, including some basic first aid, floods, snow and ice storms, identifying storm clouds and weather patterns, tornado, earthquake, what to put in a car kit and house kit, making a home escape route, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms (each student was also given an alarm to place in their room or in their home), kitchen and home fire safety, using a fire extinguisher and studying the various careers associated with fire science.  One week they had a hazmat fireman come in.  Today, for our final class, Captains Mike and Richelle with Independence Fire Dept came.  We set up a burn pan, and the kids got hand on experience using the fire extinguishers to put out the propane fueled burner.  They all did very well and managed to extinguish the fire.  As the final hour was almost over, they arranged for pumper #3 to come and as all the coop kids were dismissed, they got to come out and tour the truck.  The truck was a big hit for the younger ones.



Field Trips in Independence MO

As part of our homeschooling, we like going on field trips. Last week, with a group of area homeschoolers we went to Independence MO and saw just a small part of the many sites to see in Independence.





Our first stop was at the Western Museum. Outside the museum is a statue of Jim Bridger, which we found interesting, because we have already been to Fort Bridger in Wyoming. So, we have seen where he started, and where he ended!


Beaver-used for beaver hats.  When silk hats came out, it hurt the beaver fur traders.

If you don't know much about Independence, it is not only the hometown of former president Harry Truman, but also where the wagons took off for heading west.

Blacksmith shop.  With all the wagon trains starting, Independence at one time had over 60 of them. 



After our guided tour at the museum, we went on a covered wagon ride, pulled by 2 mules. On the movies they always show the wagons being pulled by horses. But, horses were not suited for the hard pulling. Instead, mules and oxen were used. They could pull heavier loads, and required less water.


Part of our wagon ride went over a section of the Oregon Trail that Independence has paved over. They have not widened it. The road is lower than the ground on either side, as the wagons wore it down.
Beginning of the Oregon Trail

We rode past an old brick home where the owners have found unfired shots from the civil war in their yard.
This brick homes owners, have found unfired cannon shots in their yard while doing yard work!

We also passed the home of Harry and Bess Truman, and plan on visiting that after it opens for the season.
Former home of Harry and Bess Truman.  It is open for tours during the warmer months.
Later this year, Independence will be having Civil War wagon tours that will tour sites of battles. We are planning on going to that as well. We also want to visit the old log courthouse and several other sites, including the Truman Library.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Done Testing!

Well, I finished my schooling in January and passed my state test at that time.  But, due to my name on my drivers license reading slightly different than how I was enrolled in class, I had to produce a paper trail to prove I am me.   (My drivers license has my name correctly, but also contains my maiden name as a second middle name.)  Just having that extra name on there, slowed the process down.  So, I didn't get to take my National test until yesterday.  I am happy to report I passed!  I have now sent off my application for my license, so am awaiting my number.  I already have one job lined up as a camp nurse (aka medic) for a week this summer.  I also have a couple other services that are interested in using me on a PRN base!

As a result, today was the first day I have not had to study since August.  And it felt good.  Actually I did sort of study in a way, as I have already started in on my CEU's.

The girls have been working on their typing software, and are now about half way finished.  Their WPM are starting to get into the double digits!  Wont be too much longer before the fingering becomes natural for them.

This weekend Emily goes up to the next  level of the optimist speech contest, and today is our last day of homeschool coop for the semester.  The kids will have a coop open house and program later to show off what they have learned and made this winter.