Thursday, June 30, 2016

June Bugs

These dudes, which buzz about Camp Mather "like flying mice," as G described, deserve their own post.  Aren't they awesome?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Historic Roscoe Village

This is a restored village, both currently in use for residents and preserved as a living history experience, exploring the canal development of Ohio in the early 1800s.  The town was also part of the Underground Railroad, which is important and interesting.  We had fun and learned a lot that we hadn't known about the role of canals in Ohio's pre-railroad history.

First the orange lillies, which were all over Ohio's roads, making them especially gorgeous:

This broomaker (living history actor) was fascinating, explaining that while the Shakers claim responsibility for the invention of the flat edged broom, it was actually invented by slaves in the South.

G liked this more elaborate model

The print shop was also interesting and we learned about the role of broadsides in advertising in early rural American life.  Now we know that the saying is about hitting "the broadside ON a barn," not the broad side of a barn."

This toy museum was out of synch with the historical era of the town, but contained toys from the 1800s to the 1980s, more or less.  Lots of fun things to look at and even play with.

We also visited an 1840s doctor's office - and saw quite scary equipment that made us all thankful for modern medicine!

With the doctor's assistant, an animated living history actor who stayed in character admirably (excusing me when I requested a photo)

Handpainted wallpaper!

Touring and tasting in the kitchen

Taking a short rest - it was hot and humid!

An actual restored canal boat, the reason for the town.

The girls finally go to school....

A beautiful loom and we got to talk with a living history actor who has learned to use it, working hard to make beautiful place mats, etc.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Learning about the Amish, Mennonites, and Hutterites

After learning about the Harmony Society at New Economy Village, it was interesting to learn about the Amish, who settled this area at approximately the same time.  Auntie Char had warned us that we were unlikely to see much, but fortunately she was wrong - we counted nearly 50 buggies on the road, saw lots of Amish farms and businesses, and learned a lot about their history and philosophy at a Visitor's Center. 

We were lucky to have a private tour of Behalt, which is a massive 10' by 265' mural cylorama (one of only four in the US) that describes Amish, Mennonite and Hutterite history.  Pictures weren't allowed, but I found this one online at  I also found a YouTube video of the tour through "Amish Country TV."  The girls paid rapt attention throughout...

Just a few photos of the buggies, a quintessential symbol of the Amish determination to live intentionally apart.

We were excited to spot them, but at the same time cognizant of wanting to be respectful, learning, not gawking.

So beautiful

The beauty of the farm land was impressive, though I don't feel that I captured it in these photos...

I've loved Amish quilts since I saw an exhibit at the Smithsonian on them in the late '80s...
My take-away was captured in the introduction to a book that was written by the man who was our guide to the cyclorama.  Why have a Visitor's Center if you want to live apart?  Why write books or have "Amish TV?" (which I admittedly only discovered once we got home and I started looking online for more information).   I suppose that there are any number of practical reasons, but our guide gave an explanation that also provided insight into the Amish philosophy generally. He said that he chooses to work at the Visitor's Center so that people have an opportunity to know Christ, who is the center of their lives. The choices that they make to live apart, in community, close to the land, rejecting many materialistic values, focusing on family, etc. are all choices designed to bring them closer to Christ.  It drew many more specific questions into focus and brought us back again to the New Harmony society principles in which those who followed George Rapp and believed that he was a prophet also made choices that they believed would bring them closer to Christ.  The girls and I had numerous interesting conversations about intentionality, courage, choices, and values and left with a greater appreciation for each of these diverse communities.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


A great trip for visiting family:

With Aunt Danyell, Grandma, and cousin Deonte in Baden

Off to see Abuela's old house in Akron (7-12th grades).

And her house before that (we got the stories of sledding, rocks, and tree climbing to match the location)

With Auntie Char in Akron
Visiting Grandma Viola (Charles' grandmother)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Carnegie Science Center - Sports

A really awesome idea - the physics and biology of sports!  It reminded me of our Exploratorium, but with an exclusively sports focus - educational and super fun, too.

Charles watching from below

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Carnegie Science Center

Oh wow, the best science museum ever.  We went with the girls' cousin and the three of them had a blast together.  Oh, Charles and I, too!

They started by doing their own weather cast:

We loved the model trains, this one set around an olden-Pittsburgh complete with over 100 moving parts.  K is pictured by the old Forbes field (baseball, of course!)

Everyone loves a robot... and an astronaut - see next photos

Speaking of astronauts, time for a space station mission...


K, J, and G - cousins!  With river behind...

G and her cousin stepped on stage at a science show to dance...

... demonstrating the action of water molecules in liquid form and then in ice cream

Boarding a submarine (J in rear)
On board the sub (claustrophobic me!)

En route to the next stop, J. jumped onto K's back.  Happy!Fun day together!