Tudors and Stuarts: Explorers – Preparing for the journey

explorer's age buttonWe spent this weeks session learning about preparing for a long and arduous journey of exploration.  We read from the Great Atlas of Exploration and the information from Homeschool in the Woods about the life of an explorer.  We learnt about provisions and made some of our own.

Provisions for the journey

We wrote a report on scurvy and became ‘Limeys’ to ensure that we didn’t suffer from vitamin C depletion.  Limeys are made by squeezing out the juice of limes and giving it to any unsuspecting sister who happened to be within reach:

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A6 was not impressed
A6 was not impressed
C12 even less so!
C12 even less so!

We dried some fruit and veg (apples and peas).  Drying fruit prevented the fruit from going bad whilst maintaining the vitamin content:

Cutting apple rings
Cutting apple rings
Fromfresh to dry in about 24 hours on lowest oven heat
From fresh to dry in about 24 hours on lowest oven heat
Tasting dried peas - not impressed (although I did tell them they would have been softened in some sort of stew or gravy
Tasting dried peas – not impressed (although I did tell them they would have been softened in some sort of stew or gravy
They didn't even like the dried apples.  I'm thinking my guys wouldn't have lasted very long on a ship!
They didn’t even like the dried apples. I’m thinking my guys wouldn’t have lasted very long on a ship!

We made some hardtack biscuits.  These tasted as they sounded-hard!  But drying them out to such an extent helped prevent them going bad and ensure the explorers had at least some sort of food to last their journey:

C12 and A6 made the hard tack biscuits together
C12 and A6 made the hard tack biscuits together
They were really, really hard, but everyone liked the taste.
They were really, really hard, but everyone liked the taste.

After contemplating making beef jerky, I couldn’t bring myself to dry beef myself and was very relieved when I saw some at the supermarket.  They would just need repackaging in a more time appropriate wrapping and the children could try them out in preparation for their exploratory journey:

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I know I must be a bit of a wimp but I couldn’t even bring myself to taste it.  The children did, though….

C12 liked it okay but the other two almost gagged on it.  Glad I didn't try any, then.
C12 liked it okay but the other two almost gagged on it. Glad I didn’t try any, then.

Having made the food, we packed them up for the journey and took some photos:

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We added them to the back of our explorer’s journal where we are keeping all the recipes we try:

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Sailor Knots

Knots are an important skill if you are circumnavigating around the world.  I photocopied a few ‘How-To-Knot’ information sheets.  Sailors used knots on-board all the time but also used them to make hammocks for sleeping in.  We practiced making various knots:

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And looked back over T’s hammock making a couple of summers ago:

Using the overhand knot

We made a note of the knots in our journal, making some mini knots to stick in:

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We are near ready to actually begin exploring….

18 comments

  1. What a huge amount of activities! I love the expressions of all your children when they tasted things they didn’t like!!

  2. So much fun! It reminds me of our study of the explorers. My guys didn’t care much for the hardtack or the lime juice (although I diluted ours with water) but they liked the dried beef and fruit. Looking forward to the next post in this series!

  3. So much fun! I love getting a shot of the kids tasting something they don’t enjoy – priceless reactions. By the way, I could gnaw on beef jerky all day long 🙂

    1. I was vegetarian for years before I met Gary, but I’m too lazy to cook two meals and Gary is a typical meat loving male, so I now eat meat. I draw the line however at any kind of tinned meat or dried meat. Urgggk!

      1. Lol, I was a vegetarian for years as well, and very similarly my carnivorous husband tipped the balance because I don’t love to cook! Ironically, when vegetarian, the only two things that tested my resolve were bacon and beef jerky! (oh and prosciutto – looove prosciutto)

  4. HA! I think we’d have the same response over here. I have had jerky, and it is not too bad, but I wouldn’t want a steady diet of it for sure. I am glad no one had to go to the dentist after eating the hard tack. T did a great job on his knots. Evan makes lots of knots in scouting. It is a good skill to know.
    Keep up the good work. Looks like lots of fun.

    1. The hard tack was really the only thing which was universally liked and that was probably because it was made of flour, salt and water. We’d last no time at all on a ship! Maybe on a cruise ship……

    1. I think it is very much an American thing. I’ve never seen it in our shops before and couldn’t believe it when I saw it. And seriously, I could NEVER dry it myself, I’d be too scared of giving the family food poisoning!!

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