A Pioneer Sampler: The Daily Life of a Pioneer Family in 1840 by Barbara Greenwood is a fascinating look at pioneer life. The book introduces the Robertson family and chronicles a year of their life on a backwoods farm. Each story chapter is followed by factual tidbits, projects, games, diagrams, and more. Covering topics such as finding a honey tree, immigration, peddlers, storing food for the winter, and building a second home, this book is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in American pioneers. I am amazed at the amount of information the author managed to pack within the pages of this sampler.
A Pioneer Sampler enhanced our reading of Little House in the Big Woods this spring, as Levi was introduced to Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her life was made more real to us because we could better picture events and situations depicted in the story.
We have chewed 'wheat gum,' tried different methods of pioneer measuring, experimented with the antifreeze properties of sugar after reading about tapping maple trees, made a paper pioneer water carrier, and tasted honey butter. We are looking forward to making a balance scale, sealing a letter with candle wax, and experimenting with rollers, levers, runners, and ramps.
During the holidays, we will be making our way through A Pioneer Thanksgiving and A Pioneer Christmas.
Making beeswax candles:
If you can find flat sheets of beeswax (I ordered online), there are very few things easier or more rewarding than making beeswax candles. They are a wonderful, no-mess project for young kids--great for giving as gifts!
Making cheese: (About as easy as making butter. Just takes longer. And you have to have cheese cloth.)