Monday, October 20, 2014

deep springs reunion

Summer came and went.  Now fall seems to be racing by.  We started the school year and it's more packed full of co-ops and teaching commitments than last year.  It all seemed really great on paper, but it's been a bit overwhelming to me. The kids seem to by liking everything though.

Amelia turned 16 last week which blows my mind.  She'll be going off to college in a few years and that makes me nervous, excited, sad and proud.  We've managed to challenge her with homeschooling and our plan is to take it all the way through with the help of tutors and classes at community college.  This semester she's loving her first college level English class.  It seems like just yesterday we were sitting with her while she felt like giving up on her first grade research project.  I remember it so vividly, the table we were sitting at, the thoughts going through my mind, the real pain she was feeling.  She is really an exceptional writer and I wish I could take some credit for that, but it's all her hard work and desire to express herself with words that's gotten her to where she is today.

This past weekend we went to a Deep Springs reunion which was the last camping trip we had planned for the year.  It's the 4th time we've had the privilege of being invited to experience the magic of this valley.  (Jonathan went to college here in the 80's) The first time, Amelia was tucked safely in my womb as we visited this isolated, all male college back in the summer of 1998.  She hopes to go to college here in a few years if co-education is passed.  We're crossing our fingers.

We arrived after dark on Friday night and set up camp near the dairy and promptly went to see if there were any calves.  Sure enough, Richard and Frederick, two bulls born to the dairy cows were curled up in their shelter.  They shyly came to the fence to meet us and we fell in love.  Richard was born only 7 days prior and Frederick was a month old.  They are the sweetest things ever.  

The next few days were spent exploring the farm and the college, going to talks with other alumni, hiking, eating excellent farm food, and getting to know the students.  Of course, a lot of our energy was consumed by the farm animals and wildlife.  We were after all camping near the alfalfa field where the coyotes hunt at night for rabbits and we slept under the tall, ancient trees that the owls perch in.  The first night in fact was so exciting with the chorus of the coyotes hunting that we barely slept a wink.  And, it didn't help that the air mattress failed miserably and the tent blew every which way from the strong winds.  Then the dairy boys wake up at dawn to milk the cows right next to our tent.  So, between the coyotes yelping, the dairy boys milking and the owls hooting and everything else, I felt a bit ragged in the morning.

We were pleasantly surprised however to spend time talking with some students.  Usually, they are extremely stand-offish.  Most of the year, unless they get a visitor from town, these kids are completely isolated from the outside world.  It's the isolation policy that makes this college so unique and while I understand, in the past it's been a bummer to feel like an outsider.  I really want to get to know them and learn about their studies and life at Deep Springs.  We were invited to plant garlic with them while we were there and had a really awesome conversation with one of the students.  It really made me happy to see Solomon and the him chatting it up while planting garlic. It was a really awesome change from past trips and an appreciated shift.  

Jonathan took us to see the petroglyphs near the college.  What a cool place.  It's hard to be in a bad mood (from lack of sleep) when there are so many unforgettable and special things to see. Of course a nice, (cold) shower in the basement of the main building didn't hurt.

Who had the most fun on our trip?  Zephyr of course.  He met the cows and wanted to go in and play with them which I highly discouraged him from doing.  He met a new dog friend seen above.  Her name is Annie and she belongs to one of the students.  Her mama was abandoned in the valley while pregnant with her.  She's the only one who got to stay while the others were adopted out.  Annie and Zephyr were good friends and spent many a meal begging together under the dinner table.

We had to sadly say goodbye to the valley on Monday morning and on the way home we drove up the mountain to see the oldest trees in the world.  The Bristlecones are pretty amazing trees, some here are 5,000 years old.

I'm glad to be able to write in this space again.  Amelia has this agreement with me that if she writes in her blog, I have to also.  So, you may see me here again soon.  Happy Autumn to you!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

wrapping up the school year

I have to remember that change is hard for me.  Every spring and fall especially.  I suppose in the spring I'm trying to wrap up school. I'm tired, stressed out and can't wait to sleep in!  There's never a lack of activities I'm involved with, but surely they'll be less going on in just a few short weeks.

I teach a class on Tuesdays, you might say a small cooperative with my two boys and a friend.  Actually, I'm pretty proud of myself for sticking with it and seeing it almost to the end.  We've tackled physical science and history while getting time with friends.  I've learned a lot about myself and about history and science which is a bonus in my book.  But, I decided that I'm going to finish by the end of the month.  I want my Tuesdays back.

On Fridays, we attend another co-op for A's Latin which I have to contribute my time.  On two other days, A spends the day with other teens learning biology, writing and history.

My ceramics class every Wednesday is almost finished.  It's been a challenge on many levels.  But, I love what the kids create and it brings me great joy to watch them as they wrap up their glazed pieces.  The experience has actually pushed me to start my own home based business with ceramics.  More on that another time.

I just have a lot on my plate right now.  Everything is worthwhile and enrich our homeschooling experience, but I'll be so glad when I can finish up some of it.

Meanwhile, I'd like to show you what the kids have been making!

Happy spring to you!! ♥

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

play with clay

I just taught the 4th week of ceramics at our home school co-op.  This time the ages are 3rd grade and up.  I can't even tell you how much I receive back from the kids as I help them learn about hand-building with clay.  The energy in the classroom is so positive, and well...creative.  It's palpable.

I want to chronicle their creations as we go!

Friday, February 28, 2014


I thought these blocks were never going to be played with again.  They had been collecting dust for a few years and I really thought I would put them in the garage, otherwise known as the toy graveyard.  It seems like these days my boys would rather play on the computer than do anything else and I had really reached my breaking point the other day.  They were fighting and I just yelled, "play with the blocks dangit!!!"  (or something like that)  And they did.  My blood pressure lowered a bit and I realized how beautiful it is to have a mess in the family room.

Honestly, I miss the days when my kids just played with toys.  I feel nostalgic about those days when I had an ever present little one on my hip and the house was a disaster zone most of the time.

My kids, at the moment, are playing flashlight hide-n-seek with dad.  My heart is really happy.

Friday, February 21, 2014


This time last year we had already been skiing for a month.  It's been a really bad year for snow in the Sierras.  I see all the pictures of the snow falling in other parts of the country and I feel envious.  We need the snow, not only for fun, but for the precious water it gives us.  I want MORE snow!  I don't know if we're going to get lots more.  It's starting to feel like spring.

I called the Sky Tavern office this morning to see what their plan is. I have lots of planning to do myself. This snow situation has really put a wrench in my plans.  And if the ski program is really going to happen, I have a huge problem on my hands.  Because, I have a lot MORE going on this spring. Do you feel my stress?  All three kids are signed up for soccer and the first game starts on March 29th and practices usually start two weeks before that.  Between soccer practice 4 or 5 nights a week and soccer games on Saturday and skiing all day on Sunday....Well, I can't even go there.

I had a talk with the kids this morning and asked them how they felt about all these commitments and they agree that they like their afternoons free to play, read or just do nothing. I don't like this overlap of activities.

This weekend is a no-go for skiing which means that I'm free this Sunday for a walk out in the desert with my people or just to catch up with life.  This last picture shows Mount Rose in the distance.  That's close to where we ski.

Time will tell how this all pans out. Meanwhile, I still wish for MORE snow and I still hope for MORE time in the day.