Homeschooling, farm life and our love of earth

"Everything that happens to you is your teacher. The secret is to learn to sit at the feet of your own life and be taught by it." ~Polly Berrien Berends

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

The yarn plying factory

Today we went to the yarn factory. We usually go there several times a year to collect our new yarn shipment. In the past Thomas has been scared of the noise and refused to enter the production section, but this time, egged on by Oliver, he did. Look at how overwelmed he is...
Of course Oliver has figured it out and intends managing the factory the next time we visit :)
Thomas was so shy, he kept hiding. But Oliver, oh Oliver, he was checking up on everyone!

Now to do some hand spinning...

Our Day - by the ocean

Sea Point - So, any ideas what this ship transports - Thomas says its for oil- mmm! Come on Alf, Im sure you know! - Please tell us.

Hout Bay - Canons were called - Bomb Shooter-ers. Which later became Ball Bomb Shooter-ers. We played the guessing game with Granny, we phoned her and asked her what a Ball bomb shooter-er was and she guess right the second time. 8 and half points to Granny :-)
We are going to do a little canon study now! Pirates and all!

Looking accross the bay to Oumas beach home in Kommetjie. - Or is he waiting fo a pirate ship...mmm...who knows...

Monday, 25 February 2008

Beeswax Crayons

I realy want to make some beeswax crayons. mmm Not sure if Karl will be impressed if I keep using all the wax, but heh, its for the kids!

Have you made your own crayons?
Anyone got any suggestions?

Someone, somewhere sent me this recipe.
hope its fine to publish on my blog. :-)

Homemade Beeswax Crayons Recipe
Parts by weight:
1 part grated soap (use a glycerin soap for harder crayons--otherwise plain Ivory works well)
1 part beeswax
paste food coloring

Melt the beeswax in a small clean soup can placed in boiling water. Add the grated soap and stir until the soap melts and the mixture is smooth. Color the mixture with concentrated paste food colors (available in the cake decorating aisle). Create personalized molds with aluminum foil. Coat your mold with Crisco. Pour wax mixture
into lubricated aluminum foil molds. After testing the crayon, it can be melted again and more pigment added. Use separate cans for making individual colors.
*** Approximately 2 Tablespoons of grated soap and wax and a pea sized dab of coloring is sufficient for 1-2 small block crayons.
*** For older children or adults, you may use artist's fresco pigments instead of food coloring for richer results. Use with caution as some pigments are not safe for consumption.
*** if the melted mixture seems very lumpy (rather than smooth and clear) add some more beeswax.
*** try pouring one color, let cool and add another to create a rainbow crayon
*** if removed gently from mold while still warm, you can finish shaping them with your hands easy enough.

“To educate the whole child, his heart and will must be reached, as well as his mind.”

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Ricotta Cheese

This is so easy.... really... Today I am ill and Karl wanted Ricotta and Spinach Quiche for supper. So I made this batch, and did everything wrong, and it still worked! So if I manage today then you can all make it!

Place your RAW milk in a thick based pot and slowly heat till between 70'C and 80'C [165'F to 175'F ]. Take about 10 minutes.

Once it reaches this temperature range slowly squeeze the juice from your garden lemons into the milk. If you don't have lemons then use vinegar- apple cider is the best, but any will do.

The milk slowly starts to coagulate. Let the temperature rise a bit more but not over 85'C Continue slowly adding the lemon juice. Do not stir to much, this will disturb the coagulation process.

Coagulation becomes more obvious. Again do not stir to much. But continue adding lemon juice. The warmed milk starts to change colour. It slowly starts to become transparent and yellowish - but this takes time.

Hooray! Its working!!

At this point I take it off the hot plate. And leave it to rest for 5 minutes or so. This allows more coagulation to occur.

Yum! Check the colour of the whey [milky water] If it is whitish add more lemon juice,

If the whey is yellowish - like in this picture, then it is done, well maybe their is still a little to coagulate, but this is good enough for me!

If yours does not look like this you either need more heat or more lemon juice.

Ok, Harvest time...

Place a piece of muslin in your colander and pour the cheesy whey into the muslin. Join the corners and hang to strain. I tie it onto my tap... convenient heh!

Leave it for 1 hour or so... depending on you patience. LOL

Oh my! Its perfect, just a little moist still..
My solution is easy

Years ago [before my anti plastics era] I bought these 'soap dishes' from Makro. They are cheap and nasty, but ideal for straining cheese!
I leave the cheese in this container [in the fridge] till I cook with it tonight.


I used 4,5 L and made 500g Ricotta Cheese

Bye Bye Charlie Brown

After Charlie Brown escaping almost 3 weeks ago he finally had to be caught. After a lot of concern and patience he was finally caught. He was exhausted and very traumatised. :-(

The local horse breeder [AKA the cowboy] was worried that his R20 000 Paint horses would breed with my R50 donkey LOL! Anyway he came and caught Charlie Brown with the understanding that Charlie brown could not continue living here.
We are happy to let him go, he will now live in a herd and be free. This of course was always our wish for him. We had rescued him from becoming canned dog food, but had been able to connect with him, he was to wild and traumatised but also very lonely.

So Bye Bye Charlie Brown. We wish you well.

PS do you have a knitted/ felt donkey pattern? My boys are asking for a replacement pet... and I thought it would be cheaper to knit/sew a toy than to buy my next animal of choice. [an Alpaca R30 000 - ouch]

Friday, 22 February 2008

The Farm Fire

Here is a good reason to stop smoking!

Karl trying to help the wetlands and stop it burning further. the wetlands is the last of the local natural green belt and is filled with small animals and wild plants and bulbs.
Farmers trying to protect their lands - riding in the smoke!
My boys love the tractor photos :-) [weak smile]
The sunset in the aftermath - Its good to know that tomorrow life will being all fresh and new.

I used this opportunity to explain what the wild animal do when faced with fire. I will read a book tonight on the animals of farthingwood [sp?]

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Creative [?] Play

Thomas and Oliver have a great new game. The hot water bottle holder is now a hat! And Thomas throws the ball and his puppy, Oliver, barks with delight, runs around wildly and fetches the ball.
I marvel at how wonderful and free their minds are. Thank you Steiner

Friday, 15 February 2008

Our Hearts Garden - Gift making

Thomas decided that he wanted to make gifts for his friends. So after being inspired by the poem [two postings ago] he decided to plant pots for his friends. We doodled some flowers and hearts, coloured them in and glued them to the pots. We the varnished the pots. And are ready to share the love!!!

We also decided to make cupcakes....mmmm..Thomas loves the bowl.

Thursday, 14 February 2008


Count your garden by the flowers,
Never by the leaves that fall.
Count your days by sunny hours;
Don't remember the clouds at all.

Count your nights by stars, not shadows
Count your life by smiles, not tears.
And with joy along your journey,
Count your age by friends, not years.

Happy Valentines Day to all that read my journey.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Our hearts garden

Thomas - His interpretation of the poem

The Heart
The heart is a garden where thought flowers grow
The thoughts that we think are seeds that we sow.
Each kind, loving thought bears a kind, loving deed
While the thought that is selfish is just like a weed.
We must watch what we think each moment, all day
And pull out the weed thoughts and throw them away.
And plant-loving seed thoughts so thick in a row
There will not be room for weed thoughts to grow.
- unknown

This poem is great, and have been so eager to read it with Thomas. He usually responds badly to poetry and song, but he really liked this one. [Hooray - this feels like a milestone]
After the reading my boys chatted with each other about the seeds they would sow. Thomas said he would plant yellow sunflowers [amazing], while Oliver was focused on Purple. [so cute!]
I then read the poem several more times while we quietly sat and drew our gardens. Thomas is really into brown at the moment. I find it quite dull but he says it is beautiful and is the colour of wood! I guess he is right, I just really wanted to see colourful flowers.

My doodle is just a doodle. Please - no art critics allowed LOL

Spiral and Hearts

I love to doodle, Simple doodles that celebrate movement and colour. As a child I loved doodling with colour shading and I still aspire to do this.

The great thing about doodling now is that Thomas [5] loves to join in. He gets his own doodle box out and draws whatever he wants. Today he focused on hearts, something that he has not drawn before. We were both very pleased with our creations so decided to share.

We hope you like our drawings

Wednesday, 06 February 2008

Valentineday Felt hearts

Today Thomas asked if we could make pillows.
This was a great idea, we made felt hearts and filled them with fresh lavender to hang on our head boards.

In this climate that fresh lavender will dry quickly and until then we will have the fresh scent in our rooms.

I chose to use Dutch Lavender as it has a high camphor. This will help clear congestion and the lanvender will help every one sleep well.


The last of our candlemas celebrations was a harvest.

We collected all of the fallen granadillas in the garden while Oliver harvested the green ones... I asked him to leave them till purple but he felt the green ones were special. I let him continue while considering that the green ones will be higher in pectin and could help the jam set.

Look at the beautiful boiling jam making a C for Candlemas - LOL

Oh the colour of glorious sun!

Bottles ready for gifts [and for eating!]

We painted a wet on wet painting of the yellow sun shining down and drying the wheat into a golden yellow. Tomorrow we cut up the paintings and make jam jar labels.

Friday, 01 February 2008

Sand Candles

Thanks Kristie for this great idea... Here is how Olli and I made a sand candle.

Wet some sand or soil [sand creates a smoother look while soil looks more organic]
Then gently push your shape [I used a Pesto Princess bottle]into the soil to the desired depth.

Lift out the shape
Tie your wick around a stick and then cut it to the depth of you mould.
Pour your melted beeswax into the sand mould [try not to mess like I did -LOL]
Reposition the stick with the wick into position.

Lastly...Leave over night to set.
NB...If you disturb it to soon it will ruin the project.

I'm not blessed with patience so Oliver and I checked it was cool and dug it out. Oliver had helped me through out the process so he was delighted to hold the lit candle. Oh what an angelic photo, I love my baby boy...

Here is what it looks like after one supper.

2nd Feb, we had friends arround for a candle lit garden supper and ate lots of round foods. The best was the roasted camerbert topped with a homemade Honey and raspberry sauce. Yum

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