Monthly Archives: May 2009

Harvesting plantain leaves

About a week and a half ago my dd8 got a splinter in her finger, and she didn’t want me to pry around with a needle because it was too sore.  I’ve heard that putting a banana peel on it is a great way to draw out the splinter, but naturally, though I usually have bananas around, right then I didn’t have any.

I considered if I had any other options, and this is what I did.  I told her to soak her finger in warm water, and then to go outside and pick some plantain.  Do you know what plantain looks like?  It’s a common weed that grows all over the place here, maybe all over the US, I don’t know.  The Native Americans used to call it white man’s foot, or broad foot, because wherever the white man travelled, plantain would grow. 

I don’t know much about identifying weeds or wild plants, but a few years ago I was on a nature hike with the kids and the guide pointed it out.  He pointed out other things, too, that I didn’t remember.  But this one was memorable because he had said it was good for a number of things, including bee stings.  A little later on that hike, a little girl got a bee sting and he immediately picked some, smashed it to a pulp with a rock, and applied it to her sting.  She calmed down very quickly.

Not long after that, I was attending my then sixth grade son’s baseball game.  At that age, most of the parents don’t attend the game, but I went to every game.  One of his fifth grade teamates was stung by a wasp on his hand, and it was so painful that he couldn’t hold a ball or bat.  There was no other adult to help him and even though he was trying to act like it wasn’t a big deal, I could tell it really was hurting.  So I picked some plantain, told him it needed to be chewed or smashed with a rock before applying it, and he willingly chewed it and put it on his sting.  I thought I must have seemed like a weirdo to him and wondered if it would really help, but I needn’t have worried.  He told me after a minute that his hand felt normal and was very appreciative – and he thought it was cool, not weird.

Plantain is good for lots of things, and I thought it might draw out the splinter, too.  So I told dd to wrap it around her finger and put a bandaid on top to hold it on.  We couldn’t find the splinter the next day when we took it off, so I guess it worked. 

Today I asked ds10 to pick some to make a salve with (I’ll share details of that with you tomorrow when it’s finished and I see how it works), and asked dd8to pick a bunch of it to dehydrate it for future use – it’s good for a lot of things, it’s free and easily available, so I figure, why not take advantage of it and stock my home grown medicine cabinet supplies? :)


Quick answers – fermented veggies and dehydrating

>> the fermented veggies- sea salt is just regular salt? Or is it something different? How much salt do I put in? Can you ferment cooked veggies? How long does it last once fermented? <<

Sea salt is different than regular salt; it’s less processed.  Depending what kind of sea salt you get, it’s significantly less processed.  I don’t really use regular salt – I use a fairly processed sea salt for cooking, Real Salt (that’s the brand name) for salting food at the table, and Celtic sea salt when I make fermented vegetables.  Celtic salt is pretty pricey but I don’t use much of it so a little goes a long way – it’s a grey, moist, and kind of rocky, not finely ground.  I feel like it improves the nutritional value, but regular salt would probably work just fine, too. 

How much salt you put in depends on how many vegetables you use, and how salty you like your food.  I’d suggest googling for some recipes.  I use about 2 T. salt for a half gallon jar of vegetables.  And you wouldn’t ferment cooked vegetables, just raw.

Be aware if you decide to make fermented vegetables that they will have a different taste than pickled vegetables.  For many people this is an aquired taste.  Be sure to carefully follow the recipe the first time so you know that nothing spoiled in the process, and then when you taste the veggies you’ll know that they taste the way they’re supposed to.  If something you makes doesn’t turn out the way you like, don’t give up.  There are lots of good recipes out there, and some are going to be more appealing to you than others.  I used the recipes in Nourishing Traditions to start with, and found that most of them were too salty for me, so I adapted them to what we prefer. One recipe I found very easy to start with was making pickles (from cucumbers), because the taste is familiar.  These get gobbled up.

Remember also that fermented veggies are eaten in small amounts as a digestive aid, not large salad quantities. 

>>You inspired me to get a dehydrator- have you made jerkey in it, or not your style?<

I haven’t made jerky, not because it’s not my style, but because I want to keep the dehydrator parve. For the same reason, I haven’t made yogurt-fruit leathers.  But both of those things would be fun to make if I had the luxury of separate dairy and meat dehydrators.


Today was the bris!

This morning we made the bris, BH on time.  The mohel came a few days before and said there would be no need to come back sooner to check on him, since the baby looked great and when they look like that, jaundice occuring later on isn’t an issue.  That was nice to hear, since it was touch and go with the last two babies as to if it would be on time until the night before the bris. 

Practically speaking, it’s always walking a fine line as far as the time to schedule a bris.  On one hand, the earlier it’s called for, the easier it is for men to come and the longer they can come before they leave to work.  On the other hand, the earlier it is, the fewer women will make it because they’re still busy with their children, carpools, etc.  We called it for 8, which meant that there was a gap between when davening finished and the bris started, so there was no spillover of attendance from the minyan that finished and the bris.  When I walked into the shul at a minute to eight, there were only 3 men and 2 women – I got a little nervous at first!  But people turned up very soon.  The bris was lovely, and I’m so grateful to all of our friends and family who made the time on such a busy erev yom tov to come.  A simcha is really enhanced when others share it with you.

My husband decided he wanted to be sandek this time; it seemed fitting that after catching the baby as he was born, that he would hold him for the bris.  The baby bled more than any of the others, which was a concern, but he seems to be fine now.  We named the baby Shimshon, which was mainly after Rav SR Hirsch, who has been a powerful influence on my husband and his approach to Torah.  But there were alot of other connotations of the name that connected with the time of the year and our feelings about the baby.  My husband very much wanted to name our last baby Shimshon, but it didn’t feel right to me at that time and I adamantly refused – not because I didn’t like the name, just because it didn’t seem like it was meant to be his name.  For this baby, it felt like the right match up of name and spiritual energy.

I was thinking about a few points after the bris, and wanted to share them with you because I think it’s constructive. 

1) If someone invites you to their simcha, they probably would love for you to be there!  This may sound obvious, but I think alot of the time people when invited feel like their presence won’t make much of a difference one way or another, and maybe that the person inviting them was doing it to be polite.  If you can make it, then do it – it makes a difference to the baal simcha.

2) If you do come for the simcha, stay as long as you can.  We noticed that most of the people who came to the bris stayed long enough to grab some food and go.  It’s totally understandable that people are busy, but the mitzva part of the seudas mitzva is at the very end.  It’s important to be there for that – though we had every seat taken for the seuda, by the time bentching came, we were short one man for a minyan.  And we only needed 6 people other than the mohel, my dh, ds16, and fil to complete the minyan.  I’m sure every man who left early felt his absence didn’t matter.  The entire bris and seuda don’t take very long (ours was 1 hour and 15 minutes from start to finish), so if you have a flexible schedule, staying until the end is an easy mitzva to participate in.  If you can’t stay until the end, try to stay at least until the father of the baby speaks; this is his opportunity to share his feelings of joy and gratitude with those who attend and he’s earned the right to be listened to for ten minutes. :)

3) Because at the last bris we noticed the reality that people leave early, dh called several of his friends and explained that he’d appreciate if they could stay through the end so we would have a minyan.  He asked them if they thought they’d be able to be there, and a number of them agreed.  Most of them didn’t end up coming, for whatever reason – neither of us think it was because they didn’t care.  Life is busy and things come up.  But my last suggestion is that if you tell someone you’ll be there, then be there.  It created last minute stress when we didn’t have a minyan and we couldn’t find a tenth man for the bentching. 

All in all, it was a wonderful bris and a lovely relaxing day.  My husband and I are both filled with gratitude to H-shem for our wonderful friends and family, for our healthy baby, and for the opportunity to share our joy with all of them.  May we all know only good things!

Happy Shavuos!


Red raspberry pregnancy tea

Here’s the recipe for the pregnancy tea that I’ve mentioned drinking.  I got it from  I try to drink at least a cup a day in the last month, though I’ve seen it recommended to drink up to to 5 cups a day starting at 37 weeks.  One precaution I would make is that if you do drink a lot of this, to increase the amount of water you drink, as red raspberry leaves can be a diuretic.

I personally wouldn’t drink it until the end of the first trimester, and not more than a cup or two a day until the last month.  I’m aware of women miscarrying because they drink huge amounts of this daily in the early part of pregnancy, maybe under the misguided belief that if a little is good, a lot must be better.  This is a wonderful uterine toner, but like everything, should be used as it’s meant to be used, not indiscriminately.

  • 8 parts red raspberry lea
  • 3 parts alfalfa
  • 3 parts peppermint
  • 2 parts nettle (I usually leave this out)

You can make a cup of hot tea by adding 1 or 2 teaspoons of the premixed herbs to 1 cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 5 to 10 minutes, strain, and add honey (raw is best) to taste.

To make a pitcher of tea for storing in the refrigerator, use 10 teaspoons or so of the premixed herbs for 8 cups of boiling water. Let it cool for a while and strain. Discard the used herbs, and put the tea in the refrigerator to drink over ice or reheated.

If you use this in labor, then you’ll drink it as an infusion instead of as a tea.  Only drink an infusion in labor or when you’re ready to be in labor.  To make it, take one ounce of the herbs (it will be a lot), and pour two cups of boiling water over it.  Let it steep about 30 minutes, and drink as hot as you can, when active labor has started. 


Responses to birth story comments

>>Wow. An unassisted childbirth. Sounds scary, but glad everything worked out great!<<

It actually isn’t scary at all, but I can see how it could sound like that!  I was talking to my dh about why people think giving birth without medical professionals present must be such a frightening situation.  A big part of this is because our society has bought into the belief that birth is dangerous and therefore has to take place in a hospital, because anything can and probably will go wrong in the absence of professionals.  But I don’t buy into this mindset of danger and fear.  I see labor and birth as a normal and healthy process, and generally when the birth goes so quickly, it’s because everything is fine.  So to me the fact that things were going so fast would in and of itself be reassuring, if I had been worried.  But I wasn’t.

I think giving birth in a hospital can be a pretty scary proposition – there are so many unknowns facing birthing women other than labor itself, factors that they would have control over in their homes.  But maybe it’s only scary if you know that the infant and mortality rates are higher in the hospital, infection rates are higher in the hospitals, all the intervention rates that lead to further intervention and are linked with other complications are higher in the hospital – most people think they’re safer and view the frequency that all of these things occur in hospitals as proof that they need to be there, proof that birth itself is dangerous.  “Imagine how much more dangerous it would have been if they hadn’t been in a hospital!” goes the reasoning.

A friend afterwards tongue in cheek asked me why I hadn’t called an ambulance.  Besides the fact that the idea didn’t even enter my mind, that’s another option that sounds unpleasant. I think emergency services are wonderful, but for helping women in childbirth?  Umm, that’s not exactly where their strengths are.  I can just imagine them rushing into my room in emergency mode, insisting on taking me to the hospital even after the baby was born to be sure everything was okay.

>>A friend of mine had an unplanned HB and is sooo traumatized by it.<<

Not being prepared for a situation mentally can make anything traumatic.  I also think that mental preparation in life tends to be one of the most important factors to being content.  (Mental preparation for labor is the most important factor in having a positive birth, in my opinion.)  That means working on accepting what is, rather than continuing to verbally or mentally hold on to your image of what you want.  This is something that we all get to work on every single day, every time your child, spouse, or even the person in the store does something that doesn’t match what you want.  I know that the more I can let go of what I think needs to happen, the more I can tune in to what H-shem wants and the happier I feel.

If I had mentally focused on how absolutely unacceptable it was to me that the midwife wouldn’t be able to make it in time, my insistence on my past plans would have kept me from being able to shift into being fine with what was going to happen.

>>Thanks so much for posting a photo for those of us who can’t be there to see him in person. It is a nice addition to your posts. <<

It’s my husband who’s to thank for this.  I’ve never had the patience (or desire, to be more honest) to figure out how to put a photo on the blog.  I also liked that he put it there – I didn’t ask him to.  Maybe now I’ll be inspired by him to post photos from time to time.  :)

>>Birth is truly a surprise and an adventure, not matter how many
times you’ve been through it. <<

This is so true.  If I PG have another pregnancy, this is something I’m going to remember – not to think that I know what even my own normal is by virtue of being pregnant nine times before.  Being ‘overdue’ was a much needed exercise in humility and trusting H-shem’s plan.

>>You had your supplies, your midwife was coming anyway, but that sounds like such an ideal birth. If you’re emotionally capable of handling such a thing, and medically prepared just in case, that sounds so special!<<

It really was an ideal birth – I’ve always felt homebirths were amazing experiences, but this birth was on a totally different level.

>>Can I ask what you do with your placenta? Do you bury it? If so, is it for halachic reasons? I have never gotten a clear answer if I need to bury mine or not.<<

Rav Heinemann was here this afternoon to check the baby (he was our mohel for the last two brissim, also) – too bad I didn’t read this in time or I would have asked him.  I’ve never asked a shaila about this – in hospitals, placentas are thrown away and I’ve never heard of anyone wondering what to do instead.  And until now, we’ve always thrown it away.

This time, the kids were talking about planting a special tree over it (they know a 20 year old whose family planted a cherry tree when she was born), which I thought was a beautiful idea.  Because of their enthusiasm, I was researching fruit trees before Pesach, trying to figure out what kind to buy and where to put it, but now it’s so late in the season that it’s not really the time to plant fruit trees.

We always put the placenta in the freezer, and then throw it away right before the garbage truck comes; this time I figure I can leave it there a little longer until I decide what to do with it.


The birth story!

I know some people love reading birth stories, and some people are totally of a different mind set.  So I’m clearly labelling this so you can skip it if it’s not the kind of thing that interests you!

I’ll start with some details you already know, for the sake of continuity.  I was having contractions every 10 – 20 minutes from Tuesday morning and on, and by 3:30 am Thursday morning, they had turned into real labor – long and close together.  I thought it was about time, since I was officially 42 weeks and 6 days at that point!  These contractions continued for two hours, and just when I thought I was a few minutes away from having the baby, they started getting further and further apart.  After three hours of waiting for them to reestablish their previous pattern, I sent the midwife home.  You know all of that from my last posts – and that I was tired and discouraged.

After that, I took a nap, got up for a while, and was still tired later in the day so I went back to sleep for a late afternoon nap.    I continued having contractions while I was napping, but nothing different from the past days and nothing I couldn’t mostly ignore or take a breath or two and then fall back asleep.  Suddenly, before I was even fully awake, I had a massive contraction that I was totally physically or emotionally unprepared for, and I thought that I needed my husband that minute.  There was no way for me to call him, because he was two flights below at the end of dinner time and wouldn’t have heard me even if I was yelling at the top of my lungs.  But he must have heard my thoughts, because a minute later, he came up the stairs just in time for the next contraction (after hours of staying downstairs and taking care of the kids so I could rest).  I immediately had another contraction after that, and as soon as they were over, he told me he was calling the midwife to come immediately.  I didn’t know why he was so sure he should call her – usually he asks me what I think and goes with my opinion – but later on he told me he was timing them and saw they were 2 minutes long and that they were very different from regular contractions. 

As he called her, my water broke, and I went into the bathroom to get my head together and figure out what was happening.  Remember, I had just woken up and was kind of mentally foggy so I didn’t have a realistic perspective about how intense the contractions were.  My mind set had been that I was going to have to make a decision about taking something to get labor going again when I got up, and that was kind of hazily going through my head as I was waking up.  I was thinking that because I wasn’t yet awake I wasn’t mentally on top of the contractions, and that’s why they seemed so strong to me.  After a minute, I was able to clear my head and realized that I was going through the very end of transition and going to have this baby very soon.  I felt very calm by this point – it had been maybe 5 or 6 minutes from the time I woke up.  I told dh to call a friend of mine to come over because the midwife wasn’t going to make it.  But she wasn’t home and I wasn’t about to have him start searching my planner for her cell number right then.  :)

While I was in the bathroom, he called the midwife again to find out how far away she was – she had had enough time from the first call to get to her front door :) – she told him she’d talk him through it on the phone if he wanted, and reassured him that it wasn’t a big deal to catch a baby.   When I came out a couple of minutes later, he was rushing around trying to unplug the cordless phone from downstairs and bring it up to our room, but I told him to forget about it, that he didn’t need a phone or to speak to her.  Honestly, does that sound relaxing, to have someone on the phone listening to instructions while you’re giving birth?  I didn’t think so either. 

After the baby finished moving down and before there was any urge to push, there was a short lull, maybe three minutes.  By this point, he was also calm and and totally present in the moment.  The baby was born a couple of minutes later, another boy!  This was the first time my husband knew if the baby was a boy or girl before I did.  :) 

It was a very beautiful and peaceful experience for us both, positive in every way.  I’m not even going to try to describe what a special time it was.  If you had asked me about that scenario as a possibility, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable with even the thought at all.  My husband has never been physically involved in any of my labors except to bring me a drink or some dried fruit, and hasn’t ever been in the room for the birth – I always sent him out and he would come back in after the birth had taken place and everything was cleaned up.  But it was really all perfect.  (And now, a couple of days later, he said he feels he was initiated into a private club of fathers who were unplanned baby catchers for their children – it seems there are a lot more of them out there than you would think.)  I also think it psychologically was much easier for us than for many people who find themselves in this situation because: we trust the birth process and mentally see birth as healthy and normal; were planning a home birth so already had the room set up and supplies on hand; were in the comfort of our own home, not in a car somewhere on the side of a road; have already had more than one child and knew what to expect when giving birth.   

Neither of us thought to look at the clock and see what time it was when the birth took place.  We had other things on our minds. :)  Later we estimated that the baby was born about 10 minutes after he first called the midwife, so we might have had a total of 15 minutes from when I woke up.  Basically, I had a two part labor – 2 hours in the early morning, a 13 hour ‘break’, and then the last 15 minutes for transition and the birth itself, when labor started again right where it left off early that morning.  The friend I called to come called back a couple of hours later when she got the message, and said she knows of this happening with other women who have had a lot of kids – something about giving the uterus time to ‘catch up’ after active labor is completed.  When I asked the midwife at breakfast Thursday morning what her thoughts were on why things slowed down, she said it sometimes happens when the baby is unusually positioned, and needing more time to get into the right position – and it turns out his positioning was probably military, looking at the molding on his head and the way he holds his head if put down on his tummy.  To me, both of these explanations make sense and are compatible. 

The kids had to wait over almost 40 minutes after the birth took place to come in, but they didn’t find that too long, since they didn’t know that the baby was born before the midwife got here; it was still only a half hour after she came!  My ds15 was at his baseball game – he left and I was napping with no signs of anything happening, got home and there was a new baby! 

The baby was our biggest by far at 9 lb, 7 oz (almost 2 lb bigger than the last two) – before this our biggest was 8.5 lb.  His birth has officially put the boys in our family way ahead of the girls, with six boys to three girls.  He’s doing great, nursing well and getting cuter every minute.  He so far has slept on a solid surface only at night when his siblings are sleeping, since otherwise someone constantly wants to hold him. :) I’m also BH feeling good – now that we’ve gotten past the 48 hour mark, the afterpains are pretty mild (thanks to my super Chinese herbal blend and tincture! – but the first 48 hours weren’t easy), and I’m getting lots of rest.

I’m so, so, so glad that I didn’t do anything to ‘make’ labor go any faster or sooner.  It was an empowering experience that further reinforced to me that things generally go best when we trust the body and the labor process to proceed at the rate they’re meant to.  I would have missed out on that if I had agreed to even a mild or natural way of moving things along, and that would have been a huge loss. 

The shalom zachor was wonderful, with a suprisingly large turnout for when Shabbos meals end so late, and lots of women coming.  Thank you to those of you who sent goodies – it really enhanced the simcha! 


Popping in to say hi

Thanks, everyone, for your good wishes!  I’m not really supposed to be downstairs, but my kids are so excited about the baby that they’ve been carrying him around all day!  I called to them a couple of times to bring him to me so I could feed him, but they didn’t hear, so I came down to tell them myself.  And naturally, once I’m here I had to pop in!

I’ll share the fun and interesting details of the birth another time, probably after Shabbos.  I’ll just say that it’s very humbling to realize that no matter how many kids you have, there’s something new to experience and learn.  I’m feeling great and hope to see some of you who live in the area tonight!

And yes, it’s going to be another erev yom tov bris!  We’re on a roll with the last three boys!  The gabbai of our shul was joking the first night of Pesach with dh that he was waiting to hear that we were making a bris the next morning because of our past history.  He was off by the holiday, but not the basic idea! Ds3 was the first day of Pesach, ds20 months was erev Rosh Hashana, and now this baby will b’ezras Hashem be on erev Shavuos, which is also my husband’s birthday. :)  To do that they had to be born on very different time tables from all of their due dates – 2 weeks early, 3 weeks early, and 3 weeks late.  Hashem’s timing is perfect, isn’t it!

Have a great Shabbos!


Patience, patience, and still more patience

I’m feeling a little discouraged and tired this morning.  Until now, I’ve had a good attitude and mindset about being so far overdue (42 weeks and 6 days, according to the original due date).  I’ve been having contractions every 10 – 20 minutes for the last couple of days, but they haven’t gotten much closer than 10 minutes, and though it’s been a little taxing physically, I’ve been okay with that, too. 

But now I’m feeling less accepting and cheerful.  Today at 3:30 am I woke up with contractions every few minutes apart, about 90 seconds long – finally, real labor!  It was pretty intense but I was so glad to know that I was finally close to having this baby!  The contractions continued at this rate for a couple of hours, and I decided it was definitely time to call my midwife.  

I thought this would be a quick labor and birth, because of all the preparatory work my body’s been doing until now, and that we’d have a new baby to greet the kids with when they woke up in the morning.  Well, I was wrong.  Because after a couple of hours, the contractions starting slowing down and getting further apart.  Finally, at 8:30 am, I told the midwife I didn’t think she should wait around because the contractions were getting further and further apart, and shorter, too. 

I drank a strong raspberry leaf infusion before bed last night – she suggested I continue drinking it today, and suggested I would benefit by steadily continuing to ‘keep at it’, to keep labor going.  I used up the last of my premixed pregnancy tea; I thought I didn’t have any more ingredients for it, but my dd said she was pretty sure we had more red raspberry leaves on the shelf of herbs, and she was right.  So sometime this morning I’ll mix more up (it’s a blend of red raspberry, alfalfa, and peppermint, will try to post the exact ratios when I get the chance).  She also gave me an herbal tincture called LaborEase to take every half hour.  I took some before she left and have been having contractions every five minutes or so, but I don’t really want to take any more right now.  I’m too tired to deal effectively with more contractions at this point.  And I really don’t want to take walks or go up and down my stairs two at a time – I can hardly keep my eyes open!

She had breakfast with our family before heading back home, which was nice, and I joined everyone for breakfast, though I was too tired to eat much.  To say my kids were disappointed to see just me is an understatement – they saw her car outside long before they saw her, and it’s never before happened that she’s come for a birth and not left without a new baby having joined the family. 

Sooo….I think I’m going to go back to bed and get some rest.  I usually find when I’m feeling down that a good nap perks me up and I’m much more positive and cheerful afterwards.  It would be easier to rest if I weren’t having contractions, since I find laying down isn’t a great position to deal with contractions in.  But I could use some positive energy right now and hopefully I’ll be able to get enough of a rest to refresh my spirits!


Transplanting tomatoes

I can’t believe it’s already the season to start planting warm weather crops!  When I went out to look at the raised garden beds that we built last year, I was surprised to see that they’re almost all full!  I didn’t feel like we planted too much earlier in the season, but I guess it’s more than I thought.  Coming up we have strawberries, garlic, leeks, onions, lettuce, peas, and beets.  We also have oregano and sage that self sowed from last year, as well as several tomato plants that self sowed.  (I found it very ironic that with all my efforts at starting seeds inside, so many didn’t grow, but these took care of themselves outside in the unhospitable cold.)  The mint in a separate garden box on the deck is also coming up from last year on its own.  We also noticed a few squash plants that started growing in the lasagna beds (after I pulled a couple up, thinking they were weeds) – they must have been in compost that wasn’t fully composted; we came to the realization it wasn’t a weed in time to leave one where it was growing. 

This morning I was up nice and early, so after preparing Amish oatmeal for breakfast and popping it into the oven, I thought it would be a good time to transplant the tomato plants we started from seed into the garden.  Yesterday my father in law brought over some extra starts he had that he didn’t need, which was perfect because we started two batches of tomato seeds, and of the second batch only one sprouted.  I wanted more plants than I had, and as if he read my mind, my wish was granted!  (He’s never offered me plant starts before.)

A couple of my girls joined me in the yard after they finished davening, and a short time later the three youngest boys came out, too.  I know that people say that gardening with very young children is wonderful, but honestly, that’s only if you’re not trying to get something done.  :)  My ds20 months promptly trampled two of the plants we had just put in – he needed someone to be with him all the time to keep him out of where he wasn’t supposed to be.  For it to be fun for both of us, I’d have to be involved with him the whole time and actively directing him.  But my ds3 was a good age to be helpful – he helped me pull weeds and then water some plants.   And ds6 also did a lot of watering. 

The tomato seeds that I started were heirloom and open pollinated – I chose the varieties that I did because I liked their names.  I know, very unscientific.  They are:

  • king pineapple
  • watermelon beefsteak
  • black cherry
  • Japanese golden pear

Can you tell I was vicariously satisfying my desire to grow fruit by ordering these tomato seeds?  So far, we have 23 transplants in, 8 left to go.  A bit less than half are from my father in law, and I assume his are hybrid seeds.  Now I need to get squash, melon, and cucumber seeds in.  Last year our most successful plant was butternut squash, from a seed taken from a squash we bought at the store and ate.  It was a surprise that it came up at all! 

When it was time to go in for breakfast over an hour later, we discovered that I had turned on the fleishig oven instead of the milchig oven so breakfast wasn’t ready on time after all.  If I had been inside I would have realized that pretty quickly, but I wasn’t and I didn’t, so breakfast happened late.  Very late.   But I used the time to do some reading earlier in the day rather than later with my ds6 and dd8 – the newest readaloud we’re doing in the mornings for ds is Doctor Dolittle.  We recently finished Dominic, by William Steig (author of Sylvester and the Magic Pebble), which had suprisingly challenging vocabulary, but it was so fun that there was no intimidation factor.  Even though they each get their own read aloud time with me, they like listening to the other’s books.  We also finished dd’s book at the same time we finished Dominic – now we’re starting the next book in the Little House series, The Long Winter.  I love that book. 

While we were outside, we cut up the scavenged carpeting that a neighbor was discarding a couple of days ago to use on the path between the lasagna beds.  I read that suggestion somewhere, to keep the weeds down.  Though there was loads of carpet being given away, I didn’t want to get too much and have to deal with the extra.  And it turns out that I should have gotten four rolls instead of one, because I really don’t have enough – this covered 2/3 of one row.  Unfortunately, garbage pick up was the next day so I can’t get any more from them.  Oh, well.  But at least it’s done and not taking up space in the garage, and will help for the path that it’s on!

All in all, a nice way to start the day!