Thursday, September 22, 2011

Coyotes in the Classroom

Coyotes took over the schoolroom on Tuesday.  When we went out to feed our animals we discovered several holes in the chicken coop just about the right size and height for a coyote snout.  Add to that the fact that I've been waking up the last few nights to their howling, and what else could we do?  One more night and those holes would be big enough for a grown coyote to go through and we would be waking up to no more chickens.  Not to mention the two huge turkeys who will soon be making their way into the freezer.

Fortunately, the last time we had this problem, several years ago, I scrounged a number of pieces of sheet metal to block off the problem areas most of the way around the coop.  So just a few yards of flimsy wire netting remained to be reinforced.  I explained the problem to my student, and had him inspect the damage.  He agreed with me on what needed to be done. We managed to scrounge up one more length of sheet metal, and several pieces of plywood that were not much good for anything else, but perfect for this. So while he held up the "walls" and fished for nails, I hammered away.

After hours of laboring in the late summer sun, we were finally satisfied that our poultry were protected and called it a day.  We retreated to the house for shade, cold drinks and a late lunch.  With our schedule thrown into chaos, we spent the rest of the week catching up.  I am happy to report that we are back on track and ready to begin week 4 of third grade right where we are supposed home;)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Half Broke Horses

Half Broke Horses, by Jeannette Walls, (c)2009, SimonandSchuster

This was a book club read, primarily because much of it takes place in our own area of Ash Fork, Seligman and Red Lake, AZ.  We also found out that the husband of one of our members grew up with the author's grandmother, Lily Casey Smith, who is the subject of the book - boy, that was an interesting discussion!  After reading Shy Boy, the descriptions of breaking the ranch horses was rather disturbing.  But there is one section where the truck Lily and her daughter are driving breaks down in the middle of the range and the best option is to coax a wild horse into helping them.,  It was nearly Shy Boy all over again.  But only for that brief moment.  The most interesting part of this book was the description of daily ranch life and travel during the Great Depression and the Great War (WWII).

To read about how children were reaised and treated at that time made me glad for improvements in attitudes toward childrearing.  At 15 years of age, after spending 10 years working her father's ranch and breaking horses, Lily Casey Smith rode solo, on horseback, from New Mexico to Northern Arizona to work as a teacher in the district of Red Lake.  Her courage and resolve were inspiring.  There are also stories of Lily and her siblings narrowly surviving flash floods, tornadoes, and living in a sod house. 

I could relate to her feelings about the big cities of Chicago and Phoenix.  Culture and modern comforts are nice, but too many people.  My favorite lines are when Lily tells her husband "In the city people worry about themselves.  In the country we worry about the weather and the livestock." 

No compensation was received for this review.  I checked this book out from my local library;)