Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gopher Plants, Big-Mouth Bass, And Fried Zucchini

The critters and I spent some time in the garden this morning pulling out the gopher plants that are busily trying to take over. The first batch we pulled out a couple months ago were taller than my head and in clumps a couple feet across. Today we pulled out all the little baby plants that had sprouted up in the places we pulled the others.

I'm so grateful that a friend happened to tip me off to the plants toxic nature a few days before we pulled the first batch (positively providential:). Critter #2 and I pulled them while Papa and Big Brother were at swimming lessons. We wore gloves because we'd been told the sap could irritate skin. We also washed our hands, arms, and faces with cool water and soap as soon as the chore was done. By evening the critter and I had blistery rashes covering our forearms which had been unprotected. We also had tiny patches of blisters on faces and legs. I can imagine the misery we would have experienced if we had not been wearing work gloves!

Today we had long sleeves as well and gloves, and the plants were Much smaller and so, I guess, not as 'juicy'. So far no one has noticed any blisters or itchy spots. :)

So we pulled weeds for a while...

And dug up some potatoes...

And washed some chairs...

Then mama decided it was time to head to the pond to pick mint for pesto-yum! Last fall I was looking for a way to enjoy pasta without cheese and stumbled on this super-yummy way of fixing it. Mint and Lemon Balm pesto is delicious on pasta, though the recipe I got the idea from suggests it be eaten with fish (which I haven't tried, I bet it's yummy too). Basically I blend equal parts mint and lemon balm in the food processor with enough oil to make it go. The original recipe called for lots of garlic, I'm supposed to go easy on garlic due to food allergies so I left it out.

After preparing my pasta I add a spoonful of pesto(a little goes a long way) and some salt and pepper and enjoy.

On the way to the pond Critter #1 (inspired, no doubt, by papa's recent ocean fishing experience) decided it might be nice to have a big-mouth bass for dinner. So, he grabbed his homemade fishing pole. This consists of a plastic trowel handle-minus trowel, crochet thread, and a bobber.

Here he is trying to dig through almost rock-hard clay with a toy shovel to find worms...

Needless to say, this attempt lasted about 10 seconds and then he decided it might be worth a little trek back up the hill to dig in the corn patch. This venture met with no success either. So the boy settled for a grasshopper.

Here he is, fishing...

Then Papa appeared on the scene and declared it was too weedy close to shore for the fish. Critter #1 instantly had the joyous idea that papa could take him out in the canoe to fish. After a moment of hesitation the plan was agreed too, and out they went.

No luck... :)
Then Critter #2 got a turn...
And everybody was happy....
I decided to try making battered zucchini for part of our lunch today. I made up a gluten-free mix for batter and was very pleased with the results. The boys ate zucchini without complaint for the first time ever :) Not perfectly healthy, of course, but fun!
Here is what I used for my batter:
(My "parts" were heaping tablespoons)
2 parts sweet rice flour
2 parts potato flour
1 part white rice flour
1 part corn flour
1 part corn starch
1/2t baking powder
I seasoned with cayenne, paprika. basil, salt, and pepper.
I mixed in enough warm water to make it thin enough for dipping.
I found that moistening the zucchini slices and dipping them in rice flour helped the batter stick to them better.
This turned out very yummy. I think I will make some of this mix to have on hand and try some baked onion rings with it.

I almost forgot. Here is a pic of my little bro catching a strawberry in his mouth. Fabulous entertainment on a summer afternoon! :) :)


fshmatt said...

Oooh, fishing in grandfathers pond. I bet they loved that. Good job on the zuccini batter, but I bet I still wouldn't eat it. Onion rings though, I would definitely sample. That guy at the end catching a strawberry in his mouth, he looks like a professional. Does he get paid for that kind of thing? Like a balloon guy?

princessmama said...

You wanna talk about professionals, we saw the Bubble Man at Scienceworks. He gets paid to blow bubbles!!

fshmatt said...

Sounds like a good job for someone who is full of hot air. Or maybe cold air would work better?

Crunchy Christian Mom said...

Oh, so much fun and yumminess! Except the toxic weeds, of course -- yikes! I hope it wasn't too painful!

Thank you for the sweet comment! I'm enjoying your blog, too! I've always dreamed of living in rural Oregon. I'm still hoping maybe we can retire there someday.

I know what you mean about not being prepared for people's questions about homeschooling. I took the boys to a new dentist this week, and he asked about curriculum, too. I suppose I just didn't expect a dentist to ask that! I mumbled something dumb about using the library because it's cheaper... I hate when I miss those opportunities to educate people!