Handwriting Practice

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Ernie is working in copying nursery rhymes out of her book to practice her handwriting. Yes, she writes her letters like a type writer, but that’s OK sometimes, right? Right now she’s working on this one:

A dillar
A dollar
A ten o’clock scholar
What makes you come so soon?
You used to come at ten o’clock
And now you come at noon

My sister and I memorized all sorts of nursery rhymes as kids, it makes me happy to see Ernie learning them now!

Spring Planting At Aunt Lolo’s

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We spent Memorial Day barking and planting at my sister’s house. One good thing about our cold, long Spring is the extra planting time!

First radish crop

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Well, they didn’t bolt like last year’s radishes….I hope the slugs enjoyed these French breakfast radishes!

Pao de Quiejo Two Ways

Here are two recipes I LOVE.  The first comes together in just a few minutes and is crazy good.  It’s like a thin batter.

The second takes much longer to prepare, and makes a sticky dough, but I think is slightly tastier.  (Super-crazy good?  Or just different texture?)   When I make the breads this way, I make a double or triple batch and flash freeze a bunch of dough balls for later- they bake up great from frozen!

If you haven’t tried pao de quiejo, it’s a Brazilian bread made from cassava/tapioca starch, eggs, oil, salt, and cheese.  They’re gluten-free, so they are my FAVORITE party trick when entertaining celiacs and others with gluten issues.  They’re best served warm, and will be stretchy and chewy.  The outside should be just barely browned.  I prefer to use all parmesan, but I’ve seen cheddar used as well- the cheese is basically the ONLY flavor here, so go for something you love!

Serious Eat’s easy pao de quiejo

Myrnie’s pao de quiejo

Cooking Day

It was settled in just a moment, and I found myself walking away from church having agreed to host a dinner for four families including our own.  YIKES!  18 people, including 8 kids…

I told the instigator that I would be making rice and beans- I guess that could be seen as a little snarky, given that most of the guests were from Brazil and Mexico.  Whoops.  Beans are what I’ve made for guests for YEARS- they’re tasty, filling, inexpensive to feed to a crowd, and can sit around forever waiting for guests to arrive with no ill effects.  No wonder they’re so popular around the world!)

bread, beans, and apple cake

Our final menu:

black bean chipotle chili with cilantro, rice, handmade corn tortillas from Trader Joe’s, a huge pork shoulder, Pao de queijo (see how smart I was to invite the Brazilian family?), sliced watermelon, and Grandma Susie’s Apple Cake.

Oh yes, and some of the guys descended on the kitchen after everything was over and ate half a loaf of bread.  It’s good, OK?

Excepting the rice, beans, and cake (and bread!), everything else was potlucked.  I am insanely blessed to attend church with the nice folks we see there every week!

The Soil Temperatures You Need for Seeds to Germinate

seed trays in the green house

Unless your dirt is the right temperature, your seeds will never germinate.  You can use a basic meat thermometer you don’t mind sacrificing to the cause (because once you stick it in the dirt, odds are pretty good you won’t want to stick it in your pork!)

The danger of planting seeds prematurely is that they will just sit and ROT before they ever sprout!  (Also, it seems to me the longer I have seeds sitting just below the soil, the longer rain has to wash them away and the longer the birds have to find them all.)

There are a couple things you can do to side step Mother Nature if she’s being a bit cold.

  • Start seeds indoors or in a greenhouse.  A heating mat is great for helping things along, I’ve heard.  I don’t own one yet….but I want!
  • Plant early spring crops in large pots- the dirt warms up faster
  • Use raised beds.  This is a good idea anyway, to help with drainage or to act as a quick fix for less than ideal soil.  Like the pots, the soil will warm up faster above ground
These temperatures were taken from heirloomseeds.com to give you an idea of what you need before your seeds will sprout, and how long it will take.  (They also sell soil thermometers there, for a pretty good price it seems, if you want something quicker and more suited to the task!)
VARIETY OPTIMUM SOIL TEMPERATURE FOR GERMINATION DAYS TO GERMINATE AT OPTIMUM SOIL TEMPERATURE
 Bean, lima  85 degrees F  7 to 10 days
 Bean, snap  75 to 80 degrees F  7 days
 Beet  75 degrees F  7 to 14 days
 Broccoli  65 to 75 degrees F  5 to 10 days
 Brussels sprout  68 to 75 degrees F  5 to 10 days
 Cabbage  68 to 75 degrees F  5 to 10 days
 Cantaloupe  80 to 85 degrees F  5 to 10 days
 Carrot  75 degrees F  12 to 15 days
 Cauliflower  65 to 75 degrees F  5 to 10 days
 Celery  70 to 75 degrees F  10 to 14 days
 Collard  70 to 75 degrees F  5 to 10 days
 Corn  75 to 85 degrees F  7-10 days
 Cucumber  70 to 85 degrees F  7 to 10 days
 Eggplant  75 to 85 degrees F  10 to 12 days
 Endive  70 to 75 degrees F  10 to 14 days
 Kale  70 to 75 degrees F  5 to 10 days
 Kohlrabi  70 to 75 degrees F  5 to 10 days
 Lettuce  65 to 70 degrees F  7 to 10 days
 Melon  80 to 85 degrees F  5 to 10 days
 Mustard Greens  70 degrees F  5 to 10 days
 Okra  80 to 85 degrees F 7 to 14 days
 Onion, bulbing  70 to 75 degrees F  10 to 14 days
 Onion, bunching  60 to 70 degrees F  10 to 14 days
 Parsnip 70 degrees F  14 to 21 days
 Pea  65 to 70 degrees F  7 to 14 days
 Pepper  78 to 85 degrees F  10 to 14 days
 Pumpkin  70 to 75 degrees F  7 to 10 days
 Radish  65 to 70 degrees F  5 to 7 days
 Rutabaga  65 to 70 degrees F  7 to 15 days
 Spinach  70 degrees F   7 to 14 days
 Spinach, New Zealand  75 degrees F  10 to 15 days
 Squash, Summer  75 to 85 degrees F  7 to 14 days
 Squash, Winter  75 to 80 degrees F  7 to 14 days
 Swiss Chard  70 to 75 degrees F  7 to 14 days
 Tomato  75 to 80 degrees F  7 to 14 days
 Turnip  65 to 70 degrees F  7 to 14 days
 Watermelon  75 to 85 degrees F  7 to 14 days

Breakfast Choices

vitamins

breakfast drinks

Old Vitamix

blender pancakes