Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
We definitely learned a few things this year. The previously mentioned need to thin carrots was one thing. Broccoli does really well for us and we shall be repeating that without a doubt. I'm even going to try fermenting some of the leaves as one does for sauerkraut. We like Erste Ernte (I may be misremembering the name here) spinach, but we do not like so-called New Zealand spinach. It's not really spinach at all and the texture does not make my tongue happy. The Spawn doesn't like it either. Next year we're going to do sauce tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. Slicing tomatoes are wasted on us, for the most part. We will try and grow more lettuce, space permitting. We like our salads in mixing bowls and that uses up a lot of lettuce and spinach. We will NOT plant a row and a half of string beans. Half a row of beans sans strings will do just fine. If all goes as planned, we will devote one entire plot at the community garden to potatoes. We are definite potato snobs now. German Butterballs, yellow fingerlings, and Yukon Gold, in that order of preference. We'll see which store the best.
Now if only the winter garden does its thing. Stuff got planted a bit late for that, but it's slowly taking off to some extent. This too will be a learning experience. One thing we'll have to learn is how to get into the blasted garden when the ground is wet, as it will be for the next six months or so. The soil is heavy on the clay and the worry is that it will get compacted and be worthless. Of course, plants that can't be harvested are worthless too, so a compromise will have to be reached. The current thought is straw plus planks to keep the soil a bit more dry between the rows and to distribute the weight along the whole row. We shall see. Soon. There's thinning that needs to be done!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
When I asked her what it was, she said, "A blob."
"A blob with teeth, it looks like." I said.
She said, "It's a bitey blob."
I asked what it was biting.
She said, "It's biting a stream."
I asked why it was biting a stream.
She said, "Because it's thirsty."
I asked what the stream tasted like.
She said, "It tastes like lemon and seltzer water."
I said that sounded good. Then I asked why the blob was thirsty.
She said, "It was eating watermelon and it has seeds and it spits them out."
So there you have the story of the latest artwork by the Spawn.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Our kid, in fact, is the one whose clothes ALL have stains. There is no "Sunday best" in her wardrobe. I have given up on trying to get the stains all out. We just wash 'em and weep.
Our kid is the one whose face is always grubby too. Face washing involves high speed pursuit, so even if I think I've gotten all the blueberry, there's always some somewhere. And, of course, she has a stash of snacks in the armrest of her car seat, so even a clean face is grubby by the time we get anywhere.
Our kid hates to have her hair messed with. It gets washed once a week and brushed as best I can once a day. Forget such niceties as hair clips. They stay in for five minutes at most and then they're removed by force. Ponytails, when her hair was long enough, invoked lots of screaming.
Our kid never willingly leaves a park. She's the one who weeps and wails when, after two and a half hours, I tell her it's time to go home. The library we can only leave without similar drama by promising to read EVERY SINGLE new book as soon as we get home. I guess there are worse bribes.
And to the parents of all the tidy, well groomed, compliant toddlers out there...phhhlllbbbttt.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
That's another vice--baking bread. If you're like me and go for a nice whole grain bread, this is a good recipe, if you have a food processor. Or if you're like the Better Half and prefer something a bit more like an "artisan" bread, this is pretty good. I still haven't found anything that gets the same chewy texture and large air pockets as the stuff we buy at New Seasons though. I feel sure it must be possible, but you may need a secret handshake to do it. Now to go start my grain soaking.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Bedtime tonight was probably more athletic than it's ever been before. The Spawn didn't get her wind-down reading time this evening. She went straight from playing trains with Daddy to "I'm ready for bed." And if a toddler says they're ready for bed, you don't argue. Well, she and I did our little routine. That takes about ten minutes. Then it's time to lie on the bed and sleep. Hah!
She played ring-around-the-rosie on the bed for at least fifteen minutes. She recited several books to herself. She piled up all the pillows to make a nest on the bed. She lay on the pile and gently thumped the wall with her feet for a bit. She played ring-around-the-rosie again. She lay down once again and recited a little more. Finally, she went to sleep. Forty-five minutes this lasted.
Tomorrow night she's getting her evening stories!
We got a deep freeze (two now) and buy chickens from a local farmer, beef comes as a quarter cow again from a local person, and there's a whole pig coming at the end of the month. The pig is probably traveling the furthest; it's a good hour drive to that farm. We've been gardening to the best of our ability. We get things at the farmer's markets. We bought a very large quantity of outstandingly yummy organic peaches from one local orchard. And so on. Bulk stuff gets ordered online from a natural foods warehouse based in Dufur, Oregon, which is all of two hours away.
The result of all this is very few grocery store purchases. There will always be some--we seem to keep running out of green onions, for instance--but never terribly much at one time. The last time the Spawn and I were in Fred Meyer, I looked at the pre-roasted chickens for sale and suddenly realized I hadn't the foggiest notion if they were on sale because I didn't know what they cost normally. There are a lot of things in the store like that. Aside from produce and non-perishables, the store is terra incognita.
It was a very strange feeling. I have to wonder if the Spawn is going to be totally spoiled in the way of food, since everything we get is so much higher quality than grocery store fare (and cheaper too, in general). Of course, she might go the other direction and turn into a McDonald's junkie as soon as she's old enough to have the chance. I do know she's not going to be one of those kids who thinks food comes in packets from the store.
Someone seems to have had a flossing incident in the parking lots of Globe Lighting.
I picked these up on my walk Monday. Seemed like a nice progression of autumn colours. Unfortunately the Spawn scattered the leaves so I didn't get to try them without the flash.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
This month's "assignment" for our photo club is contrast. I was just playing around with my cell phone camera and find that it takes not terribly awful photos if you don't ask to much of it. It's sure not going to replace the Nikon, but it fits in my pocket more easily.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
One of the things that was uncovered by their work of eating the thrice-blasted blackberry was a nice tree trunk. Well, two actually, both old enough to have the bark mostly gone, but not old enough to have started to completely dissolve into the ground. Watching the Spawn encounter those has been fun. She's starting to think maybe climbing around on them could be fun now that getting knocked off isn't such a strong possibility.
I am reminded of the large tree trunk I loved when I was a kid, somewhat older than the Spawn is now. It was a larger one, but then, I was larger too. That tree was a ship and a castle and a mountain. It was a marvelous place to hide out and to watch the world go by. Last time I visited the paternal parental unit, I saw that trunk again and was amazed at how small it was. In my memory it will always be almost as tall as me and completely wonderful. I hope the Spawn has such a thing in her future.
Friday, October 2, 2009
We also uncovered another example of better gardening through neglect. Actually, I doubt better care would have helped this, but we might have uncovered it sooner. It would probably have been much less impressive a month ago.
We pulled more mutant carrots too, but that's been done, so I'll spare the photos. Now to go eat some of the broccoli we harvested....
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Not all the flowers are sleeping. There's still some Queen Anne's Lace. Dandelions, of course, hang on till the bitter end. Even the roses are still doing their thing to some extent. But the leaves are turning and fluttering gently down. The rains have definitely started. And the spiders are mostly gone.
Yes, summer is spider season, autumn is leaf season, winter is rain, and spring is flowers. Not bad spiders, and I've been trying to keep the Spawn from getting a spider phobia (she's just gotten over the chicken one), but lots of them and webs EVERYWHERE you want to walk. How's that for digressing. Must be past my bedtime.