Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Free Lunch

I think that my garden has an invisible sign that welcomes all wildlife to come and taste thereof. My one lone canteloupe that withstood my bad gardening habits met an untimely end and became a gourmet meal for something with a small mouth. It was nibbled perfectly in half. I suppose I could play CSI and take a bite mold. Ha. CSI:Garden of Desolation. I had such high hopes for my garden. Unfortunately, earlier this year when I planted 3 rows of beans and 3 rows of zipper peas, I planted them too deep, and only a quarter-row of beans came up and 3 pea plants raised timid heads. Our tomato plant is doing all right, but everything else is merely half-hearted.
I spent some therapeutic time in the kitchen yesterday, baking whole wheat bread, banana bread and veggie pie. I even snipped fresh herbs into my pie dough--thyme, to be exact. I diced all my vegetables, cut up some more fresh herbs--thyme, rosemary, sage--and cooked it all up with a Parmesan sauce. It's a surefire way to get Owen to eat his vegetables. (In a pie, go figure. With a cup of sweet tea, too.) Is this like adding applesauce to cookie dough and calling it a serving of fruit?

The "GVP" on the crust stands for what else but Garden Vegetable Pie. Yummy. After sharing it with the in-laws for lunch today, it is gonzo.

Mom glamour

The other morning after breakfast, I heard the sliding door open and a loud, excited voice announcing, "Himey! Himey!" (Owenspeak for Kitty) Owen somehow managed to grab the kitty, and then, misunderstanding? my instructions, brought it inside and sat in his booster seat to hold it more adequately and securely. My, what big arms you have, Owen.

And yesterday afternoon, I gave Helen a drink. She's now weaned to formula, and we're experimenting with a sippy cup specially designed for transitioning from bottle to cup (sippy cups are NOT created equal). After her afternoon nap, she usually gets juice in her cup, but I tried good old cow's milk, vitamin D, homogenized, pasteurized. On a side note, one brand here now is selling for a whopping $6/gallon. We need a cow. Helen guzzled her milk happily, albeit a tad messily.

And then I nearly stepped into a suspicious liquid and realized why her level of milk went down so fast. Not only was she drinking the milk, but she was also spilling it, in all manners-- spurting down her front, dripping down her neck, pooling under her head and back. Nasty. She was delighted. A genuine milk bath. What's next, honey and lavender? (It's good for the complexion, Mom!)

So while supper was in the oven, I abandoned kitchen clean up for kiddie clean up.

Along came big brother and stated that, in his opinion, Helen should not be alone in the tub, and he was the exact person needed to bring her companionship, and shame on Mommy for almost allowing Helen to be so abandoned by her big brother. How generous of him. He really just saw her playing with HIS bath toys, and jealousy took over. This was Owen's second bath of the day.

Before bedtime, he needed yet another bath, because we slaved in the flower beds after supper, removing white rocks to replace with pine straw. We got a small section done. And only encountered one ant bed. Blast those stupid things. At least I got away with only about 5 bites this time. These are not the sweet little sugar ants I knew as a girl in Indiana--the ones I loved to watch industriously building their homes. These are fire ants, the kind that bite, make you jump up and down, think bad words, create instant fury. The bites itch for days. Blast them! They so ruin a picnic.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Life on the Back Porch

Along with some great vegetables, I nabbed these flowers from my mother in law's garden while they were away. (With prior permission/suggestion/request from her.) I have always loved zinnias. They are such friendly flowers. And they're easy to arrange.

The other afternoon, Owen was doing his best to get the kitty, who was doing her best to hide from his clutches. It is amazing to me how the cats let Owen haul them around, not even giving him a warning scratch. He will carry them in various backwards and upside down positions, almost squeezing the life out of them. When he finally gets one, he climbs up into a chair and holds it tightly--Owen gleeful, cat quietly panicked. They've learned to stay away from him now.

By the way, this sweet little thing needs a home. She is learning to catch live things and turn them into dead things. (That's a good thing if you live in the country.) Can you mail a cat?

I was so sweetly touched when I saw Owen's treasures in the trunk of his car--two withered petunia blossoms. (Never mind the fact that I have been working with him NOT to pick flowers.) He saw me picking some zinnias and some hydrangeas and talking about how pretty they were. I'm glad he appreciates them, but we can't just go around picking any flowers we like now, can we? If I did that, I'd be in serious trouble with the city.

And the other day, I saw a butterfly resting on the outdoor tile. I wonder if it had seen better days? It had some apparent battle wounds. (Maybe it met up with the kitty?) I saw the butterfly again today, or maybe it was another one, and I saw the kitten scoping it out. I held my breath as the cat pounced--I didn't want to witness the murder of a butterfly--but fortunately the butterfly was quick enough to save its own life.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What’s your reaction when someone unknowingly inserts a huge high-heeled foot into her mouth when talking to you? My gut reaction is an ugly little feeling that wants to speak words that will make that person feel like an idiot worm. Nice, huh? Polite too! Right.

For instance, “That kid just has a really funny look—big bug eyes and a wide mouth--he looks like an alien. (Confidingly)--You know he has some kind of syndrome or something. He’s just weird. Bless his heart.” Doesn’t that make you want to lie and blurt, “My husband was born with three eyes, 12 fingers and pointy ears, and he had to have multiple operations, but not before other kids made fun of him constantly, so badly traumatizing him that he couldn't stop wetting his bed until just last week,” and watch her backpedal as fast as she can? “Really? I’m so sorry, etc, etc.” And then maybe you gently (or guiltily) counter with "No, not really, but what if?"

It is sobering to me how quickly a person’s true thoughts and attitudes come out in speech. You may have met someone 5 minutes ago, and already you can pick up that they are prejudiced or self-centered or lazy or uncaring—the list can go on. All by what they say and the way it is said.

I know I have stepped on more than my fair share of toes. How embarrassing. And how awful to know that what I say can reveal something ugly that’s in my heart, and that that ugliness can hurt someone else deeply even without me even knowing it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Electric's Cooking!

Jason and I just got back from a "week-inning" (not a weekend) in Orange Beach, Alabama. Completely paid for by our dear, beloved Southern Pine Electric Cooperative. We were more than happy to accept the invitation to the 32nd annual Alabama Co-op Couples Conference. Around 37 couples from all over the state attended, representing various co-ops. We had a few meetings during the days, free time in the afternoons, entertainment in the evenings, an optional dolphin cruise, optional golf, great meals and great drinks. Jason and I just couldn't believe it the whole time. We even won some nice cash from having our names drawn to play a slightly-less-than-cripplingly-embarrassing Newlywed Game. We were sent home with a goody bag with some extremely awesome stuff in it--as in not just a pen and a chintzy plastic travel mug. We really enjoyed the whole time, but in quiet moments, our thrifty Mennonite minds sort of scratched their heads, thinking what a colossal waste of money. But then again, are there any Mennonites in the marketing business? Which is what the time was, in effect. Just plain old advertising, aimed very specifically at people who are likely to benefit them the most. And it works--co-operatives are winning my loyalty and I will be promoting them however I can. So buy Bonnie Plants for your garden, everyone!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

An Appetizer a Day

I've not been able to bring myself to put this recipe card away since our trip to Indiana. I took it, along with some jalapenos from Ruth's garden, and made these tasty little boogers for our family's Fourth of July get together. I think Jason and Lyndon each had, uh, 10. What a perfect blend of cheese and spicy-ness. I baked them long enough to get rid of most of the fire, but they still had a pleasant warmth to them. They're not for the faint of heartburn.

Now that I've been commissioned to man Ruth's garden while they're on a trip, I think I'll snatch me some more of them there peppers and dream up a celebration to make them again.

Disclaimer: If you want to try your hand at this recipe, wear gloves when you slice and seed the jalapenos. You will not be happy with me if you don't.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Life of Aunt

Life in Alabama is slowly returning to normal. I had to deal with some bad attitudes--mine included--but I think we're all back on track now. It's so hard to get over the post-vacation blues.

Let me just say that I have adorable nieces and nephews! I enjoyed my time with them so much. I hate to see them growing up without me around. I miss all of them. Here we have brand-new Lincoln, who takes his nap seriously,

his big brother Easton getting a swing ride,

little Karis who is turning one year old (modeling a Central American-crafted jumper),

Kaiya the snuggle-bug,

and her big brother Caedmon who has an incredible hang time. We had fun together--it was hard to say goodbye. And we would have had room for stashing these kids away in the Expedition, to bring back with us and enjoy here at home! Next time, Gadget, next time!!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

There and Back Again Again

Thank you God and thank you sick, twisted minds who brought us Red Bull. We drove through the night both ways on our trip to Indiana. The kids did so well--it's hard for them to fuss when they are sleeping! Jason and I were/are zombies from lack of sleep. That stick-to-your-eyeball dry contacts feeling is hard to beat, but the twitchy, unnaturally wide-eyed Red Bull effect comes in close second. Thanks to our drive by nighting and the monstrous gas tank on the Expedition, we made absolute record time coming home, even beating our Best Time Ever, clocked before we had kids. I'm still shaking the limp, heavy feeling out of my legs, and my numb hiney is slowly regaining feeling. But I'd do it all over again to NOT have to listen to unhappy children in the back seat. Our last hour coming home was not pretty, but at least it was only an hour, and at least we made it.