My GPS on my phone stopped working a while ago so this was a bit of a stretch for me, venturing into Newlands - unknown territory for the newbie in town. Pathetic I know but I am such a scaredy cat when I have a car full of children, a map book whose pages look like a bowl of spagetti with intersections, highways and hard to find places. I like a GPS: it says left and you turn left - you don't have to think, you just do! But nonetheless I put my name down for the excursioin to Josephine Mill like any good home-educating mother would.
Of course when I looked out the door and saw the grey skies and downpour I simply thought - "Oh great, no GPS AND this! But never to be defeated by some rain (after all with warriors in my house they would think I was "wimping out") we headed off to Newlands.
What a lovely learning opportunity! Of course it takes some courage handing over your mapbook because you never know where your children might direct you to (mine would probably direct me to the closest Toys R Us) but we got there AND (insert trumpet blast) FIRST! Those of you that know me, know this is close to a miracle - in fact I would even go as far as to suggest the rapture is on the way based on this amazing performance:)
Josephine Mill, you wonder how your children will manage more than 20 minutes of walking around because it really doesn't look like much at first glance. But then Millton starts. What a compelling story teller he is! His gift in story telling has the children enthralled as he tells tales of crookery, romance, land ownership, conflict, princesses and jewels all of which have played a part in the establishment of this mill in 1822 (oh boy - hope I got the date right). After all the stories, it was time for touching. YAY! And they had been so good and so patient. You know what its like - the pep talk in the car about not touching with threat of all sorts of punishment if they don't listen ( or is that just me?)
Grinding with stones gave me a new respect for some of our more traditional folk who still practise some of these methods. No such thing as a quick loaf.
The BIG machine was put on and could we could watch how the wheat went in on the one side and the flour came out on the other after being stone ground with huge churning wheels and lots of noise with all of us peering inside of course.
And we were able to see a water wheel up close. Unfortunately he had to start it manually due to the weather but apparently its normally automatic.
Some real mindblowing facts for me was
*cake flour is not real flour but wheat dust i.e. the dust thats produced during the grinding process
*flour is flamable!!! Who thought baking could be so dangerous and considering that I don't get danger pay I might need to invest in an appropriate outfit to wear on the occassions that I do, or maybe I should just insist that Sean do all the baking from now as danger is a man's calling isn't it?
The whole experience was about an hour and a half but even with children ranging 3 to 10 years, it was great! And of course what a lovely time to just chat and meet some new homeschooling moms and dads.
We're off to the District Six Museum on Friday so looking forward to the next learning experience. They always remember a lot more than if you teach out of books. And mom gets to learn a whole lot too.
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