Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What's that smell?

Why it's onions, of course! Heaps of chopped onions waiting to be dehydrated or frozen.

Heaps of raw onions waiting to be chopped. (And those quart jars in the back are freshly dehydrated onions. I'm afraid you can't tell in the picture, but these onions are HUGE--like close to the size of Elodie's head. Not that she has a huge head or anything.)

And heaps of dirty, partially frozen, partially rotten onions in the garage waiting to be sorted and chopped.

Where does one family get close to 200 pounds of onions (that's Aaron's estimate)? You may have seen it on the Today show Monday morning (I didn't, but my parents did). Miller Farm, about 1 hour north of Denver, opened their farm up to the public to come and harvest FREE produce left in their fields. As I've already mentioned in this blog, we like free stuff, especially free food, so we headed up to Miller Farm Saturday morning at 9:00, right when they opened, to find literally THOUSANDS of people there, meaning a good deal of traffic to actually park and get picking. Aaron was supposed to be at work at 11:00, and as I mentioned, this place is an hour away from town, so we were in a BIT of a hurry when we finally parked. Anyone who knows Aaron knows that he takes on manual labor like a workhorse at racehorse speeds, so we (OK, mostly he--I'm 7 1/2 months pregnant and had Elodie and Xander to monitor) got right to work. It just so happened that we parked right next to the onion fields, meaning that it was definitely the most convenient to fill up our bags full of onions, run them to the car, and then come back for more onions. Now that we're nose-deep in onions, I can't quite remember why, but we decided not to go to the carrot, potato, leek, beet or kohlrabi fields until we had 10 20-lb bags of onions. Aaron then dashed over to a potato field while I took a tractor ride with the kids (Xander's farm experience would have been completely lacking without it) only to discover that the potatoes were much harder to harvest because that field wasn't already dug up like the onion fields were. So he shoveled out one 20-lb bag of potatoes, and then moved on to carrots, which also had to be dug. Meanwhile, the kids helped me grab up the partially-edible carrots which were on the surface. By this time, Aaron was going to be late for work, but we had more bags to fill, so for some reason, we decided we should go get some red onions because you can fill your bags up really fast with those. So we grabbed up three bags full. As I meandered to the car with the kids, Aaron sprinted over and noticed that some GIANT kohlrabi were easily accessible to the car, so he shoved a couple bags full of those. Does anyone know what to do with about 50 pounds of kohlrabi? I'm afraid I don't even know quite what to do with one pound of it. So please post your favorite kohlrabi recipe in the comments.
I have indicated that this farm grows giant vegetables. Check out the size of this carrot!! Not to mention the character--take a close look. It has a nice nubbin nose, a nubbin ear, two eyes chewed by some little animal, leafy hair, and even one very long nosehair. We thought it was hilarious, so we took a picture of it before we chopped it up and threw it in our three-bean soup. This one carrot made over 2 cups of chopped carrots.
Yes, indeed, we have enjoyed a bounteous harvest at this Thanksgiving time. As Aaron finally crawled into bed last night at 2:00am after chopping and sorting all those onions pictured above, he was tired, but just radiating with gratitude for the abundant blessings manifested in the incredible onion stench permeating our home. When I snuggled up to him and said, "wow, you stink," he said, "aren't we so blessed?" (Did I mention that Aaron's a workhorse? He got home from studying on campus at about 10:00pm and I think the stench of partially rotting onions in the garage where he was parking his bike motivated him to preserve the onions before they all perish and dwindle into a heap of compost.) Alas, I'd better stop blogging and go get another batch in the dehydrators! Aaron has left me without excuse by doing all the stinky prep work!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sweet 'n' Feisty

This is my sweet little girl. Sometimes.
Monday morning, Elodie was eating breakfast, and she finished her hot Tang (yes, I am a horrible Mom for letting my kids drink colored, flavored sugar water, but it was a freebie leftover from Girls' Camp a couple years ago and I like free stuff). Elodie insisted on having another glass. "I need more hot Tang!" I decided that I shouldn't be a doubly horrible Mom by letting her drink two cups of colored, flavored sugar water, so I kindly told her, "Only one cup of Tang, but you have more Cheerios you can eat." She looked right at me, swiftly picked up her bowl of cereal, and dumped the entire thing right on the floor. This is just one little reason that I have my own version of a line from "More Holiness Give Me"--it goes, "More patience in mothering!"

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's a Zoo!

For weeks before Halloween, Elodie would report "I be a giraffe and Xander be a monkey" whenever Halloween, monkeys, or giraffes came up in conversation.

She and Xander both really got the trick-or-treating thing this year and were pretty into holding out their bags when they saw more and more treats being dumped in. This picture was taken before we started trick-or-treating, which is why Xander looks a bit unhappy--he saw no reason to delay. And that's what Elodie does when I ask her to smile on command.

Aaron and I were the zookeepers, and yes, that little monkey did bite right through his banana peel and ate it before we even started the night. So much for his accessory!

We carved one of our MANY home-grown pumpkins for Family Home Evening before Halloween. That explains why the pumpkin's irregular, slightly reddish, mottled, and squirrel-bitten. It looked the least appetizing so we chose it for our jack-o-lantern instead of using it for pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soup, pumpkin stew, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pancakes, baked pumpkin, or dinner in a pumpkin. All of which we have indeed eaten in the last month! Maybe next year we won't plant two full seed packets of pumpkins!

This picture was taken back in September when our pumpkin patch was still lush. As soon as the pumpkins realized it was fall, the patch, which we planted in front right around our mailbox, became a bit of an eyesore. I guess we were a little odd to plant part of our vegetable garden in the front yard. But if you taste one of our chocolate chip pumpkin muffins you won't mind odd anymore!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Please Welcome the Dahles to Blogland!

Xander's face says it all--we are EXCITED to join the world of blogging! We are grateful for the technology that allows our scattered extended family to keep up with our growing little family. We certainly enjoy keeping up with you bloggers out there, so now it won't be so one-sided. However, the title does not mean that you'll be hearing from us daily by any means, rather that it will give you an occasional taste of daily life with the Dahle's.