09/21/16

New York City

The chronology of my summer posts is a little backwards.  Before our pastor moved, before Thomas was confirmed, and while I was still throwing rocks, Thomas, Jack, and David went to New York City.  They had a great time so I want to give their summer “field trip” a little mention on this space before the calendar and the weather officially turn to autumn.

metropolitanmuseum

Tom’s favorite picture from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

We had a few reasons for sending just the two older boys with David on a trip like this.  First, I am at a stage in my life where I really do not like to travel.  Perhaps this is just a temporary stage.  I don’t know.  I do know that I am currently a homebody. That does not mean, however, that I want our children to grow up to be homebodies too.  David and I thought it would be good for Thomas and Jack to see and experience something outside of western New York.  What better way to do this than to hop a train with Dad and travel across our Empire State to New York City?

Our second line of reasoning was that Walter is just too young for a trip like this.  He would neither appreciate it nor remember it; and even if I did like to travel, the logistics of taking a toddler on an eight hour trip to New York City are complicated at best.  Clearly the older boys would be less encumbered and would have more fun without their anxious mother and their little brother in tow.

Finally, with just bit of homeschool math, one can figure out that a trip for three people will cost less than a trip for five people.  Our limited travel budget was able to stretch a little further with Walter and me staying home.

After we thought through all this quite logically, David bought tickets for the train and booked an Airbnb for two nights in Times Square.  I helped the boys pack their bags, and they were off!

In Times Square.

In Times Square

The trip was a huge success!  My three travelers are already planning a return trip next summer.  Upon their return, I asked the boys to write blog posts about their experiences, which they did gladly.  Thomas is the photographer of the pair.  You can see his post at Thomas Duke 2003.  Jack is our young writer in residence.  If New York City from a ten-year-old’s perspective sounds interesting, you can read about it on his site, EpicJetMan 1780.

What about Walter and me, you might ask?  We enjoyed the quiet.  We enjoyed the not cooking for five people.  We enjoyed walking at the river in the morning and napping in the afternoon.  We enjoyed playing the piano and getting some house projects done.  It was wonderful.  I’m looking forward to next summer’s return trip too!

Not New York City

Not New York City

 

 

06/13/14

Nachmu Crayons

KidBiz 2013

KidBiz 2013

KidBiz is back!  The following is a re-post by Thomas:

My brother and I are starting a business called Nachmu Crayons.  Nachmu crayonsNachmu Crayons will be part of the KidBiz program.  KidBiz is a program where kids can sell things such as artwork, crafts, old toys, and stuff like that.  It is sponsored by Buffalo State College.  KidBiz will be on Saturday, June 14, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the corner of Elmwood and Bidwell by the farmers’ market in Buffalo, New York.  Other kids will be selling things there too.

We will be selling recycled crayons shaped to be butterflies, ladybugs, frogs, hearts, and stars.  The prices are 3 for $2 or 75¢ each.  We will not only be selling crayons of different shapes, but we will also bring our musical instruments.  My brother, Jack, will play the cello, and I will play the violin.

a portion of our inventory

a portion of our inventory

We call the business Nachmu Crayons because my dad uses Nachmu (Nock-Moo) as a family nickname.  Nachmu means comfort in Hebrew.  You can read more about that here.

We would like to recycle more crayons!  If you have unwanted crayons, please think of recycling them with us.  Any crayons are fine even if they are broken.  We will melt the crayons and pour them into candy molds to give them their new shape.  We will give you a Nachmu Crayons coupon for your donation.  Future dates for Kidbiz are July 5 and August 2.  We hope to be selling crayons on those dates too!

melting the crayons

melting the crayons

Please send our mom an email if you would like to recycle crayons with us.  Her email address is deborah@nachmu.com.  Write “recycled crayons” in the subject header, and we will get back to you.  Thank you!

04/5/14

Yeast Project

Welcoming Thomas for a guest post this weekend.

bread picture small - Copy

We decided to do this yeast project after I forgot to put the yeast in bread.  First we looked at the directions from sciencebob.com.  The website said to get a bottle and fill it with about one inch of warm water.  Then it said to add one packet of yeast and swirl it.  After that we needed to add a teaspoon of sugar and swirl that.  Finally we put the balloon on the bottle and put in in a warm spot.  Here is a cool timelapse of the twenty minutes that we left the bottle in a warm place:

How does this work?

The yeast eats the sugar and releases a gas called carbon dioxide.  Carbon dioxide is the same gas that we release when we exhale.  Yeast does not have to eat sugar. It will also eat flour or sugar-related things.  The carbon dioxide makes holes in whatever the yeast is in, as seen below.

This bread has yeast in it.

DSCN5729

Holes

This bread does not.

IMG_3154

No holes (well one or two not from yeast)

After the twenty minutes were up, we took a drop of the yeast solution out of the bottle. We looked at the solution under a microscope.  Here is a picture of the solution taken by focusing the camera lens in the microscope view:

DSCN5710

This was a fun project, but I hope I don’t forget to put yeast in bread again!

12/12/13

Thanksgiving Report 3: Pilgrims

It is December 11.  Theoretically, this is a time of preparation for Christmas, not a time for writing about Thanksgiving.  Rest assured, we are preparing for Christmas, and a “White Christmas” at that.  In fact, Western New York weather is so intent on creating a “Winter Wonderland” effect, that the boys were unable to get the Christmas tree today as planned.  They braved the lake effect snow, headed south to East Aurora, and found the driveway to the tree farm under two feet of snow, with conditions deteriorating steadily.

photo by Thomas

photo by Thomas

photo by Thomas

photo by Thomas

They decided to come home.

With no tree to decorate this evening, I decided to finish my Thanksgiving series.  This last post is actually a showcase of Jack’s work.  He read about the Pilgrims this fall, and wrote a report about them.  Concurrently, he worked on an imaginative story.  He calls it “The Yellow Pod and The Green Pod.”  I like to call it “The Pilgrims Go to Mexico.”  It is interesting to me because I can see that he is working with certain concepts, and yet he doesn’t quite understand them fully.  For example, he knows that ships carried people across the ocean, and that smaller sailing sloops were used for trading up and down the coast.  (I just learned that myself after reading The Winthrop Woman.)  He also knows that fresh water is important.  Instead of including a “spoiler alert,” I’ll let you read on for yourself to see how these concepts play out.  By the way, the “pods” are the ships.  I don’t know why he calls them “pods.”

“The Pilgrims”

by Jack Duke

mayflowerscale

A Pilgrim is someone who goes on a long, long journey.  The Pilgrims could not worship God in their own way.  They tried to get to Virginia, but they got to Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Before winter there were 102 Pilgrims.  After the winter there were 50 Pilgrims.  By the end of the summer, they had eight houses. 

Native Americans helped the Pilgrims in the summer.  In October the Pilgrims and the Indians had a big feast!  They had deer, berries, grapes, dried plums, nuts, and turkeys!  The feast was to be thankful for their food.  They had pumpkins, squash and beans too.

“The Yellow Pod and the Green Pod”

This book is in 1852.

by Jack Duke

scaleyellowpod

One fine day, the Yellow Pod and the Green Pod were going to north Mexico.  The people on the ships were going to live there.  It was a smooth ride.  They got to north Mexico safe and sound.

They gave some people who needed ships their ships for two sailboats.  They were going to need sailboats to go places to trade things.  They made ten little wooden houses.  The kids played tag, and run around the house, and hide and seek.  One day they got a great trade: a log for a gun.  Then one day they went to Florida in their sailboats to get some more water.  When they were home, everyone had lots of water.

It was summer at last.  Crops were growing.  Everyone was happy that it was summer.  They had sailed for that long, long time for a better life.  The place was not so full because they had made their own town.  They made lots of friends there.  They had a way better life in north Mexico than in England.

THE END

P.S.  For my non-local readers, let me explain lake effect snow.  East Aurora is south of Buffalo, and the City of Tonawanda, where we live, is north of Buffalo.  If you look on a map, you will see that Tonawanda is actually north of Lake Erie.  Alas, this means we do not always get the lake effect snow.  This is frustrating for the children, the young at heart, and anyone who doesn’t have to drive regularly.  You saw the pictures from East Aurora.  Here in Tonawanda, we have about an inch.  We’re hoping for more, and I think it’s on it’s way…

06/14/13

Nachmu Crayons

Welcoming Thomas for a guest post today:

My brother and I are starting a business called Nachmu Crayons.  Nachmu crayonsNachmu Crayons will be part of the KidBiz program.  KidBiz is a program where kids can sell things such as artwork, crafts, old toys, and stuff like that.  It is sponsored by Buffalo State College.  KidBiz will be on Saturday, June 15, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the corner of Elmwood and Bidwell by the farmers’ market in Buffalo, New York.  Other kids will be selling things there too.

We will be selling recycled crayons shaped to be butterflies, ladybugs, frogs, hearts, and stars.  The prices are 3 for $2 or 75¢ each.  We will not only be selling crayons of different shapes, but we will also bring our musical instruments.  My brother, Jack, will play the cello, and I will play the violin.

a portion of our inventory

a portion of our inventory

We call the business Nachmu Crayons because my dad uses Nachmu (Nock-Moo) as a family nickname.  Nachmu means comfort in Hebrew.  You can read more about that here.

We would like to recycle more crayons!  If you have unwanted crayons, please think of recycling them with us.  Any crayons are fine even if they are broken.  We will melt the crayons and pour them into candy molds to give them their new shape.  We will give you a Nachmu Crayons coupon for your donation.  Future dates for Kidbiz are July 6 and August 3.  We hope to be selling crayons on those dates too!

melting the crayons

melting the crayons

Please send our mom an email if you would like to recycle crayons with us.  Her email address is deborah@nachmu.com.  Write “recycled crayons” in the subject header, and we will get back to you.  Thank you!

05/22/13

The Zeilinger Wool Company

On May 6 2013, we were at Grandma and Grandma’s house.  We did several things that day.  One of the main things we did was we went to the Zeilinger Wool Company.  We went inside and saw the things they sold there.   One of the workers named Dotie came to us and took us to another building on the land they owned, and we went inside.  Inside that building, there were lots of machines that were part of the process of making wool into yarn.  There were cool machines in that building.

Some machines were getting dirt and stuff like that out of the wool.  Even though it had already been washed with soap and water, it was not all the way clean.

 

cardingmachine

The carding machine removes any remaining dirt or vegetation and makes the fibers smooth.

The carded wool is ready for spinning.

This is a spinning frame that spins the wool into one-ply yarn.

This is a spinning frame that spins the wool into one-ply yarn.

 

Now the wool is steamed so the yarn does not kink.

Now the wool is steamed so the yarn does not kink.

 

Next, the yarn is wound onto cones.

Next, the yarn is wound onto cones.

One-ply yarn is not very strong.

The twister spins the one-ply yarn into two, three, or four-ply yarn.

The twister spins the one-ply yarn into two, three, or four-ply yarn.

Now the yarn is ready for use.

I am glad we got to see the Zeilinger wool company.  It was a great tour of the building.  If you want to know more, you can watch this video:

Photos by C. Gioe

 

10/12/12

Buffalo Field Trip

 by Thomas

 

One beautiful day we went to downtown Buffalo.  First, we went to Mr. Matt Sperber’s guitar concert at St. Paul’s Cathedral.  Second, we went to the harbor at Canalside.

At Mr. Matt’s concert, we arrived with two minutes to spare.  When Mr. Matt was playing, it was nice and calm music.  He played about four or five songs.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral

At Canalside we saw Navy ships.  At 2:30 pm, a ship called the Niagara from the War of 1812 came to the harbor.  The boat was more than 200 years old!  We also saw a cannon from the War of 1812.  We saw the sailors demonstrate how they load the cannon.  They had a sound system.  They also had a sound effect that sounded like the cannon shot, but it didn’t really shoot. 

U.S. Brig Niagara

The American flag had 15 stars during the War of 1812.

Cannon Demonstration

 A little while after that we went home.

06/17/12

Walter Avenue Excitement

a post by Thomas

The sewer system is being improved on Walter Avenue.  The pipes are being relined through a process called CIPP.  CIPP stands for Cured In Place Pipe.  What happens is that the pipes get old and damaged.  Then they need to be repaired.

The first step is sending a camera through the old sewer pipes.  The camera takes video of the damage and measures the pipes.  Next, a new fiberglass liner is cut to the right size. The liner is coated with an epoxy resin.  The liner is soft and wet right now.  The workers use a special machine to inflate the resin-coated fiberglass liner and shoot it into the old pipe.

Then the liner is cured in place using steam. It takes about three hours for the liner to cure and the resin to get hard.

The steam is rising while the liner cures.

 

The worker is checking the heat and pressure with the gauges.

After the liner is cured and the resin is hard, a robotic cutting device cuts holes where there are pipes connecting to the houses.  When everything is finished, the camera is sent to video the new pipe.

This CIPP pipe relining process is much faster and much simpler than digging up the road to repair.  The pipe is basically a new PVC pipe.