Out into nature …

Although the weather forecast was not favourable – heavy rain predicted – we were blessed with a fairly dry window of opportunity for our visit to Clayburn Village. En route we took a small side trip to see a horse chestnut tree (Aesculus hippocastanum) in its fruitful glory. The ground was covered with nuts and their spiky outer husks. Conkers are irresistible and although we didn’t intend to gather any, we soon filled a small bag. The best find was a spiky green husk with twin conkers still intact.

We had a chat about “chestnuts roasting on an open fire.” These are not those! The horse chestnut is toxic if eaten, but apparently makes a very nice laundry soap.

Abigail, the oldest sister, and Felicity, the youngest of the Tapestry girls, are both history buffs, so that formed a great focus for our walk. Clayburn Village was the first company town in British Columbia. We parked across the road from the Clayburn General Store, closed for September, and since wet vegetation made a hike through the woods to the brickworks ruins impractical, we talked about bricks and buildings as we strolled through the village. It was easy to find the four-room foremen’s cottages, the clinker bricks, the Clayburn Company accountant’s house and the brickwork manager’s house. A lane let us see all these properties from the back as well. We finished up in the schoolyard, threw apples in Clayburn Creek, and took some time to pick hawthorn berries for tea before we headed home.

Historic Clayburn Village

Foods and Nutrition …

One of today’s themes was about timing everything so the food is all ready at the same time. Abigail washed our freshly-picked hawthorn berries and made the tea in a thermal pot, setting it aside to steep while I cut open the Black Futsu squash and the girls scooped out the halves. We cut them into wedges. Felicity shook them in a container with olive oil until they were well-coated and spread them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. At twenty-five minutes in a 425F oven, this was our biggest time investment. Then Felicity prepared the New Zealand spinach while Abigail got the sole fillets ready. The spinach required twelve minutes to simmer in water and fish was pan-fried in less than six minutes once the pan was hot. Our lovely meal, complemented by blackberry kombucha, was ready exactly on schedule and pronounced delicious by all of us.


Twenty minutes of speed cleaning! Since the Thanksgiving Family Feast is at our house this year, the three of us headed downstairs to the great room to dust everything. We started at the door, spread out and worked out way around the room. Success and plenty of dusty rags to wash!

Modelling Clay and Learning to Knit

Felicity enjoyed looking the miniatures from the last Tapestry Day and trying to identify all the pieces – not an easy task with no colour clues yet. Although the clay modelling held some charm, our big purpose this afternoon was learning to knit. Not only is knitting a satisfying and productive skill, but its repetitive action brings relaxation that has been shown to lower blood pressure and stress levels. Of course, we were in the very early stages of practice where dropped stitches and other pitfalls lurk, but both girls caught on easily and intend to practice their knitting at home as much as they can. I left them with a final warning about keeping their projects safely out of reach of the two-year-old in the house. We’ll see how that goes.