Sunday, August 2, 2015

July

We measure so as to know where we are and so as to be able to move forward.
In theory.
I present: July.

Gasoline

The Car ('08 Honda Civic, 37 mpg)
Miles driven: 1,163
Gas bill: $55
Estimated gallons used: 31

The Truck ('02 Ford Ranger, 26 mpg)
Miles driven: 260
Gas bill: $24
Estimated gallons used: 10

Transportation Total
Total miles driven: 1,423
Total gas bill: $88 (includes some for tractor)
Estimate of total gallons used: 41

Lawn Tractor
Yeah. I didn't nab the tractor's hour-meter until the evening of August 1. And of course we cut the grass August 1. I'm using it anyway.
Hour meter: 108.6 hours
Gas bought for the tractor this month: ~4 gallons

Electricity & Heating 


total usage:  622 kWh
daily usage: 20 kWh
bill: $129.46
portion of bill for renewable energy program: $8.02


Objects In

And yea, all the things were purchased this month of July, and verily did the earth and the budget both weep, and lo! was Jack quite beside herself with embarrassment.

Non-consumable 

clothes:
  • Jack: (used)- 3 shelf shirts, 3 pairs shorts; (new)- swim suit top, t-shirt they gave me when I signed up for a local farmers market loyalty program; 6 pairs underwear; a pair of hoop earrings
  • Apple: (used)- 2 sleeveless shirts, 3 short-sleeve shirts, 4 long-sleeve shirts, 2 sweaters, 2 pairs shoes, 2 hats
general household:
  • a canvas bag I got with my farmers market tee 
  • an ugly key chain that's the farmers market discount pass
  • garden basket (used)
  • a garden tool sharpener
  • handled tray (used)
  • a 80/20 alpaca/acrylic blanket from a local alpaca farmer at my farmer's market 
  • another anti-allergen pillow cover
  • a LAUNDRY BASKET omg IT WAS AT WILD BILL'S ALL THIS TIME
  • a metal bucket
  • a wind-up kitchen timer
  • a 16G SD card
  • a pressure cooker
  • 2 eye-bolts with washers and nuts
  • a eye-screw
  • 20 feet of nylon rope
  • wall pushpin hooks
  • modem cuz *$#% you, Comcast
  • wireless router
  • a beach umbrella 
  • 11 free plastic buckets with lids
  • an empty box of cat tongue candies from Germany, from a lady at the co op
education & toys:
  • 6 children's books (5 used, 1 new)
  • 1 cookbook and 1 humor book 
  • 20 puzzles- to be fair, one box had 12 puzzles in it! (used)
  • a metal rack for holding wooden puzzle trays (used)
  • 2 children's word puzzle/games (used)
  • a small electronic keyboard-the kind that plays music, you whippersnappers (used)
  • Little People toys- 6 people and the zoo train (vintage!)
  • plastic baby crocodile toy
  • 100 little wooden peg people which turned out to be a little smaller than vintage Fisher-Price Little People :( 
  • do magazines count? The Sun, Yes!, and Bitch
furniture:
  • a child's table with bench (used: yay, Craigslist!)
  • small pine-slat shelves
  • bamboo shelves for shoes in the mudroom 
  • bamboo shelves for Apple's room 
  • lumber and 200 wood screws to make some shelves for Apple's room

Consumable (Excluding food & medicine)

cleaning:
  • some soap samples in my farmers market bag
  • dish machine soap
  • laundry machine soap
general household:
  • 8 AAA batteries for my son's flashlight which oops turns out I didn't need to buy because my old rechargable AAA's still worked even though I thought for sure no way they would but they did.
  • new checks
  • two dust masks
  • two sets of 12 felt-tip color pens because Jack bought one for herself and then someone stole it and Jack bought herself a new one in a fit of self-pity
  • a greeting card- is that consumable? 
  • postage stamps
  • toothpaste
garden:
  • sisal twine for the garden (2 balls, cuz my first one got rained on and then molded)
arts & crafts:
  • 300 pipe cleaners
  • 4 rolls of packing tape
  • 10 rolls of Scotch tape
  • 100 pages of construction paper
  • 14 6-oz bottles of washable tempera paint
  • a 6-oz bottle of liquid watercolor paint
  • 50 pieces of watercolor paper
  • 20 large lidded paint cups
  • 2 strips of small lidded paint wells

Jack-2015.07.02_18.13.38  Jack-2015.07.02_18.13.10  Jack-2015.07.02_16.57.11  Jack-2015.07.02_16.56.40  Jack-2015.07.09_15.59.06  Jack-2015.07.16_14.35.49
Jack-2015.07.09_15.28.06  Jack-2015.07.09_15.26.41  Jack-2015.07.08_20.18.27  Jack-2015.07.16_14.35.46  Jack-2015.07.19_18.18.50  Jack-2015.07.16_16.35.14
Jack-2015.07.22_08.28.45  Jack-2015.07.22_08.27.52  Jack-2015.07.22_06.24.21  IMG_0010  IMG_0008  IMG_0006
IMG_0004  IMG_0002  IMG_0001  IMG_0006  IMG_0005  Jack-2015.07.29_08.01.25
Jack-2015.08.01_19.08.09  Jack-2015.08.01_10.07.34  Jack-2015.08.01_11.22.03  Jack-2015.07.17_14.13.04  IMG_0019  IMG_0013


Geez.

Transformed

Again, I don't really know how to categorize stuff that appears in my house that, while it doesn't increase the volume of things we own, does create a distinct, separate, new thing  Sometimes it decreases the number of things- like, instead of 7 pieces of lumber and 50 screws, now I have one shelving unit- but I don't tend to keep track of individual screws and lumber, so the shelving unit appears to only contribute to Stuff Volume. The calculus of one's stuff is not straightforward. But anyway, here's some of stuff that got re-purposed this month.

Jack-2015.07.29_15.54.23  Jack-2015.07.19_15.35.25  Jack-2015.07.22_08.28.14
Jack-2015.08.01_19.42.02  Jack-2015.07.29_10.31.31  Jack-2015.07.24_20.38.07


        
Objects Out

Trash & Recycling

We took a truck load of waste to the dump this month. It consisted of:
  • Trash: 35 lb
  • Glass & plastic: 70 lb
  • Paper & cardboard: 45 lb
Our last waste dumping trip was in March, so let's call this four months' worth. That makes monthly waste tallies for my household:
  • Trash: 9 lb
  • Glass & plastic: 17 lb
  • Paper & cardboard: 11 lb

 And waste per person in my household per month:
  • Trash: 3 lb
  • Glass & plastic: 6 lb
  • Paper & cardboard: 4 lb
I wonder how much of the glass/plastic weight are the quart jars from my pomegranate juice, which I use to knock back my nasty herbs three times a day. The largest portion of the paper/cardboard is junk mail; the second is probably cardboard from mail-order stuff. Does anyone call it mail-order any more, if you use the Internet for it? Hmm...

Jack-2015.07.10_20.33.42  Jack-2015.07.10_20.35.54  Jack-2015.07.10_20.41.06

Goods Donations
  •  none, it's just slowly building up in my back room until I have enough to bother the attendant with cuz I want my discount stamps, darnit

Gifts
  • a book to a friend
  • some other stuff

Food
  • It's food season.  !!!
  • Our four chickens laid us 73 eggs this month.
  • We discovered our mystery tree is a nectarine tree, so we are currently producing some of our own tree fruit, in addition to strawberries and a few blueberries. Very exciting!
  • We tried my hand at gluten-free crackers. Tasty but expensive. 
  • Dehydrating kale and herbs (basil, oregano, parsley).
  • Working on our first-ever fermentation experiment. Successful so far!
  • Tomatoes and peppers are starting to trickle in from the garden.
  • We drove out for blueberry picking at the only organic PYO we know of and froze up 10 pounds of blueberries. In related news, our freezer is kind of full.
  • Bees love an herb garden. 

Almond Crackers Attempt 1  Jack-2015.07.05_18.02.24  Jack-2015.07.05_14.54.40
Jack-2015.07.06_10.23.43  Jack-2015.07.25_16.33.20  Jack-2015.07.29_08.03.54


And bless your sweet soul if you've made it to the bottom of this post. Here's a photo of a happy flappy chicken and one of the box of German candy, as tokens of appreciation. Haben ein Katzenzunge mit mir!

Jack-2015.08.01_19.27.29

   

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Scenes from CT and I'm Not Even Exaggerating

Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it.
Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it. 
Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it. 
Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it. 
Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it. 
Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it. 
Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it. 
Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it. 
Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it. 
Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it. 
Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it. 
Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it. 
Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it. 
Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it. 
Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it. 
Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it. 
Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it. 
Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it. 
Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it. 
Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it. 
Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it. 
Apple: Why are there nectarines on it?
Jack: Cuz it's a nectarine tree.
Apple: Why's it a nectarine tree?
Jack: Cuz there's nectarines on it. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

That Time

That time you labeled all your kitchen cupboards for your midwives so they could prepare your first post-baby meal for you because you and your husband were going to be too knackered to answer questions like "Where are the spoons?"; and late in your pregnancy a visitor to your home said, "Oh you've labeled all the cupboards for your husband?" and how every time you see a labeled drawer or cupboard door you get pissed off all over again about that.

Or that time in seventh grade when your home ec teacher asked you to stand in front of the whole class and measure out some water in a measuring glass, and you filled it and wanted to bend down to make sure the water level was right where it should be but you chose not to because you didn't want to bend over and stick your ass out at all your classmates in their desks, and then how your fucking home ec teacher used you as an example of how not to measure water because you have to bend down to make sure it's level, and now how every time you measure water into your glass measuring cup, the anger and shame of that ridiculous moment comes back to you and you get pissed off all over again.

Or that time one typically uninterested student asked the only question he'd asked all year and you were so excited that you gave a totally dumbass, wrong answer, and you didn't realize it until the next day, and you never went back and corrected yourself to him, and now every time you see steam, you feel terrible all over again.

Or that time driving home late from work not long after first getting your driver's license, and you're late cuz some jerkwad manager dude from another store enjoyed bossing your teenage ass around a little extra after your shift, but you were seriously looking forward to seeing your boyfriend who was waiting for you at your parents' house, having just arrived from his own parents' house three hours away for a summer visit, and the asshole behind you, you doing 30mpg on the 25 mph road, he finally quits tailgating you to illegally drive around you and in irritation you flip him off and in a totally rational response he runs you off the road and the two dudes get out and try to get into your car, pounding on it and screaming (and fun fact: you discover once you've gotten home safely that these fuckwits turn out to be your next-door neighbors!), and then for years and years, every time there's a dark-colored SUV behind you when you're driving, you get paranoid and scared. (Or that other time an angry entitled asshole drove you and your friend off the road to stick his stupid face into her car to scream at you, and then pick-ups were a problem, too.)

Or that time Jack made ridiculously strong associations with everything and was the fragilest little flower ever to grow on this earth and god forbid anything truly awful happen to her cuz she wouldn't be able to deal with it.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

In which conclusions offered by my preschooler following his questions about freckles make me realize it's time to start talking about race

My kingdom for a children's book that talks about skin color without resorting to food similes.

Seriously. I am not sure I want to be comfortable with people as dessert.

(At risk of being anti-climactic here, I've finally found one.)


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Cardboard; or, Project Time

Confession: I swung back around to wanting to buy my child a beautiful toy kitchen. Really. It's a very fair price for what it is, and on par with some of the bigger button-pushy plastic toy kitchens. But I still couldn't justify the cost because, Apple didn't need it. And if it fell out of favor sooner than expected, I'd be stuck with a big toy taking up precious space in Apple's ~8'x13' play room.

But Apple's really been into playing food lately, more than usual. And this is a kid who steals all our kitchen tools and squirrels them in his room. Who as a tiny infant adored the soy milk maker and the stand mixer. So I really sensed it was time for a play kitchen. Craigslist didn't come through for me (though I did find one of those gorgeous Elves & Angels kitchens a mere hour north of me!... I only considered it for about two minutes, okay?).

So. Enter cardboard and packing tape.


As well as:
  • mason jar lids
  • pipe cleaner
  • a page protector
  • construction paper
  • a Chinese take-out box

All stuff we rummaged up from around the house.
Except that final pipe cleaner.
Seriously, we got dressed and went to the weird little store up the street that sells everything in pretty much a big heap, for a bag of pipecleaners, because I wanted one more, for the fridge.
Anyways.










And you know what? It's not gorgeous. It's not finely planned and executed. But Apple helped plan and execute it, and that's worth way more than the personal pride I might get from a slick looking craft project for my blog.

I totally take credit for spying the little cardboard boxes while working at the co-op and thinking "Produce drawers!"

Apple adores his kitchen. It has turny knobs and a faucet handle that flaps, doors that open, close, and lock, and shelves so he can see all his stuff. 

The stove/oven/sink box had been being used as a table in the corner for a while.



It was the perfect size. And the fridge box had been in Apple's room for a week or so. Because Apple thought it was the greatest thing ever to crawl inside it and then be transported around the house in it, it was a little beat up, but in good enough shape.

Whew, I'm being so boring. SO BORING. Sorry. The heat, motherhood, and general human condition seem to have sucked all the funny out of me lately? Sorry? Anyways.

As soon as I put the fridge and stove pieces together in his room in their spot, he turned around mid-cooking (he'd been playing with it throughout construction) and demanded to know where he was supposed to do his chopping. (Amusingly, this was why I liked the Elves & Angels model that I did; it had a space for chopping! Not all do.) So a countertop, with built in shelves, was soon dreamed up and added. 

And somehow- somehow- dinner didn't get made that day.

Our cardboard antics are notable to me mostly because they birthed Project Time. We started with a clipboard, paper, and pencil, sketched a preliminary design, made a list of materials, etc. I casually and rather unintentionally introduced the whole proper thing for what I expect to shape our homeschool experience. So that was a big moment in disguise.



We spent two days fine-tuning the kitchen.

And afterwards, Apple requested a house. A cardboard house.

So the next day:







And I managed to again set aside my total control-freak character flaws to (mostly) let Apple have a big hand in the process. I may have decided that the front needed a garden because I wanted to make a garden, but he wanted to picked out the colors and shapes so he did, and I let him put those pink petals all over the place, even though part of my control-freak soul was jumping and shouting and not quite successfully tramped down yet. And Apple wanted to decorate the roof of the house with drawings of cars. Sure. Why not.

Project Time is a Thing now, for now, and I hope to encourage it into a permanent fixture of our life, several times a week. I bought a wind-up kitchen timer (which of course was promptly confiscated by the child), so I can promise Project Time with Apple in the mornings and not get lost in it, looking up to find it's 6pm and everyone's unfed and the laundry's undone and the garden's untended and I've generally failed at everything. An hour seems to work well.

It warms the cockles of my heart, whatever they are, when Apple runs through the house, excited to gather materials for a project. It only recently really occurred to me what a Big Kid Apple is becoming, despite his small size. He does Big Kid type stuff, has Big Kid type conversations, and- perhaps the source of his recent miserable behavior- Big Kid needs that were going largely unmet. 

Project Time this morning, Apple and I decided on what to do. And I had a certain image in my head of what it would turn out like, molded by my ideas of what a toy is, what a project is, by posting pretty things to Pinterest and seeing the well-crafted things other people have presented to their children.

But Apple wasn't in for that at all.

Apple mostly just wanted to learn to sew.

Follow the child.

So I let go of the project- it's not mine right? It's not for me-, I followed his cue, stamped down the Control Freak in me a little further, and the project was really enjoyable for us both. He had requested some toy food- turnips, specifically. So we made turnips and beets. And he asked for a banana, which I did do myself. 

But my baby asked me today how to sew.

And I showed him.

And he sewed.

Big Boy Stuff.




I even let him take the end-results photos.




Now that's letting go.

Focusing on Apple, on doing a collaborative project with him, not only does stuff like Motivates Him to Learn How to Do Stuff, it makes sure I don't forget to be with him once in a while.

And this blog post has gone on entirely too long. Time to go be with my son, who's desperately "building robots" behind me, trying to get me to play.