Barefoot. Pregnant. In the kitchen.
Yup! That’s me these days! The garden is still pumping out produce, so Nathan and I have collected and prepared tomatoes, peppers, jalapenos, okra, squash, spinach, raspberries, zucchini, broccoli, cucumbers and a lone muskmelon. It wasn’t a great melon year for us, but we had one stellar muskmelon that we just devoured. If only they had all turned out that way! Fried okra has been a staple on the menu, and I’m having some fall cravings for cauliflower, sweet potatoes and Brussel’s sprouts.
Nathan tried to help me harvest spinach one morning, but it turned out he was just pulling the plant out when he tried to yank off the tender leaf. I suggested he “pick” tomatoes with a 5 gallon pail, and he happily sat in the Romas picking off any green, orange or red tomato he could reach. His pail was a fourth full when I was finished! Impressive work for a 1 yr. old! He was so proud of his pile!
Early in the week, it was all sun and warm weather. Wednesday early evening we left for Rochester, to visit Dan’s Uncle at the Mayo Hospital where he had open heart surgery. Their family is from Joplin, MO where Dan used to live, and so it was wonderful to see them, since it had been a few months! Nathan was his usual adorable self and a real trooper for a 3 hour drive that wasn’t during nap time. As a Mom, you try to make lists so nothing gets forgotten, but it always does. Since it was warm and we were hoping Nathan would doze off for awhile, I had put him in the car seat without any shoes or socks. Loads of books and snacks and his sippy cup were ready for the trip next to him. Dan wanted to nap too after a long day of work, so I drove. Twenty miles down the road, I gasped and asked Dan if he had grabbed Nathan’s shoes as we went out the door.
Dilemma. While there are some places where bare feet are permissible, there are some places where it’s not. So we detoured to a Goodwill, and since shoes in his size were absent, Dan came out with a pair of winter boots and a rubber bottom netting kind of swim shoe. I laughed. Nathan tried to wear the swim shoes when we stopped to get some grub and stretch. They were just too big and kept coming off. It wasn’t the end of the world, and he survived beautifully, just a rookie parenting moment.
After a visit to the hospital, we set up Nathan’s pack ‘n’ play in the hotel and went to sleep. After breakfast we took a dip in the pool. I was surprised that the water temperature was bearable and Nathan’s lips didn’t turn blue, and he didn’t shiver at all. He loved splashing around, going underwater, blowing bubbles and just getting some exercise! It was refreshing for us too! We sat in the warm (not hot) hot tub for awhile, breaking all the rules: allowing both child and pregnant lady in the water!
The rest of the morning we caught up with the rest of the family before Nathan’s nap at lunch time. Our Aunt offered to stay at the hotel so we could grab some lunch. A pizzeria was suggested that was a nice walk down the street. The restaurant was busy, and the outdoor seating nearly full. The smell was mesmerizing! A man was tossing pizza dough when we entered and the choices were overwhelming. After a lovely and rare lunch date, I suggested we find a place with good dessert. Ice cream, please?
Around the corner was a Food Co-op. I thought maybe they might have ice cream made locally, and sure enough they did. My eyes got as big as saucers when we entered. It was the largest co-op I’ve ever seen and the selection was just amazing! I told Dan maybe we should re-locate to Rochester, after he talked to the meat man to determine if they have any interest in goat meat!
In the afternoon, Nathan and I went to a huge park while Dan said goodbye to family. It had this gigantic sandbox in front of the playground with more trucks, scoops and toys then I’ve ever seen. Nathan loved it and I sat in the shade to try and keep from melting. Since my birthday was Friday, Dan offered to take me to a restaurant of my choice before heading home, and we settled on a Vietnamese place. The smell alone as we got out of the car, confirmed we’d chosen well! It was packed, but we didn’t have to wait for a seat. The drink we tried was a mixture of coconut milk, beans, ice and some kind of green jello-like things. It was delicious! Nathan loved it too! I am always so proud of how versatile his palate is, with the exception of beets!
Pork pad thai for Nathan, while Dan had a yellow curry chicken dish and I had lemongrass vermicelli. I remarked that so many countries “do vegetables” better than American cuisine. It was so fresh, and delicious, packed with at least 5 kinds of vegetables, with a wonderful grilled flavor. Nathan’s stomach was rock hard eating so much as he slurped down a little of everything. It was a late evening, arriving home at 11pm, and a short night before Dan headed back to work Friday.
My to-do list was quite long on my birthday. It was supposed to be a high of 90, so Nathan and I mowed the lawn in the late morning to avoid the heat. As I was rounding the bonfire pit, I kissed Nathan and glanced down to see his eyes closed and his head bobbing as I went over the bumpy lawn. I couldn’t believe he had fallen asleep and I had no idea what time it was! I finished the section then though he would wake up when I turned off the mower. He didn’t even twitch! So off he went to bed, for an early nap without lunch!
Saturday morning Dan helped me can pears. My canning and gardening season are winding down! I still want to try pickled okra, and then it’s on to apples! Dan began cleaning out the garden as I rushed off to get my once-a-year haircut in Sioux Falls, arriving home in time to pick up the boys, and meet his parents at The Bluestem for a birthday dinner. Nathan had slept 3 hours, and I was shocked how well he did at the restaurant for not having much time to run around and burn off energy.
Sunday we all took naps, until a severe thunderstorm broke out. I was on the phone, and when I couldn’t see the end of the driveway, I got a little flustered and asked Dan if we were under a tornado watch. It passed quickly, and we went out to survey the damage. Lots of big tree limbs broke off, one landing on the electric fencing for the goats. We made the rounds to secure everything. The week began with cool weather and today Nathan wore the winter boots Dan got him since it was barely over 50 this morning when we did our chicken chores. I guess they came in handy after all!
And that’s the news from this we-forgot-his-shoes-birthday week on the farm!