it's not cake, it's bread!

In former times I had no qualms about wanting to make pumpkin bread all year long. Since then I've expanded my baked goods repertoire so it's now a more seasonal treat... and this is the season! The best thing about pumpkin bread is that, since it's clearly bread rather than cake—just look at the name!—you can eat it for breakfast. Which we did yesterday. Then, since it's packed with sugar we had it for dessert after lunch and dinner.

We had the first loaf with dinner the day before. We hosted friends and made roast chicken and mashed potatoes, so it all felt very Thanksgivingy. Our friends brought pumpkin cookies for dessert which weren't any sweeter than the bread, but they did have frosting on them.

Here's the recipe, if you want to try this decadence for yourself. Super easy.

Preheat oven to 375°. Beat together in the stand mixer:

1 cup oil
2 1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 can pumpkin

Combine in a large bowl and whisk all up:

3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger

Add to the wet ingredients and mix til combined.

Bake in two ungreased loaf pans for 55-60 minutes.

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calendar work

As part of our program of home education, I try to have us make calendars every month. It has something for everyone: it's practice writing numbers, it gives anyone who cares a chance to look ahead at the month and see what we have scheduled, and it's a project that we can start and finish in one session. And of course, when you make a calendar you need a picture for the month! So part of our task is thinking of an image that can represent the month. Two out of three kids agreed on what that is for November.

Lijah's calendar, featuring a hand turkey

seasonal

Of course, the fact that I'm writing this post now shows that our November calendars were a little behind schedule. Ideally we'd make the calendar for each month before the previous month ends, but that's hard—I'm not super aware of a month drawing to a close (and then I go to write the date and realize it's not October any more). And at the beginning of a new month there are always things happening! Friday, November 1, we were away at Book Club; Mondays the boys are with their grandparents, Tuesday the 5th we were at Timbernook; Wednesday we had to rest; and Thursday we were figuring out how to live together and get things done. So on and so forth.

But on Tuesday, November 12, I finally got organized enough and we got the thing done—less than halfway through the month! And just in time to realize how little time there is before Christmas. Yikes! They came out well: Zion and Lijah did hand turkeys, Harvey drew a cornucopia, and I painted dead fields and gray skies. It may have been late, but I'm pretty proud of my November!

my November calendar; watercolor and ink farm scene

how I see the month

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moments from the week

Harvey jumping off a table into a leaf pile

leaf leap

Moments from the past week.

Harvey among a group of kids playing by a pond

Timbernook adventure

Lijah playing drums on tin buckets in the woods

the music of the forest

Harvey reaching with a stick into a stream

river work

Lijah on the front porch wearing Mama's furry white vest

his outfit for Saturday

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two Elijah moments

When he's not yelling or whining, Lijah is a joy to be with and his sparkling utterances light up my life. Like this gem from yesterday: "there once was a man from Peru, who dreamed he peed in his shoe. That's poetry!"

Lijah in cold-weather gear sitting up on a wall

curious cat

Earlier, I asked him to please join me in cleaning off the table, since I was ostensibly helping him with his job. "I will," he told me, "but first can I finish taping up my mouth?"

chicken training

Last time I wrote about the chickens, we were having trouble getting the younger ones to go back into their coop. Well, I'm pleased to report that they've now mostly got it figured out. As before, it seems like the death of one of the older hens reshuffled the pecking order and helped the remaining chickens feel more like one flock. Now the nine of them are running in the same direction when I let them out, and for the most part they're all running right back when I call them. I got them put away in just a couple minutes when we needed to leave for homeschool Park Day at 10:30 this morning; what a relief.

It did take a couple minutes rather than 30 seconds or so because there is still one of the young hens that isn't totally sure about joining her elders in the coop (she's a Barred Rock, the first one we've had since our initial batch of hens oh so many years ago). The others run right in, but I need to do a little bit of work to corral her in the right direction. It's either than she's too smart to submit to being shut in all day for a few pecks of scratch, or too dumb to find the door. It's hard to tell with chickens. She may well be the bottom of the pecking order; the Buff Orpington, the former lowest hen, did the same thing in her younger days. If that's the problem, she just has to wait: the next batch of younger hens should be around in 19 or 20 months!