Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A free-ranging day

For the first time in ages we had the luxury of a day at home, all of us, no soccer practices, no rehearsals, no meetings, no lessons, no errands to run. We decided to forego the evening's Film Festival offerings to keep it that way. I asked no favours or chores of the kids, I just let them free-range.

We were all outside for much of the day. We penned the dog and first the kids biked. Noah and Sophie have created a circuit that goes up the driveway, and back down the big long hill along wooded trails, log-hopping required, and ends with a transit of the deck (two steps up, then five down). They ran that a few times.

We checked on the chicks and decided that they needed to free-range for a while in the beautiful weather. We brought them out of the coop onto the lawn where they delightedly scratched for grubs and fought over interesting cedar buds and pebbles. That's one of our Ameraucanas above, the one named Skunk. We're trying to figure out who's going to be roosters. One of the barred rocks was doing some baby-rooster crowing that was quite distinctive -- we think we've got him pegged.

We fixed the garden fence where the bears and the dog had wrecked it, replacing the wire fencing with the beginnings of a new 120 ft. roll I bought on Monday. Money well spent, I think.

We mowed, we pulled weeds from around the strawberries, raspberries and asparagus. We sifted the soil the dog had dug out of the new beds back in as best we could, set up square-foot grids and started planting lettuces and onions. I dug through the quack-grass and clover and created a place for a bean tunnel, reconstructing most of the trellis. Tomorrow I hope we get carrots, peas and beans planted. Now that the grunt work has been done, that will be easy.

I got the water running to the garden, and this gave the kids a working hose which reached to the lawn. Lots of spraying ensued, and eventually bathing suits came out. It was a hot May day.

The kids got out the top from the old wheelbarrow and filled it with water, moss, grass clippings, cedar fronds and various other stuff, creating floating islands and deceptive landscapes that are actually waterscapes. They love doing this; it's a pastime they developed years ago and has kept them amused for dozens of hours over the years.

The poor dog of course remained penned for most of the day. We let her out when we came inside for meals, and at mid-evening for a couple of hours.

Erin practiced piano for quite a while. She's working on her first Beethoven Sonata (Op. 10 No. 1), polishing up the Mozart Fantasie in d minor for a recital later this month, and continuing with a couple of other pieces. What's caught her fancy this week, though, is Aaron Copeland's "The Cat and the Mouse: a scherzo humoristique" from the Royal Conservatory Grade 10 album. She started work on it yesterday and seems to be really enjoying it.

Noah spent some good time on the computer working on 3D graphics and scripting for Clonk Rage. I've done some programming and scripting but his ability is getting way beyond mine. The scripts in Clonk are based on C++ and he would love a beginners' guide to C++ that would be suitable for a dabbling 10-year-old. I haven't found one yet.

Sophie tidied her room. She has a friend coming over for a sleepover tomorrow and I guess decided she wanted to be able to see the floor.

Fiona painted with watercolours. She filled one page with dry-brush strokes of various colours, and then filled another with stripes made with various washes, bleeding beautifully into each other. She's certainly developing an understanding of watercolour technique through all her experimentation.

After supper there was much more biking, and then the violin and viola practicing that needed doing. Erin went off to read. Sophie and Noah will probably do a little "Clonk" play together, and later this evening the kids will probably all do some math. Sophie will probably do some cursive practice as she's enjoying that right now. I'll read aloud from our current books.

It feels really nice to have a free-range day like this. It's been so long. We need more.


  1. That sounds like so much fun that I think we are going to try it!

    In general, I love reading about your lives and days. It is in such a different place from where we live that we are learning so much from you!

  2. Can I be adopted LOL Sounds like a wonderful day; and what a loevely family you have!


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