Thursday, March 26, 2009

Homestead Heritage II

Our homeschool group took a field trip today to Homestead Heritage. The last time I was out there was on Thanksgiving weekend and it was PACKED.

This time, we enjoyed the farm practically to ourselves. We watched demonstrations on wood crafting, black smith, pottery, and wool yarn weaving. We even learned how they dyed their wool - deriving their colors from native flowers and beetles.

After watching a video about the farm, taking a horse drawn hayride, seeing the petting zoo, the kids wrapped things up with hands-on soap making, leather, candle dipping, and spoon making.

While having lunch, I got to visit with the people who live at Homestead heritage and ask them about their faith, home schooling, and some history on how Homestead Heritage came about. Some of the things I found interesting was the fossils and arrow heads that were found on the farm, not to mention wagon trail tracks. Also, we were shown the ancient pecan trees that were at least 150-200 years old. They said the pecans taste AMAZING.

Interesting stuff and nice people!

The sun hid most of the day and the skies threatened rain. We dodged mud puddles over the whole farm, but all in all, it was a rewarding day. My only regret is that we didn't get to dwell much on the gardens, nor did I have a chance to visit the general store. Maybe next time!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tea Time!

While at Whole Foods last week, I visited the TEA BOOTH to sample and ask questions. I ended up with two bags of wonderful tea leaves:

Organic Chamomile Medley
A calming chamomile blend with sweet honey-like character with a hint of mint, blended to relax and refresh.

Organic Yerba Mate
Yerba Mate (pronounced "yerba mahtay") is a medicinal and cultural drink of ancient origins. Introduced to the world by the Guarani Indians of South America, Mate contains ingredients that help keep its drinkers healthy and energetic. Mate has also become a cultural phenomenon throughout South America. It's benefits are obvious:

  • Energize The Body
  • Stimulate Mental Alertness
  • Aid Weight Loss
  • Cleanse The Colon
  • Gentle Diuretic
  • Accelerate Healing Process
  • Relieve Stress
  • Calm Allergies
  • Fortify Immune System
  • Increase Longevity

  • Add both tea blends together and serve.

    My first choice for sweetener is the local Round Rock native wildflower honey. This can be purchased at nearby farmer's markets, (soon HEB), and at Whole Foods. It is always best to consume LOCAL honey, as this can help fight against seasonal allergies.

    I've recently been introduced to Agave Nectar. This is another natural and healthy alternative to table sugar. Agave nectar comes from a cactus.

    Of course, the natural sweetener Stevia, which comes from a plant known as SWEET LEAF is another healthy sweetener.

    Check out my new tea cup from IKEA. This quaint mid-sized tea cup came in a set of 6 for only $9.99!!

    Time to relax with some tea!

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    Spring Break

    Sticking close to town for spring break, we went to McKinney Falls State Park for a picnic and hike.

    If you look closely, you can spot cactus growing on this tree.

    The water was cool and inviting.

    It was a fabulous way to spend our day. On our way home, we stopped by HEB to pick up fresh ingredients.

    Can anyone say, homemade TACOS?

    Sunday, March 15, 2009

    Almost Spring!

    The sun broke out today and we (my sister, the kids, and I) headed for Natural Gardener. The place was a beehive. Everyone had spring fever. I picked up Rosemary seeds, more heirloom Granny Zinnias (I adore these flowers), and Lemon Mint.

    I was very pleased to find the BAY LAUREL. I hadn't located any seeds this year and had also read these were hard to sprout.
    Don't ask what possessed me, but I picked up these Hungarian Broom Corn seeds at Whole Foods later today.

    After the nursery, we worked up an appetite and checked out Terra Burgers off of Guadalupe (the Drag.)

    Parking's a hassle, but it was well worth it. The burgers were very yummy and EVERYTHING was organic, down to the cola's and the condiments.
    Yep, EVERYTHING...
    THE END...

    (no pun intended)

    Tuesday, March 10, 2009

    More to plant!

    Today, I received from Seed Savers Exchange my order of Herb Chives, English Lavender, and Salvia flower.
    Sunflowers are ready to transplant, but I can't decide where to put them yet.
    The organic radishes are blooming and going to seed. I'm wondering if the weather is getting too warm for them now.
    The organic red potatoes I had picked up at Whole Foods are sprouting beautifully.
    These are the mystery green beans that had sprouted in my pot of Marigolds.

    We've been enjoying 80 degree weather all week, but now our temps are dropping. Our lows will be dropping to the mid 40's with a high of 50's and 60's. This is the type of weather that drives me crazy. We've been running our air conditioner all week, and now it's getting cold again.

    We have a 70% chance of rain tomorrow and Thursday. 209 out of Texas' 254 counties are under a burn ban. HOPING for rain, but not hoping for a freeze!

    Friday, March 6, 2009

    NASA in Austin

    NASA was in Austin today, offering free exhibits for home educators. The event was free, but limited to those who made reservations months earlier. We attended this morning and received a nice bag full of pencils, a NASA calendar, stickers, bookmarks, and lots of educational brochures.

    We found the astronaut food interesting. Similar to military MRE's.

    Included in our complimentary bag were several packets of Cinnamon Basil seeds. These seeds were flown to space on mission STS-118 aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, which launched Aug 8, 2007, and returned to earth on August 21, 2007.

    Pamela has extra packets of unopened seeds and would be happy to mail some to her cousins if they're interested. She'll be planting hers, this Sunday.

    On exhibit for touching, was 1 of the 8 rocks taken from the moon.
    We got a little side tracked on the scenery while touring the outdoor NASA booths.

    Unfortunately, we didn't get to see the planetarium, due to the high winds. STILL, it was worth the visit. We learned a LOT about air pressure at the science booths.

    Did you all catch the LIVE Kepler spacecraft launch tonight? We actually caught it by accident while flipping channels. To this day, I still hold my breath whenever I see live launches.

    I'll never forget the Space Shuttle Columbia blowing up over Texas 6 years ago. The kids and I were visiting my cousin in Tyler. We were just waking up when we felt the rumble.