Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Down Down the Mountain

Our eighth FIAR read (and probably my personal favorite thus far) was Down Down the Mountain by Ellis Credle.  It's the story of two Appalachian children, Hetty and Hank, from long ago, who see great rewards from their hard work and generosity to others.  The book also gives the reader a taste of Appalachian life.  We learned a lot.
Day 1 - Social Studies, Language Arts
Here is our story disk for this read ... 
... which we placed at the Southern part of the Appalachians (in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia), since that is where we decided to go for the weekend!
(Here is a picture I found online of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia, which helped me to show Maggie how the range got its name.) 
Then, thanks to, we were able to add this cute little foldable to a lapbook for this read, to help us identify the location of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
(Here is the inside of that same foldable, with the range marked in blue on the map.)
And this is our own photo of the Blue Ridge Mountains near the cabin we rented over the weekend!
To start our study of Appalachia, we read Pioneer Children of Appalachia by Joan Anderson.
Then, we set out to learn more about cabin life.  (Here is the cabin in the book's illustrations.)
Next, we read The Inside Story: Log Cabin by Dana Meachen Rau.
We then set out to construct our own log cabin using sticks and a hot glue gun, inspired by the one we saw at
We just added and added sticks, until we had four walls, an open door, and a roof!  (She was happy with it.)
Next to our Lincoln Logs cabin, we had a little mountain village!
Moving in ... :)
It made for a fun afternoon!
And here is a picture of the cabin we rented for the weekend!  Maggie was SO EXCITED to find out she would be sleeping in a cabin herself after reading this book!
Here she is, on the back porch of our cabin!
We had cornbread with butter and honey for snack, like Hetty and Hank had for their "supper" in the book.
In the story, Hetty and Hank also went down the mountain on horseback ...
... so we were thrilled to see that we had some equine neighbors when we rented our cabin for the weekend!
Giving them some apples for a snack!
So pretty!
We also noted a couple of covered wagons in the book ...
... which we got the opportunity to ride in ourselves!  Here is Maggie, with her Daddy and Grandpop, in a wagon in the Appalachian mountains! 
The book also mentioned "cooked beans and cornmeal mush and fried pork in a big, black frying pan."  We set out to have the same for our own dinner one night!  Here is Maggie, tending the ham steak in her big, black frying pan!
We got the Cornmeal Mush recipe from the FIAR cookbook.  It was quite good!
Here was Maggie's dinner that night!  (I would have preferred lima beans, but I didn't realize we didn't have any on hand, so baked beans it was!)
Day 2 - Art 
After we noted the two colors used in the illustrations in the book (blue and brown, to simulate the two main colors seen in the Blue Ridge range), we completed the "Making Composite Illustrations" activity out of our FIAR handbook.  Opposite a description of the log cabin, there is this picture of the big stone fireplace.
(And here was our stone fireplace in our weekend cabin.)
 Maggie was asked to draw what was not in the picture with the fireplace, as was described in the story.  (We also read about "a big bed in one corner and a little bed in the other corner, and in the middle of the room there was a long table made of planks," etc.)  It was Maggie's job to draw in the missing images.  Here is her picture.  (This, we added to her lapbook.) 
Here are the rafters in the cabin we stayed in, just like the rafters described in the book.
We even had baskets hung from them, like the "baskets full of this and that" in Hetty and Hank's home!
 We also noted the butter churn in that picture from the book.
Here is Maggie, in front of a real butter churn on our weekend trip!
Day 3 - Math, Science 
To start our Math study of this book, we completed the word problems we found at
We then read General Store by Rachel Field, noting the similar things from this book and Down Down the Mountain.
 Here is Maggie on our trip, in front of a general store setup!
We then completed the coin books at, which we added to our lapbook.
I decided a money game would be fun!  I bought three candies that you would have found in a general store (rock candy and flavor sticks), and priced them accordingly.  I gave her 43 cents to spend, telling her she had enough to buy all the candy, and have some change, but she had to figure out which coins to give me and what coins (if any) I would give her back in change.
Here she is, putting two nickels together to come up with enough for the root beer sick!
Math is yummy!
It was then time to delve into learning about turnips!  Here are two illustrations from the book, of Hetty and Hank's turnips.
It's the prize-winning turnip!
After we observed the pictures of the turnips in the book, we watched this instructional video about how to start a turnip garden.
And then, we appreciated some of our own turnips, close-up!
Here is Maggie's pick for the prize-winning turnip!
It was time to cook some of our own!
Here is Mags, with our Mashed Turnips (thanks to the FIAR cookbook), ready to go into the oven!
Ready to eat!
They were delicious!
Next, we talked about the botany of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Here are some pictures of the mountain flora we took on our weekend trip!
(Maggie and her Grandma, picking some buttercups!)
After we observed some of the flora of the Appalachians, we talked about the night birds in this book, the whippoorwills and owls.  Then, we listened to the call of a Whippoorwill, here.
We read Owls by Gail Gibbons ...
... and Owls by Emily Bone.
 We then added this cute little foldable to our lapbook, also from
Maggie was quite fond of the owl decoys that sat on the back porch railings of our cabin!  :)
 I then took advantage of this little gift I've been saving from my brother and his wife, an owl pellet complete with bird skeleton!
 Here is Mags, ready to dig in!  (It was not an actual pellet.  It was a clean ball of dryer lint, with a complete bird skeleton tucked neatly inside.  It was great for teaching!)
 Our starling skeleton, ready to be pieced together!  (We had talked extensively about how owls eject these pellets, full of materials they are unable to digest from their meals.)
 She was intrigued with the skull!
Finally, we completed our lapbook for Down Down the Mountain, being sure to add pictures we found online and stickers of pine trees, Pink Mountain Laurel, turnips, a Whippoorwill, a Great Horned Owl, and a Barred Owl.
She is so proud of her lapbooks! 
More coming this week!


  1. I love it love it! What a good chef you're training up :). Good job mama!

  2. I was so excited to see that your used my blog for inspiration for your log cabin! And now I'm on your blog looking for ideas for our rowing this book! How fun! You have some great ideas that I can't wait to use. How neat that you got to take the cabin trip at the same time! And great job tying in all together! How old is your daughter?

    1. How neat to cross paths with you! I love your blog!!! I look at it a lot! Thank you for all the nice things you had to say! Maggie is six. :)