Pottery Wheels

We recently read the book A Single Shard aloud recently. It is a fascinating story of a village of potters in 12th century Korea. As soon as we finished it, Mr. Inventor wanted to know how to make a pottery wheel.  I let him go on YouTube to find some ideas, and then he went out to the junk pile and found this wheel. He found bearings and bolted them together and added them to the wheel. He’s still experimenting; when he saw these pictures, he said, “First attempt, worst attempt!” Apparently, he has something better now. The second and third pictures are closer to what he has now; they’ve hooked a washing machine motor to the wooden disk, but are using a smaller wooden disk. I told him I need more pictures!IMG_1217IMG_1221IMG_1223IMG_1391

Here’s a brief video of the wheel in action:

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More of Mr. Sweetie’s Pictures

Mr. Sweetie took my camera outside again last week. The creek in front of the house, by the road, is finally flowing again! It’s been dry since about October or November. He and Mr. Diligence were playing in it for awhile.IMG_1284

Apparently, Mr. Diligence was clearing a dam of leaves so the water could flow in from the neighboring property.


A selfie.


There is a healthy crop of stinging nettles in the cabbage patch! I keep thinking I ought to cut some and use them…. Supposedly, they are very good for you….


Somebody’s hut.


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Mr. Inventor’s Birds


Mr. Inventor loves birds. He has quite a collection at this point. I sure enjoy them, too! I’ve always liked turkeys; they are such friendly birds, and I like the gobbling. The turkeys and some of the ducks often come to visit while I milk the cow, and one morning I took my camera out to get some pictures. It was before sunrise, so the pictures are kind of dark. Above, you can see Indian Runner ducks (the brown ones), turkeys, and Pekin ducks (the white ones). Below is the Indian Runners. One is half Mallard; her mother was left behind at the house we lived in from 2010 till 2014 by the previous renters. We got a number of offspring from her. This is her last; the boys found the old mother dead a couple of months ago. She was half blind and very old.


The black turkey here is the mother; the white one was hatched by a hen in December. It was an “only child”, and lived in the house for a long time.


This is one of the babies that hatched in November, when Mom was here.



This is the daddy turkey.


One morning while I was milking, the turkeys and Indian Runner ducks were all where I could see them. A duck chased the smallest white turkey, who ran—and then turned around and chased the duck. The next thing I knew, the whole flock of turkeys took off after the flock of ducks, and the ducks ran! It was very funny; I sure wished I had a video camera handy!

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Evening Antics

One evening, the little boys were playing church just before bed. Mr. Imagination used these two stools.IMG_1262

Mr. Sweetie was preaching from the tall stool, and then Mr. Diligence took his place.


Mr. Intellectual was at his usual occupation. (I’m enjoying having a child who is as much a bookworm as I am!)


Mr. Inventor was enjoying his baby sister. This is one of the best pictures we’ve ever gotten of him—he has a hard time putting on a natural expression.


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Cleaning the Garage

The first of June was Queen’s Birthday, a holiday here. We spent the day doing things around home; in the afternoon I cleaned out and organized all four chest freezers. Gayle and Mr. Handyman finished fixing a big set of shelves we were given, and cleaned out a space in the garage to put them in.DSCF9015

I store clothes in these plastic totes, and we sent them out to the container.


The finished shelves, in place, and filled up with our pumpkins!


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Fancy Bread

Last year sometime, I found a website titled “The Kid Should See This”. It is a collection, being added to all the time, of YouTube and Vimeo videos on all different topics. The videos are not created for children, but are very interesting for children (and adults!). I signed up for their weekly newsletter, consisting of links to five or six videos each week. Once or twice a week, when everyone is done with the morning’s school, plus science, by 1:00, and Esther doesn’t have to go back to work right after lunch we’ll watch several while we eat. This week, one of the ones we watched was about braiding bread. The woman who did the video demonstrated braiding with 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 strands! We were all fascinated all the way through. Since then, Mr. Intellectual, who loves to cook, has tried his hand at a 3-strand loaf. I made bread today, and decided to make one braided loaf. At first, I tried six strands, but couldn’t remember for sure how. Rather than watch it again, I just did a 5-strand loaf. It turned out nice!


Here is the video we watched. Mom, you would love this.

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Every year here in the Hurunui District, there is a ban on open fires in the summer. This year, the ban wasn’t lifted until early May, because we were so dry. As soon as the ban was lifted, the boys wanted to burn the brush pile they’d been accumulating since November! One afternoon when there was no wind, I let them.DSCF3263

For safety’s sake, they strung a hose out to the pile and got the pump going. This is Mr. Intellectual, Mr. Imagination, and Mr. Inventor.


Mr. Handyman watching the flames.


I took Little Miss out to see the fire.


Esther’s camera caught this interesting effect—Mr. Handyman through the heat haze.


Mr. Inventor’s birds didn’t seem too worried, and neither did the cat (on a post in the center).


When I went back in the house, Mr. Handyman took Little Miss so she could keep watching.DSCF3281

The fireman on duty! It was a good thing that he had the hose; the flames caught in the dry grass several times.



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Little Miss Six Months

Look who turns six months old today! Her biggest brother let her and Mr. Imagination try on his new earmuffs.IMG_1208IMG_1211

Mr. Imagination and Little Miss love each other dearly. She thinks he is absolutely hilarious (when he isn’t hurting her), and he loves her (but has trouble expressing that love properly at times).


She’s working on crawling. We placed guesses today, writing on the calendar what day each of us thinks she’ll start crawling.IMG_1232



One morning she got up early. When I had to attend to some personal business in another room, I left her sitting a little way from the couch with some toys, as in the second picture below this. When I came back, this is what I found—a baby under the couch!


I often sit her down by the kitchen door while we’re doing school at the table beside this door, and she enjoys looking out the window. This day, I let her have the clothespins, and she enjoyed pulling them out.


It was so much fun investigating Mr. Inventor’s eyes, nose, and mouth!


One morning, Mr. Intellectual made himself some scones (American biscuits) for breakfast. She figured out how to grab one when no one was watching, and got it into her mouth and a bite taken out of it before anyone noticed!


I was chopping peppers, and gave her a slice. She made a terrible face when she tasted it, as I expected. Usually, she’ll like something after a few tastes, but when she tried the pepper again she made a face again. After a few tries, she made the face when she even looked at the pepper, and pretty soon she wouldn’t even touch it!IMG_1346

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Hay Shed and Creek

I finally looked at the May pictures on Esther’s memory card. As always, she had some good ones! These are from one day when she walked around with her brothers. This is Mr. Sweetie in the hay. It is unposed; he just popped up when she was looking at the hay!DSCF3228

Mr. Intellectual in the hay.DSCF3230

Mr. Diligence, Mr. Sweetie, Mr. Inventor and Mr. Intellectual salvaging things from the junk pile.


Mr. Inventor building something with stuff from the junk pile. I think it was a support for a hut made out of hay. The hay shed, which he is sitting in, is an old semi trailer. It was wrecked along the Kaikoura coast, and laid over on its side. When it was dragged off the road the side was messed up beyond repair. Our landlord collects junk like that; he always planned to take the axles out from  under this trailer and set it down for a hay shed. He never got that accomplished, but we’re using it for hay up in the air. That keeps the animals out!


There are two creeks on this property. One is between the house and the road; the other is at the back, where this row of grass is.


This is Mr. Sweetie, Mr. Diligence, and Mr. Imagination beside the creek.


Mr. Imagination in front of a cabbage tree.


Mr. Sweetie, Mr. Intellectual, Mr. Imagination, and Mr. Diligence on the bridge. Gayle and the boys found this old gate, and put it in place so the cows could cross the creek to graze on the other side.


Our landlords lived here for 17 years and never saw this “pond” dry up. This was a dry year. Since this photo was taken, the boys pumped some water out of our underground overflow tank and refilled the pond. The waterfowl are happy again!


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Late June Pictures

It looks like most of our pictures are of Little Miss! With good reason; she’s the cutest person in the family right now, and changing the fastest. This is Mr. Imagination, building something with legos in Esther’s bedroom.DSCF9027

A beautiful sunset.


Our favorite (and only cat), Ginger.



I want that camera! It must taste yummy!


Mr. Imagination


“Pick me up, please!”


One Sunday afternoon at church, Mr. Inventor put Little Miss in this old pram that lives in the building, and gave her rides around the room. She loved it!


That same day, after we got home, Gayle helped the boys pop some popcorn—a rare treat in our house.


Esther was holding Little Miss while she slept, and getting some reading done for school. I decided to take a picture of this common scene, and said as much. I reached up for the camera, turned it on, and stepped over to take the picture. Just as I lifted it up, Little Miss flung her arm out and her eyes popped open!


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