Tuesday, November 25, 2008

To Get or Not Get

Our latest argument with Caitlin seems to revolve around food.

No, not what she's eating, but what the twins are eating. Caitlin, you see, is watching what we give the twins very carefully. She was actually counting the number of grapes we were giving them yesterday, very concerned that they Not Get more than she.

This is a problem.

There are only so many ways you can gently say, "Cut it out." before you wind up yelling it. The thing is, the twins don't get more food than she does, ever. They will often get fed before she does since she eats all the same things that we do and we eat late since we're busy cooking and feeding twins. This seems to have led to a power imbalance in her mind. They appear to Get while she does Not Get.


The funny thing is that I remember very well being jealous and angry with my little brother and sister when they would eat off my mother's plate or take food that she was making for herself. Not that I was jealous of the food they were eating, but the fact that they were sitting in her lap taking up all of her attention and that there was none left for me. I was Not Getting attention. They were. I remember distinctly saying they could get their own plate of food, but they preferred to stay ensconced in my mother's lap.

So I understand that it's about a lot more than just the food the twins are eating. I do. However, there's nothing to be done about the fact that the twins are here and they're going to take up a lot of attention.

Perhaps one day she will see that she Gets, just as much as they do.

I'm still left wanting more time in my mother's lap, though.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wrestled to the floor

The twins just wanted to drop by and say "Hi!"

Hi! Hi! Hi! Hiiiiii!

And to check in on you.
How you doin'?! We havin' snacks. You like pancake? I like pancake!

Also, Logan thought you might still be worried about his eyes, since I didn't include a picture of them in the last post about said eyes.
Dey still blue. A little more grey wif da blue.

Emma wants you to know that she can make far more noises than just Roar!
Deedle! Deedle! Deedle!

She also has a really nice pant that she uses whenever she sees a picture of a dog in a book and today distinctly said "Duck" when looking at a blanket with a duck on it. Cool!

Today, the twins completely cracked me up by playing a game of Keep Away. Logan has almost perfected his ability to keep the toy/book/cup away from Emma's clutches, now that he can walk. I watched as he zigged, zagged, sat down abruptly, turned away and crawled off with a book she was trying to steal from him. The entire time it was happening, he was babbling away happily about the book and not making eye contact with Emma.

She kept doggedly following him around until she'd finally had enough, came up behind him, grabbed him around the neck and took him to the ground. The girl has some wrestlin' moves! Logan, to his credit, completely cracked up and started giggling while Emma rolled off of him and lunged for the book.

Then he cried.

Twins are far more entertaining than I'd ever suspected!

I guess we'll just have to keep them, then.

Friday, November 21, 2008

From Pumpkin to Pumpkin Butter

So you say you've got a decorative pumpkin left over from Halloween and you're not sure what to do with it? Well, assuming you left it whole and didn't carve it up, you can probably cook it! If you bought a pie pumpkin, or sugar pumpkin or one that was also good for eatin' and not just lookin', you're in luck! Yumminess is around the corner for you, so long as you're willing to do a little work first. If your pumpkin was a regular carving pumpkin that you just left whole or painted, it's probably too watery to be tasty. Ask your farmer when shopping whether the pumpkin you are getting is edible instead of just decorative.

Take this 12 lb Cinderella type pumpkin that we grew out on the farm: it's called 'Rouge Vif D'etampes' and I'm going to turn it into something yummy. Several somethings, actually. Twelve pounds is a lot of pumpkin!

First we need to cut it up.

Scrape out the innards (I like to use a grapefruit spoon.), reserving the seeds.

You can roast the seeds with salt or you can use them in another recipe.

Cut the pieces in half and lay them flat on a cookie sheet.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and roast those pumpkin slices until they are tender and a fork slides easily into the flesh; about 1 hour.

Scrape the flesh from the peel and compost the skins and innards.

Strain the cooked flesh in a sieve for a few hours to drain off the excess water.

You don't want your fresh pumpkin to be too watery or else anything else you make with it will also be watery. This is the amount of liquid I collected after 1 hour.

Puree the strained pumpkin flesh in a blender or food processor.

Now you're ready to cook!

Pumpkin Butter
From Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook, p. 482.
Makes about 3 3/4 cups.

One 29 oz can pumpkin puree (Or in our case, use 30 oz of fresh pumpkin puree. I hate how can sizes are shrinking, don't you?)
1 1/4 c firmly packed light browm sugar
1/2 c mild honey
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp cider vinegar
3/4 tsp apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice*
  1. Put all ingredients in slow cooker and stir with a spatula until well mixed. Don't worry about lumps of sugar, they'll melt during cooking. Scrape down the sides. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove the lid and let cook on high for an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour to reach the desired thickness. (Due to our elevation, I always add more time.)
  3. Turn off the cooker and let the pumpkin butter cool to room temperature in the crock. Scrape with spatula into glass jars. Store, covered, in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. Or transfer to plastic containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Sounds like a Christmas gift, doesn't it? Or something to bring to Thanksgiving dinner.

After all that work, from a 12 lb pumpkin, I made 103 oz of pumpkin puree.

Just over 6 lbs or about seven 15 oz cans worth of pumpkin puree (But no trash!). There were also 5.2 oz of seeds, which after washing and picking over came down to 1.7 oz of edible seeds and 3 1/3 cups of pumpkin "juice" from straining the squash.

Not sure what I can do with the juice yet. If I was Harry Potter I'd just sweeten it and drink it, but that sounds a bit odd to me. I may just water the compost with it.

Oh, and don't forget the sink full of dishes,

the pair of pumpkin cranberry breads,

and the pumpkin butter.

Which is what started this whole thing in the first place.

The metamorphosis of food is a fantastic thing, isn't it?

* Don't have any on hand? Make your own! Mix together and seal in an airtight spice jar:
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
I found the recipe here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Zombie Me

You know how you feel when you have to nurse someone at 12 midnight and then again at 3 am and then awaken to hysterical screaming by someone with a bloody nose who won't stay hydrated properly during the day at 5:30 am? You feel like a bloody zombie, that's what.

One of my favorite songs by No More Kings. This isn't their official video (couldn't find one), but it's pretty cute.

Then, when I have a few moments to myself, in my zombie state I sit around and read The Internet. I'm tired, I should go have a nap. Nope, let me just finish this article. Wait, one more email! Ooh, what about my favorite comics? Gotta have time for Lolcats! Next thing you know, the twins are awake again and it's back in the grinder for me.

When I snap out of my zombiefied state for a bit and have a shower, all of the thoughts I was avoiding come in to pummel me. Can I really do this farming thing? Where am I going to get start up money from? How am I supposed to learn about irrigation and crop rotation, succession planting and marketing without spending a lot of money learning it the hard way? I can't afford to work 12-16 hour days! I have 3 young children and a husband that expects to see me on a regular basis! Hell, I quit my last job working for The Man right before they outsourced 85% of my organization to India and I was "only" working 10 hour days then.

How do you know it's Opportunity knocking on your door and not A Really Bad Idea?

How are you supposed to recognize that This might just be IT! The Dream. The Job. The Career you've been wanting/waiting for?

How do you deal with the terror of the unknown and the sinking feeling that maybe this isn't such a good idea?

::Yeah, yeah, yeah, you love to grow plants. So the eff-ing what?! Who cares! Can you make a living at it? Will it take a pile of money to start up (Uhhh, yeah. Like $20-30K.)? Where are you gonna get that money from? A loan?! Based on what as collateral? Your house? You're going to bet your house on your ability to make plants grow?!::

Oh man!

But wait! What if I don't do this? What will I do instead? Slog along being a SAHM and take pretty pictures of my kids on occasion and wonder about What Could Have Been? Am I supposed to wait for that uncertain time in the far off future where all of the stars will align properly (Children grown up, lots of cash on hand, free time, plenty of sleep and energy and a good idea.) and then jump in and do Something Cool?

Right now I feel like I've got a Great Idea and a friend with lots of land and enthusiasm. I don't have money, or time, or childcare, or experience farming on a large scale. I have fear and uncertainty and a messy house; the ability to take a pretty picture, possibly write a little (I don't claim to be a Writer. What the hell do you do with semicolons, anyway?!), grow a few veggies and flowers and a passion for plants. And cooking. Oh and 3 kids, 2 cats, a husband and a yard that is never neat and tidy, yet has a lot of wild charm to it. Where's my cheerleader? Where's my Venture Capitalist with bags full of money?

How do you put your fears and skills together and make a business?

How do you grow up and make a job that you want to have?

How do you recognize that Knock on the door?

I don't have a peephole.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Farm School

In case you're wondering where I've been, I've been attending Farm School.

Betcha didn't know they had such a thing, did ya?

Well, since so many of the children of farmers split as soon as they could run off to the Big City, many farming families have come to an abrupt halt. There's no one left to farm the family farm. Or they couldn't afford it any more. Or the land was worth more to sell to developers than it was to grow vegetables.

Now, however, there's a new bunch of farmers cropping up (Hyuk! Huyk! Couldn't resist, sorry!) and they don't know how to farm, exactly. They were bitten by the planting bug: Must! Plant! Flowers!/Vegetables! but want to scale up and aren't sure how to do it. Colorado State University actually has classes on learning how to be a farmer and I'm taking them.

Ya know what? It ain't all about what to plant where, either. Instead, it's all about business planning and record keeping. There's a whole lot more business school stuff going on than farming stuff. Except that we get to chat about mice blowing up $7K irrigation pumps and how a cold spring pushed back everyone's planting dates and how you can lose tens of thousands of dollars in food to a whole host of horrible happenings like hail, too much rain, too little rain, insects, mice, raccoons, etc. I'm also learning that a good farmer has to know a whole helluva lotta stuff just to run their farm effectively. They need to know about plants, soil, weather patterns, insects, wildlife, irrigation, geography, marketing, business, management, finance, building, heavy equipment, zoning laws, water law, plant pathology, etc.

I'm really beginning to wonder if I have enough brain cells left to hack this work. I love it. I love growing things! I loved selling stuff at market and interacting with the public and chatting with people about plants and food and growing things, but I don't know if I have what it takes to be a farmer.

Strangely enough, I come from a long line of farmers and artists, on my father's side. So far, I've been a little of both.

The question remains, though: what do I want to be when I grow up?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dear Caitlin,

A billion years from now, when you have your own children, I really hope you call me up one day and tell me all about how your little ones pitched a fit at you about their ice cream not being perfectly to their taste.

Because on that day, I will listen to you empathetically and I will cackle madly and tell you that you've gotten exactly what you deserve.

Being Seven sucks, but not as much as raising Seven. Look out!

Love and frustration,


Thursday, November 13, 2008

When gaming and politics collide

Click to enlarge to enjoy all of its geeky goodness.

This will probably only be funny to you if you play World of Warcraft. I loved it!

Time and its lack

Have you ever noticed how no matter that everyone has exactly the same number of hours in their day, somehow you never have enough?

That somehow two babies can conspire to fill up every single moment of your day with their needs, even though their needs are relatively small. Yet, somehow, we're always in an endless cycle of feed, clean, play, sleep.

To give you an idea, here's a typical day:

Wake, nurse, feed breakfast, put down for first nap, eat breakfast, spend an hour cleaning up the disaster zone they leave behind, sit down to catch up on emails for 5 to 15 minutes and pow! The twins are awake again. You can leave them to play with each other in their cribs if they continue making happy sounds. As soon as the sounds turn to cries, it's time to pull them out, possibly nurse them, feed them lunch, put them down to play for awhile, each lunch yourself, start cleaning, put them down for naps when they get cranky, finish cleaning and sit down for a minute or try to work on your own projects for a moment - but wait! Now it's time to get Caitlin from school.

Repeat the first cycle after picking Caitlin up and then it's dinner time. It's only after dinner that we have any time to ourselves.

Earlier today I skipped out on clean up and went to go play with my compost. I sifted a huge pile of it yesterday and spent about an hour today with Eric shifting the current pile into the middle bin to start it heating up again. There was a good article on how to build your own 3 bin composter in the November issue of Organic Gardening (Thanks Janet!). So if you don't have one, but were thinking about getting or making one, I'd recommend a 3 bin (BTW, they didn't pay me or anything, I just like OG and love composting.). You would be amazed how much we keep out of our trash stream by composting everything we can and almost all of our yard waste. I toss the seed filled weeds and bindweed, as a general rule.

After sifting about 160 lbs of finished compost, I had the best feeling of accomplishment. It's so hard to get anything that takes longer than a few minutes together done that I really enjoy beginning and ending a task in the same day.

Maybe tomorrow I can rake a few leaves or start cleaning up the front yard.

Dream big, Hatchet! Dream big!

How do you get anything done?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

All's well that ends well

While sometimes no news may be good news, sometimes you really want the answer to be: "Everything looks just fine!"

Especially when the "everything" in question are your son's eyes.


A few weeks back, when we took Caitlin in to get checked out for her glasses, the doc asked to have a peek at the twins' eyes, "just to see". I took Emma in and she was pronounced fit as a fiddle and cute to boot and then I took Logan in. He took longer because he was feeling squirmy and a little nervous about the bright light being shined in his eyes by this strange new person. She made hmmm-ing noises and took longer to finish checking him out.

My tension mounted.

Then she said the words that make your hair stand on end as a parent: "It may be nothing, but I'd like to see him again in 6 weeks."

Whaaa? What for? "Well...it may be nothing, but it might be the beginnings of lazy eye or in the worst case scenario, it might be eye cancer. It's extremely rare. It probably isn't but...."

Eye cancer?!

She had my full and complete attention, but the exam was over. I was bade to "not worry" and come back again. Ay yi yi! So I've spent the last 6 weeks trying not to think about it. Today we went back in for a quick re-check.

He's fine. He's perfect. He's darling and charming and his eyes are lovely.

Emma's, too.

Oh, but they might have a slight astigmatism, but that is probably just the fault of these fantastic genes they've inherited. We make 'em cute as buttons, but potentially blind as bats.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Little Readers

I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but somewhere in the last couple of weeks Emma has discovered that books aren't just for gnawing on anymore.

Instead, if you take that same board book over to mom or dad, they'll make those mouth noises that can be so much fun. Sometimes there's barking, or singing or rhyming words. You never know! Each time you grab another book and drop it on the head or lap of the correct parent, words come out! Often times, there are snuggles, unless you feel the need to go grab another book mid-reading. Or poke your brother. A girl's gotta have priorities.

Does anyone else have a hard time not being allowed to finish a book? I find that my reading suddenly speeds up and I will attempt to finish the book from memory if the book is snatched away.

Babies! No respect for plot development!

Eric pointed out one difference between the twins: Emma will bring you book after book to read to her, while Logan will pick up a book and flip through the pages. OK, so sometimes the book will be upside-down, but he's "reading" to himself, while Emma has others read to her. Caitlin was exactly like Emma, actually. She loved to be read to and she was never happier than when she was curled up in your lap, her two middle fingers stuck in her mouth, listening as you read Goodnight Moon* or Pajama Time! or Hippos Go Berserk to her One. More. Time.

It's amazing just how fast all of the words come back to you, too. Now that we're reading them to the twins, on fast forward and constant repeat, I'm amazed that there's room in my brain for anything other than children's books. Good thing I like Sandra Boynton so much.

Oh, another cool change is the sign language. Emma is on top of the sign for "more". She's not specific yet as to what she'd like more of, but we figure it out through the process of elimination. If the grunting, screaming and "more"-ing stops, we've found the right thing. Logan has learned the sign for "eat". Somehow, this wasn't a surprise that he would pick up on that sign first. The both sort of occasionally will sign for milk, but are just as happy to grab my shirt and try to disrobe me.

No patience. No subtlety.

Emma is crawling up stairs like a champ now, while Logan sits at the bottom step and squeals at her. He's just not interested in even trying. Lazy!

Both babies love having baths in the big tub together. Now they can splash at one another, squeal and flail around with no waiting! Their biggest complaint about being washed in the kitchen sink was that one of them always had to wait while the other was having all of the fun. Now, they both go in at the same time but they go out separately. After I've washed them and let them play, whomever is ready to get out first gets handed off to daddy for the drying/lotion/diaper/PJ cycle. Then there's the running around their room in footed PJs, squealing, and flinging books at our heads for reading.

Then, finally, sleep. Whew!

* Ever notice how almost all children's books end with a plea to go to sleep? We're trying to raise a nation of narcoleptic readers, aren't we?!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

As American as Apple Pie

I warned you.

You probably didn't think I'd go big though, did you? But I did!

I made a beautiful, fragrant and deeeee-licious apple pie with my bounty of apples.

I had the first slice all to myself...with a little vanilla ice cream, of course.

One thing I noticed: the amount of apples the recipe calls for gave me too many to fit into the pie plate without them cascading down the sides in a waterfall of appley goodness. Apple slices going Splat! onto the floor wasn't my idea of a good time, so I corralled the extras and turned them into a mini galette using the pastry left over from the trimmings.

Two desserts for the price of one! Woo!

After years of struggling with pie pastry and failing, I thought it was beyond me. I over-rolled and over-floured. Possibly under-rolled or over-wetted. Who knows! I just know that my crust was never flaky. The one time where I wanted to be flaky! But no! Thwarted by a decided lack in the crust making department, I had resigned myself to cakes, cookies and scones.

However, all of that changed after Eric got me The Book. The big book of OMG! Ponieeez! Cookbook. This sucker is huge, comprehensive and totally written for cooking geeks, a group to which I proudly claim membership. Finally, a recipe for crust that I can make that turns out flaky and tender and yummy. Ahhh!

I am compelled to share this with you, because I care. I care about your pies.

Basic Pie Dough
From The Best New Recipe cookbook, p881.
Makes 1 double crust 9" pie.

2 1/2 c AP flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 c vegetable shortening, chilled
12 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" pieces
6-8 tbsp ice water
  1. Process flour, salt and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add shortening and process until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, ~10 sec. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture, process until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 1-sec pulses. Turn mixture into medium-large bowl.
  2. Sprinkle 6 tbsp ice water over mixture. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix. Press down on the dough with the broad side of the spatula until the dough sticks together, adding up to 2 tbsp more ice water if the dough will not come together (In Colorado, where it is ridiculously dry, this addition is pretty much guaranteed.). Divide the dough into 2 balls and flatten each into a 4" disk. Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 2 days before rolling.
As my friend Sara would say, "Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!"

The hard part is rolling it out and not over-rolling it. That seemed to be controlled by rolling it in small increments, following the curve instead of rolling from the middle outwards (Like an asterisk.); roll it like the sweep hand of a clock, stopping to rotate the dough as needed. Works like magic! It definitely helps to have a bench scraper on hand to help you scrape that puppy off of your surface and also ensures you don't have to add a ton of extra flour to your board. (Mine is rather like this one. I bought it after I took a Pastry Techniques class at the local cooking school. I kid you not, that was a great class to take! Now, of course, I have a ridiculous amount of baking gear, but I am always prepared! Prepared to make pies and tarts and layer cakes and....)

Moving on!

(Obsess a little much on the baking, do we? Yes, yes we do. Wonder why we're talking in third person, do we? Yes, we do indeed!)

Now you need to know what do to with the crust you just made, don't you? Try this. you won't regret it. Nuh-uh! You won't!

Classic Apple Pie
Same book, p 887.

2 tbsp AP flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
3 large Granny Smith apples (about 1 1/2 lbs)
4 large McIntosh apples (about 2 lbs)
1 tbsp juice and 1 tsp grated zest from 1 lemon
3/4 c plus 1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg white, beaten lightly
  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on it, and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Remove 1 piece of dough from refrigerator (if chill for longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temp until malleable).
  2. Roll the dough on a lightly floured work surface (They make that part sound so fast and easy, don't they?). Transfer dough to a 9" pie plate by rolling the dough around the rolling pin and unrolling it over the pan. Ease the dough into the pan corners by gently lifting the edge of the dough with one hand while pressing it into the pan bottom with the other hand. Leave the overhang in place. Refrigerate the dough-lined pie plate.
  3. Peel, core, and quarter the apples (I like to peel the apple in one loooong continuous spiral and then use one of those apple slicers that cuts and cores the apple at one time. Kinda like this. I give myself major points if I can peel the whole apple without the peel breaking midway. I get all crazy with the baking, don't I?); cut the quarters into 1/4" slices and toss with lemon juice and zest in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, mix the 3/4 c sugar, the flour, spices, and salt. Toss the dry ingredients with the apples. Turn the fruit mixture, including any juices, into the chilled pie shell and mount it in the center.
  4. Roll out the second piece of dough to a 12" circle; place it over the filling. Trim the edges of the top and bottom dough layers to 1/2" beyond the pan lip. Tuck this rim of dough underneath itself so that the folded edge is flush with the pan lip. Flute the edge or press with fork tines to seal. Cut 4 slits in the dough top. If the dough is very soft, place the pie in the freezer for 10 minutes. Brush the top crust with egg white and sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp of sugar. (I like to use Turbinado sugar because I like the extra crunch you get from a chunkier sugar crystal.)
  5. Place the pie on the baking sheet and lower the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Bake until the top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Rotate the pie front to back and reduce the temp to 375 degrees; continue baking until the juices bubble and the crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes longer.
  6. Transfer the pie to a wire rack; cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. (Of course I didn't wait 4 hours before eating it! Are you kidding! I waited long enough that my tongue wouldn't be horribly burned by molten apple.)

And the pie? The pie is delicious!

The perfect time for apple pie is clearly after a historic election and when you have a plethora of ripe apples. Or whenever you feel like it. No election required. Frankly, I'm waiting for us to finish this pie off and then I'm going to try out their recipe for Dutch Apple Pie because I'm a manic!

Actually, I have very fond memories of eating Dutch apple pie in The City, in NY, when I was a kid. We'd go into Manhattan to our dentist and after some time of running around, screaming, locking ourselves in the closest, protesting at top volume and finally getting captured, drilled and filled, mom would take us to Chock Full o' Nuts afterwards.

Anyone remember that diner? Anyone?

The coffee house diner! Come on, they had a jingle and everything! OMG! I did a search and apparently they still exist! Here's a link to their history page with the jingle playing! (And now a childhood mystery is solved! I always wondered why the coffee house was called that!)

The place was always hoppin', with waitresses in the traditional, I kid you not, waitress outfits with little white aprons and comfortable shoes. There were business people there at all hours, eating, smoking, drinking coffee and reading the NY Times or the Post or the Daily News. We'd traipse in there with numb and aching jaws and eyes swollen from fruitless terrified crying.

Sorry mom! (I still hate going to the dentist, although they're a lot gentler these days: now they swab your gum down before attacking you with a giant needle full of drool-inducing anesthetic.)

At the diner I'd always order a hot chocolate with whipped cream and Dutch apple pie. Since mom always made the double crust variety, this was a special treat. I loved that pie! It also helped to soothe my aching jaw and frazzled nerves. I tried not to drool streusel everywhere while I ate it and the taste of it obliterated the weird metallic taste left over by the new fillings. Now that I think on it, that's a lot of sugar! No wonder I had a mouth full of fillings!

Mmmm! Wonder what's in those 30 year old fillings? Eek!

How about you? Do you have any fond memories of pies past? Share!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008





Election day, 2008.

Historic! Ground breaking! Change!


You know what? All of that may be true. Years from now you may be asked "Where were YOU...?" But what it all boils down to is this: you have one vote. You get to exercise it every two years. In presidential elections, only every 4 years.


It does matter. It always has. It always will.

You have more power than you think. All of those local ballot issues make a difference in your personal life: you should pay attention to those, too. They may not get all of the big press that the Big Dogs get, but they are important.

So even if you think I'm only one vote. and that you can't possibly change your red/blue state, keep in mind that local issues sometimes pass or fail by a few dozen votes.

Make yours one of those votes.

What are you waiting for? Get out there and vote!

If your state has early voting and you already have voted? Good on you! Now go poke your friends and family and make sure they've voted! [Whip crack!]

Previous election year rants.

Useful information:

Election 2008 Voting Information

Today, November 4th, is Election Day! Remember to vote—not just for Barack Obama, but for Senate candidate Mark Udall, and other Congressional, state, and local candidates as well.

Where and when do I vote?

Find your polling place, voting times, and other important information by checking out these sites and the hotline below. These resources are good, but not perfect. To be doubly sure, you can also contact your local elections office.

What should I do before I go?

  • After you've entered your address on either Vote For Change or Vote411, read the voting instructions and special rules for your state.
  • Voting ID laws vary from state to state, but if you have ID, bring it.
  • Check out all the voting myths and misinformation to look out for: http://truth.voteforchange.com/

What if something goes wrong?

  • Not on the voter list? Make sure you're at the right polling place, then demand a provisional ballot.
  • If you're voting on an electronic machine with a paper record, verify that the record is accurate.
  • Need legal help? Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
  • If you encounter a problem, try to videotape the situation and submit it to VideoTheVote.org

Monday, November 03, 2008

One potato, two potato, three potato, four!

I planted three potatoes.

Well, actually, I planted a few more than that, but they were overwhelmed by the Squash Jungle and didn't get enough sunlight to set tubers properly. So, for all intents and purposes, I planted three potatoes.

I dug 3.75 pounds of them out of the ground yesterday.
La Ratte fingerling, German Butterball and All Blue potatoes

While it may be true that that isn't a whole lot of potatoes, you have to keep in mind that this was my very first time planting them and that anything more than three was a success in my book.

No one told me they'd be so pretty, either!
All Blue is actually all purple.

Tasty, too.

I think I'm going to have to plant more of them next year. In pots. In full sunlight. Well away from the raging hordes of squash.

This, by the way, is my absolute final harvest.

No, really. I mean it this time!

I'm really looking forward to next year!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween Wrap Up

It was a busy three days. I'll sum up.

First, we had to go pumpkin hunting on Wednesday.
Logan: "We gonna get a punkin!"
Emma: "How big you t'ink it gonna be?"
Logan: "Oh, prolly dis big."

Caitlin has other ideas about how big the pumpkin should be.

"Ya know, Emma, I t'ink you could fit in heer."
"Lookit me! I a fahmuh! Wheee!"

"Hay, Mommy! Hay! Heeeeey!"

Then there was the school party to attend on Thursday.
Fairy princesses don't like to pose for photos.

Remember that bag I threatened to make? Well, I remember seeing a bag Ellen had made awhile back and revisited the page it was on. Turns out, all of the directions are there, save for the very last ones which were simple enough to figure out! Thanks, Ellen! You rock! (And she's so talented. Seriously, you need to check out her quilts!)

See? A few dozen napkins and suddenly I felt like I could sew a few more straight lines and make Caitlin a permanent, lovely, non-plastic Halloween bag!
Figuring out just how much candy it can hold.

Plus? It's reversible. Halloween on one side, polka dots on the other. Stylish!
Cool candy hauler.

Caitlin loved it. I soaked up the applause.

Then it was time for pumpkin carving.
Fancy pumpkins.

No, not that one. She made that at school.

Eric performs brain gourd surgery.


Finally, on Friday, Halloween arrived and it was time to get the show on the road.
Fairy Princess, Gypsy Sue, Logan the Tiger and Daddy.

Pop-Pop the Pirate and Emma the Dragon.

Dragon front.

Dragon back.

In case you're wondering why Emma got to be the dragon, it's because she Roars! Very cutely, too. The twins went out trick or treating with Caitlin until they got tired of it. We then retired back to Nana-Sue at headquarters and went exploring.
"Ooh! What's dis?!"

"Mommy! Look! Look what I found! Chawwwww-kit!"

Emma tries her very first bite of chocolate.

"My...my whole life I wait for dis moment! My life iz compleet!"

Eventually the rampaging horde returned, triumphantly loaded down with the spoils of war.
Did someone say Chocolate?!

Then, it being very late, we took our wild offspring home and put them to bed. Another holiday over.

However, it probably won't be the last we've seen of Tiger Boy*! (Because we need to get more than one day's use out of that outfit. Cute!)
I eat you up! I fierce tigah! Fierce! Rarrr!

How did your Hallow's Eve go?

* Logan also had his first taste of chocolate on Friday and it was even better than Emma's. He stole chocolate from Pop-Pop and jammed it into his mouth. Stolen chocolate is extra-special yummy chocolate.
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