Harvest Unit Week Ten – The Ox-Cart Man and Self Sufficiency

This week, our main book, The Ox-Cart Man, was about a self-sufficient family and focused on the father traveling once a year to sell everything the family had made during the last year.Inspired by this book, we looked for ways we could be self-sufficient this week. That led us to make rose water, rose hydrosol, bread, candles, and we even harvested a little bit rosemary and a few radishes. Our first harvest from our fall garden!

That may be our only harvest from our fall garden because the temperatures have been dropping considerably this month. There are still bean, pea, and calendula plants that are very healthy, but I just don’t think they’ll grow fast enough to produce anything before everything freezes over. The fall garden was a great learning experience for the whole family and has given us some ideas for when we start again in the spring.

The girls had a lot of fun making candles. As long as you make sure the sheets are slightly warm, they’re soft and easy to roll. Adi had a little bit of difficulty rolling them around the wick so she made candle hamburgers instead and had a great time. Mimi was able to roll them easily and we tried out making multi-colored ones with different patterns. Beeswax sheets can be expensive, but we were able to find a kit marketed for Chanukah Candles for a reasonable price.

A few weeks ago, I had Mimi start her handwriting book over, and that ended up being a great decision. At the end of the pre-writing section she really had a lot more confidence and better steadiness as she worked on the lines. Even though time goes by so quickly, I try to remind myself daily that we always have enough time to master something before moving on to the next thing.

On our walk home from gymnastics, the girls found a gigantic leaf that was bigger than their faces! We only saw one other leaf comparable in size and no trees around that looked like them so the girls had fun guessing where the leaves could have come from.

Halloween was this week, which both girls agree is their favorite holiday. They went trick-or-treating with their cousins and traded their candy in with the Switch Witch at the end of the night. The Switch Witch has a little bit of backstory, but we’ve never gone into any detail about it and we haven’t bought the book that goes along with the story. We just kept it simple and explained to them that because of food sensitivities and dietary restrictions, they can’t have traditional candy so the Switch Witch leaves candy they can have, along with little toys so they can join in on the Halloween fun.

I found all of these little trinkets at Party City and the Dollar Tree, and the candy at Whole Foods. The lollipops had gum in the center and tasted just like regular ones. They’re made by Glee and I’m hoping we can find them again next year! YumEarth had candy corn without corn syrup or dyes so the girls were able to try it for the first time. Everyone who had some agreed that it tasted better than regular candy corn.


We’ve been wanting to go to an art museum for a while now and after looking around the Portland Art Museum‘s website, I discovered they have a free night once a month, which fell on Thursday of this week. We watched a few videos on museum etiquette and what to expect. I strongly believe that if children know what to expect, they’ll do better in new situations. It helps everyone have a better time and we were able to get the most from our visit.

We watched the first three videos on this list.

We ended this week by taking a spontaneous trip to the beach to go clam digging with my parents. Harvesting their own food tied in perfectly with this week’s self-sufficiency theme. After we got back home, their grampy explained the different parts of the clam as they cleaned them, which was a nice little biology lesson. I love when they are able to learn new things from the people around them!

Visiting the beach in November was a also a mini lesson in season change. At home it’s obvious we’re deep into autumn, but at the beach it isn’t so obvious. The last time we were there was in July and it was much hotter so the girls didn’t understand why they had to wear heavy coats and boots, but soon realized why. Even though the beach looks the same, it definitely doesn’t feel the same!

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