At Home on Hill Haven

Musings, ramblings, and pontifications on motherhood, unschooling, farming, sustainability, spirit, and life in general...

Location: northwest Georgia, United States

I'm a living-working-breathing mom, writing, mothering, teaching, and soul-searching from our home in northwest Georgia. We are whole-life unschoolers, which basically means our kids actually have a say in what happens to them (it actually means infinitely more than that, but's it's a starting point for discussion). We are also hardcore environmentalists, anti-industrialists, trying to escape from our dependence on petroleum, manufactured products and other non-sustainable practices. We homebirth, homeschool, and homestead, and try to make sense of it all, in a constant whirlwind of chaos.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Marriage: Not for the Faint of Heart

Belief is built on an incredible mountain of lies. Now, that sounds bitter, and I'm feeling a mite pissy at the moment, it's true. But I mean this in earnest, not in bitterness. Previous generations simply did not strive for accuracy. We were taught how our parents thought things should be, how they wanted us to be, by way of statements that implied that ideal in their minds was how things were. Children construct their worldviews based on the teachings of their parents, and these worldviews are not at all fact-based but rather are constructed from a set of beliefs (albeit a very difficult-to-access set of beliefs, as ingrained in our thought patterns as they are). One of my beliefs, based on never witnessing any of my parents' marital challenges (and although I still don't know what they might have been I do know now that they must have had them), was that "good" marriages didn't have challenges. And, based on how disparagingly they spoke of others whose marriages failed, I also quite erroneously concluded that people with marital struggles shouldn't have gotten married in the first place. Oh, that fictitious world was so delightfully simple! And so nonexistent! I don't know if it will be of any benefit to my children to have less wool over their eyes, but it has been a great challenge to me to discover that all marriages of all kinds have difficult times, and that a failed marriage often is just too many things being too stressful without a break for too long. Condemnation on top of that is much worse than not helpful, it's cruel. Marital failure can happen to anyone. In fact, it's much easier to fail-- at anything in life, including marriage-- than to succeed. Success requires such constant uphill work, even when things are just in maintenance mode. With all we modern humans are trying to juggle it is physically impossible to keep it all going. The least squeaky wheel will get the least amount of oiling, until-- surprise! It rusts through and falls off, leaving you stranded in mud, utterly bewildered. (Yep, that's me, knee-deep in mud.)

Just for tonight, as a gift to myself, here's what I'm going to do: I'm telling the voices of my parents and anyone else in this highly dysfunctional culture that pass judgment left and right in my head to go f**k themselves and shut the hell up. I don't need their lectures anymore, thank you very much. I am a tired, broke, overworked mom of two and I am giving myself permission to be real and human and not have anything held together anymore because superglue I am not. So there.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Unschooling and Meditation

I just found the coolest thing by total accident:
Then, in the process of me playing with this, an astounding thing happened. I managed to explain meditation to the hyperactive almost-6-year-old-- briefly enough that he listened!-- and then since I was doing it I asked if he wanted to try. (Baby was asleep.) I lit incense, we both sat on the zafus and I set the timer for one minute. He totally copied me and I am pretty sure he kept his eyes closed the whole minute. When the gong went off he was just peeking to see if I was looking, then gave me his total charmer smile :) I asked if he wanted to do it again, and for how long, and he said 2 minutes, so we did it again. Then he says, in a protesting tone, "MOM! this will make me forget about all the things I want!"


He figures this out after three minutes of meditation. My child is the Buddha.

And what a thing to realize, to choose not to forget those things-- to choose actively to remain engaged, rather than being a victim of your thoughts-- what a completely different place to be in!

The OTHER miraculous thing he said today-- as if that wasn't enough-- was this about the dog digging under the chicken fence (as he was perched on a ladder saying "go Pedro go!"): "Mom, to get him to be a good dog we have to encourage him to do what he wants to do!"

Maybe I'm succeeding at this unschooling thing after all.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Iris says: "Eat yogurt, it's good for your complexion."

She is walking now, and fairly well, too. This morning she woke up, looked at her still-sleeping brother, and announced: "Bwuh-vah. Nye-nye!" (If you don't speak baby-ese, that translates to "Brother. Night-night!")

She is so. stinkin'. CUTE.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Run, Chicken, Run!

More of the chickens, including their new run, which Brad built from studs salvaged from a wall removed from his parents' house, plus pressure-treated 1x6's and 4x4's where it contacts the ground:

This run is much too heavy to put wheels on and make movable, so hopefully I can talk Brad into building a "chicken tractor" over the winter. I love the idea of letting the birds do some of my gardening work for me!

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Too often I'm trying entirely too hard to write something impressive here. Not today! I took the kids to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens yesterday, where they have a special exhibit called "Sculptures in Motion" (which, you might infer, consists of sculptures... that move...). Not only are the scupltures quite nifty, but so are the kids, if I do say so myself. Enjoy!Not part of the "motion" exhibit, this blown glass piece is a permanent part of the gardens. Galen poses in front of the fountain near the cafe.

A giant easel, with mirrored rectangles suspended by wires that sway in the breeze.

Galen pushes a massive revolving rock.

Huge mobile over a small pool inside the orchid house (or whatever it's called).

Galen calls this one "the big 8." One of his favorites. This picture is to show Daddy how big the 8 is (since he didn't go with us this trip).
My personal favorite. I want to make one of these.

A second favorite sculpture, and perhaps my favorite photo, not only because it's so fantastic, but because Galen took it! Isn't it great?!

Galen wanted multiple photos of his new toy :)

Galen took this one of me and Iris. Wow, my arm looks really buff! lol

And now, the "Iris is so stinkin' cute by the Japanese garden" series:

Eating a rock!

Kicking away at the rocks under her feet-- see the bare spot on the ground?

What?! Who, me??

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