Field Trip: Pioneer Fall Harvest

We’ve been a one-car family since we sold Ken’s Jeep (affectionately known as “Sarge”) back in July ’08, so field trips don’t happen as often as we’d like. But we are very blessed to have friends and family who homeschool, don’t live far away, and are interested in many of the same field trip things as we are! On Thursday of this week, we went with our homeschooling cousins to the Atlanta History Center for their monthly homeschool day. This month’s focus was on food and fall harvesting traditions of pioneer families.

This was Lindsey’s first field trip with us. She expected it to be BORING, but when Ken asked her about it later, she admitted that she enjoyed it. I figured she would, because she enjoys hands-on things, and because it got us out of the house and doing something different than our usual routine.

There is always much silliness when the young cousins get together. We tried for one somewhat un-silly photo, and this was as serious as the boys would get:

Walker, Cullen, Kathryn

So then we just went for total silliness and Lindsey joined in the mix…

silly cousins

Kathryn has talked about candle-dipping since the last time we were here, so she was eager to make another candle. This time she wanted it much bigger, but with a line o kids having to take turns, it takes a long time. We really should just have a candle-making day at home. Hmmmm — sounds like a great crafty thing to do soon…

dipping candles

This time a loom to make rag rugs was set up by the slave cabin. These were called “friendly looms” because you could sit and chat while you worked on it. Lindsey and Kathryn (and I!) thought it was great, and want one of our own now! It really wouldn’t be hard to make, and you could make it much smaller. Kathryn said it reminded her of a harp.

friendly loom

We learned about picking cotton, and how hard a job that would have been. The girls each had a chance to remove the seeds, and when they didn’t get every bit of cotton off the seeds, they were told about how slaves who did the same would have been in trouble because wasted cotton was like throwing away money.

learning about cotton

We also learned that we could not take any of those seeds home because planting cotton is against the law in Georgia without a license! The reason is because of the boll weevil eradication program; boll weevils destroyed Georgia’s cotton crop back in the 1920’s, and great care must be taken to insure that doesn’t happen again.

Inside, the kids made “leather britches,” which are string beans threaded together, then hung to dry, and could be cooked later, after they’d turned brown like leather; they are suppose to taste just like they were fresh out of the garden. Each of them made a pickle, too, as well as a recipe book with the recipes we’d picked up along the way outside. We might even use one of our new recipes when we make Thanksgiving dinner!

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