Tea Time with Annie Kate Rotating Header Image

This Week at Home: Frost, Salsa, and the National Parks

Well, this week we had frost, made salsa, and ‘visited’ some national parks.  On top of that, we hiked along (and in) the river, discovered a skunk visiting the chickens, started judo, and roasted wieners and marshmallows in the rain.  The children did some formal schoolwork too, of course, and are progressing well, but the real focus of the week has been nature: the river, the woods, the garden, the puppies, a fairy ring of mushrooms, and an insect using two of its remaining five legs to pull spider web remnants from its one remaining antenna. 

When the weather forecast left no doubt in our minds that we would have frost, we picked the watermelons and all the ripe tomatoes.  Then the children covered the tomato, pepper, and basil plants with old sheets but we had no sheets left for our raspberries and squashes.  At 5AM the next morning I tiptoed outside in the dark to feel the grass, and it was crisp and hard!  Mr. 15 and I sprayed water on the squashes and the raspberries until sunrise to save them.  It was cold but very peaceful to be watching the stars disappear one by one as the eastern sky brightened.

Working together we made a huge batch of salsa.  After that, we all deserved a reward so we lit a fire and the children roasted wieners and marshmallows.  The puppies, who now run free all day, were thrilled by the smells on our table and wanted to sample our food.  In many ways we’re not very good puppy trainers, but this time we were. Rex and Chester understood after just one reprimand apiece that the table was off-limits.  Rex still tried to beg, but Chester didn’t even bother with that.  We were so busy watching the puppies that the rain came as a surprise, and we ended up roasting marshmallows in a pleasant drizzle. 

Our dehydrator has been drying herbs almost constantly, and the Little Misses and I have almost finished the food herbs.  Then we’ll dry the fun ones:  lemon balm, mint, and peppermint.

We’ve been reading Of Courage Undaunted:  Across the Continent with Lewis and Clark by James Daugherty.  To my delight, the Treasures of America’s National Parks, which we borrowed from the library, discussed many of the same places, landforms, Indian tribes, and animals.  We visited so many great places and had such wild adventures in the last few weeks, both during our read aloud sessions after lunch as well as our DVD treats in the evenings!  This living book and the documentaries gave us a chance to really understand Lewis and Clark’s adventures as well as to gain an appreciation for the geography of the US.

We’re also still enjoying The Good Master by Kate Seredy which I read aloud after supper if Daddy isn’t home.  The Little Misses also use it for copywork, dictation, and formal narration practice.

To see what other families have been up to, visit Canada Girl and Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


  1. Hi Annie Kate! What a great week you’ve had! How much fun and how adventuresome for the kids to study nature this way…well done! You are wise to do so; there will be plenty of years for the more “formal” (and often less effective) methods of studying! I hope you are all enjoying the last of that fresh salsa…I have only jalapenos still ripe, the tomatoes are all small and green. My raspberries are still ripening, but in smaller and smaller amounts, so we’re in the last weeks, I’m sure. I’ll miss them!


    1. Annie Kate says:

      Oh, we’ll be enjoying the salsa for many weeks. LOL We made 17 quarts!

      Annie Kate

  2. kympossible says:

    How interesting about the insect pulling the spiderweb off itself! Courage Undaunted was a wonderful book, one I really enjoyed.


  3. Stacy says:

    What an interesting post! I really enjoyed reading it.

    Our weather turned really cool. The low for Friday was our high for yesterday. It was in the 40s when I left for work this morning. It sure makes for good sleeping when it’s cool like this!

  4. Tina says:

    How wonderful!!!! I love that you dry your herbs and such.
    In answer to your question about how we deal with life happenings and school: Ours are in highschool and much complete everything on the four year plan for the diploma. However I do not stress over it!!!! Because life happens and wonderful opportunities come up. By having a plan and the lessons done the kids can work on school anytime ( nights, weekends ). While we plan for school to be 9 am to 4 ish on MWF and enrichment on T and Th you will often find that on MWF we flip the day and do school in the evening and on weekends to accomadate life. The key for me is to have the schedule done and have all the supplies needed so we can do school on the fly when necessary.
    Love reading about your week!!! Be blessed this week.

  5. LarabaK says:

    So what did the skunk DO to the chickens? We have a variety of wild critters (skunks, possums, raccoons) and so far none have attacked a chicken or stolen eggs, as far as we know anyway.

    I love the Kate Seredy book as well.

  6. Jenn4him says:

    Another great week for you all, indeed! It sure is time to take advantage of the cooler weather before the cold weather gets here. I was just thinking today that we need to start visiting our nearby parks again.

  7. Nancy says:

    Sounds lovely! I am a bit obsessed with fairy rings…did you take any pictures?
    Sweetness and light,

  8. That sounds like an excellent week full of lots of fun and learning.

  9. Canadagirl says:

    What a fun and busy week you all had ! I do remember trying to extend the life of squash and watering during frost to keep it going. We thought we were going to have a frost last week but didn’t happen. No sight of frost yet in the forcast. Yes, it is a BUSY time bringing in the harvest. And you all sound like you are learning a TON and having fun.

    Blessings and ((HUGS))
    In Him<

    PS: Ohh yes I understand how stressful it was to try to keep thinking up new things each week for TWT. I don't know how people keep whole blogs dedicated to many saving issues. I almost think you can only say so much and then you just have to do it. *grin*

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *