Life on the hill has been busy, and with our internet being unreliable as of late, I've been slack in updating here.
On the homeschooling front, we're preparing for the new school year by setting up a dedicated school room in the space formerly known as the living room. I'm resurfacing an old kitchen table and chairs to function as a large school desk. (Last year we used the kitchen table.) It will be nice to be able to spread out in one room without having to put everything up at meal time, etc. In addition, I can relax about art supplies and pencil scratches on our "good" kitchen table. Of course, good is a relative term here, because I'm not certain that you can have good furniture and kids simultaneously.
Things on the farming front are not going so well. The heat has been awful, and the only things thriving in my garden are weeds and squash. My cherry tomatoes are producing a little, but sadly none of my larger tomato varieties are doing much of anything. The only large ripe tomato we've had so far had a large (deer? Fred?) bite out of it. Next year I want to plant more green beans and broccoli. Both were delicious but only enough for a few meals for this family of five.
Despite our own garden producing less that we desired, we've been eating well off the farmers market all summer. Bonnie's been a trooper with eating anything I bring home, and setting a great example for her little brothers. Jack, at age five, is pretty vocal about not "liking" certain foods he doesn't see often. Just trying to remedy that by serving those offending foods more often. I've been buying bananas at Kroger, but the rest of our produce has been all local. I struggle with giving up bananas completely, but recognize that even the organic ones we buy are not part of a sustainable system.
Awesome coupons to our local butcher shop have helped me become reacquainted with the place. The meats are fresh, local, and generally less expensive than what they have at Kroger, and I've made a goal only to buy meats there now. I didn't like shopping there in the past because "one-stop shopping" was more appealing/necessary when the boys were little, and I could barely stomach the sights and smells of the butcher shop. We are eating less meat in general, but if we're going to eat it, better to know where it came from! Or I guess better to know it didn't come from factory farms like the stuff they sell at the supermarket.
Getting our meat and produce elsewhere doesn't leave much shopping left to be done at Kroger, but we're still getting our dairy there. Yogurt making has been incredibly easy and is saving us some money, as well as removing the environmental impact of all those cartons. (Though we'd switched from the individual cartons to one large tub a long time ago.) I've also been purchasing my pasta and flour at the supermarket, because sadly, I've not been really happy with the flour I found at the farmers market. I believe it's the milling though, it's not as finely ground as what I can buy at the store. We hope to purchase our own grinder at some point, and I need to continue experimenting with recipes using the freshly ground flour from the farmers market in the mean time.
I still want to get chickens, but finances keep dictating that other things around the house and property take priority over setting up a chicken coop. My tentative goal now is to have a coop set up in time to get some chickens and/or chicks in the spring.
I think I need to harvest the power of my kids more in all these endeavors.