Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Back in Mississippi

It's been almost a month since returning to the South, and we've been busy.

Annaliese started kindergarten, in a class with many of her best friends.  We have been pleasantly surprised by the new academic pace and goals at the school this year.  Related to testing/funding, kindergarden is no longer a social-only program.  In the first month they have started to read, do basic math, and work through sentence and story structure, syllables...  She has homework every night, and is very intense about doing it.  As she is intense about so many things.

Her good friend Parker, who seems to be the only girl in her class who isn't interested in boys yet.  We've got to find out what her parents are doing right.  We hear about Annaliese's two boyfriends and the kissing tree on the playground too much.

Annaliese and Chloe, best friends, and unfortunately not in the same class.  They meet up at recess, on the bus, and at the pool most days.

Note the face.  So serious.

Also a pleasant surprise, her classroom is a bright, sunny place.

With Annaliese in school from 7:30 until 3 each day, I have afternoons with my boy, a brand new treat.

He is a chatty, helpful, and happy kid when he gets the spotlight.

While installing the kitchen counters, lying on my back under them, my helper wanted to see everything.  The best vantage point: on top of me.

Finally.  They live well.

Alexe wallpapered a wall, all by herself, twice.  It looks great.

The kids got new shoes at the annual Neilson's sale.  Several pairs each, made in Spain, nice bright colors, I think they've misplaced all but one pair between the two of them.  Who knew a word like "shoes" could come up 50 times a day.

The doors to the upstairs were made:

and installed.

A turtle we found and Annaliese tagged with nail polish last spring visited again.

The window seat upstairs was finished out with hinges from grandpapa.  Hinges on the hobbit doors also courtesy of his collection.

The chickens eat well, and await their new house.

Puzzles have been done.

Kitchen light fixtures have been finished, inspiration from a.Natalie, old Ball jars from grandpapa. 

Church has been attended, with Caspian making a trial run at the pulpit, (only kid during children's time who was brave enough to march up and look out at the congregation from the pulpit when invited,) and Annaliese bringing her own bible and holding it for her brother during hymns.

Games of spy have been lead by Alexe, this one last almost the entire walk home from church. 

Five new girl pigs have joined us on the farm.  The brewery is going to join forces with the BTC kitchen to keep these ladies fed.

A cute wagon was found in a hedge, and I've been using it on early foggy mornings, before the heat sets in, to gather fence posts and barn-materials from our woods.  We may have enough cedar in our woods to do both projects.

Various arts and crafts projects have been dreamed up and executed.  This one was all Caspian. 

New chicken house / livestock shelter site.

Dixie has run some amazing lunch specials.

Apple/peach/maple syrup cart, courtesy of grandpapa's collection.

Three years later, Annaliese decides to wear her overalls for the first time.

Much time has been spent at the pool.  

The first member of our herd, "Eat Cow", named by Annaliese.  Half angus, half jersey, this little bull will be two weeks old on Friday.  

A hungry little man, we're enjoying him while he's small.

A raccoon was caught by the tenants at the blue house, and we released him out by the lake.

The local Sonic burned.  Not down, but enough to shut them down for a while.

THIS is what I hoped I would get to do when we bought a farm.  (*Contented sigh*)

Annaliese ballances school-fashion with farm fashion very well.  For school she meticulously plans her outfits.  For the farm, she rarely keeps anything on.

With the vent hood, the duct work, the exhaust fan, and gas lines, and the fire suppression system finally installed, I was able to swing (drag/push/heave) this monster into place and hook her up.  She's awful pretty.

For the record, I was not the first person to let the cow in the house.  This lovely lady just happens to be a pushover for anything young and cute.

Kapow!  That's right, the two full blood jersey heifers to finish out the herd.  These ladies will grown up to be mothers, bearing a calf or two each year and raising them on our rolling hills.  We were on a waiting list with a dairy south of us, the only folks around willing to sell female jersey calfs.

They came from a big jersey dairy operation, grain based, and this is their system for raising their calfs each season on bottles.  The calfs stay in these chutes for 2 months.  

Barn, all cedar, the enclosed side is for chickens, open side for cows/goats/sheep, side pen will be for small goats/sheep.  The plan is for two females of each species.

There's a bit of a deadline on the farm setup now.  Fencing the whole property is the next thing on the agenda, now that the firewood is in.  Planning on a six wire high tensile fence, electrified on the goat-pattern, around 20 or so acres, in three major paddocks, with small subsections based on need, and a dedicated pig area with heavy gauge field fence wire and an electrified strand around the base.  

That needs to be done in the next few weeks, because this may be right around the corner.