Monday, October 27, 2014

Fungus in the Fall

This weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a day out of doors.  It was such a beautiful Autumn weekend.  I collected a bag of large acorns so that I can try my hand at making acorn flour.  I identified the call of the red-bellied woodpecker.  And I found fungus!

Pear-Shaped Puffballs

Beautiful fall fungus!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Lifestyle of Learning 2014 Edition: Volume Eighteen

Autumn has been particularly beautiful this week and we have had another beautiful week of living.
Bishop began his week with scouts which involved cooking for the cub scouts at a park.  This moved him a little bit closer to completing his cooking merit badge (an Eagle Scout required merit badge) and allowed him and his troop an opportunity to get to know better the cub scouts who may soon cross over to their troop.  Bishop had a unique challenge presented to him and he met it well.  For his cooking merit badge he needed to prepare a one-pot meal and he needed to make it gluten-free because one of the cubs has celiacs.  He prepared a pot of chili using his own seasoning rather then a seasoning packet in order to insure there was no gluten present.  He also served gluten-free johnnycakes, clementines, and water.  It went over exceedingly well - both with the gluten-free cub scout and with all the other boys.  He is just so creative and competent with his cooking, even when preparing a camp meal.

Bishop is a den chief; he is a boy scout who once a month helps with a cub scout den.  It is a position of leadership - he is a mentor.  The plan for his den was to go hiking at the nature center and just prior to the hike Bishop was to show the boys how to whip and fuse rope.  Every den decided to join his on the hike and prior to the hike he ended up doing a presentation to the entire pack about whipping and fusing.  He then worked specifically with his cubs on the skill.  I am so proud of him.  He very confidently made the presentation to this group and scouts and their parents when he had come prepared to present to just a couple of kids.  His confidence and leadership skills are growing.  He is a wonderful young man!

The following day Bishop volunteered at the food pantry.  He logged 4 1/2 hours of community service.  Gratefully, there was a lot of food to process and we were kept quite busy. 

History group and nature study group were both unexpectedly canceled but Bishop had no problem finding ways to occupy himself.  He spent two days outside working on primitive skills.  He chopped down trees with his knife, tried making cordage, worked on his bone knife and, after a trip to Harbor Freight, made himself an impromptu blacksmithing forge.  We need to find blacksmithing coal as the the coal that we had did not get hot enough but his concept was sound.

And, finally, after, first, an evening at the theatre and then an evening at the opera Bishop finished his week by going camping with some friends.  He continued to work on developing his skills.  He made primitive hunting tools, tried to cook on a rock and baked food encased in mud.  He went hiking and found some mushrooms for his mama.

His week officially ended with him going trick-or-treating at the campground. Yay!

Since every photo is of Bishop and his endeavors one may think that Maceo did not do much or you might think that I am playing favorites.  Neither of which would be true.  Maceo is always quite busy yet I am largely not present for his endeavors, he functions quite independently or I am not allowed to photograph his work.  Maceo continues with vocal instruction, troupe, and troupe mentorship.  He had quite a few social engagements.  He went to the bookstore and bought himself new reading material.  He watched a performance at the theatre.  Most importantly, his opera, The Elixir of Love, opened on Friday.  It was a magnificent performance.  He was in the chorus so his voice blended with the others; however, his acting was in the spotlight as he was given a role as the salesman's assistant and had to act through scenes in which the salesman or others were singing but he was not.  He was great, highly amusing.  After the show a woman tracked him down to issue a compliment.  She said that she was 81 years old and had seen many, many operas but never had she had someone grab her attention the way that Maceo did.  She said that she could not take her eyes off of him when he was on stage.  What an enormous compliment.  How affirming.  I am so proud of him!

I am so proud of all my kiddos!
They are each uniquely gifted and they each work hard to develop and utilize those gifts!
I am truly a blessed woman!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Lifestyle of Learning 2014 Edition: Volume Seventeen

Have you ever had a week in which you felt that everything came together just right?  When barriers were hurdled and positive things were accomplished?  This was one of those weeks for me.
October 12-18
Maceo continues his rehearsals for his first opera performance "Elixir of Love."  The show opens on Friday.  I am very excited!  He also continues his vocal instruction, troupe, and troupe mentorship.  We have signed him up for a masterclass.   His vocal and performance abilities continue to grow by leaps and bounds.

Maceo enjoyed being in the audience of a show this week.  He watched a performance of The Phantom Tollbooth that some of his friends are in.  It's not often that you will find him in the audience but he had a great time showing his support.
Bishop attended youth group and scouts.  He did his board of review at scouts and has now ranked up to Star Scout.  He has been brainstorming ideas in regards to his positions of leadership - historian and den chief.  He has decided to implement one idea immediately.  He has created a bulletin board documenting things that his troop has done.

The guys really enjoyed checking out the photos and reliving their experiences.
Bishop picked up the shoe donation boxes and we must get together with our group, get those shoes organized and donated.
Bishop spent some time in the kitchen this week.  He made up a recipe for skillet apple pie.  He is convinced that the idea is sound but did not like this particular rendition.  I wager he will be working to refine the recipe.

He also tried his hand at making sashimi.

It was really good!
I am always amazed at what this boy will endeavor to do.
Bishop gave Chinese calligraphy a try and found it to be quite absorbing.

History group was covering the chapters of The Story of the World Volume 2 that present China, Japan and Korea.  We brought the Chinese calligraphy for everyone to try and brought a snack from Korea that Herb had sent to the family.

Learning and fun was had by all.
Our nature study groups met at a local park that Bishop and I had not been to in quite some time.  It was a beautiful autumn day and the boys had a great time hiking and climbing and exploring.  We also identified broadleaf and English plantain and discussed ways in which it could be used medicinally.

Bishop wrapped up his week by attending Nathan Boone Homestead Days.  He really enjoyed the rendezvous.  From the traders he purchased a throwing knife and a turtle shell "purse" that attaches to his belt and is just the right size for him to carry his flint and steel (the steel that he crafted at his blacksmithing workshop).

He also enjoyed throwing a tomahawk and listening to the presentation of the buffalo hunter.
It was a magnificent day and revitalized his interest in the mid 1800's and learning similar skills that will promote a sense of self-sufficiency.
Maceo and Bishop also made a bit of progress in the more traditionally academic areas.  Maceo consistently has a book, usually a play, that he is reading, did a bit of mathematics and found an economics book that he believes to be interesting.  Bishop is currently reading Son of Charlemagne, Birth of Britain, The Number Devil, and Microbe Hunters.  He is making progress with biology and mathematics.  We are making incremental progress towards reaching some goals that we have made.
Christian even had a notably invigorating week.
Christian ready for a Halloween party!
He began and ended his week with football.  On Monday he traveled to St. Louis to watch his San Francisco 49ers defeat the St. Louis Rams and on Saturday he played some rousing games of flag football that he had arranged with his his friends.

Academically he completed a couple more courses.  He now has only one class to complete in order to finish his graduation requirement!!!  Also, he took the GRE this week and did quite well.  We are still waiting for his final scores but we do know that he scored well above average on the verbal portion.  I will soon be sending another kiddo off into the world to pursue his calling !!!
I am so proud of him and the rest of my family as we attempt to live well this life that has been granted us!