Monday, November 11, 2013

Native American Field Trip and Martinmas Lanterns

Today was a good, full day.  The girls are usually off from school on Election Day but our town has recently changed that and the schools were open this year.  When I heard a local homeschool group was going to do the Native American Program at New Pond Farm this day, I decided it would be fine for the girls to play a little hookie.  We've done this field trip before and it is so wonderful.  It's also educational so I have no problem with them doing things like this once in awhile to supplement their learning.  

Once again, we learned about the Woodland Indians that used to occupy the woods of where we live.  It is amazing to learn how they survived the very cold winters and conditions that this area can bring.  We realized that they had no choice but to utilize animal skins and furs to keep warm and eat.

Their homes may not seem to be sturdy from these photos but they were not moved by Hurricane Sandy last year - not one bit of damage.  

The children really enjoyed going inside the Wigwam.  It was interesting to them how close the people slept next to each other and how they kept an indoor fire to keep warm in the center.  

We learned how the Woodland Indians cooked their food, warmed their maple syrup and invented cornbread.  This was the part of the trip the girls were looking forward to the most.  They love eating the cornbread next to the fire.  It was good!

 Today is also Martinmas or The Feast of St. Martin.  St. Martinwas said to be a man of peace and generosity.  He did not want to fight but obeyed the law and served in the military as he was required to.  He took the earnings he made as a solider and gave it to needy families.  One story tells of how he cut his own cloak in half to warm a homeless beggar on the street who was Christ in disguise.  Martin of Tours is the patron saint of soldiers so it is a fitting day to share with Veterans.  
One of my former daycare children came to visit with us tonight.  Her family is moving to Maine and her parents used the evening to get some packing done.  Boy do I miss working with children like this.  We made special lanterns to celebrate Martinmas, ate dinner together and the kids played together so nicely.  She is like family from so many years growing up in my home and I will be so sad to see her family leave as they've become good friends too.  Bittersweet feelings tonight have left me feeling a bit emotional.  A lot of thoughts on my mind.
So my girls are in bed, I've lit our little lanterns, made some tea and I'm allowing myself to sulk a little while before I go to sleep.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Halloween Came and Went...


This year Halloween was not CANCELED as it had been the last two years in our town due to storms!  As a result, our regular seasonal traditions took place :)
The girls all worked together to cut and clean out our pumpkins.  Brianna's face is the best!  She seemed so grossed out by the slimy mess yet it didn't stop her from playing with it and getting her hands all in it! 

Keira is old enough now to do much of the carving like Dee used to.  We miss having her home when we do things like this together.  It's hard when your baby leaves for college.  

The girls love helping me get the seeds out so we can roast them.  I learned years ago that the only way to get the seeds the way we like them is to boil them first with some salt and then roast them in the oven until they are just right.   
For years and years, I've wanted to grow our own pumpkins to carve for Halloween.  I've tried and tried but my garden has not always turned out the way I wanted... but this year I did it!!!  One large enough carving pumpkin made it through the season - can you guess which one it is????  
Keira had the wonderful idea to save our own pumpkin seeds this year so that we can plant them in our garden again for next year.  I can't explain how cool it feels to save your own seeds.  One step towards self-sufficiency, right?  Now if we could only live off of pumpkins!  :)