Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Using Kale

My produce coop included kale in the last basket, and after doing some googling on what to do with it, I decided to make a variation on my Moroccan summer stew.  It turned out really good.  The kids ate it okay, just minor complaining.  They're allowed to pick out one item from any stir-fry type meal which they don't like- but they do have to taste at least one of that item, in case they've started liking it since last time.  They all picked the green peppers not the kale, which surprised me.  
Blurry, but delicious.
(amounts depend on how many people you're feeding)
Saute onions and garlic in olive oil.
Add a liberal amount of cumin.
Add green peppers, and pine nuts, continue to saute.
Add chopped tomatoes, and drained garbanzo beans.
Turn down heat to low.
Prepare kale by rinsing well in a bowl of water, draining, then cutting the leaves off the stem, and chopping into smaller pieces.  Add kale to the saute pan, and a little water if it's dry.  At this point if you can't smell the cumin, add some more (I'm not sure it's possible to add too much cumin...).  Cover and allow kale to steam for 15-30 minutes (depending on how cooked you like it, and how tender the kale was to start with).  
Serve over quinoa, and salt to taste.  

Thursday, March 24, 2011


This is what happens to a $20 bike from a superstore when your kids like to take it "offroading" and off jumps.  (Yes, my 3-year-old goes off (small) jumps.  He'd go off bigger ones if we let him, but we're good parents and make sure the jumps are very small.)

Close Up... The tires were solid foam of some sort, and the spokes were plastic.  Several spokes broke.  CP was still trying to ride with it like this, until he got too frustrated, and brought it to us saying there was something funny with his tire.  You think?

Thanks Grandpa (and Grandma) for sponsoring his new (well-built) bike from our local bike shop.  He opted for the next size up, which is good, it will last longer, although his older brother is a little jealous that CP's bike is the same size as his.  The only down side of the bigger bike, is that it will probably take him longer to learn to ride without training wheels since it's bigger.  Where's that kid's helmet?

Phew, there it is..

Other things I've been doing:

Pruning the grapes.  You can't see how much better they look from this angle, but you can see the piles of vines I cut off.

Taking care of the chickens.  They're getting big.  They also go through their water dishes fast.  We need to get the big one out so they're aren't so thirsty when I go out to refill things.  These chicks are 5 weeks old now.  Maybe 6.  Old enough that they're moving outside as soon as we can get the coop done.

The babies are two weeks old now.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Years gone by...

My friend Connie saved a sea bird while on vacation, and it reminded me of something I was going to post last year but didn't ever get around to.

When I was in 6th grade, there was a tradition for the 6th graders to release helium balloons on the last day of school.

My sister had told me about helium balloons getting into the ocean and killing turtles and other animals who tried to eat them, so I made flyers and passed them out around the school.  A lot of kids were unhappy about losing the tradition the year it was their turn, but someone paid attention to my flyers.

We ended up planting trees and all the 6th graders put notes in with the roots instead.

Last year when my boys were in their first year at this same school that I attended, I was sitting outside on the playground with my 3-year-old and my friend's little boy while she volunteered in her older son's classroom.  I looked over toward the playing fields and saw the tree that I helped plant, and was reminded to be grateful for my peculiarity.  Years later, the tree provides shade for my own kids, and no sea turtles were killed.  :)

Friday, March 04, 2011

Miscellaneous Happiness

Today I was sitting wondering why I am generally pretty happy when there are so many things to be overwhelmed and frustrated about.  Here are some of the things I thought of...

My kids are outside riding bikes in the driveway, and laughing.
My peas are planted (the garden bed was frozen a few inches down, but there was enough defrosted to put peas in).
Progress with the city to get permission to apply for a building permit is moving along at a decent speed.
The chicks are entering their awkward teenage weeks.
The chicks are playing angry birds with each other.  Running, flapping their wings and bowling into everyone else.
The chicks are establishing a pecking order.  Some are getting aggressive, guess which ones will go in the canning kettle first...  (Should it bother the feminist in me that chicks adhere to traditional gender roles so much?)
I'm married to someone I really love, and I would rather spend time with him than anyone else.
I've been getting regular exercise and have some big races this year!
The Girl Scout cookies arrived today.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

It's a March Miracle!

I posted back in January about our indoor gardening.  It was pretty much a big flop.  Mainly because I stink at watering things.  The only reason I'm halfway decent with outdoor gardening is because of a happy little invention known as the automatic watering system.  The peas actually were in a self watering container that we WAY overfilled, and I think the seeds rotted.  We do have a nice crop of some kind of weed growing there now.  It looks nice, so I'm leaving it where it is.  The lettuce and stuff grew, but not very well (plants do need regular water).  The grape vines sat and sat and did nothing.  NOTHING.  The website I learned about propagating grapes from said they'd sprout in a couple of weeks.  Well, today my 3-year-old wanted to water the plants (he waters them more regularly than anyone else does), so I said sure!  I was a little worried he'd spill water everywhere, so I followed him into the greenhouse to help him out, and I saw leaves on two of the grape cuttings.

Of course, my camera is still MIA, so here's a picture from the website I got the idea from.  Of course, my grapes aren't this big yet, they both just have one tiny leaf, but they're growing!  I'll have my old unknown* grape variety when we move.  Nothing makes grape juice like these babies!
Picture from http://www.gardenhive.com/fruit/grapes/propagate/stem-cuttings/

*Officially unknown.  As I wrote in my earlier post, they're called Agwumps, but I can't find any information on any grapes with a name anywhere close to that.  They've been growing in this location for more than 40 years.  I need to find out more information about them.  Why do you always think of things you'd like to ask your grandmother when she's not around to ask anymore?