Saturday, 28 July 2007


In case it wasn't obvious, Effie's life is dominated by the musical - each one having its own Effie'ized song and dance number reprise for us all to look forward to. This is a picture of Effie's Dolly Levi get-up from current musical fav "Hello! Dolly". She's also had a long-standing relationship with Pirates of Penzance so she was thrilled when I recently brought home a Beta to DVD'ized version of her Momma's early 80's performance as Mabel in Pirates (looking for a new line of work? buy a Beta machine and charge people $40 to transfer their crappy home movies onto DVD).

So here, for your "laughing with" not "laughing at" pleasure, is 16 year old Tiki as Mabel, followed by her daughter 25 years later. Note: not the highest quality "Beta to DVD to camera capture of 14" television image to youtube" video ever. Also note, in case its not clear, the outfit Tiki's sporting is indeed a "big pink dress". Also, also note, our buddy Margaretha is in the background there somewhere and I can't remember what the name of the guy playing Frederic is so we'll just call him "Smiley":

Unschooling lives

"Yeah, I was writing Chinese", Effie says.
Alrighty then!

Rain dance... Effie would prefer it to rain 365 days a year. Yes, that's a skirt she's wearing for a top.

"Momma, can you please hold up my frozen green water experiment while you're on the computer so I can take a picture?"

An impromptu fitness class broke out at the homeschooling day out...

Monday, 23 July 2007

"We love one another"

Here’s a 4 minute video recap of what we’ve been up to these past 3 months, minus the screaming, pouting, wailing and naked trampolining (because no one needs to see that!). The clip is set to the song Top Ranking by Blonde Redhead which perhaps could be viewed as an odd choice to soundtrack pedestrian familial images since the lyrics include “they have real shotguns, they were baby killers” and the refrain “they will burn down your house”. However the music fits the tempo perfectly, the vocals are other-worldly and there is some interesting lyrical imagery in there as well (amongst all those dead babies). Of course, all that means nothing when your daughter questions “why am I running through the sprinkler so slowly”. Its ART baby!

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Garden Candy

Fresh garden peas are like candy to the kiddos in the summertime. Of course, for them, candy is like candy too. Fergus is especially fond of the sugary version these days and can, for example, munch down a lollipop in no time flat. This he does in between mouth fulls of bell peppers and (strangely) frozen, low-quality, cut-up vegetables!

Some years we have a good crop of peas in our own garden. We didn't quite get around to planting them (yet) this year. Thank goodness Grandpa lives just 45 minutes down the road! Here's a photo of this year's crop (the brown earth). In the background are our apple trees that, once we plant in the ground, will hopefully provide us with some tasty treats some day. We may have to put stickers on them so the kids will recognize what they are!

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Big Big

These days Fergus alternates between being decidedly a “big kid” and “just a little kid”. Mostly he prefers to be seen as big, but he also seems to feed off the attention that he feels is only afforded the smallest, as in “Mommy, I’m still your little kid right?”

Sometimes, such as when fires are being lit or alcohol consumed, he’s even an “adult”.

And this year, for the first time, Fergus has decided to participate in our summer soccer outings that we organize. Summer soccer, Victoria homeschooling style, means kids of all ages, no whistles, unlimited breaks and, if it should strike your fancy (which it often does for some), lying down on the pitch and picking clover with your best buddy by your side. As well, if you so choose, you can have a ball to your self during scrimmages - as demonstrated here by Fergus as he gleefully pots a goal with his ball while the others, foolishly, fight over the other one!

Tuesday, 10 July 2007


Here’s Trapper - the other member of our family. Tiki and Grannie found him under a trailer and brought him home when he was a puppy. I first encountered his dirty-paws-on-white-shirt routine when he was a year and a half and Effie knew him for close to four years. He died four years ago at the age of 12 but he remains with us in more ways than just through his grave, the many water dishes scattered about the property, and the “guard dog on duty” sign we have yet to take down. Trappy shaped much of who Tiki and I are and who we are as a family. Mainly, I think, because he was what others would describe as “anti-social” as well as stubborn. He also was never ever able to understand the term “heel” despite hearing it 56 million times, possessed a menacing bark, nibbled sometimes (and bit once - sorry AGAIN Raul) and he was prone to take off after deer, rabbits and other dogs. These challenging attributes pushed us in the direction of always being conscious of what he was up to, what his needs were, how he was interacting with other dogs and humans and how we were going to approach these situations. So, from tossing out the “how does your child measure up” bumf soon after Effie was born, through Effie leading us in the direction of unschooling and onward, we have - as a family - dealt with family life based on the foundation we gained in the years when it was just the two of us and the Trap-man. As silly as it may sound, in many ways our dog helped to define our lives.

I’m not even going to get into how it blows my mind how the boy Fergus, in so many ways, is Trapper-incarnate.

Trap was also extremely handsome, cuddly, kissy, loyal, energetic, funny and had the most wonderful smelling coat when he laid in the sun. Four years ago we buried our dear pal Trapper beneath a peculiar tree, off the side of a trail and within sight of the house. We all think of and speak of him often. Effie, especially, continues to take good care of both him (through tending to his grave with the occasional bounty of flower petals) and his memory (via anecdotal stories she relays to her brother). I think people know what he meant to us - it's rare that someone asks when we’re going to get another dog.

Trapper Bray:

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Lazy Saturday

One of those days when you didn't think you did anything but actually did quite a bit - here's what we got up to around the place today...

Got monkey dressed for breakfast

Hung out with a fawn

Followed some dragonflies

Found an owl feather

Checked the snake homes

Tried to identify this fella

Flew a kite

Weeded garden

Jammed on the keyboard

Had burnt marshmallows for dinner!

Friday, 6 July 2007

Thrill Test

The kiddos are big gum fans - at least off and on. Fergus will chew pretty much any flavour/ any colour. There are a couple of types that his sister doesn't allow him to chew indoors because of the way the smell affects her. Last weekend, the Canada Day parade candy was quite uninspired - double bubble and tootsie rolls! Of course Ferg repeatedly combined the two that day into a chewy, gooey mess and thoroughly grossed-out his Grandma and Grandpa... and my shorts received nice pinky-brown splotches on them somehow.

Yeah, it's a slow blog day...

So recently I was telling an excited Effie about this gum we used to chew that tasted like soap. For some reason this intrigued her and for a while the daily question for me was "have you found any soapy gum yet"? I finally did and her enthusiasm was, predictably, short lived. Fergus on the other hand seemed unaffected by the soapy taste and kept on chewin. Me thinks gum says quite a great deal about our kids.