Summer Bucket List

Summer vacation started early here in Pennsylvania, or earlier then it has most years. School ended on the 27th of May, and I knew before too long I would be hearing “I’m bored!” so I decided to create a Summer bucket list of things I could teach my 13 year old to do. At 13 he’s pretty good at entertaining himself, but boredom does still strike.
I felt that creating a list of activities would be fun for both of us, and I’d get to try some things I have never done either. We started off making paper, which is something I used to do a lot of about 15 years ago. I used to have a book back then (I tried to remember the title and search for it, but no luck) it was all about making paper from items like corn husks & banana peels. I did come across this book which shows you how to use garden plants & common weeds to create paper, which sounds amazing.
We used scrap paper and an old blender, and made our deckle box out of some $1 wooden frames from Michaels craft store. You can find instructions on paper making below in our Summer list. Paper making is super simple, and you can get such fun results with inexpensive tools. You can find blenders at thrift shops, and make your deckle box out of inexpensive items.

We have also dyed yarn with acid dyes, and then went over our yarn again when we got some new dye colors. Cleaned & washed the wool from the Maryland Sheep & Wool fest and then dyed it. Took a pottery class at the local college, and planted cat nip and cat grass. You can see our list below with links. I’m sure I’ll be adding to our list all Summer long.
Summer Bucket List
Dye yarn & wool with acid dyes
-take a ceramics class
-plant and grow catnip
harvest and dry catnip
make cat toys with dried catnip
clean raw wool
make paper
make homemade marshmallows
make homemade bath bombs
-pick strawberries
make strawberry jam
make zines
draw and have custom rubber stamps made
make nail polish marbled beads
make cold process soap
make books from our handmade paper
make salsa from garden tomatoes

Alpaca Babypalooza

A few weekends ago I happened to see a notice for an event called Alpaca Babypalooza. The Sugarloaf Alpaca Company was inviting everyone to come out to Adamstown MD and see the baby alpacas. How could anyone resist the idea of two dozen baby alpaca? The whole event was free, which I thought was really lovely. First we fed the alpacas with food that was provided. Then we took a tour of the spinning mill, which was so interesting! I wish I had taken photos. After the tour we came out side just in time to watch see an alpaca giving birth. Neither of us had seen an animal born before and it was such an astounding experience.
Before leaving we made sure to pick up some treats from the gift shop. I bought a couple of amazingly soft alpaca batts for spinning, and B decided on a needle felting kit. I am saving my batts for a special Halloween yarn I am planning to spin myself. I want to knit a pair of arm warmers for the Fall with a Halloween vibe to them. I am still looking for the perfect pattern.

Civil War

For the last couple of months B has been really interested in the history of The Civil War. We live fairly close to Gettysburg PA, and his class had a field trip to Gettysburg during the final month of school. After the field trip they received flyers about a free one day program called A Day In The Life Of A Civil War Soldier, and he was eager to sign up. I asked Katie about signing her son up too since I figured they’d have even more fun together.
The event was at the Blue Ridge Summit library, which is housed in what was a train station of the Western Maryland Railroad built in 1911. It’s a really beautiful building, and the whole area of Blue Ridge Summit and Pen Mar has such an interesting history. The Western Maryland Railroad constructed Pen Mar Park as a tourist destination in 1877. There was a an amusement park that included a scenic lookout, roller coaster, movie theater, dance pavilion, picnic shelter, miniature train, photo studio, concession stand, carousel with a penny arcade, dining hall and children’s playground. The park was a huge success with thousands of visitors taking the trip from Baltimore to Pen Mar by train. But by the late 1920’s people stopped traveling to the park by train and it stopped making a profit for the railroad. The area apparently had lots of beautiful hotels, and over 100 boarding houses.
You’d never know it was such a huge tourist destination today, the area still has the scenic overlook and pavilion, and there is a small playground but that’s about it. There are apparently two dvds about the area that I’d love to see, one called The Grand Hotels Of Blue Ridge and Greetings From Penn Mar. The whole area must of really been something to see in it’s hey-day.
The Civil War Soldier event was on the first day of Summer and it was unseasonably cool in the 60’s. Luckily we live close enough that I was able to make a quick run home to grab sweatshirts and brew Katie and I some hot coffee. The program was four hours long, and the kids both loved it. They learned about marching in formation, flag drills, each job needed for loading a cannon, uniforms, and supplies. We were having trouble judging how they felt about it just by watching. Four hours is a long time, and they spent an hour and a half of it each taking turns doing the various jobs to load a cannon for firing, so we were really happy when we talked to them afterwards. They said it wasn’t too long, wasn’t ever boring, and they loved it.