(My friend Sharon took all the pictures, I just swiped them for this post.)
We had 15 kids and 4 moms, including me. I made a cd of fiddle music featuring all the songs I could find from the books. This was played on repeat as background music. (I had hoped to send a copy of the cd home with everyone, but I could only get 1 cd to copy.) We started with everyone gathered at the table, and I had a script of sorts that I wrote out to keep me on track (script is at the bottom of this post)
Using our yard as an example, we talked about why or why not this would make a good homestead site, both as looking for a place to settle, or as an established one.
Then we moved on to the garden, where we conveniently grow a lot of "period correct" vegetables.
we talked about how companion planting works and why it can be important
and about eating seasonally and how they would have preserved the harvest.
then we trekked over to the herb garden
|nope, no period dressing for me|
there we discussed medicinal and culinary herbs, and tasted some of the herbs I have growing
the kids favorite were the chocolate and pineapple mint
back at the table, we also discussed foraging, hunting and fishing, animals raised for food
and the goods that made more sense to buy instead of grow
then we made butter
I had 3 or 4 jars of raw cream from our milk share that I had been hoarding,
and everyone had a chance to churn
the buttermilk was saved for our cornbread
A. had to give a presentation as part of her 4-H project
So she went over sewing basket basics
(she was also in the early stages of poison sumac and had fallen off her bike a few days before hand. poor girl looked like she'd lost a fight)
then everyone visited the chicken coop
the chickens did NOT oblige us and there were only 3 eggs
A. just put them back in the nest boxes so each group could find them
I printed up pictures of a deer and of a bear and taped these to boxes for targets
Sharon had some rubber band guns, and I converted a toy gun of ours and the boys had an absolute blast shooting
the girls had fun playing "Graces"- tossing the hoop back and forth with the sticks
and of course, the swing set
I bought and rendered down beef fat (because I'm crazy like that) for dipping candles
It did not work. my suspicions are A.) it was entirely too hot out, and B.) that the fat now is not as the fat then. But the big girls had fun trying.
Lunch: the main food was bread, cheese, hardboiled eggs, and apples. This meal is often mentioned in all the Little House books, so I thought it would be a good base
I made several loaves of a round rustic bread, I also made the cheese on the green and white plate, which the kids loved
We also had lots of samples, because half the fun of anything is the eating
Cornbread (from the Little House Cookbook)
Baked Beans (also LH cookbook)
I found a package of smoked trout at the grocery store reduced for quick sale, Pa smoked a lot of fish, so this worked nicely
I had *one* package of venison left, not enough to make a meal for us, but perfect for sampling
I cooked it in bacon drippings and it was fantastic
Salt pork which is an absolute pain to cut and prepare but so so good
(prepared per LH cookbook instructions)
Sharon's family does a lot of reenacting, so she brought along her dishes
that great big picnic table and all the littles crowded here
the big girls picked the quilt, and the big boys all sat up in the swing set house
afterwards, they washed the dishes
the final activities were paper quilt blocks for the girls and little boys
and tin punching for the big boys
I bought 2 disposable cookie sheets at the dollar store and cut them to the right size. When they were done, I glued them to canning jar lids to make a lantern. (the tape is just holding it while it dried)
Sharon brought a variety of period toys, and this climbing bear was the favorite
I set up an awning for extra shade, but also to show just how cramped things would have been in some of those cabins (tables from Sharon's reenacting stash)
R. needed a prairie dress, so I made her one. I won Best of Show at the fair with it!
I made a basket of goodies for each family as well.
And by made a basket, I mean I made the baskets.
A rag doll for each of the little girls
Tops for the big boys (paper circles with a bamboo skewer poked through the center), the chicken toy (slides back and forth like they're pecking) for the little boys
the thaumatrope, a flower press for the big girls
The doll is stitched as one piece, with a removable elastic skirt. These were such fun to make!
I even gave then bloomers
Candy ( I would have bought period candy, but there are some dietary restrictions among the children, so I just made a few things) Honey Cinnamon Suckers, and Maple Sugar Candy. I hate maple sugar candy (too sweet), but the stuff I made was really good.I also included Plantain salve, Dandelion Salve, and Jewel Weed Salve, and a list of Laura's favorite Bible verses.
My script was written late at night (and not the greatest writing at that), and is not necessarily in order of how we did things.
But it kept me from a lot of "um's" and on trackish. (Click to enlarge for reading.)