Food


Early this afternoon, just as I was putting The Baby down to sleep, it began to rain. The thunder rolled continuously in the distance and as I came back downstairs, it began to rain harder. I stood for a minute, looking out the kitchen window at my gardens. I had planned to work in the gardens while he slept. I am definitely not made of sugar and I have been known to garden in the rain – even the pouring rain – but generally, it is considered a reasonable choice to not garden in the pouring rain. And that is the choice I made. So what should I do with my time?

I’ve got some new (to me) dining room furniture and so I could easily fill up nap time by cleaning glass and moving dishes and crystal. I’m behind on the laundry (as usual), so spending a couple hours catching up there would be time well spent. There are always dishes. Or dusting. Or the pile of crap in front of the freezer in the basement that I need to deal with. I could even get a head start on dinner.

But no. I did none of that. Instead, I made cup of peppermint tea and buttered – with the whey butter I recently discovered at the local Farmers’ Market and highly recommend – a thick slice of cinnamon roll bread, took some simple knitting and sat out on the porch.

I was well out of the rain, but sat in the cool and damp swirling air, had a clear view of the lightening, and could hear the rain falling and dripping in the garden and running in the downspout.

Max, the cat who came back, kept me company from the window.

I rocked and knitted and sipped my tea for most of an hour. It was lovely. I could have been more productive, sure, but I don’t think the time could have been better spent.

I can’t believe that July is almost over. How can we have been so busy and there still be so much more we wanted to do? We’ve done some of this:

And this:

And lots of this:

So… eight days left in this month and then all of August. We’ll be sure to make the best use – not necessarily just the most productive use – of our time, our Summertime. Right now, since the rain has stopped and the sun is shining again, I’m going to slip on my shoes and go out to do my daily inspection of the vegetable gardens and to top up the bird feeders. I know that sounds productive, but it is all play, trust me ;)

Spice jars. billi-jean.com

That final sprint for the finish each “school year” (and I use the term loosely) is an adrenalin soaked affair of jam-packed schedules, early mornings, packed lunches and the mantra, “Almost done, almost done, almost done..”. I don’t even think that there is a lot more that we were doing in April and May. Okay, there is a lot more, but it isn’t so much as to send the rest of your life topsy-turvy. At least, it sure doesn’t look like it in February and March when you are planning it all. In planning stages it looks like Fun! and Excellent Opportunities!… and it is, it so is, but when you get the the point that you can’t remember the last time you ate lunch at home and the baby napped in his bed and it’s getting harder and harder to get up in the morning… that’s the point you wonder what the heck you were thinking.

Now that it’s (mostly) done, was it worth it? Absolutely. Are we burnt out? Sure. But we’ll recover and then want to do it all again. There was an intense animation course that was a lot of work and time, but Jordan absolutely loved it. He learnt so much and has acquired a new, very cool, hobby. There were the weeks of drama classes that he couldn’t wait to get to. Guitar lessons. The Nature Programme, horseback riding, plus learning to type and reading hundreds of pages every week. There is always hockey and the paper route, of course, and learning to feed the baby, and watching old movies. These few months have been a productive and exciting time for Jordan. He has grown so much.

He’ll be 12 on Sunday. But I’m not thinking about that.

Now that we’re “done” (and I use that term loosely, too), I’ve been spending some time taking care of little details – not necessarily the most urgent details, but the ones that give me the most pleasure. Like, for example, filling my spice tins. I got those spice tins in two sizes at Lee Valley and I love them. They are big, so they’re perfect for things like oregano (because really? I can’t think of any time I’d use 1 teaspoon of oregano. I use at least a quarter of a cup or none at all, yanno?) and cinnamon (mmmm.. cinnamon). Spices I use in smaller amounts go in the smaller tins. The lids have glass windows in them and when I open my spice drawer I’m looking down through all those little round windows at all the colours of my spices and herbs. And that is exciting to me every single time. (yes, yes, I know ;) ). I label the sides of the tins, but I like to try to choose my spice or herb by it’s colour and texture through the window. I’ve gotten pretty good at it. (Maybe I need a hobby?) In the photo above: paprika, poppy seeds and sesame seeds.

I’ve also put my vegetable gardens in. There aren’t words for how much I love this. I’ve had problems in the past with blossom rot on my tomatoes. I’ve read that this can be due to a lack of calcium in the soil, so I’ve been washing and saving our egg shells. I grind them up with my mortar and pestle, and I sprinkled them around the roots when I put the tomatoes into the ground. I’ve ground up more now to add later.

Egg shells, mortar and pestle. billi-jean.com

There are more things Jordan wants to learn and to learn to do, so we’ve made an outline for the summer months. This plan calls for much more time at home, and much less driving around, leaving time for playing in the sandbox, long naps in bed, and puttering in the garden. Well, that’s the theory, anyway ;) But Jordan has already acquired that hammock he wanted and has broken it in with a couple of good books :)

Happy Mother’s Day!
and I have to say… I am one happy mother :P

Dinosaur raincoat
A dinosaur raincoat makes even rainy days GOOD days :)

We’ve been… are you ready? … it’s going to be shocking…. we’ve been BUSY! omg. Our schedules are packed full with regular outtings and classes and such, and then there are all the special events on top of that and it seems that I am always planning special menus or packing bags or making lists and just preparing for stuff. I knew that April and May would be crazy but I think I’ve reached my limit. No more! Well…. ok.. more.. just maybe spaced a little further apart.

New! Sandbox!
New! Sandbox!

A couple years ago, we freecycled a tonne of stuff… that now we have to buy again. lol ummm… it’s good for the economy? :P One of those items was a sandbox. Last weekend, we got a new one and Jordan got to work setting it up for The Baby. Seriously…. Jordan is the best big brother. He happily gives up his time/space/energy for The Baby. And he works hard to keep his little brother happy. He was very serious about this sandbox and even donated some of his beloved Tonka trucks to the project.

New! Sandbox!
Yay! Sand!

The Baby loves the sandbox… almost as much as Jordan does. lol. And a lot of days we spend hours out in the yard, picking dandelions and throwing playing in the sand.

Just a few more weeks, and things will start to slow down. A little. Maybe. I hope. lol. There are a bunch of posts up at Suburban Green Is People; remember to check it out.

Earth Hour
We did it and we didn’t die. We turned off all ‘non-essential’ appliances for one hour Saturday night as part of Earth Hour. It turns out that a) for only an hour NONE of it is essential and going for the jugular main breaker was not a hardship at all and b) it was, in fact, rather enjoyable.
Dinner was ready just as it was time, so we hit the breaker, lit some candles and sat around the kitchen table. We spent the whole hour there, eating and talking and telling stories. We were all surprised to see that at 8PM, the sky was still light.The glowing the sky and the streetlights meant that it didn’t actually get really dark in the house until 830 or so. We didn’t notice that is was especially quiet in the house, but we did notice how much of the ‘outside’ we could hear – people out walking, dogs in the distance.
Toward the end of the hour, I got to thinking (uh-oh!). We do different kinds of detoxes all the time – food, electronics, news – where we black out some of the non-essentials that assault our senses and our bodies and send us into overload and toxicity. That one hour, with the house darkened and quiet was really nice. I’m thinking we should add it to our regular rotation of black-outs even if only for our own sanity. Mark doesn’t think this is a very good idea at all as there are way too many clocks to reset ;)

Green BinAnd in other news; It’s Here! It’s Here!!
Halton Region is finally implementing a green bin programme. I don’t know why it has taken so long (and I’m sure there are very good and valid reasons for it), but it has been so frustrating to see other communities get their composting programmes and not us. The bin, along with a smaller kitchen bin, was delivered Saturday. Inside were all the destructions and free samples of approved biodegradable liner bags. The bags smell vaguely like food. Like wet popcorn or something. Of course, a quick look at wikipedia.com tells me that compostable bags are often made of starch from corn. Well there you go. That explains the popcorn smell. Maybe. We won’t use the little bin in the kitchen as I have a most excellent stainless steel compost bucket that I use. Plastic absorbs the food smells and gets all bleh. The stainless is perfect and pristine after years of use. Beauty.

We have, and use, a large composter that sits in our backyard. While we can, we’ll put our food scraps in there. Being vegetarian, there are no bones or meat scraps, so very little food goes in the garbage when we are using the composter. BUT. It gets full. Especially in the winter when the cold slows or stops the composting process. Typically, it is full before the middle of January and we have to stop using it. Some years, I have simply put food scraps in buckets with lids in the garage through the winter, where the contents freeze and do not smell or rot. But Spring can sneak up on you and suddenly you have buckets and buckets of slop and you are trying to find an afternoon to spend pouring it all into the bin. And a couple of very mild Winters made this plan of action not really feasible. So now we have a back up plan. Besides all those tissues and stuff, our food scrap overflow will now be composted. Yay!

Seriously, this makes me really happy :)

OH! Before I forget: Earth Hour – TODAY. Are you participating? We are. Rather than run around turning everything off – and then sitting in the dark listening to the hum of the fridge and feeling guilty about phantom loads (all that ‘hidden’ consumption in stand-by electronics and the digital clocks on every appliance) – we’re going to just throw the main breaker and feel good about it. :)
Easter 08
Easter 08
Easter was really, really nice. Well, the lead up was frantic and I will admit to sitting in my car in the parking lot at the grocery store crying. But only for a minute. lol Easter dinner was to be at my house on Saturday, because there were things I wanted to do on the Sunday, but Mark was away the week before (I think that business men do this on purpose. If there is some Big Event coming up, they plan to be out of town the week before. ) and THEN he got snowed in and couldn’t get home. Totally not his fault, but that doesn’t keep me from blaming him ;) The result was that the 6 hours of shopping and errand-running I had to do had to be done in less than two and then it took me 40 minutes to get to the grocery store because traffic was so bad and the store was so full of people I had to drive around until a parking spot opened up. This would be the point where the little meltdown occurred. hehehe But I got hold of myself, made some phone calls right there and changed the dinner to Sunday, giving up my plans for that day and one dinner guest in the process, but it was the only way there was going to be a dinner at all. *whew*
I know, I know, that is So Last Week and I need to Just Get Over It, but I still feel traumatized by the whole thing. I am a delicate flower. Or something ;)
Easter 08
BUT! My sister came over on the Friday and she helped me colour the eggs and bake bread and prepare some food for Easter dinner. That was a good time :) And Easter Sunday was bright with Spring Sunlight but holy cow cold! It is STILL cold. I love Winter. It is probably my favourite season (except for maybe Fall. Or Spring. And sometimes Summer), but even I have had enough now. I don’t think I’ve been properly warm right through for months. Next week is looking promising though. I have faith :) And in the end, inspite of the melt down in the grocery store parking lot, Easter dinner all came together pretty easily and it was a Really Good Day.
Easter 08
Of course, the Easter Bunny was here and Jordan carefully led The Baby through the egg hunting process. The Baby was not interested in the process, however, because Hey! I found this pretty shiny little egg thing beside the couch leg and it smells like something to eat! And after that, he was not very interested in hunting for more because he had two little shiny eggs. Also, it turns out he likes chocolate. I was stunned :P He also likes challah and home made hot cross buns. And dill pickles and salsa (not the mild kind, either).
Easter 08
I’m so happy to see Spring. Even if the tulips or daffodils haven’t come yet. And even if the temperatures are still on the chilly side. I believe and I believe that soon, very soon, it will start to actually feel like Spring.
I have to believe. Because the alternative is not pretty ;)

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