We took Erika and Maria along with us to do a hike and picnic. Amelia was not too pleased that we made her wear Michael's spare shorts and no top (it didn't fit) when she had a toilet accident, but I pointed out that she was lucky that she was able to borrow at least some clothing!
We celebrated Canada Day and my birthday with brunch, sailing and fireworks.
I didn't want to cook on my birthday, so I acquired muffins and fruit and things to serve. I also made myself some rainbow jello as soon as I got home from Southern Ontario (priorities!), which I greatly enjoyed despite not having enough time to put anything more exciting than marshmallows in it.
I didn't think that watching Michael on the boat would be terribly fun so Uncle Chris very kindly looked after him while we sailed. The water has been so high after this year's spring floods that Canada Day was this year's sail past rather than a fun race. In fact, the season only just began as all boats were restricted from being on the water during the floods.
There are so many of us now that we didn't all fit on the boat; we'll have to bring Uncle Dave and Karen and family next time! I think there was a record dozen of us in the end. There were lots of laughs about our massive crew!
After sailing we came home for a quick supper before heading over to Grandma's to watch the fireworks off her neighbour's balcony. Michael thought the fireworks were very interesting - "woooo" he said, pointing.
On our way home we stopped at the Big Apple and discovered the rides. Sadly the merry go round was busted but the train was working! The kids enjoyed riding it very much - Elizabeth more for watching Michael’s reaction than the actual ride. There may have been ice cream and mini golf too. It was pretty fun and the kids decided they didn’t mind not going on the real train after all.
Auntie Mary took us to the famous St Jacob’s market today. Sadly we didn’t really have time to poke around much but we did have time to take a tour of a local sugar bush old order Mennonite farm by horse which was pretty neat.
Here’s what I wrote down about our tour. The farm has had 7 generations since 1800s.
There’s 110L of sap per tree, and 2800 taps. They also sell firewood.
34 students in one school until grade 8, with two teachers. Teachers never go to high school, college or university. Kids then help at home for two years then at 16 they go to other farms to find out how other families do things.
Some old order students do go to public school. Old Order and Amish Mennonites aren’t opposed to education but opposed to influence so generally won’t allow students to go to university.
In this area there are 19 Old Order churches - every second Sunday this family goes to their home church which is 4km away. Otherwise they will go visit another church maybe 2 hours by buggy away. Host up to 40 people for lunch.
They must wait until 18 to dage, encouraged to marry within own group. Old order gets married around ages 22-25.
The Wedding takes place at the bride’s farm by tradition. Bride makes own food. Wedding dress is navy blue and is usually around 100 people. Parents paid for the wedding, usually around 5-6$ per guest. Focus is on family, friends, good food.
Matthew and Elizabeth thought the most interesting part was about how the kids got to drive their own pony cart around Matthew’s age. They’d like to ride in a buggy to go to school. I pointed out this might be less fun in the winter but Matthew thought maybe he could be a Mennonite during the spring and fall. (In the summer he wants to go to camp and the cottage!)
After the tour we went to a church from a more modern Mennonite tradition - my Aunt Judy and Uncle Murray’s Church was the location of Joanne’s wedding shower. We enjoyed getting to know her family very much as she prepares to join ours. Lots of beautiful teacups and treats and toys for the kids!
It was a day filled with family. First we had breakfast at Schmitsville and a walk around the pond.
We checked on the new baby and said hi to cousins. We wanted to go to the splash pad with cousin Jacob but it was raining. Luckily we had planned to get wet anyway so we decided we could just dance around in the rain and if we heard thunder we'd come in. First we played in the playground. It poured for a while and then we went and played in the splash pad also in the rain. It was pretty fun. Afterwards we went to the church to see the setup for the vacation bible school Auntie Mary was helping with.
We dropped in on my Great Aunt Deborah and I was glad we did as she is moving and won't be across from the sausage store anymore! That's a big change!
Then we went to Rob and Val's for supper with Murray and John and a few cousins too. The kids were very excited to find snails and sorry that I wouldn't let them bring them home.