Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Read Along: Week 24- Indians in the House

This week, Laura, Mary, ma and baby Carrie encounter Indians in the house. They are scared stiff and overcome with the smell of skunk! The Indians wore skunk pelts. Read a bit about skunks, why they emit the smelly spray, why their pelts were used and the history of fur trade and it’s importance in North America.
Nat Geo
pelt info
pelt info
history of fur trade
Now that that smelly business is over, ma is grateful that the Indians did not take all of their cornmeal. She has to make more for supper that night, and this time, she puts molasses on it. Molasses can be made from sugar cane or sugar beets. I’m guessing they used molasses from sugar beets, and it was the third boiling, the blackstrap molasses that was used. Interesting, the significant amounts of vitamins and minerals-see here:
wiki Molasses link
This is likely closest to the recipe that ma used to make her cornbread, though she’d have done it over the open fire. LH cornbread recipe
For a bit of a change, try this Sassy Molasses Cornbread recipe: (http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/recipes/cornbred.html)
Of course, with the holiday season upon us, I feel that I can not overlook the classic gingerbread cookie with molasses! Now the question is, how do you like your gingerbread? With a snap, or soft and chewy?

By bethanyg

Read Along: Week 23: A Roof and a Floor

  • Family activity: If you and your kids made a log house back at the beginning of our read-a-long, they may enjoy making some furnature like a bead-stead or a table.
gathered twigs or popsicle sticks
strong string
white glue
small amount of scrap cloth
needle & thread, scissors
cut the twigs or popsicle sticks to size (I used pruning shears that were handy) and use strong string to bind the uprights to the cross-pieces as in these pictures:
activiy pt1
activity pt2
This may require cooperation (like neighbors helping each other): one person holding the pieces together while the other does the tying. Once the whole frame is together and can stand on it’s own, add a dab of glue to the joints to strengthen them & set it aside to dry.
When dry, glue other twigs/popsicle sticks across the frame lengthwise (on the lower cross-pieces) for the bed or the other direction ( on the upper cross-pieces) for a table.
activity pt3
While that is drying, make a small mattress for the bed out of scrap fabric and a little stuffing. Use another piece of scrap fabric for the blanket (or table-cloth if you’re making a table).
  • Activity: Nature Journaling
The Ingalls girls spend much of their free time exploring and observing the beautiful world around them. This is a wonderful activity for all ages and all seasons. Lets begin a nature Journal. This can be as simple or involved as you like. You can start with a spiral notebook or a fancy blank journal book. The journal can include anything from temperature & precipitation reports, sketches, found objects taped or glued in, to poems whether original or copied. Here are some links to give you some ideas and inspiration:
When I was young, my Mother took us on nature walks, pointing out flowers and birds along the way. Once we chose a small plot of ground and marked it out with some twine. We returned every few days to record what we saw in that little patch. This is another way to approach nature journaling.

By SarahJayne

Read Along: Week 21- Fire in the Hearth

This week Pa built an indoor fire place so Ma can cook away from the outside elements: We don’t often cook over an indoor fire these days but I love sitting by a fireplace. It’s so cozy!
This week activities:
1: Check out this fireplace safety site. If you have children there is also a childrens game section to this site that is a lot of fun.

2: Another great thing about a fire place (or any heating source) is that it helps dry out wet mitts and boots! But do you ever have trouble finding a place to hang them? Here is a neat string rack idea.
And here is an idea my grandmother used. When I was little, she made on for each of her childrens families.
alt text
  • One 3 foot tree branch with multiple branches hanging off of it and at least 1 inch diameter at it’s base.
  • Utility knife
  • Pruners
  • Wood glue
  • Clear varnish
  • finishing nails
  • 2 pieces of 1 inch thick(ply)wood 2 inches wide and 12 inches long
  • 2 pieces of 1 inch thick (ply)wood 2 inches wide and 3 inches long
With your pruners, prune back each stick branch to be about 6 inches long. Using your utility knife, carefully peel the bark off of you branches and your main branch.
Varnish the entire branch to water proof it and let dry.
Make your base. Glue the 1x2x3 pieces of wood to the ends of one of the 1x2x12. Clamp to dry. (this makes feet)
Cross the two pieces or 1x2x12 in the middle to make the stand. Glue and clamp to dry.
Place the branch in the center of your base and with a hammer, nail through all the layers of the base and into the branch to hold it in place. (Alternative, use a drill and a screw.)
Set beside a heat source and place your mittens on the branches to dry!

3: What do you like to do when you relax by a fire? Read a book, curl up under a blanket, roast marshmallows?

by FineandFancy

Read Along: Week 21- Two Stout Doors

After last weeks episode with the wolves, I would be kind of partial to a wooden door over a quilt as well!

This weeks activities:
Hand craftsmanship is now considered an art form. Shaker furniture is popular for being made without nails, just as Pa made his door. When possible they would opt to use a lot of traditional joints in furniture and other pieces and would use mortise & tenon and dovetail/finger joints.
Here is a link for making your own foot stool shaker style.

Most of us don’t have access to materials or time to build a door or furniture, but we sure can admire it!

2: Create a seasonal wreath to decorate you own door.

Ravelry has a list of free knitted and crochet patterns

And my favorite crafting blog One Pretty Thing has an entire list of beautiful wreaths with tutorials.

3: What kind of safety so you use on your own house doors. Do you like doors with windows or prefer a solid door for privacy? Do you use dead bolts or slide bolts for added home protection? Do you like the idea of security alarms?

by FineandFancy

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