Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Witches & Books We Love!

Hay-ho for Hallowe'en!
And the witches to be seen,
Some black, and some green,
Hay-ho for Halloween!

Tomorrow is Halloween, but we're not anywhere near ready for it. We were on the road for 3 weeks, driving from California to Illinois to visit family, and along the way, we picked up the swine flu (luckily at the tail end of the trip so we could recover comfortably at home). In any case, it's been a l-o-n-g illness and I realized that we never went to the pumpkin patch to see the scarecrow we made for it, we never picked or carved pumpkins, we never even decorated our house; however, we did read lots of books about fall and Halloween on our road trip and at home.

And over the past two days, I got the urge to needle felt a large witch with purple curly hair and here's how she turned out!

We draped some silks over a 1/2 wall we have and Elena decorated it with the Fall treasures we made by hand this past year...(except for the mini witches from Magic Cabin)...

As far as favorite books, a complete seasonal treasure and one of my absolute favorites is "A Time to Keep: Book of Holidays" by Tasha Tudor. I had forgotten all about this book, but on my trip to Chicago, I spotted a copy from 1977 that was hand signed by Tasha Tudor, made out to my sister, Caroline! (Yes, Car it's still at Mom's house!!!) I am in awe that my mom had waited in line at a book signing for some of Tasha's amazing work.

Of course, I had to buy my own copy and here is an illustration from the October section:

I am also so partial to Tasha Tudor's work, because she LOVES corgi's and they are always in her illustrations. We are corgi owners/lovers, as well.

Anyway, some of the other books we have read this fall in preparation for the season are:

- "Woody, Hazel and Little Pip" by Elsa Beskow
- "Autumn Story" Brambly Hedge series by Jill Barklem
- "The Little Scarecrow Boy" by Margaret Wise Brown
- "Tops and Bottoms" by Janet Stevens
- "Autumn Leaves" by Ken Robbins
- "Pumpkin Light" by David Ray
- "Pumpkin Soup" by Helen Cooper

Tomorrow, we're heading to Grandma & Grandpa's house to Trick or Treat! Luckily, the girls want to go as bats, like last year, the wings were hand sewn by our crafty Grandma :D

And I'm hoping that Daddy will bring home some turnips for us to carve into lanterns for the big trick or treat fest! If he succeeds, I will post pictures of them asap.

Happy Hallow's Eve to you all!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Drying Apples

After our apple picking adventure, we decided to slice and dry our apples and it was a fun project!

We used our corer/peeler/slicer & hung them to dry by the fireplace.
We noticed that certain apples were thicker than others and would hold together better. Most of the apples would be pulled apart and we kept hearing 'thuds' of apples falling from the string as they dried, so I put some towels underneath to salvage the broken pieces.

After a day or so, they were nice and dry and ready for eating.
We bagged the rest to take with us on our nature journal expeditions.

What a lovely (and yummy) way to celebrate autumn!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Riley's Apple Farm Field Trip

In late September, we attended a field trip at Riley's Apple Farm in Yucaipa, CA. We went with a local homeschooling group and had a blast participating in pioneer day life.

When we arrived, we were greeted with music by the Riley family and our children were invited to play along.

We then were divided into groups and began by learning how to start a fire using twine and flint.

While they were busy preparing lunch for all of us pioneers, we were allowed an hour to explore the various stations and participate in pioneer chores. There was apple coring/peeling/slicing/drying...

There was laundering - washing and hanging on the line...and gardening...

There was log sawing...and corn grinding...

There was even log cabin building by stacking pre - cut logs to form the house...while lunch was cooking,

The girls practiced their quill pen and ink writing...& made a corn husk doll...

After a lovely lunch, we headed over to the apple cider press section where the kids lined up in a row, chose apples and dropped them into the press which was hand cranked by a homeschooling pappa...

And VOILA! Our cider! Off to be cooled before tasting...

We rested and headed into the gift shop before heading over for an archery lesson...

We then took a tractor ride around the perimeter of the apple farm...

And then headed back to drink some of our fresh organic apple cider...

Back in the gift shop, we got some bags to pick some apples to take home...

At the end of the day, we left to begin our two hour drive home with lots of apples, corn husk dolls, and lots of fun memories with friends!