Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spring Garden and Fam News Update

It is hard to believe, but summer is almost here. Oh, sure, the calendar rings in the new season some time in mid-June, but anyone who has spent May in Texas knows that REAL summer begins quickly after the last frost.

The academic year is winding down. The kids have 9 daze left and it is showing at the middle skool. There will be no new learning until the fall semester.

Dunring the week of Spring The Princess helped me plant the veggie and flower garden. We haven't had much time to tend to the plants this season but everything is growing nicely. Actually, several crops were utter failures this year. A combination of poor timing at planting time, not enough rain and some "helpful" chickens is going to keep us out of beans, peas and broccoli this season. Also, some of The Princess' flowers did not germinate. But she planted enough other varieties to make up for the weaklings.

This season we planted our garden a little differently. No structured rows of plants all lined up this year. We decided to mix things up a little bit and did more of a "square-foot-garden" thing. Of course we have a few hundred square feet to work with, so we kind of went crazy. I really like the way the garden looks this year. I am sure that we will do more of this type of garden in the future.

A few pictures from our plot:

Our first time growing kohlrabi. Still haven't eaten any of it. You first, OK?

The survivors - onions, corn (another first timer in our garden), watermelon, spinach, eggplant, zinnias, kohlrabi, morning glories, loads of different herbs and marigolds.

A sneak attack form one of the helpers.
The caterpillars and chickens have done a real number on the kohlrabi leaves.

A few minutes before the photo shoot, the cats were both helping in the garden, too. They have recently been evicted from the house and I no longer care if they eat grass or leafy greens. If they barf outside, then I don't have to clean it up. Or I can at least use a power washer.

Regular readers here or over on my facebook page will know that my job situation changed quickly a couple of months ago. There is still no promise that I will be returning to the same skool (or any skool) next fall, but things are starting to look a little more promising. Hopefully we will know something definite, shortly.

The Princess will be having a pretty big surgery in a few weeks and that is of course the biggest issue on our horizon. Having to miss a few weeks of swimming is not the best way to start a Texas Summer Break but this works best so that she won't miss out on a ton of skool in the fall. And the flower garden should be looking great by then, so she will be getting fresh cut blooms each day that she is at the hospital.

So there you have it. I haven't updated in a month or so, but you are officially up to speed with the AtHomeFam in less than 7 minutes.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Darth Vader Explains the Pythagorean Theorem

So I have spent much of the last two days trying to teach the Pythagorean Theorem to classes of 7th grades who are fully aware that there are less than 25 days left in the school year.

Yeah, it's been BIG fun.

Anyways, at some point I had a flashback to my own young teen years when Mr. John Smith (not even an alias - and yes, his wife was Mary) tried to learn me the Pythagorean Theorem while we were fixing a leaking section of his underground sprinkler system. Though I probably didn't fully learn the lesson, I do remember the effort that Mr. S put into the sprinkler fix.

With that in mind, I came across this jewel of geometry. So I shared it with most of my classes. In the end, maybe some kid will remember a little part of the stuff that Lord Vader and I have tried to present. And if nothing else, at least the kids were quiet for 2 minutes and 50 seconds. And at this time of year, that is something...