Part of the fun of being able to identify plants as you walk by them in the forest is knowing which ones might poison you and which ones are mighty tasty prepared in a mixed drink over ice or fermented and bottled.
Last year the ladies got really interested in squishing fruit. They combed the neighborhood and delivered letters to our especially fruity neighbors inviting them to some free labor. In exchange for cleaning up around their fruit trees, we’d bring home a few large buckets of apples, pears, persimmons and muscadines. Over the course of several weeks during harvest season we accumulated many “carboys” (large glass containers) full of squeezings. They’re naturally doing their thing and now we have lots of bottles to fill. Pretty tasty pear wine, honey wine, cyser, mead, and more, I’m sure. I’m trying to stay at arm’s length. (Yes, with a glass in hand, though.)
Identifying the plants while you’re walking next to them is pretty impressive, but what really wowed me was driving around, even on the highway, hearing, “Pear! Apple! Persimmon!” Red2 identified a pear tree hiding in front of a grocery store. She’s 9, kiddos.
Their mom and I did share. It wasn’t all booze. We had persimmon cake, apple and pear butter, and pear preserves using as recipe from the tree owner who feels like she’s all done making preserves herself. She was very happy to have some help.
The last thought here is about where this all leads. The natural ingredients that used to be found in things like Maraschino cherries and grenadine. Amy Stewart’s book, The Drunken Botanist, is good read full of stories about what’s really supposed to be in the bottles. Read the labels, folks. Red1 wants a field trip to a liquor store to find real grenadine made with pomegranates, not colored up corn syrups. I think she’ll have to wait a bit for that. Do you think the shop keepers will let us in to read the labels?
Getting back to the originally promised topic. The girls. Due to some county school board issues, mostly zoning, we’re going to start up the home school wagon this fall.
Having crazy-awesome kids is a blessing that I’m proud to share about. I’m looking forward to being a huge part of their education. I know it’s something most parents don’t get to do.
I do promise not drone on about all the details unless they pertain to my Science Fiction Daddy topics. And because I’m me; some of it will.
Red1 and I have already started planning out her reading lists for the year. We are making a plan to include a unit on all the Wizard of Oz books, play, films, etc. and another unit on Science Fiction. We’re going to look for some award winning sci-fi standards but are open to suggestions. Remember we’re in the fifth grade but at a very high reading level. Her favorites right now are the Rick Riordan novels about that Percy guy.
A couple of articles that we wanted to keep track of here:
Red2 who is going into second grade, is excited about the Paul Bunyan phenomena. I say phenomena, because after doing some research his story is pretty amazing. He’s got it all. Humor and stories mostly, but look at all the geography packed in there. This is going to be fun.
November was a funky month for me. I was making great strides with a novel for the NaNoWriMo, where you chunk out a 50,000 word novel in 30 days with a few thousand of your pals, but about half way through the month I became a little encumbered by some medical issues and couldn’t finish.
I learned a lot though and my family loves the story. They helped me by inspiring the characters. It’s a story about us in the future. It’s what we’d like to see happen next year if we could just up and “Green Acres” ourselves to the country, but 60 years in the future. What would Eddie Albert or Ava Gabor do in 2076? It turns out that my story ends up reading like Forrest Gump meets Petticoat Junction. Dunno if anyone other than Red1 will think that’s funny or remotely interesting.
Fortunately, we discovered that Green Acres is playing over at Hulu:
The other thing I learned is that advertising can be cruel. I really wanted the coffee pouring robot shown in the ad below. Maybe he’ll make an appearance in the book.