I don’t start seeds indoors because in years of trying, I don’t think I’ve ever had one seedling result in a happy, robust, outdoor plant . It’s not a talent of mine and I’ve made peace with that. I sow directly outdoors when it warms up and fill in with plants from a nursery when I need to.
But Tea’s class did a winter sowing project with their 4th/5th grade buddies a couple of weeks ago. Pea and I were there to help out, and Pea was disappointed he didn’t get a chance to plant any seeds of his own.
So I hadn’t intended to do anything garden-related for, well, about 3 months (kidding? I hope?), but I can get behind the idea of starting seeds outdoors. I’m a tough love gardener – give me something I can throw outside and ignore any day. I had a big bag of soil in the garage, Kyle’s co-workers brought him empty milk cartons, and I have a stash of old seeds. No big deal if nothing grows. But who knows? Maybe it will!
Pea was a great helper and we made short work of planting 10 different varieties. Peppers and tomatoes were probably pie-in-the-sky but maybe the squash, beans, or sunflowers will take off. It was really hard to choose what to plant , so I think we’ll save the next few empty milk jugs and add to our collection.
I have to admit, it was a little exciting to put the mini greenhouses in the new garden. Now if we could just get a fence and a lot less snow, we’d be in business.
A fundraiser for Tea’s school includes a silent auction of themed baskets at the school carnival. His class’ theme is art supplies, and yesterday, several weeks late, I looked online at the list of things left to sign-up to donate. Contributions are due soon but I’m all about the last-minute. I saw “stamps” on the list and it reminded me of my brief but intense foray into stamp carving a few years ago. I’ve never made anything beyond the 12 animals of the Thai zodiac, but I had some carving medium left.
My previous project had been so complicated, each stamp took about 2 hours to complete. These were lightening quick by comparison. In about 7 hours I had a complete set of 10 carved, and that time included researching and sketching ideas, eating dinner, and possibly interacting with my children. Or not. I don’t really remember. I think I went into the Craft Zone. Sorry, Kyle.
It was really fun to carve again. I think I’ll order more carving medium because I ended up liking the set I made so much, I am loathe to part with them even for a good cause. I took a page from the boys’ playbook and rummaged through the recycling bin for packaging. This herb container was perfect. The boys want us to buy the basket that has the stamps, and are a little confused about the concept of a silent auction. Whoever wins, I hope their new owner has fun stamping away.
Tea’s school doesn’t exchange valentines, so it was just Pea making them to give to classmates this year. We reprised the design Tea used in 4k because
I’m lazy they were cute, and puns are a big hit around our house as the boys learn more about language. But we simplified them so Pea only had to cut out half as many hearts, and everyone was happy. He loved the thumbprints and gluing the googly eyes. Obviously, we were still stuffing them in envelopes this morning, minutes before the bus arrived, because Procrastination.
While Tea isn’t taking a big batch to school today, he was secretly working on something that involved hearts and construction paper. In his excitement and since he can’t keep a secret, he’s tried to give us our valentines for 4 days in a row. We’re holding him off until after dinner. I made a couple for the boys, too, although they are just painful reminders that when genetic drawing talent was divided up, my sister got 100%. Yes, that’s how genetics works – I have a diploma so you can trust me.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say Kyle will be glad to have the kitchen table back.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all of my friends and family. May you be surrounded by those you love!
Remember when my little sister and her precious family moved to New Zealand for a planned 4-5 year stay? Yeah, that sucked. I was happy for her and all, but it’s been a year now (to the day?), and it’s haaaard to see pictures of my niece and nephew looking so grown up. I wish I could be there to soak up their awesomeness (and, you know, influence them in the sneaky ways that a good aunt who loves her sister should). I miss being around Meredith’s creativity, and my stomach really misses culinary adventures with Ewan.
Plans sometimes change, and Monday morning we learned that my brother-in-law matched with Purdue and will be finishing his vet residency there. Wooo-hoooooooo! The other possible institutions he could have matched with were mostly far away. Well, not as far as New Zealand, but not in the Midwest – Google claims I can be in West Lafayette in four hours and twenty minutes! This also means that she can be in Madison in four hours and twenty minutes. I should notify someone in the road-building department – we are going to wear those highways out.
I am suspicious that Meredith spent a year in NZ so I’d be thrilled instead of devastated about them living in Indiana. Because it’s all about me, obviously.
I am so looking forward to our kids making noise and messes with each other. A four hour drive is old hat for the boys, so Meredith, you’d better find a place with a guest room – we’re on our way!
Pea just alerted me to the squirrel’s vicinity to the tree with our freshly-hung bird snacks. I ran over to check it out, and the bastard* had already jumped up and removed an entire cookie for himself. (Knots tied with frozen fingers aren’t squirrel-proof?) He paused to sample a few bites and then took off running with it in his mouth. He disappeared under the fence with his prize and it was all over in 15 seconds. It took 7 hours before we lost the first one. Wagers on how long before the tree is bare?
The cookie he stole? The squirrel-shaped one. Honestly.
*Squirrels, especially Madison squirrels, and I have a history. We are not friends.
Pea and I made some “bird cookies”, as he calls them. That’s cookies for, not of, birds. He measured, mixed, and squished the lot into cookie cutters. We let them set, popped them out, and strung them with yarn so we could hang them for the bird to eat.
They seem to be holding together very firmly after the gelatin set. It’s so so very cold outside ( -12F this morning) that I kept the finished treats on a tray inside for 3 days hoping someone else would hang them for me. No dice. Then, groceries running low, they started to look almost appetizing. (Bring home more Girl Scout cookies, Kyle!) I had to get them out of the house lest I nibble one in desperation for something crunchy and sweet.
My fingers nearly cracked off when I removed my mittens to tie the treats to the tree. (How are birds still alive in Wisconsin right now? Are they supernatural?) Within moments of rushing back inside, the cardinals were eyeing them.
Had I realized how sticky this project was going to be, there isn’t a chance we’d have done it. OK, that’s an exaggeration. I’d have let Pea sit in the bathtub to make them. Naked. And then I’d hose him off before letting him back into the rest of the house. The finished product is great, but unpictured are the pieces of birdseed crusted to every surface Pea touched between the table and the sink. I know this should unqualify me for motherhood, but I hate sticky.
If you want to make some, too, I found the recipe here. I added an extra squirt of corn syrup and an extra packet of gelatin because I had a moment of panic when I was sure they’d never stay together. I probably didn’t have to. Mine are really hard. No evidence that the birds are actually going to eat them, but I’ll keep you posted.