Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Selective Interpretation of Our Backyard

Back at the end of June I took some photos of our back yard. It was green back then. Now it's mostly brown and lifeless, since it's been really dry this summer and I refuse to water grass since I see it as the most useless waste of water possible.

So yes, these photos are really old. But let's just let them be a reminder of simpler, greener, moister times.

Our house hadn't been painted yet when I took these photos, so if you look in the background of some of these photos and see what our house used to look like you can see why we had to paint. And in a roundabout way, you can understand why my blogging has been very rare this summer.

Anyway, here are photos from late June.

Stuff in our rain garden that we made (well, we had someone do it for us) to keep our basement from flooding (that was a few summers ago and so far, no flooding!). These are all native, except for the bushy fern in the second photo ... at least I don't think that one's native.

I love our Columbines. These two photos were taken before I all but destroyed this plant with scaffolding while I power washed the old paint off our house.

This year, I decided to leave a couple patches of grass unmowed, just for the hell of it. The first time I mowed my neighbor told me I missed a spot. I replied that I tried that. She probably thought I was joking. Well, who's joking now!

One of the patches is a square on one side of the back yard. It did pretty good until it stopped raining. It's now a patch of long, brown, horizontal grass.

The other patch is a nice long strip of grass that goes down our little back yard hill and everything. 

I think next year I'm going to try my hand at a little labyrinth for Anna to play in. Because the kids we have over always gravitate to the long grass. They're fascinated by it. Which I guess makes me a big kid.

Oh, our pepper plants. My dad gave me a few young ones and I planted them and we actually got a few peppers out of one of them but they were sort of rotted and didn't get that big. Harumpf.

And here are some assorted flowers. Some native, some not. I have no idea what any of these are called. But some of them are pretty.

Like this one. I see this one and all I can think is, "Feed me, Seymour!"

I had to get on the hood of my car to get this whole thing in the frame. It eventually flowered. Last year it was about an eighth of this size. It actually has gotten bigger than this as the summer went on.

Cute lil roses. 

And these are Anna's rocks. She likes to find rocks by the house and put them on this cement slab we have in the middle of our back yard that's surrounded by day lilies on three sides.

And finally, Anna picking raspberries.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Kid Makes Me Laugh

Couple funny things that just happened in the last 10 minutes:

Anna woke up from her nap and we came downstairs after some playing on mom and dad's bed. She took her two favorite baby dolls and sat them in the chair and wanted to feed them. So she got a spoon and a bowl and pretended to spoon food into their mouths.

So that's all pretty normal, but then she put the spoon in babies hand and said, "feed Anna" and pretended that the baby was pretending to feed Anna food.

Atta girl! She's already creating metafiction.

I laughed at her, of course. Then she laughed at me and said, "Daddy laughing." She then said, "num num num" (or "nom nom nom" as I've seen it spelled) over and over and pretended to shovel food into her mouth. 

Atta girl! She's already misinterpreting why people are laughing at her. Well, maybe that's not so great. But I find it funny.

So then she climbs up into the high chair. And while I put on her bib and tray I describe the process by which I made the mashed potatoes I'm about to feed her. I finished with something like, then I mash it all up and you get to eat it.

To which she replies, "Yay! I'm proud of you."

It would be fitting, I suppose, if she started making sarcastic insults at age 2, but I choose to believe that her pride in me is sincere.

Speaking of funny, this photo of Anna makes me laugh really hard.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Vegan Wedding Food and a Letter

So we've been really lucky this summer with weddings in a couple regards.

Firstly, we've only had to go to three weddings. Did I say had? I meant got -- we only got to go to three weddings. Yeah...

Secondly, we have been lucky enough to have vegan meals and all three weddings!

The first was our friends Tony and Erin's wedding and Erin's vegan so the whole reception was vegan and de-fracking-licious!

The second was my friend since grade school Katie and her inexplicably nice and down-to-earth husband Scott's (I can make that joke because I don't think she reads this blog ... at any rate, she has a good sense of humor) wedding in my hometown, population 280 ... people. Not 280 thousand. 280, period. Katie was nice enough to ask her caterer to leave butter off of some vegetables and they somehow got a hold of a Celebration Roast from Field Roast Grain Meat Co. So that was cool.

The third was my cousin Scott and his wife Alicia's wedding. This was just last weekend, so the hummus, cucumber salad, amazing marinated and grilled portabella mushrooms, eggplant lasagna with herbed tofu and vegan brownies and chocolate date oatmeal cookies are ....

Sorry ... let me compose myself here ... ahem ... my mouth is watering ....

OK. So the food from that wedding is fresh in my mind and it was fracking awesome.

So in October we're going to a wedding in Moorhead, MN and I guess I'm spoiled because now I expect there to be vegan options at receptions. I sent the following email to the place where the reception is being held:

Greetings Moorhead Chef,

My wife, two year old daughter and I are attending the [NAME] reception on [DATE]. We thought that instead of bothering the bride and groom-to-be we'd direct our dietary questions toward the person preparing the food.

My family is vegan. This means that we don't eat meat, dairy, eggs, honey or any other food that comes from animals. Will the menu for that evening have any vegan options?

If not, or if there is only one option (like un-buttered baby carrots or something like that), then would you be able to whip up three vegan main courses for us?

I don't assume people are well versed in vegan cooking and I know that it can be a daunting endeavor if you're not used to it. But after the initial shock of being unable to use animal ingredients wears off, it’s actually really easy. Here are a few websites that give a wide array of vegan recipes and meal ideas.

We would prefer to have something similar to the non-vegan meal (for example, if everyone is having mashed potatoes with milk and butter, mashed potatoes with soy milk and vegan margarine would work for us; if they're having steak, maybe we could have grilled portabella mushrooms).

Just a heads up, a lot of soy cheese and margarine have casein in them, which is a milk ingredient. I know that Cash Wise in Fargo has casein-free margarine and soy cheese and I think some of the Hornbachers may as well.

I realize that if you do make vegan meals for us it would be above and beyond your normal operating procedure and it may add to the cost of preparing the meal. We'd be willing to pay a little bit for our meal if you'd like. At the very least you’d automatically get compliments to the chef.

Please let me know if you can do this for us and if you have any questions. The Avalon in Fargo has prepared vegan meals for us in the past. I'm not sure if you know the chef over there, but maybe he or she could give some pointers if they're needed?

Thank you for your time.

I'll let you know how it goes. Oh, and feel free to steal this letter and send it to the person who's catering the next wedding you're attending. Some day we'll get to a point where we'll no longer have to stop at Subway for a veggie sub between weddings and receptions. I'd like to think I'm doing my small part in getting there.