Nature Drawing – Hawk, Beach

Piper started her art classes again, but is doing something a little different this term. For a change of pace she decided to take a class specifically devoted to nature drawing. So far it seems to be going well.

Week 1



Week 2




One of the Well-Trained Mind reading recommendations for this year is the poetry of William Wordsworth.  For a fun Friday assignment I had Piper read Poetry for Young People’s Wordsworth edition, find her favorite poem, then copy and illustrate it.  I really sort of love the way it turned out so I’m sharing. 🙂

Salsa Sunday

When Piper was little her Grandma Sally experimented and came up with a salsa she would actually eat.  She was beyond successful and to this day it ranks higher than ketchup in our house. This means every year when the local tomatoes come in we spend a day making the year’s salsa.  I had a few people ask for the recipe this year so I thought I’d put it up with some pictures of the process.

Tim peeling garlic and onions.  We grow our own garlic in the backyard.

Piper geared up for onions and the occasional tomato splatter.  She’s our resident tomato skinner.

Hot water bath for the tomatoes.  I use a pot with a pasta insert to make draining easy.

Cold water in the clean sink.

Peeled tomatoes These also need to be cored, seeded, and squeezed a bit.

One of the nice things about salsa is a good deal of the work can be done by a food processor.



No pictures of the onions, but I do those next and process them very fine.

Green peppers that Tim has squeezed out. You could make the salsa hotter by substituting other peppers for some of these.

Tomatoes only take a few buzzes in the processor.  They should still be a little chunky.

Then everything goes into a big pot.

Tomato paste

Salt and pepper

And of course red wine vinegar.  Yes, that pot is just a little bit too small for a triple batch. We did end up moving to a larger one.

Last year we didn’t make quite enough which lead to rationing so this year I decided to err on the side of caution and make six batches which yielded about 44 jars. The recipe below is pretty brief and assumes some knowledge of canning.  🙂

Piper’s Own Salsa (from Sally Wysocki)

1 c. onion
3 medium green or red peppers
10 cups tomatoes
5 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 small cans tomato paste
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 T salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 T finely chopped cilantro

• Process the onion until there are no chunks.
• Blend peppers in the food processor until very small. Squeeze out the liquid so the salsa doesn’t taste overwhelmingly of green pepper.
• Peel (hot water bath 30 seconds (sometimes this takes a little longer as it depends on ripeness), ice water), chop, and seed tomatoes.
• In a large stockpot combine all ingredients. Simmer 10 minutes. Put into sterilized pint jars. Boiling water bath for 15 minutes.


I’ve had a few questions recently about whether there is assigned reading in our home school.  The answer to that question is yes, absolutely.  Piper has a list of books she needs to read every year from the Well-Trained Mind that includes full and abridged versions of classics and poetry.  There are also generally recommended books as part of both her science and history curriculums. Piper is a pretty avid reader so unless she really dislikes a book we typically don’t have a problem.  I’m not a big believer in killing books by forcing over-analyzation, particularly at her age, so we typically talk about the books she reads-characters, plots, motivations-and occasionally I require her to write a one page summary.  The hope at this stage is that she is learning the beginnings of literary analysis, how to read more complex books than she might choose herself, gaining a certain amount of cultural literacy from exposure to classics, and of course for science and history getting a deeper understanding of the material being covered.

Since school is starting next week, we stopped by the library to pick up the first batch today.

Here’s to a year of happy reading!