Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2011 Celtic Festival Fun

We had a fantastic family weekend. The Eastern Oregon Celtic Society did a bang up up job of putting on their first Celtic Festival, complete with Highland Games in our community. We were very impressed at the attendance and the quality of music, vendors and reenacters involved. 

Here we are at the beginning of the day (before it hit 90+ degrees). I was blessed to find Hailey's kilt and my plaid ensemble at a second hand-shop in our town. By the next day, I convinced Michael to get a kilt, too. He is thinking of participating in the Highland Games next year.

Sheep Dog demonstration.

Hailey had the privilege of learning to spin wool with a spinning wheel. She loved it! 

Her spun wool.

Irish wolf hounds. One of them weighed 190 lbs!

Gathering of the Clans. They all went by the announcer stand and each clan was blessed by a priest.

Excellent Irish step dancing group. 

A nice young man let Josiah try on his armor and weapons he uses in medieval tournaments. Josiah thought he was hot stuff!

Of course Hailey had to try it on, too. 

So we had to get Josiah a wooden sword so he could practice.

Of course, Hailey had to have one, too. She'll grow into it. Love this camera angle, so "Lord of the Rings", LOL.

The Confederated Jacobite Clans. They explained the Jacobite history and some of the major battles. They also talked a lot about traditional Highland weaponry and soldiering. Very interesting. These guys must have been roasting!

Firing their muskets. One was a "Brown Bess", 75 caliber. Sounded like a small cannon when it went off.

They demonstrated a "Highland Charge" against some helpless Englishmen.

The Englishmen didn't fair too well.

"Good English brains!" The kids enjoyed eating the "English brains" as well. 

The Jacobites demonstrated how to make a fire with flint and tender. He got it going. My fire bugs were very interested in that.

Common items a soldier would have carried with him.

Hailey and Josiah decided to do their own Highland charge.
They won of course!

We found this festival to be a great homeschool experience. It really got Josiah interested in learning about Scottish history. He wants a Highland themed birthday party this year, so we are working on getting that put together. 

Next I'll be posting on the Highland Games. They were fascinating indeed. Hope you are all having a great week!

God Bless,

Friday, August 26, 2011

Camp Carson Mine Homeschool Field Trip

Earlier this month, our local homeschool group got together for a fun field trip to a hydraulic mine called "Camp Carson". Our local Forest Service archaeologist was kind enough to lead us on a tour. It was absolutely fascinating!

The mine operated from the 1860's until the 1980's. Platinum and gold were found. The area is pretty unstable due to all the mining activity and you can see efforts are being made to stabilize the area. The gulch you see is man-made.

On the other side of the gulch is the pond that was used in the hydraulic mining process as well as some old mining equipment. There were two towns above the hills you see. One was for families, the other for single laborers, Chinese and "working women". 

The white material you see sliding down the "hill" is volcanic ash from Mt. Mazama (all that is left is Crater Lake). As a soil scientist, I always love seeing thick pure ash mantles. Soils with pure ash mantles at least 14 inches deep are called Andisols.

Josiah taking in the view of the Blue Mountains/Tanner Gulch area.

Tanner Gulch. You can see how unstable this hill could be. The Forest Service has planted trees on it to hopefully keep it stabilized. If it goes, scientists are concerned that it could ruin the stream/river system all the way to the Columbia River.

The kids found some petrified wood and interesting rocks. Of course, they were all in search of gold, but no such luck.

Kids, bugs and rocks. Does it get much better?

Here is the equipment that rolls the rock and dirt and separates the bigger boulders out and dumps smaller debris into the pond. Then they panned out the pond. It is full of toxic heavy metals now that were used to help separate the gold from the debris.

We had 10 homeschool families join us this time. That is quite a few people! We were blessed to have so many dad's come along this time. At least half were new to homeschooling this year. How cool is that?

Notice the pipe coming out?

One homeschooler found out the hard way that the end of the pipe contained a paper wasp's nest. The rest of us stayed away from that baby! Poor kid. He was a trooper though. 

The Forest Service archaeologist, explaining the history of the area and the workings of the mine.

One of the kids found some hand-forged, square nails. Very exciting!

We are hoping to do this trip again some time since so many people couldn't make it. The response was great!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Meaderings

Thought I'd do a little catch up post. We've been so busy with the garden, yard saling, making soap, bible studies, bear hunting (Michael) and playing with the kids lately that I just haven't had time to post much and that is OK. I've learned that the world is going to be fine without a new post from Jackie's blog, LOL. 

The first pic was one I snapped while Hailey and Michael were dancing to a Don Williams song. They are so cute together. They certainly have a special bond that is sweet to behold.

Hailey decided to cut her own bangs and this was the result. I'm was so thankful she didn't cut the back of her hair. I just kept telling myself it could have been so much worse, which was true. So we had to go to the " U-tician" (she can't say beautician yet) and have her wave her magic wand and try to do something with it.

Here are the results. Hailey has very short bangs, but they are more blended in. They should grow back quickly. Little Stinker!

I was in the garden and Hailey came out in my shirt and hat. It just cracked me up! 

Josiah has saved for several months to purchase a "Black Watch" kilt in time for our community's first annual Celtic Festival. He also bought a sword kilt pin and we got him the sporran as an early birthday gift. He is so excited about this kilt, you wouldn't believe it! Kind of a funny thing for a 7 year old boy to want, but if you know Josiah at all, it totally makes sense. He's been wearing it everywhere I will let him. In fact, he decided he wants his upcoming birthday party to have a Scottish Highland theme. We are going to do kid-friendly Highland games. I've got the decorations all figured out and I'm asking all party attendees to wear plaid. Josiah is soooo excited! 

I've been switching up my exercise routine this summer. Not only am I biking to Curves twice a week, I'm also jogging 2 to 3 times a week (up to 2 miles) and doing sit ups, push ups and leg lifts. I'm down to my goal weight and I'm getting more toned up. Didn't realize how tight my pants were getting until they fit again, LOL. I was doing push ups one day and Michael decided to show off what he can do. No, he isn't touching the ground with his chest. His legs are up on the coffee table and he's formed a diamond with his hands. I tried it, what a joke. I made him let me take a picture of him for posterity's sake, LOL. 

We had some really good news. Michael came back from drill this last weekend and told me his unit's mission to Afghanistan was canceled! Yee Haa!!! He was bummed, but the kids and I and all the family are thrilled. He's a typical guy, wants to go away for adventure, but soon after he's gone, he is ready to come home. It's that wild, adventure-loving heart of his. I'm ecstatic to not be gearing up for another deployment any time soon. Woohoo!!! Thank you, Jesus!

As for the garden, I'm still waiting for things to ripen up. Soon, I hope, we'll be canning pickles. 

I've decided not to start homeschooling until October since Josiah is ahead. September is so busy with processing produce from the garden, the Pendleton Round-up, MOPS starting up again, and Josiah's birthday party. We're even going to squeeze in a Civil War reenactment (spectators, not participants) with my sis and her older kids. I'm also working on getting a once a month Creation Science class going for our homeschool group. I'm very excited about that!

I'll be posting on a cool homeschool field trip we took to Camp Carson Mine next... Hope you are all having a great August!

God Bless,

Monday, August 15, 2011

Organic, Heirloom Garden Progress

Now that good weather is finally here to stay for awhile, my garden has been very happy. We didn't start getting warm weather until the first part of August and even then it hasn't been too hot. My plants seem to be really loving it. Right now we are harvesting the cool weather plants because we got a late start in planting, but I think in about 2 weeks we'll be getting some warm weather plants (I hope). We planted more than we need, but we are having a great time sharing with friends in neighbors.

We are so glad to have invested in these raised beds and took the time to put landscape matting between the rows. It has saved a lot of weeding time. The other item we splurged on this year was the watering system. It saves water and time!  

The top row is planted in carrots, still waiting for them to get bigger. As you can see, we've had lettuce coming out of our ears! We are now starting to harvest green-leaf chard and kohl rabbi. The next row down is onions and garlic. We are harvesting bunch onions, but the Walla Walla sweet onions are still very small.

I didn't know I had planted a banana pepper plant, but it is going great guns!

You can see some of the trellised green beans. I think we'll be getting some this week. I planted 100 pole beans, way more than we need, but that is OK. We'll share! In the next row, we have six surviving potato plants, and I lots of kale. I love kale in soups, but I think it is yummy fresh in salads, too. It is full of nutrition, too! Then you can see my pepper plants. I've got a lot of peppers on, but it remains to be seen whether they ripen up or not. I planted a whole bunch of sweet cherry peppers. Waiting....

So here I have corn, which is even taller since I took these pics last week, then I have 60 pickling cukes trellised. I got my first slicer last week and a few pickling cukes, but not enough to do pickles this last weekend. They are also way taller now then when I took this pic. And next , are the prolific pole beans. 

At the top of the garden, I have peas planted. They are finally taking off, and while I know it is late for peas, I'm hoping to get quite a few. At the bottom of the pea row, we have more corn that Josiah planted and three zucchini plants and a yellow squash plant. We've been enjoying fresh zucchini cooked in all sorts of ways. Of course, my favorite is fried zucchini in coconut oil.

The corn seems to be pollinating well.

We have a lot of green tomato sets, but nothing is close to getting red. I get the most impatient for red tomatoes. I love them! Can't wait to make some salsa.
I thought this corn silk looked so pretty.  The silks are starting to turn color and kernels are forming. So exciting! We've never grown corn before. Now if I can just keep Josiah from playing war games in the corn. Several stalks have been sacrificed. Urrgghh!

Even though our garden has been so late in getting going because of the cooler weather, I think it is going to produce more than enough. Hope all your gardens are doing great, too! 

God Bless,

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Winning Day at the Fair!

This is the first year we've ever entered anything into the fair and I think we're hooked! Year after year we've gone to the fair and I've thought to myself, we should enter something next year. I finally got with the program, thanks to my son. I have to say  it made it a lot more fun, wondering if you won or not. 

First things first, the kids always love the goat milking station. There is a lady there every year who loves to let the kids help her milk her goats. I love the way Hailey is standing and looking at the goat. She looks like a real bow-legged buckaroo, LOL.

Pettin' pigs.

Josiah milks the goat by hand.

Josiah was ecstatic when he saw he won 1st place on the basil he grew in his personal garden area. It looked way better than mine. Boy, did it smell good, too!

He was also thrilled to win 1st place on his Healthy German Chocolate Chip Cookies. Trust me, the entire building knew he won, LOL.

The two blue ribbons in the case were for my organic queso fresco cheese and butter. They started two new categories, just for me. Hope I get some competition next year!

So besides, my blue ribbons for cheese and butter and Josiah's for his basil and cookies, I also received a blue for my parsley and two reds for thyme and my bread. I already have so many ideas of things I want to enter for next year. Besides cooking items and herbs and flowers, I would like to enter some photography and scrapbook pages. Between Josiah and I, we earned 13 dollars which we put in an envelope to help pay for tickets to the Celtic Festival/Clan Gathering that will be held in our area the last weekend of August. 

I thought I'd throw this picture in, too. We were able to watch a mounted shooting demonstration. It was fascinating! This pic is of a woman who happens to be Oregon's state champion. Let me tell you, that woman could ride and shoot. No wonder she was state champion! If you ever have a chance to watch this sport, it is well worth your time.

Hope you all are having a chance to visit your local fairs as well. If you've entered anything and won, I'd love to hear about it in the comment section :o)



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