Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 Garden Planning.

Just starting to get to the point where I'm doing a serious think into what I want in future backyard gardening. When your garden flops like mine did this year, it gives ya lots of time to think. Last year was my first BIG year and I planted too much for one person to tend. This year, I wanted to include some flowers amongst the veggies, introduced the perennial day lillies from my northern friends and bought two hibiscus bushes from Home Depot this week when they went on sale 2/$10 with a coupon from their garden club.

Em and I discussed for days where to plant the hibiscus and the only thing he offered was ... "I don't want them interfering with my job" ... [which is cutting the lawn.] That meant that they were to be planted along the fence garden ... which will eventually be weeded and (I've just now decided planted completely with perennials and then lined with weed cloth and covered with an attractive mulch.)

Annual flowers and vegetables will next year be set in two 4x9 raised beds where currently I'd tried to grow them in the ground on two sides of the yard. I'll save my pennies and buy the two raised beds from a gardening center (already made to just be put together by sliding something over the ends. They sell stuff a fool can put together and while their stuff LOOKS expensive, when one needs to hire someone to build something like this it could WAY surpass their cost. I might even buy a few of their bags for growing various types of potatoes. Grass is growing into the two 4x9 gardens we have currently. I still throw compost in them and Em mows it.

So, this fall, I'll move the raspberry bush from the side of the house to the back right corner of the yard because currently Em has to mow around it and I don't look to the side of the house anyway, so the thing was getting ignored. I'll probably also move the backyard blueberry bush over near the hibiscus because they have similar soil needs and it isn't getting enough sun where it is currently, even though it's in the backyard along the fence. MY lemon balm will be trimmed and moved as well. In fact, I might put it where the blueberry bush was because it's growing way too well where it is and I don't use much lemon balm.

Not sure whether I'll do anything formal about compost with this new plan. Truth is: Just two of us don't make enough compost to feed even one 4x9 garden. I might get a small attractive composter to set on the patio for everything except g-diapers. I'll throw those into the grass and let Em mow them. Still thinking it all through. Any ideas?

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Mistakes we make in caretaking ... Post 1.

I've always felt that the goal of a human caretaker is to encourage independence while providing a safe, loving environment in which this independence can flourish. Sometimes it's difficult to encourage independence (thinking back to when my mom got old and counted on me). Looking back on the early childhood years of my three children, No. 2 (the "sandwiched" child) got the least attention from me and this lack of attention basically forced her to become independent earlier. No. 3 was the new baby, kicking her out of that slot after just a little more than a year, and No. 1 was still trying to adjust (at age 4) to two siblings now taking the time once reserved for her alone.

We all have our own ideas on how to caretake and for that reason do it differently. My kids had numerous caretakers through the years and I'm sure they all did it differently. It never occurred to me to "blame" a behavior on a caretaker.

Lately, I've noticed that Astrid has been having tantrums and they always seem to occur after she's spent time with Dave's folks caretaking. Dave's folks like to hold her ... all the time and walk with her ... all the time. So, Em said that he was going to take Astrid for a walk outside (in his arms) yesterday. He said, "It seems to calm her." At one point I asked if he was ready to take her for a walk and he said, "When she's fussy." So, when she got fussy he came and got her and took her for a walk and she calmed down and when he sat down with her after the walk she got fussy again because the walk ended.

Mistake: Rewarding fussiness.

Better Approach: Not sure ... open to ideas. Typically, I put her in the swing when she throws a fit because I think she needs a nap AKA mental reorg, but if it's close to time for No. 1 to pick her up, I hate to get a reorg started that won't be able to complete. Since she obviously enjoys a walk with Em, it makes sense to include it in the routine when he's home versus reserving it for fussy periods.




Monday, July 05, 2010

Getting Ready for Montessori Home-Schooling Post 1.

Astrid is almost 5 months old now and today I spent $5 at the Thrift Store acquiring some items to use for size/color sorting lessons. I'm hoping that if I spread out the purchases I'll not feel the monetary pinch and be ready for when the time comes. I think I can set up my office to double as a "school" setting for her using existing shelving until she's old enough to need a small chair & desk. There's a certain discipline that goes along with Montessori which includes quiet removal of each learning tool to a work area and replacement of learning tool when done which I want to reinforce when the time comes. That sounds ultra restrictive to me, so, in the beginning, it would be only for a few minutes and the only time that Astrid will be in my office. Her play area is in the living room.

Here's what I bought today:


On the left is what might be an egg-holder, although why it would only be for 8 eggs when the classic denomination is a dozen might leave one to think that it's actually something for holding paints (which was my thought when buying it, as well as thinking ahead to the array of 2 x 4 = 8.

To the right of the "egg-holder" are two cups that were bigger than the others in the set and will be used later for other purposes. To the far right is what might be a picture frame for three square photos? It has three squares recessed almost half an inch into which are placed: 1 red cup, 2 white cups and 3 blue cups. I'm thinking that if I check Target tomorrow (which was in the plan anyway) I might be able to get some ridiculously cheap odds/ends of red/white/blue things to reinforce both the number and color lessons.

At the bottom are sea-shells laid out in order of size, to be used both in size sorting and science lessons.