Harrison Farm

for now, the only thing we're growing on this farm is kids - not the goat variety

Month: August 2009

Carman Learning Guitar


Carman broke is arm about 7 weeks ago. The cast came off early last week.

While the right arm was out of commission, he started learning the guitar, partly to fill up some of his summer time, and partly because we had heard that by exercising one arm, the other would be strengthened too. Maybe working the left arm on the guitar helped somewhat at keeping his right arm toned, but the right arm still felt weak and looked puny when the cast was removed. So, maybe that's just a myth. ?? Below he's comparing his arms. Yes, that's a ball behind his head, not put in its proper place.

On a happy note, Carman is making great progress with the guitar. He's learned the following chords: A, a, A7, b, C, C2, D, D7, d7, E, e7, E7, F, G, G7, g. And he can play several songs. He still hasn't really learned any strumming or picking patterns, but he's got some good caluses built up and a basic understanding of the instrument.

Now he needs some strumming technique and a good beat. Then he'll be ready to jam like Jenkees. 🙂

Public Speaking Club – August ’09

We're hosting the first public speaking club of the new school year here next week. Doodle thinks he's ready to get in on the fun, so here's what the kids have prepared --

Carman - the Beatitudes to the Golden Rule from the Gospel of Luke
Sudoku - Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken"
Doodle - "Jump or Jiggle" by Evelyn Beyer

Do you have a favorite poem or passage that you've memorized?

Selling on Amazon – the Ups and Downs of Getting Started


The Amazon selling has gone reasonably well, though not without bumps along the way. I sent our second box out last week since our inventory was getting a bit low. So that's a good thing. Our products are actually selling in spite of the "new seller" handicaps we're enduring.

We read the Amazon seller manual, but it was not readily apparent that newly listed products (as in, those never seen before on Amazon) would not qualify for an Amazon buy box. You may be wondering, "What is a buy box?"

Since Amazon is a seller of new and used products, anyone - retailers or not - can sell items on Amazon. So, if you have a Kitchen Aid mixer to sell, you can find the Kitchen Aid mixer like the one you have on Amazon, click the "Sell yours now" button, and put up your own Kitchen Aid listing. When buyers search for a Kitchen Aid mixer and come to the detail page describing the mixer you have, if they click to "buy now" or "add to cart", you're particular mixer will not be the item they will buy because you are not the featured merchant, and therefore do not have the "buy box." To purchase your particular mixer, a buyer would need to click the "New and Used" link on the Kitchen Aid detail page, where all other listings from non-featured merchants and resellers would be located.

So, retailers are competing to be the featured merchant. The featured merchant is the one who makes the sale if you just click to buy new (or add to cart), the button shown on the detailed listing page. All other merchants make their sales through the "new and used" listings. So, being the featured merchant, and therefore the winner of the buy box, is a coveted thing.

Now, it seems like, Continue reading

Have You Met Ronald Jenkees?

The original, the authentic, the makin'-it-fun, the owner of many hats, talented Ronald Jenkees was discovered by Marathon when he went to YouTube looking for some pump-you-up Rocky music. He found Jenkees' fun version and explored some of his other videos.

In an interview, I heard Jenkees say he had just a couple of months of piano lessons as a child, but the teacher gave up on him because he "just wanted to jam, and she wasn't going to have it." Well, he's still jammin' away, having a big time, selling his cds, and I hope, laughing all the way to the bank.

I don't normally like this type of music. This highly electronic, hip-hop-ish music is not in our normal repertoire, but something about Jenkees' style drew us in. Marathon speculates that Bach may have been the same way when he was alone at the organ. Can you see him just jammin' away? ...I can't either. But when I think about the Organ Fugue...well, Marathon might be right.

Everyone in the family had an opinion on which of Jenkees' songs we should feature here. "Stay Crunchy" shows his piano skills; "STS9 Collab" is fun, has a great beat, etc, but it's long for an intro piece; the "Rocky Remix" doesn't show enough of his musical skills...So we decided on this one. Basically, if you like this one, there's a lot more to be discovered. See what you think and take my poll below. It's just fun to watch this guy.

Cicero of Ancient Rome

About a month ago, I checked out Augustus Caesar's World: 44B.C. to A.D.14 by Genevieve Foster, and we've been reading it as a family. This is the Augustus Caesar for whom our month of August is named; the Augustus Caesar who was the instrument used to bring Mary and Joseph from Galilee to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus; the Augustus Caesar who appointed Herod governor of Galilee who would be visited by the magi.

Being the favorite nephew, Augustus ascended the Roman throne after the death of his uncle Julius Caesar, the Roman Consulate, who was murdered by a band of men (remember "Et tu, Brute?") attempting to restore the Roman Republic.

For all their efforts, though, the republic was not restored. Eventually another dictator, this time Augustus, came to power, and put bounties on the heads of his opposition. One such reward was reserved for Cicero, the old philosopher, the last living voice for the now dead republic.

According to Foster, as soldiers were nearing Cicero's litter on the day he was executed, Cicero was filled with anxiety about the inevitable, but by the time the litter was stopped by the soldiers, Cicero was calm, didn't say a word -- just bent his had to receive the blow.

He had once said,

When the time comes, I shall withdraw from life, not as one leaves home, but as from a temporary lodging place. On that brightest of all days, when I depart from the confusion of this world, I shall set out, I believe, for a far-off divine gathering of spirits...

But if I am mistaken, in that I believe men's souls to be immortal, I am glad to be mistaken...

And all my life I shall continue to believe it...

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