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    Home Education, Other Thoughts

    Seven Quick Takes on Selling Goats, Tortoise Gardens, Phonics Curriculum, and More!

    May 8, 2015 by Brandy Vencel

    Seven Quick Takes

    :: 1 ::

    So, I’m selling my goat herd at the end of the month. This has been a very hard decision for me, but overall I think it is for the best. As we have been heading toward high school {next year is 8th grade for our oldest}, it’s become very evident that there are some things we want to add — that possibly we need to add — to our life. And no matter how I looked at it, the goats got in the way of that. I love owning them, but there is a sense in which I am married to them. I have to milk them twice a day, no matter what, and that has an impact on the logistics of everything.

    I think if we actually lived in the county, it wouldn’t matter so much. If I was late to milking, their whining wouldn’t bother anybody except possibly Sophie the Tortoise. But it isn’t an option to let them fuss because we live in a neighborhood and we have to be respectful of our neighbors.

    I had to sell my beloved Charlotte at the end of last year because she was noisy and when the vacant house next door to us sold, I didn’t want her to put a strain on our relationship with the new neighbors. I have since lost a lot of my motivation. She was always my favorite. It is a joy to own an animal that is really good at being the sort of thing she was created to be. Charlotte was pleasant to look at, very smart, and produced a ton of milk. My current does are sub-par milkers compared to her and will possibly be hard to sell because of that fact.

    It’s been a wonderful era for us, but the era is over. It’s bittersweet because I really have enjoyed them and learning all about them and their care, and I think it has been a wonderful experience for the children, but at the same time it will be nice to have our backyard back. Who knows? I might even be able to do lessons out there without a creature literally eating our homework.


    :: 2 ::

    We will still have three rabbits, a tortoise, and a puppy. So that’s something. I have already bought seeds for a tortoise garden once the goats are gone. These are all native plants that Sophie can safely munch on, and they are also drought resistant, which is a must right now.


    :: 3 ::

    This week’s links collection:

    :: 4 ::

    This month in 2013:

    Kim and the River of Life

    Apparently, I was upset at characters in a Kipling novel.


    :: 5 ::

    I have been working like crazy on my Teaching Reading with Bob Books phonics curriculum. Hayley has been organizing all of my free lessons and collections of scribbles into a PDF document that is easy to print and use and has lots of extra goodies. It is going to be really great! I’m excited! We’re looking for two more families who currently have students learning to read and are interested in my method to receive a free copy in return for helpful feedback. I’m particularly interested in making it as user-friendly as possible. Use my contact form if you are interested and tell me why you should be one of the two.

    Okay: WOW! So many of you responded to my request for testers! I am almost overwhelmed and, frankly, some of your contact form entries were hysterically funny. Thank you so much for the help and also the laughter. 🙂


    :: 6 ::

    May is always quite the month for us. Tuesday was our 14th anniversary, my birthday is this weekend, along with Mother’s Day. Our oldest also turns 13 in a couple weeks {whoa isn’t that hard to believe}. I’d like to say we’ve been partying it up, but who can afford to do that after buying a couch? Good thing we love it!

    :: 7 ::

    Answering Your Questions:

    • Question: Can you tell me a brief difference between AmblesideOnline and Simply Charlotte Mason?
      • Answer: Unfortunately, I don’t know a whole lot about the differences. I mean, I have spent a lot of time on the SCM site, and I’ve glanced at the booklists, but I still don’t feel qualified to comment. The differences I have noticed is that SCM focuses on being able to combine children into the same historical periods, whereas AO has a separate year that roughly corresponds to each grade. AO can be combined, of course, but it would take some thought and planning for the mother. The SCM booklists look less rigorous than AO’s. I noticed that a number of the books on the high school lists were ones that my son, who is in 7th grade, has already read. Right now, SCM definitely has the nicer website of the two. 🙂 One good idea would be to try and talk with people who use one or the other and try to compare their experiences to see which is a better fit for your family. I haven’t spent much time analyzing what SCM actually does, though, so if anyone wants to chime in, feel free!


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  • Reply Sherry May 15, 2015 at 11:13 am

    I’m sorry about your goats. I have been thinking in the same direction. I think if I KNEW that the buyers would be responsible and committed, it would be easier. It’s just so sad to see the condition of some animals people sell on craigslist. Anyway, I am praying for good homes because I have to sell at least half of mine. It’s hard to see them go; we love all of them.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 15, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      I know what you mean about buyers. It was somewhat traumatic when I sold my favorite doe last fall and the buyer turned out to be incompetent! I am really praying I find better buyers this time around!

  • Reply Melissa May 10, 2015 at 4:27 am

    I can relate to the selling of your goats. We had to sell our sheep last fall after nearly 10 years. I’m still sad thinking about it, especially now in the spring because we won’t have any more spring lambs 🙁

    Blessings for a wonderful birthday and anniversary… and Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Reply Kortney May 9, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Happy Birthday, Dear Brandy!

  • Reply Amber May 8, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    How sad about your goats! I remember feeling really conflicted when we had to give up our chickens (totally different reasons – we do live in the country, and a bear had discovered them. We didn’t feel like building a cement bunker to house the chickens, so they went to a friend who lives closer into town rather than letting them all get eaten by the bear). I still miss those birds, although it is very nice to be able to go away and not have to have to make arrangements to have them let out in the morning, fed, watered, and put back in at night. It was such a great little respite though to take some kitchen scraps out, watch them get all flustered and happy, feed them, and watch them scratch around and eat for a bit. It was such a wonderful little recharge in my day, one that I haven’t quite figured out how to replace.

    Anyway… thanks for linking to the CA drought article too. I’ve been noticing with alarm (in my highly unscientific eavesdropping study) how many people are saying that they don’t see the point in doing anything to conserve water, since agriculture uses so much of the water that their efforts would be meaningless.

    Happy birthday and happy anniversary! And we just had our oldest turn 13 a couple months ago. It seems strange to be the parent of a teenager. It has also made me realize that I’m definitely not a young mom anymore… but at least I’m not going gray yet. 😉

  • Reply Sara McD May 8, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Happy Birthday, Brandy!

    I’m sorry to see your goats go, but I get it. It is a lot easier to do certain things now that I’m in the country. For example, barn cats are awesome.

    I thought you’d want to know that you have an unnecessary apostrophe in the word “farmer’s.”

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 8, 2015 at 1:10 pm

      Yes! Thank you for the edit! I fixed it. {You knew I would. 😉 }

      And I bet it is a lot easier in the country. We are on the edge of town, so we can walk and see horses and orchards and strawberries fields and such. It *feels* very country. But we are still in a neighborhood, so there are Issues.

      For years, I regretted that it didn’t work out for us to be in the country. Now, with all the drought issues, and wells going dry, I am glad we ended up on city water! It’s a protection for us…for now. 🙂

      • Reply Sara McD May 8, 2015 at 3:40 pm

        Yes, I should have said that there are certain other things that are easier NOT in the country. Like water and sewer and garbage collection. 🙂

        I’m very sorry about the drought. I know you love your state and this must be so painful and worrying to you. I wish I could help.

  • Reply Julie Z May 8, 2015 at 7:35 am

    A Happiest of Birthdays to you, Brandy! My friend just told me about a man who had a turtle in their basement for 16 years. He just roamed around and ate the bugs as well as food they provided for him. I think your Tortoise Garden sounds much nicer for the fellow!

  • Reply Paola Collazo May 8, 2015 at 6:58 am

    Happy Birthday!!

  • Reply Karen @ The Simply Blog May 8, 2015 at 6:50 am

    Happy Birthday to you….Happy Birthday to you….Happy Birthday dear Brandy….Happy Birthday to you! 🙂

    My hubby and I were just talking this morning about how February through June is much like May is for you. In that short time we have at least five birthdays, two anniversaries, then Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

  • Reply Heather May 8, 2015 at 6:50 am

    A tortoise garden? Well, you learn something new everyday.
    Happy Birthday, and we celebrate our 13th anniversary on Mother’s Day this year.
    We’re right behind you, takin’ notes. 🙂

  • Reply dawn May 8, 2015 at 3:42 am

    Happy Birthday!

  • Reply Dawn May 8, 2015 at 2:04 am

    Oh, Brandy. I know that selling the goats must have been a very hard decision for you. My homesteading friend sold hers earlier this year, too, for many of the same reasons.

    Our 14th anniversary is this month, too! May 2011 was a good time for marrying, wasn’t it?:)

    PS – Happy Birthday!

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