Monthly Archives: October 2014

Harvest Humor

Question.  How do you move corn from one grain bin to another?  Answer.  Not easily.

When we take corn from the field the combine harvests it,

How a harvest crew travels! {}

the combine unloads the corn into the cart,

Harvest photograph

the cart unloads into the semi,


and the semi unloads into the grain bins.

But moving corn from bin to bin isn’t something we’re set up to do easily.  So when we needed to move some grain around Daddy planned for a full day of unloading grain into the semis the way we do when we take it to the elevator to sell it and then putting it back into the new bin we way we would from the field.

And then they came up with this.

On your left you see the yellow stream of corn as it comes out of the bottom of the bin and a grain vac brings it up to dump into the wagon.  The wagon’s bottom is open, allowing the corn to dump right into the next auger, which transports it across the lot into the semi.  The semi’s bottom is also open, dumping corn into another auger, which then lifts the grain up into the proper bin.  The tractors are there to provide power for this little operation.  They have hook ups in the back that allows them to transfer energy from their engines to the augers.

A nicely set up operation might have a grain loop to accomplish this with much less effort.

But where’s the fun in that?!

Categories: Science | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Logic of English– No Really

If you’d have asked me I would have said I was taught phonics as a kid.  I vividly remember being sent to the hallway to finish my paper because I couldn’t decide if I should circle “p” or “d”– was it a dog or a puppy!?

So when homeschool curriculum contained most of the phonics I remembered I never questioned it.  Then a friend shared her recent discovery of The Logic of English.  I’m pretty sure my first reaction was to laugh.  Like there is any logic in English!

Turns out I was wrong.

English follows many rules.  The problem was I just didn’t know them.

My review of the Logic of English curriculum.

He loves spelling now. Who loves spelling?

Immediately upon learning these rules, however, I knew it was exactly what my struggling reader needed. He thrives on logic.  Case in point, our second (or was it third?) curriculum I tried with him taught students to memorize “the,” pronounced as “thu”.  Months later he still struggled with “thu”.  But when The Logic of English taught him to pronounce it “thee” and gave him a rule for why, he was fluently reading the word within days.

My review of the Logic of English curriculum.

The company I buy the rest of my curriculum from has a simple program for reading that doesn’t include a kit with bells and whistles.  While it’s true that reading may come naturally to some, and buying all the extras might not be necessary for all families, I would recommend this program to anyone.  We use the teacher’s textbook which gives you word for word instructions, teaching tips, extra games, multi-sensory ideas, etc., and the workbook which is simple, colorful, and very, very doable.  We also purchased the phonogram cards and two sets of the game cards (one cursive, one print).  I use the doodle boards (see the first pic of Brett) from my usual company since they are much cleaner than dry erase markers! 😛

My review of the Logic of English curriculum.

There are also lots of little pieces, like the fluency word cards and game boards from the workbook, that I laminate and use over and over, so I bought this plastic box from Target to hold all of our stuff.  I love it.  I call out “time for Dragon book” (because now on our third, or is it fourth? curriculum my kids despise “phonics”) grab the box and we all gather on the carpet.  I did book A with both kids together (ages seven and four) but Brett is ready to move quickly now and Anna is, after all, only four, so I let her listen to book B and then review old lessons.

My review of the Logic of English curriculum.

Snuggling on the carpet with hands-on cards, boogie boards, laminated readers, and the occasional race is now a family favorite.  Handwriting and spelling are included in the curriculum so I get to check off three subjects from my daily planner.  LOE also offers the choice between print and cursive and as an added bonus we are also learning with better handwriting because, who knew, cursive is easier for kids, fine-motor wise.

I’m also amazed at all I’ve learned while teaching this curriculum.  I’m actually a better speller, and we haven’t finished the second book! (Admittedly it wouldn’t be that hard to make me a better speller…)

In fact, if you asked me now I’d say no.  I was never taught phonics as a child.

I’m so glad I can teach it to my kids.


(In fact I’m so glad I’m writing this post just because.  I received nothing from Logic of English.)

Categories: Homeschool | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

It’s Fall, ya’ll!

Harvest is in full swing here on Marshall Farms!

Anna in the combine

Brett and Anna have been jockeying for position on the combine.


Daddy is a rare and elusive creature that comes out of the field only when it rains.


And life has taken on a frantic new feeling as we rush to get corn out of quickly flooding fields and into the bins.  If all goes well this should be a fantastic year for crop production, but never count your chickens before they’re hatched or your bushels before they’re in the bin.  Harvest may be in full swing, but it’s certainly not over!

But aside from the hectic harvest we’ve been a little crazy around here for another reason. Please excuse my lack of blogging, but we recently added another foster child to our family. She’s five years old and really cute, but it’s been a little overwhelming.

So enjoy the fall leaves, be patient with the slow-moving combines (they’re feeding the world), and say a prayer for our family if you think about it.  Happy fall ya’ll.

Categories: Science | 3 Comments

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