Of Bladders and Bowels: Natisha's Interview

Natisha, or Tish, as she is known on a couple of homeschooling email lists, lives in Indiana with her adventurous and fun-loving family. I advise you to hit the bathroom and empty your bladder before reading her interview...

1. How long have you been homeschooling (or if finished, how long did you homeschool)?

We are now in our third year of homeschooling our youngest 6 children, ages 14 years, 12 years, 9 years, 6 years (or as she says, 6 and A HALF), and 5 year old twins.

2. One of the main benefits of homeschooling is the freedom and flexibility it allows. Can you give us a few examples of how this freedom and flexibility benefited you (your family)?

The flexibility is the most enjoyable aspect of homeschooling, in my opinion. When a family member is in need of my/our presence for some reason, or a friend needs assistance, we’re free to switch our schedule around or postpone it, whichever is required, so that we can assist whenever we’re needed.

As secretary for my husband’s law practice, I have the flexibility to implement a lightened workload for the kids on those days when I’m extraordinarily busy with office duties. On those days, the older children help by caring for their younger siblings, being their “teacher” for the school day, and playing with them when Dad and I are busy in the office. Those are real life lessons no traditional classroom will offer!

The freedom to pick up and move our classes outdoors when the sun bursts forth from the clouds on an early, warm spring day is something we all cherish.

3. Another benefit of homeschooling is the fun factor. Can you give us a few examples of some especially fun times you had as a result of homeschooling?

We generally always have fun no matter what. Yes, there are days where one, or more, of us is cranky and we get on each others’ nerves, but thankfully those days are easily forgotten because we enjoy each others’ company and generally always have fun.

My most favorite fun times are those times we’ve taken our school on the road – walking the neighborhood to document the wildlife and plant life we see; trips to the soccer park to play and pick wildflowers; and, most of all, warm spring days spent in the yard gardening, looking for “pretty rocks,” and just exploring God’s world all around us.

Another thing that happens quite often, which I think is fun, are those times when we get into deep discussions about almost anything you can imagine! It isn’t uncommon for that to happen during out-loud family reading and I absolutely LOVE IT! Because we homeschool, we have the freedom to run with these unexpected occurrences and not only learn more about the issue being discussed, but about each other, too. It doesn’t get any cooler than that, in my opinion!

4. We all have funny experiences while homeschooling. Can you share one of yours with us?

The funniest thing that happened during our homeschooling adventure thus far is…well, I’ll just share with you the letter I sent to my family after school that day and you can see for yourself!

Hello to all. You may or may not know that Daddy was gracious enough to pick up some pig blubber and a pig's bladder for me earlier this year down home. Once here, we kept them in the freezer, just like Daddy had, the blubber wrapped in plastic bags and the bladder submerged in water, frozen in an old gallon ice cream tub. I read in the Little House cookbook that these things should keep just fine like that until I was ready to use them. We were all excited to have these unusual goodies on hand!

Earlier this summer, the day finally came when we rendered lard and cracklins from the huge mound of blubber Daddy brought. It was a process that took a long time, but it worked like a charm! There were lots of cracklins and the kids soon learned why Laura Ingalls' mother said that cracklins were "too rich for little girls." My crew kept creeping into the kitchen to sneak a handful of cracklins as they were draining on paper towels and, as a result of not listening to me or Caroline Ingalls' wise words, they all suffered stomach aches that night and runs the next day. LOL I did manage to keep a few cracklins out of their hands. They're slated for use as seasoning in johnny cakes AND the kids learned a lesson, so it was not all for naught!

Today I decided we would do with the bladder, which had thawed in the refrigerator, what we had always intended to do with it: clean it, blow it up, and use it as a ball in play....just like Laura and Mary did every year at butcher time. The kids were all excited. I was too, to be honest.

We all gathered round the sink and they watched as I took the lid off, poured out the slightly bloody liquid and revealed the bladder. Their mouths were agape. I started rinsing the bladder in running water and I noticed a smell I hadn't smelled in a long time: the faint smell of a pig farm. PEE-YEW! I didn't pay much attention, after all, I had raw pig innards in my hand right then and I have no clue how a pig smells inside!

I continued rinsing the bladder and finally held it up at eye level trying to figure out how this was all going to work. "Where do we blow the darned thing up at?!" is what kept going through my mind.

Something squished out of one end into my hand. I thought, "what the heck is this, I didn't know bladders had stuff in them?!" and I kept washing.

Then a smell hit me full force in the face, darn near knocking me over. I let out an "Oh, my Lord!" and by this time, the kids were running away, some of them gagging from the stench.

That's when I knew without a doubt that what I held in my hands and what I was continuing to wash out of this bladder into my kitchen sink (UGH!) was pristinely preserved pig poo.

I wasn't holding a pig's bladder, but rather a part of a pig's intestines, the former owner of which hadn't had a nice, cleansing bowel movement prior to his slaughter at the butcher shop.

Judging by the consistency and smell of the stuff, the portion of anatomy I held in my hands over my kitchen sink was VERY CLOSE to the working end of a pig, so close in fact, that I think it might be safe to say that the butcher in my hometown believes a pig's bladder and anal sphincter are one and the same. Isn't that special?

The smell is gone, the sinks are cleaned and sanitized, and the offending pig poo and incorrectly identified porcine part are all gone. My stomach is no longer churning and the same can be said for the kids'.

What isn't gone is the irony that right smack dab in the middle of this city, where there is no farmland as far as the eye can see, I, quite literally, ran into fresh pig poop. Who would've thunk it! Just another reason to thank the Lord you are not ME.

1 comment:

piscesgrrl said...

LOL - that's nasty!!