Category Archives: Miles

The Present Meets the Past

Colonial House is a TV show about people who have volunteered to live in Maine for 4 months in a simulation where they see what it would be like during the colonial period. I really liked this show because it is fun to see how people nowadays would do in colonial times. Another reason that I liked this show was I saw how a colony worked and how they got along. My favorite parts though were the twists and turns that made the show interesting.

In Colonial House it was fun to see the people from modern times try to live the daily lives of the people in the colonial times. They struggled with getting used to things like the clothes and food. They would only have peas, salted fish, and meat which is different then the diet of people now. Their clothes were also different than modern clothes. Their pants looked like sweat pants and weren’t very warm which was hard for them during winter when it was freezing. Another funny thing was when they had to get up early and work. Almost everyone in the colony hated having to get up early on work days. They would get up have some food then go out to work on whatever they had to do that day. Some of the most common things that they would be making spars, building houses, and planting corn. Sometimes, though, they would skip work. In one episode a few of the men went skinny dipping in the freezing water in Maine. Another time someone walked off for two days and went to the city nearby. During the show they had video diaries that showed how they disliked work. It was clear that the people were struggling to get used to colonial life.

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 11.40.13 AMOne of the most important things in Colonial House was seeing how they made the colony work. The most important person in the colony was the governor. The governor would organize who would do what and when. The governor would also give out punishments for skipping work or church. For example the people that skipped church would have to sit tied to a wooden stake for two hours without any one talking to them. The other important thing in making the colony work was them all cooperating. When they were forced to all work together by the governor they would work efficiently and have fun at the same time. They didn’t work together much but, when it benefited them (like planting corn to eat or building houses), they could all work together pretty well.

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Building a house

During Colonial House it was interesting to see how the show changed. One example happened in the first few episodes. The governor’s daughter’s fiancee and brother were in a car accident and the fiancee died and the brother was injured. When the governor and his family went home, the preacher took over as governor and struggled to keep things under control. While he was in charge nothing really got done so everyone was relieved when the previous governor came back.The other big change that happened was that more colonists came. This surprise really threw off the whole colony because they had gotten used to their jobs. Then fifteen new people came and they had to figure every thing out again. The main problem was that they now had 30+ people and only 4 houses. Soon they started work on a new house so that it won’t be so crowded. I think that in the real first colonies they would have had changes like this that would have affected the whole colony.

Overall, this show was a great re-creation of what it would be like to live back then. It showed all the twists that the colonists would have had to face as well as their daily life. It was funny, entertaining, and informative.

Visualizing Johnny Tremain

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Johnny Tremain is a book about an apprentice silversmith living in Boston before the American Revolution. When an accident happens at the silver shop his hand is burned with liquid silver and his fingers are glued together. Now that he cannot work as a silversmith he goes out in search of work and finds a boy named Rab. Rab works for a printshop and is also a Son of Liberty, a group of rebels in the 13 colonies who are organizing against the British. Johnny goes one day to look for work and ends up in the print shop where Rab offers Johnny a job as the paper delivery boy. Johnny accepts this offer and must now learn how to ride a horse named Goblin (the only problem with Goblin is that he is scared of everything). Soon after Johnny gets his new job, he starts to read the paper that he is delivering. Johnny ends up becomes a rebel, and when Rab offers to let him join the Boston Tea Party he agrees to participate. After that, he starts to help the committee for the Sons of Liberty who meet in the attic of the printshop where Johnny works. Later in the book, Rab goes off to war with the Boston militia and gets killed. (SPOILER ALERT) As Johnny learns that his best friend has died, he decides to have the doctor cut his fingers apart to make them normal again so he can go and fight.

This is a collage of pictures that relates to the events or people in Johnny Tremain. In the middle of the collage is a coin from the group called the Sons of Liberty. Johnny worked with the Sons of Liberty a lot. He would help them and participate in their meetings even though he was too young to be one of them. On the right you can see some of the most important members of the Sons of Liberty: Sam Adams, John Adams and John Hancock.These three men played a huge part in the fight against the British. At the top of the page you can see some of the flags that relate to the story. The two on the ends are different examples of the 13 starred American flag, the yellow one with the snake is the flag of liberty, the one in the middle is the Sons of Liberty flag, and the last one is the Massachusetts state flag where the story takes place. The photo on the collage with the man making a bowl represents that in the beginning of the book Johnny is an apprentice silversmith. The image in the far right bottom corner shows a man working in a printshop which is Johnny’s second job.The picture above that shows a man on a horse, because Johnny would also deliver the papers as well as make them.  The picture showing an Indian throwing tea over board represents the Boston tea party. The picture in the middle at the bottom is a painting of the state militia who fought against the British. These men would have been farmers, blacksmiths, silversmiths and any other job but almost none of them had any formal training. There are also two pictures of minutemen which Johnny wants to be.

Overall this was one of my favorite historical fiction books because it shows what life would have been like during the time of the Revolutionary War for the colonists. It also shows a bit about what it would have been like back then for British soldiers. I would recommend this book to anyone that has an interest in this time period. You can also watch the movie based on the book but I think it isn’t as good as the story. I didn’t use any of the pictures from the movie in my collage.

Found another good book!

51AXHB1V1RLI’ve been reading a book called The Keeping Room by Anna Myers. The book takes place during the Revolutionary War. The characters of this book are Joseph Jr., his parents (Joseph and Mother), their servant (Cato), and his brother and sisters (George, Sarah, and Mary). The book is about a boy named Joey (Joseph Jr.) whose house gets taken over by the British. Then his father becomes a prisoner because he is fighting against the British. They build a gallows outside of their house and trap them in a room. Joey gives Mary his books because he thinks that girls should be able to learn. Joey has to care for the American soldiers and clean the British boots. Joey’s family goes to his uncles house. They leave him with Cato and they wait and one day the soldiers leave the town and his family and dad come back.

When I read about the hanging it reminded me about the Salem witch hangings in Massachusetts. Some innocent people in the book got hanged and all the people who got hanged in Salem were innocent. I also read that Joey’s teacher is a Quaker and my mom read to me that Quakers do not believe in war or violence.

This book is good and it has a lot of history. You should read the book and try to go to Salem. If you go, then you should go around Halloween because they have cool things to do.

Boston Now and Then

When we were in Boston we went on a tour called the Freedom Trail. This is a trail that took us around Boston and to many of the sites that were important in the Revolution. On the trail we realized that many things were different in the time of the American Revolution: their daily life, their relations with Britain, and warfare were all different from modern times. Here are a few examples:

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Printer with a hand painted picture of the Boston Massacre

Today, many of the things that we have are very convenient. They are cheap, easy to make, and easy to buy. But during colonial times, most things took a long time to make and weren’t always cheap and available. For example in Boston we learned that chocolate used to only be a drink. The chocolate was made in to hard chunks. These were too hard and bitter to eat by themselves so they added sugar and water to make hot chocolate. Then they would only drink it in small cups because it was very sweet and the sugar and chocolate were very expensive. Usually making the blocks of chocolate would take a couple of hours and would be very hard to make which is why it cost so much. Another example from the Freedom Trail is when we visited a printing shop where the person was printing copies of the Declaration of Independence. It was very interesting because we saw how the printing press worked. When they wanted to print something they had to place each individual letter on the printing board! This would take the printer hours to make each paper. Imagine if you had to print multiple sheets of paper each with 900+ letters and putting them in the correct place. Then the printer took two giant stamps and put ink on the letters. Finally he put the sheet down and pulled a lever that put thousands of pounds of pressure on them. When it came out it looked like a newspaper today but with no pictures or color. This took so long to do that people didn’t make papers every day like they do today because it took so much work. Chocolate and printing are just two examples of things were different about daily life back then.

Also today, England is one of America’s greatest allies. Our countries help each other in many ways, but during revolutionary times the British and the colonists didn’t get along very well. During the Revolutionary War period Britain didn’t like America. They thought that the people in America couldn’t rule themselves and that they belonged to Britain because they had settled the colonies. The colonists thought that they were British too and because of this they should have the same rights as the people in Britain. The British didn’t agree with this and they taxed the colonists. This made them mad so when a British ship with tea (one of the main taxed goods) came into a port in Boston the people dressed up like Native Americans and threw the tea into the harbor. The British didn’t like this at all and they sent troops to Boston and as punishment closed the port so that no ships could come in. The people in Boston were starving and many of the people were not making any money. Before this had happened the different colonies had not paid much attention to each other but now all of the colonies were sending food and other things to Boston to help them against the British. Another thing that the Boston Tea Party did was that it stirred up hate against the British. The other colonies started thinking about Revolution and started training militias to fight against the British army. All of this shows how the British treated the colonists and how the colonists responded rebelliously to them

Modern warfare is based on stealth, speed, and accuracy. The war between colonists and British soldiers was out in the open, slow, and inaccurate. During the Revolutionary War the soldiers would stand in lines and shoot all at once.This might sound kind of dumb but there is a reason behind all of this. The guns they used were incredible inaccurate so if they all stood in a line and shot then they would hit more people than if each person aimed at one enemy. They stood so close because the muskets could hit a person 75 feet away at most.  During the war the British had another problem. The muskets at that time made huge amounts of smoke when they were fired and no one knew who was the enemy and who was not. So they decided that they would just wear big red coats. This was a great plan because then it was clear that they were the British and their soldiers would not be confused who was who. However, there was one flaw. It was also perfectly clear to the enemy that they were the British and that was who they were to shoot. So when the colonists were hiding to ambush the British, they would see the bright red coats. All in all the British might have been the strongest army of the time but they might not have been the smartest. Both armies used tactics much different from todays.

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Revolutionary War reenactment

As you can see in the time of the Revolution many things were different from the way that they are now. They had a difficult overall lifestyle, unbearable relations with each other, and unproductive ways of fighting. I think that it was interesting to see how people lived back then and I hope we can see more of how people lived at different times.

Exploring Nature in Acadia

DSC_0087We did many activities in Acadia, which is a national park in Maine. We stayed there for one week but two days were definitely the best.

One of my favorite things that we did in Acadia was going to Sand Beach. Sand Beach is a small beach that we swam in and also hiked around. First we did the walk and went off the path to look at the tide pools. The tide pools were packed with sea creatures: barnacles, mussels, and snails. After we were done with the tide pools we continued on the walk to Thunder Hole, which is a hole in the rocks that if a big enough wave hits it, it makes a sound like thunder and the water sprays up. Next we climbed Gorham Mountain which was about a 2 mile climb and took us to the summit of a steep mountain were you could see sparkling lakes and rolling forests. Next we went down the mountain and went to sand beach where the water felt refreshingly cold (about 50 degrees Fahrenheit). We used our skim boards and relaxed on the beach after the long hike. To end this great day, we went to the Jordan Pond House to eat popovers which are like the a big a cream puff without any cream and you put jam and butter on them. It was a sweet and smooth end to the day.

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My other favorite day was Wednesday when we did a lobster boat tour. First we went and looked in stores around the port. Normally I don’t like to shop but these stores had some hilarious shirts. The shirts that they had in these shop were incredibly funny which said things like “Confidence: The felling you get before you fully understand your situation”. Even though I didn’t buy any I took many pictures. After this we went on a lobster boat tour on the calm ocean where we saw the captain bring up the huge lobsters in the cages. Each cage was large and had about 10-15 lobsters in it and he brought up 3 cages. The tour guide said the average fisherman brings up 200-300 cages a day. We also held the lobsters. They felt hard on the top and on the bottom soft and squishy. After we were done holding them we threw the small ones off the boat into the water rushing past us. One of my favorite parts of the tour was getting to stand at the very front of the boat where I could feel each wave jarring the boat as we past over it.  The tour guide showed us a book of lobsters that were vivid blue and half black on one side, half orange on the other. She said that one blue lobster can cost up to $10,000! On the ship they also had other animals that we got to touch and hold. My favorite was the sea cucumber. It felt slimy like a snail and like there was nothing in it. When I held it, it squirted water everywhere. Some other animals that we saw were porpoises that swam close and happily jumped in the water. Then we arrived at an island where we saw seals laying on the rocks warming themselves in the sun and playing in the water near the rocks. Overall I loved learning about lobsters, riding on the boat, and seeing the ocean animals.

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Favorite Summer Books

Over the summer I read a lot of great books, but these three book/series were by far my favorites. Here is a little summary of each book.

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The Psion Series (4 books) by Jacob Gowans

This is one of the best series of books that I have read in a long time. I could hardly put them down. The Psion series are about a 14 year old boy who discovers he has something called Anomaly 14 which makes it so that he can shoot energy out of his hands and feet. He finds out that he can do this when he is cornered by the police and he knocks them back with energy from his hand. Later he is recruited by a man named Commander Byron to become a Beta where he will train to become an elite soldier for the New World Government fighting ruthless killers known as the Thirteens. This Book is a great book with lots of action and a little bit of adventure.

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The Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell

The Lone Survivor is a nonfiction book about what took place during Operation Redwing which was a great disaster. Four highly trained Navy SEAL snipers went into the mountains of Afghanistan to capture or kill a target. Right from the start everything went wrong and only one person came out alive. By the end of this fight he had been shot, broken his back, cracked his femur, broken his fingers and lost the lives of three of his best friends. Back home in Texas his family waited not knowing if he was alive or not. Many hard days later a group of Army Rangers found him in the woods.This book tells the whole story of what happened. It is another great book for people who love action and adventure.

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The Unwanteds Series (3 Books) by Lisa McMann

The Unwanteds is a book about a place called Quill where being creative is a crime punishable by death. Every year in Quill all the thirteen year olds are put into three groups: the Wanteds who are the strongest and smartest, the Necessaries who are necessary to keep the empire running, and the Unwanteds who are sent to drown in a lake of boiling oil. Alex and his twin brother are thirteen but Alex is an Unwanted and his brother is a Wanted. So Alex is sent to the lake where he is saved by a mysterious man who takes all the unwanteds to a place called Artimè. Now Alex learns to use art and other creative things as weapons as Artimè prepares for battle with Quill. I think that almost everyone would like this book. It has action, magic, and adventure and it’s really good.

 

I hope that you decide to read some of them. Do you have any books that you can recommend?

My Home on Wheels.

IMG_5061So, on Thursday we finally picked out the RV that we will be using on our trip around America. This RV was one of the first of a lot of RVs that we looked at and Owen and I both liked it as soon as we saw the bunkhouse. The bunkhouse is the place where the bunks are kept. In this RV the bunk house is a loft and under the loft is a comfortable area with a fold out couch. This is good because the loft is very big and we would have a lot of space to play in under it, the only thing that I don’t like about this is that I have to pull out the couch every time we setup camp. When you first walk in to the RV there is a couch directly in front of you on the opposite side of the RV and a booth next to it. Also in the main room is a TV already hooked up and a kitchen with a microwave and stove and some places to put food. The master bedroom has a big bed and a shower and bathroom and some closets. Overall I can’t wait to try out our new RV. I think that it will be great for what we are doing.

Besides the RV that we bought, we got to look at some big RVs just for fun. Thesewere really cool even though we knew we wouldn’t buy them. They were so big you could probably use them instead of a house!My favorite big one was a 45-foot Predator. Inside there was a place for a car at the very back of the RV in a separate room. In the living room there was a loft above the door to the car storage with a queen sized bed. Also in the living room there was a big kitchen and a 4 person brown leather couch and next to it a huge dining booth.On the wall of the living room was a 55-inch flatscreen TV and the master bedroom had a king size bed with a big shower and another large TV. Even though we won’t buy this RV I think that it would be a lot of fun to live in and maybe some time in the future we can use it.

I think that the RV that we bought will be a great one and I can’t wait to use it on our trip.

 

Changes in Lifestyle

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Snack time is any time!

I think that there will be many differences between China and when we are in the RV. One big thing will be not going to a real school. Even though we will be home-schooled I don’t think that it will be the same because we will not have homework and other things. I think that I will like this type of school more because I will be in my own house. Also I can do things like get a snack when ever I want to I want to, so that will be good.

One other thing that we might be able to do is learn more of what we want to. I think that this will be one of the best things that will come out of this year in the RV because in school we don’t choose what to do. For example, in school you learn math and science and humanities but when we are in the RV we can also learn about things that we want to, like certain parts of history or certain types of science.

There will be many changes in our lifestyle during the year in our RV. I think that some of the changes I will like but I will need to get used to all of them.

Hope and Fears

RV BreakdownI think that some of the worst things that will happen will be that we get so sick of everyone that we end up fighting half the time because we are stuck in a tiny RV with each other all day. Another thing that would be bad if it happened would be for the RV to break in the middle of nowhere hundreds of miles from anywhere and we are just stuck out there waiting.

Some good things that could happen if we get through this whole trip without any thing bad happening. Another thing that would be good is if we could get to everywhere we really want to go without problems. Some other things that would be good would be if at the end of he trip we felt like it was worth it and if we knew more about our country.