This is a blog about us: a Maine (USA), autodidact, whole-life unschooling family, and our quest to live mindfully, creatively and sustainably. From 2002-2013, we lived year round in an 1880s Italianate by seven miles of beach and the ocean in southern Maine. In the late summer of 2013, we moved to our farm, the family homestead, in midcoast Maine. We still own Mermaid House. Our path is Secular Paganism.
In October 2012, we became the owners and stewards of the homestead and 125 acres of land on Sheepscot Pond in midcoast Maine, which has been in Alex's family since the mid-1700s, fulfilling a dream that we've had for 22 years. We write about our our plans for the homestead, and about the current renovations we are undertaking, in this space and at Bradstreet Farm.
I've lived in aging hotels, one trailer and one car with a rocking chair tied to the roof, somewhere on the back roads between Ohio and Maine. I began this blog in June 2008, as a way to deal with the grief of losing my mother at age 60, just two months prior. I wanted to document and recognize my own mothering. I have both synesthesia and dyscalculia. I'm a geek, feminist, fat and healing my body by living HAES and I am very interested in youth rights, class, race, gender and social justice issues and generally dismantling kyriarchy and for me, unschooling with my children is an act of feminist activism. I get more liberal as I age. I love my kids and husband more than anything and I'm deeply passionate about our unschooling life. You can often find me digging in the garden or rolling out bread dough. View my complete profile.
About the photography: All the photos here are mine or my family's unless stated otherwise and are subject to copyright. Please do not use On Bradstreet photos without permission. I shoot all photos with a Canon EOS Rebel T3i, a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX30V or an iPhone 4/4s. For basic editing, I use iPhoto or the Instagram app. View the On Bradstreet photostream on Flickr.
Alex, a descendent of America's first poet, Anne Bradstreet, grew up on the family farm in midcoast Maine. He is the one that makes our life possible. I fell in love with him at first sight in an acting class at University of Maine. He first kissed me under a spider web. He's been by my side for twenty-three years. Amazing father and truest friend. He is a grower of hops and grapes, a beer brewer and makes a great pie. He is fascinated by apple trees and has begun cataloging the existing trees and has begun an orchard on the farm, in addition to planting more maple trees for tapping. He's also passionate about unschooling; find him at his blog, UncommonRanting. Alex is an independent contractor as a project manager for a large bank, which provides him the ability to work from home.
Alex lost his mother in December 2012.
Olivia, age 18, always unschooled. She has a keen insight, sharp as nails wit and a skeptical disposition with a private, feeling soul. Highly gifted, she's been devouring research on giftedness, social justice and feminist writings for the past six years. Olivia has been a guest presenter at two different unschooling conferences. Additionally, she has volunteered her time both hosting and engineering programming for Blunt Youth Radio and graduated from the inaugural class of the Equality Maine New Leaders Project in April 2014. Olivia is also one of the Maine Youth Activist Gathering coordinators. She keeps a diverse library, everything from Atwood to Sinclair, has eclectic musical taste, is interested in knowledge and finding answers and embraces all things Geek. She works daily to care for the ducks and chickens on our farm, and she is looking forward to raising fiber goats, someday. Olivia has become a scholar in gender studies, equality legislation, social justice and activism. Lately, Olivia is most content when leading a project, either in her community or on the farm and creating fiber art, with a focus on collage, or making travel plans. She has long been interested in photography (and writing) and you can view her work at her blog. Olivia pins here, and tweets here. Olivia most recently has embarked on a college career in downeast Maine, and she has earned a spot on the Dean's List with a 4.0, and won a $3,000 art scholarship in December 2015.
Adam, age 16, always unschooled. We joke that Adam has a GPS as his brain, because he is a gifted visual thinker and is very artistic. Passionate and intensely bright. He is perceptive, giving and, like his sister, has a nurturing spirit and mind and is a feminist. He has become a popular and skilled skin designer for the game Minecraft at PlanetMinecraft. Most recently, he's been writing and voice acting for several machinimas, and is teaching himself woodworking. Adam has volunteered for Blunt Youth Radio , producing, hosting, and engineer programming. He is a voracious reader, also keeps a diverse library, and keeps late hours for just one more page. He's not known to suffer fools or any sort of unkindness. You can often spot Adam down by the brook, filming or feeding the wildlife. If you need help with a project, say planting blueberries, working in your booth at the fair, or editing your Indiegogo video, he's your guy. He tweets here. As of summer of 2015, Adam has been working up to 32 hours a week and socking his money in a bank just like a good Taurus.
The kids in general are They both have tumblr blogs that they might share with you if they like you well enough.
Our Animal Family
Max and Ginger
We adopted these two litter mates in 2004 when they were eight weeks old. Max is a large buff tiger who has never met a stranger. He likes to knead cozy blankets and swipe playfully at you if you walk by without giving him a pat. He's very affectionate with Adam, especially, and loves to rub heads together. Ginger is a small calico. She's very shy around new people but very loving with us, though her moods change quickly, so if she starts huffing and puffing at you, it's time to give her space. As a kitten, she claimed one of Olivia's teddy bears as her own and has nursed on it every night since. That teddy bear no longer has fur on its belly. She usually sleeps with Olivia every night.
The Guinea Pigs
We adopted two female guinea pigs when they were ten months old from a shelter, May 2011. Beatrice is gray and white and Annabelle* is red and white. Beatrice* is the dominate pig, though Annabelle will correct her with a nip or a rumble if Beatrice gets too bossy. Beatrice likes to cuddle on Adam's lap in a blanket and would probably roam the house if we let her. Annabelle rumbles and purrs when you pet her and doesn't much like getting cuddled, but she'll seem to smile and come over to chat if you say hello. Annabelle loves kale and frozen Maine blueberries. Beatrice will eat all the parsley she can handle, which isn't much, because too much makes her sick. Both are hilarious, have unique wheeks, chirps and whistles and distinct personalities. They are adorable companions. In March 2014, we adopted a third female guinea pig from a friend who needed to rehome her due to allergies. We named her Claudia Rose. She is a short-hair, red and white like Annabelle, but has a bit of brown in her hair, too. Her eyes are dark brown. Claudia has proved to be an independent pig who prefers to live alone. She is funny and goofy and loves to have her head stroked and looks forward to her evening carrots.
*Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Annabelle on April 2014 and Beatrice, January 2015.