Sunday, August 13, 2017

Thankful Sunday--August 8, 2017

I am thankful for creative people. 

Recently, I've seen several things that have caught my fancy and made me smile. There are some pretty creative people out there thinking up these things. For these creative minds and what they produce, I am thankful.

Here are a few of them.

The summer reading theme this year at our library is "Build a Better World". We have gone with the building theme in several ways and here is one of them.  Various staff and volunteers built an igloo from milk jugs. It is big enough that most adults can stand up inside. The kids love it in there and the adults are grunting a bit as they crawl in and out (me included).

The inside is my favorite part of the igloo. The milk jug lids give it an unexpected look.

My son, Theo, and I recently took a walk through a marsh where we found this fun bench. It's a little hard to make out the details, but notice the ripples on the seat and the two duck bottoms above them. It looks like the ducks are diving underwater. Very cute.

Here's the creative part. When we looked under the bench, we saw the heads of the two diving ducks. That was definitely a fun discovery.

Last weekend, my niece got married and had an outdoor reception. She decided it would probably be too hot for cake, so she had cookies instead. They were all made by another very creative aunt of hers. Everyone especially smiled at these bride and groom sugar cookies she made.

She also made some very elaborate cookies that had to be slowly baked in a spring form mold. They were very impressive and tasty. Some of you out there probably know the name for these German cookies. I can't remember it.

Now I'm going to toot my own horn. This is something that I made for a storytime about elephants. Remember the song, Five little elephants went out to play, Out on a spider's web one day...? I used this for that song. What I'm happy about is this was very simple to assemble, and I was able to use things I had around the house. The base, where the pink elephants are, is a ice holder from the freezer we no longer use. The spider's web is on an old piece of foam core we had and it is friction fitted to the base with an piece of packing Styrofoam we got with our new freezer. I was very pleased that it was light weight and very stable. I didn't actually have the elephants laying around. They are puppy chew toys I ordered. I am going to donate them to a shelter when I'm done.

A volunteer sunflower on my deck. Wasn't I creative to happen to have a planter below the birdfeeder, to give the dropped birdseed a place to sprout? :) As usually happens with volunteer plants, this one is doing much better than the sunflowers I formally planted.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Piece of Local History

Remember the school house at the end of one of our recent hikes? After two years of good intentions, we actually got to see inside. We scheduled a hike there last Sunday--one of only a few afternoons a year that it's open. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you put something on the calendar.

The one room school was built in 1893 and served the surrounding rural, farming area. Eventually, they started to bus kids to schools in town and closed it in 1935. BTW, the buses were horse drawn buggies. At the time of restoration, they were able to get several oral histories of what the school was like in the 1920's and the school was restored to that time period.

Two very knowledgeable volunteers led the informal tour. You could tell that they were passionate about history and made the tour interesting for both the young and old. They were especially good with the kids who were fascinated with the chalk board and the school bell. We enjoyed not only learning about the school, but the history of the surrounding area also.

Here are a few pictures of our visit.

The school was nicknamed the Froggy Hollow School because of all the frogs you could hear from the creek in front of the school. The school also served as a community center. 

The school had to have a minimum of 12 pupils for the county to support it. Attendance was usually somewhere between 20--30 students which would have made this room a lot more crowded than what you see here.

Typical school day. What I found interesting was this was the same exact recess schedule I had in first grade. 

If you can read through the reflections, you see that this pledge is different than the one we say today. You don't see the "under God" which is currently getting a lot of buzz, but there was another change that I hadn't realized.  In 1923 "my flag" changed to "the flag of United States of America" so it would not be confusing to the large influx of immigrants. Actually, the pledge has fairly complex history, that's worth a read if you're interested in that kind of thing.

Unlike today, learning cursive writing was an important lesson. When the students were working on that, the teaches blocked the windows on one side of the room so the hand with the pencil in it (always the right one) would not cast a shadow on the paper. That way you could see clearly to do your best. 

During this time period, there were separate schools for the blacks and whites. The kids eyes got big as the guide told them that when books became tattered in the white schools, they were sent to the black schools for their textbooks.

Does anyone else remember one of these? The teacher used it to draw lines on the blackboard for music and writing lessons.

We had a nice afternoon with a pleasant walk and an interesting visit to the school. However, it did feel a little strange to tour a school from almost a century ago and find some things there that I also had in school. I know I get older every year, but I'm not quite that old yet. :)