Several of you asked about purchasing cheese wax after my last article. You can find wax at several places on the Internet. Search the term “cheese wax” for a list and to compare price.
As I thought about what to share this month I thought about the skills we need to be learning or honing and remembered one of the best summers while raising my children. Our school district had a fabulous summer school program but attendance was determined by a drawing and if your sibling’s name was not drawn but you were, well, that’s life.
Several friends and I decided we were not going to take any chances and we were going to hold our own summer school. It was great. Each of the moms decided on a skill they could teach and we forged ahead. We rotated homes and most times all the moms stayed to help but if you needed to run an errand you were free to leave and your children were in a safe place where they were learning and having fun.
We had a swimming class, cooking class, weaving class, crafts class, and a quilting class. We even took field trips. All these little third and fourth grade girls thought making quilts was awesome! There were a few boys who were younger and we occasionally held a class especially for them, but what little boy doesn’t love to cook and swim? At the end of the summer we hosted a dinner for the dads and displayed all we had made and of course, the kids prepared all the foods they had learned to cook.
As I remembered these fun days it hit me, let’s do this in our homes with our children and grandchildren this summer and teach them preparedness skills. Wouldn’t this be a great way for those of us who are passionate about preparing and self-reliance, to help our friends and family, who are not yet converted? We can teach adults skills while they are also having a great time with their kids. Think about it.
Try a cooking class with everything prepared without electricity. You could use a Dutch oven, make foil dinners, or roast hot dogs on a stick. Before leaving on a field trip you could prepare a meal, place it in a haybox and have it ready to eat when you arrive back home. If you are really ambitious you could even build and use a solar oven, the possibilities are endless.
Consider a gardening class and plant things you know will grow like lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, carrots, and zucchini and then use those foods in your cooking class. I have discovered when children grow food they will eat it.
A few weeks ago I received a picture in my email from my daughter. It was a shot of my granddaughters with very sad faces holding bottles of home made dill pickles. They were opening the last bottle of pickles I had given them and told their mom the ones from the store just aren’t as good. Plant cucumbers in that garden and make pickles. Canning pickles is easy and a great first experience for those who have preserved their harvest by canning it.
Consider taking a field trip to a dairy and upon returning home make butter and ice cream, again, without electricity. If you live in an urban area ask friends who live in a rural area if they have a contact who would allow you to visit their farm. It amazes me how many kids, and even some adults, still do not understand where our food really comes from.
Teach sewing and make a quilt or apron or pillow. When I was student teaching I taught a sewing class which was all junior high school boys and we made hunting vests. My daughters still have the quilts they made in our summer school class 20 years ago.
Take a trip to the library and check out books about pioneers, or even Huckleberry Finn or Little House on the Prairie, read the books and then spend a few weeks creating some pioneer experiences. Try dipping candles, playing pioneer games and building a lean-to or a tee-pee.
Plan a field trip to an orchard, farmers market or just a neighbor’s with a fruit tree, pick the fruit, bring it home and make freezer jam. Freezer jam is very easy to make and an immediate reward for all your efforts.
Consider teaching the kids to grind wheat and make pancakes, and scones. Both are easy and kids love them. We all know practice makes perfect.
Practice washing clothes in a bucket washing machine and then hanging them on the line. On a hot day this can be lots of fun as you have the children wring out the rinsed clothing. Have two children hold opposite ends of the garment and twist in opposite directions to get the water out before hanging to dry.
Visit a living history museum and learn about the life of those who lived when our nation was founded or who were trail blazers. Check out places close to you at: https://www.stepintohistory.com/
Hold a wood working class and learn to use a hammer and nails while building a simple stool. You can probably get enough scrap wood from a building site to complete the project.
If you have lots of boys help them make “uniforms” and then spend a few days living like a soldier during the Revolution or Civil War. Make biscuits in a Dutch oven or on a stick. Wash on a washboard. Write with a quill. Make a sling shot. Build a lean-to and spend the night camping out.
If you are a grandparent or the lucky person in charge of the family reunion, why not make some of these classes part of your time together this summer.
Cheese making, butter making, soap making, candle making, spinning and weaving, carpentry skills, canning and drying fruits and vegetables, sewing, quilting, cooking, home made ice cream, seasoned vinegars, furniture making, bookbinding and paper making, gardening, bee keeping, knot tying, sharpening tools and pocket knives, building a fire, building a shelter from boughs and/or tarps, the list is endless. Think creatively, ask other moms or grandmas what they would be willing to teach and get going!
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