eclipse helmets


There will be a solar eclipse on Monday, August 21st, 2017. We’re in the 90%+ totality range, so we *need* eclipse glasses *the entire time* as we attempt to view the eclipse action directly (there will be harmful rays the entire time).


Paper glasses.

Let me back up: I knew in 2016 that I would need to prepare for the solar eclipse. So in June of this year I finally bought some NASA certified eclipse viewing glasses. They are everything I expected – floppy bits of heavy cardstock with little rectangles of serious filter.

They are AWESOME but they are also INCONVENIENT. So we are making helmets to help keep them in place.


– NASA certified solar eclipse viewing safety glasses

– 8.5×11 cardstock (I let the kids pick out colors to cut down on my decision fatigue and also so that I can say things like “NOPE THIS IS WHAT YOU PICKED LEAVE THE OTHERS ALONE” the whole time we need them Monday)

– packing tape

– stick glue

– children who will sit or stand or crouch or something to “mediumly” cooperate for sizing check-ins


Pick out cardstock colors.

Tape the cardstock to the glasses; they just need to be touching, so there’s some flop action. (Tip: I taped both sides because tape-in-hair is not something I want to deal with or hear about.)

Enlist the child on whom the helmet should fit. Put the glasses in place, limit your threats, decide where the fold to get a forehead piece, then also decide where to fold to have the top flat with a flap at the back. You should have 2 folds, and you should not feel bad about how crazily kids’ heads are shaped. That’s why we are squaring these things instead of really trying to make them fit.

When you are satisfied with the folds, do some more folding (photos at the end

of the paragraph)! Lay the glasses/cardstock flat, with the inner side up, and fold the long sides IN, at the edge of the glasses. Cut along the shortest fold lines (just to where it reaches the long fold line) so that you have more flappy bits. Glue the flaps (and just wipe off the glue if you put it on the wrong spot three separate times; you’re doing some advanced math and physics over here, okay). You can zoom in to check out this photo series.

Once you’ve glued the flaps so you’ll have a boxy unit. **For Quinn’s, I had to add

cardstock flaps because there wasn’t enough of the original cardstock to tape to the glasses’ earpieces with more tape/hair disaster potential. But the other kids just have theirs taped so the sides are solid. Again, tape inside and out to cut down on fussing.



– Quinn kindly referred to my work on his all black creation as an obsidian helmet, so, we’re also Minecrafting.

– These are “front heavy” because I want them to stay put while faces are lifted. Our rule is that the glasses have to poke your nose while you’re sun-gazing. This seems to keep them in place even when there is wiggling and jumping.

– I suggest that if you’re unsure about size,

go large. Annie (3) had no trouble with Quinn’s (10) but Brennan (5) had a hard time with Annie’s. *shrug*


change of pace

All year we’ve been up in the air and unsettled. For every one thing going to plan, there are a million billion trillion (so many zeroes) things going NOT to plan. I haven’t wanted to think. I haven’t wanted to have ideas. I haven’t wanted to record or ponder or even hope. 

I’m weary.

Being weary gets old, though. As June has moved itself along, we’ve gotten past some of the incredibly changeable situations in our family life, and we’re settling into a routine.

Sadly, that routine has been stupid. There’s been a lot of arguing and avoiding and there has been A LOT of rain. Yesterday I could tell we needed to move our show out the door. We felt better after some outdoor time, but it wasn’t enough. We needed more.

This morning we got it. I am still so frazzled that I am not sure how much outdoor time we got. But. It was mostly good.

Annie needed to take the dictionary with us. It has maps. And pictures. And is bright red and very heavy. I sent Aiden back to our house to get her backpack so she could stop tripping down the stairs. 

We found nouns that start with A and B. People, places, things – we skipped ideas, though.

When we got tired, we investigated the garden plants. I murdered a squash pest. (I’m about to have to pull up and burn the spaghetti squash, booooooooo. I’m thinking all the happy thoughts about the pumpkin vines, which appear to have cross-pollinated…)

So. Then the kids wandered into the house, and I was going to follow. But. I was distracted. 

I have been wondering how our little lizard pals are doing. Aiden and I saw one – alive – yesterday. 

I got our science tweezers (as in, tweezers reserved for similar bleghy tasks) and picked up our desiccated friend, moving it to our bench. We investigated for a bit, then transferred the carcass to a jar. Now it’s on a shelf by the front door.

Now we’re going to talk about Egypt. And that was already the plan, even, before we found an unintentionally mummified lizard.


It’s the second half of August. WHAT. 

Our wedding anniversary is Friday. We’re in the last few days of Year Ten. WHAT.

I’ve spent a lot of time the past few weeks thinking about why I do what I do. I have tried to declutter some things and some thoughts and … just WHAT.

I feel like we’re on the edge of something and I have no idea what it is. I want to feel excited about life but mostly I’m battling anxiety alternating with apathy and things keep going wrong. When they go RIGHT, I cheer really loud. But the cheering feels kinda hollow, and it doesn’t echo when I stop. 

more about the chicks… and Wild Henny

I think out blog posts in my head and then later I think maybe I already actually posted. 


I guess it’s good brain exercise? Or not? I’m not sure. And the question marks look weird on my phone, so now I’m – this is maybe a completely new font, in my WordPress app, and I’m freaking out for the 47th time today. 

Why can’t I just ramble about the chickens without having to have my mind blown by a different font in the blog app?!?


They are messy and they don’t treat me like I’m Snow White or Briar Rose so I am ready for them to be big enough to move outside, so their poop is not in my house. I do still enjoy them. But. Poop. I’ve made it through almost 9 years of diapers. Can I just please get a break soon? Please? I said please. 

I can’t get great pictures lately because I’m too lazy to try harder. 

And one of the “wild” game hens (from far across the road) was using my maybe-rosemary (I’ve got to investigate this plant mess) to hide herself and some eggs under TheBarn (tucked under the bottom beam, against underpinning that Jona and Appy ripped out last weekend). Jonathan thought he had found a dead crow. 


I named her Henrietta, but I’ve been calling her Wild Henny. Especially after she traipsed off and I found this:  

(At some point, someone found a yellow ball and put it next to the pink one. But I can’t get anyone to ‘fess up to that.)

Y’all, these photos are from, like, a week ago. Maybe next week I’ll document and report in a more timely manner. Maybe. Doubtful. 

wild explorers

We had a sort of review day today so that I can sign off on the kids’ assignments for our first month of Wild Explorers Club.     

We packed our adventure pack, stopped by Mimsy and Appy’s to grab our walking sticks (and let them know we were going into the woods). Then we tried a path REALLY less traveled and struggled too much (Annie ducked off the path and I had to break branches to get her. Oops). But we found a couple of feathers (and used hand sanitizer on them and our hands and cleaned them again when we got home). Aiden is upset with me because our woods are not The Wild. 

chick photo shoot

We keep the chickens in a galvanized tin tub. I line it with packing paper (like newspaper without the ink) and add a heavy layer of pine shavings. I keep their food on a paper plate that gets tossed every time I change the pine and paper, and their water in a pint jar that fits in a galvanized tin waterer. I change everything out and clean the waterer two or three times a day (sometimes the water gets done more often). While I’m working, I put the chicks in a cardboard box lined with a sheet of packing paper. 

The heat lamp we’re using is GREAT light, but in the tub it kinda glares and blows out the highlights, so the pictures aren’t always great. IN THE CARDBOARD BOX, though, THE LIGHTING IS DRAMATIC. 



chick update

Sooooooo, the chickens. 

Bad news first: Padmé died.

Good news: Everychicken else is fine.

More good news: Brennan talked me into changing Rey’s name from Rey to Padmé, and it looks like the name is not actually unlucky. 

I’ve been researching to see what these girls actually are, specifically, and have got the possible breeds list narrowed down to 2 for each chick. I’ve got to let them get big enough to match them with adult images from reputable sites. Because turns out lots of people post pictures of chickens but don’t actually know what they’re talking about… so the images that pop up for a Google search for different breeds includes, um, every chicken breed ever. I thought it was really working until I saw the same pictures for the third time. 

I’m excited, though. Their feathers are coming in and they’re all so pretty right now. I guess they could change a lot more and not be pretty. But. I think we did a good job with our random picking. And our two buff chicks seem to be different breeds. Their coloring is different enough that I can easily tell them apart, and their tails are different. 

Jilly is the smallest bird, but was able to establish herself as head of the flock. She’s a terror. Hazel is rowdier, but she seems to be too rowdy to be in charge. Ginger actually likes to be held. Leia and newPadmé are fairly chill.

Speaking of Jilly the Terror:  

Yesterday she learned to hop onto the water dispenser.

Today she learned to hop some more.

  That made me really glad we move the fireplace screen when we aren’t using the fireplace.   
The chickens and Annie are NOT happy with this arrangement.  

Oh well.

we bought chicks

Chicken chicks. Real chickens. They’re in my house right now. Peeping and eating and drinking and climbing on each other and sleeping and pooping – in a tin tub in a corner. 


saturday was warm

We tried adventure.

Annie was the only kid who wanted to adventure with me. Her idea of adventure and my idea of adventure don’t always overlap, though. She ended up on an adventure with DadDad. I took pictures of plants, largely underwhelmed with my results. I’ve been on the lookout for Project Island (and thinking about business ventures in terms of sea travel – we’ve been reading about 15th-16th Century explorers for school).

Because I’m on the lookout for Project Island, I’ve gotten myself stuck in a rut. Trying to leave room to crop or to add text dumped me over into the rut, and inspiration hasn’t struck to give me something to climb out with.

Oh well.

I did end up on an Actual Adventure.

There’s a caved-in-ish store at the corner of the property. I’ve walked to it once (and that was within the past few months, chasing the boys), but had not really ducked in and looked around. Boys, Brennan, Appy, and I ended up in the store on Saturday – I’m not sure if the motive was more “testing the limits” or “checking the fences.” I was glad I had followed, though. Along the back wall are wooden shelves, caught in a sort of slow-motion fall from exposure to the weather. There are songbooks in one corner.

I think I took “one more shot, goose girl!” about ten times. Brennan had stayed with me but was finished with my adventure long before I was. She refused my request for a(nother) in-the-woods photo and trooped fearlessly back up the hill.

So I took a picture of her trooping.