27 julio 2015

Out of the mouths of babes

G: O, hey sweetheart.  (to Sophie upon waking)

G:  We are rich!  (upon seeing how many beans I harvested)

I thought I would be funny and ask my kids and their two friends if any of them would like some coffee, as I put another pot on.
ALL of the children:  Yes!
So, they all had lattes.

Sophie:  When I am an adult, I want a hooptie with spinners.  (Ah, life in the city!)

What a harvest!

The first real haul of onions!  Wahoo!  Isn't it a lovely way to decorate the railing?
A mix of beans, a kohlrabi, some dill flowers (getting ready for refrigerator pickles), a handful of snap peas and potatoes.  Now, there is a story with those potatoes: In the spring, I had a few potatoes from the store which were beginning to sprout and turn too soft to eat.  So, I buried 5 of them in the backyard and didn't do another thing to them.  And here we are with the results of two of those potatoes, which otherwise would have just been composted!
The beans from above were sauteed and then simmered in a pureed roasted garlic sauce.  All from the yarden!
We ate the above with another tortilla espan(tilde)ola, also from the garden.
Basil for a delicious pesto, another kohlrabi, a days worth of eggs and the remaining three once-squishy potato plants' produce.  And then, the grand disappointment: that pretty cauliflower.  It is my first time growing this vegetable and... maybe I left it too long?  It was disgusting!  And I love cauliflower.  It was just gross.  I found that cooking it in a curry hides the nasty bitterness, so that is how I'll finish using it.
The kids and I went to the dacha today and... whoa!  Such bounty!
The first tomato ceremony!
more purple podded pole beans and a few more onions
what I found at the dacha when I went to tie up the tomatoes
It is so amazing to be able to go out into the yard and find dinner.  Summer is such a blessing!

Check out others' harvests at Daphne's Dandelions.

20 julio 2015

Thank God for the garden!

We continue to eat salads almost every day from the yarden, which I haven't been photographing, including the usual: purslane, chrysanthemum greens, herbs, chard, kale, random lettuces, etc.
What shall I make for dinner:  Hm... after a trip to the back yard, I brought in the above, plus eggs.  So, I made my own pasta, with a creamy Boursin sauce and chard, onion, garlic and basil.  Delicious!
This is the same onion as above, just with my hand to show the size.  So cool!  This is my first successful year growing onions.  Several more have made it in to the house unphotographed, on an as needed basis.
the last of the berries, the beginning of the beans, Deer Tongue lettuce, another onion and a turnip
From the dacha:  one tomatillo (just to check... I don't know when they are ready.  Anyone?), potatoes, more shelling peas, a nice bell pepper, rat-tailed radishes and carrots
more gorgeous onions

Check out others' harvests at Daphne's Dandelions.

15 julio 2015

Así es

"She said it was good to be there and then, and think of home and the fireside; and..., when home was reached at last, to think of the desolate pond we had left..."

-Peter Ibbetson (which I am substituting for the illegible Mrs. Dalloway)

13 julio 2015

Harvest Monday

The delicious Dragon Tongue beans have started to come in; a few favas from my failed experiment and some tasty shelling peas.
I can't get enough of those purple raspberries!  While camping last week, we found tons of them on a hike, along with so many mulberries.
Another representative salad featuring kale, chard, lettuces, herbs, beans, peas, small carrots, onion greens; the last cherries, some kohlrabi and an onion.  More onions are to come: I just needed one at the moment and so picked it before the others.

My best pea harvest ever!  Usually, the peas never make it into the house, as we just snack on them while we're out in the yard; but this year, cha-ching!  I loved sitting out on the balcony, shelling them... like so many do around the world.
All from the dacha:  rat-tailed radishes, a few peppers, potatoes, the peas I shelled above, carrots from a thinning, a pile of purslane, lots of chrysanthemum greens, and that pretty bouquet.
40+ heads of garlic; a few more beans; and another bowlful of raspberries, which we promptly ate for dessert

Check out others' harvests at Daphne's Dandelions.

12 julio 2015


We had a lovely last-for-now lunch with our friend, C.  After eating, we spent the afternoon playing kids' games: Spot It, Connect Four, Sequence and Rush Hour.  So much fun!

We also had a lot of interesting conversation, which has had me thinking ever since.  We spoke of how living life is so time-consuming in Colombia.  Our friends' opinion is that the conveniences here make life better, because one has more time to do whatever one desires.  My opinion is that working to live is a good use of time and that here, with so much "free time," trouble ensues.

We spoke of how all food is very finely chopped in Colombia and how, for example, when I serve a salad of ripped lettuce leaves, the thought, "What?  Do you think that I'm a rabbit?" crosses our Colombians' minds.  Hm... at first I felt badly for not properly mincing everything, but then I got over it.  However, if any Colombian parents visit again, I will take my time and chop!

We spoke of the terrible effects of MonDevilo on life and economy in Colombia.  Ugh!  It makes me never want to eat corn or soy again in life and to only plant seeds that I have saved myself.

I am really thankful for these friends.  God bless them!

10 julio 2015


The whole venture began very inauspiciously, with an Indian bobble of my head.  You see, I suggested that Rob try to set up the tent, it being our first use, IN THE GARAGE, so that we would be able to do it more rapidly once at the site.  So, Rob did... out in the schoolyard across the street.

Now, there is a phenomenon called the S_ Curse.  It has to do with cars, rain or sometimes cars and rain.  Accordingly, it began to pour.  So Rob and our neighborhood Eagle Scout quickly disassembled the soaked tent and hung it on the porch to dry.  Thankfully, the weather turned out to be beautiful while we camped.  Maybe all of my just-harvested garlic had a weakening effect on the curse.  Yes, that must be it.

Over all, I think it went well.  The kids had a blast.  Everyone had tasty food.  The adults seemed as relaxed as is possible with a posse of kids running around.  We even saw Sophie's beloved madrina, Boo.  We came home filthy, scratchy, exhausted and happy.

Oh, the love!  How long did it last in such close quarters?  Long enough, I guess.
the first casting lesson

setting up camp
our view
There is a little "Ty" in me too, I guess.

We found this old skeleton.  A deer?  Anyways, I said, "Sophie, you should touch it.  Pick it up."  Inside, I was disgusted; but there is no good in squashing my kids' "'satiable curtiosity."
How propitious!  We have been studying reptiles, specifically snakes.  And there were snakes all over the place!  Again, "Ty, you should touch it.  Pick it up."  And again, as I was so squeamish inside, I kept my cool externally and Ty loved touching the snake!
J and I made some super-tasty shiro wat over an open fire.  I even threw some incense on the coals, to increase the Ethiopian-ness.

Sophie and friends, happily skipping around.
Despite how the children look, Sophie and Ty enjoyed the canoe ride.  We saw eagles, herons, cranes and red-winged black birds.  Girumy was freaked the entire time.  Poor kid.
Five minutes into the ride home and G was out, for a two hour, drool dripping nap!
Post-nap snack... which papA allowed in the car!  Unbelievable!  Ty finished up the best camping meal ever:  pre-assembled burritos, put in foil.  All we did was heat them on the coals... delicious!
So, I am sure that we will try this again... some time.  I, well... sleeping on the ground was much easier in my memories.  I was so cold and so uncomfortable actually, that I slept in the car both nights.  I guess I'm getting weak in my old age.

Nevertheless, to camping!

06 julio 2015


Cherries and a few Blanka currants
And more cherries!  Wahoo!  This also is the first of the real garlic harvest.  50 gorgeous heads so far!  On the chair to the left are little ones that were very crowded from years past.  I will use those first while the big heads from this year dry a bit.
We have had many more mixed salads, mostly of: chrysanthemum greens, chard, peas and kale.  There has been a lot of cilantro and our first PadrOn peppers.

The onions are sizing up nicely.  Even if I had to pull them now, I would be pleased as I have never done so well with them.  The raspberries give us several handsful a day, which, as always, we eat like a family of bears, right in the patch.  At the dacha, the peppers are coming along nicely: I think we will have more than ever this year!  The carrots are still a bit a way from being ready, but they should be plentiful too.  I love gardening!

Check out others' harvests at Daphne's Dandelions.

05 julio 2015


To make a long story short:  "... la-de-da!" as Maurice would say about the dancing peacock at South Shore Park.

04 julio 2015


What happens when the mamA of the family is no longer stuck on the couch under the weight of the world?  SO MUCH FUN!
Which of course leads to kids falling asleep anywhere they can grab a snooze.
It began with a week of day camp at church, which the children LOVED!  Even Girumy, one-eyed because of his iritis, went and had a great time.  "Counselor Kelly is so beautiful!"  "I want to give counselor Kelly a hug!"  "I am going to wear a blue shirt just like counselor Kelly!"

We have had lots of people through recently, the children's most beloved being nuestra querida Lizeth.

Yesterday, we went to Madison for breakfast at Micky's Dairy Bar with my L.A.-F-A... B-O... L-O...U-S (Yes, I know.  It's from a song.) sister and her hubby.  And what is the best activity after eating so much?
Why, a foot race, of course!
Then we took the kids to my favorite garden on campus and finally to the Terrace.  I think that I have convinced at least the twins to want to study at Madison. :)

After that fun morning, we returned home to change clothes and then went right to the dacha.  We have finally been assigned a permanent, year-round plot... a seriously weed-infested permanent, year-round plot.  I felt so at one with the majority of the world's people, hacking away at the earth.  I am afraid that Rob didn't find it so romantic!
The Best Sport Ever!
The red you see to the left is a tent I set up for the kids.  And that black box?  Well, I think it is a composter; however, we know for sure that it is a wasp home.  Ty was drilled in the head.  The poor kid!  It is the second time that he's been stung.  He kept asking, "I wasn't bothering it!  Why did it pik me?"
We have inherited some Egyptian Walking Onions.  Cool, no?
Dirty and oh-so-happy!
Next up is our first try at camping with the kids and then Jewish day camp for them in August.