Friday, September 20, 2013

Random Rambles, Part Two

I planted zinnias from seed last spring in the basement. The seeds were saved from our son's yard, collected in the fall. Finally, they are blooming like crazy in pots and in the garden. Bright colors, scattered around the yard, or cut and stuck in a jar in the kitchen, they make a long-lasting arrangement (I stick the flowers in a jar - calling them an arrangement is a very loose term). I remember reading somewhere that zinnias were a favorite for the pioneer women. They would carry the seeds with them, grow the flowers outside their door, nurturing them for their cheerful colors and memories of home, creating a new home where they were.

We are having a blast reading aloud two books I found at the library. The End of the Beginning, and A Beginning, a Muddle, and an End, by Avi. He plays with words, creatively twisting them while he weaves a story about two unlikely characters, "a small snail and an even smaller ant." I love to hear our son giggle when he gets the plays on words. We laugh together, enjoying the light-hearted story.

The ant, Edward, teaches Avon, the snail, a song to sing while they are on their adventure.

 " "One of the better things about it," Edward pointed out, "is the fact that it can be sung from either end. I sing it from the beginning, and my father sings it from the end."
     "Can it be sung from the middle?"
     "Absolutely," said Edward. "That's how my mother always does it. As you can see, we are a family of individuals."
     "Ah, but at least you're all singing the same song," said Avon."
from The End of the Beginning

And, from the end of A Beginning, a Muddle, and an End,
"Avon found a new piece of paper and was about to start writing again when he sighed and said, "I have to admit my thoughts are still in a muddle."
     "Avon!" cried Edward. "That's exactly where a writer should be. After all, creatures generally have nothing to do with their beginnings. And it's not often they consider their ends. But in between there's all that muddle. The writer's job is to write about the muddle."
     "Are you saying," said Avon, "that since I'm always in a muddle..."
     "It proves you are a writer.""

Orange Glazed Carrots
adapted from Fix It and Forget It Lightly, by Phyllis Pelman Good

32 oz. pkg baby carrots (or thickly sliced)
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c orange juice
1 tbsp butter
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Combine all ingredients except cornstarch and water in slow cooker.
Cook on low 4 - 6 hours, or until carrots are done to your liking. For my slow-cooker, I have to turn it to high for a couple of the hours.
In small bowl, stir together cornstarch and water until smooth. Add to carrots, cook a few minutes until sauce thickens.

Here's to our in-the-muddle days!

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