Friday, February 8, 2019

Ice sculptures in the creek, and homeschooling

I'm writing this just as a big snow storm hits the Pacific Northwest. So far, we've been spared, but the white stuff is going to pile on big time, if we are to believe the godzilla-like weather forecast.

They are predicting high winds as well, so we are bracing for yet another power outage.  Another storm knocked our power out for two days last week, and in its aftermath Steve and our neighbor had to clean up our road with chainsaws.  There's a downside to living one mile up an unmaintained forest service road...

Considering we live surrounded by a variety of huge trees, we're lucky nothing fell on any of our buildings!

Yesterday I walked up the mountain behind our house, and I encountered creeks with frozen sculptures in them.  I was so enchanted I had to stop for a while, and upon returning home, I grabbed my son and his bike and drove up to the spot to take pictures.  Luke was impressed by the ice, too, but couldn't wait to book it down the mountain on his bike after taking a picture of me.

There ya go.  That's about all the ice and creek pictures you can take, huh?  

The first part of February has been full.

Luke's homeschooling is going great.  My readers have asked me lots of questions about the program we're using, so I'm going to tell you here: It's called Washington Virtual Academy (Wava).  We're happy with it so far.  

There's no goofing off, it's definitely like school, and something happens online every day.  Luke has been spending between two and four hours on the course work a day.  But there's also some flexibility.  Today, he went to work with Steve and will try to connect to the online classroom at noon for half an hour.  

Most days, he's done after lunch and spends hours afterwards building mountain bike trails.  That takes care of PE and then some.  I can tell you, the fresh air and exercise makes for a happy boy.

I know Luke has been in the spotlight on the blog a lot, and his older brother is not getting much attention here, so let me shine a light on Kai, who is flourishing as well.

He still goes to public school, but next year will participate in Skagit Valley College's Running Start program.  That means he will take classes at the college, which is one hour and 15 minutes away from us.  I feel pretty anxious about the whole driving thing, but one step at a time...

Here's Kai helping us bottle all the hard apple cider we made.  He looks super happy there, but I assure you we didn't let him sample the alcoholic cider.

Eva, the littlest, is also excelling at public school.  She has a great teacher and a good group of kids.  A few days ago, Eva and I gave a presentation about Germany in her class, and it was so fun to teach the kids some German words that I will come back and help out in the class every week.

That's all for now.  Let me go stoke the wood stove.  I want to bake muffins before the power goes out, and also fill up the bathtub with water, so we have extra for flushing toilets or doing dishes.

How is winter treating you?  Leave me a comment below and let's share experiences of our godzilla winter!


  1. Those ice sculptures are so crazy cool!!!!! I've never seen anything like that before.

    1. I know, right? Isn't that crazy and so beautiful?

  2. Some of your ice pictures look like antique Victorian lace. Beautiful. We are getting the winds here in Michigan. The wind is so strong that the corn field across the road looks like a dust storm. And it is VERY cold. 40 days till spring folks! I can't wait.

  3. If you let those kids have some hard cider I, personally, would not have a problem. I don't think your kids would become alcoholic from a little sip now and then. Did you know that "near" beer, like real root beer, was invented by monks in the someteenth century for kids to drink because water at the time was not always sanitary?

    1. You know I am German, and I Germany it's quite common for teenagers to drink beer with dinner... So no, it's fine with me if he wants to try some cider!

    2. I think as a parent one has to find a middle ground on issues like this. A stance either to lose or to rigid on alcohol might just have a conterproductive effect.
      A beer or a cider every now and then hasn't killed anyone, as far as I know.

  4. Right now we are experiencing a very unseasonal thaw! It is at least a month early! But I don't mind, we had more than 50cm of snow in the previous month and some coldsnaps, yet it has been a mild winter alltogether.

    1. Wow, so you had your share of snow. I guess even though there's a thaw, cold still might hit... It was super mild here before our cold snap, and my honeysuckle started greening up, so now I'm worried about all the tender little shoots that came out...


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