GPHS Moorings Newsletters - page 17

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Summer is a time of discovery, creativity, and quiet
reflection for children. Ribbon Farm Days offered children
an opportunity to leave their more passive activities and enter
the world of active and creative participation.
Ribbon Farm Days, held at the Provencal-Weir House
during June and July, is a place where children experienced
ways in which their counterparts from past centuries would
have passed their summer days – with baking, gardening,
weaving, painting, sewing and games.
In the Garden – Session One
In Session I the children created an indoor
Fairy Garden.
They began by filling a 10-inch round pot with soil and
planted Jade, Fittonia and Baby Tears. Fairy doors, stones,
benches and ponds were fashioned from Fimo clay. Addi-
tional supplies included a wire bench, white picket fences and
a Garden Fairy.These young gardeners became responsible
for maintaining their Fairy Gardens at home with proper
sunlight and watering.
During Week 2 the children created
Tin Lanterns.
Earlier
settlers frequently used lanterns like these when they needed
to milk cows or
harness horses
early in the
morning and late
in the evening. These lanterns lit the dark barn and kept the
hay safe from fire.
Ribbon Farm children used 32-ounce cans. They created
designs on paper and attached them to the cans, which
then were filled with water and frozen.The children used
a hammer and nail to fashion the pattern on the frozen
lantern. Finally, they added a candle they had made, and
a handle. At night, when the candle is lit, the patterns glow
in the garden.
We discussed the local orchards of the past focusing
on pear, apple and cherry trees,
indigenous to Michigan
and Grosse Pointe. Children
learned to make pear strudel
and hand-shaken whipped
cream.
Windmill Pointe – SessionTwo
In 2012 we observe the 300th anniversary of the 1712 Fox
Indian battle at Windmill Pointe.The second Ribbon Farm
Days session focused on aspects of life during the early part
of the 1700s.
To review the extraordinary history of Grosse Pointe’s
shores, the children built a three-dimensional puzzle of a
Windmill
.The 78-piece structure had to be assembled and
then held together with hot glue. Once completed, the chil-
dren painted their working windmills to take home.
In the second week, students made Native American-
inspired
Hand Sewn Vests
, adorning them with threads and
beads. Each child was fitted with fabric and was responsible
for cutting the patterns and sewing the seams.
The children also explored music and rhythmic instru-
ments of this earlier period. They made and painted musical
pods, or rattles.
Corn was a staple of the early settlers in the area. Stu-
dents made corn bread, using an old time-tested recipe.
Ribbon Farms – SessionThree
The Ribbon Farms hugged the shores of the Detroit River
and Lake St. Clair in the 1800s.The Provencal-Weir House
is a surviving Ribbon Farm dwelling from that time.
These farms were worked by dedicated families like Pierre
Provencal, his wife Euphemia, their daughter Catherine and
their 24 adopted children. In order to sustain themselves,
everyone had to “help.”
There were many household tasks that children helped
with – weaving, dyeing, sewing and cooking. In the third
Ribbon Days session, children used wool yarn and wove a
small tapestry on a wooden loom. Unfortunately, the berries
and plants that would have been used to dye the wool are
not readily available today. The alternative was to use cherry,
lime, grape, lemon, orange, black cherry and tropical punch
Kool-Aid to dye the wool. Once the wool was dyed, the
children hung it outside to dry.
Week 2 they sewed their own cloth doll by tracing and
cutting their doll templates, sewing them, turning them
inside out and stuffing them with fiber filling.Then they
attached the arms and legs to the torso. Once finished, they
traced and cut the pattern for the dresses, sewed them, and
decorated the dresses with fabric markers.They finished their
dolls by sewing their hair with yarn.
For refreshments they enjoyed fresh
squeezed lemonade and we made
flap jacks from scratch adorned with
home whipped butter and syrup.
De-lish!
Ribbon Farm Days, Summer 2012
Children creating the fairy garden.
Painting windmills on the porch.
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