Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Quill Pens and Blueberries


         While learning about Colonial America, we read a story on the printing of the Martyr’s Mirror at the Ephrata Cloister.  In the midst of printing the huge book, they ran out of ink.  After experimenting with all sorts of concoctions, they ended up using a mixture of poke berries, charcoal, flaxseed oil, and a few other strange ingredients.  It worked, and a few copies of those books are still around and the print can still be easily read. 
           As the curriculum suggested, we decided to make our own ink and use quills for pens.  (We use Living History Threads from Christian Learning Resources and it is wonderful!)
I brought in smashed blueberries in a zip-lock baggie and strong tea with corn starch in another container.  (Both “recipes” are in the curriculum.)  The students really enjoyed it.  A few took their pens home and experimented some more, and many of them taped their quills onto the ends of their real pens.  Learning about history is fun; experiencing it is even better.