Jun 27, 2010

“What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance” Jane Austen

Yeah, I know Jane, I'm sweating like a pig. too. In spite of a few minor set backs (my camera lens kept fogging up, I thought I was going to freakin pass out) swoon) I managed to find some dog day beauty in our own yard.

Double rainbow in our front yard:

Milkweed & Monarch in our butterfly garden:

Showing off her pretty profile:

(I l-o-v-e Chenille)

Bleeding Heart:
(Jane would have approved)

Some kind of yellow spikey thingy that is growing everywhere in my garden:

The Pod:
( a tribute to one of my favorite movies, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.)

The Pod becomes this flower...

Or does it...

Independence Day Challenge Update

What do Alan B. Shepard,Vincent Van Gogh and Marilyn Monroe Have In Common?

Q: Why is it I am generally half dead when I post these updates? A: It's because it's the only time I sit down.

On Thursday I had the Meniere's attack from the pit of hell. The last time I had one this severe was Philadelphia 1998 where I stood up in the morning and fell over backwards. These are called "drop attacks" and are common with Meniere's. I had the first episode in 97' after a terrible virus swept through the work place. My boss ended up with meningitis. I ended up with Vestibular Neuronitis which was later diagnosed as Meniere's after I started going deaf in my left ear. Unilateral deafness stinks. I can hear sound but can not locate it. Speech is muffled in crowded areas. Having said that I will state, however, that I am thrilled to have one working ear. Live long and prosper right ear.

The health department came in to the work place thinking we may have had a sick building but never found anything conclusive. Ironically, after we relocated the office the building was torn down and a new building built on the site.

Over the years I have managed to recognize triggers. Dehydration and caffeine being my number one offenders. With our 100 degree weather and 110 degree heat index I should not have been working in the yard Wednesday. Then, reveling in the joy of my day off Thursday I sat sipping coffee all morning. Lots and lots of coffee. By 1 pm my eyes started dancing like ping pong balls (vestibular nystagmus) and I could not move an inch without hurling.

I am in the company of the famous. Martin Luther was said to suffer from Meniere's and felt Satan was the cause. Can I get a big AMEN to that? Marilyn Monroe, Julius Ceaser, Alan B. Shepard, and Charles Darwin. Vincent Van Gogh was also rumored to have Meniere's. I feel like chopping off my ear at times as well, Vince. Especially when it's goes blub blub blub blub pop pop pop pop pop ssss ssss ssss ssss sssss ring ring ring ring ring-a-ling-a-ding-dong. I've been known to turn to the person next to me and ask, "Does the noise in my head bother you?"

Enough whining. On to the IDC:

1. Plant Something: Recently planted sweet potatoes (given to me by Mrs. M), lantana (for the water wise beds in front), apple mint (from the genius), marigolds, milkweed (from my neighbor), and Popi's pink rain lily's. Popi made a little bed in the play area and I now have huge pots of colorful flowers and sweet smelling jasmine for them to enjoy while they are swinging. Began two shrimp plant topiaries. I saw the topiaries at the Green Thumb Festival and loved them. Pollinating insects love these shrimp plants, too:

2. Harvest Something: Not too much growing in this heat. It's hard to harvest in an oven set on broil.

3. Preserve Something: My sanity.

4. Waste Not: Using re-cycled materials for the raised beds in the garden. Still tracking expenditures on my Excel spread sheet. I find that I do well for 3 weeks being thrifty and then I - am - over - it. Need to work on that 3rd week. Am refinishing a vintage coffee table, and the four chairs I dug out of someone's garbage: (Note: Sorry, genius. I know how my dumpster escapades gross you out. Woo Hoo, Artist. I know how my dumpster escapades thrill you. Just look at the cool detail on these chairs!)

Want Not: Read this link to see how she describes, Want Not. I am probably one of the most 'prepared " people you will meet other than my neighbor, Brasilia. However, when Brasilia came over recently to have her blood pressure taken I found that the kids (little angels) had broken my stethoscope and my BP cuff was buried with first aide supplies in a galaxy far away. My new goal is to organize and prioritize. This should take a life time.

Build Community Food Systems: I am sincerely trying to buy local. I am tired of South American Mango's when we grow them right here in our own sate. Supporting your local farmers is easy. Click on the lettuce or the really cute sisters and use the easy guide:

Let me know what you have done lately regarding the IDC!

Jun 20, 2010

The Answer To Prayer And A Juggler, Too

I realize my faith is very child-like. Personally I like it like that. No, it's not an excuse not to mature in your faith which in itself is a tedious, long, all too often painful process. It's actually the way Jesus liked it as well. He knew children had the right idea and never turned them away. See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. Matthew 18:10 NIV

So having said that I have to smile at a recent answer to prayer. The babe needs a big girl bed. I cannot afford a big girl bed. I have a phobia about used mattresses. Yes, me the thrift store queen. I draw the line at used underwear (gag), used shoes ( toe-jam), and used mattresses (no comment).

I remember saying a little prayer. Lord, the baby needs a bed. No, I don't think of the Heavenly Father as a spiritual sugar daddy or a holy ATM machine where you swipe your request and then out pops your instant answer. He is, however, a Father who is interested in every aspect of his kids lives and wants the best for them. He knows the baby needs a bed, too. He also knows about my mattress phobia.

Enter Haggie Maggie.

Haggie Maggie and I have been friends since we were 11 years old. We really don't have a lot in common when you get right down to it. Haggie never married. She doesn't have children. We have totally different interests. But we have been best buddies for a very long time. Haggie is a Renaissance Festival and Pirate festival actress in her spare time, playing a toothless hag with a laugh that would send chills up your spine. I hate the Renaissance Festival having been once. People slobbering all over those giant turkey legs did me in. No, thank you.

So about 3 weeks after my simple prayer I get a phone call from Haggie Maggie out of the clear blue. She has rented her mom's house to some Ren-fest buddies. Could I use a bed? In spite of her name, Haggie Maggie is VERY clean! YES! Could I use two? What? YES! She casually mentions the Ren-boys have been moving furniture into her moms home all day and she now has a goat head hanging in the living room. Um. Goat head?

Haggie informs me that the boys will be delivering the beds to my home and setting them up. Somebody pinch me.

The spotless beds arrived yesterday and were set up by 4 very nice looking guys (understatement) who could not have been more gracious and polite. Eat your heart out old ladies everywhere.

Haggie Maggie also sent along a mound of sheets and blankets. Pink. Could this answered prayer be anymore specific? She had already washed everything as she knows I hang my laundry on a clothes line which to Haggie Maggie is insanity and far to much work. Thank you Haggie.

The boy kept getting in the way. No surprise there. "How did you hurt your hand?" to one especially tall man with long, long hair. Sword fight, he answers nonchalantly. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! How coooooooooool! Finally, The Amazing Kenny pulls the boy aside and makes a deal with him. You obey your mom so you don't get hurt (oh, how I love this guy) and I will come back and put on a show for you. Turns out The Amazing Kenny is an amazing juggler. And sure enough...as if these poor guys who had been moving their furniture and goat heads all day didn't have enough to do, The Amazing Kenny comes back and puts on a show right in our living room. I get teary thinking about how impressed the kids were and how sweet this young man was to keep his promise.

Two beds, pink sheets, free delivery and set up and a juggler in my living room. Could it get any more fabulous than that?

Going Strong Since 1918

Happy Fathers day, Popi!

Jun 18, 2010

Beauty For Ashes and 64 Ounces of H20

Day 3 of boys infusion. Be at the hospital at 8:00 am. Get up at 5:30 am. Feed, potty, water/dog cat. Make coffee. Blessed caffeine. Wake up boy, teen. Baby awake already. Baby always awake. Feed, water, fertilize, medicate nebulize, dress and assist with dressing, flush I.V. Pack cooler. Lunches. School bus early! Murphy's Law! School bus never early. Bye, bye baby Have fun. On to teenagers hair. Black women of America I salute and admire you. You do not wash and wear permed hair. Time. It takes time. Too. Much.Time. Uh-oh. All out of hair product. No time to re-stock this week between work and hospital. I find a jar of perm enhancer I don't recall buying....mmmmm smells good. Works ok. As I slather and comb and braid I wonder what this goop along with the sunscreen we use by the gallons is doing to my pool filter. Back to cooler. Teenager needs 64 ounces of water since seizure medication is metabolized in kidneys. Yes, hospital has water but it costs money. We bring ours from home. Kidneys are one of the few organs that work correctly in our home. Especially mine. Love your kidneys.

20 minutes late today. Have to frisk the boy in parking garage. Yesterday he brought a fluorescent green beetle in his pocket to the hospital sending one of the nurses screaming. Better than the garden snake of days past but infusion nurses don't like beetles
or snakes. Why, the boy asks? No time to explain knowing he could not process the explanation any way. I'm conserving my energy today. Notice I said "could not" not "would not" process. Big City doctor who is working with the boys severe leaning disorders has finally brainwashed convinced me that the boy cannot process a number of logical things we all take for granted. Big City doc is finally getting through my authoritative parenting style. It is obvious that the generic behavior management approach of sticker charts and time out and logic are downright asinine solutions in a certain segment of the population. After I frisk boy I ask, have you smuggled any critters in today? "No, I couldn't find any." Ah. Yes. That's my boy. Still too innocent to be clever. Shiver at the thought of the 10 beetles I found on his drafting table last night. He fishes them out of the pool and attempts to revive them with the warmth of his Ikea desk lamp. Occasionally it works as I've had more than one buzz bomb me at night when i turn on the bathroom light. Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech! Too much Tom Sawyer-Huck Finn/my mom is a nurse in this boy who recently brought me a baby bird he had pulled from the mouth of a huge rat snake. "Your a nurse do something!" Honey, the bird is gone. No. Mouth to beak will not work. "Can't you shock him?" Um, we don't have an AED in our home and even if we did it would have to be a bird AED. While we were at baby bird memorial service in back yard rat snake was probably already in the nest looking for bird sibling since his first snack had been so rudely interrupted. The circle of life. Shiver.

Make it in to the infusion room. BLESSED CHAIR! I'm so happy to sit I could cry tears of joy. Open cooler to get teenager started on water. Yogurt has exploded. So much for my breakfast. Kids had bacon, eggs and waffles but no time to feed my face. Pink mess everywhere. Clean up mess. Kids get caught up on Nick and Disney channels since we don't have cable at home. Chat with infusion buddies we've known for 7 years. Have made many close friends over the years thanks to the long, tedious infusion hours we've logged in since 2000. Time to catch up on children. Grandchildren. Jobs.

Infusion hours tick by slowly. Plenty of time to emerse my self in some "light"reading if i can just...stay...awake... Up until midnight chatting with a new friend from rural deep south last night. Lately, I've been obsessed with six degrees of separation and divine appointments and how closely related we all are at any given moment. Last nights chat case in point. Friend in rural Bible belt goes to the mall. Meets helpful employee. Runs into helpful employee now and then. Hears helpful employee is a foster/adoptive parent. Having difficulty. Friend gives helpful employee my phone number after clearing it with me. We talk by phone several times. Connect on Facebook. Wonderful black foster family who love their children and have an adopted son with attachment issues. School wants to put the 6 year old in their tiny county's "Alternative School." I look it up on the web. Looks like gray prison portables. Placing a 6 year old with teenage juvenile delinquents does not seem like a brilliant idea not to mention the obvious that the root issues aren't being addressed. Thank God this child has excellent advocates in his intelligent, caring adoptive mom and dad. So many do not. I re-play this conversation over and over with adoptive parents and parents of special needs children all over the U.S. Getting an education in under staffed, under funded schools who are inundated with drug exposed, alcohol exposed, neglected, abused and medically complex children is growing in difficulty especially in states where my new friend lives. The state is poor. The average IQ is
93.3. Now if they lived in Vermont or Connecticut...

The book I'm reading, The Explosive Child by Ross W. Greene, Ph.D is one of the best books I've come across. Love this man's approach. Executive Skills. Language Processing Skills. Emotion Regulation Skills. Cognitive Flexibility Skills. Social Skills. So many adoptive/foster children so lacking in some or all of these skills. Whether they are 6 days or 16 years old at time of adoption there are always hidden enemies waiting to sabotage the placement. Enemies like pre-natal drug exposures, familial pre-dispositions, genetic abnormalities, and rejection issues that all adoptee's face regarding their birth parents to one degree or another no matter how stable and loving their adoptive home is. I cringe when I hear professionals in "placement" positions make statements like: "She had one visit with her prospective adoptive parents and was already calling them mommy and daddy. Isn't that wonderful?" No, it's called Reactive Attachment Disorder. Ever heard of it? or: "He has such beautiful blue eyes. He'll be adopted in no time." Like this is the issue? And my favorite: "It is a match made in heaven. It was love at first sight." I hope you have the heavenly realms on speed dial. You gonna need it bubba.

If you're thinking about adopting, especially an older child, you should probably do a little research before you dive in:

Big Mama Hollers
Never A Dull Moment
The Accidental Mommy
Ashley Rhodes-Courter

Wait a minute. What's that beeping noise? WOO HOOO! Infusion complete leaving me 4 months to get in shape for the next 3 day marathon. Maybe I can finish my book then! It seems to be the only time I am able to sit down for any length of time.

Jun 16, 2010

Flat Stanley

It became apparent early on in my Osteogenesis Imperfecta journey that I would not be able to rely on the medical profession for the answers to my many questions. After all it is a rare genetically transmitted (most of the time) disorder that not many people in the world have so you really can't expect answers from
every physician. There are experts...few of them...located in Montreal and Omaha...yep...that's about it. So I learned from my research which began in 2000 that the best source of information was a support group of parents begun by Amy Phelps. I was blessed to "stumble" across her story in my research and became an active participant in 2001. It saved my sanity.

I have met many of the group members over the years in person having attended the National Conferences held every two years and spontaneous OI get together's around the US. Ronit from Hawaii. Amy from California. Dr. Mary from North Carolina. Melissa and her 3 Pretty Girls. I've had the good fortune to befriend via computer moms and dads from Greece, Denmark and England to name a few countries. We are a close, tight knit, group from all walks of life with one common goal. We want what's best for out kids with OI. It's that simple.

Dr. Mary began an OI Flat Stanley campaign and we were the proud representative of Stanley this week. We are supposed to photograph our children with OI in front of something that is representative of our state. I thought about this while awaiting Flat Stanley's arrival and decided what better place than our own back yard? We live in a small subdivision that joins a 400 acre state park that is the epitome of old Florida. Lazy streams. Gators. Turtles. Storks. Cranes. Roseate Spoonbills. And Spanish Moss which is neither Spanish or a moss. Of course getting the boy to stand still for a project he deemed "STUPID" wasn't easy. I did inform him if he dropped Flat Stanley in the river I would...well, never mind...it involved gators...boy snacks...and Dr. Mary. No one wants to mess with Dr. Mary...

Ok you two birds...Look at the camera...

Hey! Y'all! The Camera???

Hello, bird! Just where do you think you are going?

Ok! That's what I'm talking about!

Could it get any prettier than this?

Thank you Flat Stanley!

Jun 15, 2010


Don't you just love blogs that offer contests? I figured it was time I got into the groove so this contest is for all of you freebie freaks and contest kooks....I am offering the above book to the first name drawn out of the fish bowl on July 1st. All you have to do is leave a comment on today's blog and you will be automatically entered. The winner will be notified on July 2nd which is the artists birthday. How fitting!
Here's a review on Anne Elizabeth's Diary A Young Artist's True Story:

Anne Elizabeth Rector was one of the first female American artists of prominence. As a 12-year-old, she began keeping a diary that included both writing and artwork. Nearly 100 years later, her granddaughter, Catherine Chermayeff, found the diary, which shows Rector's development as a freethinking woman and artist. The journal entries are short and written in the youthful vernacular of the early twentieth century. Prim and privileged yet opinionated and clever, young Anne Elizabeth makes a vivid subject, and her full-color artwork, though simple, adds an innocent grace to the text. Throughout, writer-editor Krull adds detailed sidebars that offer a glimpse of New York at the time, including living conditions, travel, entertainment, libraries, political and social issues, and prominent people that Anne Elizabeth met through her photographer father. Krull also includes a few pages about Rector's adult life as well as tips on keeping a diary and further resources. Rounding out this pleasurable read are many photos of Anne Elizabeth. Beautifully presented, this book offers an authentic glimpse into the mind of a burgeoning artist. Roger Leslie
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

I loved this simple diary from a 1912 twelve year old and hope you will, too. Her drawings were so sweet and her paper dolls reminded me of
Besty McCall paper dolls. Anyone out there old enough to remember those?

Let the comments begin! (be nice)

Jun 14, 2010

I Don't Mean To Dump On You Butt...

I don't even know where to start as this post involves bodily functions and I'm trying not be be crude. We seem to have a major toilet curse in this household. About five years ago I was at the local children's hospital with 4 sick, medically complex children. I had just been diagnosed with pneumonia. When I opened our front door, arms laden with antibiotics and hacking children, we were nearly knocked on our feet by the waterfall coming from the staircase. My downstairs ceilings were on the floor and a rocketing stream of water was shooting four feet skyward from the upstairs toilet. We were instantly homeless thanks to $30,000.00 worth of structural damage and I was instantly un-employed as I worked from home. I had two foster children that had to be moved to new homes and stood helplessly watching as the baby drove away with a stranger, his little arms outstretched screaming, "mommy, mommy!" To say I have a plumbing hypersensitivity after that is an understatement. Any flush, squeak or swoosh that seems the slightest bit out of order and I'm on it like flies on immediately. I call my 90 year old father, Popi, because if I called a plumber every time i experienced plumbing paranoia I would be penniless. Recently there was a high pitched whir and within a day the toilet tank downstairs stood empty. Popi came right over and found the problem in the bowels of the tank. I don't know toilet anatomy other than "tank" and "bowl" but it was obviously a simple part and easily replaced. Unless the plumber is Popi. Popi decided, being the true OCD that he is, that he was going to replace "everything." UH-OH. We're in deep doo doo now kids...Popi and I had just gone round and round earlier about a cabinet in the garage that a neighbor gave me. The shelves were not spaced exactly 15 inches apart therefore your cleaning products would not be the "exact height or lined up symmetrically." When I commented that the cleaning products did not have to be the same height and/or lined up symmetrically you'd have thought i had just birthed a colon cannon ball in front of him. The horror. The horror.

Three days and two brand new toilet insides later Popi finishes with a flair. We not only have new toilet insides but a new handle that really isn't a handle but a pseudo-door knob with two buttons on it. He explained that one button is used for keester cakes and the other for tinkle. Of course I cannot for the life of me remember which button is which and I can already anticipate serious problems during our monthly woman's prayer meeting. In anticipation of those problems I'm contemplating having a decorative plaque made with explicit instructions regarding appropriate disposal of deposits. Maybe in a cottage decor or something with a lovely English shabby shite chic flair? As I'm sitting here contemplating the wording of the plaque/flushing instruction manual the boy approaches me. "Can I ask you a question about our new toilet? Of course, honey. "If I pee AND poop at the same time do i press both buttons?"

Oh, crap. I never thought of that.

Jun 13, 2010

Dragonfly From Hades

Anyone who knows me well knows I don't scare easily but last night at midnight I was screaming like a banshee running round and round the pool batting at my own head. Vanna White went out back for her nightly constitutional and didn't come back. She has apparently dug a hole to China in the garden bed that my 90 year old father spent hours leveling and raking and was curled up contentedly in said hole. What a bad doggie. When Popi finds this hole you are d-e-a-d. Ninety years ago there was no such thing as ADHD or Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. Throw in a large dose of Oppositional Defiant Personality and you have Popi in a nutshell. No pun intended. In 1918 my grandmothers intervention was to rig up a pulley system and hook his belt to the large farm clotheslines where he could run without doing damage. I learned this from my favorite uncle. Around the age of 15 I think the clothes line snapped and my dad kept running. He ran to the nearest naval recruiter, lied about his age and joined up. He did well in the Navy. Won a few medals at Pearl Harbor and with the exception of the time he stole a trolley in Sydney, Australia and terrorized gave the patrons the ride of their lives he made it over 20 years without any major incidents. The Navy negotiated his release but he was, of course, banned from Australia for life. This doesn't seem to bother him much these days. I'm sure it didn't bother hm much in those days either. While I'm dragging Vanna out of the hole last night informing her of the Popi trouble that lies ahead something dive bombed my head. The noise was deafening. It was like the hellish chopper scene from Apocalypse Now and I was the unsuspecting, innocent villager. I let go of Vanna's collar and took off running. It was a real save yourself moment.Turns out to be above dragon fly...or at least I think this is some kind of mutant variation of a dragonfly. This sucker measured approximately 6 inches long and was determined on nesting in my hair. Never in my many years in the tropics have I seen one this large. I mean look at this demon spawn. He's staring at me in the photo...waiting. Like Hannibal Lecter he's beckoning... "Closer, please. CLO-SER!" Every time I tried to photograph him he took off and buzzed me causing me to scream and run for the rice paddies.

I truly love dragon flies. They are probably one of my favorite critters. As a young child on the Santa Fe river I would watch them for hours marveling at their gossamer wings and gorgeous colors. This was not one of those moments. I'm sending this post to one of my favorite bloggers, Pure Florida, and asking him why? why? WHY?

Jun 10, 2010

"Love Larger"

The baby is coughing again. Wracking, retching, horrible coughing. I've never heard anything like it nor has her pediatrician. She has developed a hernia from the sheer force of coughing. We have tried everything. No one can figure out WHY it comes on. No on can figure out HOW to prevent it. When it starts it is nearly un-stoppable. Up all night with the nebulizer humming to no avail. I feel helpless and frustrated. It's so hard to see anyone suffer, especially your child. Scanning favorite blogs in the wee hours while rocking and comforting I found a simple entry from the Livesay's blog sight that slapped me back to reality and put my perceptions back into perspective. Please click on and read this: Love Larger

The bottom line is we live in a country where if need be I could call 911 and help would be at my doorstep in 4 to 7 minutes. Irregardless of my social status, income or insurance information no one is turned away in a true emergency. If the baby becomes dehydrated there are always IV fluids. If she stops breathing there are machines readily available to breath for her. I have insurance that pays for her medicine. I could go on and on. I won't

I am thankful for the many blessings we have in this country and personally ashamed for having taken them for granted. Our blessings have made us a complacent nation. We have developed an irrational sense of entitlement. Our season of plenty, however, is over. Everywhere i turn i see people who have lost jobs, lost homes, lost savings and lost their health. It will not improve. Many of us have already realized that in order to survive the future " lone rangers" will be a thing of the past. Community and helping others to the point of self-sacrifice will no longer be a "calling" but a survival necessity.

In the midst of trials two truths keep coming to mind:

"Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?
I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert."
Isaiah 43:18-19 (KJV)

"For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil,
to give you hope in your final outcome."
Jeremiah 29:11 (Amplified Bible)

Jun 6, 2010

Solar Sunday

Of course the above photo has nothing to do with the topic but it was just so dad-burn cute I had to post it. They are just so rotten angelic.

Today is a great day to experiment with the solar oven as it is very cloudy. Supposedly if you get 20 minutes of sunshine every hour you can still cook solar. Since the heat index is only 97 today (yeah...this really is how we think in our state) I'm thinking you could probably just sit a casserole out and it would bake with or without the solar oven. Maybe after I perfect the solar oven I'll delve into that subject. Maybe not.

Last weeks cake (Independence Day Challenge Update) was a success and a disaster. The experimental cake baked in about 2 hours and while baking the entire back yard smelled yummy and orange-y. People talk like this when they have children and the heat index is 97.

The disaster was that it was so heavenly and moist I ate about 90% of it by myself AFTER I glopped vanilla frosting all over it. A valuable lesson learned. Avoid solar sweets since I have no will power whatsoever.

Toady we are cooking something more boring healthy. The following applesauce recipe is copied from Cooking With Sunshine a great solar cooking manual by Lorraine Anderson and Rick Palkovic. They say, "this is the most delicious applesauce we've ever eaten, as well as easiest to make." I'll let you all know after I've eaten 90% of it.

Yield: 4 cups
6 Golden Delicious apples, peeled,quartered and cored (I used organic Gala on hand)
Juice of 1 lemon (from our tree squeezed with a fabulous thrift store find of last week)
Dash of cinnamon (optional)
Place apples in dark pot, sprinkle juice over the apples, and cover the pot tightly
Bake in solar oven for 3-4 hours, until apples can be easily pierced with a fork
Mash apples with a hand masher or in a blender at low speed, adding a little cinnamon if you want.


Jun 5, 2010

Strawberry Fields Forever

My friend Mrs. M called me early this morning. I think it was 8:00 AM. It is an unspoken rule of etiquette that you generally don't call this early on a Saturday morning since people often sleep in. Normal People. People without children People without children who require so little sleep they should be studied in a prestigious university's sleep lab. Mrs. M had been up since 5:30 AM. I had been up since 6:00 AM. People like us generally don't adhere to this unspoken rule of etiquette since by 8:00 AM we have already accomplished more than most people accomplish in an entire day. Time is wasting!

Mrs. M and I are kindred spirits in the free-cycling, gardening world and Mrs. M had a tip. The local, fabulous, hydroponic farm right in the middle of our city was selling you-pick produce...all produce...for 99 cents a pound. Too good to pass up even in the 110 heat index. Two tired moms and 5 spunky kids met at Kellogg's First Fruits Hydroponics and each picked between 13 and 16 lbs of strawberries, eggplant, lettuce, swiss chard, tomatoes, pepper,beans and onions.

After an hour we were berry stained, flushed, sunburned and dripping with sweat. Mrs. M commented on the plight of the migrant worker as we were leaving. I thought about how easy it is to buy pre-washed produce in the grocery store as I was cleaning and peeling 13 lbs of produce. Things we don't normally dwell on but probably should.

I was able to freeze 4 quarts of tomatoes and 6 of strawberries. Today I'm making eggplant Parmesan to freeze. I plan on introducing the boy to fried green tomatoes since he brought two home that probably weigh 4 lbs combined. Nothing is to be wasted.

I was impressed with First Fruit Hydroponics. Here is a family who has taken the land they already had and turned it into something even better, something that benefits the community. Located in the most unlikely industrial section of a city it is a perfect example of how you can " bloom where you are planted."

For more on the Kellogg's' read:
-U-pick in Pinellas? Hydroponically speaking, yes

-Kellogg’s First Fruits hydroponic farm lets you pick your own produce