Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Henrietta's gone...

She's gone where the good eggs go...
About a week ago, we found her laying next to the laying boxes with a stiff leg.
We gave her some food and water and made her comfy.
The next day she was on the floor of the chicken shed, looking uncomfortable.
I made her a special little nest and gave her her own food and water dishes.
Within a few hours she looked better, she turned herself around and started preening her feathers.
Last night I noticed she was eating well and drinking.  
Things were looking up.
This morning, not so much...she was gone.
Bye Bye Henrietta...
I put her next to one of the new gardens and placed a flat stone on top to protect from predators.
But so is life in the big city.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The golden hour

It was one of the days where the kids decided to fight, cry, and repeat...much to my dismay.  
Full of things that I know I would have found boring as a child.
Car repair, therapy, unloading the month's grocery order.
At last the last fight was over...
A calm reading of Little House on the Prairie (tough to do since it was the chapter about cowboys.)
To bed...Sweet bedtime...for the little combatants.
Momma Time!
Get outside and pick lettuce.
Check for eggs.
Dig up the volunteer tomatoes growing in the front yard (now how did those get there?
Right...C's pick a tomato, take a bite and throw game she loved to play last summer...)
Plant the peppers and most of the tomatoes amongst the lettuce, carrots and spinach.
Oh my...more tomatoes growing in the compost heap...big beautiful plants...better than some that I cared for for months...oh well.
Notice the Nasturtiums coming up with their odd round leaves.
Smelling the grass of the neighbor's mowing.
And as the last of the tomatoes that were going into the big bed...
the sun began to set leaving a golden cast to the word around me.
Ah the early golden moments of summer.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The I hate stink bug club.

Stink bugs...I hate stink bugs.
At night they fly so loudly...you can hear each beat of their little wings.
And the stench.
My cats love trying to catch them, but they release their namesake odor.
Musty, with a touch of rotten decomposing meat.
So the local tv station put out a video of a bunch of comercial traps...
$50 on average.
(not in the budget)
So then a local tried their hand at it and suposedly made an even better trap...
for (drum roll please...)
$7.00 or less...
Watch this...
I'll be making one I'm sure...
So I don't have to look at

                                                   Adult stink bug
Adult Stink Bug
Credit University of Guelph

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chive Vinegar...

Last year while walking through the library, I saw the prettiest jar of pink.  
It had a label on it as chive vinegar.  
The local gardening club has a group of ladies that keeps a little herbal garden outside the library.  
They harvest and sell the herbs in the library as well as some of their concoctions from the herbs.  
This year I decided to make some of my own chive vinegar for salad dressings and possibly pickles.  
First I waited and waited for the chives to bloom...fully. 
 The lovely little purple flowers, as well as the stems on which they stood came in with me.  
After a good rinse, I cut the flower heads off and plunked them into a quart jar of vinegar.  
Then the stems got finely chopped and added to cottage cheese.  I set the chive vinegar in a dark cupboard and waited...but alas the wait was unnecessary.  
The next morning, the vinegar had a pink tinge. 
My husband must have thought me crazy for being so excited, but rarely in my life do things happen so rapidly.  It has been a week that they have been seeping, and it is such a lovely pink color now.  
This morning I went to the cupboard to give it it's daily shake and from a distance thought that it was molded at the top, but I had nothing to fear.  The white appearance on the top was just vinegar bleached chive flowers floating on the top.  
I thought it was odd if something molded in vinegar.
So below is not so much a recipe, but a method...

Chive flower vinegar
Chive flowers (I used about 1 cup)
Vinegar (I used one quart white)
glass jar and lid.

Wash and place the chive flowers in the vinegar in the jar.  Let it sit in a dark place.  Give a daily shake.  After about a month, strain and put in pretty bottles (or not so pretty...your choice.)  Enjoy on salad or other dishes that need a little chive vinegar flavor!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

If I wrote a book...

While driving down a road that runs through a lovely neighborhood full of mature shade trees and old oil barron mansions, my sister called me (you know the one who is supposed to write here...)  
I told her how it was such a lovely street, but I was about to cross into the "he double hockey sticks" hole neighborhood that it bordered.  Same wide streets, same stately old mansions, but so ugly.  The mansions have been chopped into dirty dark little apartments with broken windows and blankets and boards covering the windows.  The trees have been chopped down so the sun is hot and blaring.  There is not grass, but tall weeds, dirt piles, and people everywhere.  I would love to travel back in time to see how the two neighborhoods used to be.  Even when I moved here 10 years ago, the latter neighborhood was much statelier... 

(I work in home based speech therapy.  It affords me the ability to be flexible in my work and explore the area while getting paid for it.

It is such interesting work, I really get to know the families and help treat my clients in a more holistic manner due to this.  
A person's environment is such a part of who they are.)
But I digress...
While talking with my sister, I was being stood up for an appointment.  
The address I was given was non existent.  
I decided that I'd go to the next client's "home."
"Home" is a loose term...it was a shelter.
My sister told me I should write a book about the experiences I go through.
A professor who's previous job had been similar to mine told me that in one year, I'd see everything there was to see in a job like this...and so I thought it was true.  
The first year I saw abuse, neglect, hunger and filth.  I saw hope and dreams smashed, and flickers of hope become reality.  I saw quick recoveries and sadly told a family that I was unsure if their child could hear (and was unfortunately right.)  
I saw extremely wealthy parents who smothered their child to the point where all needs were anticipated....so why would the child talk if they didn't need to?
I saw extremely wealthy families who ignored their family members to the point where my clients didn't talk because there was no one to talk to...
The Nanny Diaries could easily be a true story...I've seen cases like it many times...
(For those of you not familiar, it's the story of the nanny for a child with a stay at home mom who is never home and needs a live in nanny.)
I thought it's not so bad if this is everything.
I was wrong.
Every time I think I've seen it all, something comes at me out of left field (sorry baseball on the mind.)
Like the shelter.
A glimmer of hope...
I never thought it would be the way it was.
Light and airy...clean and secure...colorful and full of life.
A hand up out of the poverty that so many of these families live in.
Still it makes me thankful for what I have.
A family and a home to live with them in.
Land to grow our lives upon.
A sense of security.
Slowly over the years I have learned something.
I will never see it all.
I hope I never will.

My sister often inspires me to try things...maybe I'll try my hand at writing.
(and yes my husband I know you've suggested this as well, but so I don't bore you with crazy stories.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My boy's in love....

That old American pastime...baseball.  
It has stolen his heart.

It all started when we decided to sign him up for T-ball.
Then we figured that my dear city husband should try and coach the team.
(I warned him that it's similar to nailing jello to a tree...it may not stick and it will be rather messy.)
W. got so excited, he got his physical therapist to practice with him.
She worked on running, torso strength, and arm strength with him.
They worked on throwing.
They worked on hand eye coordination.

After work, the husband worked on hitting, catching, and running the bases.
I would come home at night sometimes and find pillows all over the floor.
They were running the bases.
They were working on strategy.
They can be rather intense.

Last night my husband took W. to a real baseball game.
They were the first ones in the park.
By the bullpen they watched warm-ups and my son's heart was stolen forever...
the pitcher threw the warm-up ball to him.
When the boys came home at 11:00pm last night
(W. goes to bed by 7:00pm usually)
he was still wide awake.  
He told me all about the whole game with his eyes ablaze.
He has hitched his heart to baseball.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Today was a busy day...
We got up early and W. decided to start math at 7:00 this morning.  He loves apples and right now we are charting how many apple seeds in each apple half we eat.  He loves apples more than any other food right now.  I got him to pair his four apple halves (after carefully scooping and counting the seeds) with a "peanut butter spoon" a delicacy in our home...otherwise known as a big scoop of peanut butter on a spoon.  We must have gotten the weirdest bag of apples, for most halves have only 0-3 seeds.  
After that, we went out into the yard and mowed, and mowed, and then mowed some more.  I dumped all the grass that hadn't gone to seed onto the paths in the larger garden.  The grass that had gone to seed I put in the chicken run (TREATS! oh they get so happy.)  
Then to the showers and it was time for a quick lunch before taking W. to his therapies.  
While he was there, C. and I got some manure (10% off discount on top of a sale! score!)  We picked W. up and went back home.  
C. is taking a nap and W. and I just finished putting the manure on the garden.  
It needed a little more depth and I thought manure would be a good way to boost the fertility of the soil.  So now I have about 6 inches of compost and manure as well as peat on top of a layer of cardboard that acts as a weed barrier.  There the grass under it will decompose with help of our little wormy friends.  
While all this was happening, I found several cracked robin eggs.  W. investigated them.  Sadly, we also found a dead baby bird.  It looked like it hatched too early.  Yolk was everywhere.  The ants had already moved into the area and were carrying it off bit by bit. 
I love spring.  
So much life.  
It's hard to see the death that also comes this time of year. 
 I rather focus on the life.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Preparing for Failure...

Failure is ineveitable...it will happen.
It's how you choose to handle it is your choice.

We had our first home school "failure" last week.
W. usually has no difficulty with his phonics work.  He breezes through it with little trouble.
Then there was the "test" to see if he understood the concepts from the last ten lessons.
Usually he passes with a "A plus 100%" (Where he came up with the grading I know not.)
But last week he got one problem wrong (he read the word "no" with a short o.)
I want him to understand that sometimes you get things wrong.
You are not perfect...neither am I...we all have to deal with getting things wrong.
The X went next to the word no.
"Will it stay there...erase it mommy I need to get it right."
"You will get it right, sometime...just not now."
I tried to let him know a 96% is nothing to sneeze at.
We found 96 on the 100 wall chart...pretty near the end!
But it continued.   
For the rest of the day he tried sneaking to the book to erase the X.
He cried.
He didn't want to show daddy his "failure."
I tried to show him on the 100 chart where "failure" was.
He wasn't buying it.

I have been known to not handle failure very well.
When a plant dies.
When I wasn't perfect at school.
When a client wants a different therapist.
Yup...that kid is a lot like me.
Dratted perfectionist personality.
I used to get upset as well.
I used to burst into tears like he does now.
I now am able to keep it inside (for the most part.)
I am able to move on.
When my husband and I were dating, his mother and aunts bought me a book for my birthday.
It was A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.
I love the quote:

"Those were the Rommely women: Mary the mother, Evy, Sissy, their daughters, Katie, and Francie, who would grow up to be a Rommely woman even though her name was Nolan.  They were all slender, frail creatures with wondering eyes and soft fluttery voices...They were made out of thin invisible steel."
                                             -Betty Smith

Sometimes I long for that...to be made of thin invisible steel.  
Strong, invincible...letting life roll off of me and not bothering me.
This is how I desire to deal with failure.
I am thankful that I am able to deal with it.
I can rationalize that I am not perfect.
It was a lesson learned over time.
My dear husband helped me learn this lesson over the years as well...
(while talking me down from my hysterics when I had an exam on neuroanatomy and dysarthria.)

But how do you teach a child to deal with their need for perfection?