Chapter 2 says, “Shadows were gathering in the woods”. What makes a shadow? Shadows are
created when an object blocks out the light of the sun. As the sun goes down over the horizon, the shadows will get longer. Set up a sundial. It could be as simple as a dowel stuck straight into the ground. Check the shadow throughout the day, making note of when the shadows are shortest and longest.
This book has lots of opportunities for lessons about horses. You can learn as little or as much as you would like.
Horses are mammals, meaning they are warm blooded, have live births, feed their young milk, and are covered with fur or hair. An interesting fact about horses is that every point on them has a name.
Horses have been domesticated for over 5000 years. People have used them to pull carts or wagons, and as farm horses, to help plow the fields. Horses are also used for riding.
We read about the horses eating hay. What kinds of foods do horses eat? Horses are herbivores, which means they are plant eaters. They eat grass and hay, but what else do they consume? You may want to make a horse diet fan for your lapbook or notebook as you complete this lesson.
Apples - a treat!
Barley - should be boiled or soaked for at least two hours before feeding as it swells when wet (this prevents swelling in the horse's stomach)
Maize - this should be flaked and cooked to make it easier to digest
Oats - they are easily digested if crushed, rolled or cooked
Root vegetables - such as beets, carrots, parsnips, and turnips can be fed (but in small quantities)
Many different horse movements are mentioned throughout the story. The first four are called the horse’s gaits.
Walk- just a regular old walk
Trot- a jog
Canter- to run slow
Gallop- to run fast
Jump – to leap
One of Almanzo’s jobs was to milk the cows. A female cow begins to produce milk after she gives birth to a calf. She makes plenty of milk, as much as thirty quarts a day, so there is enough for the calf and for the people to collect. A cow should be milked twice a day or she will be in pain, may get an infection, and will stop producing milk. The cow’s milk is stored in the udder, which is a bag with four teats. As you squeeze the teats, the milk squirts out. The milk that comes directly out of the cow is called raw milk. This milk has a lot of butterfat, which rises to the top. Up until the mid 1800’s, milk was drunk in its raw form.
Louis Pasteur, a French scientist, discovered that there was many harmful microbes in raw milk that could make it perish quickly, and he invented a process called pasteurization. When milk was pasteurized, it was heated to a temperature of 161 degrees for 15 seconds, and then quickly cooled, killing any harmful microbes. Milk you drink today is pasteurized.
During the 1800’s, the butterfat was scraped off the top of the milk and was used to make butter. Today, milk goes through a process called homogenization, which breaks the butterfat into tiny bits and combines it with the milk. This milk is called whole milk. Sometimes people don’t like the butterfat in milk, so milk is also available with some of the fat removed (1% and 2% milk) and with all the fat removed (skim milk).