Since the heat wave continues to hamper outside activities work on the farm proceeds slowly – we have cleaned out all the vegetation and trash from the run we plan to use and a neighbor is going to mow down the pasture area so that we can more easily access the outside of the barn and the fence that needs repairing. We plan to add a gutter and downspout to that side of the barn so that we can collect rainwater. Fixing fences and gaps are the next task on the list.
On other fronts we’ve been getting everyone enrolled in school – grades 3, 4, 7 and 10 – and so far I’m impressed with the schools (we still need to visit the Jr High later this week). Our school days in California have been whittled away over the past few years – made shorter and fewer – due to budget constraints, and a lot of the education in the arts has gone by the wayside. So I was pleased to see open libraries, art classes that even include kilns, and music rooms filled with instruments. And that was the elementary school! The high school has an award winning drama department headed by a former theater owner with a doctorate in drama and completely new sophisticated science labs.
I am not pleased to find out there is a textbook rental fee of approximately $135 per elementary student (the fees for jr high and high school haven’t been published yet but are sure to be higher)! In California the books were free (on loan) so that was an unexpected shock. We are applying for the free or reduced school lunch (otherwise it would amount to $60 a week for all four kids) and the school secretary told me there was textbook assistance that would lower the rental fee by a half but even so it’s going to eat into my rapidly diminishing funds. We can avoid fees for extracurricular activities/sports by opting out of those but can’t avoid the textbook rental.
I’ve been applying for local jobs – grocery store, Starbucks, jr high school cafeteria lady (much to my daughter’s dismay) and substitute teacher. None of these pay well but all would help us to cover expenses of food and gas and school fees.
We are looking forward to the local 4-H fair next week and my daughters will be entering some art and woodworking in the Open Class competition. I’m even considering entering one of my cat beds in the Knitting ‘Misc.’ category. We plan to attend the livestock auction to get an idea of the animals the local kids raise.
All in all we have found the local folks to be very welcoming and friendly so far and I hope the kids will have the same experience in school.