Laundry on the line, wood and compost, September 2008 (c) Katrien Vander Straeten

My mom is reliving her childhood sifting through the many woodpiles of predominantly rotted wood that the previous owner left. She’s moving the logs that still hold good BTUs to our good woodpile. We’re fast approaching three cords of wood: enough for a winter, only we don’t have a wood stove as yet, as this year’s budget can’t accommodate it. Neither do we have the money to get some sort of lawn/meadow started in that area. Next year: we’ve got time.

We’re drying laundry on the line and composting happily. In fact, we’ve got two of those Earth Machines and they’re nearly full, so my dad is making a larger compost area in a far corner of the property, made from the chain link fence we pulled out a while ago. Unfortunately I checked out the “compost” the landfill put aside for us and it’s full of trash! We’ll have to screen it ourselves and we’re not equipped for that, yet.

We also found the first dead animal on our property: a squirrel that was (very recently) bitten by what looks like a fox – the bite is too small for a dog, too large for a cat. Any other predators out there?

Dead squirrel (c) Katrien Vander Straeten

Amie is going to preschool soon. She has been home with us for several months, ever since we moved, so it will be a big change for her (and me). I can’t say she is particularly enthusiastic, but neither is she apprehensive about it, I think. Part of the problem is that she has no clear concept of time: “in six days” means very little to the little girl who will whine “I haven’t seen Nemo all this year!”

So I decided to make a countdown calender.

Amie’s countdown calendar, September 2008 (c) Katrien Vander Straeten

I made it out of a scrap cardboard frame, glued it to a sheet of card stock, then drew in the squares: a visit to the landfill (I know!), riding the bike, reading Library Lion (the new favorite book), and her favorite characters Nemo and Caillou, and of course her Oma and Opa’s arrival at the airport on the third, and her first day of school on the eighth, with friends and learning after that.

The initial idea was to let her open one door every evening and the picture would show the next day’s activity or event. It would teach time as well as bring a surprise every evening. But the moment I revealed it to her she wanted to open all the windows and got upset when I wouldn’t let her. So now I let her open any door she wants, and every evening we discuss the picture of the next day.

Amie’s countdown calendar, August/Sept 2008 (c) Katrien Vander Straeten

We also discuss the day that has passed, and on the back of the door I write whatever has happened that isn’t in the picture. This way, if we can keep these calendars going, we will have a record of our days.