Little House on the Prairie: Week 4

We have just finished week four of our ten week Little House on the Prairie unit study.  I was a bit concerned we would have nothing to post about as three of my five children are fairly ill with a nasty throat infection and very high temperatures.  But it seems we are more immersed in Little House living than we thought, for although not all of our goals were met for the week, much learning took place.  As T11’s and L10’s siblings were falling like flies around them, these two stoically went on, ministering to everyone’s needs.  T11 was in his element, figuring what herbal remedies he could make that would help each symptom the others were experiencing, whilst L10 (a natural caregiver) went out of her way ensuring everyone was as comfortable as possible.  She even got up over night to her twin to make sure her temperature hadn’t spiked again.  It was gratifying to see.

So how is the house looking?  Here it is at the start:

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And here it is four weeks later:

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As you can see the kitchen garden is coming along nicely and T11 has stacked a wood pile for the cold winters in the Little House.

Here is the inside of the house at the beginning:

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And how it looks four weeks later:

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This week the floor has been wood stained and a rocking chair brought in to represent the willow rocking chair in the books.

T11 had chosen to learn to chop and stack wood for the house and sharpen his axe.  Last winter we made one of the best financial investments ever in a wood burning stove for our own 200-year-old cottage.  I can’t even begin to tell you how cosy our little home feels in the winter, with a roaring fire.  It warms almost the entire house and particularly the upstairs bedrooms which get so cold over the winter.  Gary is blessed to work in an industry where logs are readily available and rarely do we need to pay for them.  T11 has been in charge of cutting the kindling for the fire ever since.  We bought him a small axe for the job and he has enjoyed this new responsibility.  Having always wanted to learn to chop wood with Daddy’s big axe, he thought this would an ideal opportunity to state his case successfully.  He was right and Gary agreed to teach him.  Here he is learning to sharpen his own smaller axe:

Daddy demonstrating

And here he is doing it himself:

Me attempting to sharpen my own small axe myself

Then, after Gary demonstrated how to chop the wood safely, he was away:

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and having great fun!

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He then stacked a wood pile at the front of the Little House:

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The infection has hit the younger ones the worst and I did wonder whether we would be able to do any activities this week, but at the last-minute A4 perked up and did some label painting.  I had some large coloured lolly sticks which she painted white:

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I then wrote the names of the plants we were growing:

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And she stuck them into their kitchen garden:

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A4 has only moved slowly through her primer this week.  She has been very willing but her concentration, which is not great at the best of times, has been abysmal whilst she has been ill.  We decided not to push and just let her do whatever she felt able.

I have been reading and rereading these books to B2 and am hopeful she will know her 1,2,3s and A,B,C’s by the end of the ten weeks:

 

L10, has of course been cooking up a storm in the kitchen making a particularly delicious blueberry pie:

My blueberry pie
Even my mum, who doesn’t really like sweet food, said it was the best pie she had ever tasted!

Yummy!

Whilst L10 was busy in the kitchen, C10 was quietly getting on with the business of making yogurt.  Now we have been making our own yogurt for years in a crock pot.  It is fail safe and consistently produces delicious yogurt and soft cheese.  However, for this exercise we wanted to do it the old-fashioned way, without the aid of a crock pot.  Last week we made our first attempt by simply leaving out milk in the sun.  This has worked remarkably well over the years, when babies milk cups were inadvertently left out.  It had always miraculously turned to yogurt (albeit the smelly, inedible kind) by the next morning(!).  However, last week we had no success with our very primitive efforts.  This week we decided to apply what we knew worked but using only equipment that would have been available in the 1800’s.

C10 boiled up the milk to kill any bacteria already in the milk.  She left it to cool to hand temperature and added some natural yogurt, stirred and covered it with our large ‘yogurt’ towel (this is the towel I use exclusively for my own yogurt making).  We left it to take and checked it before bed.  Absolutely nothing had happened.  Usually we leave the crock pot wrapped overnight so I suggested we left it until the morning and have another look.  We did and C10 found the most delicious looking yogurt awaiting her the next day.  She halved it and turned the first half into strawberry yogurt using strawberry preserve and the other half she placed into our cheese making cloth (muslin from their babyhood) and hung it to drain over a colander:

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I had to include the flowers in the photo.  My lovely mum brought them round to cheer C10 up.  The cup they are in was one L10 saved up to buy her twin and whilst washing up it had got chipped.  C10 was terribly upset, so mum suggested she used it as a vase and provided some pretty flowers to pop in.

The yogurt made some lovely curd cheese, which she served with some oat biscuits as a snack:

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Away from the kitchen T11 and I have been staining the rocking chair.  It naturally is a rather orangey colour so we thought probably it would look a little more authentic a darker brown:

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Next week the girls will be trying their hand at patch working a cushion for it.

The girls and their Daddy began the laborious process of weaving a basket.  We had bought them basket weaving kits when they turned 8 but I had taken one look at the instructions and put the kits away for when they were older.  Knowing what the instructions involved I cajoled Gary into some father and daughter time to avoid having to do it myself!  I was so glad it was him and not me.

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It is taking a long time to learn and the girls are only half way through:

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As I mentioned illness has been spreading through our house and T11 and L10 have been making sure everyone is being looked after.  T11, in particular, is interested in natural healing of all kinds and has his own herbal garden and little area in our house where he researches and makes up potions of all kinds.  He has also acquisitioned some fridge space from his Granny next door, who has a spare fridge in her shed.  He is currently saving up for his own fridge to put in his science/herbal nook!

He has been busy making up lots of natural medicines.  First he boiled some hot inhalation water, infused with peppermint leaves, for A4 to breathe in to soothe her throat and help clear it from the gunge residing there:

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He also made up a gargle solution for C10 to use on her throat stating that the salt draws the water from the phlegm making it a hostile environment for the bacteria.  She doesn’t look well does she?

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Having grown Calendula (marigolds) for a while and being well versed in the antiseptic properties of the flowers, T11 made some delightful Calendula cup cakes from a recipe out of a garden book of herbs to aid with the girls’ healing process.  They contained the petals and the smell coming from that oven was heavenly.  The taste though was seriously out of this world.  They were literally melt in your mouth with a really wonderful yet delicate taste.  Really, really good:

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We had a look in his book of survival and it has a whole chapter on health.  He has decided that this is what he wants to concentrate on next week.  In fact I may insist that we learn it all together because it looks like such an interesting and useful chapter.

Next week, in addition to looking at natural first aid remedies and the such like, the girls will be making a patchwork cushion for the rocking chair, finishing their baskets and I’m sure they will be producing some delicious food also.  T11 will concentrate his efforts on his herbal remedies as well as building a shelf inside the Little House to display some of the bits and pieces we have made already and he will also be making a wooden door mat/dirt scraper.

The younger girls and I will be making an animal book, documenting the animals Laura would have seen on the prairie and we will also make a name sign for our own little house.

For more details of recipes and how tos please feel free to pop over to the children’s blog which they are using as a way to chronicle their 2013 summer adventures.

If you want to see what we were up to on week one,  two or three please do click on the links.

I am linking up to some of these great parties

28 comments

  1. Sickness or not it’s still all systems go in the little house! It warms my heart when brothers and sisters look after each other when they are under par. Do you think any of T’s remedies had an effect. I’d be really interested. I don’t like to take medicine and thank God I rarely need any, but if I did I’d much prefer something that was natural. Trust all a feeling better this morning. xxxxxxx

    1. They are definitely on the mend. I’m not sure if T11’s remedies worked. I think his siblings would say yes. He made a label for himself saying Doctor T and one for his sister saying Nurse L. It was very cute!

  2. Goodness me. If this is what it looks like when 3 out of 5 children are ill, it must be incredible when everyone is well! You have all achieved so much this week despite the illness. It looks like you’re really living the Little House experience in full. I am full of admiration for all the very homely skills that everyone in your household is blessed with. Wow. 🙂

  3. I hope everyone is feeling better – how lovely to see how much your kids look after each other – so heart warming.
    I just love reading about T11’s passion and explorations with herbs, he’s quite the apothecary! And the beginning of the basket weaving looks just amazing!

    1. Funny you should pick up on the herbs thing. He’s been looking up on the internet how to become a herbalist and what age he has to be to become qualified. He was a little disappointed to find he had a few years to wait!

  4. Claire, again you have surpassed yourself and made many more wonderful memories for your family. Your children will certainly be well equipped for life! love you.

    1. Thanks Caroline. I have to say- basket weaving I could do without! Although once they have the hang of it they are well away. It just takes a long time to get the hang of it!!

    1. I wasn’t sick at all. I seem to have the constitution of an ox, and whilst I wouldn’t wish illness on myself AT ALL a 1/2 hour nap sounds quite good (I could do that entirely guilt free if I was under the weather!)
      Of course you can have the recipe. I send it this evening when things calm down a bit.

  5. Wow! I’m so completely impressed and LOVE the idea of using Little House on the Prairie to teach so many things. However, I feel I might be too unskilled to teach everything myself. Thanks for linking up to Homeschool Creations. That’s where I found you!

  6. I’m completely not skilled to teach so many things. I just learn along side the children and thank God I’m not a perfectionist, so the results rarely matter to me. So long as we are having fun and learning lots, that’s all that matters!

  7. It is so fun getting updates on your Little House adventure. Hands on learning really is the best! I’d never heard of Marigold Cupcakes, sounds wonderful?

    1. Thank you Carol. The cup cakes were very unusual but I think maybe the tastiest cup cakes with the very best texture I have ever tasted. Do let me know if you’d like the recipe!

  8. You must be so proud of those little ones of yours! Watching your children care for each other I think is one of the biggest blessings of parenthood. And that L10 is something else, I am so impressed by how well she can cook at her age. I don’t think my blueberry pie would turn out that well…hers looks like it belongs in a bakery!

    1. I shall tell her you said so! She would live in the kitchen if I gave her the opportunity to. Ever since she was little she has loved everything about cooking and has asked for cookery things for birthdays and Christmas’ as well saving her own money for cake tins etc. She calls the kitchen ‘her kitchen’ and most of the time I don’t get a look in!

  9. I hope everyone feels well soon. All of your kitchen projects look delicious. I love to weave baskets too. Thank you for sharing this post on Read.Explore.Learn. I will be sharing this post on Facebook.

    1. I can’t tell you how into it he is! Every time there is any physical problem he makes up some sort of potion and applies it. I burnt my hand yesterday and he made something which really took the sting out of it.

  10. Amazing! I just love all that you are doing. What a wonderful teacher you are. I hope everyone is well soon.
    Blessings, Dawn

  11. I hope the kids are feeling better. I’m impressed with your new activities each week. Basket weaving, chopping wood, new floors and food. It sounds so busy at your house.

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