The new barn is going up. 

Yesterday evening we worked in the cool of the late part of the day. We had Ryan helping to place the hurricane ties for the rafters.

The last two nights I’ve had dreams where the 6 tons of hay we bought were being rained on! Makes me feel a great sense of urgency to get the haybarn part finished and the hay in it.

We have the floors and corner posts in the for the haybarn structures and the roof will be going on soon.

Ryan on the Dingo (or) Playing in Poo

I rented the Toro Dingo yesterday to make post holes with the auger and to widen the little road going into our backyard with a little front loader. As I was working I realized, “Hey, this would be a fun thing for Ryan to learn how to do.” So I called him out.

While on the dingo, Ryan took out an old stump for me and consolidated the manure pile. Who said work can’t be fun? I love tools!

Getting the Teenagers Involved in the Barn Building

My daughter Juliana’s friends came to help build the barn!  These are friends from her homeschool group.  They donated their time as a service project.  I am so grateful for their help.  They each came for several days and helped for many hours!  What a great learning project for them and a great help to me!!  Thanks Ephraim, Isaiah, and Stephen!

Those Verbally Abusive “Dot” People!

“Dot” people is a term used by a Kirk Duncan, a lecturer who works to help people improve their lives and relationships.

The voices, spirits, influences, energies, whatever you want to call them . . . that speak to us in our heads are typically present in everyone’s life.  You know, that little voice in the back of your head.  The one saying, “There’s no voice in the back of my head!”  We may think they are all our voice, but they are many voices, possibly from our past memories, but also possibly from good or bad forces working to help us, or influence us negatively.

Some of the voices are good and guide us well if we listen.  Once, when I was getting ready to drive, I heard a little voice in my head say, “Maybe you should let John drive, if you drive you will get a ticket.”  I responded in my head, nonchalantly, with, “Well, I will just be extra careful”.  I got in the car and drove, with John as my passenger, and I got pulled over for speeding in a construction zone.  I had not seen the sign.  I got a ticket.

Some voices are not helpful — the ones Kirk Duncan calls the Dot people — they criticize, condemn, judge, flatter, etc.  Those are the voices that say things like, “You are better than the rest,” or, “You’re so selfish,” or, “You are so lame.”

What I realized tonight is that the positive, good influence voices, speak in a non abusive way; and the critical, bad influence voices, or Dot people speak in an abusive way.

“The Verbally Abusive Relationship”, a book by Patricia Evans, explains that verbal abuse comes from other people pretending to be you and saying how you feel, think, act, and what you do, did, want to do, should do, etc.  For example, someone might say to you, “You should get your car fixed,” or, ” You need to get your degree,” or ” You don’t want that butter brickle ice cream, you want the vanilla.”  Verbal abuse can also be a commanding voice, “Move over,” or “Get a haircut,” or, “Take out the garbage.”  When one person pretends to be another, claiming to know what they think, feel, want, etc., it can be very confusing to the person they are pretending to be.  When a person uses the commanding verbiage, it can cause the person hearing it to resist and feel agitated or angry.

One can learn to communicate the same ideas without being abusive.  Instead of saying, “Fix your car,” one could say, “Have you considered getting your car fixed?”  The idea of getting the car fixed is communicated, but not as a command or judgement, but as a suggestion.

The positive helpful voices always speak in suggestions, like: “You might need that umbrella today,”  When I don’t listen, I wish I would have, because later I realize I needed the very thing that was suggested.  When I listen, I’m always glad I did.

The Dot people on the other hand, speak in abusive ways; in commands, criticism, or flattery.

Realizing this confirmed to me again that Patricia Evan’s book is correct.  To be a positive influence in other people’s lives, we can speak in ways that allow and encourage free agency rather than trying to control and manipulate, like the Dot people do.

One might ask, “But how can a parent control their child if a parent can’t say, ‘do this, don’t do that?'” There are ways of getting around the abusive speak and still communicate parental expectations.  Instead of saying, “Go clean your room,” you could say in a noncritical tone, “How’s your room looking?”  A gentle question reminds the child about the room and gives them the opportunity to think of cleaning it themselves.  If the child doesn’t take the hint, or avoids, a parent can remind the child about the rules in a positive, non critical tone, “OK, once the room is clean, you can go out to play (or whatever the next activity is).”  A gentle, non nagging question reminds the child without creating so many feelings of resistance.

I am grateful for authors like Patricia Evans, who figure things like this out and give me a boost in my understanding.

Those Verbally Abusive "Dot" People!

“Dot” people is a term used by a Kirk Duncan, a lecturer who works to help people improve their lives and relationships.

The voices, spirits, influences, energies, whatever you want to call them . . . that speak to us in our heads are typically present in everyone’s life.  You know, that little voice in the back of your head.  The one saying, “There’s no voice in the back of my head!”  We may think they are all our voice, but they are many voices, possibly from our past memories, but also possibly from good or bad forces working to help us, or influence us negatively.

Some of the voices are good and guide us well if we listen.  Once, when I was getting ready to drive, I heard a little voice in my head say, “Maybe you should let John drive, if you drive you will get a ticket.”  I responded in my head, nonchalantly, with, “Well, I will just be extra careful”.  I got in the car and drove, with John as my passenger, and I got pulled over for speeding in a construction zone.  I had not seen the sign.  I got a ticket.

Some voices are not helpful — the ones Kirk Duncan calls the Dot people — they criticize, condemn, judge, flatter, etc.  Those are the voices that say things like, “You are better than the rest,” or, “You’re so selfish,” or, “You are so lame.”

What I realized tonight is that the positive, good influence voices, speak in a non abusive way; and the critical, bad influence voices, or Dot people speak in an abusive way.

“The Verbally Abusive Relationship”, a book by Patricia Evans, explains that verbal abuse comes from other people pretending to be you and saying how you feel, think, act, and what you do, did, want to do, should do, etc.  For example, someone might say to you, “You should get your car fixed,” or, ” You need to get your degree,” or ” You don’t want that butter brickle ice cream, you want the vanilla.”  Verbal abuse can also be a commanding voice, “Move over,” or “Get a haircut,” or, “Take out the garbage.”  When one person pretends to be another, claiming to know what they think, feel, want, etc., it can be very confusing to the person they are pretending to be.  When a person uses the commanding verbiage, it can cause the person hearing it to resist and feel agitated or angry.

One can learn to communicate the same ideas without being abusive.  Instead of saying, “Fix your car,” one could say, “Have you considered getting your car fixed?”  The idea of getting the car fixed is communicated, but not as a command or judgement, but as a suggestion.

The positive helpful voices always speak in suggestions, like: “You might need that umbrella today,”  When I don’t listen, I wish I would have, because later I realize I needed the very thing that was suggested.  When I listen, I’m always glad I did.

The Dot people on the other hand, speak in abusive ways; in commands, criticism, or flattery.

Realizing this confirmed to me again that Patricia Evan’s book is correct.  To be a positive influence in other people’s lives, we can speak in ways that allow and encourage free agency rather than trying to control and manipulate, like the Dot people do.

One might ask, “But how can a parent control their child if a parent can’t say, ‘do this, don’t do that?'” There are ways of getting around the abusive speak and still communicate parental expectations.  Instead of saying, “Go clean your room,” you could say in a noncritical tone, “How’s your room looking?”  A gentle question reminds the child about the room and gives them the opportunity to think of cleaning it themselves.  If the child doesn’t take the hint, or avoids, a parent can remind the child about the rules in a positive, non critical tone, “OK, once the room is clean, you can go out to play (or whatever the next activity is).”  A gentle, non nagging question reminds the child without creating so many feelings of resistance.

I am grateful for authors like Patricia Evans, who figure things like this out and give me a boost in my understanding.

Camouflage Capture The Flag In the Dark Game

Who is that having so much fun?
You won’t see me tonight!

When I had a bunch of homeschool families over to play capture the flag in the dark, trackerschool style, I had fun demonstrating to the kids and adults how to use mud and oily charcoal to camouflage yourself for the game we were about to play.  ONE of the most fun parts of the night, for me, was the look on people’s faces when I dipped my hand into the coconut oil/charcoal mix and rubbed it across my face and shirt!  I should have gotten it in my hair too, that would have been even better.  I have to say, my face felt silky soft and smooth after I washed this mix off!

The BEST part of the night was, however, when one of the kids, a beaming boy of about 6, came up to me afterwards as we were cleaning up, and with a face as happy and shining as the sun, exclaimed to me with the utmost joy, his escapades of the evening!  His friend, who was about his same age, echoed every point, as he stood by adding his two cents when he could get a word in edgewise!  Unforgettable!

This past couple months, I was privileged to teach a group of 8 to 12 year olds at our homeschool group, Life Academy of Salem.  We had 9 enthusiastic students who loved learning to make fire with friction; a debris hut; cordage; a deadfall trap and a snare; hunting practice with bows and arrows (and a little pink stuffed bunny); making bowls with raku clay (and firing them in a campfire); awareness games; and hearing stories about my teacher, Tom Brown Jr. and his best friend Rick, as they learned from their mentor, an Apache Scout named Stalking Wolf.

I hope I get to share these fun skills, and more, again next school year!

Kids and Bows and Arrows!

In 2010 the kids and I attended Rick Berry’s 4 Element Earth Education class in Northern  California, and had a great time.  Rick is one of the original people in charge of Coyote Tracks, an appendage of Tom Brown Jr.’s Trackerschool, in New Jersey.   One of the activities the kids liked best was hunting each other with little “quickie bows” Rick made for them out of branches and other items (see above photos).  The great thing about the bows he made was that they were kid safe because they had spongy rubber balls on the tips of the arrows for safety, in case the kids actually hit one another.

In the homeschool class I have been teaching, I made similar bows and arrows for the kids to play with.  I used cherry limbs I had pruned off our cherry trees in February for the bows, and cedar for the arrows.  I cut up the end of a pool noodle and hot glued the tips of the arrows into little holes I made in the spongy material of the noodle pieces (I found out later, though, the little rubber spongy balls would have been better if I could have found some because the pool noodle material isn’t strong enough to hold up under multiple hits).  The fletching I made with packing tape, shaped and cut to be like feather fletching.  I used paracord for the string.  I learned to wear leather gloves while notching the ends of the bows . . . because I cut myself not following knife safety rules making the awkward angled notches.  That was a lesson for the kids too, even the grown ups get cut when they don’t follow the safety rules.  The kids in my class were in a church parking lot, and after chasing each other around with their bows for awhile, I had the kids hide in the bushes around the edges of the church property, then I came along with a stuffed bunny dragged behind me on a cord for them to try to shoot.  It was more than some of them could to to stay hidden.  When they missed the bunny some couldn’t help  wanting to chase after me, shooting over and over!  It was a little chaotic trying to keep them in their places as I moved from one hidden student to the next down the bunny trail.

It was a good lesson in how much practice it takes to get good with a bow, besides just being a lot of fun!