Sunday, August 31, 2008


In an attempt to clean out our office area (which is a desk in the living room, flanked by an armoire which holds a massive laser printer and all our office-y supplies plus a filing cabinet hidden in the coat closet), I went through our files to purge unnecessary documents to make room for more of Jon's random bits of paper which hold all his brilliant ideas (apparently). Since the main thing to rid the cabinet of were old bills and accounts that no longer exist yet have important information about my identity on them, I hauled out the shredder (also hidden in the coat closet). The boys heard its whirring and followed it to its source, where they found something delectably destructive to partake in with full parental blessings (minus lots of "watch your fingers!"). They took turns inserting two-year-old (and more) bills and papers of accounts with companies that no longer serve the greater metropolitan area at all. It was great relief to be rid of it and the boys had lots of fun with it.
In the end, I think we had five or six bags full of shredded paper to send to the recycling on Monday morning. I hauled it all out to the curb before realizing that Monday was a holiday and the trash and recycling would not be picked up until Tuesday. Ah well, at least it didn't rain.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Every Tuesday...

We've done very well making it to every one of our City Fresh days this year. Last year, the amount of a full share was quite overwhelming for us since Jon was working so much and we missed a few due to laziness and at times, vacation. This year, however, we've done quite well. The entire atmosphere is different this year too. The location is better - last year was in front of a church on a busy road and was basically a sidewalk. This year it's at a park in front of the library and connected to a large playground - the Dreaded Big Park (which is, incidentally, far less dreaded these days). A real community is forming now. There are lots of families with children, which wasn't the case last year, really, and we all hang out and let them play together quite a bit and chat with one another. I think several families have added the trip to the library as part of their weekly City Fresh excursion, just like us. I recognize people this year and see lots of folks I already knew who have joined.

There are several homeschooling families as well, which is nice to get to meet and talk with the mothers. School for the district started last week, so I've been talking to the other mothers about their informing the district of their intent to homeschool. Many of them are doing this for the first year, just like us (well, officially anyway), so there's lots of speculation about the assessment we have to do at the end of the year and what that will be like. It's nice to talk.

Meanwhile, the boys all run amok at the big park, climbing the adjacent mulberry tree, running behind the shrubbery in front of the library and stealing peaches from the crates. The boys spotted a large bumblebee.
I have always called and heard these called bumblebees and was never really quite sure if that was accurate. I sort of thought that "bumblebee" was synonymous with "honeybee" and that therefor this was something else altogether. Of course, thanks to the power of Google, I have discovered that it really is a bumblebee and it is in fact quite different from the honeybee. What did I do before Google? Apparently walked around with unverified facts stored in my head.
Bastian says "cheese!" He's wearing his new applique wolf shirt I got at the thrift store a couple of weeks ago. It's totally awesome and he loves it. Aleks wondered why I didn't get him a wolf shirt too.
Aleks and his buddies crouched down in their hideout under the three-story slide.

I sat on a bench with my veggies while they all played. This week was tomato, potatoes, peaches, corn, green peppers, squash, and cooking greens.
There were lots and lots and lots of peaches, so I ended up with extra.
Bastian and Aleks have grown accustomed to hanging out for a long while at City Fresh, playing with the other kids and stealing the peaches (spray-free) straight outta the crate and going to town getting sticky. I've tried to encourage them to at least ask.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Makin' Pie

Jon suggested we make pies to get through all our fruit from City Fresh extras, so I set out to make an apple pie totally from scratch. I'd seen my mother make pie crusts and had helped in the past, but never appreciated the entire process and its idiosyncrasies. Making pastry is weird. Anna visited for dinner and helped Aleks make the filling. First they chopped up all the apples. Anna pealed them and Aleks cut them into smaller pieces. Then he and Bastian took turns dumping ingredients into the mixing bowl and helping Anna stir.
Meanwhile, I made the crust very carefully according to the instructions in Joy of Cooking. I even added an apple design to top it off. The pie was delicious!

authors note - I realized that I am constantly talking of this Anna lady while I myself am an Anna. I'm not sure if that's confusing or not, but the Anna in the above picture is not me. That's my good friend, Anna, whose children are good friends with Aleks and Bastian. We both just happen to unschool, homebirth, knit, gossip endlessly, like movies, love Harry Potter, breastfeed half our lives, and are named Anna. We're the Annas. Just so you know.

Children's Botanical Garden

We visited the Botanical Gardens to get out of the house for a bit (and to make that membership worth it!). First they ran straight for the coy pond and gazed at the fish.
Then they ran amok for a good half hour with other kids, climbing rocks and acting like zombies and monsters. I sat and read Harry Potter. In the vegetable patch, there was giant pumpkin. I don't know what they did to get it so big. I want to carve it for Halloween (when we will be having a second Harry Potter party at Anna's request).
Bastian gets close to demonstrate for the camera how very large this jack-o-lantern potential is.
There's a little house in the garden for playing in whose roof is filled with plants. Bastian loves it, as though a little house were so novel (admittedly, we do not have one of our own).
He poked his head out of all the windows
and pulled the shutters closed. I guess he wanted to be alone.
Back in the vegetable patch, he insisted on shutting the gate as well (a very Benjamin Rabbit sort of gate, I might point out).
The garden was full of a bagillion plants. I wish I had a team of landscape experts to work in my yard.I find I like taking close up photos of plants. They are so lovely. Apparently marigolds are excellent for companion gardening as the deter some pests. I remember the one year my step-father found old packages of them and planted tons all along the garden's edge. Now it all makes so much sene.

Bastian filling up a watering can, which he used to water the sand.
The lady working there recommended (several times) that he water plants instead of sand. So he did.
Barbara Kingsolver talks about the five-colored swiss chard she grows in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. She claims her children would have blindfolded taste-tests to see if the colors tasted different. She claims that this is what happens when you don't have m&ms in the house, though in my experience, I've not seen evidence to support this claim. Thus, I think she's full of it. We were able to take a couple stems of this home and have it for dinner. I did not notice a difference in taste between the orange and the magenta, but it did taste quite good - much like spinach.
In the critter box were three giant fat Tomato Hornworms.
One of these can eat an entire tomato plant. They're kinda creepy.
The kids liked it, as they like all bugs.
On the way out, Aleks requested change to throw in the fountain. I don't believe either of them had ever done this before.
Aleks whispered to his penny (so Bastian did the same), telling it his wish before throwing it in.
And there the wishes sit. I wonder who grants them, what force that might be.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I tried to teach the boys hopscotch, while we played in the evening outside. I thought it might interest them greatly since they tend to bore of sidewalk chalk and always want to visit the neighbors over and over. I was quite wrong about it holding their interest, however. They did not try much to learn to hop on one foot and I desperately wanted to get back to reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for the fifth or sixth time (which, I was disappointed to learn after I'd started it, is quite fruitless as the movie release has been pushed back until Summer 2009). I abandoned the attempt.

I then looked up to discover them inventing their own method of hopscotch, if not for hopping, at least for drawing.

The Potions Master

I discover Aleks making a potion on the counter, a la Severus Snape.

Our Half-Blood Prince stole expensive organic ingredients from our spice cabinet and dumped them in a bowl, creating a noxious combination of unpleasant flavors.

The bubbling actually comes from the interaction between a packet of Emergen-C (lemon-lime, which when combined with the cocoa powder was delish! retch!) and a bit of soapy water. So it fizzed wonderfully, like a truly toxic concoction. I'm not sure precisely what this was intended to do, but we stored it in a test tube for a week.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


For Aleks' birthday, I got Bastian a troll, a Minotaur, and Cerberus, the three-headed dog from Greek mythology:
the watchdog who guards the entrance to the lower world, the Hades. It is a child of the giant Typhon and Echidna, a monstrous creature herself, being half woman and half snake.

Originally, the dog was portrayed having fifty or hundred heads but was later pictured with only three heads (and sometimes with the tail of a serpent). Cerberus permitted new spirits to enter the realm of dead, but allowed none of them to leave. Only a few ever managed to sneak past the creature, among which Orpheus, who lulled it to sleep by playing his lyre, and Heracles, who brought it to the land of the living for a while (being the last of his Twelve Labors).

The need for a present for Bastian is the same reason I have to buy two of everything now that I have two children with similar likes and interests. It gets expensive.

It's a good thing I got them though, as both boys love them. Aleks drew the troll (which really I think is supposed to be an ogre, but we like trolls) while looking at it, which is a first, I believe. Googling it, I discovered that trolls and ogres are somewhat similar.

His observation skills were very nice. I love his artwork.

While in Dayton, my mother reminded me that some boys called me Troll in school. I had forgotten all about that. At first, I thought it was in high school and was developed by friends of mine (and really, that sounds like something they might have done), but now I recall that it was Richard Hadler in fourth or fifth grade. The jerk.

Bastian's Tattoo

Aleks gave Bastian a whole body tattoo with a giant skull on his chest.Bastian quite liked it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Library/City Fresh

As every Tuesday, we traveled to Coventry Peace Park to pick up our farm share and visit the library and visit with our friends. We decided to stay the whole day as we went to the Food Co-op first for our other groceries, dropped them off at home, then headed to the library, then picked up our vegetables and waited for our friends to come. Usually there are a couple of women who bring their children with them who the kids play with, but most of the children were home sick. Jenny and Reilly come at the end because Jenny volunteers for City Fresh by collecting and typing their spreadsheet each week, so we waited a long time for them to come. Knowing this was the case, I packed peanut butter and jelly.
We sat down on some rocks and read one of our library books while we waited. It was a gardening alphabet book. I thought we'd look for some of the same fruits and vegetables we were getting in our half-share in the book. None of the words had anything to do with specific plants, but the pictures had plenty of fruits and veggies in them.
We got apples.
And peaches, which I helped moved from crate to bucket so the crates could go back to the farm, and which my children ate several of while they ran about with the children of the other volunteers. While moving the peaches, one of the organizers talked to me about helping the Food Co-op out as it is struggling. I serve on the board of the Food Co-op. I passed the information on at our board meeting and our produce manager is going to contact the gentleman. It was a nice connection to make. If I were staying in this city, I'd be more committed to making change. As it is, I'm leaving in a year and focused on other things...
There were watermelons, whose insides are yellow, extremely seedy, and delicious.
Eggplants which we turned into vegetable fajitas.
Along with the onion and green bell pepper...
The Kale is always my favorite. I love kale so much. It so wonderful fried in olive oil with garlic and I put it raw into smoothies for the boys. A friend's elbow was bothering her. We said - eat lots of kale! It's anti-inflammatory and a powerful anti-oxidant. It also helps prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis, promotes lung health, and helps cells in their detoxifying and cleansing processes. It's also good drizzled in oil and vinegar and eaten raw as a salad.
Beets. Which I'm so sick of.
The boys ran and ran with all the other boys.