Thursday, May 31, 2012

Squeezing in a post

There is too much to say and not enough time to write a coherent post, so I defer to the list-post.

  • We had another huge green salad for lunch today, topped with tuna, sunflower seeds, raisins, radishes, shredded cheese and olive oil with balsamic vinegar.  It was scrumptious.  I am endlessly pleased that my boys eat this without batting an eyelash.
  • I bought two quarts of strawberries from the farmers' market in Big Town, SD yesterday.  We ate sliced strawberries with breakfast, made strawberry-banana creamsicles this afternoon, and will have strawberry shortcake this evening for dessert.  Though actually . . . it will be shortbread.  Same-diff.?  Not sure, but it is gonna be awesome.
  • Eating our strawberries this morning I pondered on the idea of eating seasonally and came upon something.  I realized that I don't mind eating strawberries just during June, or tomatoes in August and September alone, because there are so many other wonderful treats rotating throughout the year.  Citrus and soups in the winter months.  Apples in the fall.  Asparagus and spinach every spring.  What a rich cyclical bounty!
  • Of course, we are eating home preserved and processed foods throughout the year as well, but there is something very special about eating fresh food in season.  I never would have known.  I'm so glad to have conditioned myself to this way of eating.  It is so much more of a thrill.  Honestly.
  • We've been eating another seasonal treat recently as well: ice cream.  We have the ice cream attachment for our KitchenAid stand mixer (oh my goodness, if you have the mixer, buy the ice cream attachment).  Oh my, but what lovely delights that can be made with that little beauty!  And no filler.  Just cream, egg yolks, maple syrup, vanilla.  Yo.
  • Our little Jamie.  What a cutie.  His new words are "Go!", "Hi", "Cheese" and he even said Grandma when prompted last week, though I can't remember how it went.  He likes it when I say, "One - Two - Three - Gooooo!" and joins me on the "Gooooo!", sliding down the slide or whatever other magnificent feat he's performing.  It's adorable.
  • Speaking of the little bugger, I've added peeing on the potty right before bed to his potty-training regimen.  Every morning and every night, I sit him down and ask him to potty.  He almost always does.
  • Two weeks ago, I noticed that his little hands were so dry that his thumbs were cracking.  Ugh!  It was terrible.  He squeezed a kumquat and cried and cried because it stung so horribly.  I started giving him cod liver oil in what we have now started calling "chewy pills" (AKA softgels) and they are healing nicely.  I tried giving him cod liver oil from this spoon this past winter, but he spit it out on to his shirt and peeeee-uewy, but that will stink for untold amounts of time. 
  • I learned that trick from dealing with my own poor cracked thumb in the winter months.  Starting the year after Diego was born, my right thumb started cracking along the right-side of my nail line and nothing I did would heal it: lotion, ointment, band-aids, whatever.  It would heal up and crack right open again.  Oy, it hurt.  Enter cod liver oil, and *poof* gone.  It has threatened to come back in recent winters, but I amp up on the CLO and it disappears.
The baby awakes.  Much love.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


  • Another windy day.  We've had several days of such fierce wind in the past week that it's just better not to go outside.  My hair whips around my face and practically stands on end.  The wind has battered a number of spring flowers into an oblivion and snapped several flowering varieties in half, including a cypripedium orchid that was getting ready to bloom for the first time in four years.  Boo.
  • Schtinky AKA Jamie has started saying "poo-poo".  This morning as I walked into the living room with a diaper right after his bath, he pointed at his pee-spot on the floor (grrrrreat) and said, "poo-poo".  He has also pointed to Truen on the toilet and responded to my inquiry about poop in his diaper with "poo-poo".
  • He also makes farting noises and laughs.  And holds objects that look like guns and makes the "pshw-phsw" sound.  Is that the youngest of three brudders or what??
  • Diego is going through a huge obsession with the I SPY books.  We read through a few pages on an almost-daily basis.  He love-love-loves finding all the hidden objects.  He has also been using our wooden blocks, tinker toys, duplo blocks and little tidbits around the house to create his own I SPY scenes.  Some of the stuff he's come up with is quite well thought-out.
  • Truen's current obsession is my jewelry boxes.  Last Friday, Schtinky attempted to climb our bedroom dresser using open drawers as a ladder.  I don't know how he survived unscathed, but he did.  (And nothing broke!)  Everything came crashing down, including a whimsical "jewelry tree" that Squeeze made for me a couple of years ago (an arty-looking tree branch stuck into brown aquarium-rock in a vintage plant-pot).  Ugh . . . the horrors.  We had weekend guests coming, so I did my best to pick up all the small pieces, but then had to move on to more important messes.
  • So yes.  The jewelry.  I've never thought of myself as a "jewelry girl", but I have quite a lot of it.  It has been sitting out within reaching-distance on Squeeze's grandma's buffet in the living room, much to the interest of my little "Truby-ruby", as Diego is calling him these days.  Both my jewelry boxes and the box of my great-grandma's cheap costume jewelry bequeathed to me by my grandmother.
  • He has to sit at the table to go through it all and puts all the necklaces and bracelets on by turn.  With a gleam in his eye.  "I'll wear this and this when I go out in public," he says, showing me his arm and chest.
  • Truen has also been getting upset by being smaller than Diego recently.  He doesn't like that he is littler, that Diego will always be bigger, and will work himself up into tears, wailing, "and I am always getting hurt!".  Which is true.  He gets hurt with unbelievable frequency.
  • His current injury is a scrape to the side of his right big-toe knuckle.  If you can follow that.  Diego basically slide into him while they were playing on the front walk, causing him to scrape that spot on the inside of his foot a number of inches on the cement.  It is a DOOZY.  Very nasty and hard to heal because it keeps on getting re-injured.  I've finally insisted that he wears socks and slippers inside and socks and shoes outside.  Enough already.
  • Shifting gears . . . with our gardens completely planted, our focus has shifted to weeding and watering (especially with this hot, wicked wind blowing).  Soon we will be paper-and-strawing, though I am lobbying for just "strawing".
  • The moths have been un-un-un-un this year.  They are everywhere.  If something hangs out on the line overnight, a dozen moths will be hiding under it.  Every time I open the garage door in the morning, a couple dozen moths fly out at me and make me squawk as if it were Hitchcock's The Birds.  It is getting down-right oogie.
  • We found two baby blackbirds that fell from their nests last Friday.  The first was big and strong enough to put back into the tree so it could hop back up to its nest.  The second was too young, very fuzzy and just starting to get its feathers.  The boys have been begging to raid bird nests to get a "pet bird" (right, like that is ever going to happen), so this was the perfect opportunity for me to satiate that desire.  I reasoned that even if it ended up dying, it wouldn't have made it anyway. 
  • Oh, they were thrilled.  So thrilled.  We found a wind-blown nest and Diego made it a soft bed of fresh grass inside it.  They fed it moths and worms and softened catfood (yuck).  They learned to tap the side of the nest so it would start peeping and begging for food.  They held it and fussed over it.  At one point I found Diego sitting alone, holding the nest and staring off with dreamy eyes.  "I'm just so happy," he said, smiling hugely.
  • And then it died.  The third day. 
  • Our theory is that it got too cold in the night (a storm blew through) and that it waited too long to eat that morning (the boys slept in due to late nights and all the thrill of our weekend visitors).  Saaaaad.  Diego cried (Truen seemed less affected).  The 13 year old girl who was staying with us brought it in the house as it was breathing its last, barely able to lift its head.  Oh, it was terrible.  Just terrible.  We were all sad. 
  • But even then, I was amazed how quickly they got over it.  It was a good experience for the boy-ohs, though I do wish we wouldn't have let the little guy down.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Garden notes: fully planted

Is it Thursday already?

We had an extremely productive three days last weekend.  Squeeze took Monday off, an excellent move which produced some massive results.  Massive?  Yes.  Both gardens are 100% planted.  All supports (cages, frames, poles, wind protection, etc.) are in.

Stats from this weekend:
  • 54 tomatoes
  • 41 peppers
  • 16 eggplants
  • 6 tomatillos
  • 4 varieties of winter squash (Buttercup, Butternut, Spaghetti, Triamble)
  • Cucumbers (Lemon and Bushy)
  • Summer squash (a yellow patty-pan and Black Beauty zucchini)
  • Gourds, pumpkins
  • Melons (Charantis and Sweet Siberian for sure)

We've been eating huge salads all week.  In fact, for lunch the other day I served the boys a giant salad with sunflower seeds, raisins, tuna chunks and shredded cheese with buttered toast.  They yummed it down and Truen requested it for lunch the next day as well.  I also picked enough spinach that all of us were able to eat it with dinner one evening in delightful quantities (we usually end up fighting over it).  With butter and salt.  Yo.

We feel very good with where we are at this year.  Very good.  "Experience is the best teacher" and man, we learn more and more with each passing season.  When a tactic fails, we take note and make sure not to repeat it the next season.  Or even accidental or circumstantial failures, like last year when we didn't get the tomato support fences up until early July.  It couldn't be helped . . . there was just too much else to do.  But this year?  The fences were already made (a huge boost in working towards our goal) and we got them in as we planted.  That is huge.

More notes from this spring:

The boys and I were in Minneapolis last week, staying with dear friends and visiting with my brother while he was in town.  We hit up the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Como Park, Minnehaha Falls, hung with our buddies, satiated my cravings for Nepali and Middle Eastern food, spent time with a friend and her new baby and visited with a college roommate (and her children) I hadn't seen in almost 9 years.  A very full and rich few days.

Monday, May 07, 2012

More spring notes from the garden

One of the nests we are watching this spring:
Aren't robins' eggs so gorgeous?
That blue . . . so hopeful.

We are catching up from our dry winter with a downpour of spring rains - 5 inches in the past 3-4 days.  Work in the garden this weekend was muddy.  We slogged around with muck all over our boots, getting taller and more heavy-footed with each step as it compacted underfoot.

We didn't get into the garden until Sunday, as it was raining buckets all Saturday day and night.  And what a sight it was.  Totally overwhelming.  With all this rain (and last week's temps in the 80s F), everything has been growing in turbo-speed and it felt like the weeds were the most prolific of the bunch.  It was discouraging.

But we rallied and attacked and by the end of the day, things looked pretty darn good.

I weeded the peas, celery, lettuce/radishes, spinach and garlic.  Squeeze weeded the carrots, kale, collards and chard; he also prepped the cabbage bed (which involved a full-on frontal attack on mats of grass), then planted the cabbage seedlings. 

Those poor little cabbages . . . they have been sitting outside for the past week "hardening off" (AKA getting used to outside temps) and have been absolutely assaulted by the weather.  They've been drowned several times, blown-silly by fierce winds, hammered by rain, and just this past Saturday night, pelted by hail.  Squeeze had to don the rain slicker and rescue them from certain death.

We ate a yummy-delicious salad of lettuce and radishes last night, composed entirely of newly-seeded plants . . . the earliest salad on record.  (Other early salads have involved cold frames or mild-winter survivors.)

2012 Spring garden notes:

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Brudders

Schtinky has really enjoyed the slide this spring.
(Another road-side treasure)

Truby was SO proud of spelling his name.
"What are the letters in my name, Mama?" he asked,
then found each one and put them together on the front of the refrige.
I didn't have the heart to tell him about the extra "P"
(: Not that he would have known anyway :)
These mangled letters have been in many-a-mouth over the years.

Diego's special request: 
A picture of him snuggling with a carved wolf at the airport.
His sweetness gives me a happy smile.

Wouldn't this just have been so great??
Dern camera.