Wednesday, September 29, 2010


In my own mind, the definition is when the haves of surplus share with the have nots. I've been trying to teach my kids about donating time and talents. Lately we have been picking up apples for the nearby food pantries. They have a field day running through the orchard getting a few apples while mommy and daddy does most of the work. Tonight I'll be dropping the apples off w/the kids at the Fremont Assesor's office.

Along those lines, I have been looking forever to get 4 small piggy banks... one for spend/save/invest/charity. When I grew up, the piggy bank had one in and one out. All of it was spent. My parents going through some serious financial storms, and me realizing they live way beyond their means was a wake up call to myself. Why wasn't I ever taught there was more to life than "make and spend"? I was excited to find this on the internet yesterday.

YAHOO! a four compartment pig!

To my kids, I have always called the needy "sad kids" so they could relate, but a hilarious story reminds me that I should just call it "The needy". When the girls outgrow their clothes, I've been putting them into bags and donating it to goodwill. Their toys, also. When the girls ask where it's going, I said "the sad kids".
"Why are they sad, Mommy?"
"Because they are cold, and some do not have homes or mommies and daddies".
"Oh. "

One day I received some hand-me-downs from a cousin. Their kid is exactly 1 year older than Kelly. I pulled a dress out of the bag, and was folding it when Kelly skipped into the room. She looked at the dress, and -elated- she quickly changed into it and started twirling aorund. She noticed a small hole and said "Mommy this dress has a hole in it!"
"Just a small one, Kel. Mommy can sew that and it'll be good as new".
"This isn't new?!"
"No, it was your cousin Katie's"
"........" With big eyes, and a sudden look of realization she says slowly to me:
"Mommy... are we sad kids?"

LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL awww it was hilarious. And cute. I will probably tell that story till I'm on my deathbead.

All in all, the apple roundup yesterday was a success! Thanks to those who came out for the cause. :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nuts for Walnuts-Ha!

Went back last night w/the kids to the walnut tree. Loaded up half of a cart with as many walnuts as we could find. Mental note: have to go back in a few days with nets or poles to knock down the higer ones.

Tonight the fam and I will be rounding up apples from a nearby orchard to donate to a food pantry. It still amazes me that this all is a result of "just ask". Being a member of the GLMV Jaycees (our local Jaycee chapter) is really useful for those situations... like when we were apple picking and thinking "Boy there sure are alot of apples on the ground that are perfectly good". Got to talking w/the owner of the orchard and they said they would like to donate to the local foodbank, but lack the manpower- ENTER the Dragon!!! er... the Jaycees! local volunteers :)

Just a :30 minute to 1 hr session of rounding apples surprisingly fills 10+ Boxes for the needy. Amazing what we have within our power to do...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Been a busy fall so far....

Last Friday, I finally found oak logs to put my shiitake dowels in.
This all happened when I read a book on veggie gardening, and saw a chapter on growing mushrooms. As a kid, I always saw those "grow your own mushroom" kits in the back of the magazines and secretly wanted them. I may, in fact, try that out with the kids... the button or the portabello kit. However, for now I read of the ease of growing shiitakes and wanted to give that a try. I bought the spawn dowels on ebay 9.99 for 100 qty. Not bad at all, and all I needed was Oak Logs. It seems people always have logs on the side of the road until I need them for Mushrooming. HA, but recently I saw a home on 45N that has been sawing down all the trees in their property including GASSSSPPPPP! Oak! So after eyeing it for a few days, I mustered the courage to go up there and ring the doorbell. This house was teeny, and the windows were kinda boarded. The door had a towel over the window, so I was kind of afraid what kind of person would answer the door. No answer. I tried the neighbor's house... the hispanic lady told me that the home was recently purchased, and that I am welcome to take a few pieces of wood.

YESSSSS!!! I threw as much as I could into the car in 5 minutes and skedaddeld outta that creepy place. I took maybe about 8 logs. Yesterday after church, we drilled holes, put the dowels in, and coated the holes with wax. It was very educational, and hopefully everything worked out. I hope to harvest some mushrooms this coming spring :)

In other news, I was thinking of all the times I saw black walnuts just lying on the ground getting rotten, and thought for sure this year, I will gather them up for the winter. Unfortunately, I don't have a walnut tree in my yard, and the only one I knew of for sure was behind the Edward Jones in Barrington, IL. When I stopped by there on thursday, I saw no nuts---ANYWHERE. what?! I must've missed it! Noooooooo a quick drive around confirmed this. The trees must've dropped the nuts early this year. So when I took the kids to the playground, I walked around a little, because I remembered a few walnut trees being around the park and LO! There was one solitary walnut tree that still had freakin'nuts on it! all over the place! The kids and I filled up a 5 gallon bucket, and may go back tonight for more - while the gettin' is good. They love black walnut meat, and hey.. it's just going unappreciated...
I have never harvested these things before. In fact, I've only seen videos on youtube using tools to hull them. I read someone I could back my car over them, but I decided to don some boots and stomp them one my one. Rinsed them a couple times and poured the black water somewhere that the tannins wouldn't poison the veg garden... The neighbor kid asked me why the water is black and (correct me if I'm wrong), I told them that the Native Americans used to dye cloth with this black water from Black walnuts. My hands are lightly dyed as well, but I tried my best not to touch the water or the hulls. The hulls outside the nut can't be composted either, because of the tannins. I threw them away, and now my counter is full of nuts "Drying".
I imagine I'll go home today to find the kids had thrown them all over the house.

Before leaving for work today, I found a shady spot of my backyard and piled the oak logs in a neat stack. "Seey ya, loggies. Make big mushrooms for mommy!".

If anyone has 2 cents to add about the nuts or the mushrooms, I appreciate the advice.
I really have no mentors minus Youtube.