Friday, March 24, 2017


This is the poem we studied today:
by Frances Frost
My father's face is brown with sun,
His body is tall and limber.
His hands are gentle with beast or child
And strong as hardwood timber.
My father's eyes are the colors of the sky,
Clear blue or gray as rain:
They change with the swinging change of days
While he watches the weather vane.
That galleon, golden upon our barn,
Veers with the world's four winds.
To fill our barley bins,
To stack our wood and pile our mows
With redtop and sweet tossed clover.
He captains our farm that rides the winds,
A keen-eyed brown earth-lover. 

I gave my students the assignment to write a similar poem about someone in their family.  They wanted me to write one too, so we could each write about one of the cats.  Here's Noah's poem about Shadow:

My Cat
by Noah Janes

My cat's fur is black and shiny,
His body is tall and limber.
His paws are gentle with beat or child
And quick as Nascar racers.
My cat's eyes are green as limes,
green with flecks of whiskey.
They dart from side to side
While we watches the birds fly by.
That squirrel, red upon our shed,
Veers with the world's four winds.
My cat, his eyes on the squirrel,
Knows when to click at him.
 To stack our wood and pile our mows
With redtop and sweet tossed clover, 
he cannot do.
He's a keen-eyed black house-lover.

I wrote about Shiloh, who is often bullied by Marty:
My cat
by Janel Janes

My cat's face is furry and whiskery.
Her body is short and fat.
Her paws are white and playful,
and as soft as her belly is fat. 
My cat's eyes are the colors of fall fields:
golden yellow and shimmery like mist.
They are peaceful and deep, tranquil pools...
except when she's cornered and hissed.
The hisser, intolerant and rude,
raises a paw to strike.
My cat, her eyes on the enemy, knows when
to cry for Mike.
To flop and chirp and roll,
she knows just what to say.
She rules our hearts
and entertains us with her play.

Sarah wrote about Marty (whose nickname is Furry Bird), but she resented having to pattern her poem after someone else's, so she did whatever she wanted:

My furry bird has big yellow eyes and whiskers.
Her feet are big and clumsy
and make the sound "tisker".
Her lines on her back are detailed
although they could be brisker.
I will go with the furry bird trotting
in the afternoon sun.  
We will not go fast
because she can't run.
She will meow at tall grass
 and any birds that are near.
And she will yell and scream 
because dogs are sniffing her rear.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Snow Day

After a nice, mild winter, we awoke to a few inches of snow on the ground this morning. So here is our agenda for the day:
We'll start with our usual devotions, prayers, and read-aloud time, and then we'll move into shoveling, sledding, and working at Midwest Food Bank.  A full day of work, fun, and service.  No academics, but we'll make that up another day.
On the way to the sledding hill, this conversation happened:
Sarah: If Trump ever builds that wall, we could build a snow ramp up to it and launch right over it.
Noah: Except I don't think it snows enough down there to do it.  If it was a wall on the Canadian border, that would be a good idea. 

 Sarah quoted Robert Frost as we were walking down this snowy path.  Does that count as school for the day? 

 This beautiful boy was enjoying the food we tossed out for him on the patio.
The poor trees budded weeks ago when it was in the 70s for several days.
 We went straight from the sledding hill to the food bank.  We worked with cornmeal today.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Healthy brownies

I have almost perfected my healthy vegan brownie recipe!

Process very well in food processor:
1 can black beans (rinsed well)
1/4 C. applesauce
1/4 C. agave nectar or maple syrup
2 t. vanilla
3/4 C. oats
2 T. cocoa powder
1/4 t. salt
2 T. coconut sugar
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
big handful of spinach
Stir in 1/4 C. chocolate chips.  Pour into 9x9 pan.  Bake at 350 for 15 min.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Space poem

Noah's poem about space, after reading about the space race in history:

Space is the place
for people to race.
From star to star,
you can't drive a car.

Instead, from moon to moon
I'll float my pontoon.
I'll go to Mars,
although it's quite far.

Rockets and rovers into the sky.
Metal in the air can surprisingly fly.
U.S. and Russia racing to explore.
I'll be here, thanks...standing on the floor.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Finding good things

In our poetry class this morning, one of the assignments was to say two good things about each of these people:  your mother, your father, your pastor, and someone you dislike.

Immediately before this assignment, I had disciplined Sarah for her attitude, so she could come up with nothing for the first one, but she was full of glowing praise for her father.  She said, "Dad is a diligent worker, he's nice, he's good-natured and capable and just an all around good person.  I like him because when we go to Kroger he lets me get what I want and doesn't check the prices."  This last part was delivered with a glare in my direction.

My valiant Noah immediately stuck up for me. He said, "Yes, but Mom is good at finding bargains so she makes a good balance to Dad.  She's a good cook and she cares about animals.  Say something good about Mom, Sarah."  Sarah just harrumphed and said, "I've moved on to the pastor." 

When it came time to say something good about someone they don't like, Sarah said, "Well...I guess she tries to be nice."  No doubt in my mind who she was talking about.  Noah tried to be secretive about his person he dislikes by disguising the gender.  He said, "This person is generous.  This person is creative."  Sarah wasn't fooled.  She said, "I know it's me!"