Friday, October 20, 2017


When I was a freshman in high school I discovered Tom Petty.
I mean, I knew who he was (I had seven older siblings
who listened to him- mostly I remember from my brother Andrew),
but I discovered him for myself when he came out with 
his "Wildflowers" album.
It reminds me of skiing, my white '88 Subaru, and my cousin Nicholas.
Years ago I set up the song Wildflowers as Claire's ringtone on my phone
which I think is appropriate since
 she's the same age as I was when I first heard the song.
Plus it reminds me of her- and a young me.

You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
You belong with your love on your arm
You belong somewhere you feel free.

I know it's been a few days (weeks?),
 but I just heard Tom Petty passed away and his passing had me
reflecting on loads of memories. 

Also: I found more of autumn on the ranch!!
Next week we head to Utah to enjoy the last drops of fall.
I'm pretty excited.

Spiritual Enlightenment: The Needs before Us

Annnnnd: Do I need to remind you that Halloween is in 11 days?  Heads up. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Fall on the ranch

Last evening after school and before dinner,
Mr. Nielson and I walked miles of fence line together.
We checked to be sure the fences were in tact and the
cattle were in the right pasture.
On our walk I gathered pretty rocks and examined twisted old limbs
while the sun set behind the mesa.
The air is chilly and I can't go outside without a sweater or jacket anymore.
The ranch is so beautiful in autumn with
golden grasses and high shadows.
Today on my run I saw two coyotes dancing around the high pasture.
Sometimes in the thick black night when I lay in bed I can hear
them yelp and cry in the distance.  
I think they know fall is in the air.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


The beauty of homeschooling is the ability to spend time together 
doing fun experiments, cooking in the kitchen, field trips, and
hands-on learning and studying as a family.
Today we discussed different types of energy and made s'mores
cupcakes to demonstrate heat energy.
We also made baking soda and vinegar bombs outside and talked
about chemical energy.  After school Nicholas must have spent hours 
making little bombs on the tops of ant hills.
Speaking of energy, whew, I am so tired after we finish up for the day.
I usually take Angus for a walk on a little trail 
behind the ranch house so I can breathe and decompress.  
It's also very nice to be alone for a little while.

I use "The Good And The Beautiful" curriculum for Nicholas and Lottie.
I have been so happy with this experience and think the
materials I teach are beautifully written and very informative.
I especially love that the lessons incorporate God and the Bible-
as they should be.  It's very refreshing.
Claire, Jane, and Ollie are using online BYU Independent study, and they love it.
We start school together in the morning, 
have little breaks together throughout the day, 
eat lunch together, and finish for the day together.  
Of course there are pros and cons to this set-up;
like listening to each other's lessons, 
getting annoyed with each other ("She's reading too loud!"),
 and being tempted to stay in our PJ's all day.
Also, there are days that I want to pull my hair out, and run away.
Also, a HUGE announcement: 
Claire turns 16 on the October 29th, and today a very cute boy from Utah 
called her and asked her out ON A DATE 
(since we will be in Utah for her special day).  
The best part about this date is that Claire and this cute boy share a birthday,
(they were born in the same hospital too!).
 They have been friends and neighbors for years.

I just can't believe my little Toadie can date!