For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Moving On, and see what else has been going on.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Unexpected changes and opportunities

The last few days have seen a few changes and stuff outside our normal routine.  The first major change was some bad news for Raider King.  He and Dh have both been home sick a lot with some sort of nasty bug - one that a lot of people seem to be fighting, but which the girls and I have managed to avoid.  Unlike Dh, Raider King's health troubles did what we're always slightly afraid will happen to Dh.  He lost his job.  He'd only been there a couple of months.  So now he's back to job hunting.  He had been looking for his own place, using the savings he's managed so far, and had some good leads, but I told him not to worry about it until he's actually got an income again.

I got all autocratic on my family recently, booking medical appointments for all of us.  Dh has been procrastinating getting the medical release his physiotherapist wanted to see before doing any more work on his back and Eldest has been looking at the possibility of being gluten intolerant.  None of us have gone for physicals in ages, so I booked appointments for all of us.  We had to split it up between two days, with Eldest having her appointment this morning.  Our appointments were supposed to be me, Dh, then Youngest, over the cours of 1 1/2 hours.  Youngest, who wasn't comfortable with the whole thing, came in with me for my physical (we skipped a certain invasive examination in the process).  Our doctor ended up just getting her file and doing her physical right after, then he saw Dh, and we were done before the time Youngest's appointment was booked.  Kinda nice, when it goes all so smoothly.  We've all been written up for blood tests, plus Dh is to get a chest Xray because of the cough he's been having so much troubles with lately (and the reason he's been missing more work lately).  No appointments necessary, and all can be done in the same place, so the next time Dh can take a morning off, we'll spend a night fasting and all go in at once.

After this morning's appointment, I dropped Eldest off at the library so she could do her studies.  Today, she was focusing on feet.  She's a bit perturbed by the differences between the reference images and real feet and hands, though.  The length of the fingers and toes, space between them, even the directions they lean, all seem off to her in the books.  The toes on the men's feet, for example, were all sort of leaning inwards towards the big toe in the reference photos, but when looking at our own feet, they don't do that.  I thought perhaps it was because we never wear fashionable pointed toe shoes - ever.  It's a possibility, anyhow.

Youngest, meanwhile, is going to be doing some hair modelling soon.  Through one of the local home schooling families, we've been in contact with a woman who it taking a beautician course.  Students always need real heads to practice on, and she's got exams coming up.  Youngest has long thick hair that's never been dyed, so next week she'll be having her hair and make up done.  The woman doing it has to do 5 different upswept styles, plus make up.  I think we'll have to split it between two days, but we'll see how long it actually takes.  As I was chatting with her, we got to talking about commercial colours.  She told me how, since taking this course, she now will never use boxed home dying kits - some pretty nasty stuff in them, apparently.  I told her Eldest is currently bright pink, and it turns out she and I both have also gone quite the variety of bright colours.  I mentioned my own hair is currently half coloured - I'd used henna to colour my hair, but the store I found the powder in no longer seems to carry it.  I haven't found another place that sells it yet - at least not just the powder.  I've found some mendhi kits, but I just want the powder.  Anyhow, my hair has grown out quite a bit since then and is quite long, but the henna colour is still very much there, so I'm half a red-head right now.  *L*  I mentioned it in jest, but I seemed to get her wheels turning, because she started saying that perhaps she could colour my hair for me - something else she needs to be tested on.  We'll see how that works out once we finally meet in person.  Should be interesting.  I've got very thin hair and it's going silver, which requires different time and attention than she might have available.  Some of her tests have to be done at the school within a time limit, but the work she'll be doing on Youngest is actually for her employer, and she can do it in her own home.  She just has to get all 5 styles done and photographed by Dec. 6.  I might even be doing the photography for her, as she was planning to use her little point-and-shoot.  It should be interesting.

Another recent event has been a spice mix exchange we hosted in our co-op.  Counting myself and Eldest, 7 people took part, so we all ended up with 7 different spice mixes.  We decided on having 1 cup of each mix per person.  The recipes, of course, didn't come in even 1 cup quantities, so we all had to recalculate our quantities.  The recipes were all in Imperial measurements, so we had to figure out things like how many teaspoons in a tablespoon (3), how many tablespoons in a teaspoon (16), work out how much we had to increase our recipes to get 7 cups, then work out how much each ingredient had to be increase individually.  What I found funny is how we'd go from fractions to decimals and back again.  Then, when it came time to actually but the spices, everything is sold in metric quantities.  It could get rather confusing!  One of the participants did an extra mix for her husband, who'd made a mistake calculating one of his ingredients, and she ended up way too short.  Thankfully, I had enough at home I could give her.

We all got together at one of the multi-purpose rooms at our co-op, where there was plenty of space to spread out, then put together our mixes while drinking tea, having cookies and chatting.  It was a lot of fun, and I'm glad we did it.  I'll be jarring some of them up to make gift sets, but we've also been using them in our own cooking.  I'll have to share some of the recipes here later on. :-D

The next few days should be a little more routine.  We do need to get going on some of our Christmas plans.  I'm not sure how we'll rearrange the living room this year to fit the tree, since we've got a couple of armchairs now.  We've also got to get started on this year's Christmas decorations soon.  I've got stuff to crochet for a craft sale first, though.

Speaking of crochet, Youngest has been rather productive.  She made a great scarf for Raider King in a fluffy pink yarn he picked out.  She's making another giant blanket for herself, all in variegated yarns, plus she's starting another shawl.  This will be the first shawl she's making for herself.  All the others have been gifts.  It's been a bit difficult for either of us to get the work done, though, since our usual work space is now Raider King's bed. *L*

Tomorrow is our regular errand running day, so I expect to be quite busy.  I don't like running around, but it needs to be done. :-P  I like things when they're quiet and boring! *L*

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Movie Review: Expelled

Normally I post things like reviews on my other blog, but I think this one is more appropriate for here.

Title: Expelled - No Intelligence Allowed
from: Ben Stein

While reading another blog, I saw this movie recommended.  I was happy to find it at our library and have it put on hold, and today I finally sat down and watched it with Eldest.

First, my expectation.  I didn't really know what the movie's subject was specifically, though I noticed it had two very negative reviews on our library website - one actually chastising the library for having it at all, and how they shouldn't have it available, while the other mocked it.  I got the impression, however, that neither commenter had actually seen the movie. 

When I saw the dvd cover, I thought it might be a sort of mockumentary.  It has Ben Stein in a suit with his collar popped up, short pants, knee high black socks and running shoes, spray painting the X into the word "expelled" with "No intelligence allowed" made to look like it had been spray painted onto a brick wall as graffiti.  I knew by then that it tackled the Intelligent Design controversy and had an idea that it was going to point out the hypocrisy of not allowing ID to be taught.

Just a bit of a background on my own views.  Having been educated in the public school system, I was taught evolution.  In fact, I came out of school believing that Darwinian evolution was it.  Basically, evolution = Darwin, Darwin = evolution.  It really wasn't discussed a lot, but Darwinian evolution was treated as a truism.  As a Christian, I have never had a problem meshing faith with evolution and found it rather frustrating when people automatically assumed creationism equalled young earth beliefs; that all Christians believed the universe, the earth and everything on it was created in seven 24 hour days (actually 6 days, since the 7th day was a day of rest).  The word "day" has never meant only 24 hours, but is often used as a metaphor for other lengths of time, both in modern language use and in the Bible. The general definition of evolution is gradual change over time, which I didn't see as conflicting with belief in God.  This is actually more common an interpretation among Christians than the belief of six 24 hour days (I don't even like to call that view a "literal" interpretation, since I don't find it literal at all.  The Bible doesn't actually deal with time all that much).

Recently, however, Eldest developed an interest in evolution and began investigating the field herself.  It's probably a good thing she never turned to me for answers, as I wouldn't have had much to tell her other than what Darwin's theory was - or at least what I'd been taught it was.  This meant that she explored the theory in much greater depth than I ever had the opportunity to do in school.  As always, we discuss the things the girls study, and this lead to my own increased interest in the field.  I was shocked to find out that what I had been taught as Darwin's theory of evolution was actually an amalgamation of his original theory (which, it turns out, had been disproven during his own lifetime, though he certainly never accepted that) and mutationism, which after the discovery of genes went on to form neo-Darwinism, aka the synthetic theory.  Since then we've discussed other theories, which I'd love to link to.  However my brief searches for different or alternative theories of evolution, I've been finding a lot of Darwin and mutationism vs creationism as contradictory concepts.  Eventually, there are references to ID and, not surprisingly, the majority of the sites I'm finding disparage both creationism and ID.  Eldest has been finding her sources through old fashioned books, and finds the symbiotic theory particularly promising.  It should be noted that neo-Darwin dogma is largely limited to the US and Canada - other countries have little problem examining other theories as being far better explanations for evolution.

At the moment, Eldest is reading Moral Darwinism.  I'm reading Shattering the Darwin Myth, which has been a fascinating read and one I highly recommend. I never thought I'd find reading about uranium/lead and potassium/argon dating techniques to be quite so interesting!

As we've been studying the subject, I've become increasingly frustrated, and sometimes angered, by the shoddiness and dishonesty within the scientific community.  Like many, I had this image of "science" as being filled with people who strove to understand the complexities of the world around us; people who's ultimate standard was to follow where the evidence lead them, with a willingness to change their minds if something appeared that contradicted previous beliefs.  I imagined people willing to discuss, even argue, various points, all with the ultimate goal of increasing knowledge and finding the truth.

I first got an inkling of how wrong that notion was when I read The First Americans, which described the problems of ego, status and emotional outbursts within the archaeological community.  Then I began researching the science behind anthropogenic global warming climate change global climate disruption (well,whatever it's being called now) and delved more into the science behind medical claims we hear so often in the news.  What I discovered was a world of "science" that was filled with politics, deception, contradiction and even outright fraud, with people more interested in feeding their reputations and getting grants than finding the truth, while anyone who questioned "consensus" would find themselves losing grant money, their jobs and getting blacklisted for daring to pose unpopular questions.

I've become incredibly cynical about scientific claims in general but, like the theories of anthropogenic global warming, I was particularly disturbed by what I was seeing outside the scientific community.  Darwin has surged in popularity lately, and questioning neo-Darwinian dogma (most of the people supporting Darwinism don't even realize they're actually supporting neo-Darwinism) resulted in the most amazing, emotional responses.  It's been astonishing to see.

With this background, I suspected that I would like this movie.  I was totally unprepared for what I actually saw.

Right from the start, we were impressed by the quality of the movie.  The opening credits were truly well done.  Yes, the opening credits.  The movie hadn't even started, and we already liked it.

My expectations for a mockumentary were quickly proven wrong.  This was a serious movie.  Stein began by talking to various academics - scientists of note and accomplishment - and even reporters who found their careers at an end just for mentioning ID.  They didn't necessarily believe in ID but, as in the case of a reporter, refused to be anything but neutral on the subject.  What ID is - and isn't (it is NOT creationism, by the way, in any way, and supporters of ID include people of various religions as well as atheists and agnostics) is defined.

Stein also talks to opponents of ID.  The difference between the two is quite striking.  Where people working in the ID field repeatedly stated that all they wanted to be able to do is be allowed to have an open discussion and be able to follow the evidence where it lead them, opponents vociferously attacked opposing views and those who held them.

As the movie progressed, things shifted somewhat as Stein explored the idea of what could be the result if we just went along with the consensus of neo-Darwinism; if we agreed with the Darwinists (who were all staunch atheists, with some, like Richard Dawkins, actively attacking religion and belief in God, determined to define supporters of ID as being creationists), how could this be bad?  Stein answers this question by looking to history, and of what science's social Darwinism lead to.  He gave only a couple of examples, but off the top of my head, I could give several more.  I won't cover it in detail here.  See the movie.  Seriously.  You need to see this movie.

The movie does end in a lighter note, and Stein gets to interview Dawkins in person.  As I've seen in several other interviews with Dawkins, he gets owned.  Badly.  It was laughable, really.  When confronted with the question of "what causes life to happen" (and again, see the movie to understand the context of how that question is asked), the followers of ID were very clear.  We don't know.  They didn't quibble or try to come up with something.  They didn't know and weren't going to pretend they did.  Darwinists, however, gave answers liked molecules piggy-backing on crystals and even panspermia.  No, not the "microbes from space" version.  The aliens version.  That's right.  God or some creator couldn't have had anything to do with the creation of life and evolution, but aliens!  That's much more plausible.

In fact, when forced into a corner about the question, Dawkins himself actually said that, theoretically, it is possible that life on earth may have been seeded by some super intelligent race - but that if it was, that race had to have come into being through Darwinian evolution.

Yes, you read that right.  Dawkins would rather suggest the possibility of aliens of great intelligence designing life on earth, than entertain the possibility of the existence of a god of any kind.

I suppose this should not come as a surprise, since this is the same person who suggested that it's more theoretically plausible for the atoms in the arm of a statue to spontaneously vibrate all in one direction, then immediately vibrate in the opposite direction, thereby causing the statue to wave, than the possibility that, if a statue suddenly waved, it could be a God directed miracle.

I must say, the more I hear and see of Dawkins, the more I think he's a fool.  An intelligent fool, perhaps, but so dogmatic in his beliefs, he's an embarrassment to himself.

The movie started with Ben Stein going onto a stage to give a lecture.  It ends with his closing remarks of that lecture.  Remarks that had the audience give him a standing ovation.

The entire movie was really well done and, at times, quite moving.  Whether or not one agrees with ID, the core notion of his movie - that science must allow academic freedom, including the freedom to hold such controversial ideas as ID, to thrive.  He demonstrates how that freedom no longer exists in the sciences.  The dogmatism that has replaced it is harmful not only to science, but to all of us not in the sciences as well.

I look forward to watching this movie again, and make sure that I watch the extras, too.

Now that I've seen the movie, I find the negative, censorious comments left at our library website about it far more disturbing.  Whatever your opinions of ID, if you respect scientific integrity, this is an important movie to see.

About those plans...

What was that I was writing yesterday?  Something about plans gone awry?

I didn't even get out of the library before they changed again. *L*  For starters, my plans to write a post on my other blog fizzled when the low battery indicator popped up on the laptop.  Once I got home, there just wasn't an opportunity to do the kind of writing I intended.

Eldest's plans to do studies at the library almost panned out (yesterday, she was focusing on hands and was rather pleased with the results).  Before she left, we got a call from Raider King asking if she could meet him at the library.  I won't explain why until after I get the okay from him, but it certainly changes the entire day for her.

This morning was supposed to be a quiet day to catch up on the writing I didn't get done yesterday, but instead I'm going to have to focus on cleaning.  Our townhouse is getting its annual furnace and hot water tank inspection.  Both are in the laundry room, which is also where the cat's litter and food/water bowls are, plus it's used for storage.  I'll have to shift things around a bit and will take the opportunity to wash the floor.  I've got a couple of days to get it done, but we've got dr's appointments for the next couple of mornings (and those usually end up taking far longer than expected, if only for sitting in waiting rooms), so I want to get the big stuff done today.

So much for the writing I planned to do.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The best laid plans...

You know, it had been my intention to post here more regularly, now that the "school year" is officially started.  I'm reminded again of why I make to few plans these days. :-P  I swear, there is some sort of cosmic force that, as soon as I make plans and work up a schedule, everything that can happen to screw it up, does.

I'm trying to not let that happen this time, though.  Which is why I'm sitting in the library with Dh's work laptop (I hope he doesn't need to log into the office while I'm away), listening to some guy loudly talking on his cell phone, whining and begging his dad for a ride and making excuses for not being able to take the bus.

This is what was supposed to happen today.  Eldest was supposed to go to the library herself do work on some studies.  She's noted particular areas in her drawing that need work, so she plans to bring her sketch pad along with some reference books from home, as well as using reference books here at the library, and work out the areas she is having problems with.  Youngest would probably have joined her later and they would have gone for coffee before coming home.

I, on the other hand, would have been working on some writing, including posting on this blog, at home on my own.

So what changed?

Both Dh and Raider King are home from work today.  They'd both been quite sick a while ago, and neither have fully recovered.  Raider King had tried to go to work; he even went out to the bus stop.  Then he turned around and came home, and is now passed out on the couch.

Dh also was up as usual to go to work, but when I left he was busily trying not to cough up his lungs, heart, liver and entire digestive tract.

I'll take the guy whining on his cell phone, thanks.  I'm not sure how much more I can put up of the guy farting behind me, though.  There's also the joy of typing on a laptop.  I brought the mouse but didn't think I'd need a mousepad.  It never occurred to me that the infrared mouse wouldn't work on the tables here.  Thankfully, Dh has a book of some kind in the laptop case than I can use as a laptop.  I had considered bringing the full size keyboard, too.  Now I wish I had.  I'm not sure what happened, exactly, but as I was typing this paragraph, a huge section of my text suddenly disappeared, putting my cursor near the top of my post and replacing what was missing with the letter h.  I'd pressed something on the laptop touchpad with the heel of my hand.  No clue why it would result in what happened!  If all else fails and the distractions cause my muse to flee, I've brought my crochet project bag, too.

As for the girls, they headed out together this morning.  They've gone to the river, will eventually make their way to the library and, eventually, we'll all go for coffee a non-denominational beverage of choice.  I do appreciate technology at this point.  At the time they left, I had still expected to be catching up on my writing from home.  Eldest grabbed my library card to pick up a hold I've got.  When I got here and tried to lop onto the library wireless network, I discovered I needed my library card number.  I was able to send a text to Eldest, and she was able to text back my library card number.  Handy!

You know, as much as I love Dh, it's amazing how much his being home sick completely throws off everything.  Having both him and Raider King home sick is even more disruptive.

Oh, thank God!  The loud cell phone user's dad just showed up.  I know this because his dad called from wherever it is he pulled over and the guy spoke loud enough to announce it to everyone on the entire floor.  I love my technology probably more than the average person, but there are times when the users of said technology make me wish it wasn't quite so common!

So that's where I'm at now.  I'll save catching up on what we're doing that's home school related for another time.  I've got a post I want to write on my other blog (see link under my header) before the edge of the laptop completely cut off circulation to my hands and I can't type anymore.

I apologize now for any bizarre typos I might have made in this post!

update: Oh, God, I almost had a heart attack!  I guess the library wireless disconnects after a certain length of inactivity.  When I hit "publish" for this post, I ended up back at the wireless log in page.  When I checked my blog, there was no sign of my post; not even in the drafts.  Thankfully, the laptop held my post in its history and I was able to use my browser back button to find and publish this. *phew!*

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The official start... sort of!

Well, we have now officially started our school year.  Sort of. *L*  We just had our facilitator visit.  It usually happens about a month earlier, but since we did our registration during our spring meeting, it doesn't matter quite so much.

It was, as usual, a great visit.  We're fortunate to have such an excellent facilitator.  He's a great guy, and we all look forward to our visits.

For the first time since we've home schooled, we're actually looking for some sort of formal assistance from our school board.  I've mentioned Youngest's interest in learning trades skills earlier.  It turns out that our board can help us take advantage of an apprenticeship program our province offers.  What it basically amounts to is, if we can find someone who would be willing to take Youngest on as an apprentice, our board would help us work out a formal arrangement that would satisfy our province's legal requirements.  They could do something similar for us with a work experience scenario, too.  So, in the next while, we can look around and see what we can find locally.  Even if it's just a day or two a week, I think a local source would work out better.

During the visit we told our facilitator about our trip to the ranch and how that all worked out, what we liked, what we didn't, and how things were different than what we'd expected.  He ended up sharing his own story of how expectations and reality didn't quite mesh.  His wife had been interested in becoming a midwife and one of the options they were looking at was for her to train at The Farm.  The was quite a few years ago and he wasn't sure he was remembering the name right, but as soon as he described it, I knew where he was talking about.  They'd driven out there for what was supposed to be a one week stay.  They knew a bit about the place before they got there and were prepared for a few inconveniences, like no electricity or running water, and having to use outhouses.  Still, they weren't quite prepared for the reality of it.  He recalled going to use an outhouse at one point and discovering a HUGE spider on the toilet seat.

He decided he didn't need to use the facilities quite that badly after all.  *L*

Ah, that brings back childhood memories!  Except in our outhouse, it was the wasps nests that were a concern.  We liked the spiders, as they kept the other insects down.  Mind you, I don't think our spiders got quite as big as they do in warmer climes. ;-)

In the end, the deal killer turned out to be something totally unexpected - body odour!  It seems cleanliness in general wasn't exactly a high priority, to the point that they had concerns about how safe it would be for women to give birth in such unsanitary conditions. 

Their one week visit ended up being just one day!  They left the next morning and drove back to Canada.  (Looking it up, it was an almost 40 hour drive one way, not counting stops to eat and sleep!)  His wife did go on to become a midwife, but trained under very different conditions!

He tells us some of the greatest stories.

Aside from apprenticeship discussions, we also talked about Eldest's plans with her art, job hunting and eventually living in her own place.  At the end, we did our paperwork and got all the official stuff taken care of.  He stayed for about 2 1/2 hours, and it probably took less than half an hour to do with paperwork, even with all the talking we did in the process.

As far as our official stuff goes, we still need to submit our education plan for the year.  I wanted to wait until after we visited with the ranch, since that would have changed things quite a bit.  Now, I just keep forgetting about it.  We've got until the end of November, though, so there's still time. 

I do like home schooling in our province.  We have to jump through more hoops than in other provinces we've lived in, but they've been fun hoops to jump through.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

I've been nominated!

Wow - for three categories, too!

If you like my blog, please vote for me. :-)

My site was nominated for Best Parenting Blog!

My site was nominated for Best Education Blog!

My site was nominated for Best Hobby Blog!


Monday, November 01, 2010

A new month

Well, we're getting into a busy time of year for my family!  Christmas is coming, and it's time to prepare.  I've already chosen the decorations I'll be making this year and planning out the things we need to do in advance, like order our meats for the toutierre, and possibly order a roast suckling pig for our traditional Christmas feast.  Watching old Julia Child episodes has inspired me.

Right now, the girls have gone to the library and for coffee.  We still try to have our regular Wednesday library days, but in the last while, have been going a lot more often.  Especially Eldest.  She's been going on her own, with Raider King, with Youngest, or with me, several times a week.  So many books, cds, dvds and lectures have been taken out and returned, I've lost track of them for the library lists I have been trying to do.  Eldest has found that listening to books on tape or lectures while painting has worked out quite well.  Currently, she's listening to The Great Influenza, The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History, which has tied in rather well with others she has been listening to.  I'm actually reading one of the books she's taken out, Secular Sabotage, which has been very interesting.  Enough that I've already renewed it a couple of times, because I haven't have much time to sit and read, but I'm really interested in it.

We almost had some major changes with Youngest.  She's been interested in learning things like mechanics and carpentry, and a friend passed on a link to an amazing opportunity.  A ranch almost an hour out of the city was looking for apprentices in a number of fields - how many depended on how long the apprentice stayed.  It was free, but accepted apprentices were expected to live on the ranch and contribute to the daily running of the place.  I would have stayed there with her, and we were looking to try for the minimum of 2 months.  We went out to check the place out and spent the morning and part of the afternoon there.  We helped out with some thing while being shown around.  Some other potential apprentices were to arrive later that day and stay for a few nights.  In the end, Youngest and I were the one they (the owner and his current apprentices, a family with a toddler) thought was a better fit.  In the end, though, Youngest decided against it.  She was really torn in trying to decide.  On the one hand, she loved the idea of living on the ranch, working with horses, and learning all kinds of things.  She would have focused on mechanics, which would have started with rebuilding an engine, but she would also have learned machining, carpentry, etc. as time went on.  It sounded really quite perfect.  Unfortunately, she wasn't quite comfortable, and the high level of disorganization in some areas were too much.  She knows herself well enough to know that it would have driven her bonkers.  As for me, I had intended to actually be an apprentice as well (for carpentry in particular), but I would have been relegated to the cabin as cook and administrator.  While there was an obvious need for someone to take this on (freeing everyone else up to do the rest of the work needed, from tending and training the horses to working on the house that's being built by the apprentices), and I certainly would be able to do that, the more I thought about it, the less I liked the idea.  Part of it is that, I didn't intend to just be a tag-along with Youngest.  I wanted to be another apprentice.  However, based on some comments made in passing, and not necessarily directed at me, I can't help but suspect the main reason I would have been relegated to the kitchen was because... well... to put it bluntly, because I'm fat.  I think he assumed that because I was fat, I was not physically capable of working.  Which may be true when it came to the horses, but that's because of my foot and knee injuries, not because of my lack of strength or stamina.  The other issue I had is the reason I don't know a lot of this stuff in the first place.  As a child growing up on the farm, I should have learned most of this.  Instead, I had a chauvinistic mother who insisted I stay in the house and do "women's work."  Even as an adult, she would admonish me for doing "men's work," like when she swung by one day and I was in the back yard with the lawnmower half dismantled, fixing it.  I would rather have been out with my brothers doing manual labour than in the house cooking and cleaning.  If Youngest had decided to go to the ranch, I would have had to have a little chat with the owner about that. 

In the end, it was a moot point.  There was just too much discomfort with the circumstances.  Perhaps if the place were closer and we didn't have to live in, it would have been different. 

So now, I'm looking for other ways to get her involved with some sort of program to learn this stuff.  I've even contacted my sister, who has a farm in Manitoba.  They don't have a lot going on this time of year, though, and won't until spring, at the earliest.  It would still be a live in situation, but at least it would be with family, and not for 2 months.  On top of that, we'll be talking with our school board to see what they can steer us towards. 

Beyond that, Eldest is still slowly casting about for what she can do for an income.  A friend again helped us out, pointing her to a leisure arts centre as a possibility.  Eldest would be teaching watercolour techniques.  They already have watercolour classes, but nothing like what Eldest does.  Not even close.  In looking at their programs, I'm thinking I should look into becoming an instructor for crochet.  They've got knitting classes, but no crochet.

That's pretty much where we are now.  Oh, and it sounds like I've finished just in time - the girls are coming in the door right now!

Until next time...