Sunday, August 30, 2009

garden update

I started off the summer posting about the garden we had finally gotten around to planting this year, and I'll end that way too. (School starts for me tomorrow, and for the boys the next day. You'd think I'd be finishing up all my getting-ready stuff instead of blogging about vegetables. I'm taking my mind off of the first day, calming myself, I think.)

You can click the link to see what the garden looked like in May; here's what it looks like now:

The results are a little mixed, as was to be expected, but I'm happy with it. J is too.

The sunflowers are my favorite. They're huge!

Really huge! (Three-year-old added for scale.)

The lettuce also got quite tall. Allegedly this is romaine. I am skeptical.

The squash was going gangbusters for a long time, but it's dying now. We did get to eat some of it, and it was great.

I hpoe this last one gets big enough to pick before the whole thing goes.

Our little pickling cucumbers were really productive.


Last, and actually least, the tomatoes in the Topsy-Turvies. I am shocked, shocked that the Made-for-TV people let me down like this.

And I was so looking forward to lots of yummy tomatoes. Tomatoes in salads, tomato sandwiches, tomato sauce . . . I'm glad my neighbor's tomatoes did well.

So, lessons for next year:
  • Give the squash enough room.
  • Flowers? Screw the flowers - we need the room for the vegetables (see the first lesson). Except for sunflowers.
  • Herbs do very well. I didn't show you the oregano, but it got so big it looks like a shrub. And cilantro is a twofer - the seeds are coriander.
  • No more lettuce.
  • Definitely cucumbers and chili peppers. Both were low-maintenance and super productive.
  • The Topsy-Turvy sucks.
Mmm, I do love a good learning experience. Satisfying stuff.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

new, again

With any sort of luck, this will be my last post about starting a new job.

Wednesday was my first day - just new teacher training, really - at my new school, South Shore Charter Public School. SSCPS is a K-12 school, the first charter school in Mass, I'm told. It was founded with a focus on community service, multiple-intelligence learning, and the belief that school is not just preparatory, that kids need to know that what they are doing now has real value. There's a lot of parent and community involvement, small classes, student-led workshops, and a nice blend of informality and respect. I'm very very happy to be coming back to teaching in a place like this, rather than a more traditional high school. (I'm also happy to have passed the MTELs and gotten my Mass certification, so I can come back to teaching period!)

Of course, with any new job, there are plenty of sources for nervousness. I'll be teaching chemistry for the first time, and while I'm pretty confident with the material itself, running chem labs scares me a little. Also, I was originally going to be joining a science teacher who had been there a few years (Yes, the whole science department consists of two people!), but she has decided to move to be closer to her family. So it'll be me and one other brand-new girl, although we do have an excellent mentor who will be coming in once a week to help us out. An aside, though - how cool is it that the whole science department (including the teacher for the middle grades, too) is young(ish) and female?

It's funny, but the whole way I ended up with this job seems sort of . . . serendipitous (really looking for a less cheesy word here, but coming up blank). I have no recollection of applying for it, though I'm sure I did - I sent out a LOT of resumes. (My process was, essentially, to look for places in Mass that were hiring, check Google Maps to see how long it would take me to get there, and if it was an hour or less, apply.) I was sent an email on a Friday saying they would be interviewing for a week, to leave a message over the weekend, and they would call on the Monday to set up a time. Only, I didn't get the email until Monday. I almost just let it go, figuring it was too late, but I decided to call and managed to schedule an interview for the Tuesday. It was a group interview - a few teachers from the school, the 7-12 principal, a parent, and a student - which I was totally not expecting, and I left thinking I had blown it. Thankfully, I was wrong, and everything happened quickly after that. I had all my paperwork in front of me and had given my notice at Sylvan by the end of the week.

So, here I go again, into something new. I know it's going to be a big change for the whole family. We'll have the "typical" everybody-gets-home-around-five structure, which hasn't been the case for a long time. Jane, in particular, has never gone anywhere full-time like that, though she's quite comfortable at the daycare she's at now. The teachers there have known her for a couple of years now, and have known us since Reese was three, so I'm comfortable with that too. Reese is still at the elementary school, also with a teacher who knows us well (she's been telling him she couldn't wait until he got to fourth grade for a few years now!). What makes me the most nervous is Sam - I wish I could be around more for his first year in junior high. Not that we won't have any time to talk, and for me to stay on top of what's going on with him, but I know it's going to be a lot to keep up with. I suspect my knitting will suffer . . . not to mention blogging . . .

I'll keep you posted, though - if for no other reason than a need to vent!

Monday, August 10, 2009

camping 2009

Camping is . . .
. . . s'mores and sparklers . . .

. . . new sights . . .

. . . and lots of laughing.

We had such a great time this year. The weather cooperated beautifully: sunny 70-80 degree days and crisp 40-50 degree nights. (I shall not speak of the weather we have come home to.)

We ended up spending more time than usual just hanging around the campground, though we did hit the county fair and Crown Point. We visited the latter place at just the right time - they stage a French and Indian War reenactment during the second weekend in August, which we did not know about, and we got there literally just as it was starting up. Kismet!

Our campsite this year was right on the lake, so the kids got to go swimming quite a bit. I spent a lot of time reading, drinking percolated coffee, and eating those s'mores almost every night.

In short, it was relaxing and a lovely break. I look forward to next year already.