Monday, November 3, 2008

Day of the Dead Visitor

This merlin (we thought he was a sharp-shinned hawk) came to visit us on the Day of the Dead. He showed up in our driveway with a broken wing Sunday night. Andy tried to call around to see if anyone would come pick him up but it was Sunday so Monday morning, after calling the zoo, Tracey Aviary, Hawkwatch, the Ogden Nature Center and animal control, we finally found someone with the Division of Wildlife Management to come and pick him up. We hope they find someone to fix his wing. Maybe he'll even come back and eat more sparrows.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nothing from a can except....

E is 7 months old and has four teeth. I really thought two teeth at five months was the sign of a good eater. I still have it at the forefront of my mind that four teeth at 7 months, despite all this physical evidence that says otherwise, is a sure sign of a good eater. No. Four tiny bites of anything probably does not mean "good eater."
When E was 6 months my frozen supply of pumped breastmilk that I had been guarding like gold was used up by my "good eater." On the days that I work now I don't pump enough to feed him all day the next day that I work. Andy has to resort to......formula. I hate even to think it. And I was so sure that by 7 months he would be eating enough solid food that he wouldn't need the......formula. I don't know why I am so against it! But it makes me sad to think that I alone cannot feed this little man. We have tried rice cereal (what a joke!), oatmeal cereal, pureed carrots, apples, pears, bananas, melon and sweet potatoes. He seemed a little interested in cut up pieces of banana the other day, but just gets mad when I try to get spoonfuls of anything into his mouth. He is a boob man all the way.
So I guess I can't say nothing from a can. But I am still going to try for nothing else! I am sure we will find some form of whole food that he will eat! In the meantime, I have put up peaches, grape juice, squash, melon, tomatoes, salsa, and dried cherries and apples. Hopefully he will find something in there that he likes.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

5 Months Old....and 2 New Teeth!

I usually try not to read into things too much....okay, I guess that's an outright lie. I probably read into things way too much. But shouldn't teeth at five months mean I have a good eater on my hands?
A keeps asking me, "Doesn't it hurt to breastfeed him now?" But I don't think he realizes when E sucks he sticks his tongue out so it is covering his teeth. He must notice it when he gives him a bottle but maybe not. I think it is why we haven't had much luck with the rice cereal yet. E just pushes it right back out at us, which is discouraging for solids but encouraging for breastfeeding. Hopefully he'll breastfeed for at least a year. We'll see. I was up with him every two hours last night. Not his usual routine but I'm guessing it doesn't feel too good to have two little sharp objects cutting through your gums. I think we'll put the rice cereal on hold for now. Besides, it comes from a box. I've searched for recipes that I can make myself but it is hard to get the iron that babies need when you make it yourself. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Manna from Heaven

Everyone is always asking me for bread recipes. I think this is for a few reasons: 1) People think baking bread is scary, and 2) No one has baked bread in so long there is no one to learn from. My mom made all our bread when I was very little but she stopped as I grew older but not before she taught me how to knead and how to appreciate a warm loaf of freshly bake bread. I just think there is nothing like it.
My favorite everyday, sandwich and toast bread recipe I got from Peter Reinhart. It is absolutely wonderful. The name says it all.

Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire
Make a soaker the night before of:
3 T cornmeal, millet, quinoa or amaranth
3 T oats, buckwheat or triticale flakes
2 T wheat bran
1/4 cup water
Stir together:
3 cups bread flour
3 T brown sugar
1.5 t salt
1 T yeast
3 T cooked brown rice
1.5 T honey
the soaker
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup water
Knead 10 min. You may have to add flour or water for consistency. I always end up with a sticky dough and have to add flour. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes. Remove dough and put into oiled loaf pan. Spray with oil and cover with plastic. Leave again for 90 minutes. Remove plastic and bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

My favorite French bread recipe came with my pizza stone. You dissolve 1 packet yeast in 1 cup warm water and dissolve 1 T. salt in 2 cups warm water. Pour all this into 6 cups bread flour and add enough flour to make a pliable dough. Knead 15 min. Let rise until doubled. Punch down and divide into two loaves. Spread cornmeal on a pizza peel. Leave dough to rise on the peel, again until doubled. Put pizza stone in a hot oven (500+) for 15 min. Reduce temp to 400 and cover stone with cornmeal. Slide loaves onto stone and bake for 25 min. or until hollow sounding when tapped. Gorgeous. If you take this to a dinner party wait to bake it until you get there. You will have everyone drooling.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Compost Happens...slowly

I never knew how little I knew about composting until two things happened this week: 1) I read something a friend had posted on her fridge that listed the nitrogen content in different things like bone marrow, horse manure, guano (by far the highest-who knew?); 2) I came across an article I wrote about 10 years ago when I worked for Citysearch (when they actually had an interesting website) about composting that was so full of b.s. the article smelled worse than my compost pile. Although I don't think I could ever go with the wild, wonderful world of vermiculture, I will try to keep up my slow, dry pile'o'compost.
I'm always amazed that things actually decompose in this dry climate. My compost piles right now are growing something. The plants look melonish or squashish. This means my compost piles are not hot enough to break down whatever seeds I have put in there. Phooey. How hard can composting be? You just throw in all the ingredients and let it bake for a really long time. I think my ingredients are too brown. I don't have any green material to put in because we have no grass. This is a hard political position to hold in my neighborhood. Everyone gives us grief about our brown front yard because we haven't been able to xeriscape it yet. My neighbor is constantly heckling us about not having grass, but I think it is such a waste of water. Maybe with a child to run around on the grass I will change my mind but I think grass is foolish in a desert. So you are either in the grass-loving-water-wasting camp or the bane-of-the-neighborhood-no-grass camp and everyone hates you for bring down the property value. Oh well, if I can't even compost I don't know how they expect me to take care of grass.

Monday, May 26, 2008

No more stuff!

I have to respond to my friend April's blog after something that happened to me at the drug store last night. I took my baby to grandma and grandpa's for a few hours but I forgot a nipple for his bottle. We went to the nearest open store (trying to find anything open on a Sunday in Utah county is difficult) and bought one bottle nipple. Well, the clerk tried to put it in a plastic grocery bag. I have such a hard time with this attitude! It's one little thing! I think I can hold it in my hand! I wish the whole world could adopt the attitude of trying to reduce, reuse and recycle. I even worry about recycling. I have no idea what happens to all my plastic and cardboard after I put it in the blue garbage can. I know that's ignorant of me but I haven't had time to check up on the county recyclers. I think reduce is the key. And starting with a reduction in packaging is very key. I know this is a mindset change for a lot of people (especially baggers in grocery & drug stores) but there is just no need for most of the packaging that is out there. It kills me when I go to the grocery store and see fruit and vegetable cut up into little pieces and put in plastic containers. Is it so hard to peel fruit? I don't understand why they do this.

My husband's cousin makes these great bags and I just love their website motto: maybe you need another reason to quit using plastic bags...

- plastic bags are ugly
- plastic bags kill turtles
- plastic bags make your butt look big

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What do May showers bring?

It's hard to grow tomatoes when the high is 52. But hopefully they will survive. It's hard to imagine how freaked out I would be if the survival of my family relied on my tomato, pepper, lettuce, spinach, carrot and melon plants making it through this cold snap. I'm worried enough as it is and I really don't have that big of an investment in these little plants right now. I finally got the beds built through excessive whining and ran out and bougt 12 plants right away. The seeds I planted are very experimental for me so we'll see what comes up. I thought I would be able to do all this on my own but it seems having a one month old around proved very difficult. He's really not into digging in the dirt...yet.

Being a new mom is quite an experience. I have accepted all the pains for the joys that follow, but there is one thing that I have really had a hard time with. I go back to work in less than two weeks and I just cannot get excited about pumping breastmilk for my child. I am very excited to feed him strained peas and carrots from my garden, but the thought of sitting in a tiny room at work alone with my pump just isn't doing it for me. I have a hard enough time right now when I have a little spare time here and there. I have a friend who keeps telling me I should be pumping like a crazy person. And I do try. I have at least a gallon in the freezer, but she says I should have three or four. This should be the most simple way to ensure my baby does not have to eat anything from a can while I have something to say about it yet I just cannot get into it. I have another friend who has been pumping so much she is donating her milk to a woman who had triplets. How do they do it? Why them and not me? I was looking at some of the ingredients in formula at the grocery store recently: corn syrup! Corn syrup is the first ingredient in almost every formula! Even the really fancy expensive ones! I can't feed my baby corn syrup! There has got to be a way for me to start to love pumping so I can keep up with the breastmilk as long as possible. Maybe it will be easier at work when I am missing him...but I doubt it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pregnancy is FUN!

This has been very hard to convince myself of. So many women tell me, "Oh, it's so great, isn't it?" I think they must have spent the entire nine months high or in a coma. I have about a week and a half left and I think I am only just getting used to being so exhausted all the time. And it's much worse now than it ever has been. For the first seven months I was a sleeping champion. I could get ten hours of sleep at night and still take a three hour nap. For the last two months I can't sleep no matter how empty my bladder is, no matter what position I'm in and no matter how tired I am. If I get two straight hours it's a miracle.

I guess I shouldn't complain; there really are some amazing things. This little man inside me moves around so much at times that I really think he's going to come out doing cartwheels. It's crazy to picture him in such a tight little space breathing fluid. It is fun to watch my husband talk to him and feel for him as he rolls around. It's fun to think about who he will be and how he will like us. We really can't wait to meet him. And I can't wait to breath again!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Baby Shower!

What a fun day! There are six of us at work who are all expecting right now. Three of us are due within a few weeks of each other and today we all got together for a shower. It was so great! I got a beautiful quilt from April (love ya honey!), tons of cute organic clothes, and Tracey went to the ends of the earth to get me a cloth diaper starter kit. Yeah! So now I have five different kinds of cloth diapers to choose from: Bummis, Fuzzi Buns, two other generic plastic wraps and lots of unbleached prefolds. Andy is skeptical but likes the looks of the Bummis best. I think the Fuzzi Buns will keep things in better and absorb more, but I think we'll just have to experiment before we order a whole bunch. Everyone was amazed I was willing to try cloth diapers and was curiously inspecting them. We'll see how it goes. My mom did it for three kids without any fuss and she is my hero so I have to try.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Lots of Imagination...

Somewhere under all that snow will be my garden. It's not much room, but for being a fairly urban neighborhood (my grocery store, library, post office and liquor store are all within a 5 minute walk, and I can take the bus to work without having to transfer 20 times) it will do. I'm not sure if I'm ready for chickens yet. Actually I think I would like a turkey before I get chickens. A turkey might make it over the fence, however.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Thinking about seedlings under 4 feet of snow

It just keeps snowing! I look out my back window and try to imagine a lush healthy vegetable garden where a blanket of white currently resides. I am shopping for seeds and trying to plan what will go where while the icicles hang long and menacing from all around our house. This will be my first garden to plant myself and I really had no idea how much imagination I would need.
I will be a new mother in one month. If everything goes according to plan I would like to feed this little guy nothing from a can. So the plan is, when the blanket of snow finally melts, I will plant tomatoes and squash and peas and carrots and broccoli and spinach under my apricot, peach and cherry trees. In seven or eight months, inshallah, when this guy is ready to start sampling the wonderful world of whole food, I will have some interesting and healthy things to start feeding him that I grew from my own blood, tears and sweat and that did not travel around the world to get to him. My hope is that he will not have to eat bananas that took more energy in fossil fuels to get to him than the calories they will provide for him.
I do not think this is a very lofty plan. My friends and family think I am a little crazy, but I am hoping it is doable. After all, here it is February and we have snow banks up to our shoulders yet I am still eating fresh apples that were grown within 100 miles of my house. If my tastebuds can make that stretch perhaps my imagination is capable of planning out a vegetable garden under a curtain of frost.