Thursday, August 25, 2011

Work IS Learning!

Oh August. How you crush my spirits and hope of an Indian summer with your constant rains!!

Here we are, at the end of another month. I am at the beginning of a big "purge". Why would I do this to myself and my family, with everything we already have going on? Because there just isn't room or time to keep everything and have any hope at ever getting completely unpacked! I am at the beginning of a journey to a "zero waste" home. If you aren't sure what that is, it is a home that produces no waste. Is that possible with a family of 7? I'm not sure, but I'm working towards it. Slowly, mind you. I talked Mr. Ireland into getting trash service. He has always hauled our garbage to the transfer site, but we live on the opposite end of town now and it was obviously an inconvenience for the busy man. We were delighted to find that the can was only 1/3 full after the first week! With both of the wee ones in cloth diapers now, and me hauling the recycling in my car, we make just 3 bags of garbage a week! This is quite a decline, down from a bag a day! We try to be more mindful of our puchases - buying glass or paper packaging that can easily be recycled, baking more, buying second hand. The goal is to rid ourselves of as many unnecessary items as possible and free ourselves and our time up to work on hobbies or projects (instead of using it managing the mess). Family be warned: We plan to go zero waste for holidays and birthdays as well! More on that later :)

Liam holding his little sis, Verity

If I told you the husband and I spent the last Friday night out chasing chicks, would you believe me? *grin* After moving the chickens to their permanent pen and house, we looked out the kitchen window to see ALL of them roosting on the fence! Yes, we had forgot to provide a roost for our chickens on their first night in the coop! We have gone back and forth about what to use as a coop and finally, we chose to go with using an existing structure, the shed, which is well insulated and already wired for electricity. The bathtub that was stored in there is now in the basement, and all the cabinets we are saving for our kitchen redo have been moved to another out building. The chickens seem quite happy in their new home. The boys each had a turn helping their father with the project - Callen helped with the pen construction and Edward helped catch each bird and bring it to the new pen. Before we had a door up, and could shut them in at night, there were 3 little pullets that were out every night. They didn't just roost along the fence, but had hopped from the top of the new fence to the the top of the old pen, which made it difficult to bring them down from their 7' perch in the waning twilight. Our white Araucana seems to be the mastermind. What can I say but, Chickens are very entertaining!

The permanent coop and winter pen.

As you know, we home school. With the end of summer practically here, school should be starting. *Should* But... it isn't, at least not in our traditional way. With the decluttering project and the list of my projects around the house being pushed off for most of the spring and summer, our schooling will revolve around projects for a while. The boys have used graph paper to help me plan out my cuts for the chickens nesting boxes, using division to create a scale diagram of our pieces. We will be using math for a lot of our projects: "If we have 30 pairs of pants that Mom will never get around to repairing, and each pant leg can be cut to a 12" x 12" square, how many pairs of pants will we need to create a quilt that is 4' x 6'?" This is the year of "practical application!"

Some of our entries in the Kenai Peninsula Fair; Callen's pyramid, titled "Entombed", took a blue ribbon!

We are back to semi normal level of cooking and cleaning, though much of the daily labor is shared by our two oldest boys. Thank heaven for these handy children! I hope they are learning as much as I think they are - they could be very capable people if we work this right. :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Alaska Rug Company

I'm loving these rugs from the Alaska Rug Company! They are based out of Port Bailey, Alaska, on Kodiak Island. The owners bought the old cannery and are cleaning it up, turning it into a full service tourist destination, and have been selling off what they can and reusing or upcycling other items. These rugs are made from ropes from the cannery.

I think I am in love with this rug particularly - very celtic! It would be a good addition to the front porch.

I do like this one, but there is no way it would stay white in our house!
Maybe it could go in the new bathroom?

Round is good...

Yep, I might need this one too!

I guess I know what I am saving up for next!