Saturday, October 29, 2011

first snow

A house full of boys cannot have a first snow without a serious snowball battle, now can they?

Mr. Reporter , Mr. Ninja, and neighbor T. duking it out.

Monday, October 24, 2011

a welcoming of fall

Yesterday morning I awakened to a thick veil of fog outside our bedroom window.  The crisp, invigorating chill is in the air now and the oaks and maples are relinquishing their leaves of gold, orange, reds and browns.  I know that my thoughts about this recurrent change from the hustling swelter of summer to the introspective and temperamental days of autumn will be quite different come mid-January, so I'll write them now.

Only during the autumn months will our basement shelves be stocked full of the quarts and pints of pickled cucumbers, carrots, and green beans.   The acorn and butternut squashes, also found there, will patiently wait to transform into the sugary breads, muffins, and pies of winter.   The freezers are full of the blueberries, strawberries, and cherries that were picked and bagged in June- not to mention the green bells, tomatoes, and the much appreciated half of a red angus, grass-fed cow. 

Our family's rather new practice of laying food away has given me an unexpected peace and a heart full of gratitude during these days of financial upheaval and rising food costs.  It has brought me a sense of independence to know that no matter what changes go on outside our little home, we will have full bellies. 

Other gifts of autumn are the aromas of mr. Hero's lovingly prepared hearty soups and the wafting of my "hockey puck" sized biscuits, browning in the oven.  The coziness of a wood burning fire that hasn't been used since March, the long hours on the couch knitting up a project that's been tucked away since the middle of spring, and the early nights spent around the table-giggling and reminiscing with the boys about the day just spent.

child's mitts

So with gratitude, I welcome the fall and am grateful for all of her gifts.  Soon, winter will be right around the corner and I'll be awaiting her gifts, as well. 

What have been some of your thoughts about fall?  If you live in another part of the world, what offerings do the autumn months bring you? What are some of your favorite methods for laying aside food?  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

green yumminess

Ever have trouble getting the kids to eat their veggies?  We didn't have to struggle with this one too much until little mr. Ninja came along.  The kid only preferred foods that were white or brown... bread, meat, peanut butter, you get the picture.  A trip to the pediatrician for his yearly physical changed all that when sitting in her office, Dr. S. asked me if I was giving the little tyke any multivitamins.

 I was honest with her.  The truth of the matter is that we go in and out with taking our vitamins.  And at this point in time, my answer was "no".  Then she persisted and asked me if I was giving him any veggie drinks- like V8 or something.  Again, my response was "no".

All of a sudden my overactive imagination had mr. Ninja remaining the size of a six-year-old for the rest of his life.  At this point I knew that his white/ brown regime would just have to go.

Dr. S's. suggestion about a green drink was like an epiphany.  I'd made them in the past and had had some success with them, surely I could make them again.  And with that glimmer of hope residing happily in my head, I left the good doctor's office and headed straight for the trusty health food store for some multivitamins and a bag full of kale.

I'm pleased to announce that mr. Ninja not only liked the concoction I blended up for him, but he loved it and asks for his green drink every day.   The other good news about this green drink is that it makes for a very filling breakfast drink, as well.  So if you are also looking for a quick way to get your vitamin Bs, potassium, vitamin Cs, and omegas in the morning, you might want to give this one a try.

I'd love to hear what you think.

Yummy Green Drink


Ingredients:

  • 5 leafs of kale
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries
  • 1 tsp flax seed (ground)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
  • 1 packet of stevia (or 1 tbsp honey)

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until all the chunks are good and pulverized into a bright green, creamy drink of yumminess.

Bottoms up!




Wednesday, October 12, 2011

sexy creativity (and unconventional ways to fool around with paper)

There is something primal about watching a man with his worms.

Maybe it's the worm sex-the determined flurry of supple, hermaphrodite bodies clinging to each other in a slather of thick mucus focused on one goal only- to produce the life sustaining cocoon which will bring forth the ravenous baby worms- ready to feast on shredded paper and watermelon rinds.

handling the worm castings

Or maybe it's the worm castings- dark and fertile as a tempestuous woman patiently awaiting the return of her devoted lover.  Holding in her heart the certitude that their love will enlarge anything and anyone caressed by it.

In the basement with his worms.

Ok... maybe the worm sex and the tempestuous woman is a little bit excessive, but it sure was fun to write.   Besides, when was the last time you saw the words sexy and worms in the same sentence?  Yet my knitter's mind tells me that there really is a pattern here- so let me try again...

For a little over a  year now, I've watched Mr. Hero tirelessly cultivate his little worm family.  Beginning with only a pound of worms, he has managed to successfully produce a couple of bins full.  He has experimented with what foods to feed them (they really do love the sugary watermelon rinds) , how warm to keep them, and how much light to shine on them- to prevent their escape. It's been kind of like owning a pet- they are the first thing he cares for in the morning, because they depend on him for their sustenance.

This worm endeavor has also been about creativity.  All he started out with was a handful of worms, a bin of shredded paper, and a head full of ideas.  The product of his efforts- the rich soil of worm castings- has taken time to produce.  Much like creating a garden, decorating a home, building a career, or raising a family takes time.   Something exists now that didn't exist before.

I have a friend's mom who recently introduced me to two artists' amazing work that is nothing short of awe inspiring.   What they do with a pair of scissors and pieces of paper is a far cry from the little paper craft lessons they would have had in their kindergarten class.  Yet something was there, something down at their core, which compelled them to give the world something more.  And the trick is - they listened.  Go ahead, take a look here and here to see what I mean.  

This need to create is very much a vital need that when nurtured, motivates, excites, and energizes us.  And boy is that energy sexy.

Wouldn't you agree?

Friday, October 7, 2011

manos wool classica

I have a little problem.  Maybe you've have the same type of problem, too.
About a month ago, Craft Queen brought me back an expensive skein of yarn from Purl SoHo in NYC.  It was beautiful wool dyed in chestnuts, rich burgundies, and celery greens-lovely eye candy.  For days I pondered what to make out of it- and after tossing out the idea for a cowl or another headband, the yarn finally spoke to me.

Mittens.

Since last spring, I had been toying with the idea of thrumming a pair.  After watching a few videos online, like this one, I gave the Mannings a call and ordered my roving- made from Australian wool. Then I sat down with a pattern and discovered that I would need to order another skein.  So I called Purl SoHo and spoke to a very friendly saleswoman who told me that she certainly had another skein of the same lot that Craft Queen brought me.  She could send it out that very day, and by the way, would I liked it wound?  Ooh.. of course I would.
I gave her my credit card number, said goodbye to my friendly contact in NYC, and by the next day, had my $28 dollar skein of yarn.

Ouch.

As I was sitting on my couch, knitting up the mittens, my brain started calculating the costs (I hate when it does this).  With the cost of the roving, and both skeins, I figured that these mittens would have run $56 by the time I was finished with them. Aye yai yai.  How could I wear a $56 pair of mittens?  Had I discovered these mittens in a store with this price tag, I wouldn't have even given them a second glance.  Yet here I was, sitting with this reality as my knitting needles weaved the Manos Wool Classica methodically, stitch by stitch.
Unfinished mitt on left w/ roving next to finished, poofy mitt on right.

Then I thought about giving them away.  Yep.  I could knit up these mitts and give them right back to the Craft Queen.  I was pretty sure she'd like them all right.  That thought lasted for about 2 seconds as I brood over the uncomfortable fact that the yarn had been given as a gift to me.  So technically, it would be an insult to return them back to her.

I was stuck with them.  Stuck with a little bit of luxury- which managed to turn into my problem.

As chance would have it, after I finished the second mitt, I discovered that nearly a complete skein was left over.  I could make a second pair, granted it would have to be a child's size,  but I would be able to get another pair of mitts, nonetheless.   Mr. Cook and Mr. Ninja both had other colors in mind when I offered to make them a pair.  The rest of my little nieces and nephews live out in the Wild, Wild, West - where the snow doesn't fall.  So the mitts couldn't go to them either... but  they would work out for a little girl or boy in an orphanage in Bulgaria.  A child who could really use a bit of luxury to put on their little fingers.  These mitts would be sent to Global Knit , an amazing non-profit, who would work their magic and make this happen.

With that decided, the guilt very happily disappeared ( I really love when that happens) and a more delightful image came to mind.  One of a child, living clear on the other side of the world, slipping on a matching pair of mitts to warm their cold, little fingers.   And then came the  thought of the Craft Queen and my gratitude for having such a friend who could get me into such a pickle to begin with.

Here's to these type of problems.