Monday, October 25, 2010

New Mayor for Thorold!

David and I have been hanging on to the election results all evening - radio and Internet. I am pretty interested in the Toronto race with a lot of family and friends in that city. But the race that interests me the most is here in Thorold! Our mayor decided not to run again in this election, so like Toronto, we had a pretty interesting race. However, we are hearing that the guy who, out of the three candidates, was pegged as "not a front runner" has won, by 4 votes! Wow!! We'll have to see if he survives a recount! Exciting times for a little city!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Quill Pens

We are continuing our study of history - this year focusing on the Middle Ages. One of our recent projects was to make, and use, quill pens. We did this after reading about monasteries and scriptoriums, and one of our books had detailed steps for curing parchment (from animal hides), making quill pens and mixing inks. We skipped the hides (using the more recent invention of paper from trees) and ink (using an old refill for the ink-jet printer!) but tried cutting some quill pens from geese feathers collected in the summer.

One story we read of an apprentice boy in a scriptorium commented that he had spent months learning how to cut the quills, and then more months learning how to use them to make the letters. (This was after he had a mastery of Latin!) So I wasn't too surprised at the mess we made writing, or the difficulty the children had in using the pens. It took a fair bit of concentration to reproduce the alphabet the monks would have used.

Even so, we had an enjoyable time, and returned to the modern world of ball-points, fountain pens and pencils with an appreciation for the monks and others who preserved so many texts in such a labourious way.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Well it seems that September and early October have been pretty busy around here! One big highlight of the past few weeks was a 6 day canoe trip we took in September.

We went to a new (for us) lake system, just off the Pickerel River, between Sudbury and Parry Sound. We had a mix of weather, some great so we could go swimming:

And some really rainy!

We also had the usual fun time hanging out together, and occasionally being a bit goofy.

David and I always appreciate the time away as a family. We see less bickering and arguing the longer we are away - the fact that David was giving us daily readings from Ephesians with appropriate comments helped too! All the children worked very hard - from carrying heavy packs over the portages, to helping set up and take down tents, to dishwashing and filtering water. Of course, it wasn't all work and no play! We had some good times playing, drinking tea with cake (guess who that was!) and reading together.

We worked our way through a gripping read-aloud about convoys in WWII - the children wouldn't let David stop at points!

Our last day was the wettest - with rain that got progressively heavier (and a wind that got stronger, or maybe it was just me feeling tired!) as we got closer and closer to the van. By the time we got there, we were all ready for a dry change of clothes. Once dry, with snacks in our bellies, we had quite a feeling of jubilation at our accomplishments and the fun time we had together.