Monday, October 26, 2015

Alamance Battleground

With all our studies of the Revolutionary War, it never occurred to us that there was another battleground in our area besides Guilford Courthouse.: Alamance Battleground. While it wasn't actually during the war, it was a skirmish that was a clear precursor and, according to some scholars, the true "first shot" of the Revolutionary War.
The Battleground had an open school week, where admission was free and they had a number of re-enactors there demonstrating the various crafts and roles people played at the time. 

First, we got to see a 4-pound cannon up close. The kids even got to act like they were on the gun crew and learn how to load and fire the gun. 

They got to see and feel different types of cartridges and shot that were fired at the time. There wasn't really one that i would have wanted to be on the receiving end of, but grape shot sounded particularly unpleasant.

We moved on to listen to a gentleman talk about being a "long hunter". He would spend weeks or months out in the woods tracking and hunting game for meat, skins and furs.

The kids then got to learn about candlemaking.

 Right next to that was a man turning wood on a foot-powered lathe. 

 He let all the kids get a chance at pushing the foot pedal and Olivia got to actually hold the gouge as she did it. 

It's really rather impressive the quality he was able to get from so primitive a set of tools. He didn't use any sandpaper to finish his works, only his lathe and chisels/gouges.

 After that, we talked to a man who was dying yarn. He showed us the various colors he was able to get from natural sources.
 He had a pot of water with black walnut husks over a fire with yarn being dyed a dark brown.

He also talked about how linen (made from flax) took and held color differently from cotton or wool.
 Now, this was right up Rebecca's alley: a doctor. He explained a whole lot about how medicine progressed during that time and how doctors knew, for example, that if they didn't get out the piece of shirt that went in with the bullet, the patient would get sick and die, but what they didn't know was why.

 He showed us his medicine chest and Rebecca got to see some suturing needles up close and was surprised that they are very similar to what's still used today.

Nearby there was a log cabin where a woman was spinning cotton into thread. It's impressive to see how fast that spinning wheel moves and how it twists the puffy cotton into such tight thread.
 Inside, we were lucky enough to get to see two ladies finish weaving a rag rug on the loom.
 I can't imagine having to string that monster...
 The kids got to help pull the finished rug off the loom.
 It was rather long... It was actually a runner for the floor of the cabin.

The kids had a great time and it was cool to get a hands-on demonstration of how things were at the time we've been studying about.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Tractor Ride

Each week, we're blessed to go and visit friends on their farm up in Yanceyville and sometimes help out with the barn chores and milking the cow. But sometimes, it's just plain fun. :)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Apple Picking 2015

With Sukkot being so rainy, we took a chance and went back up to Stepps Hillcrest Orchard in Hendersonville, NC. We were blessed in that the rain held off for most of the day and the clouds kept us from getting too warm. We really liked the apples we got there last year and figured we'd go back for more.

 We weren't disappointed. :) Last year, Sukkot was later in the season, so we got a slightly different selection this year.

 We picked Cameo, Arkansas Black, Granny Smith, Blushing Gold, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Law Rome,

 There were still a few apple blossoms on the trees.

 This is Cinnamon and Sugar, the neighbor's donkeys. Sadly for them, there were signs asking us not to feed them apples.

 There was no problem finding enough apples.

 Emma couldn't help but two-fist them :)

 Irene had to test every one she could reach.

Quite a haul! Once we got done, we had picked 3 1/2 bushels that we then turned into about 8 gallons of applesauce! That should last us until next year...

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Sukkot 2015

Just 10 days after we got home from Camp, it was time to head out again. This time for a different kind of camp: Sukkot at Hagan-Stone Park. We've camped there for Sukkot 3 of the last 4 years and really love it there. What's Sukkot? Sukkot is also called the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths. It's the time of year when, for 8 days, God commanded the Israelites to dwell in temporary shelters in remembrance of the time they spent in the wilderness after leaving Egypt. We also choose to celebrate the birth of Messiah at this same time. There is some reasonable evidence that suggests he was born around this time of year.

As is typical of this time of year, they were forecasting rain. Not just a day or two... almost every day starting the day we were supposed to set up.
  So, with that in mind, I went down a day early to set up our tent. I picked up a 20'x30' heavy duty tarp at Lowe's and strung it up over the tent in anticipation of the rains so that we could have dry places to cook and eat as well as sleep. No sooner did I get set up than it started raining. It rained off and on for 4 straight days to start us off. That didn't stop us, tho! :) The actually forecasted a hurricane for the second weekend, but fortunately, it turned away. We did, however, have the fire department come out to see who was nuts enough to actually camp in all that rain. Fortunately, their services weren't necessary. There were some high winds and we heard quite a few trees fall, but we were kept safe!
 During the lulls, we still managed to start a fire and cook over it whenever possible. We even got a chance or two to roast marshmallows. But the it would pour just about all night, every night. I think Wednesday was the first day we saw the sun since arriving on Friday.
 We took advantage of that day to go fishing, though with little success. I've lived down here for a total of 18 years and I still haven't figured out southern fishing. The fish just stared at my lure as it went by...
 Irene took advantage of one of the lulls in the rain to do a little Bruce Banner impersonation. After our one day of sunshine, the rain started back off and on until the following Sunday.
 We weren't alone in our determination to celebrate Sukkot. We met another family, a dad and his 11-year-old son from up near Elkin, NC that stuck out the terrible weather. We celebrated Shabbat with them the second Friday night. The kids had a lot of fun playing with Jaden, going on short hikes and running around. That night the rain was deafening on the tent for a couple hours. And our dry creek bed next to our campsite had a stream the next morning.
 Finally, at the end of the holiday, the weather cleared and we had a couple of nice days of drying out. The sun didn't really emerge until I was packing up, but as least the rain had stopped. All told, Hagan-Stone got more than 6 inches of rain that week. We took advantage of the nicer weather to hike around the park to the playground and let the kiddos burn off some energy.
 We spotted some "deer" on our walk.

 Irene has become a real trooper. she enjoys walking on her own rather than being carried all the time.
 Though neither she nor Emma are opposed to a little help every now and then.

At the park, the kids went at it with gusto.
 Even Irene was determined to make a go of the rope climb.

And the last day, Monday, we celebrated the end of Sukkot with a simple but special lunch and sang "Happy Birthday" to Yeshua. :) I have to say, for as wet as this Sukkot was, we never really got too stir crazy or down about it. We stuck it out and had a really good, relaxing and fun time.