Today, we brought down the kids’ table from their bedroom along with two kid sized chairs. Last week, we ordered two nice pitchers for holding milk in the fridge over night. Before bedtime, the kids practiced pouring water from these pitchers, and before the adults go to bed we will set up cereal and everything else. This is a great experiment to see if we can get the kids to be more independent in the morning. Independence and strong self image are all well and good, but a bit more sleep in the morning might be just as important.
Category Archives: Food
We finished putting together the new, triangular raised bed. First we marked around the bed to see where we had to dig. Last time, we just put the bed on top of the ground, and everything that was growing there just pushed right up through the foot of soil to compete with what we tried to grow. This time, we scraped off the top layer of soil, grass, and weeds to hopefully cut back on this. After filling three old recycle bins of soil, we had a triangular hole in the ground into which we placed the bed frame. The next part, I did while the kids blew bubbles and played with chalk. I
moved the compost from our two composters into the frame. It was a stinky job as some of it had not fully broken down. I then dumped some bags of topsoil on and we all worked on spreading it around over the compost. That was enough for one day, so we covered the frame with deer netting to keep off the squirrels and other animals that like to dig in the dirt.
The next day, we worked on creating the poles that will hold up the netting and allow us to access the garden while keeping varmints out. My daughter helped cut the PVC pipes to length, but I did the gluing up. That glue and primer are pretty toxic stuff. We then all worked on measuring, cutting, and attaching the netting to the frame structure, and by the end of the day, we had a new bed ready for our lettuce when it gets big enough to plant outside. We also planted my daughter’s bean plant that she started at school.
Today was a mid-Spring day. Unfortunately, we really didn’t get much of early Spring in Boston. I am afraid my peas, carrots, and beets will suffer for that, but luckily we don’t plan on subsisting on the produce from our garden. Today, the kids and I went out into the short-sleeves heat and “worked” in the garden. For my daughter, this consisted of drawing our family on the sidewalk in chalk and then joining in occasionally to help as I got the raised bed ready for planting. My son engaged in picking up sticks, so I gave him a yard waste bag to put them in. That will help when I go to mow the lawn. The kids carried the PVC poles for the raised bed and set them in their holes, and then I got to work attaching netting to the poles. Last year, I did this for the first time, and our garden was able to grow unmolested by bunnies. The mechanism I created for lifting the netting, however, was very cumbersome. This year, I attached a piece across the top and then hung four pieces down the sides. The bottoms of these pieces are attached to PVC pipes that fit on screws along the outside top of the raised bed. Last year, I just had one piece that wrapped around the whole structure, so to open one side, three adjacent sides had to be loosened. This year, I am just joining the mesh together by clamping it on the pole with inexpensive hand clamps. I am excited to see if this makes access to the garden much easier for humans but still impossible for cottontails and other varmints. The kids helped me plant three rows of peas, one of beats, and two of carrots.
Next, we will build one more raised bed to use up the compost in our bins. Our city has just begun a pilot compost program which is great. I was running out of space to put the compost once it had finished composting!
(This is my 750th post!)
Saturday was an adventure day. My wife needed the head space to get some work done, so I took the kids out in the late morning. The rain quickly turned to a mix of rain and snow as we walked to catch the bus. At our local hardware store, I finally got a wheeled shopping back, and it was immediately wonderful. The days of being able to stick everything under the stroller are gone, but the need to transport stuff hasn’t. Thus with two walking kids, the wheeled bag is a great invention. We chose a bright orange one.
We then hopped on the T and headed downtown. After a short leg on a second train, we made our way to Faneuil Hall to have lunch. The place was packed, but we managed to score a table quickly and munched down our homemade meal while thick snow fell and accumulated on the trees and rooves. Already, I had taken my potty-training son to the bathroom two times with no results, and I was getting a bit nervous about the next leg of the journey. We tried again after lunch with no better luck.
We walked to Haymarket which is an open air produce market open on Fridays and Saturdays. The vendors buy up close-to-expiration goods from the warehouses before their new deliveries come in. They then turn around and sell mounds of produce for well less than half the cost of a supermarket. We loaded up our new rolling cart with veggies, fruit, and even a nice piece of fish. It was really fun darting through the gaps between tents where small snow swirls formed.
The train ride home was fine with my son trying to nod off. Finally we made it to the T stop where I knew he would need to take a break, but there was a homeless man sleeping in the stall. We tried to make it above ground to a store nearby, but he finally let loose his bladder on the escalator. We then had a quick changing session in the Au Bon Pain nearby before heading home. I hadn’t brought socks, so he walked home with bare feet in his rain boots. That was not comfortable.
One of our former nannies stopped in today to give the kids a Chanukah present and to just spend some time with them. The present ended up being training chopsticks which we used tonight. We made some rice and pan fried some salmon. Hey presto, training chopstick meal. It was pretty amazing how much food got in their mouths using these devices, but I wonder how effective they are at actually transitioning to real chopsticks from them.
We hadn’t been to Haymarket for a while, so I decided that since my wife was heading out on Saturday for a day of work that the kids and I would head downtown to pick up some produce. Haymarket is not a farmers market; instead, the vendors pick up produce from the wholesalers just before the new shipments come in. They can then sell their wares at low prices, about half of grocery store prices, to the people who crowd the lanes between stalls. Today, the air was crisp and cold which made the kids want to go home sooner, but it also kept the produce fresher. We returned home with raspberries, a box of clementines, mangoes, bananas, apples, sugarsnap peas, snow peas, persimmons, a pineapple, and two large pieces of fish. My son had three mangoes in his backpack, my daughter carried the raspberries and peas, and I carried the rest. I think we may have to invest in a rolling cart if we make a habit of this. However, the total cost of the trip was $26, so investing in a cart to do this more regularly is probably good money spent.
It seems that all of my work has paid off. My daughter, for one of her in-school assignments, wrote that our family likes to go into the garden. Her illustrations shows the tomato plants and the wildflower bed and, of course, her. I love the literacy, and I love having provided this experience from which to draw the literacy.