Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Bread Disaster

September 5, 2013 - The third day of school.
My daughter wakes up, kisses me good morning, (while I'm still in bed) and promptly heads off to the kitchen to prepare her lunch for school.  I can only assume she is in a rush to beat me to it as she has insisted, since we bought her new lunch bag, that she wants to be responsible for this task.
I really had no problem with her taking this on as long as she would allow me to scrutinize her choice of foods.  She had no problem with this, so it was on to learning how to slice bread. 
I'm very fussy about my bread.  I really can't stand it when someone messes up my nice, straight cut.  But, for the sake of my daughter's education in the kitchen, I will put my fussiness aside. 
Although she did a decent job of it on the two mornings I was supervising her, today, when she took the loaf on herself, it was a disaster.  Bread crumbs.  Dog food. 
I walked into the kitchen and she immediately started apologizing, insisting that she forgot how to go slowly.  I said, "KK, what a mess.  Here, slice 2 more pieces for Jared's lunch".  She was very excited to be put back in the saddle so quickly.  And I am rather impressed with myself for not using this incident to my obvious benefit, the taking back of my motherly duties.
So it continues, the very quick aging process of my daughter.  I'm sure I am handling this as most Mothers would, with both fear and excitement.  There are days I'm very proud and eager to teach her everything she is ready for.  At other times, I purposely hold back, thereby maintaining what defines my current role as a mother in this house.  Always, I am slowly redefining what it means to be her Mother. 
Two steps forward and one step back makes one step at a time.  I can handle that. 
Most of the time.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Mystery Plant

Taken on September 3, 2013
I was told when I bought this plant that it would never reach it's bloom stage in our climate.  Last year when I planted cardoon, it did get big, but no where near blooming.  This year, although it went into the garden later than last year, it  has shot up and produced these artichoke type blooms, which are as spiky and unfriendly as they look. 
This plant has been around since ancient times, but very few people I meet have ever heard of it.  It's always the first plant they notice in the yard, and we always go for a visit and I almost always make the mistake of telling them it's related to rhubarb.  But it is in the artichoke family, also known as an artichoke thistle. 
I think I've made the mistake, because when the plants are young, you can harvest and consume the spines , just like rhubarb.  I haven't tried this because I want the plant only as an interesting specimen.
I tried to grow my own plants from seed this past year, but was unsuccessful due to the problem that my cats loved to eat them.  Even after I moved them out to the greenhouse, they wouldn't recover. 
Maybe I will be able collect seed from these blooms and try again next year.  If I get enough of them going, I may even look into a recipe for those spines and give that a try. 
At the very least, I expect that these blooms will dry nicely and work well in a dried arrangement or a bowl filler.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First Day Of School

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Doesn't everyone look happy on the morning of the first day of school?  Look at the faces in this photo.  Even the dog looks depressed.
I must admit to experiencing mixed feelings.  I was looking forward to the peace and quiet of the day.  Todd had left in the morning for his week away, and the kids were off to school.  So I had no one to distract me as I went about the typical day of a housewife.  Weeding the garden, laundry, etc.  But as I was going through these mundane chores, I had a rather uncomfortable feeling come over me.  With my family being scattered, although it was peaceful, I no longer had the safe feeling that comes with us all being under one roof.
I pondered this thought throughout my day, and even ventured out into the future to imagine what it will be like when the kidlets leave home, and go God-knows-where in the world.  There are too many unknown factors, of course, to get an accurate picture of this future, and so feelings about it are unattainable.  I've heard very different stories from people who are going through the empty nest syndrome.  Some seem to find a renewed sense of wonder in their lives.  Others seem so depressed, that they would do anything to have their children home again.   I think most are somewhere in between. 
I imagine myself travelling the world when my kids leave home.  I dream of Scotland, Italy and Greece (in that order), but once again, who's to say?  I've seen what life can do to "plans".
I guess this has to be one of those "let go" moments, and just do whatever seems to come naturally as the time passes.  Today it is the chores of a large yard and garden in the fall, combined with housework and breaks of reading, writing and maybe one of many hobbies will get a little of my attention at some point.