Little Lamb

So I have this poem in my head: “The Lamb” by William Blake

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed,
By the stream and o’er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Because my son and I went to Borders this afternoon and on the way we saw a strawberry flag flying from the local U-Pick farm sign, we stopped in to check out a local apples etc. farm.  Yippee!  They’re open at last after a long winter.  “Let’s go!” my son shouted and I swerved onto the side road.   Turns out we missed the strawberry picking for the day, which ended at noon, but we were able to buy a quart in the farm store.  Of course, while there we had to say howdy to the animals, and there were several beautiful lambs there.  Gosh, their cute!!

This one was pure white and hanging out with its mom frolicking about, but he ran into the barn before I could get a picture of the pair.  I guess he wanted to say hello to his sleeping pal… (sorry it’s fuzzy — camera phone!)

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Then I noticed two other sleeping babies right by the fence next to my feet.  They were so close that I didn’t see them, but man, were they sacked out!  Their little heads are intertwined — I’m thinkin’ twins…?

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Anyway, we’re having strawberry shortcake and deviled eggs for dinner.  (My son’s choice!)  I figured, who cares, honestly — good enough.  Eggs are a fine protein, and strawberries are excellent anti-oxidant rich fruit.  Too bad we’re out of lamb chops in the freezer, though.  For some reason I have a hankerin’ for some grilled lamb kabobs… 🙂

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SPRING is here at last

Finally!  We had a record-breaking high today of 93 degrees, and the leaves are definitely STARTING to unfold.  Still a ton of bare branches, but plenty of pollen and more and more bright spots of green and patches of flowers.  Spring is here at last.  Felt like an interminably long winter this year.

My son and I planted seeds in old cardboard egg cartons we’d been saving for a couple of months.  Hubbie and Boo and I made two beautiful raised bed planters to replace part of our ugly lawn.  We’ve now got those done, chicken wire stapled below to keep out critters, good organic soil inside each 3 x 3 x 1 foot wooden box, and a plan to sow some seeds directly outside and others to be transplanted in another month when they’re ready.  Carrots, tomatoes, green beans, zuchini, yellow crookneck squash, pumpkins, rhubarb, and we’re thinking of trying to grow potatoes, too.  I have some cucumber seeds, but that may be beyond me.  I’m not sure about buying and instaling a frame for them to climb on at a 30 degree angle.  Bad enough to have to stake tomatoes and tie beans!  Whew — so much to learn!

Honestly, I’m no gardener.  I’m expecting this not to work out very well.  I guess that’s why we belong to a local CSA farm.  So we won’t starve….  But I thought we could learn a bit of gardening, too.  So today, when my son and I were working on the garden out front, three neighbor kids we hardly know came over and asked if they could help.  Of course, we said yes, and thus ensued about an hour of teaching the kids how to ge the bed ready and plant carrot seeds.  About a week or so and we should start seeing sprouts.  I told them to check back then.  And then 70 days to maturity.  I said they could have some of the carrots.  Cute kids.  Made me feel really neighborly, teaching the  children about where food comes from!

I’ll try to take some pictures and post next time.  For  now, just wanted to let y’all know that we’ve got winter on the run at last in New England.  Even though there’s a danger of hard frost for another six weeks, heck, when we start getting LEAVES, winter’s through!  I’ll just hold back those tomatoes for a bit….

Kreativ Blogger? Wow, thanks!

I want to say a big thanks to Montessori Mama, who has given me the Kreativ Blogger award!!

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You know, it feels kinda good.  I needed the boost — thanks again, MM.  Coming from one of the most creative of all bloggers I know, this award means a lot!

Now, on to the rules:
– List six things that inspire my creativity
– Pass the award on to 6 more kreativ bloggers
– Link back to the person who gave you the award
– Link to the people you are passing it on to and leave them a comment to let them know.

so…

SIX things that inspire my creativity:

  1. family night — We decided to rotate the responsibility to each family member each week  to choose an activity for Friday night that the whole family would enjoy.  Last time that it was my turn, I chose painting, and we had a marvelous time just hanging out and painting together. Never done such a  thing together ALL three of us at the same time.  Cool!
  2. Christmas — Something about that holiday brings out my creative side.  I relish the chance to make things beautiful, to use my hands to create something new out of something old (ornaments, table decorations, handmade cards….)
  3. teaching a text that students seem to find boring — Ah, I love that challenge! That’s when I revert to drawing crazy pictures on the board, jumping on top of furniture to act out a concept, bringing in wigs and hats for students to stage an impromptu dramatization of that boring 18th century poem, etc.
  4. dinner parties — I know you aren’t really “supposed” to make up new recipes when you have company coming, but I love to get creative in the kitchen for my friends.  Almost always there’s enough delicious food (if I do say so myself) in the meal to make up for anything borderline.  Even the flops are food for funny stories later on. 🙂
  5. scrapbooking — Okay, I admit it.  I actually like doing this activity.  I haven’t been able to work on anything for years, but I love how it is both a creative (making something new) and retro- and intro-spective activity.  I need to find a way to do this craft again, as it gives me much pleasure both in the doing and in the viewing later.
  6. Grandma’a life — I find my beloved grandma to be incredibly inspiring.  Writing her book is one of the most meaningful things I have undertaken in my life and one of the hardest.

Now, on to listing SIX more kreativ bloggers:

The Sruggling Writer is a wonderfully creative guy — I like how he just keeps on writing despite being busy with work and his young family. I’ve seen a noticable change in the quality of his writing, too, clearly proving that practice makes perfect. Paul, you’re awesome!

I read Kitty’s delightful blog  The Show Must Go On almost every day.  She is witty and hilarious and kind.  Check her out!  But bonus…she is also a gifted photographer and has another blog The Cuckoo’s Nest filled with interesting pixs.  This gal can do anything.  She even turned me on to cooking cabbage (yup, Kitty, I finally bit the bullet and cooked that thing in the bottom of my fridge — delicious!  Who knew?)

Ginny over at Praying to Darwin is a crack up.  Always makes me LOL when I read of her and her family’s escapades in the great white north of Canada.  I’ve actually snorted with laughter when reading her before.  Thanks, Ginny, for cheering my day!

I love handmade paper products (books, cards, etc.), and I really admire Diane Aldred’s work, often showcased on her blog Much of a Muchness.  She has a real knack for choosing just the right design.  She’s also a good writer, and despite my jealousy over her exciting travels, I’m nominating her as well.

I don’t recall exactly how I first found Katie Hoffman’s blog Paint Fumes, but I have enjoyed visiting it and viewing her paintings for a long time now.  I always find something worthwhile to contemplate there, and I’ve enjoyed learning more about the art wold from her interesting written posts, as well.

When I first began blogging a year and a half ago, I was searching the blogosphere using the keyword “grief”  and came across Linda’s mysteroriley, a “blog I never wanted to write.”  What strikes me so much about this blog is Linda’s courage and the strength of her creative energy in the face of the painful loss of her 20-year-old son.  Linda, I admire you both as a writer and as a human being.  You inspire me!

So, there you have it folks!  And I want to encourage everyone to visit Montessori Mama‘s site, too.  She is a gifted artist, teacher, and a great gal. Thanks!

Store Wars… Cuke Skywalker versus Darth Tator

I just watched the funniest video about organic versus conventional produce….  Sounds dry, right?!  NO WAY!  It’s a Star Wars spoof made with real fruits and veggies in a real supermarket.  LOL.  Enjoy!

Happy New Year!

Twenty minutes to the big count down.  I’m hanging out in the livingroom with our dog while my son and his friend — here for a New Year’s sleepover — are in the basement watching a movie. Said parents and little brother have gone home, leaving their sweet girl to hang out with my Bubby.  They are pals.  What a nice New Year’s Eve for us all.

I wish every year could be this simple for him….

For now, I’m just grateful for friendships, for a warm puppy in my lap, for an automatic dishwasher taking care of the dinner plates, for scented soy candles ablaze on a shelf, for sparkling LED Christmas lights on a still supple and green tree, for my health, for my job, for our nice little house, for the snow outside, for freezable leftover refried beans and Mexican rice from our feast, for the lazy day I expect to enjoy tomorrow, for completing my work thing that was buggin me and that needed to be done THIS year, and for my husband who is spending the last few minutes of his year trying to fix my other computer, Lord bless him!

I got the almond in my rice pudding in the Christmas feast this year.  So I get the luck.  Feels like that luck started long ago!  How much better can it get??

I bought seven lottery tickets today, one for each person at dinner.  Then I totally forgot to give them out.  I guess I’ll have to pass them out when we bring back Bubby’s friend tomorrow.  Oops!  Ah, well, tomorrow we shall see who else is lucky! 🙂

Lefse Making: Then and Now, Here and There

On Saturday my Grandma’s niece and her husband came to “Christmas Eve” dinner at our house.  They live in Vermont and had to drive down (and back) through a snow storm to share this time with us (what nice relatives!)  My son and I made the lefse right before they got there, so as to have the freshest and most tender lefse possible for our dinner.  If you don’t know what lefse is, well, it’s a Norwegian flatbread made of mashed poatoes that looks like a flour tortilla and is rolled up with butter and cinnaomn-sugar.  (See my Lefse tab above for more posts on lefse.)

Bubby knows that the cooks always get to eat the first lefse.  What he didn’t realize was why we have this tradition: basically because the first one never looks quite right and Grandma never wanted to serve it that way.  So we would always eat it and destroy the evidence.  Well, this time, the first piece of lefse REALLY wasn’t all that great.  Far too much flour and overcooked — came out stiff (always a bad sign!)  Bubby and I ate it, but we had to “try” the second one, too, cause after the first failure, we had to be sure that we would not be serving the family low-quality lefse!  🙂  I remarked that when I made lefse with Grandma, our fist one never looked THAT bad before — I must be losing my touch.  Or maybe it’s just this darned head cold I’ve got….

Our technique did improve, you’ll be happy to hear, and we served a nice stack during dinner.  In fact, I serve lefse with the Christmas Eve meal (even though technically it should go afterwards with the sweets). But we could never wait until after the main meal was over.  If it were up to me, we’d just have Swedish meatballs and lefse on our plates.  What’s the point of all the rest?  I noticed that Bubby ate his lefse first, and well, who cares.  I smiled cause he’s Momma’s kid, isn’t he?

After dinner, gift opening, rice pudding (I got the almond again this year, so good luck to ME!), and after our cousins left, our dog Maggie decided she was not to be left out any longer, and she pulled half of the remaining lefse off the plate and onto the floor.  BAD DOG!  BAD DOG!!!!!    Ah, but who can blame her?  They are so delicious!

When I was recently going through some of my Scandinavia trip pictures, I found these ones of the lefse exhibit at the Folk MUseum in Oslo, Norway.  The young woman is making potato-less lefse, which I learned last year from my on-line friends is, in fact, legitimate lefse.  Hardanger lefse with flour and milk — very lovely.  Not what I think of as lefse, but still yummy.  Anyway, here are the pictures.  Makes me glad that I have an electric griddle to cook mine on — a heck of a lot more convenient that a wood fire hearth (though not as picturesque)!

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Holady Shopping… Typos Matter, Even at Christmas

I am NOT the grammar police, okay?  But, honestly, sometimes I can’t help but draw attention to signage errors.  I mean, I’d want to know!   I live by that Do Unto Others credo, so shoot me.

I was at the mall this weekend buying a few last Christmas gifts, when I was surprised to see a See’s Candy shop.  Where the heck did that come from, I wondered.  I am quite certain it wasn’t there last time I visited the mall.

I hustled over to the store, though, to pick up a couple of boxs of nuts and chews and assorted chocolates.  Sees is not only delicious candy, but it brings back lovely memories of my grandma.  The company began right there in Sacramento, California, near my grandma’s house, in fact.  I am delighted that the company has done so well that it now has a store in the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua, New Hampshire.  Go figure!

But as I was reading the description of one of their items to see which candies the box included, my eyes bugged out at this typo.  Can you SEE it?

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How appetizing!  Just what I want to buy for my son’s stocking: a box with six soiled choco balls.  Mmm! Delicious!  Sample anyone? 🙂

I hesitated but then thought, goodness, this has to be fixed.  Or at least laughed at.  So I showed it to the two sales ladies, making it perfectly clear that this was, no doubt, NOT their fault.

Clerk One: “Yes.  Uh huh….  So you’re a teacher?”

Me: “Well, yeh. Er, I am. Ha ha.” 🙂

Clerk One: “And you teach…?”

Me: “English.  Sorry.  Typos just have this way of jumping right off the page at me, especially this time of year when I am grading so many student papers.  I can’t help it.”

Clerk Two: “Where do you teach your classes?”

Me: “At the University.”

Clerk Two: “I want to take an English class.  I need to learn English.”

Me: “Well, there’s community colleges.  They offer such classes.”

Clerk Two: “What I really want is a tutor, just someone to sit down with me and help me understand better.”

Me: “Our local library has such a thing — literacy tutoring run by volunteers.  You should see if your town has that.”

After the Clerk One lady rang up my purchase, she slipped three butterscoth lollipops into my bag and smiled. I guess she didn’t mind my pointing out the typo after all.  Still, someone should fix that sign.  Made me think I should carry around white out and a black marker.

Has anyone heard of that guy who goes around, on purpose to fix people’s typos? Now THAT’S annoying!