Friday, October 19, 2012

Cider pressing and a shellfish farm!

apples in the hopper of the cider press

Our new schedule has been very rejuvenating for me as a homeschooling mommy.  We had been involved in the same co op for nine years and finally decided to branch out and add another one it.  It reminds me of that Girl Scout song, "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold."  I love that our connection with our old co op is now the Friday field trip class, which was always our most beloved thing about the school to begin with.  We have the opportunity to see some of our old friends and to do the thing home-schoolers are free to do, but I never seem to make the time to for: lots of field trips!

Today, we visited Padilla bay for some estuary learning, but best of all, we had the opportunity to make and sample good old fashioned cider.  The kids learned about the history of the property we were on and how it was dedicated to teaching children about conservation.  Then they went outside, picked apples off the trees and put them into a cider press.  If you were to buy one of these now, they're $600 I'm told.  Ah well.  I guess we'll have to wait and see if any of our friends end up having one we can throw some apples in one day.  The kids turned the crank to grind the apples, then turned a wheel to press the juice out of them.  The yellow-jackets were thick, and I was a little concerned they'd take a nip at my Saraiah, but they were happy with the apples.

We ate some yummy lunch in the warm car, then headed down to Samish Bay off of Chuckanut drive to visit Taylor Shellfish farm.  The kids held a 6 year old geoduck clam (very big!), tasted raw oysters and learned about how a shellfish farm works.  Their great grandpa has an oyster farm they've never been to, so it's great for them to learn how the oysters are grown!

It's this kind of hands on learning that I'm missing doing with my 2 oldest who are now in public middle school. We had slowly drifted away from it because we were so busy with 2 full days of classes at the co op we had attended, then fitting homeschool learning into the remaining three days.  It's nice to be back to the basics.  How do I share the joy of this with my big kids now?  I'd love ideas for creative ways to use weeknights and weekends to engage kids in real life activities without going insane running from one activity to the next.  Real learning is in the doing, isn't it?  I don't want my big kids to miss out on that.

The press I am drooling over.
It takes some muscle to turn that crank!

Planting a new apple tree with some compost around it was part of the activity. 
tasting some delicious cider
Samish bay and some seagulls: The view from the Taylor Shellfish Farm.

One of the many, MANY shells she found today.

Beautiful fall colors from the inside of the shellfish farm building

Saraiah is trying a raw oyster.  Maia is not impressed.
Perfect reaction.  It tasted very salty and like...well, like an oyster.
Maia is still very squeamish and refuses to try.  Perfect end to the perfect day!

1 comment:

  1. Angie, if you want to borrow a cider press, and grinder let me know. We've go both. They are kind of like this one...

    Maybe we can get our families together for a 'pressing'....


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