fiberaddict: (Default)
I see this a lot on the forums I lurk on - people are suddenly wanting to get into goats, but have NO clue. Since I lurk on these forums, I figured I'd post my thoughts *here* - they can google and find me, and I don't have to join the forums in question. :lol:

First, you need to be aware that there are VERY few Vets that handle goats - most large animal vets won't, because "it's just a goat!", and small animal vets won't, because goats are livestock, not pets. So YOU have to be your own vet......if you don't think you can handle that, then skip goats. You WILL have to do your own doctoring at some point, and goat deliveries don't always go as planned. (Trainwrecks are a part of goat-ownership; most goats are just looking for an excuse to die. :sigh:)

OK, so that didn't phase you? Good. Now, start thinking about WHY you want goats. (Yes, goatS, plural. Goats do better in pairs.) Weed control? "Scrub" goats/mutts are good for that. Meat? Boers. Milk? Ah, there's the rub!

A lot of people decide to do smaller goats, for some reason. Nigerian Dwarfs and Pygmys do, actually produce milk.....but. Are you wanting to just supplement, for soap-making or cheese-making, or are you wanting to dairy for *real*, for all/most of your dairy needs? Think about this....because your choice of breed is important - and it costs as much to feed a dud as it does to feed a good milker.

NDs and Pygmys are, of course, smaller goats. This appeals to people - smaller goat = easier to handle, supposedly. However.....smaller goat = smaller udder = less production, which means you need MORE goats to fill your pail. Maybe you don't care - in that case, carry on! Me? I wanted max milk with fewer to milk.

I went with the "true" dairy goats - Nubians, to be precise. There are a number of dairy breeds: Nubians, Saanans, Alpines, Toggenburgs, Oberhalsis (and I might have forgotten a few....); I went with Nubians because of their personalities. They are people-goats, very very friendly (which is very, very annoying sometimes!) They aren't the star producers; Swiss breeds tend to give higher yields, but they are a bit more aloof. Also, Nubians are easy to get around *here*; in your area maybe Alpines are the go-to breed. Do your research!

Understand that an average dairy-bred goat will give you 0.5 gallons/day. A *good* producer will give 1.0 gallons/day. (An average cow gives *8* gallons/day, for reference). Always assume you'll get an average or below-average goat and decide from there how many does you'll need in milk. That way, you can be sure you'll get enough milk for your family each day.

So. You've settled on breed and number......now you need to decide: purchase adult doe, or bottle-baby. Babies are cheaper - but you don't really know what you'll end up with. *I* do not push people to buy papered goats, not for home dairy, BUT - if you buy from someone who has papers, you can get a pretty good idea of what your baby will turn out as. (This is where research comes in!). For example, I knew that Pruittville breeds for milk production; when a Pruittville grand-daughter popped up on CL, I jumped at her, even though she was $250 at 6 weeks old. Why? Because *I* want solid producers - and Inara has repaid my belief! She's a gallon/day milker, and her 2 daughters look to be taking after her. :smile: (We expect our goats to provide ALL our dairy, so I *need* good producers. Your situation may be different.)

You've decided what you want, and where you'll get it, now we need to discuss housing. Goats are very, very clever. Fences are simply puzzles to be solved. The only thing *we've* found to keep our goats mostly where they belong is 16' cattle panels with wood posts and top rails. They push t-posts over, then use the fencing as a ramp to get out. They can wiggle under tight wire or post-and-rail fencing, and no-climb horse wire without a top rail? They stand on it until it sags, then they climb/jump over it. Spend the money up front so you don't have to keep replacing fence. Also, don't use chainlink without top rails and sturdy, deeply sunk posts, and make sure your gates are low to the ground, and sturdy. Goats can flatten themselves like cats......

As to barns....well, you can go the standard route, but I'm going to recommend something different - a carport with a front and sides. Yes, a CARPORT. The lady we bought our Alpines from was using one, and it was *awesome*. The front was solid with a pass-thru door. At the first rib, she had a livestock gate; the part between was her feed room/milking area. The rest of it was the goat living area, open in the back to the paddock. All metal, so no rotting out, and inexpensive. (We're going to replace our current barn with a double carport when we buy the neighbor's acreage, so I AM putting my money where my mouth is!)

Now you're all sorted, and you're almost ready to milk. THIS is where the start-up costs get real, folks. Let me give you a list of dairy supply houses:

Hamby's Dairy
Hoegger Farmyard
Caprine Supply
Parts Dept

Go, have a quick look-see. Prices are...well. NOT cheap. I can help with that. :lol:

For miking, you need a milk pail. Go to your local Tractor Supply and look in the pet department. They have stainless steel pails (for dog food, I think) for......under $20. THAT is your milk pail. (I think they're 1 gallon buckets. Large enough - usually! - for 1 or 2 goats in milk.) You need wipes to clean teats - go to your local grocery store (I go to Walmart) and pick up a case of diaper wipes, unscented (I checked - they are the SAME thing. If you're concerned that they are anti-bacterial, add a drop or 2 of teat dip to the packages.) Teat dip.....I go to Tractor Supply and buy the Nolvasone S - it's a bit pricey, but it lasts all season. Also pick up a couple of the plastic "blue ice" things from the grocery - you need them to start cooling your milk as you milk.

I use teat dip cups from Hamby's - they had the cheapest price back when I bought them. I also bought some strip cups.....save your money. Use an old coffee cup, instead. (Or, do what I do when I get lazy and strip right into the wipe. You can see if anything's wrong, and it's 1 less thing to wash.)

We built our milk stands from old, free pallets - but I'm not using them right now, I'm milking on the floor. Hard on my back, but the does don't want to get ON the stands right now, so it's a moot point. This is less painful for me then trying to fight to get them up on the stand.

If you need a milk tote, go to eBay and look around - I bought a 5 quart one for....I think it was $35, but it's been a few years. I have a 3 gallon one, too (I think - it's BIG) that I got for under $70; look at them at the above links and see what you think. Lids for the milk pails are easy - if you don't/can't sew, pick up some Glad plastic, elastic-edged tops from the store. They fit just fine, and are reusable, to a point.

IF you decide to go with a machine (and I won't judge - I use the machine when we get more than 2 does in milk)....well, expect to spend about $400 for a DIY. It's NOT a big deal - the most expensive part is the vacuum pump. You need one that pulls 6 CFM - we just bought a replacement one for $200, on sale. It's a cheap one that I don't think will last........but the next cheapest was $399, so.......yeah, we went with the $200 one. For the bucket set up, go to Parts Dept and look at what they sell, then head to eBay and price it out. There's a seller called "Slavic Beauty" that has complete set-ups for $279 that will do 2 goats at a time, all you need are shut-off valves (Parts Dept has the best prices on those, I think) and the pump. You can sometimes score a Surge bucket......the lids are harder to find. Good Interpuls pulsators are about $90; I'm not sure what the Slavic Beauty set-up has; I'm planning on using our Interpuls on the one I bought. I like the clear inflations.....Parts Dept has a set-up for 1 goat for....$80, I think. The rubber part has to be replaced each year, as do the lines (go with silicone food-safe lines - the plastic ones add a weird flavor to the milk.) (FYI, a complete set up from any of the dealers will run you about $1,000. Perry's milkers (I don't have a link, sorry!) uses old dairy-farm buckets and medical-grade pumps and will set you back at least $600. DIY is the way to go, honestly.) Oh! You'll also need a balance tank to help hold the vacuum steady - 4" PVC pipe and fittings. I think we spent $140 on ours, but once it's built, it's built and you can use it from then on, with any machine you buy. I did a post on it a few years ago: Have a link

You're also going to need a strainer - I bought our 2 from Caprine Supply; I think they are the mini-ones. You'll also need filters - you can use larger ones if you can get a good deal on them, but you can't go smaller. EBay has some for $16/200, which is a pretty good price; you'll use 2/day. Bottles.....quart canning jars work, but if you have very productive does you'll run out of space quickly. Half-gallon canning jars are perfect, but expensive and hard to find. This year, I'm trying Ikea's jars; we have a green-topped pitcher that looks like it holds a half-gallon; they also have a..quart? jar that look like an old-timey milk jug. So far, both work.....I'm just not sure exactly how much they hold. :shrug: They're cheaper than the canning jars, so, for me, it works.

I think that's it - I'm running on very little sleep right now, so if I need to add anything, hit me up! I like sharing knowledge!
fiberaddict: (Default)
Been a lazy day here - I did make 2 batches of soap this AM before school, but it's been lazy ever since.

Thanks for the complements on the sock! I've got #2 started and hope to be able to knock it out quickly - I want to knit something...mindless next. :lol:

H: Glad the box arrived!

Learning to Knit: OK. I'll toss out some ideas, but a lot of it depends on the person. If they can teach themselves from books, I have a TON of suggestions; if not then videos/in person. Let's see:

BOOKS:

The #1 book I recommend is "Knitting Without Tears" by Elizabeth Zimmerman. Classic - BUT. If you (the learner, I mean) needs a lot of hand-holding, this isn't the best. EZ teaches, yes, but she teaches you to be in charge of your knitting and to take patterns as suggestions.

"Kids Knit!" by Sarah Bradberry is good, but very basic. (If your niece is a young adult, she might find this one too.....young.) The projects are very, very basic - but you get a good foundation.

"Stitch 'n B***h" - not sure of the author; it's good, the title can be off-putting, and they teach yarn-overs wrong. However, a LOT of people have used this book to get started (I have the 2nd in the series; I haven't found the first one at a price I'm willing to pay yet. I...collect books. :lol:)

"The Ultimate Knitter's Guide" by Kate Buller is a nice, not too in-depth book. The photos are good - nothing spectacular, but good.

There's a LOT of books out there, but these are the ones I'd start with. Or, take her to a book store and let her loose. :lol:

Videos:

www.knitting-help.com : the BEST. Good, clear camera angles and very nice production value. They have videos for just about *everything* in knitting, and the folks KNOW how to knit. (On YouTube, it's hit-or-miss.)

Um.....yeah, that's about it for videos. :lol: Oh! Go to Ravelry, sign up (it's free!) and poke around - they have a ton of beginner boards that can help get her started - AND, they can point her to a knitting group in her area.

Honestly, if at all possible she needs to find someone to help her get started (unless she's very determined and no one is around (like....here, for example.) Knitting isn't hard, but it's easier when you have someone nearby that can troubleshoot for you. *Some* yarn stores (not big-box stores, actual YARN stores) will help beginners, but most prefer you sign up for classes (of course). BUT if you find out when they have a knit-in, you can usually find someone willing to help for free (but it's nice if you buy your yarn/needles there as a token of good will.) Around here, knitters meet at Starbucks and Half-Price Books (here being not *here* here, but Dallas.) and at the yarn stores on Saturday. Ravelry probably has a group in her area that she could get in touch with and find out when the next knit night is.

If she's around here, I'll be happy to help. (No, seriously - getting to spend time with someone who wants to learn is a blast; both my kids already know the power of knitting. :rofl:)

I really should get to knitting myself.....onward and upward, as they say.
fiberaddict: (Default)
Even though wet stuff keeps falling from the sky - oh no, the sky is falling! :runs around flailing: :giggles:

Have a link: Amazon has PBS's Liberty Kids for $9.99 for the ENTIRE set. On DVD. I've seen parts of a couple of episodes (the kids have seen more, and got excited when I asked if they might be interested in it as a History add-on) - it seems to be pretty accurate. At $10, it's a good deal!

I am a firm believer in using anything that helps you learn things - it's why I sprang for the complete "Schoolhouse Rock" set when my kids were younger. Catchy songs teaching Math, Grammar, and History? I'm *there*! It's also why I have a lot of Musicals - music helps stuff "stick".

In other news, Kenzie tripped me yesterday and I fell. Hard. Thank God I didn't break anything! (By rights, I should have - I landed on my left side. Fortunately, my left knee, hip and shoulder took the brunt of the fall - my wrist ended up on top of my head somehow - it has to be a God-thing, because I *always* fall on my wrist. I'm OK, just battered and have interesting bruises this morning (for the record, Kenzie is FINE. Stupid dog just doesn't know to NOT sit down in front of someone who is walking. :sigh:)

We spent this weekend watching "Camelot" the movie, "Camelot" the musical, and "The Sword in the Stone" - and then we compared/contrasted them. General consensus is that the musical is better than the movie overall, both are better than the Disney, but the Jenny in the movie is a more comedic actress/singer than the one on stage. (I have only found 1 DVD version of a Broadway production - it's from 1983. Not bad, but the actress really can't handle the humorous songs - she sings them too seriously. Sad, because she's a better thespian than the one in the movie version.) Even Himself took part, which is HUGE - he's not big on musicals (and this wasn't an assignment, just for fun!).

Looks like I can finally start my swimsuit - the first fabric I bought went MIA, and the seller refunded my money. I bought a different fabric - well, same pattern, but in royal blue instead of Navy - from a different seller, and it shows it's been delivered. :bounce: I still have to finish taping the pattern pieces together.....:lol:

Today's cheese is Pyrennes. Never heard of it...we'll see how it goes.
fiberaddict: (Default)
Need to share a few links with my peeps:

1. Disney Imagineering Science - did you know that Disney made a bunch of SCIENCE videos? I didn't.....and I am eyeing these. Suggested age-range is 5th - 8th grade, but I think it'd work for both youngers and olders. Price is a consideration....MY library system sucks, but maybe yours doesn't.

2. Torah Class - yes, I've mentioned it before, and I'm going to KEEP mentioning it, because it is just that good. If you want to include a Bible study into your Homeschool, THIS is the one you want. I've linked to the e-book shop (at $9.99/each book, it's CHEAP!!!), but you can find the free lessons these are based on here. If you call yourself a Christ-follower, you NEED to read these. Honest - this is my 2nd read-thru of these (the first time via the free version; the kids and I just finished Gen. 49 today. We're on track to start Exodus on Thursday) and I am learning stuff I didn't notice the first time thru. If you want to print out the books for teaching purposes, go with the pdf version...and you don't need the Teacher's Edition. It gives an awkward (IMO, of course!) lesson plan and some tests....but we're just reading the text and discussing it. FABULOUS.

3. 1776 the Musical - yeah. Seriously. :lol: I haven't gotten my copy yet, but everything I've heard about this makes it well worth the $8.00 I spent on the DVD (eBay, naturally. :wink:) Just another way to spice up History. And musicals. :lol:

4. The Great Courses are on Audible now. I don't have an Audible account, but let me assure you, ANYTHING by The Great Courses is worth every penny. We have.....quite a few of their courses (eBay is my friend!) in all sorts of subjects; while some of the professors are a bit dry (Meteorology, anyone? Fascinating course, but the professor's voice is so...bland. Still, we learned a LOT!), most of them are very engaging. We're currently doing "How to Look At and Understand Great Art"; the lady professor is very engaging and the course has been - so far! - very interesting. They have diverse subjects.....and considering you are getting a college course, the price isn't bad (maybe "college lite", but it's still more advanced than a typical High School Course.)

I've got more, but can't find 'em at the moment - and I have to mess with the cheese. Enjoy!
fiberaddict: (Default)
because it's what I'm focused on right now. I'm *almost* completely ready for next year...which starts in 2 weeks for us. I'll try to do fun stuff soon, so I can post about something interesting!

Anyway - for my peeps who want to have their kids learn Latin - we've been slogging slowly thru Wheelock's Latin....but it's been S-L-O-W, because *I* don't have a clue. So last night, I started frantically googling. And I hit what I think is Pay Dirt!

Linney's Latin Class. It's by the guy who did our Intro into Latin course ("Getting Started With Latin" - I've mentioned it before!). He's dug up a FREE 1st year Latin book (on the normal free book sites!)(or you can buy a hard copy for $15 from Amazon/B&N/etc), and has recorded .mp3s of the lessons. He's up to Lesson 52 out of 73...and I downloaded EVERYTHING last night. I need to get the book onto the kids' iPads (and I'll buy a hard copy too, just because it's what I do), and then - THEN, I won't have to TEACH Latin, we can all listen and do the exercises along with him. :happy dance:

I tried YouTube...but it seems that it's mostly just the vocabulary words. That's nice...but it doesn't help TEACH the concepts. Linney did a good job with GSWL, so I'm looking forward to starting this.

I feel better about Latin now. Hebrew is plugging along - I really wish I could find something like this for it, but the podcasts work. (And, again - I can't teach Hebrew, because I don't Know Hebrew. I'm trying! but it's hard.)

I'm thinking about doing Latin 2x/week and Hebrew 3x....we'll see. We'll be doing Biology for Science - and I'm going to start dropping it into PlanBook today. I need to order the Lab kit for it - Himself will need the Labs for his transcript (even though this is his 8th grade year.....I don't really want to jump him up a grade, but...all I have left for Science is this, Chemistry, Advanced Chemistry, Physics and Advanced Physics. I guess we'll see how it goes...but right now, I'm not planning on him skipping a grade. He *could*, but...he's not really there, maturity-wise, so...we'll see.
fiberaddict: (Calvin: Faces)
Got done by 10:15 today, but didn't get to leave until 11:15. No biggie - I had to stop at Wally-world to pick up more labels - because...:gulp:....the website is as ready as I can get it for now.

Here it is: Barker Glen Farm

I don't have *all* the soaps up yet - but there's a lot there. SG isn't happy with the photos - these are the first set, because the 2nd set is too dark. Or something....

Anyway. The soaps on the site are ready to ship (or...will be by tonight. I need to finish printing labels and boxing them up, but basically, they're ready to go.) There's limited quantities of some of it - I thought I had more than I do. Friday is soaping day, so I'll be rectifying that little problem soon. And I'll try to get photos of the other soaps - I'm anxious to get the Chocolate Milk bars up. (Goat's Milk with Cocoa Butter and a rocking chocolate fragrance oil. They smell good enough to eat! I only did a small batch of it.....and I need to do a larger one. Because....chocolate. :mmmmm:)

We've been having fun with names....I changed some names the past few days, so some of my labels are "old" - they're too pricey for me to re-do. Ah, well - I indicated it on the site, so there won't be any confusion when/if they sell.

Have fun, and feel free to critique the site. I used weebly - free, and drag-and-drop. It's good....but some of the things are hard to get to line up (my LJ, for instance - I embedded it; it looks good on my MacBook, but it looks wrong on the iPad. I can't figure out how to "fix" it...:shrug:)

Laters!
fiberaddict: (Calvin: Faces)
First up, let's have a photo to brighten your day:



Yes, folks, it's Penny, the Dogasaurus Rex! I bound off the last leg this AM....Herself crocheted the spikes for me, because my wrist, it is *toast*. :sigh: Still, it turned out cute, and Penny seems to appreciate it (it was 37* this morning; she got mad at me when I pulled it off of her so we could go milk (I don't trust her yet. I JUST finished it; don't want it torn up that quickly!)).

And no, it's NOT a costume - it's her winter sweater. She'll be stylin' all winter long! :lol: (And she has a vet appt. at 11. This'll be fun!)

I found some more Hebrew links for y'all:

FSI course - this is the Federal Gov't course used in the 50's (if I read the description correctly.) You get a pdf of the student text, and "tapes" of each lesson. FREE. I haven't tried the "tapes" yet, but the book looks pretty good.

This is an Aussie site, with a TON of links. I haven't gone thru them all, but there's a lot that I hadn't seen before. Most are free; those that aren't are indicated.

20 Free sites from Online Colleges. I've glanced at them; there looks to be some games here. And did I mention these are all FREE? :lol:

I've got a bunch of Latin YouTubes marked, but until I preview 'em, I won't list 'em. We tried one last night.....um. Clean, yes, but....it's a song about the verb endings (Ch. 1 of Wheelock's)..and it's...well, they can't sing. At all. It...hurt. A lot. :lol:

Speaking of, we started Wheelock's proper yesterday. Boy.....Himself was cool with it, but Herself went into almost full melt-down mode. Why? Because I made her WRITE the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person Singular and Plural verb endings down. Oh. My. Gosh! What a crime!!! :rolls eyes: She got a lecture from SG last night about it, because seriously - yes, the day is longer now, because Latin takes longer....but it's even longer when you groan and moan and complain about it. :sigh:

Gotta run - break's over, and we gotta hit the books!

Hmmmm.....

Oct. 26th, 2012 08:06 am
fiberaddict: (Default)
what happened to Fall? Because...we went from 80* to 48* in 24 hours. And....it's not supposed to get above 57* today, with freezing temps through Monday, at least. :scratches head: Yeah, Texas has bizarre weather...but we also usually have a Fall. Not this year, though....

Yesterday was interesting. I bought feed, then stopped at the outlet mall to try and get myself a lab coat (needed for soaping - I'm tired of my shirts all having oil stains!) The girl there was bored, and extremely interested in a) WHY I needed a lab coat and b) the fact I MAKE soap. Oh. My. Gosh - you can DO that? I mean.....she proceeds to tell me she's bought 1 bar of hand-made soap, because it was $20/bar (WHERE???? Because...anything over $5/bar just doesn't sell here!) but it was great, and she wants more but can't afford it....and, Oh WOW - you homeschool? And and and....:sigh: and :lol:

Stopped at the Meat Locker and stocked up.....and was told to come back next week to get the "good" roasts. :lol:

Had lunch with my mother..that was cool.

Then I made 6 batches of soap. 1 "Plain Jane" (GM, no colorants or scents); the rest were beer soap with hops added. I tried something new - I made 1 large batch, for the 5 pound mold, then I made another large batch and split it to fit in 2 of my smaller molds. Worked great, and went faster than mixing 2 separate batches. So I did it again for the last 2. All the wort is now used up, and I have lots of beer soap almost ready to cut. I think I'll do that from now on (except for experimental batches) - it's a lot easier to measure once and pour into 2 molds. (And I can still do different colors/scents; just separate it at light trace, and go from there.)

Oh! I have some links for you:

The Kentucky Dept of Ed. has a website chock full of free stuff for educators. Haven't poked around it a lot, but there's a bunch of Spanish videos here.

The University of Oklahoma has put a bunch of Civics courses up for FREE. We'll be doing these, I think.

And last - but not least - Long Beach City College has a bunch of videos about note taking etc up on YouTube. This is the link to the first one - it looks really, really good. And it's FREE.

Hope they can help someone!

Shalom Shabbat - may your day tomorrow be Blessed!
fiberaddict: (Default)
Today is "Unplugged Thursday" (for the kids :wink:), but I want to get this out here before they wake up. So......I decided to go thru my educational links and post. In my online rambles, I've discovered a TON of stuff aimed at *young* kids...and very little (proportionately) for older ones, so most of these are aimed at Middle School or older students.

Latin:

Latin Teach This is the grammar page, and there's a TON of links here.

Baylor University's Latin Department - from the link above, but I felt it deserved a direct link. It has FREE songs!!!

Wheelock's Latin Vocab generator Looks rough, but had high marks. We're gearing up to use Wheelock's, so....:grin:

Wheelock's Latin Exercises

Wheelock's Videos, Ch. 1-5

Book: 6 Weeks to Ceasar on Google Books

Latin for Beginners" and

Latin for Beginners Teacher's Manual AND

Latin for Beginners Answer Key I haven't used any of these yet, but I am looking at them. I *might* go with this instead of Wheelock's, for now, and save Wheelock's until next year. Or so. We'll see. :lol:

(There's a LOT more free Latin stuff out there, but let's move on, shall we? :wink:)

Hebrew:

Rosetta Stone: Um. We have Levels 1-4. I've made it to Level 2...and I STILL can't speak Hebrew very well. Homeschool Buyer's Co-op offers it a LOT, so if you want to go this route, use them...but be aware that at the end you do NOT have the equivalent of 4 years of High School language. You'll probably have...2. I...can't really recommend them. BUT!

Virtual Ulpan Still in the beginning stages, and seems to be mostly reading (I only glanced at it), but it looks good, and it's FREE.

Sarah and David - NOT free, but it's got fantastic learn-to-read Hebrew things. They have an app for iOS, but not Android. :sad:

Learn to Speak Hebrew - haven't used this one yet, but it looks interesting.

Misc. stuffs:

Learn Japanese

Scale of the Universe (Totally COOL!)

National Geographic Blackline Maps - customizable, and printable

Lessons in Electric Circuits

Astronomy/Space Websites

Math - Comprehensive School Materials

Free Teaching Resources and Lesson Plans - this is put out by the Federal Gov't, so.....I included it, because there is a lot of stuff there.

Virtual Manipulatives for Math - Federal, again, but free, and....well, some kids need this.

Playing History - Historical games. About History, I mean, not "historical" games.

The Physics Classroom

Civil War Curriculum by the Civil War Trust.

Virtual Media Center by a School District, but TONS of stuff here.

Learn to Code - Free starter course in computer coding.

Microbiology Activities LOTS of experiments here - they look interesting!

This clears out my box...I have more links, but I think I'll stop now. :lol: PLEASE let me know if a link isn't live - I might have forgotten to close the coding. Every link was live as of this AM....

Blah..

May. 25th, 2012 05:51 am
fiberaddict: (Default)
OK, I don't know what was wrong with the link - HSBC GAVE me that link, so it should have worked! - but here's a link *directly* to the page they have the offer on: link IF you have to sign up, and you don't want to, shoot me an email. Because *I* think it's important to know about your kid......and you shouldn't have to sign up for something you won't use for it (and HSBC isn't the one offering the deal; they just offer the code. And I don't think it's right to charge $$$ for something just because people don't want to sign up for something they don't need. Although....I've saved (and spent!) a LOT of money thru HSBC.......but YOU may not want to use anything they offer.)

Wrist is WORSE this morning. I had to ditch the brace last night, because it was causing more pain. :sigh: Fun stuff.......

Need to go put a roast on. If I don't get back today, Shabbat Shalom!
fiberaddict: (Calvin: Faces)
1. Homeschool Buyer's Co-Op is offering a HECK of a deal on Learning Style Assessments - they're normally $35 each; thru the Co-Op you can get them for *$3*. Here's the link to HSBC:

Go to http://www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org/learning-style-assessment-2/?source=taf-gb for more information.

Now. You're not buying it thru the Co-Op; they just give you a code. Email me for details......because I think the code is the same no matter who buys it; I snagged it this AM and both kids are slated to do the "test" (Himself is doing it right now.) The code is only good to June 7, so...if you want to do this, don't wait too long.

Why? Because.....neither one of my kids fits the "standard" mold. I have a VERY strong suspicion that Herself is 2E (Twice Exceptional) - I think she's just as gifted as Himself, but the Asperger's gets in the way. By having her do this assessment, I can get the right type of curriculum - or tweak what I already have - for her to excel. (Math. Math is her weak point - she'll have DAYS of "dumb", then all of a sudden *bam*, the light comes on and she nails it. I would like to have an idea of stuff to do that'll help that *bam* moment happen sooner - less frustration all around!) (And for Himself, I want to know what to do to keep him engaged. He's BORED right now; granted, we're on the "lighter schedule"...but I want to know what to do to keep him interested.)

2. Goat Management: All goats get a parasite called cocci. Normal, traditional treatment is 5 days of Corid at 21 days old, wait 21 days, and do it again. Gals on DGI have been testing a "new" protocol - 1 dose. That's it. 1 dose at 21 days, and NOTHING ever again. The medication is called Baycol....and I ordered a bottle. Yes, it's expensive ($50/bottle)...but *1* dose! One lady has been fecaling every week since she dosed her kid crop - and keeps coming up CLEAN. NO cocci at all.

It's not available in the US yet, but you can get it here. I'm planning on dosing the kid crop with it when it comes in - it's well worth the $$ if I only have to grab kids 1x. (Easy when they're on bottles - you put the dose in with the milk. When they're older..it's not so easy.)

3. SG wants to go all digital - ie, no more DVDs. However, it's kind of hard to do that when you can get 4 seasons of a particular show for $34; it's $30 PER SEASON on iTunes. :sigh: I just...I can't pay that much more for something just to save space, kwim? (Big Bang Theory, for those interested. Ebay has the best prices.....)

Doc appointment at 2....more later.
fiberaddict: (Default)
I did some quick searching - since I know how to weave, I could pick and choose the "best" links to hopefully explain better how to use a loom. Let me know if I need to do a post just on weaving - I don't mind! :lol:

Loom basics: The Woolery

A video: Done for her 5.5 year old grandson but the loom is already warped.

A warping video: by Ashford of New Zealand. It's on a table (smaller) loom, but the steps are the same on *every* loom. You might have to do something slightly different (for example, on a Rigid Heddle loom, the reed and heddles are 1 and the same (basically)), but the basic idea is the same. (A table loom is good when you don't have the space for a floor loom. You can get a "small" floor loom, but even a 22" one takes up a lot of space (about...3' wide by 4' long, if I remember correctly. I started out with a 22", then moved up to a 45", and now have my lovely 60" (or so). Oh, and to further confuse you - I have a countermarch loom; jack looms are most common around here. I switched because I wanted something quieter - jack looms have metal heddles (usually), and they clank and clack when you're weaving. Countermarch looms have string heddles, and are pretty quiet. Important in a house with small kids! Nap time was my weaving time for years, but Himself would come running any time he heard the loom - he was my born weaver!)

And part 2:threading - this is the most...tedious part of the whole weaving process. :lol:

There's a WHOLE bunch of videos on YouTube - these were the ones by people I "know". I'll be honest, I didn't watch any of them all the way thru - I know Ashford; my first spinning wheel came from them. Spin2Weave and I have been on a Fiber list for *years* together....she's very prolific.

Feel free to ask me anything you don't understand - weaving has a totally new vocabulary! If you lived closer, I'd be happy to send my 4-harness table loom home with you (or an inkle loom..or even the rigid heddle. I LOVE to share the weavy-love! :lol:) - not just for education, but to clear some space here. :lol: I have...well, I have a nicely stocked fiber studio. I should, after 16 years of dabbling in it.
fiberaddict: (Default)
I give you links. Because I had words with my husband last night, and only got 2 hours of sleep. School will be FUN today! :not:

So that I can rein in my addiction, and share the love, I give you links to eBay:

Teaching Company DVDs on eBay


Teaching Company VHS on eBay

Apps we have and use (bear in mind that we are an all Apple family, so I have the iOS version of these. I tried to find Droid links for this....but am brain-dead. Please forgive me!):

DVD cataloguer for iOS devices - I'm sure there's something similar for Droid, but my brain, it isn't working so well. :sigh:

Pocket Universe for iOS devices; it's OK, but the next one is better.

fiberaddict: (Default)
1. Mike and Skeeter and #5 showed up at 9:20 (won THAT bet!), ready to work. They have the j-channel, the light switch, and....stuff. I wrote him a check to cover it (I had been refunded the original j-channel, so this was just repayment), and they are *working*. The dogs went nuts, but are now snoozing, jerking whenever someone uses a hammer or saw.

2. My kids, who are currently working on something TOGETHER in Scratch. Happily. I am....astounded. :lol:


And, since Anna *gently* reminded me I hadn't linked it: PlanBook. I LOVE it - it's easy to use. And to customize - it comes with 6 boxes for the teacher to put info in; you can change the Names to make it work in your situation. I use 3 boxes: Classwork (for combined classes), Herself, and Himself. You can print reports by day or week or month (I use week); I print 1 with everything on it for me, then the kids each get one with Classwork and their box checked. That way, we all know what we need to do each day (or...we all WOULD, if the kids would just LOOK at their schedule. Ah, well....:lol:)

I'm still looking for a fantastic gradebook. I currently use GradeKeeper (no link, because I don't *love* it. Sorry) - it works, but...you have to have a separate file for each class, and you have to input all the details for each grade. It's....cumbersome. Works, but...not as intuitive as it could be. And it won't do a transcript. (Important if you have college-bound kids.)

The program I was beta-testing....just released an upgrade. I......I have to be honest. I do NOT like it. The original beta was very cumbersome, not intuitive, not user-friendly. I offered suggestions (and I was nice, honest!) - I told them up front that I used PlanBook, and liked the calendar interface; I just wanted an integrated gradebook.

The first release....sucked. Sorry, but...it did. You had to put in your entire year's worth of lesson plans at one time (because, while you *could* add to it, it wasn't very easy); the plans were in grid form, not calendar form, and you had to drag the assignments to the proper slot. NO dates - just a grid. :ick:

The new one....same thing, only now you have a calendar to drag the assignments to. I.....don't work like that. I CAN'T plan out a year in advance in EVERY subject; it just doesn't work that way for me.

I have reading schedules for most of our textbooks. (Found them online for free). What I do.....I sit down at PlanBook, with all my reading schedules (in a HUGE binder, so I have the binder on the desk in front of me) and the other books we use. I go week-by-week, and type in the pages/activities we'll do each day. I do it 1 subject at a time, at about 8 weeks at a time. With the calendar view that you type in, it's easy and fast to do it this way - I can do 8+ weeks in about an hour - hour and a half, depending on how many books I have to flip thru.

With the beta program, it took me more than 1 hour PER SUBJECT to set up the lesson plans. Then it took another 2 or 3 hours to drag the assignments to the grid (and you have to do EACH KID separately. PlanBook - combined classes are done in 1 pass. Easy-peasy!) - and I kept screwing up, because it's hard to know which assignment has already been put on the grid and which hasn't. It was an exercise in frustration......and inputting grades wasn't that much easier. (I do like that the assignments flowed to the gradebook portion....but they flowed with no dates, so if I didn't do them promptly, I didn't know which grade went with which assignment. Seriously, that's a flaw - I don't input grades weekly; I have a paper gradebook I track them in weekly, then I sit down 1x/term or so to input them. Since I keep them by date, it's easy.)

Oh, and if you wanted to cancel school 1 day, because a fantastic Field Trip came up...in PlanBook, you can "bump" the assignments to the next day. In the beta program, you couldn't - you had to RE-DO the entire rest of the term, because...well, you just did. (I don't know if that problem was addressed in the latest release, because once I saw that it was the same assignment input, I closed it.)

PlanBook also allows you to save assignments to your Library - like, Bible readings. They repeat year after year (if you follow the Torah Portions, that is); once they're set up and saved, I don't have to re-type ever again. Just click and drag when I come back to them next year.

I really wanted to like the beta-program, and I DID give it a fair shake. I just....I like easy. It wasn't - and doesn't look like it is now, either.

Anyway, I need to figure out what we're going to watch once Scratch is done......I'm thinking Shakespeare. Maybe. Might be difficult, what with the LOUD RADIO in the garage, and all the banging and sawing going on. Not complaining - I want my room DONE!

WHEE!!

Feb. 29th, 2012 11:56 am
fiberaddict: (Default)
Got my underbust today! It's....well, it's PINK :ick:, but beggars can't be choosers; by the time I had the funds to purchase, it was the "best" underbust they had on sale. :shrug: It'll be worn under my clothes, so no big deal.

Anna: Yup, I have lots of stuff. I'm weeding it out slowly...but it's hard. I have lots (I don't count stash; I have enough wool and yarn that we will be clothed if every fiber-bearing animal and plant suddenly dies. Yes, my online family is included in that - I have enough ready-to-spin fiber that all of us will have warm woolies for....well, years. :wink:); most of it is good stuff, I just don't have ROOM because of my fiber equipment. (Let's not discuss the horse stuff. I've had horses for 27 years.....and been acquiring stuff for...a good 20 years. I have a saddle for everybody in the family with a couple of "extras" - 1 is for training only, and 1 is my show saddle. Plus SG's western saddle...but those don't count, because they can - and sometimes are - be used.) Most of the stuff is paper - between work and school, we have amassed a LOT. I'm weeding it out....and it's why I want usable tablets for the kids. No more printing, that way! I'm also ignoring the books; like Hearth, I LOVE learning and think that all knowledge is useful (even if I don't need it right now. I can slaughter a hog, not that I eat pork...but I know where to get knowledge if/when the 'net vanishes.) Getting the garage converted will help a lot with the house - the stuff that has no home will have a home when the space is available. :sigh: I love my house....but it's not big enough for a fiber artist (let alone 2!) and a brewer and cheesemaker.

Hearth: Link to the Costume Goddess: http://www.shira.net/costuming/cg/pants-harem.htm (direct link to the harem pants page)

Link to the Gypsy full-circle skirt: http://moonmaiden.hubpages.com/hub/Make_a_Gypsy_Skirt . The skirt as shown has an 18-yard hem. :ahem: Mine won't be THAT full; not for everyday wear, anyway.

I made a mistake yesterday; I bought the Tibetan coat, not the Turkish. They're close..but the Tibetan coat is more full at the hem, which is what I want, and it is more properly called a "vest".

I need to go put another coat of paint on the table legs. And clear off the table. AND get my garb ready for this weekend. Fun stuff!

Busy....

Feb. 19th, 2012 02:29 pm
fiberaddict: (Default)
1. Pics of the corset will occur at Irish Fest (1st weekend in March)

2. Kitchen is Painted! Need to do cabinets....

3. Getting quotes to convert garage. Not fun!

4. Dad is coming over for dinner....the cleaning frenzy is almost done.

5. Got some shutters to make a screen to hide the water stuff in the garage. They were cheap, and will make a lovely bi-fold screen.

6. Found a new website: www.filthwizard.com. Not a homeschooler, and her kids are younger than mine, but FULL of ideas!

7. Need to sand coffee table - it's going to get faux finished.

Hate typing on the iPad - I need a keyboard!
fiberaddict: (Default)
For those of you who like to play dress-up (or do re-enactment stuffs, like I do)....I found a corset maker that is actually AFFORDABLE: Corset Story.

They are currently running a 3-for-2 deal, but I skipped that and went right to the Clearance page. Yes, I bought - a black brocade STEEL-boned corset for $47. :blink: That's - that's SERIOUSLY cheap. The last "dressy" corset I bought (similar to this, only it was a green-with-gold-Chinese-dragons brocade) was - sit down - $225. And I was a single mom at the time, and couldn't put the thing on by myself, so I passed it on to someone who could. :sigh: (I think I got $100 for it - not the best resale, for me, but.....I couldn't wear it, and something was better than nothing. :sigh:)

I could get into SO much trouble here, if I was of the mind (and budget!) to spend - the steampunk corsets are...well, I want. But don't need. (The black one I bought? I do need, because...:sigh: I have grown out of my current bodices. Well, Yes, I can squeeze into them, if I don't mind NOT eating/breathing/moving while laced up. Irish Fest is coming up, and...well, I need something so I'm not "frumpy". I refuse to go "undressed"...and this fit my budget. I won't mind shrinking out of it, either - not at $47. :grin: This isn't my usual style, but it's nice and classy-looking.)

You're welcome. :wink:
fiberaddict: (Default)
I figured I needed to go into the Sabbath on a fun note, so...why not mention the educational Apps I've been acquiring? :grin: Granted - these are from Apple, because we are a Mac-family, but I bet some of these can be find for Android/other smartphones/tablets as well.

Also - None of these were majorly expensive. I believe the most expensive one was $4.99 - the rest were either free on in the $0.99 - $1.99 range (but I can't remember what I paid for each one. Sorry!)

Math:

Algebra Pro: FANTASTIC. Unfortunately, it's no longer supported, but it's still worth getting. It has various categories, with easy-hard problems. You do the work right on the screen, then choose the multiple-choice answer. It has a button to show you how to solve it.

Barron's Pre-Algebra: Meh. You have to solve each level to unlock some REALLY stupid games. It was free...and honest? Isn't worth it - it gives NO feedback. You don't know what you missed. I downloaded ALL of the Barron's apps.....and they're all kinda sucky.

Grade7Math: Based on the Singapore Math books (which we use.) It looks to be basically the book, in App form (but not as in-depth). It has a section of instruction, then a section of Exercises, AND it has videos of various Algebraic topics. Nice!

Math Practice: Meh. Good problems, but....really below both kids' abilities. If your kids aren't in PreAlg yet, this might be a good one for you.

Algebra Intro: This one is.....weird. There's NO teaching - in the factoring section (the only section we've messed with) you drag and drop the numbers to group the variables/integers, then you tap the plus/minus/whatever to have the App do the math. Kinda stupid, but it DOES teach how to combine. I think this one was free - I certainly wouldn't recommend paying for it.

Mathemagics: COOL! This one is ALL about math tricks. It teaches you the trick, then gives you problems to practice it. LOVE IT!!!

Hebrew:

AlephBetStory: Made for youngers, but a fun way to learn the Hebrew alephbet. For example, "Gimel" looks like a high-heel shoe. Gimel = Gap. We are enjoying it.

WordPower - Nice. Free version sends you a new word each day, the paid version (I think it's $9.99) gives you the whole program. Not as in-depth as some, but still nice.

Science:

NASA
NASA Now
NASA Viz

All 3 of these were free, I think, and FANTASTIC. They keep you updated with the latest in Space exploration and discovery; 1 has videos, 1 has headlines - they're all fantastic.

History:

This Day: Just what it says - what happened this day in History. Light, but cool - and each entry links to Wikipedia if you want more info.

Surf the Ages - WAY COOL. It's bascially a "fake" internet, with pages "dating" from 3500 BC to 1999. FASCINATING.

Declaration and Constitution - just what they say; they're copies of both documents, with supporting pages.

Presidents vs Aliens: Oh. My. Gosh! TOO Funny - you answer questions about the various presidents, to "earn" a President, whom you then.....:snicker: FLING at the aliens. :rofl: Among other things.....I think this one is going to be the big winner.

Stack the States/Stack the Countries: These 2 are similar - they teach Geography/History. By the same company that did Presidents vs Aliens, and just as funny. And yes - you DO stack the States/Countries! (And they're to scale, which makes it funnier!)

Other:

Analogies for Kids: Just what it says; it gets kids thinking. A bit young for my 2, but still fun

Brain Games: Logic puzzles. Himself has spent HOURS with this one, so...it's a hit!

Brain Fit: Basically, Tetris. Only, the pieces are on the bottom and you have to make them fit the space at top, without rotating any piece. Harder than it sounds, and addictive.

CloudySky: Teaches you about the various clouds and their formations, with really good pictures. Great for walks!

PBS: need I say anything? LOVE it - we can watch all the episodes of our favorite shows, dig deeper......too cool!

Most of these apps do NOT require internet (once they're installed, that is). Those that do, are the ones with videos. :shrug:

One of the things I LOVE about Apple - when you buy an App, it's pushed to EVERY iDevice you have sync'd to your iTunes account (or iCloud account, but I have reservations about that.) I mean, all these apps have been pushed to both the iPad and my iPhone (1 price!) If we were to get the kids another iPad (for example - we're NOT, because GAH, the price!), if I sync'd it to my iTunes, they'd flow to it. If we got each of them an iPod touch, ditto.....all for 1 purchase price. I think that's BRILLIANT of Apple, because it'll keep families like us loyal. (It also works with iBooks, which is FANTASTIC as well - I only have to buy 1 book, and it's pushed to both my phone and ipad. Brilliant!)

Gotta run - Sabbath's coming! Shalom!
fiberaddict: (Default)
really. :giggle: She posted yesterday about a find she made - Shalom Sesame. Basically, Sesame Street teaches Hebrew/Jewish traditions.

At first, I was sad - my 2 are "too old" for Sesame Street. Herself is 14 (OK, maturity-wise, she *might* be 7, but still) and Himself is 11 (going on 30). *I* like the muppets, and I enjoy watching older episodes, but....I wasn't sure I could get them to watch - not sure enough to spend the $$ for it, anyway.

Then Ali said she and her son had watched some of the episodes on You Tube.....huh. I went off to search.......it's cute. It's cuddly. And Itzhak Perlman was on the introductory episode. :hugs: (He's been my violin-hero since...well, since I was in 7th grade and got to see him live. He's AMAZING!)

So...I made an executive decision and ordered the complete DVD set from MovieMarz on eBay. :lol: I figure, *I'll* watch it; if the kids want to join in, fine, if not - well, I'll be reinforcing my Rosetta Stone. Which I have been ignoring lately....I just don't feel like I can take the time to sit and *do* it - I need to get over that, because I can't learn a foreign language without SOME effort. :sigh: (I became proactive yesterday - I have the RS "playlist" in my iTunes, so while I was working yesterday I had it playing softly in my headphones. I figure, if I can have the TV on in the background and still be able to tell SG what happened, the RS playlist should be even better. Even if I don't KNOW that I know it, when I hear/see it next time I go into RS, it should make it easier on me. That's the theory, anyway.)

So, Anna - Thanks! (Seriously - thanks!) This should help *me* get Hebrew into my brain.

And, in exchange - another link for you: Ellen McHenry's Basement Workshop. She's got quite a few free downloads - we'll be doing her "Viking Voyages" this week, since that's where we are History-wise. She's got games, and buildables - and she has an English Curriculum that I'm looking hard at. "Excavating English"...it looks fantastic; the download is under $15...and I keep coming back to it. We'll see.....Her stuff looks solid, and fun.
fiberaddict: (Default)
I can't remember if I've linked all of these or not, but I'm trying to clean out my bookmark folder. So....here ya go (All are free, or were when I bookmarked them!):

Elements of Art

Watercolor Lessons

Virtual Art Instructor

Art Appreciation Lessons

Line Drawings of Masterpieces (Art Appreciation)

Literature Study Guides

British History site (This is the Monarchs page)

Create Math Worksheets

Math Books

Algebra books

Primary math books

Various books on various subjects

Teaching ideas (this is for math - there are other subjects here as well)

"Getting Started With Latin" quizzes

Flashcards for "Wheelock's Latin" (FUN site - tons of flashcards. BIG time sink!)

Various Science/Math poster/printables

Learner's TV Videos of various subjects

Videos MIT provided some

Virtual History Media - lots of primary sources!

Library of Congress teacher's resources - FANTASTIC site to browse!

I've got a lot more, but most of them are similar to these. Or silly......:grin: They all worked last time I checked them...hope they still do.

I was up much too late last night, so this may be all you get today. :yawn: I'll be up late again tonight...stupid player errors. Ah, well - this is the LAST baseball game of the season, so.....I can deal. :yawn:

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