Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Ivy made a meal plan with items from each food group. We had our choice of sandwiches or veggie burgers with cheese. I made the beets as it involved knives and boiling water.

Ivy and Jeremy made a fantastic chocolate cake, with Ivy doing most of the reading, measuring and mixing.

Doll house continued

We put up the walls and floors of the doll house. The girls helped hold the wood as I assembled and both had chances to use the drill and file. I had intended to do some finishing work to make a roof, interior walls and a balcony but the house was brought in and put to use immediately! We have made some simple furniture and sewn small blankets. We may work further on it this winter or leave it if the girls are satisfied.

First Peoples

We read the First Nations legend "Origins of the Eagle Clan", (Pacific Northwest Coast). We talked about the concept of sharing - when we do and when we don't. Is it okay to not share? Why? We also discussed the value of animals, do we honour them in our culture?

As a follow up we also worked on colouring in some Haida style depictions of a sun and wolf. Ella designed her own "First Nations Moon".

After reading about some of the coastal nations we were curious about the Okanagan Nation in our area. This site gave us a great starting point. It was fun to spend time looking at the Sylix calendar and figure out which season it is. We will look for the signs in the landscape and return to this site as the months change.


The girls participated in the DARE unit presented by the RCMP at Brownies/Sparks. They discussed basic safety rules and emergency procedures.

Animal Units

We hiked down below our property to look at the bones from a deer that died in summer. The girls identified the jawbone, teeth, vertebrae and skin. We talked about how it might have died and what animals may have benefited from that.

I went over a list of animals in North America that are listed as endangered. The girls each chose one to represent on a poster. We discussed reasons for their decline including natural cycles, direct human contact and indirect damage through the environment. We would love to go to the South Okanagan Rehabilitation Centre for Owls but they are not open to the public at this time (according to their website).

Ella's unit pointed out different ways that animals can defend themselves. One exercise involved making puppets, colouring them and then finding a spot in the house where they would be camouflaged. Ivy also participated by making her own additional puppets. The girls then proceeded to script a play, make a backdrop and perform it for the family.

There is a buffalo field near our home but on the morning of our visit they were at the far side of the enclosure so we did not get a good look. They were so far away that they might actually have been cows. In any case, we read up on the many ways that First Nations used the whole buffalo. Eating the raw brain got the most reaction from all of us but using the tongue as a hairbrush was fascinating. It lead to a discussion of how we raise/consume meat. What is ethical consumption? Do we want to eat meat at all if practices are unhealthy & wasteful? Great discussion with no easy answers.

Exploration of Violin Styles

Ivy and Ella have been trying out the violin this fall, Ella more informally and Ivy in group lessons. This week, I sent Ivy a list of videos on YouTube showing different styles of violin playing. Then the three of us went through each one, discussing the differences and marveling at the incredible skills displayed.

James Ehnes, the classical violinist we're going to see in March:

Dueling Celtic violins -- two women really lettin' 'er rip fiddle style, while dancing

A woman who plays jazz on the violin -- really neat style, where she slides the notes up and down a lot.

Natalie MacMaster -- a wonderful Canadian violinist who plays upbeat fiddle-style songs

Maybe not your style, but Ashley MacIssac is an incredible fiddler who also plays the violin in a punk rock band:

Yellowcard song that really uses the violin nicely in a few places: