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We’re shifting gears here, moving into the new rhythm that will define our summer months here on the farm. Priorities are shifting, the things that claim the bulk of our time are changing.
Getting our gardens planted is something that we’re all working toward. The smaller of the two will be vegetables for our family, with anything left over headed to market. Multiple varieties of green beans, cucumbers, red peppers, zucchini, watermelon, yellow squash, golden beets, hot peppers and more are going in, and we’re quite excited. The second, larger plot will soon be growing strawberry popcorn and both pie and carving pumpkins. All of these are destined for sale; I’ve already had an inquiry from a local homeschool group wanting to come out in the fall for an afternoon of U-Pick pumpkins and selecting their own ears of cute little pink corn to pop.
Christopher and Mary Hannah have been giving their students at Classes by Beth Plus their final exams this week. This means that they are both knee deep in finalizing grades… as well as prepping for next year’s classes. Christopher has been revisiting Frankenstein in anticipation of this fall’s General Literature course, meaning that there’s been tons of discussion here about 1816’s Year Without a Summer, and how cause and effect —and the often inherent invisibility of both— are one of God’s most powerful tools.
We have more birthdays coming up! Our oldest sons will be 17 and 15 respectively. This has been a huge year of maturity and development for Mathaus, one where he has really focused in on his skills and refined his vision for the future. He’s having a blast with his YouTube channel, and the fact that he’s reading Shakespeare’s Henry V in his spare time right now makes this Momma so happy I could just about squeal. I have a feeling that Jack’s big turn at grappling with the world at large is just around the corner. He’ll be starting Sonlight’s Core 200 (History of the Church) soon, a study that spurred discovery and discussion when his older siblings encountered it. I see it having the same effect on Jack.
And then, John Mark will turn nine. Today he asked if his birthday gift could wait until the Tennessee Valley Fair, so that he can go and pick a rabbit for his own. I think he has dreams of a bigger 4-H adventure brewing in his head. I have a feeling he might just get his wish.
Beginning in June, Floating Axe Farm will be hosting a twice-monthly potluck for our church. I can’t tell you how delighted I am to get the chance to sit down and fellowship more deeply with the families God has given to worship alongside. We’ve had a terrible time getting to the weekly Wednesday night gathering, and while I wish it weren’t the case, I just don’t see that changing right now. But if it’s at my house, well… I can’t miss it!
Two of the things I’m most looking forward to this summer are “school” related: an Open House for a local Charlotte Mason community I’m hoping to get off the ground, and CMI’s 2017 Eastern National Conference. Both promise to be soul food for me, the kind of Mother Culture that refreshes me in my calling.
And speaking of conferences, Christopher and I are delighted that we’ll be traveling to Matthews, NC, in July to speak at the 2nd annual Lifeschooling Conference. The Benham Brothers are leading the charge, so it promises to be fun to attend, not just to present! We’re setting aside more time to do this sort of thing— share our work, our experiences, and our story— with others. If you happen to need a speaker for your conference, homeschooling group, VBS, or church, let us know!
Before we know it, August will come rolling in. Christopher will be looking at a slate of fall trips (Nepal and Cambodia are up first) and we’ll be here, enjoying the waning days of summer and the start to another gorgeous East Tennessee autumn. I’m catching my breath a little right now, waiting for the front end of the roller coaster to tip over the crest of the hill and bring us roaring into all that’s ahead.
Up and away!