Tuesday, November 10, 2009

US History: Colonial Times, Living

We've been doing lots of daily life activities in our Colonial unit!

Our favorite was making this little wattle and daub house. We had intended to make it on a plastic tray with the posts supported by homemade clay, but there was just no way to get the posts secured strongly enough to counteract the tension of the weaving process.

We ended up doing it the old fashioned way: pushing the posts deeply into the ground, about 3 inches apart, then interweaving small flexible branches for the wattle. We used shoots from out red twig dogwood, which made a very pretty little framework. You could also use willow, I believe both are even historically accurate! Anything very flexible would work.

The tension made our rectangle look a little round as we were weaving.
We added thicker "logs" on the top to bring it back into shape.

Then we added the daub. The colonists would have used clay mixed with manure (to prevent cracks from forming as the clay dried). After everything had dried, the smell was "hardly noticeable." Umm.

We used plain garden soil mixed with water!!!

Sometimes it doesn't pay to be too historically accurate.
Next came the framework for the roof.
And then the thatching!

We found a great You Tube video of a master thatcher. Very fun! It looks like it would be very easy to do a terrible job.

We also braided a rag rug or two with some sewing scraps.

I very much wanted to spin wool with a drop spindle, put I couldn't figure out how to buy wool. I knew if I bought "raw" wool I would need to wash it (not sure how but we could probably figure it out), pick it (we can do that), and comb it (can it be done without carding combs? wouldn't that cost a lot to buy them?). What with losing a week and a half to a(nother!) bad flu, I was starting to feel like we should move on, so I punted and we watched it all on You Tube. Here we have shearing, preparing, spinning, and weaving. All four are the same group and they take a total of less than 10 minutes. It was wonderful to see so many different ways to spin!

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