“Summer Vacation”

It’s that time of year already. HOW IS IT THAT TIME OF YEAR ALREADY?!?! Weren’t we just having snowstorms? Isn’t it still February? The winter that wouldn’t die? And yet summer is almost staring me in the face. Everyone is talking about last days of school, graduation days, summer vacation, road trips, and gardens. I keep seeing all of these pictures of these lush, green gardens from people I know who live south of here, and it makes me feel so behind. And yet I’m not! This weekend is the weekend most people plant their gardens in our area.

Summer vacation. It’s a weird term to somebody like me. The learning of homeschooling never stops, even if you break from textbooks and testing. With a homestead, the chores are just beginning… it isn’t a season of rest, it’s a season of work! That’s not to say there won’t be plenty of time for fun (after all, our homestead largely consists of gardening and chicken keeping), but as our allergies subside, we’ll be doing plenty of work outside.

We decided not to do much with chickens this year other than maintain the flock we have. I’d like to do meat birds, and yet I don’t want to. Not this year. I just don’t have it in me right now. 6 kids, a dog, and a flock of egg layers (plus monitoring the kids flock) is enough. I need to move them again pretty soon… I’ll put them into the fenced in garden and let them do the clean-up work in there so that we will be able to use that section for planting a large fall garden (hopefully).

It’s time to plant the gardens. (I say gardens because I have to plant the kitchen garden which will be herbs and greens, as well as the big garden.) I am really hoping that we can make time this weekend to work on planting this weekend. It would be great if we could just work together and knock most of it out in one day. Then I am hoping to get over by the kids gardens next week and get those cleaned up and plant with them as well.

Like I said, learning never stops… something you become keenly aware of when you homeschool. Even though we’re almost done with the textbooks for the summer, we won’t be inactive through the summer. We’ll just be shifting our focus. I’m hoping to daily (or at least weekly) spelling bees with the kids, we’ve GOT to work on penmanship, we’ll be doing speed drills and memorization for math, and I want to start putting a little more effort into learning German. Depending on how things go, I’d like to do a little bit of music reading with them as well. We’ll see. The whole point is to still do a little every day so that we are improving throughout the summer and where we need to be or ahead by the time September rolls around, but without spending as much time on it all as we currently are.

We’re talking about possibly doing a shorter road trip this year. We’ve been wanting to go to the Ark Encounter for a few years now, and we think this is the year. Since we mulch our gardens, there won’t be much to do during the time that we are hoping to be gone… a little bit of watering, but the weeding should be okay for a time. And with a smaller flock of chickens right now, there isn’t much to do in the way of animal care, either.

Of course we’ll do Miss Lady’s annual tea party, probably in late July again. That worked out well last year. Now that we have most of the things for setting up (table settings, decorations…) the bulk of the work is just setting up and preparing food, and we kind of end up doing a “pot luck” with the food, so it’s not all on me.

Normally Scott would have a guys weekend with this best friends, but I’m not sure if that will happen this year. Scott has a trip for work this summer, and with a possible road trip in the works… well, we’ll see. Plus one of our friends might not be able to this year as it is.

As far as things around the property, we’re really just hoping to get more of the coop mess cleaned up and to fix up that building. If we can just get that done, I think we’ll both be happy campers. I’m still trying to chip away on our to-do list, but the going has been slow in recent weeks. Between colds, allergies, stomach viruses, and then normal life stuff, there just hasn’t been enough time to do much. We pulled out the old compost bins the other day, so that was one more item off the list, but there is still lots to do. It’d help if we could keep the work vehicles running! Oy.

Pumpkin would like to work on his greenhouse. I’m hoping to be able to do some of that next week. He felt a little defeated last summer when the plastic ripped off of it. We want to do something more durable, but in the meantime, we can work on some of the other structural things he wanted to implement onto it. And if all goes well today, we may end up planting a butterfly garden for “science class.” We haven’t decided where to plant it just yet.

We also need to work on housing solutions for the kids birds. The chicken tractor is good for now, and we may continue to do that for awhile, but ultimately, we’ll need something else by the time winter rolls around… that goes for our birds too.

Miss Lady will continue violin lessons throughout the summer. Four of the kids are getting signed up for Vacation Bible School this summer, and if it works out, those same four will hopefully do swimming lessons as well. Of course, they are also hoping for days at the beach, time at parks, sleepovers, bonfires, and lots of ice cream!

What are your summer plans looking like? Are your kids finished with school? If you homeschool, do you take a “summer vacation”?


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