August Update 2012

Okay, school’s in session.

Jay asked me to spend the the first day of school on-site, in case the sudden change was too much of a shock for any of the children.

I camped in a workroom one wall from Melody and Elisha’s 1st & 2nd (combined) class and heard their first interactions with their teacher (Elisha’s spontaneous and musical, Melody’s called-on, but confident). The teacher kept going no matter what, continued her lesson without hiccup, and I began to realize how very different this rhythm was than anything I could do.

Before the end of the morning I was pretty agitated, actually. The hum and energy and metronome-steady press so close to me was nearly overwhelming.

I went into their classroom at lunch, and read to Melody after she finished eating.

She’d seen an illustrated version of Heidi in the book basket, one she remembered reading at home, and asked for it. For the next few minutes she lay in my arms and just soaked up Mama. While the rest of the class thrummed by their desks waiting to be released to recess.

The next morning (and every morning the rest of the week) Melody made it clear she was not interested in going away to school anymore, but we emphasized this was not a decision she got to make.

At the same time, I understood.  The clip and the rhythm and the push of an experienced teacher is very different that what any of us are used to, and it was nothing that I would be comfortable with myself.  I wrestled briefly with whether I could make my kids do something I wouldn’t do myself.

My conclusion was two-fold:

  1. I already had done this. I wasn’t asking her to do something I never endured.
  2. I think all children need both structure and the opposite in their lives. If my kids can get the structure side of things from someone else, that means that I don’t have to make it happen. And that. is awesome.

In rabbit news:

  • We’re down to one angora rabbit (I have to keep reminding myself that I’ll be glad to have her come winter. Though sometimes I question whether that’s true either)
  • We acquired two pair of Standard Rex (in my favorite colors), so now we have a growing priority to figure out how to cure the pelts.
  • We’ve been growing like gangbusters on the litters of Californians- mamas having good litters.
  • I’m getting really good at cooking rabbit. I might even have done a rabbit recipe on the blog, accept we still don’t have pictures, so it felt kinda weird (There’re so many good food blogs I’m not ready to play if I can’t do pictures at *all*.)
  • Jay has worked out the winter set-up for the rabbits, so I’m going to have to choose some of the producers to cull. My Californians are so good I was really torn about who to eat until this week.
    • Buttercup began slashing her babies when they get out of the next box. I sewed up the first one but the next was even worse, and the third I found dead with an ear torn off.
      • I’d take them out, but they’re not old enough to be weaned and I don’t have anyone in milk close enough to pass them to.
      • If I wasn’t already needing to get rid of a pair (for winter housing/set-up) I could coordinate to breed her the same day as someone else (to protect/provide for future littles) but as things stand it just makes the culling decision clear. Which is what I wanted too. Though it’s sad to look at hurting babies.

We still have all 12 of the young Buff Orpingtons we bought to rebuild our ravaged flock, and two of the three bantam “fancies” I got the same day for visual interest.

We also have one of the two turkeys (Thanksgiving) we bought that day. Christmas drowned himself in the water bucket, which was pretty impressive, considering size and angles and everything.

I’m getting really excited about returning to the egg-heavy cooking I used to do a lot of last year. Didn’t realize how much I missed it.

Before too long we’ll be helping to butcher the first of our two pigs Jay ordered in January (Still need a second freezer. Please pray with us we find one in time), so I’ll be learning how to cook pork (now that I’ve just figured out how to cook rabbit…)

And this led to another big decision/change for me: learning Atkins. I’ve been making an effort since June to loose weight (down 10lbs, woohoo! Of course, that just means I’m barely under my “normal” overweight. But it was good work, so I’m not going to bash it). Anyway, my Weight-Watchers regimen was becoming increasingly hard to stick with (because I refused to do it low-fat, with all the nutrition I’ve learn in recent years), and I saw the portions I’d be limited to with pork (which is about to become our main meat).

I knew enough about Atkins to know fat wasn’t a factor, so I tracked down a used copy and read enough of the reasoning/research sections to be convinced. Started the strict (what the book calls Induction) phase last Friday. Won’t say anything about it this early in, other than I think it’s the only option I have to meet my goal of being able to eat the meat we have on hand without making my weight climb any more.

And I do feel it’s sustainable, but would not have before I felt genuinely abused by grains, (some) dairy and sugar. Especially in combination.  Eating “right” has been such a challenge in the last couple years that I’m nearly used now to revamping my eating overnight.

My energy has been stable, but not high, and there are so many changes going on right now, I’m not even tying that to the way I’m eating. Lord-willing in a week or two all the bumps will be ironed out and we’ll be in our rhythm.

One huge upside to the school start is how enforcing a strict bedtime for the kids (7 p.m. right now) has made it so much easier to get enough sleep myself. I *like* to get up early, but the only way that’s sustainable is if I have the freedom to crash when my body gives up.

On one level, it lets me work harder too, because I’m gradually learning that rest will. happen.  That’s never been a sure thing.

I have not been working on the novel (other than one completely new scene I created Saturday morning because I’d just finished a very disappointing book and wanted to wash the taste out of my mind), but I’ve been writing most days for myself, and generally having something of a recovery period.

I worked really hard in the weeks before school started, and it feels nice to move slowly for a change. I’m trying to stay calm and remind myself that slow-and-steady is an acceptable way to live, but it’s a shift from the track my mind has run in and takes adjusting.

2 thoughts on “August Update 2012

  1. Miriam says:

    I only just found your blog by accident as I was following links on a fun blog post debating goats versus cows for milking – glad I did find the blog, I’ve been enjoying a good browse for over an half hour now 🙂
    I have often wondered about keeping rabbits for meat so I think I will learn a lot here.
    I don’t know anything about Atkins diets however I have been grain-free for almost a year now and it’s working very well for me.
    I look forward to reading more here as time goes on

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