30 March 2011

Good morrow dear friends

After we went to see the children's production of Robin Hood last week, Jack was keen to read the story, so I downloaded Howard Pyle's retelling and we've been reading that for our bedtime story. It's a good tale and we're enjoying it!

But may I admit? Best of all is that Jack saw the play and immediately wanted to read the book. I had a Scholastic kids rendition, and he read that in a few hours then went back to badgering for "the real book". Of course, once he's finished reading the book, I expect he'll also want to see the movie, so I am researching who has done Robin Hood movies -- maybe, if we can get them at the library, we'll do a serious one and a funny one. (Maybe Errol Flynn and Mel Brooks?)

In reading, I have just finished reading "Plenty: A Year of Local Eating" and had started on the similarly themed Animal, Vegetable or Miracle. I found PLenty captivating and a quick read that left me inspired. Kingsolvers Animal, Vegetable or Miracle is an interesting book. I have liked what I have read so far, but for some reason it hasn't been pulling me back in like Plenty did. I've checked it twice now and I am going to have to give it back before I'm done. It's good enough to check out again, and if I owned it, I'd persevere, but I think that what has be hooked in Plenty that is missing in ANM is the sense that this is an "everyman" project. Kingsolver and her family may not consider themselves wealthy, but they have far more resources at their disposal than the average family. If they think it needs to happen, they can make it so. Alisa and James are on the same tight budget most of us know so well, and even so, they make it so. Like us, they learned to look past the obvious, expensive ways to become self sufficient and found innovative ways to feed themselves.

I am not quite as set on "eat local" as either Alisa and James or Barbara and her family. I love the idea of harvesting everything we can either here or at local farms and preserving it for later. I love the idea of eating in season from only the produce at its best. We have learned to make out own ketchup, barbeque sauce, chili powder, mustard, and mayonnaise. I would like to be able to grow most of what I need -- but I can't grow coffee, chocolate, pepper, pineapple or bananas and I am fine with importing them. That said, I have scheduled time over the coming season to go out and pick every kind of fruit that we can get our hands on. I have expanded considerably the sorts of vegetables we will be growing, in hopes of buying far fewer groceries over the summer and maybe even over the following winter. But if it doesn't grow here...well, I think we'll be cutting our dependency on oil quite a bit without going all the way. If we all only bought what *couldn't* be produced locally, I think our food chain would be a lot closer to really sustainable. (And while sustainability is important, I have to admit that nutrition and taste is far more convincing to me.)

As far as gardening is concerned, I will be starting seeds later this year. The plan has them going in the weekend of the 9th. Starting at the equinox is a good idea, but we keep the house too cold. I think the plantlings will be less stressed if we way a few more weeks. Maybe I won't lose as many baby plants. I will also be scouting the garden for volunteers and counting them in my tally. Since we didn't get the garden cleaned up, there could be quite a few. :)

I'm not sure what triggered it (for the moment I'm blaming Connor) but Jack has become obsessed with the periodic table of the elements. I printed out a small poster to put on the wall and ended up having to print two -- one for Rod and one for Jack. Jack's is on the wall...and I keep hearing his voice echoing out from the bathroom where he is reading it and explaining it to Rod and demanding Rod 'guess' the atomic weight of everything on the chart. I may have to print another or Jack is going to spend a week in the bathroom. Periodic table of the elements? Where have I gone wrong? ;)

Good morrow dear friends, may your today be all you had hoped and your tomorrow better still.


  1. Jan showed the kids the Errol Flynn version of Robin Hood. If I remember right, though, I got bored and wandered away. So I'm not sure I'd recommend it.

    (I did find the staged version kind of hard to follow. Though it helped that on the third viewing I noticed that there was a costume difference that marked which "side" each person was on.)

    I loved "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" -- though I do see your point about them being able to afford whatever they want. One of my favorite things was that Kingsolver got me all excited about varieties of vegetable that I'd never heard of before. I tried growing several new things last summer because she wrote so engagingly about them.

    Could you use a heating mat to start seeds indoors earlier? I've never used them, but I see them in seed catalogs all the time, and I wonder if it would help.

    Jack's love of the periodic table made me grin. :) Go Jack!!!

  2. Yeah, well, Jack and I don't have the same taste at all, but as long as their is plenty of sword play, he'll love it. ;)

    Yeah, I think if I had started with AVM, I would have LOVED it. So I will read it again.

    We do use a heat mat under the seeds, but that only helps so much when the house is at 52. That's why I am waiting until it's a bit warmer.

    (Yeah, I actually think it's pretty cool too. I was just being goofy.)


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