Nicole Alderman

master steward
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since Feb 24, 2014
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cat duck fiber arts forest garden homestead hugelkultur kids cooking wood heat
Five acres, two little ones, one awesome husband, 12 ducks (give or take), and a bunch of fruit trees and garden beds. In her spare time, Nicole likes to knit, paint, draw, teach kids, make fairies & dragons, philosophize, and read fantasy. She doesn't HAVE spare time, but does like to fantasize about it!
Pacific Northwest
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Recent posts by Nicole Alderman

You can close the account by subscribing from the monthly-ish. It doesn't delete anything, but the account is inoperable until--I think--you log in and resubscribe. I think we can also "lock" it, so no one can use it unless a moderator "unlocks" it.

But, I'm really hoping and praying you don't leave either this earth or permies. Please hang in there.
Like others, I think it might largely depend on the child. There may, in fact, be 6 year olds who can maturely handle a gun. My son is 5. He doesn't even get to use a carving knife (or scissors!) without supervision. My husband keeps trying to convince me to let him have a little nurf gun, and I won't go for it. I do NOT need him shooting his little sister all day--which I'm pretty sure is what he'll do--or accidentally hitting my glass oil lamps and breaking their chimneys. I also don't want to encourage violence on his part. I think some kids can disassociate their shooting in a video game or with a nurf gun from actually being violent, but not all kids can do so. I very much want him to respect that real guns are not toys...and for him, giving him a toy gun would not help with that.

I also live in a very liberal area of the country. Kids that talk about guns or draw pictures of guns, can get in some serious trouble. This was even so almost 60 years ago! My father was in kindergarten and drew a picture of the two things he loved most: guns and his mom. And they interpreted that as him wanting to shoot his mom. I don't need my son having that sort of thing on his school record, or getting in trouble because he pretended to shoot someone in school. There's too many school shootings for schools to take such things lightly. As a former teacher, I want my son to have every chance to succeed in school, and sometimes things like talking about guns, or swearing, or breaking small rules can really affect how well a child does in school. I've seen too many kids get stuck in downward spirals in school. I don't want that for my kids.

I just can't get my mind around a six year old killing something with any real concept of what that means?

My son understood death at the age of three, but he was very confused about it. We kept losing ducks to predators, and he'd watched a video about composting which showed a rat decomposing. Because of this, for a while, he was extremely distraught about the animals dying, then he wanted them to die to "become nutrients for the earth," and now he's got a deeper understanding about how it's sad, but we can still make use of death. But, I honestly would not want him taking a life himself until he's MUCH older.
21 hours ago
In your case, you might benefit from learning to write in a dyslexia-friendly font. It might retain your hands, while at the same time helping your brain perceive letters better.
23 hours ago
One thing I would suggest is to learn a new "font." My print stinks. I had abhorrent handwriting in elementary school. I relearned cursive in Jr High, and that's much better. Then, in college, I learned to write in D'Nealian(kind of like italics, but upright), because I was going to school to be an elementary school teacher, and it's pretty important to have good penmanship if you're teaching kids penmanship.

My pencil grip is MUCH worse than yours. But, I actually found that "bad" pencil grip is extremely common with hypermobile ("double-jointed") people because their joints are too floppy to hold a pencil the "right" way. Website about hypermobility and handwriting I'll try to take a picture of my pencil grip. But, basically mine looks like this (taken from the hypermobility page):

I worked with other teachers that were fanatical about kids having proper grip, and while it might be more ergonomical for some, I honestly don't think it's a must. I had one teacher going on about how a kid wouldn't be able to write or draw with their pencil grip. This teacher was always impressed by my calligraphy and drawing skills, so I showed her my VERY improper grip. She didn't know how to respond.

For me, learning calligraphy and making a new "font" did wonders for retraining my hands to make letters.
23 hours ago
The picture on the back is even better!

1 day ago
Hmmm, I wish I knew about the choke cherries! I do know that my ducks like eating blackberries and other cane-type berries (like raspberries), as well as strawberries (they eat the berries but not the plant).

I've heard of people planting mulberries for their ducks/chickens, and it being a good source of protein, and it has berries for a long time. Mine still haven't started producing (I think it's something with my soil, since they had berries when I bought them three years ago...)

You could also try planting some buckwheat or other grains, as they really like eating the seeds when they ripen, and if you're lucky, they might reseed, too. My ducks refuse to eat any brassica leaves (kale, broccoli, wild mustard, radish), though they do munch on them a bit when they go to seed or have gone through a frost.
1 day ago
What a great idea, Raven! Now you got me wanting to needle-felt some oven mitts!

And, I'm pretty sure one could needle felt a dryer ball. I'm not certain it would be faster than felting it the other way. But, one probably doesn't have to get it perfectly felted to make a dryer ball--just get it in a round shape and it could felt even more in the dryer as load after load gets done, right?
2 days ago

Lucrecia Anderson wrote:
The third aspect was the epiphany part for me, something lots of other people may take for granted, but something I didn't grow up with and never thought about consciously before. And that was being actively intimate with the other, meaning spending time with them where YOU fully enjoy the experience and revel in their company as individuals. You aren't in the role of mother/caretaker/teacher/wife etc...but just enjoying the moment and fully appreciating  your time with this other awesome being and having fun while doing it.

It was an epiphany for me because I wasn't raised that way, my parents were devoted and very responsible caretakers. Intimacy or sharing activities with us as individuals that they enjoyed as much as we did wasn't a part of that, they made sure we had fun but it was a separate thing. I realized that I followed the same pattern, I was always in caretaker mode and hardly every just stopped to really enjoy the others company.

Just throwing that out there as even people that do actively enjoy their kids and other loved ones can forget that aspect when life gets too hectic.

This reminded me of a quote I ran across on facebook a while back. I had to go and look it up again

 Successful intimate relationships have a balance between positive and negative feelings and actions between partners. According to relationship researcher John Gottman, the magic ratio is
5 to 1. What does this mean? This means that for every one negative feeling or interaction between partners, there must be five positive feelings or interactions.

I think this is very true! I'd see it when I was a teacher, too. When you're constantly telling a student "No" "Stop that" "You can't do that" "You got that wrong" etc, the child becomes depressed and ceases to listen to you. You need a lot of positive interactions to make up for negative ones. It's kind of like the saying "for every criticism given, give 3 positive feedback." But, I think with a relationship. it's really important to have those fun, positive bonding interactions, not just the positive compliments like, "You did a good job putting away the dishes. Thank you!" So, when we think of our parenting, we've really got to create situations that we can have those positive interactions with our kids, so that when we have to tell them "No," they listen.

With some kids, this is easy to do. Other kids, or at certain times, it terribly difficult. How do you make/find ways to positively interact when the child is constantly making horrible choices? You might have to restructure a LOT of things to make life less stressful and their circumstances more favorable to them being able to not do horrible things every two seconds. It's hard. It's frankly what I had to do (once I finally had the ability due to life finally calming down enough), with my son.

make darn sure you aren't engaging in patterns that are "feeding the beast" inadvertently.  It is really really easy to do especially if you are tired/stressed and just want to have some peace. It can take many forms from validating his fears which causes them to increase, to giving him more attention when he is anxious/stressed, etc...  

This is a very important point you make! I recall when I was a teacher, and I was having a bad day (didn't get enough sleep, was stressed, whatever), the kids always were crazy. Was I noticing their bad behavior because I was cranky? Were they "acting up" more because they sensed my stress and subconsciously reacted to it? I think a bit of both, each feeding each other in a down-ward spiral. I see the same thing when I'm having a bad day and am stressed, and then I overreact to something my son does, rather than calmly talking to him...and then he gets stressed and acts out even more.

An example: Life's been busy with making presents, my husband working more, making fairies, etc. So, I hadn't been able to keep up on the cleaning as much as I'd like. And the kids had decided that the bathroom was the place to bring all the toys. It was a DISASTER. My brain was freaking out because it was WAY too messy and overwhelming and I didn't know where to start and my husband was working so much so there wasn't even anyone to work on it with me. I finally mustered the energy to tackle it, and asked my son to help by putting all the toys on the floor into a bin. He sensed my stress, and said no and started kind of freaking out. I pleaded with him to help me. That made things worse. Needless to say, the whole thing ended with us both in tears and him having a horrible evening because it got him in a bad state of mind. He really picks up on my stress (or my husband's or anyone else's). I can usually keep myself calm so he stays calm...but that time I just couldn't, and as one can expect, it had some really horrible results!
2 days ago
I'm making an Apple Poll based on this thread: What is your least-favorite Christmas song? What one makes you cringe? Or are there a bunch you hate? Vote here!


And, if you have songs not on the list, mention them and I (or another Gardener/Steward) will add it in for you!!!
2 days ago
I'm making an Apple Poll based on this thread: What is your favorite Christmas song? What one brings back happy childhood memories and fills you with joy? What song speaks to you? What song is the best written/composed? Or are there a bunch you love and you just can't decide? I know I have so many that I love. Vote here!


And, once again, if you want a song added to this list, mention it in the comments and I or another staff will try to get it added!

And, if  you just can't stand Christmas songs, there's a poll for that, too!
2 days ago