Our Homeschool Newsletter,
published every blue moon
Special Québec Edition
Impressions, activities, mishaps, and the fun of our family trip
to the town of Val-David in the Laurentian Mountains of Québec, Canada.
Val-David is about one hour north on Montréal which is the capital
of the French province of Québec. We chose to visit here because
it was in the mountains, to practice speaking French, and because it
would really feel like we were in a different country.
Written, of course, by all of us!
20 Year Anniversary
We went to Québec because Mom and Dad were married for twenty years
and because we were learning French. At the hotel there were lots of bikes
for the people to ride, but there were no small bikes. There were lots of
bike trails near the hotel. One of them was on the side of the road and
had lanes. One lane was for bikes going toward the town and the other was
for bike, walker and roller bladers coming back from the town. The trails
looked so fun that I wanted to ride too. There were also trails on a rock
road next to the river that used to be the railroad tracks. That trail went
all the way to Mont Tremblant. Since I really wanted to ride my bike on
them, I asked if we could rent a bike for me and Kevin. We went to a shop
and asked them. I got a mountain bike and Kev got a small two wheeler with
training wheels. I rode my bike on all the trails for a real long time,
almost the whole way on one of them and a quarter of the way on the other
one. The one I went almost all the way was the one that was on the side
of the road. I also got to ride around near our chalet and at our friend
Every night at dinner time Kevin asked for an apple instead of soup or salad
or duck pate. One night they cut it shaped as a bird, one night he got it
shaped as a flower, one time it looked like a chicken, and one time it was
just real fancy but I don't know what it was. Every night he got a pomme,
which means in French an apple. And it was not even on the menu! He just
really liked to eat apples on the whole trip.
The hotel had really great desserts! Better than Mom's desserts. My favorite
dessert was a white cake with red raspberry stuff on the top. For Mommy
and Daddy's 20th anniversary they got sparklers on their cake and they got
all kinds of cakes including cheese cake. Everyone sang Happy Birthday because
they didn't know how to say it the other way! I thought if we come back
again I would order a cheese cake and see if I get sparklers.
On our way to Québec we stopped in a beautiful place in upper New
York State called Lake Placid. It was full of pine forests, cliffs and streams,
lakes and rivers, some with waterfalls. It had a nice quaint town and its
lakes were so wonderful because they shone all the time, even during the
night. We went swimming and boating in Mirror Lake. The different kinds
of boats they had were paddle boats, row boats and canoes. I liked the canoes
best because they are the most fun and the most exercise. I hope to go back
When we went to Québec we tried to speak as much French as possible.
Every now and then at home we try to speak French, especially when we eat
meals and we ask to have food passed! "Papa, passe la viande, le pain
et le fromage J'ai un couteau. Merci." We can not talk in too many
whole sentences but we just can say a few things. Right now, I am also teaching
myself Pennsylvania Dutch. I already know the whole alphabet--how it is
pronounced and how to read it in old German script. I also taught Neil to
say it but not to read it yet.
WARNING: THIS MATERIAL MAY INCLUDE SOME POLITICALLY INCORRECT MATERIAL.
VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
While in Québec we learned more about Québec wanting to succeed.
One of the main reasons was because of immigration. Now immigration is a
problem because when people immigrate from one place to the other they bring
their customs and/or language with them. For the people living in Québec
this is a problem since Québecan's all speak French, and that is
the way they want it. But alas, the Canadian government has open immigration.
The people of Québec are deciding whether to succeed from Canada
by popular vote. Luckily Canada isn't a militaristic country so there is
no fighting. The Canadians will have to decide if Québec will stay
a province of Canada, no mater how much they disagree.
The people of Québec have a very strong link with their French heritage.
They wish to keep their identity which is kept alive mainly through their
language, songs, and customs. They feel that if they lose their language,
all else will fall away also.
Wonderful Loulou and Réal
Also when we were in Québec, we met two people named Lulu and Réal.
This all happened because we were in a chalet next to their house. At night,
they had a light on the side of their house facing us and mom liked it a
lot. It looked like a yellow glowing star burst or glowing sun rays. So
the next day, she went over to ask them about it and say how much she liked
it. She went over and told them all this in French only to find out that
they speak perfect English! When she came back, she said how much she liked
them and that they were real nice. They had also invited us to their house.
Two days later we went and had such a fun time. They said that we could
use their boat and their yard anytime that we wanted and that we also could
come over any time. Their house was so nice and big and lots of sun could
get in. Then, a few days later, they showed us around their land (they owned
a mountain!) and we also looked at houses with them that were for sale.
We liked them a lot. They are going to visit us sometime around Christmas
when their daughter will star in a play in Lancaster. We can't wait to see
The Beauty of the Lake
At our chalet near the Québec inn there were two lakes and we rode
in all the kinds of boats. Everyday. And one night when we went to bed I
looked out the window and I said, "Ahhhhh...the beauty of the lake!"
So Neil land I got up and started dancing on our bed and then we started
saying "the beauty of the lake" over and over and over. Then Brian
also said "the beauty of the lake." Pretty soon, the whole family
was saying "the beauty of the lake." Then later I opened up the
door to tell Brian something and I said, "Bri, could you say the beauty
of the lake again?" I made a song that said "the beauty of the
lake." (I sang it a whole lot on the big long way home in the car.)
When we went on the lake we went in a boat--Bri and I did. We both went
on the ride in the canoe. Just us. We went around about half of the lake.
We saw the hotel, the other houses, some ducks, rocks and sand.
Jacquès was my best friend at the hotel in Québec. Jacquès
was one of the office men and he had gray hair. He gave me some gum and
a pin. Neil and I wanted to do work for the pins so he gave us some work
to do. We took off tape from the floor after game time and then we got doilies
out of the basket and put them in a pile. At dinner when he went past us
at dinner all the time, I said hi to him.
Mommy knew some people who lived right near our chalet because they wrote
a chapter for her book. We went over to visit them lots times and there
was a boy named Jesse. He was my friend. There were Bill and Leslie who
were the dad and mom and the other kids were Adrienne, Brennan and Zachary.
We played there, watched "Beethoven," played cricket, ate lunch,
and played games inside and outside. We went in the woods and when we got
there we played. We also played Monopoly.
There was this other family we made friends with when Neil gave the kids
his balloons. They were from Paris, France and couldn't even speak any
English, so I said "bonjour" to them. They were nice and we played
with them too. We played Go Fish and we had to say it in French, like "avez
vous un sept?" and they had to play in English. That was very fun to
do. There names were Antoine and Cécile. We went hiking with them
on a big mountain that was the biggest one there.The hike was too long for
me. Mommy carried me on her back down the steep part. I kept bumping her
shoulder and her arms hurt my legs. I just wanted to sleep and I couldn't.
Then later when we got up to Daddy he carried me. I walked at the end and
that is all. Except that Daddy got me some ice cream cause he said he would
when I walked all that way down.
Mont-Tremblant and the Hour and a Half Hike
(!Warning, article is not politically correct and the spelling is not correct
Ah it was a wonderful day for a hike at a ski resort. The bugs biting and
the voices of tourist like us in the distance was great!
We had decided to go on a hike with some French friends we met in Québec
just for fun. We got to Mont-Tremblant a small resort and ski area where
the Japanese have taken over Québec.( No! not an army of soldiers
but an army of business men armed with briefcases and checks.) The Japanese
have actually built a European style city there. Yes, using their God-like
powers, in two years they have erected a city!
Anyway back to the hike. We took a ski lift to the top of the mountain with
my new friend who would rattle on in French while every time he said something
I would nod my head as if I understood. Example: Friend (in French): I am
going to kill you! Me: (nodding my head): Uh huh or yes.
Using my extensive knowledge of the French language I tried to communicate
with him but later someone informed me to what I was saying. I thought I
said " Look how high the mountain is" when I actually said in
French "I am going to jump of this cliff." This may explain why
he pulled me onto the ground and dragged me away from the cliff. But I really
don't think it was necessary to pull me to the ground, jump up and down,
and yell a lot over his disagreeing with my thoughts on how high the mountain
was. Those French!
We ate lunch at the top of the mountain where the hamburgers were $4.00
and hot dogs $3.50. I offered my friend some fries in French but he looked
at me in a strange way like I was crazy. "Would you like some fries?"
Translation: "I like to eat flies".
After lunch we began the hike. Most of the hike was in the forest and for
the first five minutes the hike was beautiful. But then it got hot and steep.
But I took it like a modern day American white straight male and fell to
the ground and started to cry. I got myself back together again and hiked
. At one point we lost the trail even though it was just ten feet in front
of us. Being lost did not disturb me but then I realized that if we were
to be lost for 30 or more minutes we would miss our French cuisine for dinner.
I broke down again and tears rolled down my face fast enough to create a
small canyon and river.
Then, accidentally, we found the trail. All was fine then. But, out of nowhere,
MiG 27 biting bugs appeared and attacked with the ferociousness of the Russian
army during the Battle of Berlin. My mom pulled out her secret weapon and
put bug spray on us. But alas, nothing could save us from these savage beasts.
We pleaded for mercy but no they had no mercy. By the time we got out of
the forest or 3/4 of the way down in about three or four days our clothes
had been tattered and we looked like one of the Mongolian Hordes.
Finally, away from the forest and bugs and after hiking at full speed for
three hours, we were on a trail in the sun. In about two minutes my glasses
started to melt and my clothes caught fire. In an attempt to save myself
from burning I rolled down about 1/6 of the mountain. Contrary to popular
belief, I was not being clumsy and did not trip over a four foot high boulder.
You know, stop-drop-and-roll!
Then four hours after we started our one and a half hour hike we arrived
at the bottom.
At the bottom, hundreds of people came over to help us and to try to keep
me on my feet. They all thought I was in pain and agony. Some thought I
was a savage and tried to see what language I knew, but they were wrong.
That day was the day I had conquered the mountain!
By Outdoor Correspondent Brian Lande
One of the great things about the hotel we stayed at, was that it had canoes.
This was great fun. One of the major problems though was that the rocks
in the lake would, as soon as they saw me coming, and as a practical joke,
would swim in front of the canoe in an effort to show that I was not as
good of a canoer as I was. So, using my lightning reflexes, I maneuvered
my craft out of the way and used some colorful words to scare away the rocks.
(Though later I was told that those rocks didn't move and that I was just
not a great canoer. Yet I knew that they knew that rocks were really possessed
by demons but were too embarrassed to admit it.)
A few days later some of the people from the hotel had arranged a day long
canoe and bike trip. The group biked to the river, but first we had to go
through town. The biking in the town was very dangerous and hard. It required
lightning fast decisions such as, whether or not to crash into the fruit
stand or the brick wall in order to stop. Of course the logical thing to
do is to crash into the fruit stand. As I got off of the ground, the man
started yelling at me with an apple in his hand. He kept shaking it at me
so I kindly assumed he wanted me to take an apple so as to regain my strength
from the fall. Thanking him, I got on the bike with the free apple and biked
A few seconds later I noticed a bunch of police cars coming my way. Someone
had committed a crime and was speeding away from the crime scene with the
police cars in pursuit. The strange thing was that there were no cars on
the road and the road was a dead end. At the river, I got into the canoe
and stated to paddle away when the police started to jump up and down and
wave their hands. Being courteous I waved back. I took the front of the
canoe for the first ten minutes and then Katie wanted a turn. I then moved
to the back to steer the boat. There was a current so the boat was forced
to run aground many times and every now and then the canoe would tip. But
using my fantastic steering and colorful words I was able to keep the canoe
from sinking. Father was so amazed at my steering capabilities that he turned
to the sky and prayed to God to thank Him for such a great outdoorsmen as
a son. That was just before he ripped the oar away from me and pushed me
forward onto the floor of the canoe in jealousy, just as we got to the waterfall.
Father paddled so hard and fast you could not see the oar and, amazingly,
we began to hover in the air. Then suddenly we, yes, we flew, to the fork
in the river which lead back to where (as dad thought) "we should be."
As we neared the end of the journey it started to rain. Now I had packed
just about everything you could manage to pack into my small back pack,
but the one thing I forgot to pack was rain coats. But HEY! pneumonia can
build character. We canoed to a lake where the bikes had been ported to.
But just as soon as we got to the lake, lightning struck. Yes, we were stuck
in the middle of a large lake and we were the tallest objects in the lake--not
to say the only! Dad and I paddled so hard and Katie yelled FASTER, FASTER!!!!!!!!!
We got on shore at that point in .0345 seconds and got on our bikes while
still in the canoe and headed off for the hotel at the speed of light. While
Dad and I peddled, Kate, (for the extra speed) paddled with the oars. We
got home with eyes and blood vessels bulging out. We were so red that people
kept yelling out INDIANS!, INDIANS!.
But I took it like a sportsman who truly loves the sport and reminded myself
to bring an on-board motor next time.
Real Horses Don't Go Baaa!
another funny installment about Québec by Brian
Yeeaahhh, "we are going horseback riding!" I shouted. Yes, after
asking the whole time we were on vacation, we were finally going horseback
riding! The hotel had arranged to go take a one hour trail ride nearby and
we had signed up for it.
We were to meet with the group at the hotel parking lot but we were late.
In a panic, we got directions and drove off to join the group. We drove
and drove and when we finally got there, nobody was there! Wow, could we
have been that late? Could they have possibly left with out us. NO! (Actually
they got lost and we stood for 20 minutes in the rain waiting for them.)
Not even started yet, we were already soaked to the bone. I was looking
at the horses and saw a few big ones and one small Lamb. Sure everyone else
was fooled into thinking it was a small horse but I knew that the Lamb had
its wool sheared and had its skin painted brown. Katie had said that she
wanted to have the small horse(Lamb). But NNNNOOOOOO! she got a big one!
AND I GOT THE LAMB! THE SMALL LAMB! How could they do this to me! What had
I done to deserve anything so humiliating!!???
Here I was, going around on a lamb in the middle of the rain, up trails
and under trees. I was the only one who, because of the small size of my
horse, did not get the privilege of getting knocked on the head by a low
branch. Other than that the ride was fine.
The Great Cricket Match,
Another Self-Glorifying Story
by Sir Brian Lande of Britain (Har! Har! Har!)
Bill and Leslie had invited us to play a game of cricket with them and some
other homeshoolers. (This is weird but all of the homeschoolers spoke English!)
We were a bit late but that didn't stop me from learning the game. The side
I was chosen for was up to bat. Dad was also on my team, and mom and Kate
were on the opposing team.
It was my turn to bat. I stared the bowler in the eye. I could see the hatred
in his eyes. I knew he was either going to throw the ball at me or at the
wooden dowel behind me. I brought the bat (or paddle?) into place. He started
hopping around and then threw the ball. It was a close one but I hit it
with everything I had. I ran back and forth at least ten times before I
was tagged! Then it was dad's turn. He went up to bat. The fielders moved
back. The bowler threw the ball. Dad made contact. Yes, it flew! But then
IT happened...the ball rolled up to MOM! With the ball in hand she went
to tag Dad. Knowing this could lead to a divorce, she threw it to another
It was my team's turn in the field and I was chosen to pitch. The first
player came up. I threw the ball and WAM! the ball was hit, and hit far.
That was the only good hit the other team got. Now I was warmed up and angry.
I could have taken on a bear, but I was not near a forest so I didn't. I
threw the ball and WHACK!! I knocked down the dowel and got an out. This
happened against their best players. Yes, I was a great bowler. At that
moment, I decided to become the grand champion cricket player in America,
and the ONLY one.
Before I write my article I would like to make this clear. I DID NOT WANT
TO NOR SAW THE RELEVANCE OF WRITING AN ARTICLE ON A CHEAP RESTAURANT AND
VIDEO STORE! Niko's was the only cheap place we could find to eat lunch
in all of Québec. Otherwise, a hot dog would cost more than 4$ Canadian
and you could imagine the bill for six of us to eat lunch. That is, till
we found NIKO'S!!
The questions that we will be asking in this article and exploring are:
Who the heck is Niko? And who care?. Sure, he has a small and cheap Greek
restaurant and next door he has 1$ hot dogs. Alas, all I wanted from Niko's
was a video in English!
We will now study the history of Niko's. In 1492 Niko sailed the ocean,
and came to the New World. There in the New World Niko established himself
as the most famous Greek chef in North America. He was also the ONLY Greek
chef in North America. For the next several hundred years he traded with
the Indians and shot squirrels. By the 20th century, Canada had become a
country and really muffed up its economy and the best way to get money was
to be poor and have lot of children. (Did you know that in Canada, parents
actually get paid for having children, and the more children, the more the
money goes up? This is to grow new little French speaking Québecers
in a place where they are becoming an endangered species.) Knowing this,
Niko lowered the price of his food to almost nil, had 16 children and retired
a rich man even though he only had customers who were earning a lot of money
and therefore were taxed to death and could only afford food from Niko's.
So that was the story and the history of Niko.
by Brian (Again)
The food was so good that we always tried to figure out what ingredients
were in everything that gave special flavors. There was something on the
menu alot that we kept thinking was veal but it was actually cow brains.
Since I like to cook so much and create such magnificent dishes, I wanted
to watch the chef whose name is Étienne Savard. My mom asked and
when he said yes, she made arrangements so I could watch. He said his English
wasn't good enough so he would get someone else to translate. At 3:00 one
afternoon, Mom, Katie and I went back to the kitchen. We were shown all
the different cooking areas. There was a separate pastry chef who did only
desserts. There was a chopping area, a meat area, and a few cooking areas.
There were huge refrigerators and freezers. It was amazing how small the
kitchen was for such grand meals. It's amazing how HOT it was too.
We saw the fresh bread in the ovens, some hot appetizers for a wedding party,
and then the chef gave us a lesson. He showed us how to make scallops and
how to decorate the vegetables. The scallops were sauteed in butter, garlic,
oil, and then a sauce was made with white wine, shallots, cream, and vanilla
sticks. The vanilla really made the difference in the taste. He decorated
zucchini and red peppers around the plate and let us cut them also. Then
he let us eat the scallops. Katie and I don't like them so much, but Mom
had a feast.
We found out about different culinary schools, how chefs can travel around
the world, and what long, hard work it can be to serve up all those artistic
On our way to Québec, our tailpipe sounded really strange and was
hanging a little. We tried to get it fixed in another town, but to make
a long, sad story short, it never got fixed. Mom and Dad tied it back on
with blue rope that looked so horrible we were sure we'd be stopped at the
boarder! So once we were on our way back home, our tailpipe was hanging
so low that our dad had to take it off!! We stopped on the side of
the highway, and dad got out and just took it off. But, while bending down
under the car, he found that because of the heat, the nylon rope had melted...it
had turned to plastic!! We had a fun time playing with the PLASTIC on our
way home but a few minutes later, after dad took off the tail pipe, I heard
a funny noise. Dad said that the muffler was probably loose!! Before
we had even left on our trip, dad had taken our car in to the shop to make
sure it would not break down. But it did!! (Also, when Dad took the car
into the shop in Québec the mechanic said that it was not even a
Volvo muffler even though it said VOLVO all over it! So on the rest of the
way home, the tailpipe was at our feet.
OK Now...OTHER NEWS
So what am I doing? I got braces and am looking forward to having nice straight
teeth by the time I am 18. I am mostly looking forward to learning how to
shoot rubber bands when I get my lower braces in two months.
I am hard at work on the saxophone. I am taking lessons with a professional
saxophone player, Robert Landham, once a week and study theory and composition
once per week still with Don Rappaport, old faithful!
Tucker has been a great addition to the family and she makes sure I get
plenty of exercise. She usually takes me on at least two walks per day.
Her best friend Cassidy has recently returned from her vacation in Maine
(some dogs life, huh?) and they happily play together.
When we go on car trips I call out "tower" when I see a tall tower.
We go past them and everyone looks. Some of them hold up phone wires, some
of them are radio towers, some of them have radars, They have red and orange
blinking lights at the top and you can see them at night.
My favorite towers are Watts Towers. They are in Los Angeles, the same city
where Mommy was born. Mommy read us a story about Sam (Simon Rodia), the
guy who made those towers. He looked on streets and sidewalks and near the
trolley tracks for all different kinds of broken glass and bottle caps.
He took them home in bags. He worked at a tile making place and brought
the broken pieces of times also. He built the towers at his house in the
backyard. His neighbors didn't know what he was doing. He was building towers
with cement, glass, tiles from where he worked , shells, neat junk and boots
that he found. There was steel inside. It took him a lot, lot , lot of years
(33) to finish. When he was about 80 he moved to his family and never came
back. He let his neighbor have his towers. Mommy brought us a movie about
Watts Towers. I liked to see the way the towers really looked, cause they
looked so good. Then Mommy called up the Watts Towers and they sent us some
real pictures of them. And guess what? Mommy even WENT there herself and
saw them for real. I want to go there and see them for myself too.
One day I found a spider web. There was a spider spinning it in sort of
like circles. I called everyone to the spider web so that they could see
the spider spinning the web. to make its web, it used it's rear legs and
spun the silk and its front legs to measure out from the circle inside.
It used it's legs to make the circles all even.
Then Mommy said, "Look!" and when she pointed, her arm bumped
the tree that held up the web. The spider curled up into a ball for about
two minutes. Then it went back to spinning more web finally. We all got
into the car to go somewhere then, and ducked down under the web because
it was over the back steps. Then when we were ready to go, Daddy forgot
where it was and that it was up there and just walked right into it. That
is the end of our spider story.
We went to visit Hopewell furnace. Hopewell furnace is a stove making industry
with Hopewell Village built around it. Everybody there helped make the furnace
run by taking different jobs. The women would take food and water to the
men and encourage their work, the boys took jobs as a apprentice and the
girls helped around the house. There was also a school but no girls were
allowed to attend. The men worked as blacksmiths, ironworkers, molders,
and so on, helping the furnace work by doing what they could. They had set
up displays in each house or shed and sometimes they even had people dressed
from the old and pretending that it was really in those times. We got
a few pieces of charcoal and slush. Slush is the left over's that they had
from the pouring and when it hardened it turned into stone.
Charcoal is a black permanent substance with a high carbon content. Charcoal
is made by heating wood or other organic products with no connection to
air while burning. Temperatures greater that 1000 degrees Celsius can easily
by made with charcoal. Charcoal was originally made in the forest and from
there, it would be delivered to it's destination on wagons. The first kind
of method to make charcoal is called the "pit kiln." I find this
method very interesting by the way that every thing has to be just right
to have the charcoal turn out. You also have to have just the right technique.
The site is carefully chosen, the soil can't be to wet, or to dry. The form
of the kiln is quite simple actually but underneath, there are lots of complex
rows of wood. In Brazil, south east Asia and other places without large
supplies of mineral coal, charcoal is the main fuel used in the smelting
of iron and the refining of steal. Being porous, sterile and chemically
inert, it was one time used for wounds, and suppuratine lesions. It was
taken as a remedy of stomach and intestinal disorders.
In a video, we saw how they actually put together the chimney. First they
started with three pieces of split logs put into a triangle. They built
up the triangle to about 5 feet tall. The wood that was to be turned into
charcoal was packed down inside of the chimney. Then they laid split pieces
all around the outside into a circle and laid pieces on top until it looked
like a wooden tipi. When the structure was built, they put leaves from the
surrounding all around it and then packed mud on top to seal off any air
holes. The fire was lit with a smoldering piece of coal and was left to
slowly burn for 7-10 days. Charcoal, because it was burned so slowly, still
has its fibers and keeps its shape--it just looks like blackened wood--that's
why it can be burned again. Charcoal was something that I had never thought
about before, either what it actually was or how it was made and what it
was used for besides charcoal grills!
The Hopewell Furnace
by Brian Lande
As we drove down the PA Turnpike we noticed a sign that said the "Hopewell
Furnace". Wondering what it was for months my mom, Kate and her friend,
Neil, Kevin and I decided to go see the Hopewell Furnace. The Hopewell Furnace
was started in 1771 and was last used in 1883.
First I should mention what the Hopewell furnace was. H.F.(Hopewell Furnace)
A Cold Blast Furnace melted down iron ore into a liquid state in which it
could be used for making pig iron(they call it big iron because it looks
much like a sow with a litter of suckling piglets) and moldings. The H.F.
had gone through many economic problems and many times changed owners hands.
By 1812 the H.P. had finally established itself in the founding business.
The actual furnace used charcoal as fuel. The charcoal burnt at a higher
temperature than plain wood and with air being pumped in could reach temperatures
of up 3000 oF. The iron ore would be poured down the chimney into the blazing
fire and the iron would separate from the lime stone which would then turn
into sludge. The iron from the furnace was then let out through a hole or
plug in the furnace and was then used to make molds for stoves, pots, pans,
and pig iron. Some was even turned into steel. During the Revolutionary
War canons and cannon balls were made for the continental army!
The History of the H.F. started back in 1770 when Mark Bird bought several
large portions of land. Mark Bird the son of an iron master was familiar
with the furnace business and in 1771 opened his first furnace which he
called the Hopewell Furnace.
Mark Bird is thought to have gotten the name Hopewell from his father's
Hopewell forge. Hopewell was also a popular name at the time. For his new
furnace he decided to place it at French Creek PA. During the war, Bird
made cannons and shot for the American militias. The government gave Bird
$2,000 of advances on the cannons but by the end of the war the government
could not pay the sum owed to Bird. Bird asked for the iron chain spanning
the Hudson river which was used to wreck British ships as payment. He was
denied and from then on the Hopewell Furnace was plagued with financial
A few years later Bird sold his properties to try to get out of debt. The
H.P. passed through several hands before being bought by the Buckley family
and the Brookes family in 1800. By 1830's and 40's Hopewell finally started
to prosper by mainly making parts to stoves. This success is mostly by the
part of Clement Brooks, manager and ironmaster from 1816-1848.
By the 1870's newer ways in production of iron were introduced but the Hopewell
furnace could not keep up with the times and the flames of the furnace were
put out for the last time in 1883.
Now, for what I did at my visit at the H.F. ... The First thing we saw at
the H.F. was a replica of the charcoal making chimney that they used to
make to turn wood into charcoal. It was stacked up first in triangular rows
and then wood was put up all around it and it looked like a wooden tipi.
The next place we visited was, you guessed it--the Hopewell Furnace. The
Furnace was about 30 ft. high and the outside looked like a barn with a
chimney coming out of it. There was a water wheel to that pumped the air
into the furnace to super heat the charcoal. Inside the building was the
molding shop, where the molders made molds for stoves. The process in which
they did so was interesting and here is how they did it: The molder takes
a piece of wood which is going to be the mold. The molder then fills up
a wooden box with no top or bottom with wet sand. He then puts the mold
on a table underneath the sand. (The molder then takes a kind of hammer
and compacts the sand.) Then he takes the wooden mold out and repeats the
process but does the back side of the mold. He then puts a hole in the sand
for the iron to fill in the imprint of the mold. For the demonstration,
the two men used aluminum because they used just a small furnace and aluminum
cools off more quickly. We watched them take the stove door out of the mold
and saw the finished product!
We got to watch the people who acted out to people who lived in the 1800's
and spoke of the times in present tense. We then went to a tenant house
were the workers at the furnace used to live or rent rooms for a dollar
a month! Here two some women acted out the parts of people who lived there.
One of the people was a woman named Miss Buxley and the other was a girl
of about 14 who took knitting lessons from her. Now Miss Buxley can talk..
She talked and talked and talked about the social life and courtship rituals
of the village. The house we were in was a four room house with a kitchen
a room with a table and other things used around the house. There was also
another room on the firs floor that had a fire place for cooking and a bunch
of stuff the men might need to use./ On the second floor were two bedrooms.
She offered the rooms to rent for $1 a month. Mom said we'd take two rooms
for a year! We left Miss Buxley and all her gossip and went to the Big House.
The Big house is the house that the Iron master stayed at ant the cooks
and servants slept and worked. The workers also at their on occasion. The
Big House also served as an inn to business men who were interested in iron.
The Big house was laden with fancy furniture and other neat stuff but most
all of the rooms were closed off.
Some of the other things that we had seen were, the school house and some
of the other furnaces. The Other furnace was a more modern furnace. This
was built to speed up and advance the iron business but it was already too
late for the Hopewell furnace. The furnace didn't even function correctly
and was left to ruin. There was a;so the store which was interesting. At
the store money rarely changed hands because most of the workers had credit
or bartered. The store carried most of the basic thing such as food and
tools. If there was something that somebody needed that the store did not
have it was ordered from town. The clerk ran the store and all the finances
of the H.F.. The clerk even acted as iron master when the real iron master
was away. The clerk did not have to be well educated but had to have good
writing and math skills.
I thought the H.F. National park was one of the best I have ever visited.
It had well made exhibits. I thought it was amazing the way all the buildings
were made to look as they did over 100 years ago. The detail into which
the exhibits went was fascinating. All the little things were there. In
the houses for instance there were clothes that would be fold neatly as
though the wash had just been down, or there might be dishes that need to
be put away. The exhibits were so real. even the demonstrators acted as
though they lived during the 19th century. There were videos about casting,
mold making, pouring, and kinds of products produced. There was also a short
film about the history and manufacturing at Hopewell Furnace. A small but
interesting exhibit was set up, showing many of the tools, products, artifacts,
clothing, games and other things that were part of the life there.
Yes this is a park I would visit again and I would recommend it to anyone
who wanted to do site seeing.
A Bone a Day Keeps the Vet Away
About a month ago I was lucky enough to visit Dr. Madara, the veterinarian
that performed the post mortem for the 4-H Veterinary Club. Dr. Madara's
clinic had a basic surgery, dirty surgery (surgeries such as neutering and
spaying, surgeries that will get infected.). There was also a pharmacy,
kennel, x-ray room and examining room. The surgery was a small white room
that consisted of a heart monitor a respiratory monitor and anesthetics
and IV fluids. All the major surgeries are performed there. The dirty surgery
was in a somewhat larger room with cabinets full of bottles, surgical equipment
and other useful items.
The first thing I watched was the neutering of a cat. I was surprised how
quickly the operation went. The cat didn't even need stitches. Dr. Madara
explained everything to me and answered all my questions. Next I watched
her give a dog a flea bath. After the bath Dr. Madara started seeing patients
in the examining room. That day I saw five cats and one dog. The dog had
trouble walking and was not able to get up and one of the cats was not eating.
Though silly I thought the most interesting patient was a cat that came
to get its nails covered up in plastic. That is unfortunately all I could
remember about all patients. I had a good time and look forward to going
We take our pets to the Ardmore Animal Hospital. Dr. Bianco and Dr. Hyde
have allowed me to watch their client's pets on Saturday mornings. Since
it is nearby, I hope to go there often. I've seen animals that need to be
put down, who are critically ill, who needs shots or tests, I've looked
under the microscope for parasites, and the regular check-up sorts of things.
I was admitted to the Vet Technician Seminars at Labs and Harcum College.
The first seminar was just last week on the topic of exotic animals. He
gave a lecture and slide presentation on how to take care of and handle,
lizards, reptiles, amphibious and snakes. Some of the main topics talked
about were, what temperature to keep the animals at and how to. The other
main topic was restraining. Restraining is done to in order to put lets
say a snake into a position that it can be examined. One other reason might
be to protect the vet from being bit by a venomous snake.
Our family took a trip to the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton large
animal hospital. We took a tour around the whole facility, watched videos
of various procedures, looked at specimens through the microscope, saw cow
and horse fetuses, a cow with a tube going to his stomach where you could
see him digesting, and many other things. One of my favorite things was
a vet truck that had a whole pharmacy and surgery set up right in the truck.
This truck would travel around to farms or zoos to take care of animals
that couldn't be brought in. New Bolton is the second largest facility of
its type in the country, but it is first in amount of yearly patients. I
am very interested in this aspect of veterinary care also.
Tucker the Semi Wonder Dog
by Brian Lande
The savage wild dog lies crouched in the grass waiting for its unknowing
pray to walk by. At the sound of foot steps the savage beast rises and gets
ready to pounce. Then without warning the beast leaps into the air and attacks
the helpless rawhide bone with ruthless efficiency.
Tucker is a great dog when she's not jumping up on people or eating food
off the table. Really she's a good dog. Case closed.
For 3 years I have wanted a dog and after much begging, nagging and groveling
at feet we got a cute (hahahahaha) little yellow Labrador Retriever and
this is what life has been like since getting her.
The day before my dad's birthday my mom went to talk with a breeder about
a little pup she had decided to keep. Tucker was pick of the litter so we
thought that we might just get her (we at first wanted a black male). So
we sent Mom off with a Polaroid camera so we could see what the puppy looked
like. After about 6 hours of suspense, our mother came home. She came in
empty handed but told us how playful, friendly and pretty she was. We asked
her where the picture of the pup was and she said she left it in the car.
She went to the car and came into the house with a little puppy in her arms.
Finally I had a dog! The best present in the whole world. The day after
we got her the little angle grew fangs and for the next 3 months we lived
in constant fear of having one of our arms chomped off.
Tucker is a really smart dog. She picked up sitting and coming within the
first week we had her. She hasn't rescued any one yet but I still think
she's the best dog in the whole world. Though I am pretty sure that if we
had gotten a collie and named her Lassie she would spend her day chasing
crooks and rescuing little children instead of loafing around all day waiting
By the time Tucker had Turned 9 months she had a very predictable life style.
She sleeps, eats, chews on her rawhide, chews toys, sleeps some more, goes
on a long walk and plays with another Labrador named Cassidy for an hour.
I'm not sure if Tucker is really smart or just likes to get into trouble
but one day I was reading the newspaper on the floor but at the same time
Tucker pulled an open newspaper off the table and onto the floor, then laid
down next to it and started to lick it. Tucker is also very sneaky. One
day my mother was making lamb chops (a real treat for us!) and my
mother went outside to turn on the barbecue. W,hen she came in Tucker was
on the floor chewing on a lamb chop that she had pulled of of the counter!
The other odd thing Tucker does is when we're at Cassidy's and I sit down
with Cassidy to give her a good pat on the head or if Cass just comes and
sits next to me, Tucker charges her and won't let her be with me. I can't
tell if she's jealous or wants more attention. Another odd habit of hers
is dunking her head all the way into her bowl of water when she wants a
Fire Station Fritz!
We went to the Bryn Mawr Fire Station so I could give the chief a letter.
The letter said that I want to be a fire man when I grow up. I put on the
phone number and address. He took it and put it in the file and he said
I could work there when I grow up and I can visit lots of times. He said
he would call me if he needs me to help them. He showed me the fire trucks
and let me go up on them but said not to touch any of the buttons because
they will break. He told me to pick the fire truck I want so I picked the
hook and ladder one. They have no fire dogs. He showed me the coats and
hats and boots and I tried them on. They were too heavy and too big. I picked
number 1 hat and number 1 jacket and number 1 boots. It was at the number
1 hook. He said I could have number one when the other number one fireman
stops working. When it was time to go, the chief gave me a fire picture
and a fire coloring book. The reason why I want to be a Bryn Mawr fireman
is because one day when we were at the library were looking out the window,
Neil and I, and I said "Mom, there's a fire!" And it was the Bryn
Mawr firemen that put out the fire. It took them a long time to put out
the big fire. It burned right out through the roof and the windows! We stayed
and watched them blow it all out and then they cleaned it out. They dropped
stuff through the window and it all broke up when it fell down cause it
I call out "fire hydrant!!" when we go past them on walks or car
rides or when we buy things. Also I call them out when we go to a restaurant.
Our fire hydrant. Down the street we have a mailbox and next to it we have
a fire hydrant and another one near the corner house the other way. So,
that's the end.
Every time at morning I would ask Mom if there is a fire page in the newspaper.
Then I would cut it out and keep it. I would put it in my fire folder. In
my fire folder I have pictures of fire trucks, fires, firemen and fire dogs.
I even have some recipes from different fire houses. On the recipe page
there's a picture of a fire dog on a fire truck. I asked Mom if we could
make a firehouse recipe with sweet potatoes and chicken. She said not today
but maybe next week. I will keep it. When I grow up I'm going to be a Bryn
Mawr fireman. When I grow up I would ask if they want a fire dog and I would
name the fire dog Fritz.
I have some Dalmatian dogs, but they're not real. I have Fritz and Fritzi.
Fritz is Fritzi's daddy. Both of them have on fire hats with badges. I have
three other Dalmatian dogs too. Their names are Sunshine and Tucker but
they don't have fire hats.
Sometimes I put up the ladder that Neil made for me and I bring up the hose
and pretend I'm putting out a fire. It is so fun!
by Katherine the Great
We have a new rule that has been in order for half the summer. This rule
rule is not a bad rule, it is not a fun rule, but it is a great rule. You
see, every summer, we get millions of crickets in our house that chirp away
very loudly, and my dad absolutely hates them. So, he said that for every
cricket we catch, we get a dollar!! That was easy since Bri and I both have
good ears. Now, you know that when you hear a cricket, that it may sound
like it is coming from the left side, but it can be just an echo from the
right side. They are rather hard to locate by their sound. However, it was
a very different story for Neil--not so easy. The only things that he could
kill were those flies that get lose in you house and "bug" you
all day long. So, Dad said we would get fifty cents for every fly that we
catch. We have kept a posted up list of our trappings.So far I have $6.50.
I got two less flies than crickets. How many crickets and flies do I have?
We were in Amish Lancaster County (again) when a big question from Kevin
came up. "Why are some people called men in tights?" At first
we had to all think of what he meant. Then Dad started laughing. Then everyone
but Kevin started to laugh. Kevin thought nothing of why we were laughing
but I guess that since we were laughing, he himself laughed too. When we
stopped, my dad told Kevin that those people were "Mennonites"
not "men in tights!"
Paper Towel Summery
by Brian and Katie
What does it mean to be a great paper towel?
We defined "the best quality paper towel" as the one with the
best combined functions of absorption, strength, and durability.
What method did we use to determine which towel was the best?
We did not know the name of the different companies (so that it wouldn't
influence our results) but used color coding to represent each type of paper
towel and kept the list hidden from view.
To find absorption we submersed the paper towel in water. We then held up
the paper towels and let them drip. We waited until the excess water slowed
to a single drip before squeezing the water out of the paper towel. We then
squeezed the towel and measured how much water each paper towel had held
. We scored them from best to worst.
To find strength we a wet paper towel and then squeezed it out. We then
weighted it down with pennies, holding the four corners taut,until it ripped.
We recorded the amount of pennies it took for each brand.
To test for durability we wet and then squeezed out each paper towel and
rubbed them on a carpet (for friction). We rubbed back and forth over the
distance of 15 inches and measured which towel could be rubbed the most
inches before ripping.
Separate from the best quality paper towel be also decided to figure out
what the best value was for price. To find the best price we determined
the price per square foot. The five brands that we used were Bounty, Sparkle,
Brawny, Scott Clean and Capri.
Which towel won and why?
The results for quality (combined absorption, strength and durability) were
scaled from 1-5 for each brand, with one being the best for each quality
tested. We then combined the three scores and scaled them from first to
last as follows:
Brawny and Capri #4
The results in price per foot were:
Scott Clean #4
Clearly, Bounty had the best overall rating for quality. However, Bounty
was also the most costly. We decided that best value would be the highest
overall quality AND a good price. This turned out to be Sparkle which rated
2nd in overall quality and 3rd in price.
We didn't test it, but we've heard that Viva might be even better than Bounty,
so we'll do another test between the two. We'll let you know next time which
one of those we choose.
A House or a Hole?--That Is The Question
Neil were building a big hole and then we decided to make a house and then
we decided not to. Then we decided to make a floor and put the dirt in the
hole first. Then we took some big little pieces of wood and we put them
over that hole right next to each other after we filled up our big hole
that we were digging all year. I put some dirt in the cracks of the floor
so there are no cracks any more.
From Friday until Monday, I stayed at my friends house who's name is Lillian
Stoltzfutz. On Sunday, we went to Sunday school and then had two large families
come over for lunch. Lillian and I were making each other recipe boxes and
when she gave me mine, she also gave me a craft that she had made. I liked
it so much that she and I made two more. Then we decided that maybe we could
sell them. So we figured about how much the flowers would cost, along with
the ribbons and glue. We figured that we could sell them for about 75 cents
each. Some other things that we did were hanging the laundry out and collecting
it, watching the baby Sammy and making 4 year old Johnny a birthday cake.
We had a lot of fun and I hope that I may stay there again for even longer.
Canning Fruits and Vegetables
When our whole family visited at the farm on a Friday, we helped to dig
up potatoes, pick black berries, apples, tomatoes, and a few pears. Digging
up potatoes was the most fun because after the potatoe tiller came over
each row, we'd run and pick up all the potatoes and dig a few out. It was
like treasure hunting. There were so many potatoes, tomatoes and apples,
that Anna said we could take home a bunch. We also picked a bunch of blackberries
that we made into a pie and ate just plain because they were so ripe and
sweet. We also bought two bushels of great peaches.
All day Saturday at home, we washed, peeled, cut, and cooked. We took our
art table outside and the whole family was working, some cutting, some peeling,
and some mashing. What's that, you ask? Well, we got this masher/strainer
called Victorio Strainer that you can put cut up tomatoes, apples or pears
into, when they're only cut into quarters. That way you don't have to peel
or core them, and they come out as sauce. Mom got one for me for when I
am grown, because they were such a good sale price.
With the vegetables, we did some canning. And I mean some canning! Mom's
friend Judi came over and they canned 96 jars altogether. There was apple
sauce, pear sauce, vegetable soup, stewed prunes, peaches, and spaghetti
sauce. But...well, the spaghetti sauce burned on the bottom of the pot.
We canned it anyway, but when we opened up a jar of it to use, it smelled
so BAD that we threw them all away.
Since then we have canned more peaches, apple sauce, pear sauce, and dill
pickles. I love to can things and we have so many pretty jars sitting on
the shelves in the garage.
The way we can is to buy LOTS of jars first. Then clean them with soap and
water and leave them in a sink filled with hot water so they stay warm.
Then you boil what you are going to put into the jars and pour it in with
a speciall jar-sized funnel. Next, you have to stick a spatula or knife
all down the sides in case there are any air bubbles. Then you wipe of the
jars, put on the lids and put them into a giant (22 quart) pressure cooker
and fill it a little with some vinegar water (so the pot doesn't stain).
Next, you have to bring it to a boil till the steam comes out really fast
and leave it for about 10 minutes.. Then you put the pressure weight on
and wait until it really jiggles and then turn down the heat until it jiggles
only about four times a minute, and keep it that way for about ten minutes.
Then you let the pot cool down until there's no pressure left, open it,
take out the hot jars with the jar tongs, let them cool, check the vacuum
seal, wash them off, label them, and put them on the shelves. That is, if
you don't want to right away just open one up and eat it!
People can fresh foods as a way to preserve them for the winter. All the
heating and pressure cooking kills any bacteria that had been in the food
and that might have grown. The vacuum keeps the air out so that no new bacteria
can grow. It is important to keep the pressure even, and to let it rise
and lower steadily. This way, we can buy summer fruits and vegetables at
good prices, and still eat them during the winter. It was especially fun
this summer, because we picked most of the food that we canned. I love to
help everytime that we do it. So would you.
Kevin's Favorite Joke
How Long is a Chinaman. Wanna know? Well....that's his name!!!
and How Fat is his wife!!!
The 50 Foot Long Rubberband!
I used to collect rubber bands and put them on my rock climber tool and
then hook it onto the loop on my pants.. I got them from our mailman, Frank,
and from Irene Bender who works at the school district building. Now, I've
got tons of rubber bands. I made them into a chain by connecting them by
tying knots and knots and knots and knots and knots....
It's about 50 feet long now. I ask people to hold it so I can see how big
it is and then when it's stretched out really big, I let go and it scares
them to death. But it doesn't hurt because it goes right past them. It just
flies past. I've stretched it from my room upstairs to the living room door
Neil and I had an idea of making a hand truck. We nailed some handles on,
we drilled some screws in for the wheels, then we had to change one side
because one wheel was too close. We fixed that by putting two wheels on
each side. One wheel broke, so we took it off and gave it to Neil. When
it was finished we took it into the backyard and worked it out. Neil put
a chair on it and we played Paws. We were the order men and took orders
for pet things. We asked Dad for a big box so we could put stuff in that
people order. We made the cat's house into Paws store and then we set it
up and asked everyone to come to our store. We even climbed up on the roof
of the cat's house--Neil taught me how to climb up there. We played up there
and up the leashes up there and put them through that crack and then they
hung down into our pet store. Bri took Paws apart when it was time to put
the cats in at night.
When I was helping Katie we were going to trick Neil about moving Paws inside,
but we haven't done it yet.
I am sure you have all heard of dummies. I am not sure if we are thinking
of the same kind of dummy but here is a story about how stupid dummies can
There was once a family of dummies that came back from a factory and from
there went out to seek their fortunes. The father dummy decided that he
would be a test crash car driver, you know, the kind that gets in cars and
crash into the walls just to see if the air bags worked and to see if was
safe? Well, he went to a car factory and went to the office to apply for
his job. The secretary asked what he wanted and the dummy told his story.
It was then decided that yes, he could. As soon as the dummy left the office,
the secretary thought to herself, "oh, what a Dummy!!"
The mother went to a department store and was happy to be put in the window,
all nice and dressed up. But what she didn't realize is that when it's time
to change the clothes, there she was all bare for all to see. What a dummy!
Then the grandpa wanted to learn to play bridge. So he spent seven years
trying to learn. And he did learn. But when it was time to play, in every
game they needed a dummy. Well, I guess he came out all right!
For one week we went every night to an Amish Bible School. It was quite
interesting. Whenever everyone got there, we waited outside until it was
time to go into the barn, which was set up as the church with all the benches.
The males go in one door and the females go in another door. The old people
sit right up in front, the children sit behind them, and then the mothers
with babies sit in the back. The fathers also sit in the back and take care
of the babies until they cry for their mothers.
After we sang some songs and listened to some lessons about the bible, we
separated into different age classes. I was in a class with kids my age
and we worked in a Bible study book. We would read the lesson, then discuss
it, and then fill in the answers. For one of the nights that we stayed,
I stayed at my friend Lillian's house. At the end of Bible school we got
a candy bar, a dictionary and the books that we wrote in from our teacher.
After Bible school was over, a few nights later they had a singing for some
visitors from Minnesota that we went to. A lot of people went and it was
really exiting and beautiful.
Grandma and Grandpa
Grandma and Grandpa came to our house. They slept over for four nights.
I did some of my school work with Grandma and Grandpa It was a fun visit.
I always like them to visit and I wish they could come over more times.
My Grammy came to visit while Grandma and Grandpa were still here! Grammy
was here for four nights also. It wasn't so much fun for me when they were
here all together because they talked and talked to each other, but I know
they had fun with each other. When Grammy was here we played with Tucker,
our dog and she helped me with my work also, especially with my spelling
words so I could get a prize from the Treasure Box.
Uncle Dan and Aunt Dana
Uncle Dan and Aunt Dana came over to our house before Grandma and Grandpa
and Grammy did. Uncle Dan took us out to dinner to a Chinese restaurant.
He got me and Katie each a whole plate of dumplings!!! I ate them all but
one. When I was finished I had the worst stomach in the world.
Another day we went together to the pool cause it was really hot out. Uncle
Dan picked me up and put me on his shoulders. When I was sitting on his
shoulders I said, "Stop now, I'm going to fall off your shoulders by
leaning back." So I fell back. Splash!! Then I stood up on his shoulders
and we went into the deep water, very deep water, and he made me dive off
of his shoulders. I was starting to dive and I lost my balance and did a
belly flop. That was the worst belly flop in the world. But don't worry,
it didn't cut open my stomach or anything like that. I was doing that for
an hour--standing and sitting on his back. Then finally we went home. And
guess what else? Aunt Dana is going to have a baby in the spring, around
March I think. I don't care if the baby is a boy or a girl, but I hope it's
a boy. Brian and I like the name Anna if it's a girl, and I'm still thinking
about what boys name I like. What do you think they will pick?
We got a couch and we put it in the kitchen. It has farm pictures on it
cause we all like to go to farms.
by Kevin himself
I am in kindergarten right today. I just wanted to start so Mommy said I
could. Aunt Ruth was here on the day I started. I will start new French
words and new English words. I will do my Raceway book which is my good
work book. This is my first kindergarten and then I will do my second kindergarten.
I started my first day of kindergarten. I did my raceway book, some stickers
and cutouts, counting, and French. I was talking French words to Brian,
Katie, Neil and Mommy. I tried talking French to Tucker but she wouldn't
listen. I also got new, new hiking shoes on my first day of kindergarten.
I use the computer and the first day I was happy when he had ham. Daddy
got me a new CD that I call Busy Town. There is every kind of thing, like
work trucks, a bakery, a farm, music, and how they all work.
My first day of kindergarten was really good because even after all that
we got to watch the "Sound of Music."
UPON THE HEAD OF THE GOAT
I liked the book Upon the Head of the Goat so much that I lent it to our
friend Ali who is away at college. When she sent me the book back she wrote
about the book. So, instead of writing about it myself, I will be happy
to let her tell you her reactions to the book!
"I had never actually read any personal accounts of the holocaust,
a subject really lacking from my realm of knowledge, and I thank you for
opening my mind to it. It really makes me feel my Judaism, even though we
have always celebrated Christmas. Being a Cohen, I would have been like
Piri. The most amazing thing about it is the love and humor that survived
even when the family was in the ghetto, when Piri and mother are laughing
about her new haircut, and a real paradox with the love between Gan and
Judi and Piri and Henri beginning at the very time when death seemed so
imminent. It was like their love and their dancing in such a horrible time
of war is an affirmation of life, a defiant show to the Germans that they
will LIVE no matter what those evil people throw at them. The title of the
book is absolutely wonderful, I think. The German's are using the Jews as
the scapegoat, putting their sins on the Jews and disposing of them. But
even more, the use of a biblical passage there is completely ironic. First
of all, Jews believe in this old testament story and it is being used against
them. In this context, they are the goats. But at the same time, the Germans,
the Christians, are absolving themselves of sins and sending them away,
as the Jews did in the biblical passage itself. In this way, the Germans
put themselves in the positions of Jews!"
After our last newsletter, Hope and Phillip sent us a letter. In it was
a Turkish coin for my collection. The man on the coin is Attaturk, which
means Father Turk and he was the man responsible for making the changes
in the 1920's that led to Turkey becoming modernized. His picture is everywhere
there. Most of the money they use though is paper money. Here are a few
facts about their money. As of 1992, 6-7,000 TL=$1.00 (bread was 500 TL
for one loaf then and 1000 at the end of the year). As of June 1995, the
exchange rate is 40,000 TL to one dollar. The value of money changes so
rapidly here that coins like my 100 TL one becomes extinct quickly. Bread
is now 8,000 TL!!!
Also in the package was a tape of Turkish music and a recipe so that we
could make a Turkish meal and listen to the tape at dinner time. This is
the recipe: Roast up a few eggplants and mash them (skin thrown away) with
garlic, tahini and lemon juice. Make a pot of rice with minced tomatoes
and onions cooked in the rice water. Make a side dish of cacik (pronounced
jajik) yogurt and water with shredded cucumber and chopped mint. We thought
the dinner was very interesting and we all loved listening to the Turkish
music. It sounded similar to Arabic and Israeli, but a little combined.
Mom wore her Turkish clothes too. Thanks for a great way to learn more about
What Fence? Zaaaaap
by torturer of dogs, Brian Lande
It was a quiet and sunny day in Wynnewood as Tucker the calm dog checked
out the yard. Completely unaware of the small pain (in real life the small
pain is only a small jolt of electricity. Believe me it's not painful, I
tried it myself!) that was about to be inflicted upon her. As Tucker came
near to the invisible fence she got the shock of her life. Yes she got a
shock, and I was even nice to the guy that installed it! Yes I am a traitor
to the dog world!
In reality we did Tucker and the cats a great service by installing the
invisible fence. Instead of getting an ugly and expensive fence to keep
Tucker in our yard we decided to get an invisible fence. Surprise! The company's
name is Invisible Fence ( I will abbreviate it to I. V.). On the 26 of July,
Joe our installer and trainer came to install the fence. He brought with
him three machines to do the work. One was a special machine that digs through
driveways so that he can lay down wire there and then cover it over. Another
machine is used to lay and bury wire in the ground. The third was himself,
just in case the machine could not install the wire behind bushes, then
he would have to.
Well, after a few days of going up to the flag, Tucker realized that the
beep would soon be followed by a zap! Or, I should say, she almost
realized. Sometimes she would go too close to the driveway but after just
a few days, if she got close or heard the noise, she'd just lay down and
not move. She wouldn't move even if you called her or pulled her. She was
just plain stuck to the ground. She soon knew that it didn't pay to go out
of the yard.
Now, how is this a good thing you may ask? It's a good thing because
now Tucker can go outside all by herself to play. She can play out back.
She can play on the side of the house. She can play out front. But does
she go out to play???? NNNNNooooooooooooo. She only wants to be with us.
If we go out, she goes out. If we come in, she comes in. If she goes out
and we come in, she barks! And barks....
Well, let's just say this. The fence works great for the cats. They can
stay outside all day and they won't go anywhere to meet the danger of other
savage beasts, killer cars, or mean people. They don't bark.
Deep and Wide
Rich gave us swimming lessons so we know how to swim. All of the kids in
our family and some other kids too. I learned to jump in the deep end and
even to dive sometimes. I learned to swim across the pool without stopping.
I learned to blow bubbles and breath on the side when I'm turning my arms.
Sometimes it was getting cold so I would wrap myself up in a towel until
it was my turn again. When it wasn't lesson time I liked to play games with
Bri and also play Marco Polo. I sometimes went in the pool for all the afternoon,
but I would get out when it was almost time to go. This year I didn't leave
anything at the pool but Neil left his goggles there one time and Bri left
Tucker's leash. When Tucker came to the pool, she just barked if no one
sat right next to her. Brian took her for walks and we brought her water
to drink. The pool was lots of fun. At swimming lessons I did two dives
when I put my arms up over my ears and put my chin down on my chest. Then
I bent over and over and went in the pool with my head first, then I popped
back up again. Then I went across the deep end swimming and using my arms.
The Story of My Name
typed by Neil
My full name is Neil Robert Lande. I have 3 names so you no who I am. My
name means champion. I like my name. Mom and Dad gave me my name.
Sum people call me Neily. I would rather be cald Neil. Elva calls me Neil
Robert. That is ok for her to call me that.
I got my name from another boy. Mom rote my name on an envelope first. Mom
says my name the most. In my workbooks I find my name written the most.
I like to hear my name when I am called to go to Langcaster County.
Since I was little I always like to say the numbers on the tunnels that
go under the train tracks that tell trucks how high it is. I just like looking
at the numbers. They are big black numbers on yellow signs. They tell the
feet and the inches. I don't know why I always like them but I do. I wanted
to know why they have the numbers and Mommy told me cause the trucks have
to know how big they are so they don't get stuck under there.
A couple of weeks ago I wanted to remember all the signs so whenever I called
one out Mommy wrote it down on a piece of paper she kept in the car for
my bridges. The bridges all go under the train or trolley tracks. We wrote
down 19 of them!!!! Mommy made me a great big huge long graph to color how
tall each bridge is. It's called a bar graph. She made me another one, not
as big, to put dots and lines for all the bridges and it's called a line
graph. I get tired of coloring all those squares for the high bridges! The
lowest tunnel is 8'10" near Adam's shop and the cars have to go under
one at a time. The highest one is 14'1". Most of the tunnels were in
the elevens, tens and twelves. If you want to know, I will tell you all
of them later.
While we were doing all my bridge work, Mommy jumped up during breakfast
one day and yelled, "Neil, Neil, come here!" So, I came to her
and she showed me what was so neat. It was a picture in the newspaper of
a big truck that was stuck under a train bridge!!! Can you believe that?
Then I wanted to know how do they get the truck out of there? The newspaper
said that they had to let the air out of all the tires.
Then when we were visiting another family that homeschools, we were talking
about my bridges when one of the other moms said that there was a tall truck
that went under a short tunnel so fast that the whole top just came right
off of it and the truck kept on going. The top of the truck stuck up to
the top of the tunnel and they had to get it off. But I don't know how.
I have started collecting pictures, facts, and stories about all animals--the
main ones, dogs and cats. I bought a big four inch binder and stickers and
separated them into different categories. The first one is dogs, then cats,
then wildlife wonders, which had a bunch of different animals, and so far,
the last part is animal facts. On the things that I can pull out and read,
I put an animal sticker on it. I enjoy collecting things about animals
and I can't wait to see what I can get next. Everyday I look through the
newspaper and whenever anyone else in the family finds an animal picture
they cut it out for me. Neil is also making an animal book. We copy pictures
for each other if we both want it in our book.
We went to Harrisburg for a homeschool fair. It was called Homeschool Excellence
Day. It was inside the capitol building in the round part called the rotunda.
Early in the morning before the legislators go to work, we had a breakfast
in the hotel for them. We thanked them for all their work and told them
about homeschooling. The breakfast was good, especially the sausage and
the eggs. We sat at the same table as another family and Lita Cohen, (our
state Rep). She was really nice and fun to talk to. She was interested in
homeschooling and asked lots of questions.
Then we set up the fair projects. I put my drawing of Mars in the art exhibit
and I won second prize for it. There was a science fair and Brian and Katie
put in their battery experiment and they won first prize. There was also
a social studies fair and I put my train project in. It had two kinds of
graphs--a line graph and a bar graph of the different heights of train tracks
that go over roads. We took pictures of some different bridges also. I got
Then after that four different men (legislators) got up to talk while all
of the kids sat of the big steps in the rotunda. We were holding signs about
homeschooling and it was crowded. It was so crowded that when Jacob won
his prize he couldn't even get down. Lots of people took pictures and it
was in the newspapers.
After that, we went to the Museum of Scientific Discovery. We went with
the Richmans and the Hall Family. I walked all around and played with different
things like magnets, air pressure holding up a ball, there was a rubberband
that was connected to a stirrer in a container and when it was pulled it
made a whirlpool. There was a place about virtual reality. We stood in front
of a wall that was painted blue and there was a video recorder. There were
underwater scenes with dangerous things happening. You had to move out of
the was when you saw yourself on television. It seemed like you were floating
because the blue turns invisible. I had to get out of the way of sharks
and catch the treasure chests. A lady took a picture of it for me to keep.
Then we went with a lady and she told us how caves are made and we did some
experiments about crystals and told us about stalactites and stalagmites
and took us on a tour of the cave. But one thing...the cave wasn't real!
We were really hungry after that and it was almost dinnertime. Before we
drove home, all of us, and I mean 16 of us had a snack in the little mall
in front of the museum. We were sad to say goodbye to all our friends. It
was a fun day.
Back to turnpikes! Since our first visit to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
in Harrisburg, we have since received even more goodies. Mrs. Magill sent
us a video, some coin holders, bumper stickers, pencils, keychains, and
lots of other great things. After asking for turnpike tickets to keep all
the time (they can't let you keep them because they need them for their
daily receipts) she actually sent us one! What a great day it was.
As a matter of fact, our Turnpike is being repaved between Philadelphia
and Harrisburg, planting all of those fast growing conehead weeds, all bright
and orange along the roadside. Speaking of the roadside, have you ever wondered
about the people who work in the turnpike booths? We call them booth guys.
You know how Kevin always wants to be a fireman when he grows up? Well,
we wondered how many of the booth guys dreamed of being a booth guy from
the time they were little boys. Did they dream of going to booth guy school?
Did they crave the booth guy uniforms? Did they have dreams about their
own special little booth to call their own? Do they get "booth guy
elbow" from reaching in and out all day? Do they wish to form special
booth guy unions to protect their rights and their culture? Please, if any
of you out there is a booth guy, could you write in and answer these pressing
NEIL and I were money exchangers. We would get money and everyday we would
ask our family if they wanted to come to our money exchange. They always
did, except sometimes for Katie. When they came, they gave us their paper
dollars and we gave them metal money back. Neil knows how to make the right
kinds of coins for dollars, so he helped me know what to do. We made our
money exchange like a bank. We had our boxes with some money and pencils
and papers and checks and receipts and well, just everything! Anyone can
come to our money exchange. Once Daddy brought us five whole dollars!!
The Story of My Name
My full name is Neil Robert Lande. I have 3 names so you no who I am. My
name means champion. I like my name. Mom and Dad gave me my name.
Sum people call me Neily. I would rather be cald Neil. Elva calls me Neil
Robert. That is ok for her to call me that.
I got my name from another boy. Mom rote my name on an envelope first. Mom
says my name the most. In my workbooks I find my name written the most.
I like to hear my name when I am called to go to Langcaster County.
Come here for a minute. I want to tell you something. Just sit here across
from me while I tell you about my cat Grace and all that she does. Now,
don't squirm so much, just relax and listen. Hey! You remind me of Grace,
so really, just sit still for a minute while I tell you.
My family has five of the most beautiful cats in the world universe. My
favorite cat is of course, my own cat, Grace. She is velvety black, with
some pure orange and a bit of white on her face and belly. She is a calico.
Now, she may seem like a nice, ordinary cat, who purrs all the time, BUT,
you are wrong. You are minus right. In fact, you are anything but
right. When she was a very little kitten, she would play with me and sleep
in my lap. Now, she will scratch anyone that she does not like. When I say
scratch, I don't mean a little rip in your skin with a dot of blood, but
a scratch down the whole side your leg or arm that can really bleed. If
she wants to get down, she will stick her claws into your shoulder for balance
then jump. Then, if she is afraid of you, she might just decide to get her
claws stuck in your neck. Believe me! I happened to have experienced it
first hand from her and her mother who is just like her.
Now that I have been spending hours a day with her, she has begun to like
me and meow if she hears my voice or sees me. One minute I will walk up
to her and she will roll on her back wanting a scratch. I sit down and the
next minute she has her toy mouse in her mouth wanting me to throw it. I
trained her uncle to sit, stand, and come and figuring that if I teach it
to Grace, it ought to calm her down. So far, she knows how to sit and believe
me, she is not a bit more calm then she was from the beginning.
She is still a kitten but when she first started to use the litter box as
a even smaller kitten, she would eat it, get it stuck in her mouth,
and even up her nose. A few times, I have put my smallest finger in her
mouth to clean the litter out!
If my cat were a person I am sure that she would be the most curios and
strange person that I ever would see. Let's see..... "Grace, where
are you?" "Out here Katie." I walk outside and there is little
four year old Grace playing in the middle of the mulched part of the yard
digging, rolling around and chasing the cats and playing with Tucker (our
dog) as if she was a cat herself. I go to her ask if I may play but she
says no because at that moment she would much rather play with the animals.
I guess that I got angry because when I told her she should let other people
join in her games sometimes, she got right up and bit me. That was enough
so I went inside and watched through the window as she played her silly
She is really a strange person, has no friends except those of a few animals
who she loves and they love her as if they were her own family. I guess
I should describe what Grace looks like. She has gold hair so that when
it shines in the sun it looks almost orange. Her eyes are pure black and
her skin is pale white-- if she did not just come in from playing in the
mud. We share a room above the kitchen so it is the warmest room in the
winter. We have three windows, all that let you see into the back yard and
of which Grace made sure she could see the animal house which was a little
log cabin. On her side of the room she has nothing but her bed, pictures
of cats and dogs, sculptures and lots of other things that have to do with
Yike's! that is almost a scary thought, Grace being a person and not a cat.
But, then again, things could be much worse. Suppose she were a book for
children learning how to read!...........
Come, come see, come see Grace. Come see Grace play. Look!
Look at Grace play. She is funny. Look! She is biting me! Help, help stop
her! Ouch! Ouch!
This is Mickles. This is Grace's uncle. Look at him play. He is nice. He
is funny! I think that he likes me. Look, he is playing with Grace. He is
good. He is purring. Look! He wants me to pick him up! He is my friend!
Look! Look at that cat! Her name is Maggie. Maggie is Mickles sister. Maggie
is a mother. Her kittens are Grace Hobbs and Marble. Look at her. She likes
her kittens. She likes me. Look, she is playing with Mickles. I love her.
She is my best friend!
Marble! Look at Marble! He is up a tree. He will come down soon. He is not
like his sister Grace. She will go up but she will be scared to come down.
He is down now! Look! Look!
Come here. Come here Hobbs. You like to purr. So dose your brother Marble.
Your sister Grace does not like to purr. Look! Hobbs is gray and white!
He looks like his Uncle Mickles! He does not look like Marble. Marble is
black and white. He dose not look like his mother! She has gray with a lot
of white. He does not look like Grace either! He is not all colorful! He
is so nice.
I would not like to have Grace as a book or as a person. I love her
just as she is. A scratchy kitten who meows all day. But she still is MY
kitten that I love like my own sister. (Oops! I forgot! I only have brothers!)
a crunch in the leaves ahead
makes me crouch with a tail straight up
a bird tweets above in her nest.
my ears stand alert
a gray mouse stops to sniff
I sway back and forth
the mouse looks up a me
I grab his neck
one, two, three
I pick him up from there
to my own kittens asleep
waiting to eat
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Copyright © 1996 WindyCreek Press, All Rights Reserved