Monday, 30 July 2012

Love Lemons

My gorgeous little lemon tree – the first tree we planed when we bought this house, because when asked if I had to choose just one kind of tree, what would it be? I always answer: lemon!

Because lemons are awesome and so versatile and they fruit all the time and I just can’t live without them.

Lemon juice, lemonade, lemon tea, lemon meringue pie… lemons go in so many things.

My poor tree suffered from a wasp blight a while back and needed to be massively pruned, but it’s recovered nicely. We also had problem with bugs munching the poor dear down to a twig, I make up batches of really strong chilli tea from my chilli bush, and spray the leaves with that to keep the insects away.

So the little lemon tree is about three years old now, and it’s finally given its first real crop!


In it’s denuded state the tree barely able to support the weight of half a dozen lemons. Propped up with bamboo stakes, she does alright, and YAY!



The first harvest is always so much awesome! When life gives you lemons… be thankful!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Faeries on Ice

So, we’re totally getting into skating of all sorts – after my recent foray into Roller Blading with homeschool group, we’ve gone to the roller rink a couple times more, and this week we went ice skating again with the Gold Coast home school group, which is vibrant and thriving.


Remember that Littletree is a long-time ice skating enthusiast, it’s great to see how she’s improving over time, and her confidence and skill level is improving so much. And since I’ve started skating more, I’m getting a whole lot more confident myself


I even got confident enough to teach a few of the absolute beginners in the group, which was great – I made some new friends along with practising skating :)


I even managed to get myself up to a decent speed going backwards, and then turn around to face forwards while still going in the same direction. Which I thought was a pretty great achievement, until I saw the awesome tricks Littletree is pulling off…

P1080760 (2)

And of course we got into discussions about physics, gravity, friction, the laws of motion, and somehow, genetics while skating.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Planetarium at home

Littletree’s passion for astronomy still hasn’t waned and this week she spotted a build-your-own constellation night light projector kit at the local National Geographic shop.


Of course, the “kit” part meant that she actually had to assemble the thing herself


She spent ages poking holes in every individual star (with a little help), which was a great way to get better acquainted with the constellations.

And then we wrangled the globe into shape (fitting tab A into slot B about 97 times)


And finally!


It looks totally cool all lit up, but my little camera isn’t really up to the task of capturing low-light photos


So you can’t get the full effect, but with a 60-second exposure, this is how it looks:


Pretty darn awesome.

Friday, 20 July 2012


The Goddessmother with the mostest, Lady Demelza has returned after her recent visit a couple of weeks ago, this time dragging bringing her partner Uncle CJ for an extended stay. Yay!

Naturally, she brought with her a whole treasure trove of goodies, including the seeds of Littletree’s newest passion – Beading.

A quick lesson on how to use the little pliers and crimps and such, and off she went, focussed for most of a day making gorgeous creations.


Littletree being Littletree, she’s not plotting to start a small business designing, making and selling necklaces and bracelets and whatnot.


And lucky me, I got to have the very first necklace, which is green, of course. Well, mostly green, with a hint of maroon, in honour of Lady Demelza’s inspiration.


And yes, I’m wearing it all the time, because I love it – which is extra special because I almost never wear jewellery at all ever.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


Littletree is getting into acting lately, and has taken on BooBoo – a cat that occasionally visits us - as her study. Personally, I think she’s nailed it.

Or, alternately: Doctor! Help! My daughter thinks she’s a goat cat!

How long has this been going on for?

Ever since she was a kid kitten.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Learning Nothing

Since Learn Nothing Day is coming up (there’s been an informal movement for the past few years where unschoolers “Learn nothing” on the 24th of July as a way of highlighting how we are all learning all the time), we’ve been practising.

Well… trying to.

Even when I tried to distract Littletree into a wasted afternooon of not learning anything by watching mindless sitcoms, she got inspired to look into tidal waves. Which led us to looking on YouTube for videos about tidal waves. After an hour of watching BBC documentaries on wave patterns, tidal waves, costal formations (which, of course, led back to our recent lessons on The Giant’s Causeway and how lava can cool into interesting geometric shapes)…

We ended up discussing trees, googling what is the oldest tree in the world, the largest, the tallest. Somehow I forgot that we’re not meant to be learning anything, and mentioned the time back in 2002 when I went around Namibia and saw the 900 year-old petrified trees at the Dead Vlei.


Which of course turned into a discussion about petrified wood, sand dunes, desertification, climate change. So then we had a read about the history of climate change, which led us to reading about Doggerland – the recently-discovered land that once connected Britain to continental Europe, and about how Native Americans possibly contributed to climate change and a mini-ice-age in Europe due to deforestation.

And on and on it went, through Native American history, through to Native Australian history, to the history of women’s suffrage and the rights of children.

Eventually, I gave up on trying to stop Littletree from learning anything and took a break while she played around on some silly website.

I came back to find her flipping through a picture book (finally! something non-educational!) She glanced up from the book and announced that she now has a better understanding of how the human urinary tract and kidneys work. Turned out what I thought was a harmless picture book was actually a book on human anatomy. In Hebrew.


So much for unschooled kids not learning anything!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Purple Cauliflower

Littletree’s favourite vegetable at the moment is raw cauliflower, and one of her favourite colours is purple, so when I was at the supermarket this week and I saw a purple cauliflower, I thought: ooooh Littletree will think that is awesome!

It did cross my mind that it might be some sort of weird coloured or genetically modified icky vegetable, but I figured it would be cool to bring it home anyway, at least for the interest factor.

Littletree was pretty amazed


And a quick googling led us to learning that they’re not dyed or genetically modified in any way, but a hybrid - which may possibly have more nutrients because of the purple colouring.

Awesome! Which fits in perfectly with what we started learning about a few weeks ago – genetics, the studies of Mendel and selective breeding. We’ve been talking about recessive genes and genetic disorders, and how that relates to our every day life; such as how we got from wolves to dogs as various as Chihuahuas to Great Danes; and how we get so many varieties of vegetables; blue eyes vs. brown, etc. Littletree is particularly curious about being a redhead and how those recessive genes work.

Littletree has been having a recent resurgence in playing with a doll that was her favourite since she was about 18 months old – she used to carry Sigalit everywhere, even carrying her in a sling, but she kind of grew out of playing with her till recently.

sequoia and baby 1

Lately, Littletree has taken to calling Sigalit her daughter, and I often have to “babysit”, being the grandmother. Littletree pointed out that since Sigalit has purple hair, it must be from a recessive gene, as no one else in the family does!

But back to the cauliflower, apparently it tastes exactly the same as a regular cauli. Yum!


Sunday, 1 July 2012

I’m makin’ waffles!

Littletree has been begging asking to make waffles, so we decided to get a waffle iron. After a full day traipsing around every shop we could find that might possibly stock waffle irons, and finding only a massive assortment of specialised appliances for things that don’t need a specialised appliance – there was a brownie-maker, a cookie-maker, a cupcake-maker, even a hot-chocolate-maker! But no waffle iron, ironically waffles are the one thing you actually need something to make them with.

donkey waffles

So we went online. I found on eBay a gorgeous original 1970s retro Breville waffle maker… so very funky! But also out of my budget, so we settled on a cheapo one and waited for delivery…

Thankfully didn’t have to wait long! Littletree was ecstatic!


We found a recipe that’s simple enough for her to make herself and that we can get all organic ingredients for – after discussing at length the ins and outs of separating eggs so one can whip the whites, and what happens to the egg protein when it’s whipped.


Seems everything turns into a science lesson with this kid!

But the end result… mmmmmmmm


Served with fresh, local raw cream, maple syrup, and bacon! So glad we have a local organic butcher!