Sunday, August 31, 2014

Corn Spider

We have a beautiful spider living in one of the tomato cages that I have over one of my blueberry bushes. It is called a Corn Spider (Argiope aurantia). She (I am assuming it is the female because the males die after mating) is rather large and bright yellow and black. The day I took pictures, she happen to be wrapping a bee up in a ball.

This is her belly. She spends her time upside down and her belly happen to be facing me while I was weeding around the bush. I eventually moved to weed another area because I was starting to tick her odd and I didn't want her to leave the garden. You can see her moist bee ball that she was playing with. It was rather gross, but interesting to see her do her thing.

This is her backside up close. So pretty, I think anyway. Her web was a bit of a mess, falling down in areas thanks to the wind.

Here she is the next day. Her web has all been fixed and her bee is long gone. This is how I see her every day. All stretched out and upside down.

We have been seeing all sorts of new critters in the garden this year. This spider and frogs are new to my garden. I know we have frogs in the spring time because we have a stream behind the house, but never seen them in the garden before. Lots of bugs to eat there I guess, so I welcome all critters who want to munch on them.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wildflowers around the homestead

As my veggie garden is winding down (lots of cool nights have been making it end sooner than I wanted), the wildflowers are coming up all over. They are beautiful. I only know what one of them is. The rest, maybe you can help me identify.

This one I know, Queen Anne's Lace

This one has pretty orange flowers that kind of look like a bell.

Purple flowers, similar to lavender.

This one has light purple flowers that are kind of fuzzy.

So, if any of you know what the last three plants are, please, let me know.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

2014 ~ 2015 Homeschool Curriculum

We have finally narrowed down what we will be doing this year. I am still working on the lesson plans for geography, but everything else is done and getting dusty waiting for our year to start. Here is what Matt will be using for his 8th grade year.

Math ~ Saxon 8/7 ~   Matt should be in pre-algebra or algebra, but because of the Core Curriculum Standards that my state has adopted, he is now behind in math where he was ahead when we put him in school in 4th grade. He tested into 8/7 this year so hopefully he will do well. We had always used Saxon with him, so hopefully it won't be difficult for him to remember. We just have to get him away from the ridiculous way the CCS have kids doing math.

Science ~ Apologia Physical Science ~   I love this science series. Both my kids did them when they were both homeschooled. This text is saved from my daughter, so it is not the newest, more colorful edition, but that is ok. We are also using notebooking pages for the On You Own questions, drawings, labs and study guides. We are also using the Sahm I Am! website for videos and other ideas.

History ~ BJU American Republic ~   I got this used at a yard sale a few months ago. It isn't the most recent edition, so I will have to add to it to bring it more up to date. I am also adding a study on the presidents of the United States as well.

Geography ~ Trail Guide to US Geography & Great States ~  Because we are studying American from Columbus to today, I figured we will add in learning about the geography of our country and each state. We have also joined a 50 states postcard swap group on Facebook.

Language Arts ~ BJU Writing & Grammar 8 ~ Love the thorough grammar that is broken down into small lessons, but don't care for the writing. That is where our writing curriculum ~ Jump In ~ comes into play. This is new to us and looks really good. It lasts us two years, so that is a bonus. I also add in vocabulary through ~ Wordly Wise 3000 book 8 ~. We will also be doing the free games and pronunciation word lists on the Wordly Wise website.

Bible ~ Leading Little Ones to God ~ Matt has had pretty much no religion growing up. My fault, but now we are on a new path and I want him to know about God and all the wonderful things he does. Reading just the Bible to him will confuse him I think. I want him to know the stories I grew up with as well as who God and Jesus are. I thought this book would be too little for him, by the title alone, but I think it will be the perfect introduction to religion. It has a little lesson to read and questions to answer after it. I see it opening up more questions too.

Extra-Curricular ~ Typing Instructor for Kids Platinum ~ Matt needs more typing instructions, more than the half year he got last year in school. I took typing lessons for years in school and they have helped me a ton. This is geared for kids up to 12 or so, but it is full of games that I know Matt will enjoy. Nature Study will also be added in. It is something we naturally do anyway.

I am still trying to decide if we will add art study this year or not. I do have a few idea that we used in the past. We have always done a Charlotte Mason style art study in the past. It was simple, but worked and my daughter learned from it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Putting up some corn

Last year we had a wonderful crop of corn. This year, I decided to try a heirloom variety, however, the plants are much smaller and not as many grew. I am not expecting to get much from it this year.

While the hubby and I were out going to some yard sales on Saturday, we passed by a farm with a huge corn field and a little roadside stand. They were selling corn that was just picked 30 minutes before. The hubby and I grabbed 3 dozen ears. Yes, we paid 6.00 a dozen, but the quality was superior to any grocery store. I don't mind paying that much to help support the local farmers.

It was nice and cool out while I shucked the corn. It took me like 2 hours to do it. My hands were sore and I didn't want them to stay closed, so I took my time. Darn RA.

Yummy butter and sugar corn. I could have just eat the corn raw. I use to do that all the time growing up.

I parboiled the ears for a few minutes and then threw them into ice water to stop cooking. I used a knife to cut all the kernels off the cobs. Much faster than using my normal cutter thing. The hubby and I ate some corn just like this. So yummy!

I don't like the taste of canned corn, so I freeze all our corn. I managed to get a little over 5 quarts of corn. We will be going back to the farm and getting more in a week or so and doing the process all over again.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Canning green beans

My bush beans and pole beans both came in at the same time this year. I have been snipping and snapping beans pretty much every night. Both of the cats have been helping too, Abby the most though.

Yes, she was chewing on the stem. I snapped a good portion of that bean off for her to play with.

Checking out the stems and bad beans.

Checking out the snipped and snapped beans. She is so noise. Has to know everything that is going on.

All snipped and snapped and cleaned. I had three big bowls full of beans the first night.

Spending my nights snippin and snapping while watching the news. Weather was on at the time. hehe

I was able to find another pressure cooker (the one on the left) at a yard sale for 10.00! She only used it once to make jam. I bought new rubber gaskets and over pressure plugs for both canners, just in case. I know she put the lid on wrong to store the canner (it was not upside down like it is suppose to be when stored). Plus mine could use a new gasket and plug. It's been a few years or so since I got the canner. Having the extra canner made the process of canning veggies so much faster.

First load of beans done. 14 pints barely dented one bowl of beans. I have three bowls total to go and more still on the poles. Good thing we love green beans.

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