Thursday, September 29, 2016

I'm not judging you

The kids in the water, in the middle of a week-day when they should be at school?

These are my boys and their best friend. What you have to know about this picture is that the water is very, very cold, and that one of the kids is holding a Go-Pro camera, shivering, edging his way to the middle of the river, where giants shadows rest on the river bottom.

The shadows are Silver Salmon.

The reason the kids are braving the glacial water at the end of September with an underwater camera in their cold hand is because they want to film these salmon.

Problem is, the salmon dart away as soon as they sense splashing water from approaching humans, thus the kids didn't get any salmon footage.

So they moved on to building a mud slide, sledding on their bellies head-first down the slick, dark river mud.

They could have been sitting in school all day, but they're homeschooled, so they get to chase salmon and play in mud instead.

Please let me get one thing straight:

I'm not judging you if you don't homeschool.  It breaks my heart to think some people might feel judged by the pictures I share on social media.  This DID happen a couple of weeks ago when I posted the picture below, and someone asked, "You are not judging me, are you?"

Of course I'm not!

I'm sharing our journey, and homeschooling happens to be a big part of it.  But is homeschooling for everyone?  

God, no!

Every family is different, and many parents are not willing or able to homeschool.  Many kids want to BE in school.  Mine don't, and I'm glad.

Homeschooling is a huge deal, and although I'm showing you highlights of the best things in our life, it's really NOT a big, huge party and filled with adventures all the time.  Yes, there's lots of joy, and yes, there are many adventures, but there is also plenty of stress, pissed-off-ness, pull-our-teeth-out, boredom, drudgery, and never-ending chores.

Got it?  I'm not judging you.  Period.

Moving right along.

Things are busy.  There's so much to do, and the laundry is stacking up while I prepare our homesteading/wilderness retreat weekend.  There are still spots available, but we have ads coming out October 1st, so things may fill up fast.  If you want in on the action, do it NOW!

I have to make a conscious choice to relax and give myself breaks.  When the work is never done, and when you homeschool, you don't get much chill time.  That's why knitting is my mental health medicine.  Here I am working on a wool sweater for winter, and farther down is the cardigan I made during the summer.  Hurray for knitting (and chocolate) to help me stay sane!

Talking of busy: I've been making lots of goat milk soap, because, oh my!  These goats produce a lot of milk!  I absolutely love these soaps and have fallen in love with some of the molds out there to produce extra-special bars.
(I teach soap making at our weekend retreat, by the way).

Ever since I started using my own goat milk soaps, I don't have to use lotion on my skin any more.  My soap is super moisturizing, creamy and luscious, if I say so myself.  

I sell my soaps in my online Etsy store if you want some.

This post is already getting long, but I have to tell you about two more things:

Cider pressing!  Our neighbors' family made a really cool cider press and brought it up to try it out, knowing there were plenty of apples in our 'hood.  We picked some off our trees and headed over there, kids and dog in tow.  This homemade press cranked out some pretty awesome apple juice!

The other thing: a mother-and-son (and dog) hiking trip that will go down in history.  It's a trail called Cow Heaven that's only a five-minute drive from our house, but we've never done it.


Because it's grueling.  Ten miles and 4,000 feet elevation gain, through some pretty magical forest, but without any views, until you finally, finally emerge into the open into meadows of blueberry fields with gorgeous views.

On the way up, already tired and sick of hiking, we managed to stir up a wasp or hornet nest on the ground.  I got stung in the knee and calf, and Raka the dog got stung on her snout, which we realized only until we were on the top.

It hurt.  A lot.  Both my legs kept swelling, but I didn't have any medicine or plants (like plantain) on hand.  At the top, I remembered that ferns can draw poison out, so I crushed up some and put them on the stings.  That's when we saw swollen Raka's lip.  One of my friend's dogs had to visit the vet ER after being stung by wasps, so I got scared.  

Remembering a wilderness emergency course I took years ago, I recalled the magic of urine.  Yes, I'm talking about pee.  So we all got down to business.  We had consumed a lot of liquids on the way up, so business was booming, if you know what I mean.  I medicated my own stings with the magic potion, and it helped.

The boys peed in a bottle (which elicited an enormous amount of hilarity) and when that was done we poured it over the dog's snout, which elicited more hilarity.  I will spare you the details, but know this: her swelling went down.


I look tired and sad. My wasp stings hurt. Hurt. Hurt. Hurt.


  1. This was a big post. A lot of subject matter so thanks for getting to the point on all topics.

    You do paint a rosy picture, my dear. You're one of the most positive people I know and I love you for that. There's too much nastiness in this world today and it needs to be offset by goodness. There is a lot of goodness, too, and people want it remember it.

    You're one of the most realistic homesteaders as well. Even though your picture is rosy you don't white wash it. I have a suggestion. Perhaps you could write about the challenges of homeschooling and how you've dealt with them?

    Aside: I have used pee for things like that. It seems like fuzzy science but it does seem to work and for the life of me I can't figure out how. There is more research on the internet about this so I won't go into it.

    What are those craggy mountains in the background? I hate wasps. I know they have to live and defend but can't they give us a break? They defend against the innocent, too!

  2. PS For all of you sitting on the fence as to whether to buy her soaps or not I can tell you from my experience that her soaps last a long time, smell great and do moisturize like crazy. Since I live in a super dry climate I must say truthfully I still need to use lotion but that's because my climate is super dry, windy and very dusty. It's like living in a dehydrator. As a matter of fact this is a big raisin making region so there you go. Still, ordinary soap does not cut it so I really appreciate how she makes her soaps.

    1. Awwww, you are so very sweet! Thanks for your feedback on my positivity, and thanks for appreciating that. I used to write more about dark stuff, because a few years back, there was dark stuff and depression in my life. Since I'm in a better place now, and since I have lots of tools for emotional balance, I'm more positive.

      I want to address more emotional issues in the future, since I know a lot of us deal with overwhelm and unexpressed feelings and false beliefs about ourselves, the world, and others.

      And thanks for your awesome feedback about my soap!

  3. Sounds like a grueling climb indeed! And wasps, yeah well they can be annoying and in my quest to get rid of them I learned about them. Y'know, if you want to defeat your enemy, you have to know him. And guess what.... They are fascinating creatures! And help in the garden as well, eating aphids and other insects.
    Emotional issues; I do deal with them on my blog. feels good to write them down and maybe someone is helped by it. I have a bit of a hard time being positive all the time.

    Ohh... and if someone's feeling judged... who's problem is that, really? Maybe they feel that they should be?

  4. Keep up your feel-good vibe, my friend! You're an amazing person living life they way way it should be lived.

  5. Wow! Epic hike, it sounds like. Do you carry an epi pen on those trips? This summer we had a real scare when a member of our family went down hard to a sudden anaphylactic reaction to a wasp sting - he had never reacted before, but as a farmer has had his fair share of wasp and other insect bites over the decade. Nobody knows why he had the sudden severe reaction, but if it hadn't been for a neighbour with an epi pen that was able to race over he would not have been with us today. It inspired me to get a child and adult dosage epi pen for our first aid kit at home, even though we don't have any known severe allergies.

    And also - Your homeschool adventures look amazing!


    1. *meant to say the decades - he is in his fifties, not ten...

  6. That sounds very, very scary, Erin. None of us are allergic to stings, but we have friends who are, and they always carry an epi pen. I think I will buy one, just in case. Better be safe than sorry!!! Glad everything turned out okay with your family!

    1. Yes, we figured the same, best to be safe. Besides, we have visitors over lots too, so if nothing else it makes me feel good knowing I have it.

  7. Corina, bleib so wie du bist - you are wonderful and you have an amazing life and family! The world needs positivity - so please, keep on sharing and put it out there. I find that my own blog posts reach more people when they are positive instead of grey and gloomy. So keep on sharing the smiles! Btw, we are 'German" home schoolers as well ;-)

    1. Yes, it's so true. The world needs positive vibes!
      German homeschoolers! Where are you located?


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