Yeah, I know … not quite the subject line you expected to see here, is it?
One of the really cool things about the Virtual School that The Boy attends is that when they have parent-teacher interviews, they incorporate some kind of neat field trip or other experience at the same time. Fall interviews were held at Fort Edmonton and the kids got to make bannock and do pioneer activities, and all the family is welcome, even if not all the kids are in virtual school. The Reluctant Farmer took all 3 kids to the fall interviews, and the littlest ones definitely had a good time. The Boy has done a lot of that before, but he certainly ate his share of bannock. :)
Today we got to see a presentation on Inuit culture and attend a soapstone carving workshop. Did you know that the word Eskimo is Cree for “eats raw meat”? The Inuit are very different from the other First Nations people here in Canada, their climate and environment have, of course, shaped their culture in unique ways. They eat raw meat in order to get nutrients that might be removed by cooking, but also because there aren’t any trees to use for fuel, so what would you cook with? The presenter told of taking a hockey team south to a tournament, and the kids were picking up branches and leaves to take home to show their siblings, who had never seen a real tree. That’s hard to even imagine!
The carving workshop was really interesting. We were each given a small slab of soapstone (which has nothing to do with soap, actually, but it is soft and definitely shines when polished) and instructed to draw the outline of the shape we wanted to make. The Boy made a sheep and I made a Japanese Kokeshi. Big files were used to take off the largest chunks of stone, then gradually finer files and eventually sandpaper to smooth the surface. It’s amazing to see the pile of dust (which looks a lot like sawdust) that used to be rock forming in your work space!
Here are the finished objects: