Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New post at the new URL

Monkeys eating kale: http://greenishmonkeys.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/csa-week-6/

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Water everywhere

(mostly in the garden. And we sealed the deal on a giant thunderstorm when we watered the garden ....)

We did a water-on-the-head race and it went fabulously. No, we didn't really save any actual water (rather the opposite), but both kids had a blast, and were able to really engage in the activity and some conversation about it. It's hard to carry water on your head! (and I can add to that, that it is even more difficult to carry water on your head when you are wearing a baby in a sling... especially a baby that pulls back and looks alarmed every time you put something on your head).

 We picked out containers from our recycling to use, beginning with a tiny yogurt container, progressing to a can, a large yogurt container, and finally a gallon milk jug.

Afterwards, we looked at pictures of mamas and children carrying water (and by accident, an alligator with a WHOLE HUMAN HAND in his mouth... I recommend pre-googling) and talked about the containers, the volume, the distance....both kids seemed to have a greater appreciation of the work so many families do each day to get the water they need. We ended up skipping the clean-up-outside part-- we'll do that another day, since I needed to get dinner started. The kids also played with a water quiz at the UN website for children, and picked up some random facts. All in all, a success.

The garlic scape pesto pizza was delicious (with a little yellow pepper and some fresh mozzarella). We also really liked the greens/ricotta pasta dish I made last night (we being me and Ben, notsomuch the children). I used part-skim ricotta and a food processor rather than blender-- it was creamy and good. Also very, very quick, which was a good thing indeed because Mr. I'm Seldom Fussy was very fussy.

Tonight? to my surprise, we are at the end of Book 7. It's Harry Potter Marathon night for the last time.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


How do you teach kids about sustainability without being too heavy handed? I remember some parts of being a child pretty clearly...and I do remember the blinders you have where you really mainly worry about how things are going to affect YOU. But I know our kids are inheriting a pretty big mess here (I mean the earth in general, not just my house)... and I want them to grow up with compassion, with a sense that the world is a big place with room for lots of other experiences than those they have.

We were walking to an activity today, downtown-- a little over a mile from our house. It was hot (for here). I fielded several complaints, and Adam said, "When we get there, I need to wet my mouth." I saw a teachable moment there, and said, "Did you know that a lot of people in the world walk farther than we are walking today to get the water they need to drink and cook and clean?" Rachel said yes and Adam said no.
So we talked about it a little and then did some imagining about it.... "What would we do with Sam if we were walking to get water? Would we have a jogging stroller? Who would carry him?.... how would we carry the water back to our house?" We thought about several different possibilities (would Adam be the one to carry Sam? Would he be strapped to Rachel's back? How would we get the water home?). Then Rachel just shut down. "I won't talk about this any more and I won't answer your questions." I tried to explore that a little, but she just said she was done. I said it was okay to feel uncomfortable about it, and it was important, too, because it helped us realize how much we have, and how we need to help others. But she was done. We arrived at the activity, both kids drank from the fountain, and I headed home with Sam.

I spent the walk/run home thinking about what we could do that would be fun, but also make the point without me being so heavy-handed....so when we get home this afternoon on this very hot day, we are going to do some water games. We need to water the garden, anyway. Here's what I'm thinking: we will do a race from the front yard to the garden with different sized containers of water on our heads-- fastest time and  least spillage wins. I figure we can start small and work our way up to a milk jug. Instead of taking showers tonight, we'll clean up in the back yard in our bathing suits.... with one bucket of water to use. When we come inside I've bookmarked some computer games and activities that focus on water.

We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

CSA Week 4: What's in your basket this week?

What did you get this week, and what region are you in? I was just looking at a picture of a share in Alabama this week-- as you would expect, completely different veggies (tomatoes, peppers... a giant cantaloupe).

We did give away some beets to my dad last week. We are continuing to do well with using the full share-- I have had to put a few odd leaves of limp lettuce in the compost, but there hasn't been any major waste, so far.

Here's our share. I had to put it on the table this week and stand on a chair to take the picture.

Sam was once again exhausted from baby socialization at Music Time at Central St. Farmhouse, and was thus unable to play with the produce. He had a blast, though, showing off his forward scooch and making Ring Wraith noises with the other baby his age.

 I'm guessing a little for amounts this week because I don't have the newsletter right in front of me:

2 heads of lettuce
1 lb salad mix
1 bunch of Hakuri turnips
1 bunch of carrots
1 bunch of chard
1 bunch of kale
1 bunch of scallions
1 bunch of garlic scapes
1 (enormous) head of pak choi

 Tentative Meal Plan
Big salad with cheese and 5-minute bread

At least three batches of Kale Chips. Maybe I will get to eat some this time!

Pasta with greens and ricotta, from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day (I'll use all chard)

Homemade pizza with garlic scape pesto (never made this last week)

I am torn between doing a basic stir fry and making spring rolls, which would make good use of some of the remaining veggies-- I've never made them before. Any tips? I was thinking the kids might enjoy rolling them/ customizing them (perhaps... even eating them).

Tomato soup, five minute bread, salad

Grill night-- hot dogs, trimmings. and, shockingly, salad.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Green(ish) Challenge 3 Wrap-up

It's Monday. And I have used the drier about twice as much as I did last week, so I am counting this one as a fail-- not an epic fail, just not a success. 12 loads of laundry, 5 of them dried in the drier. The problems that I had mostly focused around the weather, which was a bit unpredictable this week-- one day I was overly cautious, another day I wasn't cautious enough.

I'll keep hanging it up whenever the weather permits-- I find laundry much less burdensome if I can spread it out, so I try to do that whenever I can. This was a bad week for laundry... a bad week for exercise (no idea why) and a sad week in general (the loss of our friend). So we'll start over again. I think we have a decent routine going, and that's half the battle.

This week we are getting ready for a trip to the beach, when we will have our fourth green challenge of the summer... bringing our cloth diapers along on vacation.We're going to use mostly hybrid diapers-- here's hoping this goes well.

Things that did go well this weekend:
We picked strawberries with some friends and had a lovely time. All the berries have been eaten, frozen, or cooked. Rachel and I made no-sugar freezer jam from this recipe and it came out really well, if you like tart jam (we do-- and Rachel ate it up with no comments about it not being sweet enough).  I saw in the comments that some added small volumes of sugar or honey to this to sweeten it just a bit. It set really well (much better than other freezer jams I have made-- the extra pectin and the slow cooling seem to help).  I also made this cake for the 4th-- we haven't tried it yet but it looks really good. I was going to use blueberries and strawberries together but didn't get out the blueberries and therefore forgot them.
They look good from this angle. You can't see just how many under-ripe berries came home with us. But they were tasty anyway!

Kale Chips: prepared with Adam. Note to self, do not let Adam add the salt next time.
Continued good use of CSA share, despite some menu changes (and my ILs had us over for dinner last night). We have eaten everything or will be eating it tonight (except for a few beets...which are going to my dad who is, frankly, way more fond of beets than any of us).

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Eight Months of Beautiful Baby

It's about 7:30 in the morning and I have done a load of laundry and hung it on the line-- so we are off to a better start today. An extremely early start, thank you all children working together in tandem. I weeded a little, too. The big kids have read another chapter of Harry Potter. We're going to have a "blitz clean" and then head out to pick some strawberries-- yum.

Last night's dinner was a hit and made good use of our CSA share: honey-balsamic chicken with roasted carrots and onion, salad with roasted beets and a dab of goat cheese, and 5-minute bread.

Today marks 8 months of being a family of five. Sam is in his glory-- he is round and happy and the most mellow little guy I have ever known.

He did a sort of creeping army crawl maneuver this morning and got himself about 4" forward.

backwards scooching, soon to be a thing of the past.
He doesn't much care for solid foods, but will eat a few bites before devoting himself to trying to get a hold of the spoon. He likes to gnaw on a big piece of whatever we are having.
He is a thoughtful little guy. He tries really hard to do some simple signs, like all done and more. He's not quite there yet.
He ran his first 10K.... well, actually that was me, he just watched.
Milestones omitted from baby book: first time upending cat's water dish over own head.
His favorite game: the big kids ask if he wants his foot kissed, and he holds it out and giggles. We have to make regular stops when we are out to kiss his feet. Not that we spoil our baby or anything.

He is basically the baby of awesome. Where did all that time go?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Who will win, me or the laundry? And the garden, early July.

I love this rose. I would never have picked it out myself (I worry about killing anything as fragile as a hybrid rose-- my benign neglect plus the Maine winter is not a good combination for something delicate), but it was already in our garden when we moved here. And despite me just cutting back dead growth, doing some erratic weeding and tossing some compost in its direction periodically-- it has done pretty well.

This has not been a banner week for our clothesline challenge. Wednesday I waited for the thunderstorms that never came. Yesterday I got the laundry started very early... and it got rained on. It dried, but it took all day and now I am behind. Our family just got home from the funeral of a friend from church, and everyone is sad and the sky looks alternately sunny and ominous. The drier is going right now and I am okay with that.

Finishing our CSA share is going well this week. The taco salad we made last night was delicious and the kids ate large handfuls of kale chips. We make them like Smitten Kitchen. It really makes me unreasonably happy to watch them eat a dark leafy green.

The garden is mostly looking good. This week we staked the tomatoes and fertilized the pepper plants. They look a little better but are still small. The green basil is doing well but the purple basil is not. All of the tomatoes have flowers and the yellow cherry tomatoes have set fruit.
None of the pictures I took of the little sunflowers and zinnias came out well, but they are up and thriving. The little cilantro plants are also up, and I need to seed another row of those, since they don't last very long. In a few weeks it will be time to plant seeds for the fall garden-- this will be the first time we've tried that.

The back of the yard does really well with benign neglect.