Pumpkin Picking 2014

Today we headed out to Eckert’s, and the most sincere pumpkin patch we know, to find the perfect pumpkin times five. I think we set a new family record–Turkey picked about 21 pounds of pumpkin, Bunny picked 17 pounds, Moose also picked 17 pounds, Ladybug picked 11 pounds, and Chickadee picked a whopping five pounds–over 70 pounds of pumpkins!

We’re about out of fun family activities for this year at Eckert’s, but I’m sure there will plenty more fun to be had next year!

At the Pumpkin Patch 2012

Today, after Moose was done with school, we went on our annual family trip to the pumpkin patch.

It was a beautiful day for a tractor ride…just the right amount of chilly, and nice and bright.

Everyone had fun looking for a pumpkin, and everyone found one before we left.

When it was all said and done, we had over 40 pounds of pumpkins in the back of our van!

Even Chickadee got a little baby pumpkin of her own.

It was another fun afternoon at our favorite pumpkin farm!

Third Grade: Week Thirteen Wrap-Up

This week, we got to enjoy one of my favorite features of Adventures in My Father’s World–a week-long Thanksgiving unit.

This is something that I’ve done every year, anyway. But it was nice to have everything planned out for me for a change. Some of the books were new to us, (somehow we had never read The Thanksgiving Story, even though we have enjoyed the sister book, The Fourth of July Story), and we also used some old favorites (all of the Kate Waters books about colonial children). Some of the crafts were new, (somehow, we had managed to never make woven construction paper placemats before!), some we had done before, (hand and footprint turkeys are a yearly must around here), and some we had done before and skipped doing this time, (we didn’t feel like making paper grocery bag Indian vests again).

There were even dedicated science lessons for this week. There were estimating and measuring assignments, and I added the book From Seed to Pumpkin, particularly for Ladybug’s benefit, so we could see the life cycle of the pumpkin. There was even a fun experiment for discovering the density of a pumpkin, as well as growing your own plant using the pumpkin seeds from the previous estimating and measuring experiments.

I love that this was incorporated right into our school year. The unit is designed to be done whenever necessary in your school year, (although it is labeled as week 13, and is arranged in that spot in the teacher guide), whether you start earlier in the year, and so need to delay the Thanksgiving study, or if you start later, and need to do it even closer to the beginning. The flexibility of this program is another big must!

I wish that My Father’s World could find a way to add a similar Christmas unit to one of their programs. I’m thinking that their global curriculum, Exploring Countries and Cultures, would be the perfect opportunity to learn about Christmas around the world, (and would offer a nice counter-option to Winter Promise’s Children Around the World program, which does have such a unit). While I also create a Christmas unit every year, it would be fun to look at it with fresh eyes, and get some new ideas that I might otherwise overlook, or never think of at all!

Garden 2009

The garden has been planted for over a week now, and so far, I’m off to a better start than last year.  By that I mean that we haven’t had a late frost that killed off all my plants, and nothing has eaten them (so far!), so it’s going well, for now anyway.

It’s very much the same as last year’s garden.  Tomatoes (but more of them!), zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, jalapeños, red onions, carrots and radishes from seed (the radishes are sprouting already), basil, cilantro, and rosemary (something new, because it smells amazing!).

I am also apparently growing pumpkins.  I put our fall pumpkins in the garden beds last year, figuring they’d make for good compost.  I guess I assumed that the seeds would not survive the winter.  I was wrong.  Way wrong.  I’ve got at least 20 pumpkin vines started–I’m going to thin them out eventually, but for now, I’m letting them grow to see which ones are really good, and then I’ll leave a few, and see if we can’t grow a few pumpkins of our own.

The nectarine tree is also doing well, which is something of a surprise to me–I thought the shock of being transplanted would mean no fruit at all for at least one season.  But, there are several very tiny, very purple (also surprising!) nectarines, particularly on the lower branches, so we’ll see how those grow.

I’m very excited about the things we’re trying to grow, and really hoping the garden is successful.  I have visions of homemade pico de gallo, pesto, and zucchini bread (among other things), made with home-grown produce.