Thursday, January 31, 2013

Jan. Prairie Primer: "The Long Winter"

We just finished up "The Long Winter" and I have to say I enjoyed it much better as an adult that I did as a child. I used to always skip that book in the series. Now, I find it a fascinating story of perseverance and survival. I'm so glad it worked out that the month of January was when we read this book as the weather around here in Eastern Oregon provided us with many "hands on" practical study time that applied to what we were learning. Josiah took this pictures of me in the apron my neighbor helped me sew. We made it out of a sham I got at a yard sale. I love it!  It should fit nicely with my hoop skirt, too. Although, it was so cold and nasty out, I chose to wear my wool split skirt. This is my "company's coming" apron. I have enough material to make a couple more work aprons, I just need to do it!

At our Prairie Primer Co-Op meeting, we learned about the properties of "ginger water" that Laura and Pa drank while putting up their hay in the hot weather. It was like "pioneer Gatorade . It consisted of water, brown sugar and chunks of ginger. It wasn't the kid's favorite, but they were good sports and gave it a try. I have a recipe that is very similar, that I actually like better than what we tried at the co-op meeting. It is called "Switchel"
Hailey, reciting Proverbs 6:6-9.  Each kid got a little treat for knowing it. A little competition with each other helps with the motivation factor, too ;) I love this coat I got her at a second hand shop. It almost matches the one I got from my grandma (see below). 
The kids and I did a presentation on emergency preparedness kits.
The younger kids made paper quilt blocks. 
The older kids sat in a sewing circle and stitched pieces of burlap together with yarn. They practiced keeping their stitches small and even. I love seeing all these boys into it, too.

One of the students brought the violin she got for Christmas to show us. I'm so excited for her. Hope she'll be playing a tune for us soon.

One of the earlier activities we forwent was a reading a book about the California gold rush. I was waiting to try to find a book I had read in elementary school but I couldn't remember the name of it. My sister was letting her daughter read her diary from when she was a girl and low and behold, she mentioned the name of that book. It is called The Golden Venture by Jane Flory. I quickly found a couple of used copies on Amazon (one for me and one for my sis) and I'm happy to report that the book was every bit as good as I remembered! My kids were asking me to read it  constantly, and I wasn't fast enough, so Josiah read on ahead. I decided to buy some more used books by Jane Flory and hope they are as good as this one. The second meeting of the month was really fun, too. We learned about telegraphs and Morse code which were extremely important to the expansion of the West and to the people of Desmet, SD, as they were able to know that the train wasn't able to make it because of the huge snow drifts on the tracks.

A homeschool dad who collects old lanterns came in and gave us the run down on how they work and how to tell a lantern's age. He told us the difference between a "cold lamp" and a "hot lamp". A hot lamp recycles the air over and over and a cold lamp doesn't. The cold lamp burns the brightest. He said the Ingalls would have use the hot lamp style. It was a very interesting presentation. Anything to do with fire and you got the kid's attention!Our family did a presentation on whole wheat verses white bread. I made a loaf of each. I've never made white bread before and it was a disaster. This loaf was my second attempt and it turned out more like a biscuit. It actually turned out to be a great way to promote whole wheat bread! I loved the way the Prairie Primer points out how Laura was so tired of whole wheat bread, because the only available bread was the whole grain bread. It was a perfect example of how God sometimes doesn't give us what we ask for but gives us what we need instead. The whole wheat bread provided vitamins, minerals, protein and ruffage that the white bread was absent of. I wrote a post about this subject awhile ago. Click here for that.
It was potluck day and we all brought foods mentioned in the Long Winter.

 I was asked to bring roasted ox tail and brown gravy. What an adventure! I happened to have an ox tail in the freezer that I was saving for making broth. I had never thought about roasting it before. It was quite a tasty treat for the starving pioneers in Desmet, SD. I can see why. It was delicious! We didn't show the kids what they were eating until after the meal was over and they had all pronounced the meat delicious. There were many groans after they saw what they were eating, LOL. It made me feel good when Margie Gray, who is the author of the Prairie Primer, left a comment on the Prairie Primer Facebook support group, saying that I was the only person she's known of to have actually make ox tail as described in the book. I just love fun and different culinary adventures!Another very brown meal. The Ingalls would have qualified just one of these items as a meal. In comparison, we had a feast! White and brown bread at the top, baked beans, ox tail with brown gravy and boiled potatoes. Not pictured was the amazing apple raisin pie that my friend, Beth, made.. We really wanted to try a "green pumpkin" pie, that Pa declared tasted a lot like apple pie, but we couldn't find a green pumpkin in January in Eastern Oregon.
I was soooo happy when the two moms who had yet to dress up for our co-op meetings, came in all their "old-time feminine glory"! I love it! The kids really enjoy it when their moms dress up, too. I know it means a lot to my kids.

Well, another month down. It's going way too fast! We've already started Little Town On The Prairie, and look forward to doing a school exhibition for our meeting in Feb. 

God Bless,


Amy said...

This was so wonderful. Thanks for sharing. Made me want to come and join ya'll. LOL

Have a very blessed day!

Robin said...

This looks like so much fun! I love the ideas you've had to make the books real to the kids. Rory and I just got through reading Farmer Boy for his bedtime book, and he loved it - said he wanted to be either a farmer or a wagon maker when he grew up :) Are you using a published unit study, or making up your own as you go along?

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Wish you could join us, Amy! You would love this unit study. Hope you have an opportunity to do it with your daughter.

It is a published study by Margie Gray. I can't say enough good things about it! It covers everything from bible, science, biology, character, social studies, geography, history, language arts, music and art. We love it so much.

Camille said...

How very wonderful that you are doing this Jackie!! Just remember...your children are learning SO much...don't pressure yourself in any other area, except maybe Math!! :)


Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

I agree. The only things I do beside the Prairie Primer are math and spelling (although you could do that right along with the PP as well). I just happen to really like the Phonics Farm curriculum we are using for spelling. I even incorporate hand writing into the PP, having Josiah copy the verses from the bible that we are memorizing for each month. I love how all inclusive this unit study is :)

Kim @ Homesteader's Heart said...

Wow, how fun! But where in the world did you get an ox tail?
I wish I could be a part of all that. My kids would love it.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Believe it or not, I had one in the freezer. When we ordered our 1/4 of beef, I asked for the ox tail, intending to use it for making broth and stew. I had never thought of roasting it, but it was really good that way :) You guys should consider doing this unit study, Kim. There is a wonderful support group on FB comprised of people from all over the US and Canada. It has revolutionized the way I homeschool.

RaD said...

Once again, that looks like a lot of fun. The ox tail, however, looks interesting, but if the kids all liked it I'll bet it was pretty tasty!

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

You are amazing! I am so enjoying this adventure with you! Thanks for sharing it with us, Jack. You are such a good mom.

Jill said...

Ox tail? Wow... this is a great post and how wonderful to have all those hands on exhibits for learning! Your children are so blessed to have you as their mom. :-)

Have a lovely weekend!


Anonymous said...

Jackie, you and the other moms are so amazing! I love what you do! I do have to admit, it does make Beka and I a little lonely!!!!:) We aren't in a coop this year, and although we really needed the break for personal reasons, we're joining one next year.

Way to go, moms! You are making your kids' lives so great. And you inspire other moms to greatness. Thanks for sharing your adventures, I love seeing your friends and their kids.

Thehensonmom said...

I am so glad you are ahead of us in Prairie Primer. You make it so much easier for me. Thanks for sharing so much info on the Prairie Primer fb page.


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