Sunday, March 11, 2007

Spring!!! And Toys, Revisited

It's warm! It's sunny! We planted!

Soil took some serious work to get "worked" enough to plant, but we planted one of the small beds (4'x4') halfway, with a row of curly kale, row of spinach, row of Dragon Carrots, and two rows of radishes (Champion & French Breakfast), all veggies & varieties that want to go out "4 weeks before last frost, or as soon as soil can be worked." In two weeks I'll plant out the rows the rest of the way, because while kale is super-healthy (possibly the most nutrient-dense food per calorie -- check out it's super-nutritiousness) ... I just don't know how to eat that much kale at once.

Kale is one of the very few brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choi, etc.) that I'll eat. It's also awfully pretty as an ornamental planting. Kale is so terribly hardy that you can actually broadcast the seed over snow and let it melt down into the bed. (But we didn't do that. I need straight lines so I know where to weed.) It's sweeter and tastier if it gets a frost after it starts growing. It also turns the water a really, really lurid green when you cook it, way greener than spinach does.

My favorite kale dish is a Dutch dish called stamppot (mash pot) that I was introduced to by a friend visiting from the Netherlands. If you're official about it, you have to make it with the special Dutch sausage, but it works fine with summer sausage -- as long as you don't tell any Dutch people you made it with summer sausage.


On the topic of toys that aren't electronic for the sake of being electronic, two catalogs I absolutely adore are HearthSong and Chinaberry, which both have toys that cater to the imagination and development of children. Frankly, I want to buy half the stuff in the catalogs for me, and when my goddaughter was young enough for me to shop these stores for her, it was a constant struggle not to do just that! Is Ravensburger still the best kids' game company ever? My godmother used to send them over from Germany and The Enchanted Forest was like my favorite game ever. And when I worked at a specialty toy store in high school, those were the premium games everyone wanted for their kids.


C. J. Summers said...

Here's another good site:

Eyebrows McGee said...

oooh, I just started getting that one in the mail. It's awesome!

Mahkno said...

Ravensburger is very much still around. Go to Just For Fun @ Sheridan n Lake (DQ corner). I think they carry some Ravensburger stuff.

Ravensburger definitely makes some great toys.

Mahkno said...

Snap Cirtuits FTW... my kid loves this toy.

A couple years ago we had an electrician in to do some work and he noticed the set. He never had seen it but thought it was awesome too. Was one of those 'where was that when I was a kid' moments.