Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Early Spring

Well signs of spring are here already. After almost non-stop heavy rains for two weeks, we finally have a lovely, sunny day! The bulbs are up and the smell in the air is unmistakable! I am feeling that annual pull to get back into the garden! Another sure sign, an egg in the egg box! After taking the winter off, my hens feel the slightly longer days as well. I might have to set the handwork aside for a bit and take advantage of this wonderful break in the weather. Rain must return so our state will have enough water for the dry seasons ahead, but for now...

This week our main lesson moved away from the Old Testament and more firmly into Shelter. On Monday I told the story of Toba, a nomad child who lives in the foothills beneath snowy mountains, maybe in what we today call Afghanistan. Toba and her family are shepherds and they carry their come, a portable yurt, with them on camels as they search for good pastures for their sheep, goats and oxen. Toba carries a drop spindle in her belt with her wherever she goes so that she can work on spinning yarn whenever she has free time. She also helps her mother prepare food for the family. Flat bread, goat cheese, olives and grilled meat are some of the foods they commonly prepare. Because they are nomadic, they sometimes stop at more settled farms and trade wool for things like olive oil, olives, fruits and vegetables. On Tuesday, Rowan drew a picture into his book to go along with this story. Today, he is working on writing some sentences.

Earlier today I told another story, this one about Uli, an Inuit child whose family hunts walrus and caribou in the Arctic tundra. Sometimes they build igloos, or snow houses and stay warm with fur rugs and blankets. Other times, they go out on the ice with their large pack of sled dogs pulling the whole family in search of animals on the hunt. In the wintertime, it is almost always dark, but the sky is beautiful with stars, moon and the Northern Lights all reflecting off the ice and snow. In the summertime, the sun never sets and much ice melts so that the family must use kayaks to hunt instead of dog sleds. Autumn and Spring are times when day and night are more balanced. In the autumn, Uli helps his family repair the hunting gear and take care of the dogs. When they do go hunting, every part of an animal is used. The fur makes warm clothing, the fat makes oil for lamps and the meat will be food for the family and the dogs. The dogs get to eat first because they work so hard pulling the sled. Uli and his family do not get many fruits, grains or vegetables and so they must get most of their nutrition from fish and meat. At night, Uli is snug with his family in the igloo, lit with seal oil lamps, listening to stories of the great spirits that inhabit the sea, the ice and the animals all around.

I think I will try to create two or three more stories like this (perhaps a wood house, a clay house and a house in the jungle).

We also took ourselves into the garden and tried to find a good tree for a treehouse! This is something I have been wanting to build for years and I think this year with the Third Grade Shelters Block, I finally have the chance! Rowan wants the house to be huge, but I think it will end up measuring about 4' x 5' and be anchored by three medium sized Bay Laurel trees up behind the chicken coop. It may take us the rest of the school year to complete, but it must begin sometime.


  1. Hi, Thanks for joining my blog, lovely to have you, it is great that spring is coming,it is summer here in New Zealand. cheers Marie