The Robinson's make bayberry candles to produce light. Jesus (Yeshua) said, "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all [who are] in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matt 5:14-16. This is a part of our memory verse! So, we have been studying various methods for making candles. We got 10 pounds of bees wax from a beekeeper and we made hand dipped candles from beexwax and paraffin.
Here is the wax as we are heating it to strain it. As my boys say, "This is real beeswax, it still has some
bees in it!"
I poured the beeswax into a 2 pound block, so that I could easily measure how much I would need for the candles. We mixed 9 pounds of paraffin and 2 pounds of beeswax. Back to Basics, How to Learn and Enjoy Traditional American Skills explains that beeswax can be expensive and hard to come by. (Did you know that bees use up 10 pounds of honey to make 1 pound of comb?) They suggest using beeswax as an additive and that using only 10% of beeswax will produce candles that are stronger than paraffin alone and smell better. And they do smell good! We made homemade wicks out of heavy cotton yarn, 2 T boric acid and 1 T salt in 1 cup of water. They were soaked for 12 hours then dried. We visited Frugal's Forum "How To" Photo Gallery: "Candle Making with Beeswax" for a step by step tutorial. You have to be signed it to read the forum, but it is well worth it! We used a cardboard square to keep the candles apart and tied washers on the ends to keep the wicks straight as they were repeatedly dipped . . . into the hot wax, then cold water.
We follow the suggestion to dip 3/4 of the way, 1/2 way, 1/4, then 2/3, 1/3, etc. to make a nicely tapered candle. The bottoms were trimmed and they were rolled in wax paper to make a smooth taper.
We also talked about other non-electric light sources and made a homemade oil lamp with olive oil.
We made the candles below when we made our tin can stoves in lesson 3. We made short, fat candles out of small empty salmon cans (like a tuna can), cardboard and paraffin to heat our stoves. We also made these candles out of small tin cans (empty tomato paste cans) for heating food and warmth in emergencies. We keep them in the back of our van in a large tin can with other emergency items.
We also learned about tracking and trail-marking.
Tracking: We looked in snow for animal tracks. Studied the tracks and made a sketch of it. We watched for other signs such as broken twigs, scratches, rubs, scat (animal droppings), etc. We learned that dry scat means an animal passed by some time ago, while fresh scat indicates an animal could be nearby. We intended to collect tracks with plaster of paris, but there was too much snow and not enough mud! Had we found some, we would have made note of the date, location and animal name.
Trail Marking terms we learned: Blaze - made by peeling bark - small circle on top, oval on bottom Cairns - large stone with small stone on top Grass markers - grass clump tied together Stick markers - forked sticks Stone markers - stones in a pattern We learned how to say: "This is the way" "Turn right" "Turn left" "Not the right way" "Danger Get Help" And we played "Follow My Trail!" The kids set out on a short hike and blazed a trail using trail markers. They made a map of the hike as they went and we followed their markers.
We also did a study on ants. We read Proverbs 6:6 and 30:25 and talked about character traits that ants demonstrate, why they work so hard in the summer, whether they work individually, for their own goals, or cooperatively, as a family or community would.
We talked about other animals that work together. We talked about use of trees, logging with draft animals and why they would be more effective than heavy machines (easier to move through thick brush and betwen trees), common woods for lumber (pine, fir, spruce, oak, maple, cherry, walnut, mahogany), and how to identify undesirable trees for fuel (rotting, dead, diseased). I had the boys draw a cross section of a log and label the layers indicating the history of the tree. I challenged them to write an interesting story in the rings of the stump (a crack to indicate and accident, a forest fire that burned part of the tree, a nail in the tree, etc). This was a fun chapter to google! Anything we didn't know about, we googled. Here are some of the things from the chapter that we googled: Ruffled grouse Myrica cerifera berry Cabbage palm Grosbeak Caoutchouc (India Rubber) Sago Palm Sago worm Sugar cane (the boys were surprised that that is where sugar comes from)
A couple of the 22 vocab words we learned: Repugnance: we expressed repugnance - intense disgust - when the Robinson's ate the worms of the sago palm tree. Impetuousity: we should not display impetuousity -quickly without thought or care- when making important decisions.
We continued working on our memory verse - Matthew 5. I bought a new cd to help the boys with this. It is a Sing the Word CD called All Nations Shall Worship. Track two is almost all of our verse. We sing it everyday for practice. Then we play our white board game to help.