Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Project 365 #82


Every one has their official marker of the arrival of spring. For some it's the return of the robins or the cooing of the mourning doves. Maybe it's the explosion of color as the daffodils and the tulips present themselves to the sun. For me it's the profusion of dandelions in the grass.

I know for some the dandelion is the scourge in the quest for the greenest of green lawns. You can go to Home Depot and Lowes and buy bags of toxic chemicals with the helpless picture of a dandelion ready to be nuked into oblivion. This is logic turned upside down for the green lawn that resembles astro-turf is the barren wasteland and the poor misunderstood dandelion is an oasis to awakening bees in need of a quick pollen fix.

So before you turn your nose up at the dandelion here are some interesting facts which just might make you appreciate this little wonder:
  • At least 93 different insects use dandelion pollen as food
  • Their seeds are an important source of food for many small birds
  • Each year over 55 tons of coffee substitute made from roasted dandelion roots is sold throughout the world
  • Their leaves can be cooked or eaten raw in salads
  • Dandelions have been used by various cultures as a curative especially in cleansing the liver and the kidney
  • Dandelion leaves contains more than 6 units of Vitamin A than lettuce or carrots. And it's also a source of Vitamin B and C
Plus you can make a wish and blow their seeds into the air and if you're lucky your wish will land and take seed and grow. So for heavens sake enjoy those dandelions.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Project 365 #81

The Prisoner

No, not really. Some dogs have a favorite blanket or toy, Kisses has her favorite spot. When we first brought her home from the shelter her kennel was kept in the kitchen. It was the place she went to when she chewed, peed, pooped, scratched or destroyed. The kennel is gathering dust in the basement but she still returns to the spot.

Today it was a stolen slipper that sent her seeking protection from the powers that threaten to take away her ill-gotten booty. Unfortunately this picture can't pick up her growling and tail wagging but I did manage to catch her classic avoidance stare.

Feeding the Piggies

Last Friday I had a major craving for Cranberry Walnut bread and cheddar cheese so I convinced my little guy to leave the playground and head to Bobolink Farm located in Vernon, New Jersey. It was no easy task since the playground has a bazillion slides and the little guy has to slide down each one multiple times, especially the BLUE one! I lured him with the prospect of getting to pet some cows which somehow translated to "Mommy's going to let me bring a cow home," but I wasn't in the mood to quibble.

I discovered Bobolink when my big guy was going to preschool. His class did a tour of the farm and the moment I saw the wood-fired brick oven where they bake their bread, I was hooked. I'm not a big cheese eater but their grass-fed cheese made from raw milk is sublime. I'm partial to their cave-aged cheddar. Being able to visit the farm on regular basis is a wonderful experience and one of the reasons I love living out here.

We lucked out on this trip because we got to watch the pigs being fed.

This hefty bunch of gals were eager for their whey.

Not only do they get whey but day old bread. It looks like a face-off between chickens and pigs.

Don't let these downy ducks fool you. They managed to get the bread away from this pig.

And what about the piglets?

Like most toddlers, these 8 week olds wore more food than they ate.

Gratuitous cuteness shot.

We didn't get to see any cows but I got my bread and cheese and the chance to hang out on the farm. Priceless.

I'm Back!

I can't believe how easy it is for life to get in the way of things like posting on a regular basis. I'm back now and I apologize for the rather long hiatus. Now on with the fun!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Love Is Knowing When to Leave Your Kids Alone

Weekend before last I had the pleasure of attending the Accepted Student's Reception at SUNY New Paltz. I took my 13 year old with me for moral support. It was a lot a fun even though most people assumed my daughter was the soon-to-be first year student (they don't use the term freshman anymore) and I was just another overly anxious parent. These next couple of years as a college student are going to be a lot of fun.

I graduated from high school back in 1985 and headed off to college pretty much on my own. I went to early registration sometime in early July all by my lonesome. I don't even think my parents took me to the Amtrack station. This was pre-cell phone or other parental tracking devices. My parents told me to call them when I got to the campus. Did I have any idea of how far the train was from the campus? No. Did I know anyone in the town? No. Was I worried? Not in the least.

My parents were excited I was off to college but as far as they were concerned this was my thing. They weren't involved in what classes I was taking. They saw my dorm once when they dropped me off, kissed my cheek and told me to write. They didn't even stay long enough to take me to my last non-cafeteria dinner. This was pretty much the norm for most people I knew. My husband's family sent him by bus from Illionois to NYC. Another one of my friends was also sent by bus with one suitcase. It's not like that anymore.

Some where along the way, parents have absolutely lost their mind. I had one father nearly knock me off my feet as he raced to the Communications and Media table while his son shuffled along with a mixture of embarrassment and boredom. It was like this for most of the day. Parents were interrogating administrators and professors while their kids stood mute and bored.

I sat in on English class (which was great by the way and I'm definitely going to add one of this professors classes to my schedule). Naively I figured it would be students who would be sitting in, instead it was mostly parents. The professor actually had to ask the parents to let the students answer the questions.

Here are some of my favorite doosies:

"Are the classes always this warm because my son is prone to heat rashes."

"Does my daughter have to take these first year classes because she's incredibly brilliant and we don't want her intellectual ability to be stifled."

"Do teachers regularly ask so many questions in classes?"

"We're not fond of early morning classes." (I love parents who use the royal we when referring to their children.)

There were a few beacons of hope where a student would take the lead as the parent/s held back but this was not the norm. It was all about the parents on this day. Parents elbowing their way to the buffet tables, dragging their offspring before the chairman of the department as they reeled off the god-like attributes of their young geniuses, grabbing for every hand-out because it was free and it was offered.

Oh boy, I can't wait to get to school in the fall with the progeny of all this parental anxiety.

From the Sick Bed

I've had the flu since last Tuesday or Wednesday. I'm foggy on the details as it's been a blur of low grade fever, coughing and an inability to eat more than toast and Pedialyte Freezer Pops.

If getting the flu is tough then getting the flu during Spring break in a house with children is unbearable. To their credit, the kids have been good, poking me with a stick at regular intervals to make certain I'm still conscious. Even my little guy has been a trooper, telling me to go to sleep. Although I suspect it's to plot his takeover of the planet.

I actually started to worry when Kisses started cuddling up to me in the sick bed. She was the ever loyal pooch, standing guard over her sick mistress. This is not the Kisses I know. Maybe I was really sick, like death bed sick. But then this afternoon, when my 102 fever finally broke, she growled at me for looking at her and cut me a nasty glower. Whew!

Tonight I'm not drugged on NyQuil and I could kill for a slice of pizza. No more tea, no more vegetable broth, no more toast, no more Pedialyte. A nice cheese piece of pizza with garlic, green peppers and red onions. I guess I'm on the road to recovery.