Category Archives: Homeschool Helper

Dreamers, Loggers and Trains-Capital Forest’s Early Years

Feature photo above – Bordeaux logging camp train, 1906, Clyde Cummings, engineer.  Photo from the Washington State Historical Society.

The Early Settlers

The 1870s brought the first logging claims to the Black Hills region of southwest Washington Territory.   The Black Hills got their name from the dark shadows that frequently covered the thick forested slopes.

This area would eventually become Capital State Forest–named for its close proximity to the state capital of Olympia.

In 1880, a Utopian society from Brooklyn, New York tried to settle in the area.  Most of the group didn’t last the first winter.

However, New York names like Central Park and Brooklyn still dot the nearby areas.  Undeterred by that group’s misfortunes, more Utopian groups arrived in the Puget Sound area over the next few decades.

Serious logging of the Black Hills began in the 1880s and 1890s.  Washington became the 42nd state in 1889, and Congress granted the new state 5,000 acres in what was to become Capital Forest.

A lower elevation logging camp was set up in 1898, in what would become the town of Bordeaux.

During the 1920s and 1930s, Bordeaux’s population grew to 500.

Bordeaux Logging Camp
Bordeaux Logging Camp

1902 saw the first of a series of devastating wildfires in the logging hills. Continue reading Dreamers, Loggers and Trains-Capital Forest’s Early Years

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Learn Fingerspelling (You May Need it One Day)

Are the kids stuck indoors, in the car, or just plain bored?

Have them learn “fingerspelling”–the one-handed American Manual Alphabet.  It’s an important part of American Sign Language.manual alphabet snip 1

It’s lots of fun, and it keeps kids occupied.  They also learn something useful that they may need someday, to communicate with someone who is deaf.

Isn’t it great to teach your kids something that they could later use to help a stranger?  Or help them chat with a deaf friend?

And it’s always fun to learn a special new code.  It’s really great for those times when kids need to keep quiet. Continue reading Learn Fingerspelling (You May Need it One Day)

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Lapland’s Sami reindeer people–simple life, superfood diet

Simple life, superfood diet of Lapland’s Sami people

lapland mapLapland is a cultural region that spans the arctic areas of Finland, Norway, Sweden, and the northwest tip of mainland Russia.

Traditional Laplanders are called the Sami people.  Many of them still live the way their ancestors did, herding reindeer that forage across the wide arctic expanse for lichens in the winter and green plants in the summer.

The Sami lifestyle is simple and peaceful.  The diet is rich in an array of superfoods.

The Sami people rely on reindeer for their very existence.  They eat reindeer meat, use the milk for cheese, and the skins for clothing, blankets, and shelter.  They create tools and decorations from the bones and antlers.

 

The Sami also use reindeer as pack and harness animals.  Even the Lapland police use reindeer!  In arctic weather, reindeer are more reliable than motorized vehicles or other animals.

lapland police

All reindeer are considered domesticated in Lapland.  Reindeer hunting is illegal.

In this two minute video, a young Sami reindeer herder explains the connection he feels to his reindeer:

Continue reading Lapland’s Sami reindeer people–simple life, superfood diet

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Could space experiments help us have healthier food here on earth?

Fresh Veggies in Space

Go Veggie Team!  To infinity and beyond!

NASA has launched its own “Veggie Team.”  Their goal is to develop ways for astronauts to grow their own fresh greenhouse produce while staying at the International Space Station, and other future out of this world locations.red lettuce snip 2

Record breaking astronaut Scott Kelly who spent a year in space tweeted: “I missed the color green most during my year in space.  Great to see it again on earth!”scott kelley green in spaceIn the following video, NASA Commentator Brandi Dean talks with Dr. Gioia Massa, a Veggie project scientist, about the team’s space experiments, including a recent crop of zinnias. Continue reading Could space experiments help us have healthier food here on earth?

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