Friday, September 25, 2015

Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport

This has been a week of field trips!  It seems like we have all or nothing weeks and this week was all!  Today we toured the Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport.  Of course, after weeks of drought conditions, it decided to rain!  Oh well, we still had a great and informative field trip.

The airport was the first commercial airport in South Carolina.  It was built in 1927 and a stop on the air mail route from Atlanta to Washington D.C.   The first flight into the airport was by Charles Lindbergh to help celebrate its grand opening.  Lindbergh had just finished his famed trans-Atlantic flight a few months earlier.  Amelia Earhart flew into the airport in 1931.  She was in town to speak to the women at Converse College. 

During WWII the Army Air Corp used the airport for training purposes.  There are nice displays inside the airport terminal commemorating the role it played during that period of time.

Commercial passenger airline service was available until the early 1960s.  Once Greenville-Spartanburg Jetport was built, the commercial passenger traffic moved to it.  The airport has a very rich history in its role of our community.

The children were able to tour the control tower.  The airport no longer uses it as such.  The control tower operations shut down in 1981.  GSP handles general aviation issues of air space in our area.

The children were able to look into an airplane and learn about how the airplane works.  They were able to see a couple of planes land and one take off.  Of course, this was the highlight of their trip.

The adults learned just how expensive owning and flying a plane can be.  I found it interesting that all non commercial aircraft are basically taken apart and inspected every year for safety.   Commercial aircraft are inspected in stages throughout the year.

Our guide told us about types of pilot licenses and what one has to do to fly different types of planes. 

Today the airport is the third busiest general aviation airport in South Carolina.  We are proud to have such a great aviation history in our community!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


We had a wonderful learning experience today!  The Spartanburg Regional Medical Center and Upward Star Center hosted a program called Inside/Out.  The program allowed the children to experience the insides of a giant inflatable human body and learn about the organs.  Then they learned about nutrition and CPR.

I was very pleased that the human body component had a scavenger hunt for the students to learn about different things.  Some of the questions were difficult, but several nurses were available to assist the students as they searched for the answers. 

Next, the children learned about nutrition and calories.  They participated in exercise and enjoyed a snack. 

Finally, they learned about CPR.  They learned the correct way to assess a victim and how to apply CPR to the victim. 

This was a very informative trip!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Permaculture Field Trip

Okay, I must admit that this field trip was more for me than the kiddos.  Yes, they got something from it and will now understand my vision for our property.  However, it was really for me!

The Seneca Tree House project is a vision of sustainability in a community setting.  Using permacultural design to grow food and be in harmony with the natural world, the Tree House project is educating the public of this lifestyle.  The plot of land being used extensively is about half an acre.  The total property size is one acre.  We have a one acre parcel that I am trying turn into a permaculture landscape and wanted to get ideas.

The garden was not a typical garden.  I have raised beds and everything is neat and orderly.  Their garden was like a nature trail and plants placed here and there in mulched areas.  Much more natural and to an untrained eye, it would be difficult for many to pick out the food plants.  They had fruit trees in their gardens and I have mine in an orchard setting.  Although, now I see how I could easily convert the orchard area into a more space utilizing garden.

We learned about rain water collection and usage.  They talked about placing small ponds in the garden area for water and attracting pollinators to the garden.  This is something I would like to do in our yard.  Little Man would love to stock it with fish!

We continued on the tour through the garden to an earthberm house they were working on.  It is a very interesting design and would love to see it when completed.  I would consider doing a smaller version and using it for a root cellar.

The poultry run was large and to my surprise not extremely secure.  They said they have not had any issues with predators or escapes.  I think I will have a much more secured area.

The highlight for the kids was the actual tree house.   I would love to build one for the kids.  I think they would stay in it for days! 

Overall, we learned a bit about permaculture and will keep applying it to our own yard.  Maybe one day, we can do tours of our yard!

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Today was home school class with Mr. Jack.  YAY!  We love Mr. Jack and all the cool stuff he comes up with for the kiddos.  Today's lesson was something new and really neat.  Stop-motion video making with a free app and bunches of creativity.

As always, Mr. Jack explained to the students the background of stop-motion video and how it was used in making cartoons.  From very simple flip style, using a book and drawing small pictures in the margins.  To more elaborate illustrations and paintings and photographing each frame, stop-motion video has been entertaining us for generations.  Now computers can be used to cut down on the tedious drawing time that this art form often requires.  Mr. Jack used the Scooby Doo cartoons to make his point to the children.  He then explained how Pixar goes about making their animated movies. 

Next, Mr. Jack talked about frame rate and the number of frames needed to trick the eye.  He used video games as a prime example.  Of course, all the children could relate.

He showed the children an example he created using the app they would all use in class.  He stressed important details and then the creativity was allowed to flow.

The children worked in groups and individually.  Ideas were discussed and then drawing commenced. 

Everyone had a great time and enjoyed watching everyone's productions.

I think Mr. Jack just inspired several stop motion directors today!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Rose Hill Plantation

We took a field trip to Rose Hill Plantation and learned more about the history of our great state.  Rose Hill was the home to William Gist, aka The Secession Governor of SC.  Governor Gist's lineage dates back to pre-Revolutionary war times.   The Governor was from a well to do family and at the age of 12 inherited 2000 acres and 22 slaves, upon his father's death.  The park ranger told us that records and history of the site is not well known about the early years of the plantation and they are constantly finding out more.  

The house is a four on four Greek Revival style.  It is made of solid 1 foot thick brick walls on the interior and exterior of the home.  Stucco was placed over the brick and etched to look like large blocks when the porches were added to the home.  The interior of the home has very few pieces from the Gist family.  However, it is decorated with antiques from the time period the Gist family lived in the home.

 The secession document signed December 1860.

 Listening to the ranger tell about the Gist family.

 Period dining setting.

States Rights Gist - Nephew to Governor Gist.  

The rooms are large and each room has a fireplace.   We learned that there was no official governor's mansion like today in Columbia.  The house of the man elected governor became the governor's mansion.   We learned about how guest were entertained and the upstairs children's bedroom became a 'ballroom' during parties. 

The main house, front formal garden, and kitchen building in the rear were the only original structures left on the plantation.  We learned that Governor Gist ran the plantation with tenant farmers after the Civil War and Mrs. Gist continued to run the plantation after her husband's death.  The remaining children of the Gists' sold the house and land upon the death of their mother.  Years of neglect followed and finally the house and 40 acres were bought and restoration began.  It is hard to imagine that such a fine piece of South Carolina history came close to being lost forever. 

The grounds are very nice in addition to the house.  Large magnolia trees, pecan trees, and walnut trees provide tons of shade.  The area is now a forest and the plantation cotton fields are once a memory.  It is hard to imagine how it looked during the Grist's family ownership.  The nature trail and river trail now wooded would have been rows and rows of cotton.  Oh, how I wish we could travel back and see it then!

 A tenant house.

 View from the tenant house.

 Canopy of walnut trees.

Nature trail walk.

This was a great field trip to review some of the things we learned studying the Civil War.  I just love going places to bring history to life for the kiddos!