Wednesday, August 28, 2013

2 vagabonds, figs and head wounds

I’ve been following the blog “100 Latviešu stāsti" since about #40something. The two authors, Ģirts and Kristaps, are traveling the globe interviewing Latvian émigrés. By emphasizing the things that those interviewed miss most they hope to help those Latvians still in Latvia to appreciate the things they have. By staying with acquaintances and “couchsurfing,” the pair have been traveling low-budget all over the world - they've just departed this continent en route back to Europe. While in America, our paths unknowingly crossed in Gaŗezers and although we didn’t have the chance to meet (if only I had known they would be there!), I had quite the surprise the other day when I sat down at my computer. Story #85 featured a familiar face – my mother! So if you’re curious about how some Latvians in the US today have managed to keep their cultural identity, do take the extra 15 seconds to use Google translate and check out this article, “85.stāsts “Mazās Latvijas” darba rūķis – Inga.”

Then there is this article, “What Should a 4 Year Old Know,” that has eased my mommy-guilt about not sending Lauris off to preschool this fall to learn his multiplication tables, but also motivated me to spend more time with the boys, less time with the computer. Dad is supervising bathtime while I write, if you must know…

We are (I am) thinking of planting a fig tree in the backyard, but wanted to test out a few figs on the family before dedicating a piece of the backyard. Want a super-healthy, quick and easy dessert for those weeknight meals? Cut an x into the top of a fig, big enough that you can stuff a teaspoon or so (depending on how big the fig) of goat cheese in, but not so large that the fig opens up, sprinkle with some thyme (or Herbs de Provence) and bake at 400˚F for 8-12 minutes until fruit opens slightly and the cheese crisps. Drizzle with honey and serve warm. I’ll admit, the boys weren’t as big of fans as I was… Verdict on the tree? Probably only if we get a free tree…

roasted figs with goat cheese and honey
After giving away dozens of cucumbers and (sadly) having to compost another half-dozen, we finally caught up to the cucumber production from our garden. (And by caught up, I mean the seven cucumbers sitting in the salad drawer in the fridge will get eaten before going bad.) So one day last week found me buying cucumbers at Tomato Vine: why, you might ask? Well, because they finally had dill in stock, and it’s pickling time! As the cucumbers coming from the garden are the size of small baseball bats and my Ball jars are the Liter variety, I dug through the bin for some smaller, pickle-sized cucumbers. Dill pickles are sooo easy, maybe I’ll have to share the recipe I learned from my Latvian “neighbor” while living in Detroit, Rudzīšu kundze… She had a 5L jar, much more suitable for the 2013 summer harvest! But maybe you are already starting to plan next year's garden, so here's a little inspiration for those of you living in the city - City Farming Like You've Never Seen Before!

Source: here
We’re planning our fall calendar, and it looks like there might be a trip or two in the near future. If you’re also plotting out your autumn excursions, you might want to take a look at this article on budget-friendly road-trip destinations. She had me at Ben and Jerry’s! And to the author, I wish you and your love a long and adventure full marriage – congratulations on the engagement!

Our annual membership to the Greenville Zoo is still good for a few months, but we’ve been getting our full of the lions, ocelots and gibbons while the weather is warm. It turns out this is the ideal time of the year to visit the zoo; school is in session but the field trips have not been scheduled yet, the weather is slightly cooler but it is still open at 9am – a guarantee you’ll have the place to yourselves.

Saturday marked our first visit to an emergency care center here in Greenville after Lauris fell from a tree stump. Also involved was another chunk of the same tree and a chicken coop – sounds like the start to a joke, does it not? The gash on his head was not funny, but luckily didn’t require stitches. I was assured that the glue wouldn’t leave a scar, but as it’s above the hairline and scars look rugged on boys anyway… Once again, the ordeal was worse for mom (I’ve added a few gray hairs to my collection) and Lauris forgot about crying the second he was handed two giant bouncey balls by the doctor.

I’m a little concerned about this writing style that seems to have taken over my recent posts – the “dump everything into a post by giving every event its own paragraph” approach. Although this capricious tactic might represent the state of my mind at the moment, I do feel as though I have a more cohesive month or two coming up; I hope you’ll bear with me and stay tuned.


  1. Ka vienmer, skaisti! Un paldies! xo

  2. Wait--what's wrong with just giving every subject it's own paragraph? ;) Seems that's how my brain tends to work these days as well. I'm so grateful that you posted the article about what a four-year-old should know. Sometimes it's hard not to get caught up in who's doing what with their kids and how you are comparing as a parent.

    And Ben and Jerry's!! We took a roadtrip in New England several Octobers ago and it remains one of our favorite trips (we just drove randomly while leaf-peeping) but we didn't make it to Vermont. If only I had known then. ;)

    So sad about Lauris's ouchy but glad it wasn't more serious!!


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