Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dianthus and His Backpack

Dianthus started preschool last week. Here he is on the first day of school; backpack, classroom-identifying armband, new school shoes and all.  I want to comment about how much he likes it and how it has ruined our evenings (afternoon pre-K is smack dab in the middle of what was much-needed nap time) but I'm sitting here crying a little about our son growing up, so I'd better leave it at that and return to my lesson plans.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Good Omens for Lucky STIR

Intrigued by a meta analysis of best books (13 top 100 list condensed into one), Janet and I chose Good Omens (#316) by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman to read for August STIR.  That it has a lucky title is just bonus.
I laughed in bed at the list of characters.  Join us if you will.
If you'd like my thoughts on other recent reads: Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White (#118), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (#40), the first three Louise Penny Novels*, or The Language of Flowers, let me know.
It also looks like I will never get around to reviewing One Fifth Avenue (Candace Bushnell), The Hobbit, the other Jennifer Crusie books I've read, Marcus Samuelson's Yes, Chef, the newest Robin McKinley (Peagasus, which is in dire need of the second half of the story, to be released 2014), the Nora Ephron books, Betty Friedan's memoirs or much of anything else I've read in the last year.  I'd be happy to discuss if you ask questions.

*Abbreviated thought: you should read them.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Kimchi Reveals the Inherited Traits

The day we took off on a recent trip road trip to Kansas and Colorado, the Mister and I were running behind.  (Shocking, that, I know!)
Besides packing ourselves and the kids (for lounging, for hiking, for swimming, for hosting a croquet tournament, for going out of a special dinner, for attending a conference, for riding around at the ranch, and for presenting ethnobotanical improv at a semi-formal garden party*) and trying to clean the house, we spread mulch, because, unlike my parents, we don't have a sprinkle system to repair, and we made sauerkraut, kimchee and salsa. 
We had extra vegetables in the fridge. The In-Laws had given us some of them, so we couldn't just take them back, and, besides, I had been wanting to ferment foods for over a year.  Kimchee would be obvious answer, no?
I followed the recipe from Sandor Ellix Katz's Wild Fermentation.  Unlike Katz's more comprehensive The Art of Fermentation, Wild Fermentation includes step-by-step recipes.  Except for the temperature of fermentation (I was leaving town so I stuck the whole think in the fridge), I followed the Baechu Kimchi (page 47) exactly, having a cabbage, chiles, ginger, daikon and carrots all waiting in the fridge.  The Mister thinks that it is overly salty and it does make one's mouth burn, but I am really happy with the results.  The sauerkraut is okay.

What do you do the day you leave on vacation?

*Ethnobotanical Improv Storytelling, for real.  I panicked, so I rehearsed the part I already know I am good at (the botany) tried to forget about the part which is difficult (improvisational storytelling).  I was initially relieved when I didn't have a crowd for real storytelling, then suddenly found my groove, started telling great plant-use stories, and was dismayed when I had to quit.  Contact me if you know of an audience for such an obscure entertainment.