Monday, September 19, 2016

Celebrating National Days

There is a national day for just about everything under sun. They range from the common, such as, Grandparents Day, that even gets a mention on most calendars, to the uncommon celebration of the rather morbid National Life Insurance Day. Over the last couple of years we have added celebrating these days into our homeschool.  We mostly focus on the days that are food related or one that can be celebrated with food. The first reason for the food focus is our co-op is teenage boys, who are always looking for something to eat, and secondly, teenage boys are not interested in making a craft that goes along with a theme.  There might be one, or maybe even two out there, but I don't know them.

In the last few days we have celebrated National Milkshake Day, I recommend peanut butter

and National Cheeseburger Day.

There are lots of websites out there to tell you what day it is, here is one to get you started National Day Calendar. I can tell you, I have my eye on the up coming National Ice Cream Cone Day (19th) and National Corn Beef Hash Day (27th).  

The Running of The Llamas

The Running of the Llamas is a fun celebration that was held in Hammond, Wisconsin.  This was the 20th, and final year, of the event. During the event, which packs the town with people far and wide, heats of four llamas race down the street for about two blocks to the finish line.  Some llamas are great runners and others are not all that interested.  A llama that isn't interested in doing something just doesn't do it.  If you are holding on to a lead of such a llama, you may not even get over the starting line.  Spark brings Marceline because she makes it her goal to be the leader of whatever group of llamas she is in.  This means that she naturally wants to be in the front of the pack and that her personality makes her a strong competitor in a race.  The last two years Spark and  Marceline won their heats, but came in third over all.  Since this was the last year, Spark ran sprints in the backyard for a good portion of the summer to get ready for a win.

Before the race there is a parade with the llamas, local royalty, and others community groups.

This year Spark's training paid off, he and Marceline came in first place.

For her effort she was awarded with a large basket of vegetables.

The prize smelled so go we could hardly get her back to the trailer to go home.  Bet she wishes she had run faster those other years now that she has "tasted" success.

At home, Spark cut up all her winnings to share with the entire barnyard.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Wood Slice Wreath

We're on a roll here with these wood slice projects, this time a wreath. Again super simple and inexpensive.  

The wreath. For the base of the wreath have about 12-15 slices of wood roughly the same size.  My base slices were about 4 inches across so how many you need will depend on how large you want your wreath and how big they are.  Lay them out on the table in a circle arranged so that they have the most surface edge touching.  Hot glue the pieces where they touch and this is the base of the wreath.  By itself it will not be sturdy enough, this is where the smaller slices come in.  Lay them over the middle of two of the base layer slices and glue the heck out of them.  Do this all the way around and there is no way this wreath is coming apart.  Keep adding slices to add depth and dimension.  

The bow.  Making a perfect bow is difficult at best, especially if you are working with a stiff material like burlap.  For this reason I don't even try and no one will know the difference.  The bow on this wreath is made of four pieces.  Two for the loops and two for the streamers that hang down.  Hot glue is again your friend for making this look like it is the perfectly tied bow. The hot glue also insures that this bow isn't going anywhere.  Add an adornment and it's done.

The cost. Others of these I have seen made had a store bought base. I skipped that part for two reasons.  First, I would have to wait to make this until I had a chance to go into town and I'm not even sure where you buy such a thing so I would have to go looking around.  And second, it would add to an already heavy project.  Unless you know you are hanging this where there is a stud in your wall, over time it will make a large hole in dry wall.  Also it needs more than a picture frame nail to hang it up. The slices Dad cut for me from downed branches in the yard.  I have seen these slices in craft stores for an insane amount of money.  If you don't have a table saw to cut your own, do some networking in your neighborhood, someone must have some sort of saw that will cut these for you. Bring them some fresh baked cookies if they seem hesitant.  The pine cones I had in the craft closet that I picked one day when we were geocaching, so free.  The ribbon I got on clearance at Walmart.  It wasn't the right size so I had to cut it. Don't let the wrong size ribbon keep you from a good deal.  The ribbon was $1.50 and I used about a quarter of it making the final cost of the wreath 37 cents plus however much hot glue you use. 
We made a bunch of these for a church festival and added fake flowers and ribbon.  This made them a little more expensive, but not by much as we were able to use store coupons.  This one we added a couple painted wood pumpkins and a couple of spiders Dancer made.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Wood Slice Pumpkins


We were cleaning and burning up some brush the other day to get the yard ready for fall. When Dad was cutting the wood up I said to cut me some slices of a branch to make pumpkins.  Super simple, paint the slice orange leaving a little margin on the edge, then glue a stick and some Spanish moss on the top with hot glue.  Done! I used a semi gloss paint from Walmart that was about $1.50. I made seven and used about half the bottle of paint making them about 10 cents apiece.   The moss I had saved from some dried arrangement so no cost there.  If I hadn't had the moss I would have used dried grass or a bit of green fabric for an embellishment.      

When the pumpkins were all lined up it made me think of the book I read to the kids at least a hundred times when they are little to teach ordinal numbers, "Five Little Pumpkins Sitting On a Gate."  Click  here to hear the song if you aren't familiar with it or just want to walk down memory lane.

Baby Guinea Keets

We have had our guinea fowl about four years and the first couple of years were excited that we would have babies.  We never got any babies.  The only thing I got was jealous when I heard of other people who's guineas were having successful hatchings.  We started with eight birds and this fall are down to two, thankfully a male and female.  To our surprise they came out of the swamp the other day with, as far as we can count, 17 baby keets.  It's been three days and it looks like they still have all of them.  They are a crazier, more aggressive bird than a chicken, and they co-parent unlike a chicken, so maybe they will manage to get a couple of them to adulthood.  The keets are so tiny though they look like peanuts running through the grass after their parents.  There has also been an eagle circling the house so they better keep them close or they will go on the raptor buffet. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Minnesota State Fair

State fair was a little different for us this year.  Dancer started school and wasn't able to bring a project this year, but she still wanted to be able to go to the the fair. To make this work we had to work around her class schedule and Spark needed to attend the encampment (where the county buses the kids to the fair and they stay in the 4-H Hilton on the fair grounds). He went down the day before us and we dropped him off for the bus. I don't know if he was more excited or I was more nervous.  The next day we picked Dancer up from school and headed down, which was an adventure all on it's own.  It took us almost as long to find a parking spot as it did to drive there.

Spark did great, he earned a blue ribbon for his pelargonium. The judge said she wasn't impressed with his plant, but she was impressed with his in-depth knowledge of it. 

Our county also had a team in the "Chef for a Day" competition.  The kids get an hour of instruction and then they have half and hour to prepare a salad with meat for the judges.  It is similar to the t.v. show "Chopped."

I took the two pictures above and then had my phone in my purse. The only other picture I snapped the whole day was of Paul Bunyan made out of recycled goods. We will just have to remember the rest in our minds like in the good old days.