Thursday, March 10, 2011

The beautiful springtime

We've been having beautiful weather out here, balmy 20 degree afternoons with sunshine! The sun rises and sets around 7 now so we have some nice long days to enjoy. Dave and I borrowed the neighbor's sled and took Julia out for a stroll. We stuffed her in a produce box with some blankets, and she was cosy and content. We walked down the frozen river for awhile, and came to a spot where you could see the slabs of ice poking up from earlier this winter when the rains caused the river to sort of break up.  The chunks of ice showed a lot of beautiful bubbles that are actually signs of climate change, the river releasing unusual levels of methane.

I finally saw the northern lights last night! I had gone to bed with Julia, and Dave was at a stargazing bonfire with the school kids. The kids had all just gone home, when the lights started up on the horizon, and Dave came running over to wake me. You'd have thought someone had died the way he hollered "GET UP", but I had told him that if he didn't wake me up the next time he saw them that I'd be furious.  They were green,  hugging the horizon and arcing over the school. Sometimes a spot light would suddenly glow quite bright, and then they would fade away. They shifted around too, moving to the south. We watched outside in the cold awhile, until we got too cold, then we realized we could see them almost as well from our window, so we watched them from inside some more.

The school lost two more kids, our first and second grader, Tatiana and Rashaun have gone to Oklahoma to live with their mother. That leaves Wade, in the pre-school, Honey, Ashley, Chelsea, Alfreda and Sam in the elementary and Al, Mattie, Miguel, Jonah, Amber, Vern and Katie in the High school. (Katie is Vern's girlfriend, and recently transferred in from the nearby village of Crooked Creek)

Julia, despite taking those first steps has been reluctant to adopt walking as a mode of transportation. Upon great urging, she will appease us with a few steps, but crawling still seems to please her just fine.
Her pinkeye seems to be getting better, though she still gets some goop in her eyes during the day they are no longer crusted over in the mornings. We never got it checked out. There was supposed to be a nurse coming to the village, but for some reason, she hasn't come yet, and this just doesn't seem urgent enough to merit a flight to medical attention. I was searching the internet for home remedies, and one was to put breast milk in the eye, due to the antibacterial properties. This sounded worth a try to me, but the reality of Julia's unwillingness to let me anywhere near her eyes, let alone to drop breast milk into them has prevented me from actually trying this. The only word she says regularly is "da" for "dad" and despite my trying to teach her to sign, she mostly refuses and instead communicates quite well with grunts and babbles. Her new favorite thing is to unload the cupboard that contains the pasta noodles. 2nd favorite is to unload the cupboard containing the pots and pans. She likes brushing her teeth at night. Though it is really more of just chewing on her brush. We don't use toothpaste yet.  I bought some toddler stuff, but it smells like fake cherry, and if I let her use it, she smells like fake cherry, which I hate. I bought her a soft hairbrush, and brush her hair in the mornings, more for the novelty than for necessity, but today she grabbed the brush and managed to do it herself. Despite being able to unload cupboards very well, for some reason she has not figured out that pulling all the books and yarn off the shelves is a fun game too. I thank my lucky stars for that. We are working on teaching her not to bite. She does it in play, and only with me. She precedes the bite with a little veloceraptor cry which is adorable, but the biting is getting stronger! So I yell "NO" in my meanest parent voice, and sometimes she stops, and sometimes she smiles sweetly and bites again.

Julia likes flinging cheerios on the floor, then getting down and eating them off the floor
lest you think our days are all sunshine, here is the progression:

In the kitchen, I've been gloriously busy, thanks to Full Circle Farms, and the fact that we have signed up for a box of produce to arrive from them every other week. We pay $58.25 for this luxury, which on the one hand is an insane amount of money for a box of produce and on the other hand is a small price to pay for my happiness.

I made a amazingly good soup from produce in last week's box. This recipe has very rough quantities, but I think that it will work well regardless of the proportions and with substitutions.
Red Soup
In a heavy pot, saute the following diced veggies in olive oil:
an onion
2 carrots,
3 ribs of celery
a leek
a sweet potato
a regular potato
4 cloves of garlic
After some browning occurs, add chicken broth to cover, and about 2 cups of red lentils that have been rinsed well. Let it all simmer until things are soft, then puree with your handy immersion blender.
Turn off the heat, and add 3 Tbsp or so of red miso and a good splash of balsamic vinegar. Sir well and eat!
And because one cannot live on soup alone in winter,
Apple Tart,  from the Greyston Bakery Cookbook

Fold over the edge to create a little shelf for keeping in the juices.
 Prick the bottom with a fork.
Transfer the parchment paper and crust to a cookie sheet.
Preheat the oven to 400
Peel, core and very thinly slice 2 large apples
Toss with:
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/3 cup sliced, toasted almonds.
Spread out onto the prepared crust and cut and scatter 3 Tbsp butter over the top.
Bake 35-45 minutes, until things are looking golden brown.

to gild the lily, serve with whipped cream or ice cream

This outfit was my sister Caroline's at one point in history

And I finished a new hat! This one fits both Julia and I, and I wish I had meant to do that. 

1 comment:

  1. Cool pictures of the ice! And I'm happy for you and your box of produce :)