Friday, April 2, 2010

Tell Me A Story...

Nothing like the first fragrances of spring to inspire the creative juices. The fresh breezes and warm sunshine have everyone clamoring for water gun fights. Kill joy that I am, I'm making them wait until the breezes are a little less, um, fresh for that to happen. I am Mother, hear me

Along with spring breezes comes spring cleaning. Yeah. More kill joy stuff. That water fight is starting to sound better all of the time. But when one lives with Hobbits in a Hobbit-sized hole, one must be stringent in the discipline of one's use of space. And so begins the biennial task of cleaning, dejunking, and reorganizing and reuse of space. Not to be confused with the daily task of cleaning, dejunking, and reogranizing and reuse of space. I'm considering hiring St. George for this task. You know the guy. The dragon-slayer? All I'm saying is that I hold myself indemnified regarding what's in my basement...

This spring, in the midst of the 27 Fling Boogie, Dog unearthed a blank bound book. His eyes gleamed. I know that feeling. The call of the blank pages. The crisp edges of a professionally bound book. Oh, the possibilities...

He petitioned for custody and was awarded sole care of the treasure. I haven't been able to pry him out of its pages ever since. Much to the annoyance of Tool Guy, who is dragging Dog through the final laps of the final book in that dreaded, terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad curriculum that they chose. Can't say I blame him. I'd take a blank book over that any day and twice on Sunday.

He's doing a surprisingly good job at dialog and plot flow. The chapters are a bit brief, but the story is rather credible. For science fiction. Every day or so, we get to hear the newest twist of the harrowing tales of the anti-hero who still hasn't figured out what he needs to do in order to stop the spiral of catastrophe as it spins recklessly out of control. I'm a little piqued, however, since he scorned my title suggestion: The Perils of Pauline. Philistine.

Bug was similarly inspired and has launched into his own adventure series. He almost got bogged down in spelling and mechanical technicalities, but I encouraged him to ignore such trivia and let his imagination run wild. And run wild it has. It was endearing to hear him describing his story and apologize for the brevity of his chapters, but amended his statement by assuring the listener that they would get longer, since he had some ideas for reworking them.

Good job we subscribed to unlimited long-distance because the grandparents aren't to be neglected in the sharing of these flights of fancy in a style entirely new. In daily installment. None of this Dickensonian wait for the next week's issue to hit the press! We live in the communication age, right? Grandmere et Grandpere are, of course, duly appreciative and encouraging. (I think Bill Cosby had it right, though; these are old people who are getting ready to die. They're polishing their halos.) I probably need to slip them some chocolate.

For my own part, I'm turning my creative bents toward playing with buckwheat some more. I decided to try a dish that I first sampled in my herbal apprenticeship. It's a simple kasha recipe. When I asked for the recipe, the chef replied that it was the one that came on the box. Weeeeell, I'm the one who buys such things in twenty-five pound bags. Quelle dommage. I decided to play with it and figured that anything worth cooking was worth sprouting before cooking. So I did.

Sprouting is very simple. Soak groats for about an hour or so. Empty groats into colander and rinse thoroughly, allowing to drain. I usually leave the groats in the colander until sprouted, rinsing four to five times a day. As I said, they tend to be very viscous, so they need to be completely rinsed every time. They'll be ready in 2-3 days. The amount of sprouts this recipe calls for is about 1 1/3 cups raw groats.

Buckwheat Kasha

2 cups sprouted buckwheat groats
2-2 1/2 cups water or broth
1/2 tsp. salt (or less if using salted broth)
1/2 cup diced shitake mushrooms
1 T olive oil

In cast iron skillet, dry roast groats until brown. In heavy sauce pan, bring broth or water/salt to a boil and add oil and groats. Simmer on low for 10 minutes or until water is absorbed. Cover and allow to steam for another 10 minutes or so.

As a newly-minted seven year-old, Princess is not to be left behind in all of this composition. She's dragged out a few notebooks and began copying a book. Then she began working on an original piece herself. It's rather amusing--though I'm not sure she means it to be so--and largely involves a boy and girl on adventures in which the dialogue is characterized not by "he said/she said," but the two of them "shouting" to each other. I imagine this is to lend excitement and suspense to the tale. Amazing what dramatic tension one can conjure from detecting the owner of a wayward kite. Oh, to be seven again...

Her best works, though, are the stories she tells me when I'm brushing out her very, very long hair. It's never been cut and is almost down to her knees now. That's right; I'm raising Crystal Gayle. So everyday, we brush out her old braid and plait a new one. There's always a surly collection of knots in one particular spot. Tender-headed, she has dubbed this snarl "Mr. Big Knot." As I brush her hair, she tells me about the exploits and derring-do of Mr. and Mrs. Big Knot. As I work my way down to the lower reaches of her hair that aren't so stubborn, we only encounter the less aggressive knots that are easier to defeat. She has deemed these Mr. Big Knot's "minions." Minions. I ask you.

Drowning in juvenilia. It's time for Tool Guy and Bug to build us some more book cases...

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