Friday, January 27, 2012

Watch Them Grow. or Keeping it Real: (for David)

I farmed one full growing season on Hedgerow Farm (now Cure Organic Farm) back in 2004. Because of this, one, might think that I have quite a bit of experience -- enough, at least, to grow a successful backyard garden. While I did learn a great deal on the farm that season, most of the 'real' decisions were made by Anne Cure, the farm manager. What to plant and when. Where to plant. How much to water and when. When to harden off the plants in the greenhouse. You get the idea. Since that season, my own backyard gardens have been meager at best. Every year I begin with high hopes of making this year, the year of the garden!  Goals of developing a planting calendar, calculating for frost, committing to starting seeds indoors, succession planting, harvesting, canning and preserving. Yet, for the past few years, I have fallen short. Last year we planted a few crops and even a neglected plot (e.g. during our hottest summer days, the garden only got water every third day) was enough 'boon' for a blog post). 

Laziness is the only logical explanation for my failed attempts, right? Well... not really. The real explanation is that sometimes I wait for someone else to take the lead. I think that I need to have Jenn committed 200% to making our garden a success. If she cares about this project more than I then surely she will give me the inspiration that I so desperately desire. The lyrics in Ingrid Michaelson's song Turn to Stone repeat in my head: And if you wait for someone else's hand, Then you will surely fall down. The reality is that I have fallen down not only in my attempts at a garden, but in other arenas in my life as well.  Someone once told me that "dreaming big is sexy, but making your dreams come true is sexier". I want to be sexier.  

This year, in an effort to be sexier, I decided I would commit to experiment with at least two indoor starts. Maybe that will help me commit to my dream of a successful growing season take full advantage of the growing season. So after a few weeks of having all of the supplies... and even trying to pass it off on the nanny saying, "If you and Avi want to do this project together, go for it." -- I finally got to taking my own lead and to planting some seeds. Avi helped and together, we planted four starts: two varieties of tomatoes, peppers, and arugula. ..............................................................Am I looking sexier yet? 

 Even though I have beautiful compost in our bin, I thought I "needed" this seedling mix. Why?

 Even Red (the hen) wanted to help... or snatch a seed or two.



What in your life is sexy, but could be sexier?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Play outside everyday!
It's been a mantra... a promise... a reminder... a commitment to my little bird. Somedays, however, when the wind is gusting at 90mph it's hard to keep that commitment. Is a venture to the mailbox at the end of our short driveway considered outside play? But lately we've had these incredibly mild days (save the wind) when crocs without socks is acceptable.... and Avi and I have been spending our afternaps afternoons outside... drinking up the last bit of sunshine before she falls below the foothills.  On this day, I was cutting back the dead flowerbeds while Avi was following the chickens around. Then he noticed my pile and....

...came to inspect.

With a little bit of work, this pile turned into...

a nest. Suitable for my little Avi Bird.

But he soon realized the location was all wrong.

With a bit of effort...

and a couple of trips...

Avi made his own nest by the sandbox.

Then he danced about the yard flapping his "nest wings"

Bird Berries
aka hawthorn berries.

With our nests behind us, we continue our venture toward the compost pile.  On the way we pass these three hawthorn trees on the east side of our yard.  The thorns could take out an eye (I'm always trimming them back) but the berries are beautiful -- on the trees or when they have polka dotted an early snow. Today we discovered them peppering the ground as these mild temperatures have melted all our snow. What a discovery for Avi. I am looking forward to learning what I can do with hawthorn berries here and here

He played "chase" with Red for about five minutes trying to give her the berries. 
"Bird Berries" as he called them.
How grateful I am for these afternoons.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


As a parent, I try to read a variety of books about raising kiddos. I don't feel that one rigid philosophy -- regardless of what it is -- is healthy for parents or children. Thus, my practice in reading parenting books is to glean from the pages what works for us and leave what doesn't. One book that I revisit again and again is Rahima Baldwin Dancy's, "You Are Your Child's First Teacher"  . I especially like what is written about "developing your child's artistic ability". Since reading this section when Avi was just a few months old, I've wanted to get some art supplies. From another reading, (which book exactly I can't recall... maybe from Amanda Blake Soule?), I gleaned that having higher quality art supplies and storing them with your own art supplies (where they are seen as equally important as your own art supplies) can have a tremendous impact on your child's creativity. This weekend while we were out and about, I came across some art supplies (you can find them here and here) that were on my list: Beeswax crayons, paint, water colors, watercolor pad, and brushes. Now that Avi is nearly 19 months, I'm enjoying offering more opportunities for him to create. Jen over at paintcutpaste is full of ideas for "inspiring young artists". 

Today, as we were getting ready to head to the library for storytime, Avi asked for his "colors" (he says and signs this). When I asked him if he wanted to go to storytime at the library, he said, "no." "Colors?", he persisted. So we stayed home and created with our "colors" instead.

 "the chosen palette"

 right hand: blue dog

 left hand: yellow cat

 dog and cat hugging?

 dog and cat running off paper onto table

Not just for drawing...
Avi loves to sort, stack, pick up, drop, pick up, stack and sort his colors. 

I'm so glad we skipped storytime! 

What have you skipped lately? What art projects do you offer your kidlets?

Friday, January 20, 2012

(this moment)

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by Soulemama

Thursday, January 19, 2012

nine things....

for which I'm grateful...

...learning about sharing.

 ...a potato that screams of love.

 ...three girls in my kitchen!

 ...sharing Shabbat dinner with special friends. more round of peanut heaven before dropping them off at the shipping store to be re-used. smoothie moustache.

 ...mastering "knife" skills.

 ...Pant-less Farm's indoor fields are tilled.

 ...a reminder that love abounds
(a sweet sight after exchanging unpleasantries w/ Jenn).

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Iron Chef Avi

One of Avi's friend's, Zinnia, got a beautiful kitchen remodel by her parents for Christmas. It was inspiring to see it come together, so much so that I want to make one for Avi. But in the meantime, we've created a little 'Farmer's Market' and 'Iron Chef Stadium' in our living room. I love to watch Avi shop, and sort, and cook up his creations. A favorite was onion banana soup - YUM! Iron Chef Zakarian, you've been warned! But his first competition in Iron Chef Stadium was with Chef Garces. Here are some highlights::

So America, with an open heart and an empty stomach, 
I say unto you in the words of my uncleAllez Cuisine

The secret Ingredients.

Avi doing a little molecular gastronomy grafting the orange with the peach.

Who says you can't compare apples to oranges?

Chef Garces' side of kitchen stadium seems empty, huh?

Turning up the heat on his stove top

Turning up the heat on his competition - looks like cheese, strawberry, pear concoction.

I can't wait to taste his peach pie.

Gordon Ramsey would be proud! 

Chef Avi looks down right at ease in the kitchen.

A little potato to add to the.... could it be? Yes, the ice cream machine!

"Three, two, one, and step away!"

And the Winner is...