Now as any one with children will tell you, the words child, project and deadline rarely bring out the best in families. We did get a break this year as Reiley only had three projects and two of them were livestock. Last year he took vet science, welding, first aid and small engine PLUS goat and beef. So that was four life skills projects times three projects for each totaling 12 sizable projects all due the same day. (I'm pretty sure that was one of the reasons we chose to home school.)
For achievement day, projects are not judged against the other projects, just that they meet the requirements for the project completion. Some children choose not to compete and are happy with their awards of achievement. For children who do choose to enter their projects into competition, achievement day is a great time to get some feedback on their project and just a chance to get fresh eyes and perspective.
With livestock, it is a good run through in preparation for the exhibition. You can see how your animal reacts to being with other animals if they usually aren't, and to test your handling skills in a show environment. For us it was a run through on trailering Ivan and an opportunity to get him used to groups of people around him. All in all, everything went well. Even trailering went without too much fan fare; a miracle in itself since it has been years since I had to back up a trailer.
All the projects were great. May I just say the kids in cake decorating are amazing! I think that's what I need, a project where you can just eat your mistakes.. (oops I already have that it is called my veggie garden)
Speaking of the garden, most things are finally growing well. The tomatoes are getting close to five feet, so I will be pinching most of them off tomorrow so they can put their energy into making fruit rather then growing plant. Some of my onions are starting to bolt, mostly the red ones for some reason, so I will introduce a little judicious pruning there tomorrow also. The zucchini suffered this year. The slugs took most of them before they could really get going. I replanted so hopefully they will bear fruit. I refuse to eat store bought relish anymore so I may need to buy, beg or barter some zucchini to have enough to make the years supply of relish.
Even though it makes for an insanely busy summer I just love all the preserving and canning. Fall is my favourite season, and I think a large part of that is the nesting feeling.
Finishing all the work of summer, and slowing down to appreciate all that hard work. The pantry and freezers full to the rafters, herbs hanging, and the root cellar bursting. Just that sense of everything just starting to wind down.
I think that is a large part of the allure of this lifestyle also. The feeling of accomplishment, the knowledge that what you do matters, even if it only to you, your family and friends. Actually let's make that especially if it matters to you, your family and friends; because let's face it your work should matter most to you and the people who are closest to you. That is what gives you a sense of community, a sense of belonging and importance. Too many people never get the satisfaction of completing something in it's entirety, of truly providing for themselves and those they care about.
Our society is fractured, we make parts of things and send them somewhere else to be put together with other parts made by different people, sometimes on a different continent. Or, we trade our time for money doing something that we may not enjoy, sometimes doing things we find distasteful or even reprehensible.
I am not saying that everything we do here on the farm is an absolute joy or that we walk around like we have found Nirvana. It isn't; but we do know that everything we do here matters to us and to those that we love.
Our children have grown up knowing that the work they do matters, in some cases that it is vital to our family. I think this responsibility is necessary for kids. It teaches them values, that they are needed and valued and that their actions have consequences, good and bad. I feel that this is something we have lost. Even in adults of a certain age, they have never had that feeling of accomplishment or knowing that they are integral to the people around them. Most companies do their utmost to let people know that they are not vital, the whole we can get along just fine without you so don't think you have any sort of guarantee here atmosphere.
No wonder we are all so stressed and our society is floundering. We need to take back our souls. We need to make our communities function on the human scale again.
If you feel this way, if you are desperate to get off that treadmill and ready to start feeling like you matter begin today. Start taking your life back TODAY! It is possible, it is not difficult, it requires planning, educating yourself, and perseverance; but it can be done.
On Monday I'm going to start a series of blogs to show you how to start. We are going to look at how we got here and how to step off the treadmill and we are going to start with food. See you all on Monday. Have a great day everyone!