Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hopeless tomato addiction!

Yellow Pear. Expect them in their millions!
White Wonder. Almost white beefsteak with a really mild flavor. Even kids who don't like tomatoes will like these.

Striped German. Seems a lot like a Brandywine variant, but I liked the color and they are supposed to taste awesome.

Mr. Stripey. Another wierd looking tomato. They produce like crazy according to the description.

German Johnson. Questionable name aside, these are supposed to be prolific, and good for sauce.

Cherrokee Purple. Old Tennessee heirloom from, you guessed it, Tennessee Cherrokee indians.

Brasndywine Yellow. Amish heirloom that can grow up to 3 pounds. Dream big says I.

Brandywine (Sudduth's strain). This is considered one of the oldest strains of a true american heirloom. It is what tomatoes should taste like.
Black Prince. Russian's seem to introduce a lot of black tomatoes, and this is one of the oldest. Red wine is mentioned in the flavor description. I can't freakin' wait!

Black Krim. Another russian black, more prolific, and make a great sauce.Aunt Ruby's German Green. Just wanted to try a green tomato. They are supposed to be very mild, should go great in salsa with tomatillos.

I admit it! I am a tomato addict! Here are a few of the varieties we are trying this year. I go to a nursery for something totally NOT related to tomatoes, and come home with a new one. Hopefully they turn out as well as the pictures that I stole from various seed websites. I highly recommend Victory Seed Savers, and for those who are likewise obsessed. Here's to a successful garden season!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Everyone once in a while, I am struck by the reality that everything my child knows must be spoon fed to him. He picks up bits of information from casual contact with friends, strangers, books, and TV. For the most part, though--the information gained has come from his parents. Last fall, I realized I had yet to teach him all the parts of a room. He knew about the walls, the doors, closets, and floors, but I had underlooked the ceiling. So we took 5 minutes to learn about it.

As we're heading into summer, we're spending a lot of time outdoors, which is teeming with insect life (especially in this wet and rural climate). One day, we came across a pile of sugar ants and Jackson proudly shouted, "Bee!". Several of Jack's books feature bees, and I make a big deal of it with buzzing sounds and tickling. Somehow, we haven't read about any other insects worth getting excited about. We do have a book about bugs that Jackson likes, but they are personified and busy building a house. They don't really relate to the critters we find outside.

So, we crouched down to talk about the ants. Now when a carpenter ant finds its way inside, Jackson is on the seen "Ant! Stomp!" (Still working on context, stomp ants inside and leave them be outside.) When we go for walks, we pass through swarms of gnats. The first time, Jackson shouted "Bee!" So we spent some time talking about the flies. Look a few posts back and y0u can see the hilarity that ensues when there are flies inside.

When we come across the insect life, I describe each one in a specific way. Now Jack knows about the ants, flies, spiders, butterflies, ladybugs, and caterpillars. It's occurred to me that my specificity is great, but it still leaves a little knowledge gap. I haven't found a way to work the word "bug" into Jack's developing vocabulary. I don't even know how to approach it. For the most part, I use the specific word for the type of insect I meet (unless there's a particularly annoying swarm, and then the word "bug" is accompanied by a few expletives I'd rather not draw attention to with my toddler). When I find an opportunity to teach the word, I expect it to be in the context of true bugs, and even then I'll probably be specific "box elder bug" or "stink bug". Should I be reassured that eventually my boy will attend preschool or kindergarten and quickly be schooled by his peers on the generic term for all tiny, mostly flighted creatures. Or should I take the responsibility to teach him more seriously and make sure he knows his preschool pop culture to prevent any playground embarrassments?

Friday, May 22, 2009

New Phrases

"Uht's up, Daad? Uht do-i"

That's, "What's up, Dad. What are you doing?"

Sounds like random syllables, but when you have the secret decoder, its very endearing.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The REAL cure-all.

I have discovered a cure for all the misery and woe in the world. Baby laughter.

Now if I can figure out how to get it into bottles for sale!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Garden update....

We have been pretty active in the yard this year, and the garden is coming along nicely.

Lots of seedlings.

Peas are up and about a foot tall. Still waiting for flowers.

After several years, asparagus is producing. Sheree is thrilled.

We bought Llama manure for the garden. It came with millions of redworms!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sweet Dreams -- Let the Wild Rumpus Begin.

I think this is the new series. Like Ethan and Kate in their stroller, I'll be doing Jackson asleep in the Rocker. Look closely, you'll see that "Where the Wild Things Are" is now on our regular reading rotation.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


"It's not easy being a mother. If it were, fathers would do it."

Staying up late to blog about mothers. I am suprised how easily every woman I know who is a mother, makes it look like she has some kind of college degree in mothering. I will keep it short, every last one of you are amazing! I am so lucky to have Sheree for my wife, and thankful for my own mother who put up with so much from us boys. I'm thankful for grandmothers who showed us kids what kindness was. I love you all!

"All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother" -Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Jackson is trying out his new art wall.
Kickin' back in the carseat.
Sweet repose. I took him out for a walk hoping he'd crash.
The 24 hour fascination with the new potty. Jackson took it to bed with him. We had to take it away though, he was too distracted opening and closing the compartments.

Boots--check, Hat--check, pirate shirt--check.

25 things...

A few weeks ago, I was thinking about those about me lists that circulate periodically. I had the idea that "25 things rattling around in the bottom of my bag would be more interesting than "25 things I wrote prose on as a 9 year old". I'd been planning to document the removal of 15 lbs of coin and rubbish from my purse. Then I went ahead and cleaned it out to find a Dr's appt card--opportunity missed.

A new opportunity has arisen. I offer you "25 things rattling around in the bottom of Jackson's bag".

1-cardboard center from the paper towels. We call it a "Doot-do-dooo" since that's what we shout into one end.
2-plastic jar repurposed to hold 3-4.
3-the velcro wooden food and
4-wooden knife. A gift from Nana for Jackson to chop. Current fruit pairs are lemon-lemon, pear top-orange bottom, orange top-mushroom stem, mushroom top-lime bottom.
5-gift bag from Beth & AJ. holding items 6-8
6-sand toys sans pail
7-scented jar candle. holds item 8
9-black CD case. contains item 10.
10-red and black child sized sunglasses.
11-three gum containers. Opens 3 ways. (Jess, Jackson was thrilled when I brought these home!)
12-two more sand tools. funnel on a stick and corner castle mold
14-cup without the sippy top
15-two pens
16-large plastic egg. holding smaller plastic egg.
17-lego 1/2 arch
18-clear plastic bra strap
19-another penny
20-post-it pad
22-three more legos

And removed from the bag before this post:

23-two child's plates. One containing 24
24-a fried egg, cut into bite sized pieces
25-tiny green Vera Bradley bag. (Jack wore this for days on his shoulder, packing it with odds and ends and calling it his "Purrr". He was even sleeping with it on his arm.)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hoy I Come!

I think I mentioned Jackson's love of the park. It's time we brought a little piece of it home. I need to get some lumber and build a frame, and I planned to buy a slide. After slide shopping a bit, I changed my mind. I can't bring myself to shell out $200-$500 for a piece of plastic. Instead I turned to my local freecyclers. I hope you all know about It's an online user group, actually hundreds of local groups, hosted by yahoo. You can send out 2 types of ads "wanted" and "offer". I placed the following: Wanted, slide. Offered, slate tile remnants (left over from doing our floors, and cluttering the space under the deck where we did the cutting), dishes. And I responded to a request for scrap metal (goodbye environmental hazard of a wood stove). It's a great way to exchange stuff, keeping it out of landfills, and get stuff you need, and like the name suggests, its all completely free!!
Overnight, I was offered a slide with 2 swings and a chin up bar, and a sidewinder slide with 2 swings and a climbing rope. More offers trickled in after that, but I didn't want to get greedy. Thursday, I brought home the first slide, when we got to the gifthouse, I told Jackson what we were doing there, and he started begging to get out of the car. I loaded in the slide and told him what it was. The whole way home, he pointed at it and said slide. When we got home, he followed closely as I got it out of the car and looked for a place to keep it while making plans for the structure. I propped it up on some bags of soil we have.

Here are a few other playground slides to demonstrate Jack's enthusiasm.