Harvest Monday – beans

Beans! 3 pounds of beans. I started picking a few and then just kept on picking until the bowl was close to overflowing. I weighed it on my tiny kitchen scale and found my first official bean harvest to measure just over 3 lb.

Beans! All from my backyard kitchen garden!

Beans! All from my backyard kitchen garden!

As for other clutter in the picture, the tomatoes were “scratch and dent” at the farmers’ market, and I wanted to make a scratch tomato sauce. Perfect. The odd looking green thing next to the cutting board is a lettuce cutter.

Here's the lettuce.

Here’s the lettuce. 

This is from the market. There’s more outside, ripe for the picking – literally. I picked about a pound of various lettuces Saturday; I smell BLTs in our future.

For more Harvest Monday, visit Daphne’s Dandelions. She has all the links for a productive week in more ways than one.

Note: Voter’s Voice will take its place on Tuesdays from here on out while I post my harvests on Mondays. Tomorrow: get reacquainted with Grandma Daisy, my alter-ego from the future who reflects oh so well on the past.

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ADA is 25 years old!

I grew up with a minor hearing loss in an age where those with “special needs” were segregated from the masses. I wasn’t channeled into special education, thank goodness. I succeeded along with my friends. I even managed to earn a college degree in music, despite a certain professor who insisted that my hearing loss meant I shouldn’t be in a conservatory of music at all.

Years and years later, a principal at Amigo’s school glared at me and growled, “Don’t throw ADA at me; it makes me angry.” Angry or not, we threw IDEA at him and he had to follow the law.

What’s ADA? What’s IDEA? Why are they important to me and important to my family? I just posted on Connections Academy’s national blog. Read and enjoy!

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Dear Facebook; you’ve got me all wrong.

Dear Facebook;

Your algorithm failed mightily on this one. I follow several prominent progressives and local activists. One of them must have mentioned the issue below. Oh, Facebook, rest assured that I do NOT like and will NOT follow the page or group that posted this advertisement.

Facebook, WTH were you thinking?

Facebook, WTH were you thinking?

Shudder. Those key word searches are not doing a good enough job of filtering posts for my interests. Facebook, let’s make a deal. How about you stop sending me things you think I might “like” and just let me see what my friends have to say. Okay?

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Go Milwaukee Brewers!

We took a day off from the grind and frazzled craziness and visited Miller Park in Milwaukee – all four of us. That’s Amigo, adjusting his armband radio. He listens to Bob Uecker call the game so he doesn’t miss anything, and he enjoys the atmosphere and excitement of the park itself.

Go Brew Crew!

Go Brew Crew!

The weather was awesome, the roof was open, and the Brewers beat the Pirates 6-1. Who could ask for anything more?

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What’s Common Core?

“Because you’re common, Cinderella.” The stepmother’s line goes on. “Your mother was common and so are you. Only you can wash your face and put on a clean dress, but underneath, you’ll still be common.”

“Don’t you want our students to be more than just common?” -anonymous legislator proposing to repeal Common Core Standards in Wisconsin.

From Dictionary dot com:

  • belonging equally to, or shared alike by, two or more or all in question
  • pertaining or belonging equally to an entire community, nation, or culture; public
  • joint; united
  • widespread; general; ordinary
  • of frequent occurrence; usual; familiar
  • hackneyed; trite
  • of mediocre or inferior quality; mean; low

None of these examples or definitions really fit the Common Core Curriculum. The question remains: what is it? What does Common Core mean? What is the impact of Common Core on students? On teachers? On mandated  state tests?

When Governor I-Walk-The Party-Line announced he is running for president, he was firm. “No Common Core!” he shouted to the crowd. Here’s the big question: what does Walker think it is? Frankly, I’m not sure he knows Common Core beyond its usefulness as a sound bite.

Here’s my challenge, readers. If/when you have a chance to interact with the Governor, ask him to define Common Core. Let’s see what the man really knows – and what he really doesn’t know.

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The Stories in the Rocks

When I started my rock garden, it was a vehicle for covering and smothering the wild mint that was taking over the world. Several years later, I haven’t gone back to planting in the space – at least not in the ground. The stones and the rocks and the miscellaneous curiosities are growing in variety and quantity.

Stone birdhouse

Stone birdhouse

The peas climbing the shepherd’s crook are temporary. By next year, the mini mums will have taken over the space all the way over to the rocks.

Fun - just cool and fun.

Fun – just cool and fun.

This seemed to be a perfect addition to the space. Maybe it’ll scare away the chipmunks that ate my spinach.

Big Basil

Big Basil

The basil has outgrown its pots in the puppy. I’ll consider a transplant sometimes soon. For now, the frog can entertain; plants grow better with music, don’t they?

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Another Use for a Coat Hook

I might call it repurposing. Amigo just called it “lunch”. We had to run an errand in Green Bay, so we took our Fun Day Friday lunch to a wonderful family restaurant across the street from Lambeau Field. We admired the decor (lots of Packer history) and ordered good food (and we went easy on the trainee). Amigo enjoyed exploring our little booth, including the coat hooks on the side.

It's July. We didn't have coats.

It’s July. We didn’t have coats.

A hook is a good place for a white cane, too.

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A Garden with a White Picket Fence

It started with a rummage sale or two. I hit the jackpot in a sale around the corner from my own house.

Chairs, "baby" gate, and plastic pieces of fence

Chairs, “baby” gate, and plastic pieces of fence

I bargained with the sellers, and they offered to include all the white fence pieces if I bought the chairs and the big circular collapsible “baby” gate. The gate is all one piece: there is no end to it. It collapses nicely, though, into very little space. I have it stored like that right now in the New Garage.

I’d turned up my nose a little when Chuck found a stack of this white plastic stuff at another sale. “It’s plastic! Ew!” I had to take back my words after buying a whole pile of the same junky plastic.

From a distance, it doesn’t look that bad.

Rather cute, almost.

Rather cute, almost.

You can admire the garage and its People Door (simple pleasures) or the rain barrels set up behind it.

Up close, it’s not so cute. However, If this white plastic discourages the wild furry ones from entering my green space, I’ll be happy.

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The War On Teachers Goes National

“If Scott Walker sees 100,000 teachers & firefighters as his enemies, maybe it’s time we take a closer look at his friends.”  Well said, Elizabeth Warren. In my neck of the woods, we call them his “handlers” or his “sponsors.” Walker fools a lot of people, and he has a lot of help from some very deep pockets.

A talented and caring colleague told me, “I don’t tell people I”m a teacher anymore.” This was a few months after the misnamed Budget Repair Bill became the dreaded Act 10, the one that stripped away rights that had been negotiated over decades of negotiations. We teachers were singled out by the public, despite the fact that thousands of others were affected by the damaging bill.

Today, Scott Walker officially declares his candidacy for the highest office in the land. Don’t kid yourselves, people: he is all about himself and his millionaire handlers. Today’s children? He doesn’t care. And those children? They’re too young to vote — until it’s too late.

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Organizing the Disorganized

Since “Unorganizable” isn’t a word recognized by spell check, I used disorganized in the post title. The shelves were not really disorganized, not so much, well maybe a little. The varied sizes and types of containers made it difficult to put things away or take anything out without disturbing the delicate balance and watching several tumble to the floor.

Step one in the organization process: Take a “before” picture.

Top Shelf

Top Shelf – before organizing

Step 2, if I’m completely honest with myself, went like this: forget you took before pictures and completely forget that the shelves need organizing. Ahem.

Step 3: remove the small and tiny spice and herb containers.

This helped a lot.

This helped a lot.

And finally, after sorting and stacking a little more, I could reach into the shelves without (much) fear of an avalanche.

Less chaos! Better access!

Less chaos! Better access!

The shelves still teeter a little, but they’re much more stable and I can find (almost) anything I need. Ah, the feeling of a practical project well-done.

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