Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Boy for a Man's Job

As you get to know me better, you'll learn never to stand between me and a used book sale.  If I'm headed in, I'll be in a hurry to get to the old classics before the other homeschool moms.  If I'm headed out, I may have books stacked so high in my arms I won't see you. Last week  I got a chance to go to the Greater St. Louis Book Fair  ( ) .  The treasure of the trip was a book called A Boy for a Man's Job by Nina Brown Baker. 

I learned about this book in Kelly Nahrgang's curriculum--A Guide to Studying Missouri History Through Literature.  (You can learn more about this at )

If you have to study Missouri history, I can't recommend this book enough.  Even if you don't have to study Missouri, what could be better than the story of a 14 year old boy who shows enough responsibility and vision that he is given the job of building a town which still exists today---St. Louis.  Pierre Laclede is the man usually associated with the founding of St. Louis, but he was detained by an injury (the book says a millstone fell on his foot).  He sent his stepson, Auguste Chouteau to lead 30 men in laying out the streets and building the trading post, warehouses and  homes. 

The book was written in 1952 and is out of print, but I've found it in several Missouri library collections.  I would say the reading level is a little lower than the Landmark book series (I'll be using it as a read aloud).   It is a fictionalized history--there is another character named Charlie on the adventure that I've not found documented, but Laclede, Chouteau, the town of Ste. Genevieve and Fort de Chartes are all real.

Fritz's Forest

As I mentioned in the last entry, we recently moved to Missouri.  If you ask my schnicklefritz his favorite thing about our new home he would say "The Forest!!!!"  Our house is situated on a three acre, heavily wooded lot. 

Our old neighborhood  in Indiana was built over farmland.  The land was flat and the only trees were the  evergreens and Bradford Pears doled out to every house on the block.  So much for flora...the fauna consisted of dogs on leashes and the Canadian geese who had taken up residency on the neighborhood retention pond.

Here's a list of animals we've spotted in our new neighborhood: squirrels, chipmunks, a raccoon, deer (as many as 11 at once), horses, mules, a gray fox, a box turtle, a snapping turtle, a possum, cardinals, bluebirds, a merlin,  pileated woodpeckers, and a wild turkey.  We keep our binoculars and a copy of Anna Bradford Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study by the patio window.

The variety of vegetation has improved as well.  We have oaks, hickories, black walnuts, and dogwoods decorating our forest.  A neighbor hinted we may find morel mushrooms if we go hunting.  We arrived too late last season to collect nuts but I'm looking forward to trying some new cookie/baking recipes.  I guess we'll learn from experience about the phrase "a tough nut to crack."  Anyone with tips or recipes, please feel free to comment.   

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

An Introduction

I've been toying with the idea of starting a blog for months.  I've thought of several entries to share: Missouri field trips, recommended books, our first lapbook, a garden journal, frugal tips and recipes.  The one thing I never thought of was how to start.  What do you say to masses of people you've never met?  What should I tell you about myself?  The first thing that comes to my mind is "Uummmmmmm, I don't know." 

I can say that my husband and I have been married for seven years and we are the parents of one boy--I'll call him Schnicklefritz, or Fritz for short.  That's a German term of endearment that has been passed down the generations of my family.   Last year my husband accepted a new job in Missouri and I had a longtime prayer answered: the chance to be a stay-at-home mom and homeschool him in kindergarten. 

Goodness, I think I've completed my first entry.  And with that out of the way, I can move on to all the other ideas that were crowding my head to begin with.
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