Monday, 31 October 2011


Perseus and Athena are in bed stuffed full of candy, and I - Medusa - am completely exhausted (and stuffed full of candy!)

Halloween was wonderful! We tricked and treated and walked through a haunted house. Actually Marco and I walked, Madison was in my arms from the front door! I can still carry my nine year old. She was very unhappy that despite my snake hair, I couldn't actually turn the monsters to stone :)

The vampire mermaids were one of the coolest costumes I have ever seen. And the cyclops even scared me!

Yet another memorable moment with the children. . .

Friday, 28 October 2011

Beaten by the Birds

"Marco, what else should I put on the shopping list?" I enquired.
"Milk, pears, eggs . . . " he listed off.
"Eggs?" I questioned.  We looked at each other guiltily and nodded in resignation.

We will persevere with our egg laying plan but it seems we cannot forgo eggs in the meantime :)

We measured for chicken wire today to enlarge our coop.  I think we may need to try our luck with more hens!

These are the chickens in question:

I also took some photos of our raised beds:

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Cutting Class

No, I'm not talking about truancy!

The kids and I were taking some cuttings of our favorite plants for transplantation today.  Our seed shelves are covered with cuttings.  We started with a clipping from a fig tree from Manjack Cay, which I transported all the way back on both the ferry and the plane!

The stewardess was very concerned.  "You're not planning to take that to the States are you?"
"No, ma'am.  We live in Nassau, we're Bahamian.  No attempted smuggling happening here!"

We took cuttings of our basil and frangipani - very easy, mulberry - a bit more challenging and rosemary, which roots along its trailing stems - Madison loved seeing that one.

"It's just like how ferns grow," she informed me.  I had no idea how ferns grew or that she knew!  I love homeschooling.

We planted some more seeds in our raised beds too.  Carrots, onions, corn and peas.  We only have a tiny gap left out of all of that square footage we built!  I am reserving that for the radishes.

I don't think the chickens noticed our absence - or if they did, they are withholding the egg out of spite now :)

But one of our dogs certainly did!  Knight is still not talking to me!  He just looks away when I call him. I have a lot of making up to do.

The compost pile is not going as planned .  Apparently that particular smell means anaerobic decomposition may be taking place.  I need to aerate and water my compost pile!

And I thought I only needed to water the garden!

Abaco Adventure

We just flew back to Nassau from Treasure Cay, Abaco.  We had a wonderful three day "field trip" to Manjack Cay.  We are covered with mosquito bites and scratches from hiking in the "woods" but very happy and excited.  Manjack is beautiful and very low key. It was refreshing to not see a single car until we anchored in Black Sound, Green Turtle Cay for the last night.  Green Turtle Cay is a very clean, friendly out island settlement.  Charming place to visit.

The highlights were: turtle watching in the anchorage, the stunning two mile Atlantic beach, rich soil and large Bahamian trees, huge mutton snapper (the one that got away) and the amazing and inspirational people we met there.

Manjack Cay is a special place and we will definitely be seeing it again.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Bring on the Boys!

I completely understand why farmers traditionally wanted many sons.  We built our final raised bed in the garden today and Marco just wouldn't quit!  We put the final shovelful of soil in just as the sun was setting.  Of course by then it was too dark to see the fruits of our labour :)  Madison, meanwhile, sneakily sidled away when I wasn't looking.  I want lots and lots of sons!  I figure if we have a couple more now and raise them to age ten, we'll get eight years of hard labour out of them before they go off to college :)  We could build anything!  Seriously though, Marco is one of the most helpful children I know.  I am so proud of him.

No eggs.  What is wrong with that hen?!

Radish Recipe!

Radishes with Pasta and Arugula
20 radishes, sliced
2 cups arugula
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

12-ounce package penne pasta cooked

1/4 cup cooking water from pasta

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper
  1. Wash and trim radishes. Thinly slice.
  2. Rinse arugula leaves and tear into small pieces.
 3. Heat oil in large pan. Add onions and cook just until they begin to soften.    Add radish slices and cook for five minutes.  Add arugula and cook for another two minutes until radishes are almost translucent and arugula wilts.  Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
4. Add to pasta and toss.  Add cooking liquid from pasta and stir. Sprinkle cheese and toss.
5. Serve with additional grated parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.

I was looking for a way to cook radishes to see if planting them in our garden would be a good idea.  I also have a ton of arugula to use up and the kids find it a little spicy in salads.  In this recipe it is all delicious and they came back for seconds  . . . and thirds . . . and fourths!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Culture Quest

"Hola!  Que linda!  Como te llamas?" gushed a sweet cuban lady at the International Food Festival today.  Madison looked at me uncertainly . . . and then - a miracle occurred - she remembered her spanish!  
"Me llamo Madison.  De donde eres?  Soy de Bahamas." she politely replied.


Madison has been struggling with Spanish for years.  She had a range of spanish teachers before we began homeschooling and they ranged from bad to really terrible.  Some of them even made spanish spelling mistakes (and if I could spot them it means they were really bad because Spanish was never my thing either).  I learned french instead.  But . . . the kids had already started to learn spanish so when I ordered our curriculum I tried to pick up where their schools had left off.  It has been difficult but we are finally getting somewhere.  I recently found some new curriculum that teaches spanish in a somewhat old-fashioned way - you know conjugating verbs and all that useless stuff - when all they want to teach the kids in school today is conversation skills.  However, I believe that to learn to love a language you have to really understand it.  What I have found so hard to deal with is that my straight A student really believes spanish is too difficult for her!  I have a hard time with what those teachers have done to her self-esteem.  She has a very big mental block where spanish is concerned and that is our main difficulty.   

So our explorations at the Cultural Festival today were very encouraging.  In addition to Cuba, we visited the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Peru, France, England and Scotland.  We peeked in on Greece but the crowds put us off staying for a longer visit.  The food was divine and the people were wonderful all over the world!   

Around the world in eighty days has nothing on us!  :)

No eggs.

Friday, 21 October 2011

My New Addiction :)

Blogging is incredibly addictive!  I am in the market for a new addiction :)

I quit smoking two years ago, drinking alcohol two months ago and coca-cola two weeks ago.  Addictive personality do you think?

Seriously though, I just discovered that you can track how many times your blog has been viewed  - I quickly clicked the "don't count my views" button :) - and even see the distribution among countries. Looking at the map, I was thinking: Germany, who do I know in Germany?  I even have an Australian following!  Thank you Peter :)

Of all of the possible addictions out there, obsessively checking my blog stats appears to be pretty harmless!

No eggs.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

A Truckload of Topsoil

In case anyone is wondering . . . six yards of topsoil is a HUGE pile of dirt!

I ordered some soil for the new garden bed today. I carefully estimated my cubic footage, worked it all out - then doubled it just to be on the safe side :)

Now I have to build another raised bed just to accommodate the dirt! This is getting out of hand.

No eggs.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Puppies, Poultry and Plants

Today was an incredibly full - and fulfilling - day.

The Bahamas Humane Society hosted a mini day camp for kids.  Madison and Marco loved the time they spent there and, as soon as I showed up, insisted on showing me around the entire facility.  Within no time I was up to my ankles in puppies!  The sweetest , most adorable bundles of puppies.  The Humane Society was very impressive - clean, organized and extremely well-run.  

I was also offered a rooster.  
"No thank you,  I already have a rooster." 
Apparently roosters are not the most popular of animals :) 
Probably nothing to do with that crowing thing at all!  Speaking of roosters . . . our chickens are doing very well.  They love their nest, their water dish and their daily bug supplement.  No eggs yet though.

While the kids were at day camp, I ordered some lumber for another outdoor project - a new garden bed. After math and spelling - we did have to do some real school today - I started teaching a woodworking course.  This went surprisingly well considering that I am a beginner myself.  We sawed, hammered, drilled and screwed.  We dug holes for the posts, raked the rocks and leveled the land.  It looks great!  And now we have a lot more space to put those tomato plants in once the seeds sprout.  

Our garden contains: basil, rosemary and arugula - in abundance, chives, sage, thyme, spanish thyme, green onions, broccoli, assorted greens, bok choy (no idea what I am going to do with it), collard greens (ditto), beets, brussels sprouts, squash, cauliflower and cabbage - both purple and green.  I just cannot resist those tiny little plants at the nursery!  In addition, the kids have planted seeds for tomatoes, watermelon and peas.  My favorite purchases for the garden today were four sweet potato plants.

Sawing, sweating and sifting through the soil; I really treasured this special time with the children today.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Birds in my Backyard

We have a new, exciting addition to our- shall we say- life sciences course.

We are the proud owners of a rooster and a hen. Their names are Captain and Mate. Mate is actually Mate the 2nd since the very first thing I did was let the first hen go! So off we went to the store to buy another one - actually I sent Brock since I was too embarrassed to go.

We have converted our old crab pen to a chicken coop, created a laying nest, a roosting perch and we spent the afternoon searching for bugs to increase our chickens' protein intake :)

We are hoping for eggs in a couple of days. I have in fact been forbidden to buy eggs so as not to jinx our endeavour.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, 17 October 2011

They're baaaaaack!

The kids are back! The kids are back!

This morning sees us frantically cutting and pasting to finish our mid-term break projects before the teacher sees. Oh yeah . . . I am the teacher!

The conflict between Mommy and teacher is often interesting and frequently funny - at least in our school.

"Madison, do you think your teacher will like your project?" I enquire mischievously.
"Of course, Mom!" (rolls eyes)
"Why?" I ask innocently. "Is she a lot like me?"
Madison giggles. Silly mommy!

I wonder if others find this distinction as easy? I think this basic ability to be both Mom and teacher is at the core of a successful homeschool - or boatschool as the case may be :) it's not always easy but it is always worth it.

Friday, 14 October 2011


Welcome to my new blog. Our school at home is actually a school on a sailboat - a 72 ft schooner named Keewatin to be precise. I hope you will enjoy our adventures in schooling and sailing.

Mid-term break is in effect right now.
"But it's so early" I hear.
"Just one of the things I love about homeschooling" I reply. "I can set up our schedule exactly as I need to"

The kids are currently on vacation with their other parents. We are not only a boating family, but a blended boating family! I am missing them, ordering curriculum and basically killing time until they return on Sunday.

We have managed to fit in a few boat projects though. We have almost completely reconstructed the staysail boom that snapped in the ocean just south of Conception island on our recent expedition around the islands of the Bahamas. We have also started repairs on our bowsprit which encountered some fresh water next to a patch of bare wood leading to . . . you guessed it - rot!

My new teachers desk that we recently built is in place and perfect!