I'm not going to lie to you. I don't do quick. If it were under 500 words, it would be a facebook status.
I took word verification off of the combox because someone complained they could never read the captchas. But I haven't been getting any more real comments since then, and I've had bucketloads of spam. I just can't keep up with it. So I'm putting the captchas back on, and if you have trouble, email me your comment and I will post it for you under whatever name you like. My email is, as ever, sheila the bard (no spaces) at the domain name yahoo with the appropriate suffix (that begins with a c). Let's see if that keeps me from getting any more spam than I already do. (Due to all the spam I get on that account, it does take me awhile to respond to stuff.)
The garden is doing great. A tiny fluffy forest of carrots! Half a dozen cabbage and broccoli seedlings remain uneaten by bugs! I still have a few itty bitty beets! Still no peas. Still lots of lettuce. I'm going to plant out my tomatoes, basil, and cilantro soon. The pepper seeds haven't even sprouted, but it's probably just not warm enough, even indoors.
I am seriously living in fear these days because of all these awful stories people keep sharing about CPS. I mean this one and this one and especially this one. In the first two cases, it seems the police knew they couldn't prosecute for the marijauna, so they just took the kids even though there was no sign they were in danger, to punish the parents. At any rate, that's how it looks from here. And in the third, the doctor probably phoned it in because he was mad about the parents switching hospitals. Sure, they got their kid back -- but you can't just separate a five-month-old from his parents for a week or more and assume that it doesn't matter! What about bonding? What about their breastfeeding relationship, if they had one? It's even worse with toddlers. They're old enough to know something's up, but not old enough to understand an explanation. I can only imagine the trauma that my kids would undergo if they were separated for days from everyone they know. How would a stranger know that Marko won't ask for food and has to have it offered to him -- or how to get Michael to go to sleep?
Just thinking about it puts me into a panic. I try to be a "good mother," but you know there's always something. I don't use pot obviously, but while I'm typing Michael is standing on a chair with nothing on but a shirt. Is that a sign I'm a bad mother? What about letting them play in the yard? What about when I start homeschooling? A friend of mine has been investigated twice just for letting her kids play in the fenced front yard -- but she suspects it's really because her neighbor disapproves of homeschooling and keeps making calls. And a couple of weeks ago I was accosted by the police for taking my kids out on a dock. Michael was in my lap and Marko was well back from the edge -- and the water was only two feet deep anyway -- but they insisted that I didn't know what was doing, I didn't know whether my kids would suddenly leap in, I didn't know how deep it was, etc. I felt so ... undermined. Like, am I their mother, or am I not? Do I know them better than you, or do I not? Do I care about them more than you, or do I not?
But when the cops tell you "get off that dock," you do what they say. Because you have kids. Because if you get uppity or mouthy or ask if you are breaking any laws or explain that you don't have to do as they say because they don't have a warrant or a court order ... they can override all that and just take your children away from you until you comply with them. Because if the kids are in danger, or if they say they are, none of your rights apply.
On the one hand, I do see a purpose for CPS. It's one of the reasons I'm not an anarchist; there has to be something you can do if you know a child is being abused. But bringing the government into a family is like bringing a bull into a china shop. It's a delicate living thing, and it can be harmed so much by your blundering around. Separating a child from his parents is ALWAYS traumatic, no matter how awful and abusive they are. So you'd better be darn sure that the danger outweighs the risk of traumatizing the kids.
It really makes me afraid to be an American. Only everywhere else is worse.
To cheer us up, we've been thinking about building our own house in the country. Not because we are in a position to do so, but because we do want to get further out into the country someday, and why not have some kind of specific plan? There is a shortage of beautiful old farmhouses on 5 acres out here ... at least, for under a million AND not tumbling down ... so we're thinking we may just build it ourselves. Or rather have it built. It's fun looking at plans and considering what sort of kitchen we want and where the bedrooms should be.
What are your favorite house features? Mine are fireplaces, wraparound porches, root cellars, lean-to greenhouses, and huge windows.
Of course the more of our favorite things we put into our house plan, the more expensive it gets and the longer it will take to save up for it. So I had the idea of building an earth home. They are beautiful, traditional, sustainable, durable, cheap to heat and cool, cost very little, and you can do the work yourself.
But then John said the words "building codes" and the dream evaporated. I feel like Joel Salatin, "Everything I want to do is illegal."
But it is legal to live in a trailer, and those are nice and cheap. I wouldn't mind. I think John would. But it is a thought we've kept in mind, especially after I saw this series and ebook on trailersteading. Two words: no mortgage. Sometimes I think I could live in a cardboard box if it meant getting out of debt.
Today I first found out what the Catholic Worker movement is all about, and I thought, "Gee, if I'd known about this when I was eighteen, I would have run off and joined them in a heartbeat!"
Then again I wasn't the "flaming liberal" then than I am now. (I say these words with a wink ... some of the Catholic Workers are a bit too liberal for me, but some are about right.) And now I have too many commitments. But to hear of some of them living in little Catholic mini-communes out in the country ... well, it appeals to me, is what I'm saying.
There are more takes here, if you're into that sort of thing.