Thursday, February 27, 2014

Busy Days

 Life has been quiet and busy lately.  We have been enjoying beautiful sunsets almost every night.  I have been spending my time reading and planning my garden and how we will utilize the property.  We did get our CUAV application in so that we continue getting taxed as an agricultural property. That is all good.

Basketball season is over and debate is in full swing.  We are getting ready, our debate club, to host the next tournament.  The Boss is heading up the IE (speech) events.  This has a very steep learning curb.  Most all the stuff is done on the computer and my DH is not highly tech savvy.  He is learning though and working hard!  I am the ballot check-in chairman.  I train the people who are doing ballot check-in.  This is not too hard of a job, as most of the people doing it are experienced and know more about it than I do.  We spend a lot of time listening to Thomas go on and on with different arguments on different cases.  He spends hours and hours working on it!  We have to spend hours listening to him process out loud what he has been learning!  Sometimes our ears get tired, but we learn a lot too.

The weather has been frigid again, or is it still.  The ground is white with snow.  Hard to believe that March starts in two days!  We pick up our new chicks on Monday.  I will show you lots of chick pictures.  That is chicks as in the offspring of hens, don't get too excited guys!  Saturday I am planning on getting my seeds started.  Our basement is going to be a happening place.  With plants and chicks as well as the usual laundry and bow business all going on together.  Hope it works out.

Tomorrow is an Amish country day and in the evening there is a English Country Ball.  The three teenagers are going.  If we get back from Amish Country in time, some of the rest of us will go.  It is always a lot of fun.  The children are working hard on getting their school done.  We are keeping the critters happy in the cold weather and enjoying the peaceful life on the farm.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The (ALMOST) Last Basketball Post of the Season

CCS played WCA for the second time.  Alas, it was a hard fought game but the injuries stole the victory from the good guys (CCS).

Trevor was hurting so bad that he couldn't run and could barely shoot.  He had to give up playing half way through the  2nd quarter.  He needed to see his chiropractor.

T-Bob shooting a foul shot (#13 is Adin B.) He was the last starter to sit.
T-Bob played most of the game until both teams gave up making it competitive and they put the fifth graders in.   By the end of the game, the final player on our team scored.  SO everybody scored at least one basket this season.

The fifth graders were glad to get some playing time.

Here is the final score.

But wait this post isn't over.....  There was a Junior Varsity game that followed.  The JV team also was struggling with injuries, so they pulled up some of the Junior high players!

See, T-Bob got to play on the JV team.

He was under-sized, but he managed to hold his own.  He snagged some rebounds and even stole the ball a time or two.

The JV team didn't fare any better but T-Bob was glad to get the chance to play on the next level.  He sure was tired  by the end.  He played most of the Junior high game and then about half of the JV's game.  He sleeps well.  After a season of basketball he can now fit into Thomas's old suit for speech and debate.  All that running and playing was very slimming for him.

T-Bob and Thomas are looking forward to practicing basketball this summer and playing again next year.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Dan Order Amish

Lots of Windmills to pump water in Amish country

In my continuing explorations of the Amish, we will discus the Dan Amish.  The Dan Amish are between the Swartzentrubers and Old Order as far as rules go.  How would you know the difference? The Dan Amish look like the old order in appearance.  They will use knits in their clothing and their homes are very similar in appearance to the old order.

Horses grazing on Dan order farm
 The Dan Amish do put cloth diapers or pampers on their babies, but they keep dresses on their little ones, whether they be boys or girls until they  are potty trained.  They have indoor plumbing.  Their houses are lovely with many wall decorations and nature pictures.  The biggest thing, in my opinion, is that they are not allowed to have a refrigerator.  They have ice boxes or just a cold room pantry with windows open for cooling purposes.  This makes food storage much more challenging!

Amish hang clothes out all year long, no matter what the weather!

  The men have the same haircuts as the old order, not the pageboys of the Swartzentrubers.  All 3 groups have untrimmed beards.  The women have slightly different style of cap that they wear.  You would be hard pressed most of the time to tell Dan Amish from the Old order Amish from the appearance of the older children or adults.  The Dan Amish do have books other than their German Bibles and prayer books.  You will find children's books, like landmarks, Little House and other books like I would have in my library.

Dan Amish school yard.

The out buildings of the Dan Amish are white not red like the Swartzies.  All the groups other than the new order are not allowed to have paved driveways.  They are all gravel, maybe.  Plenty of deep ruts for English drivers to get stuck in.  I have had to have my van pulled out of some of their muddy lanes by their teams of horses.  The Dan Amish do not use battery powered appliances.  They use only the gas lights.  The Dan do not use bicycles either.  Many of them still use wood stoves to cook on in the kitchen.  Some are starting to use natural gas.

Dan Amish do use the red safety triangle on the back of their buggies, like the Old Order.  This makes them so much easier to see at night!  However, like the Swartzentrubers they are not allowed to use glass on the front of their buggies.  This makes for a very cold ride in the winter.

The different amish groups have their own rules and differ from place to place.  The individual church rules are made by the ruling bishops. Their have been many Amish church splits through the years on whether porch swings should be allowed or not.  They are human just like everybody else.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Debate Tournament #1

Our family, has only recently started doing basketball as part of our 'lifestyle'.  Previous to this year, we have only really done Church, family and Speech and debate.  We have done Speech and Debate for the last four years through a Christian homeschool league. (CCO/CCA).  It has been so good for our family.  We love it because it is something that our whole family can be involved in.

 I have found that as a home school mom, that the children make about two academic years of progress for every year that they do debate.  It really helps to fill a lot of the holes in their home school education.  It is a tremendously in depth course on government. (We do team policy debate), research, logic, and writing.  It is like writing an in depth research paper. The best part about it is that the kids love to do it because they enjoy the competition and want to do well. I could never assign them such a project without them being overwhelmed and upset at me.  However, in our family, they would be seriously disappointed if we told them that they couldn't participate in speech and debate.  The older children are able to continue their participation by judging the debate and speech events.

Susan Miller
 I love the people that work with speech and debate.  They are some of the most ethical and sweetest people you would ever want to meet.  Susan Miller is a queenly lady.  She is the tournament director of one of our home tournaments.  She gently guides and encourages all of us who are helping out.  She keeps things on track but you never see her lose her cool.  She keeps track of all the little details without hovering.  That is a gift!  Even when she has to correct you she does it in a kind and loving way without exhibiting any impatience.  THAT is a real gift!  Everybody who gets to know her and work with her feels blessed.  We are so fortunate to have a director like her.

Thomas won second place in Poetry Interpretation
 The speech side of the tournament involves three categories of events.  The first are the interpretive events.  They change from year to year.  This year they are poetry and dramatic duo.  The speaker chooses a poem to interpret or a dramatic piece to do with a partner.  Thomas is doing the 'Pied Piper' poem and T-Bob is doing 'Herve Riel'.  Elizabeth competes in the JV division and is doing the poem 'Curfew Must not Ring Tonight'. The pieces can be up to ten minutes long.

Thomas won first place in Impromptu Apologetics

The second set of events are the impromptu events.  There are three choices here.  There is 'Impromptu' where the speaker is given a quote and then has two minutes to give a five minute speech.  Another event is Impromptu Apologetics.  In this speech event, you are given an apologetics question (Ex. How can a good God allow suffering in the world?) and then you have three minutes to put together a seven minute response that must be presented conversationally to the judges.  The third event in this category is Extemporaneous Commentary.  This event involves being given a question re an international, national or economics issues and the speaker is given thirty minutes to research and gather evidence and then they have to present a seven minute 'newscast' style speech.  The third category is the Informative events.  The one event is informative, wherein the speaker gives a ten minute memorized  on any subject they wish.  T-Bob is doing his speech on basketball.  The other informative event is rhetorical criticism. This is also a ten minute memorized speech.  Thomas is competing in this  event.  He is evaluating whether Snowden is a hero.

Sweepstakes Competitors
Sweepstakes is when a young person presents a speech in each of the three categories.  T-bob and Thomas are both doing this. Each speech must be given three times over the course of a tournament.  It is a very challenging thing to do.

Thomas and his partner finished fourth in debate

In debate the resolution they are debating is "The US federal government should reform its counterterrorism policy(s) for the domestic surveillance of US citizens."  It is a super current topic and changes almost daily.  It keeps the kids on their toes and requires them to stay on top of the news. Thomas and his partner did well.  They made it to the semifinals where thy lost to the team that won the tournament.

Here is our club.  They are a fine group of young people.  I really enjoy my time with them. 
Go Theo!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Broody Cat or The Cat who Wanted to be a Chicken

Our cat, Marbles,  sitting on 'her' eggs

This is our farm's 'Boss Cat'.  Marble's thinks she owns our farm.  Truly she has lived here a lot longer than we have.  She is not intimidated by Dallas the Dog or anything.  She is the BOSS!  For a long time the chickens would go squawking and run away when she came around.  She is a hunting cat and roams far and near in her hunting expeditions.  I used to be afraid that she would harm the chickens, but now she wants to be one!  'Broody'  is a condition when a hen wants to sit on eggs and hatch chicks, rather than just keep laying them.  Our cat has gone 'broody'!

Chickens scratching in the coop looking for corn

Marbles now comes into the chicken coop and checks all the lower nesting boxes.  She finds which one has the most eggs and climbs in there.  At first, I thought she was just looking for a place to keep warm.  I didn't expect to find eggs under her.  I reached under her and found SIX eggs!  They weren't warm.  She wasn't sitting on them to warm herself.  She watched the hens.  When I filled the hen's water dish she got out and drank with them.  It was funny to look down and see all the chickens gathered tightly around the bowl with a cat squeezed in there also. They have accepted her and don't mind her presence anymore.  We do have three other cats, so it isn't just a matter of her looking for company.

The other cat came out to see what was going on

We spread dried corn in the bottom of the coop most every afternoon to encourage them to till up their straw and compost.  The cat gets down and scratches with them.  She has tried the field corn but she doesn't care for that.  She just joins the 'ladies' and does what they do.

Marbles guarding her waffle from the other hens

We take dried bread and scraps to the chickens most every day.  The cat comes along and finds something for herself from their bowl.  They don't mind her in the least.  She clearly doesn't understand what happens to hens when they are no longer useful!  She has never heard of the stew pot!

Our beautiful fresh eggs

Here is one days worth of eggs from our ladies.  Sometimes we use more eggs than they can produce.  The other day we were waiting around waiting for one more egg so that Michelle could finish her cheesecake project. We have ordered more chicks to be arriving in March.  Stay tuned for more hot chick pictures! (That is, a young chicken under the warming lights-)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

CCS vs First Baptist - Take Two

We had a number of games cancelled because of cold weather and snow.  This one was rescheduled and finally took place last week.  Our team was really struggling as many of our best players were injured.  Even T-Bob was having problems with his ankle.  There was a lot of limping going on.  At the end of the first quarter we were down 8-4.

Our guys were determined to keep going despite the injuries.  They played hard.

At half time, we were only down by 2.  The other team only scored two points in the second quarter.

The second half was a different game.  Our team came out and started shooting well.  Chase even started shooting threes and made several.

Chase was so outmatched size wise.  This makes defense a challenge as well as driving with the ball.

The third quarter ended with us  having a ten point lead!  The guys were so excited!

They kept going and eventually pulled out to a 15 point lead.  There was about three minutes left at that point.  The coach pulled his starters and put in the 2nd string.  The other team put on a hard press and it wasn't long before they were making a rapid comeback!

 They were within four points by the time the coach got the starters back in.  T-Bob and the other starters got the job done.  They broke the press and made a few quick lay-ups.

The other team had to start fouling in order to try and catch up.  Trevor was the one they fouled and  he made them pay for it!  He drilled free throw after free throw.  

The team pulled back out to a big lead.  They ended up winning by 16 points!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Super Bowl Sunday Ohio Style

Church parking lot on Super Bowl Sunday

 Super Bowl Sunday arrived in a white way.  Our parking lot at church is getting smaller and smaller as the snow piles encroach on the parking spaces.  Something that is never an issue in warmer climes.  

Our Chapel has AWANA earlier on Super Bowl Sunday.  We decided to eat lunch at church as we wouldn't really have time to drive home and eat and make it back before  AWANA started.  My niece stayed with us, as my brother had to go to work.

To entertain themselves, Elizabeth got my camera out and did a photo shoot with my niece and some others.

They went outside, without coats, to get the snow pictures.

The branches were lovely with all the snow lining them.  It was so beautiful.  Miss R.  reminds me of a cardinal in the brush. She likes the 'prairie' look.

 Thomas posed also.

Everybody worked on getting the food ready for the AWANA super bowl party.

The games included a touchdown celebration dance.  Dee did a great job!

Miss Sadie all dressed up in her cubbie uniform.

TaDa!  The party trays were ready for the hungry kids!  They enjoyed the warm pretzels with sauces and all the yummy snacks.  And this was BEFORE the game.  Ha!  We know how to celebrate in Ohio!  Bible lessons were done and verses recited in between all the fun and games.  We mustn't lose sight of our priorities!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

CCS v. Open Door

This game started out so well.  The Warriors jumped out to a 8-1 lead.  This game was scheduled earlier but had been cancelled because of bad weather.   It was rescheduled on short notice for a saturday afternoon.  We were missing some of our players and others were unable to play because of injuries.  In other words,  the bench was VERY thin.

The other team was composed of mostly large 8th graders.  Our guys played very well, but they wore down as the game progressed.  

At the end of the first quarter we were still up by 3 points.

T-Bob didn't play in the first half.  We had a weird thing that went through our family.  We weren't nauseated or anything but we had bad stomach pain for a day or two.  T-Bob was in the midst of this ailment on saturday when this game was scheduled.  Our bench was so thin that the 5th graders even got to play some.

At half time, we were down by 2. 

This little guy thought he was going to play a game of basketball with the teams shirts and skins.  He was obviously on the skins team.  His sister put his shirt on him and he immediately ripped it off.  He was very determined!

His Mom came down and put his shirt on and insisted that he keep it on.  He was not a happy camper and put on a first class temper.  Mom won!  Good for her.

T-Bob decided that it wouldn't hurt any worse to play than to sit on the bench.  He got up and in the game.  He was moving a little slow, but he got going faster the longer he played.

At the start of the second half, we had four of our starters in the game.  They were worn down as they really missed having T-Bob in the first half.  They had to play harder to keep up.

By the end of the third quarter, the team was down by 7.  

The other team played rough.  The refs weren't calling many fouls.  The other team was always hanging on our guys, hitting, slapping and holding.  The guys were pretty frustrated.  They kept a good attitude and didn't retaliate.  Our league is not blessed by great refs.  If they were very good, they wouldn't be reffing junior high basketball.  :-)

This was the final score.  I think both teams were glad when this game was over.