May nearly gone

Well time sure does fly when you are busy ….

We’ve spent more time planning classes and volunteering this month. We’ve been to 2 Disney cast event’s for Earth Month, Disney’s Flower and Garden Festival twice since my last post.

IMG_20140427_093746 At Disney’s Flower & Garden Festival

Put together a Local Food poster for most recent trip it is based on resources in the Simple Living Local Food Guide we contributed to last fall.

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Designed 2 hands on pollinator classes we will be featuring at places like  Simple Living’s June’s Organic Grower’s meeting about Butterflies and the SPCA summer camps.

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We even put together an event proposal for the local Girl Scouts council to get the kids more connected with nature.

In between, we’ve done bulk food orders – visited our friends on the farm – made queso blanco – cheered our friends on at the State Odyssey of the Mind Championships –  visited the beach and so much more.IMG_20140331_160055sandkeypark

As we head into June;   we will be presenting our pollinator classes and fleshing out our plans for classes to start in the fall.

Along with a Green Girls series, Eco Girls 2, I’m considering a hands-on anatomy class.  We will also being doing farm tours, working towards a project related to citrus greening, repeating our bamboo flute making class and learning to make sourdough bread.

IMAG1894        Phew!  I better get back to it……

May you know the S.P.i.C.E. in life

~AS

Intro to Bio-char at Morningstar Fisherman

SPiCEY Hubby gave an introductory workshop on Bio-char at an aquaponics facility this week. He was delighted to speak with such inquisitive folks about the benefits, misconceptions and possible applications of this massive topic.

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http://prezi.com/k6fp1afzc1i3/biochar-an-introduction/

A big thanks to SPiCEY Son, who designed the Prezi. His efforts were instrumental in hubby sharing in a more interactive and fun way.

We hope you take a look and enjoy!

May you know the SPiCE in life.

AS

Garden schooling

Today was a banner day. It was one you mark on a calendar as perfect – or even think, wow I hit that out of the park! Hubby and I started S.P.i.C.E. and homeschooling because we wanted to be able to provide unique – hands on experiences – impacting families for a lifetime.Life starts with a garden

By accidental foresight we had one of those days, the best part —  it was, totally unplanned.

I have to admit I’m NOT a huge Facebook fan. I know, I know – but honestly the information that is “floating out in technology” that we beings put out for others to use [yes I said USE] is mind boggling (and a rant for another day).

Anyway, I use FB primarily for connecting with people who like me, believe that we must take back our food source, about six months ago I tripped over FB seed trading groups and decided to try it out. Let me just say it is totally addicting!

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So a few months ago; an awesome seed trader came out with details of a “seed box train for kids”. The idea was to sign up your kids for a box that would have donated seeds from companies like Baker’s Creek and Annie’s Heirlooms. The box is stuff and then shipped around the country for 40+ kids to pick through  – all this to inspire them to try their hand at gardening.

Guess what? The Greener Shoots for new Roots box came today!     We had a very different plan for this mild weather Friday. No sooner than the doorbell rang, and I picked up the innocent looking box, did everything else fade into the background.IMG_20140328_115729

With much enthusiasm- SPiCEY son sliced open the tape to reveal, an absolutely jam packed box with all sorts of growing goodness. Just about everything you can imagine.

All told we were at it for 5 hours! Culling through seed bag after seed bag so SPiCEY son can have seeds to start his own special area. As the excitement began to dwindle (around hour 3), we dusted off our origami skills and made/filled seed packs for several more hours. Then sealed it back up, all nice and snug to send to the next awaiting family.IMG_20140328_171217

We had awesome discussions; like why there are concerns over GMO seeds, why heirloom seeds are worth getting, noticing the amazing differences in seed shapes & sizes, thinking about what types of flowers the bees & moths are attracted to, and many times we expressed wonder at the seemingly endless amount of diverse beauty found in nature.

Not only do we have special seeds- just for SPiCEY son to grow, we also have a whole group of kids to connect with in a new way. We can plot their locations on a US Map, catalog details about what is growing well, delve into areas of the Country, research weather conditions, notice patterns and trends & get into history. Did I mention, writing all of this in a format that makes sense, calculating facts and figures as we gather data from other families and I’m confident we could use graphs and charts to demonstrate visually what all 30 plus families are experiencing in their new found gardens.

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There are literally endless paths to take this wonderful experience and we are so looking forward to the journey!

Stay tuned as we will be capturing all the fun right here.

 

May you know the SPiCE in life!

AS

 

Canning Extravaganza!!

Whew another whirlwind day!

S.P.i.C.E. sponsored a Canning class at our wonderful friend Fran’s.

We spent 4 hours with homeschool families and friends alike sharing Fran’s knowledge.

First up ~ we learned how to use a pressure cooker making canned tomatoes. It was so inspiring to see kids from ages 9-12 all together washing, peeling & smashing tomatoes before they spent time a cookin’.

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Fran talking “canning basics”

Image  Next the kids and adults enjoyed getting strawberries prepped for making a yummy strawberry jam. The house smelled absolutely divine as the jars were loaded for their hot water bath.  This morning we had a delightful breakfast of local eggs, kale from the garden and of course heavenly strawberry jam.

The class ended with using a few pounds of strawberries and showing them how to dehydrate them for snacks – Fran shared  such a clever trick – to get an even slice put the strawberries through an egg slicer, it works like a charm !

Everyone took home yummy food we made, but we didn’t stop there……

Did I mention our time feeding  the sweet little bunnies or checking out what’s in the backyard?

Bunny fix!

Bunny fix!

 

 

 

Fran's suburban garden

Fran’s suburban garden

 

 

 

 

 

It was a wonderful day!

There were a number of moments, where my heart just sang – watching the kids grazing from the garden,  working together and discussing how to put the food by.

These are the experiences we at S.P.i.C.E. live to share and we couldn’t be more thrilled!

A huge thank you to Fran for sharing her knowledge and home, can’t wait to do it again.

Stay tuned for more pictures 🙂

May you know the SPiCE in life!

AS

New class – March25!

Thanks to inspiration from my friend Cat, we will be engaging in a Canning 101 class at the end of March.

Bunnies

We will learn the basics of;

pressure cooking with stewed tomatoes,

hot water bath with strawberry jam and

then learn how to dehydrate snacks like strawberries

So excited to share this knowledge and fantastic way to preserve items from your garden.

We even get to hang out with the sweet little bunnies!

To the Ships!

shamrockYesterday, despite the Irish gales a blowin’ we and 26 others braved Ponce Inlet, Florida. It was a great day!

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First, the kids scampered down the Ponce Inlet Park jetty past the snow-like sand blowing in drifts & delighted in getting sprayed at the end of the pier.

 

Then we stepped back in time to enjoy a tour of the Nina [ The most historically accurate Columbus ship replica ever built] and her larger companion the Pinta.

pinta ireneBelow; some interesting tidbits learned from yesterday’s tour.

* The Nina & Pinta are a type of vessel called caravel. It was a common trading vessel for nearly 100 years. This ship was especially loved by the Portuguese and Spanish explorers like Columbus.

* The Nina replica we toured was built in Brazil from traditional tools (axes, hand saws & chisels).

* The Nina needs only 7ft of water to draft – this came in handy when the Santa Maria ran aground (she needed 14ft of water). It caused Columbus to leave the larger wrecked ship and his 40 crew members behind, while he returned to Spain in the Nina.

 * There are 2 miles of line used above deck ropes

* Like in the 1500’s, the crew sails for 10 months out of the year. It is a floating museum to educate the public.nina & pinta

* The Nina sailed at least 25,000 miles under Columbus’ command and made 3 trips to the New World.

* The average age for the original ship’s crew  was 14-19 years old. They did have some members as young as 8 years old who did jobs like time keeper.

* The crew works in cycles of 4hrs on, 4hrs off.

One of the most amazing parts of our tour was; The 14 yr son of the replica Nina’s shipbuilders built a rowboat, as an apprentice,  that sits on the deck today. In 2005, 15 yrs later, that same boy was the lead shipwright for the Pinta. Talk about an inspiring homeschooler’s story!!

If you missed the ships you can visit their website here and their facebook to keep up-to-date on where they will be docking .nina squaresail

While on-board, it was easy to imagine yourself in a time long past, the square sails full with the wind at your back. More than one of us marveled aloud about how interesting it would be to live the life of a sailor.

Thank you to everyone for coming out and spending your afternoon with us. It was a rare (albeit wet and soggy) treat!

May you know the SPiCE in life!

AS

Bamboo flutes abound!!

Yesterday was a perfect day!

Despite the initially concerning weather, we had 17 lovely folks making bamboo flutes at the Beautiful Bamboo Farm.

– We started with a brief history overview. Then a couple of us at a time, learned how to cut the bamboo for our desired tone.

– Mark and drill our holes ……..

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– Watched as our flute’s holes were burned to help clean them up and avoid cracking

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Using the burn tool to complete our finger holes

– And finally; sanded, sanded some more and decorated

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Our class setting, amongst the hundreds of elegantly swaying bamboo, was a calming and inspiring location with plenty of exploring as the kids ran around in teams to locate facts about plants on the farm.

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With a teacher that has such passion and palpable excitement for making flutes, it was sure to translate into gorgeous beginner flutes for us all.

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Several finished flutes

We were blessed with impromptu music on various flutes Ryan has made.

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Flute demonstration

Ryan is a “master craftsman” in the making and this young guy is well worth following.  A huge THANK YOU to him for a knowledgeable, well thought out presentation and hands-on experience. Thank you to Beautiful Bamboo for hosting as well as our awesome participants.

Our family has had a fantastic time producing our first quality tones, and beginning flutes classes today.

Stay tuned for more updates on our progress.

May you know the SPiCE in life!

AS

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Photos courtesy of I. Hopkins, K. Graham, C. Wardlow & J. White