Missed Harvest.

The sunflowers are blooming, the tomatoes are ripe and the plants heavy, melons are growing day by day and we are…. leaving? I always thought the best time of year was September. All of our digging in the dirt, planting, weeding, watering, sweating, it’s done. Now days are cooler, food abundant. Some good reason has to tear someone away from this. Work.

We are piling our family of four (and three, large, elderly dogs) into a large motorhome for a winter in warmer weather. Pioneer Papa was offered a job that he is so excited about and we have been packing our most important books, clothes, kitchen utensils, and toys for the long RV park stay.

I’m excited about a new, warmer location, the fresh resources, and job. We have located local homeschoolers and will join in the fun in two weeks. Our space will be small, but our options will be plenty. So, bye, bye harvest, treat our friends well. We shall meet again.

Outdoors or TV? Tuning into turning it off.

We had a long winter. Our youngest pioneer boy was not about to face the blowing weather outdoors, and I don’t blame him. But, it made Pioneer Mama the TV police indoors, which I don’t enjoy. This spring we decided to try something new after I spent some time reading about TV being so passive. We decided to turn off the TV and computer for an entire day, and allow 2 hours of viewing the next. We continued in this pattern for all of March, April and now into May and we are very happy with the results. Here are some fascinating things that have happened.

1. They watch less TV voluntarily. The pioneer boys could “sit” (this means a little wiggling at times) through an entire hour or even hour and twenty-minute DVD during the winter. Now they no longer can. After 28 minutes to 45 minutes of their TV time on TV day, they leave the room and shut of the program! Without me prompting them! I’m loving that. More time is being spent outdoors prompted by the warmer weather too.

2. They don’t whine to watch TV. When they wake up they usually ask, “Is today TV day?” to which I clue them in. It’s either Play day or Play and TV day. When it’s NOT TV day, they say, “oh” and mosey on by. This from children carrying DVD cases around the house to me at times this past winter. It’s funny because sometimes I don’t even remember, which means, NO TV day isn’t really that profound anymore.

3. I spend 1/2 the amount of my time on the computer. I am taking the NO TV day seriously and have also allowed NO computer time for myself. This means no emails, no just looking up a web site, no browsing. The only emergencies I allow are looking up a recipe, or my husband can look up something if necessary for work. I am ashamed to say that I used to leave my centrally located computer on the entire day and walk to it every time I heard an email come in. Yes, I was a rat. I would tell the boys I just wanted to check something quickly and then continue on. Sometimes I would get lost in emails, stopping many times during the day to respond to email groups. Now, some TV/computer days I don’t even turn on the computer until after lunch. I am free! It feels so very good.

4. I am more selective about the programming we watch and enjoy it more. We are current subscribers to Netflix, no DVDs, just downloads when we wish. We have been enjoying LOST and I can’t even imagine watching the programs with commercials or waiting week by week to watch. We watch the shows we enjoy, then shut of the TV and move on.

5. No TV nights have provided the family with more play and reading time. The other night we played music for a half hour because we had no TV day. Our daily night hiking has been restored (not an easy feat, my husband and I have been hoping to regain that since my first baby was born.) We have time to read more books, ask more questions, cook more deserts, and play.

My husband is a great man, allowing me to establish a rule many would not abide by. My children are awesome at coming up with other things to play. And I can get way more of my crafts done:)

My neighbors have a staring problem.

Every time I go outside my neighbors stare… but I don’t mind, they’re friendly enough, they’re quiet, they don’t litter and they don’t complain. They’re cows. I’m being silly of course, but honestly I must say, I love the privacy of living in the country. Sometimes we don’t leave our house but once a week, and then I hear, “Really? Do we have to leave? Can’t we just play some more?” Running errands sucks so much valuable playing, tinkering, baking, sewing, mowing, and hiking time. We have plenty of wonderful things here to do. Why drive ten miles to town to buy bread when we can make it? The privacy also means I can also just be myself without ever wondering what the neighbors are thinking. Plus, I don’t get caught up in gossip about others, because the cows, well, they just don’t ever have a bad thing to say, well not to me anyways. Now that I think about it, maybe that’s why they are staring, they’re wondering what that silly head scarf is I’m wearing while playing pirates with the pioneer boys…

I don’t think the pioneers on the prairie were very lonely. Sure at times even we do need to get out, but the steady time invested at home provides us with a flowing stream of fun ideas instead of us drying up. I think this is because we just follow our interests, which lead to more, and we have time to think up a project, dig up what we need, and follow it through. This in turn is exciting and a catalyst for some new idea and so it goes.

Pioneer You

Every one of us is a pioneer with our own unique child, indeed, a pioneer with each new child. Pioneering means blazing the trail, being the first to try something new. Each new child creates a new experience for us and here you can pioneer with your child through dusty, messy, old-fashioned ideas that shaped the childhoods of yesteryear. In our home, we feel that these ideas are as good for the hands, hearts, and souls of our children as they were for the children of old. My hope is that you can try something new with your children and share experiences while learning the skills that helped shape the lives of our ancestors. My great-grandmother lived to 103 years old, and I can still see her smile when she said in her eighties, “I don’t know why they (her daughters) won’t let me chop wood anymore, I miss my wood heat.”