Friday, May 20, 2011

A Busy Week of Homeschooling

We have been pretty busy the last few days. Starting with last Wednesday, we went to a Lenape Indian Village. It was a long hike up the hill to where the model village is located. First we sat while the tour guide showed us various tools that the Lenape would have used to garden.
The kids were especially interested in the Guardian of the Garden. If the guardian was a young girl, she would sit up in her shelter with a basket of rocks. If any animals came along trying to have a snack, she would throw rocks at the animal or bird to chase it away. If the guardian was a young boy, he would have his little bow and arrow and practice his hunting skills while he was protecting the garden. If he got lucky, he might bring home dinner as well as protecting his garden.

We went further up into the village where we learned how the Lenape built traps for fish. We saw the houses where they lived. We saw a sweat log where they would take the sick. And we saw how the women worked around the village.
The kids all played games that the Lenape children would have played. One of the games was similar to soccer. They called it football. The somewhat round ball was made of leather and stuffed with wool. They stood in a tight circle and kicked the ball around the circle. If someone missed the ball, everyone had to take a step backwards. They had a story about how the sasafras tree got it's name. Then everyone was given a piece of clay to create something with. Dakota made an arrowhead shaped piece that he wanted to turn into a necklace.

On Saturday we went to Cooper's Grist Mill to learn about sheep shearing.
She was practically laying on top of the sheep during part of the shearing. But he just lay there and let her work. He seemed so comfortable with the whole process. Of course the most exciting part for the kids was when he decided to poop. They were fascinated with that.
With the haircut all done, we walked around to see the other exhibits. One of the first places we went was to see the woman who was dying wool.She was using all natural materials to dye the wool. She used marigolds for yellow and onion skins for orange. She also had some beautiful purple that came from a tree in South America. Then we went to see how they washed the wool. The water was pretty cold. Put the kids still had fun playing in it. After that we watched them card the wool. The kids got to try their hand at carding.We watched the spinners as they spun the raw wool into yarn. And then the kids got to try their hand at weaving the yarn into cloth.It was a great day as we saw the wool come off the sheep and then follow the process through to see it become a beautiful cloth.

Today we visited the Israel Crane House. We learned a lot about what life was like in the late 1700's.They are having a beautiful quilt display right now. We loved all the wonderful handiwork.The best part of the whole day for the kids was the tour of the summer kitchen. She made biscuits and eggs with sausage. The kids were so excited about the sausage that they ate every bit of it before the eggs were even ready. She also had biscuits made from acorns.Everyone had to try their hand at making butter.And here it is all ready to eat. Sometimes they added salt to the butter but my son thought it was great without the salt. He informed me that this was the best butter he had ever eaten in his whole life. Now he thinks we should make our own butter at home.This was the old post office that Israel Crane had built in the General Store. Until he built this General Store, the closest store was seven miles away. That doesn't sound like much today. But if you were walking, that's a long way to go to buy something. With this new store, people could shop right in their own neighborhood.While at the General Store, everyone got to make a sachet. Dakota put his in his pj drawer.They also got to write a letter with a quill pen. Then they sealed it with wax and a special seal.I think it's fair to say that everyone had a great time today. As we were leaving I saw several families stop back by the summer kitchen for another tasty treat.

Tomorrow we are going to a class about building model rockets. Actually my husband is teaching this class. He's taught it before so this will be old hat to us. But it is another busy activity for the week.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It's Another Day

I don't really have anything special to say today. I'm mostly just tired of seeing my Easter post up there. So I thought I would write something to fill in the space.

It's been so beautiful the last few days. Makes me want to get outside and plant something. Especially when I read all the wonderful posts that some of you have about your gardens and all. But we live in a tiny tiny apartment. The landlord does not allow us to plant anything outside. To make sure that we don't, they put poison spikes in the yard. That way you can not eat anything that you might plant. A couple of years ago Dakota and I planted sunflowers in the front yard. Every time they got a few inches tall, maintenance would come along and mow them down. We did plant some in the house yesterday. I'm hoping that they will grow okay.

Dakota got a Crack A Head Egg in his Easter bag. These little guys look like eggs with faces on them. You crack the back of their head with a spoon. Then water it. The seeds are already inside. As it grows, you can eventually crack the whole egg and plant it outside or in a planter. The one he got has mint seeds in it.

Maybe we will go out and get some herbs later this week. I have a strawberry planter that I usually try to grow herbs in. It's hidden away in the closet right now. Maintenance has already made their spring sweep through collecting all the planters and things that people have outside. Now it will be safe to put a few things out. As long as they have live plants in them, maintenance will leave them along until fall. Someday I will live in a house where I won't have to worry about such things.

Someone posted a picture on facebook yesterday about a place where they had made a border around their plants by driving wine bottles down into the ground. (Upside down.) It made a really pretty border around the garden. They had also poured a concrete slab and built walls around it. They had a black hose coiled up in the sun and then hung it over the edge of the wall. They used this for quick showers. The runoff from this outdoor shower followed a path down between the wine bottles to water the garden. It was pretty cool. Unfortunately the teenagers upstairs would smash the bottles immediately and we would have nothing but broken glass in the yard. Some day.....

I want a house with privacy and no neighbors real close. With a garden and a lawn to rest and relax in. I want to put flowers where I want them and maybe have a little bunny come visit while I drink my morning tea.

So what is your someday wish. Or do you already have the house and yard of your dreams? Is there someplace you want to live? Something you want to do? What's on your bucket list? Gee, maybe I should write a blog about that next time.