I know, it’s quiet here. First of all, we’ve been ill – Amie is much better now; we’re now even doubting whether it was the flu at all. Secondly I took the Training for Transition last weekend and I am still exhausted and exhilarated – too much so that I can’t yet write about it.

Today we are going to Thanksgiving with friends. It’s the first time in our 11 years in the States that we’ve been invited to have Thanksgiving with Americans. (Not that I was waiting for that; the coincidence just occurred to me.) I think we’ll add something to the party: our friendship and gratitude, of course, as well as an Indian (DH) and a European (myself) and the peaceful combination of those two (Amie).

I’ll be back soon, I promise. Happy Thanksgiving!

Amie has often expressed an interest in my journal – in the book itself (the journalist Moleskine) and in the process. I haven’t been writing in my journal regularly, but over this weekend revived my resolution to do so. This morning I pulled it and she asked if she could have a journal too, just like mine.

So…

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Several hours later:

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I told her what I write in my journal: what my day was like, what I wished my day had been like, what I plan to do, TO DO and other lists, all kinds of information, drawings and photographs, etc. And I showed her the baby journal I kept for her all too briefly.

I proposed she write it herself but if she gets tired of that, she can dictate and I will write it down (literally) for her. When she does choose to write it herself, I help her with the spelling whenever she asks, and if she proposes her own (phonological) spelling, I don’t argue.

I hope she will get as much joy out of journaling as I have over the years.

Over the weekend I attended a two-day Training for Transition – during which she was constantly on my mind. I learned so much, and am still exhausted, it was so intense. Will report on that soon (oh, add it to the list).

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Here is our list so far – click for larger but not necessarily for more legible.

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We just got a batch of Roald Dahl in, and more Cynthia Rylant books. Amie also loves Lauren Child’s books, for the stories (e.g., Charlie and Lola) as well as the illustrations. So I was excited to see she has illustrated Pippi Longstockin, but once I leafed through the book I doubted Amie would be charmed. Can anyone recommend a well-illustrated Pippi for me?

And in other news Amie caught the flu – probably H1N1 because it is the only flu in town at the moment. She was doing so well since we started her on daily raw milk, elderberry syrup, and an elevated dose (800 IU) of vitamin D. She came off the puffer (asthma medication) almost immediately – the month before we started, she needed 2 puffs every night. When she caught a cold 2 weeks ago, she had only the runny nose and some coughing, and no wheezing, so no puffer – a first!

Still, yesterday the first symptoms started and now she has a mild fever, a sometimes persistent cough, and mild trouble breathing. She’s mostly sleeping, but when she’s not, we’re reading books.

And in the meantime we’re 20 November and it’s 65F out.

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“That is the Mama skeleton, and that is the Baba skeleton, and that is the big sister and the baby brother skeleton, and…”

Yesterday evening I was helping Amie get to sleep – I just lie next to her in the dimmed light, in our bed (we still cosleep), hold her hand, and read a book while she stares and stares until finally her eyelids drop.

I was reading Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose, which I find fascinating, and suddenly she said, so totally out of the blue:

- I want Baba to die before you.

I fairly couldn’t disguise my shock. That’s probably why she changed to:

- I don’t want you and Baba to die before me.

And still I was speechless. So she said:

- I only want people that I don’t know to die. Tell me all the people I know who have died! Tell me their names!

- No one you know has died. But Opa’s Mama and Baba have died.

- I know that!

- As well as Oma’s Mama and Baba, and Thamm’s Mama and Baba, and Dada’s Baba.

Maybe listing all those dead Mamas and Babas was not a good idea. So I added:

- But what is dying? I don’t find it scary at all. Our bodies just fall apart, and then there’s nothing.

- Our brains stop working, right?

- Yes, no more thinking or dreaming or sleeping or walking or playing…

- That’s so boring!

- Well, you can’t even be bored,  because you’re dead.

While she pondered this I had the occasion to regret my cop-out. She was talking not of dying, but of being left behind. So I said, more honestly this time:

- Don’t worry about dying, because we don’t know when we’ll die, you or I, and worrying about it doesn’t make a difference.

Was she content with that? She fell silent, and I returned to my book, and she stared at me for a while, then fell asleep.

{other conversations about death here and here and here}

I got the news that they’ve made a movie of McCarthy’s book, The Road – with Vigo Mortensen, so a mainstream movie. I am of course not going to see it (I must be nuts!), but part of me is extremely anxious for those who will, and another part is extremely curious about the effect.  But mainly just thinking about it gives me the shivers.

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  1. warm and bright out, emptied all the rain barrels, stashed them upside down, and reconnected gutters
  2. raked leaves, emptied pots and containers, stashed them in shed
  3. Amie raked leaves too (cough)
  4. drank two large coffees (more milk than espresso)
  5. baked and pureed 5 sugar pie pumpkins
  6. will reserve puree for pumpkin bread (not for today), will freeze rest
  7. will roast pumpkin seeds later
  8. made leek and potato soup
  9. made veggie stock with the dark greens of the leek and other veggie scraps, will freeze in cubes
  10. boiled sweet potatoes, then fried with caramelized onions and lots of ground pepper
  11. will have sweet potatoes and soup (with raw milk) for dinner with homemade bread and (not as yet homemade) butter
  12. will freeze leftovers
  13. miraculously found room in my fridge for raw milk delivery for friend
  14. started new wheat grass sprouts
  15. Amie is having an early dinner of boiled carrots, humus and a farm fresh (chicken) egg omelet… with ketchup, and she promised she would try the potato leek soup {tried it, did not like it}
  16. which reminds me I have to make a go of the chickpeas next year
  17. looking forward to evening, work on novel again – lots of good ideas!

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Amie wowed at Times Square

Missed last week because of sickness and a trip to the Big Apple – about which soon!

Plant. Nothing, except for ongoing sprout experiments.

Harvest. Herbs for drying, wheat grass from sprouter, chard and one or two carrots from garden.

Preserve. Drying catnip, mint, sage, oregano, thyme. Drying apples. Baked more sugar pumpkins (now on major sale) and froze the puree.

Waste not. Mulched bags and bags of leaves from our neighbor. He rounds up our leaves for us (yes, with his dreaded gasoline powered leaf blower – read here for my old rant) and in exchange we let him dump his leaves on the (as yet) undeveloped part of our property. Whatever we don’t compost stays there as a mulch and weed suppressor.

Want not. I am finding Sharon’s Food Storage Quickies very helpful, and this week on her recommendation I bought 5 lbs of rolled oats. Also bought 20 lbs of whole wheat flour (in freezer). I started experimenting with a more organized list of our food storage and emergency supplies.

Build community food systems. Talked with a friend and several of the moms at Amie’s preschool about raw milk. Food is always an easy connector with acquaintances and neighbors, and usually they’re very encouraging of our efforts. I’m usually very careful about how I word our food adventures, though: I never imply any judgment of their food choices, I just tell my own tale. The  raw milk tale is definitely a good one (I’ll tell it here soon).

Eat the food. My first bread was undercooked, the second overcooked, and on the third I forgot to make the cut on top – so it can expand – and it came out a wonderful shape not fit for photography. After so many people scrunching up their noses when we mentioned duck eggs, we loved them with wheat grass in an omelet. A pity the lady who sells them to our supplier is going to stop for the Winter. We decided to eat more fish, as our meat consumption is even lower now than it was (Amie and DH eat meat once a week, I have it at most once a month). I wonder and tilapia like to share a pond?

People, I just received Death and Sex from Chelsea Green and I am just blown away. It is a lovely book, consisting of two texts bound together beautifully, and with great humor. Reading all the rave reviews at the beginning of each text makes me want to pour that cup of coffee, sink into sunlit sofa and read.

This one, for instance: “Dorion Sagan and Tyler Volk show us sex is optional and death is necessary” (Adam Daniel Stulberg). And: “quotidian simplicities are dissolved in the acid of evolutionary theory” (Andrew Lionel Blais).

I had forgotten to set a deadline for the Give-Away. We’ll be drawing a name on Wednesday 18th at 6 pm EST. Grab a chance while you can!

{UPDATE} And the book goes to… Carol! Congratulations, I’ll stick it in the mail as soon as I have your address.