Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dissecting A Flower

The unsuspecting specimen lays on the table.

Dancer smiles as she is about to chop it apart.

Spark studying the stem.  Check out that mad scientist 'do he has going on there.

This is the whole flower.  You can see the petals, the stigma, anther and filament.  The stigma is at the top of the pistil--the female portion of a flower.  The filament and the anther make up the stamen--the male part of the flower.  This flower is brightly colored to attract insects to the nectar.  Other flowers attract different pollinators.  Some flower, that need flies for pollination, are a shiny green or brown and smell like rotting flesh or fish.

This is a cross section of the bottom of the pistil, the female part of the flower.  The lower section is the ovary, the circular objects are the ovules.  The ovules are where the seeds actually develop (the ovules become the seeds).

This is a hollyhock bud, it was later dissected to see the pistil and stamen as they develop.  It is easy to see the sepals in this picture.  They are the green "leaflets" at the bottom of the flower.  The serve to protect the bud and to help support the flower.

This is a picture of geranium seeds.  I especially like geranium seeds because they make spirals as they break free of the plant.  They peel off of the green pieces you can see.  The green parts were the ovary at the base of the pistil, and the flower. The seeds float through the air like dandelion seeds.

This is a flower from a hosta.  We looked at lot of different flowers because there is a huge variety in the make up of flowers.  Some have one or only a few stamen, others have thousands.  None of the flowers were very fragrant.  Maybe that is because we had frost weeks ago and most of the insects are dead.  They were are very colorful and fun to work with. 

Medieval Beef Barley Soup

Beef barley soup to give us a taste of the cuisine of the medieval period.  It was delicious and a wonderful fall lunch.

Beef Barley Soup

1-3 lb. chuck roast - or to really get into the period use mutton
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons butter
1-3 quarts water
2/3 cups pearl barley
salt and pepper
2 carrots chopped

Brown the beef, onion and garlic in pan about 10-15 minutes.  Remove meat, onion and garlic from pan and discard fat and return to pan.   Add water, barley, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover for 30 minutes.  Add carrots, stir and cover for an additional 60 minutes until meat and barley are done. 

Or cheat and use left over roast like we did, then just brown onion and garlic, chop meat and add together.  Add water, spices, barley and carrots because the meat is already cooked.  Bring to a boil and simmer until barley and carrots are tender.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Make a Primary, Secondary And Tertiary Color Wheel

Using a paper plate, write the numbers 1 - 12 like a face of a clock.  Put the three primary colors on first, 12:00 is red, 4:00 is yellow and 8:00 is blue.  For the secondary colors mix the primary colors as you go around the clock.  At 2:00 mix red and yellow for orange, 6:00 mix yellow and blue for green and 10:00 mix blue and red for purple.  For the tertiary colors mix one primary color and the secondary color next to it.  At 1:00 mix red and orange, at 3:00 mix orange and yellow and so on around the wheel.  This is a really easy way for the kids, well for me as an adult too, to see the relationship between the colors and remember the combinations.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Art Festival

We went to a near by Art Festival this afternoon and it was pretty uneventful. The Vikings did play unitl 3:00, we went after the game, so maybe that brought the numbers down.  We were too late to see any of the sidewalk performers, except a band one of our friends sings in and the tail end of a group of cloggers dancing.  We did see a few friends so we got a little chatting time in and walked around and looked at the vendors.  The prices seemed really high to me and if I am going to hang or have something handmade in my house I want it to be something that we have made ourselves.  I didn't see anyone buying anything so wonder if they will have many vendors next year.  Spark wanted to get a snack but we talked him into getting something at the grocery store that was less expensive and he would get a bigger treat.  He picked out a Fudge Crunch ice cream cup so he was happy.  A $1.25 at the store verses $5.00 for the smallest thing at the festival.

We did take a horse drawn trolley ride pulled by Socks, obviously on the right, and Snuffles on the left.  In less than a hour we had seen, done and talked to everyone and we headed out to the grocery to get Spark that treat.

Other Sunday news:
~Co-op starts on Tuesday and we just got the science book on Friday so Spark is trying to get the whole first lesson read and the journal done today. 
~We are passing a cold around.  Spark was first to get it last week, I woke up with it this morning and Dad is starting to sneeze this afternoon.
~Dancer was going to cut out the pattern for her Halloween costume and we realized that we got the wrong size.  It is Simplicity 2325 Alice in Wonderland or the Queen of Hearts size 6 - 12 so if anyone can use it let me know and I will be happy to mail it out to you completely free.
~ The kids got a soccer ball yesterday when we were shopping and Dancer had been out in the yard practicing with anyone who will kick the ball around. 
~ The agenda for the rest of the day - a little cleaning, a little laundry and a whole lot of relaxing. 

Homemade Goldfish Crackers

Yesterday we had to be up early for soccer.  I set the alarm but then forgot the most important part - turning it on.  We woke up an hour late but Dad still sat down the check some of the blogs quick.  Does that make us addicted to the computer?  He quick looked at Swimtaxi234 (they have such a great blog that even Dad is a faithful reader) and they had this terrific cracker recipe posted.  When we were in town we pick up the few ingredients needed to make them.  Wow are they good!  They even give Cheez-Its a run for their money.  The initial thought was that we would bring them with to fellowship night at church but the kids gave that idea a quick veto and there wasn't enough left to bring by the time we left anyway.   

Homemade Goldfish Crackers

8 ounces, so a bag of Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
4 Tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
1 cup flour
¾ teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons cold water

Pulse everything (except water) together in the food processor until the dough resembles coarse sand. Pulse in water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove dough from the processor, wrap in plastic, and chill for 20 minutes.

Roll out the dough and cut into shapes.  You can see we went all out and made squares, impressive aren't they.  Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, or until crispy.
To see a more detailed making of the crackers check out Swimtaxi234's post, oh, just go there anyway and check out their blog!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Heritage Day Field Trip

 Our homeschool co-op went to a Heritage Day so we were up and out the door by 7:30, early for us.

   At our house the sun was shining beautifully but when we got about a half a mile from our house there was dense, dense fog.  Then a little further down the road the sun would be shining and it would be clear as clear can be.  The change between clear and foggy was distinct.  Some places we weren't in fog but we could see next to us a spot of fog.  Really weird, I have seen fog is low lying places before, we get that quite often since we live in a wetland area but this was different, eerie different.  This is what it looked like on the freeway, we drove in this for about an hour.  Dancer took this picture as we zipped along so it isn't as dramatic as it looked in real life.

Waiting for our group so we could all go in together, used the time for a little photo op. 

A lady was carding wool into these little bales.  I wonder if we could do that with goat hair?  Probably not because it is wiry.  I did know a lady once that clipped her dog, carded the hair and made herself a hat.

On HGTV they would call this a kitchen that needed up grading.  All the people doing displays camp here for the weekend in these tents, one even had a wood stove with a chimney.

Weaving the belts that voyagers tied around their waists.  Thought this look really fun until we found out it takes about 10 to 14 hours to make a long one that would wrap around a large man twice.  Perhaps a headband that would only take a couple hours would be more our style.

The rope making demo was the coolest.  They put three doubled lengths of twine on the wooden stand on the right weighted down so that it would stay tight as they twisted it and it got shorter.  When the twine got so twisted that it was ready to twist back on itself it would twist against each other and make the rope.  The wooden thing hanging and the little tool the guy is using was so that it didn't twist up on itself and get tangled.   It reminded me of the verse Ecclesiastes 4:12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

The machine that they used to make the rope was a 100 years old.  This lady was the happiest lady I can remember ever meeting.

An interesting tidbit we learned about rope was that each farmer would put a different signature color in their rope so they would know who's was who's.

We spent the morning here enjoying a lot more demos and buying a few trinkets, Spark got a wooden yo-yo and Dancer a copper bracelet and some earrings.  It reminded us of Silver Dollar City only on a much, much smaller scale.

After we went to a homeschool store to pick up a few text books we needed before I would have time to order them and get them in the mail.  More expensive that mail ordering but I guess that is the cost of getting them quickly.  Of course, we also had to find a few geocaches so it was late afternoon before we headed home.

On the way we stopped at Grandma Pat's and where she lives they have albino squirrels.  The little white spot in the middle is one of them.  I have only seen these here and there are a lot of them so it must be some odd gene configuration just these squirrels are passing on to each other.

Friday, September 23, 2011

He's Got His Dad's Sense of Humor

Grandpa Jerry makes a mean bowl of chili and no one knows this better than Spark.  When ever we get a container of it Spark "dibs" it, meaning it is all his.  This afternoon we stopped to see Grandma Pat and she gave us two containers of the coveted chili.  We got home and Spark agreed to share a bowl of it with me.  Here is the bowl I was served.

It is about a quarter of of cup, not quite what I had in mind when he asked if I wanted some.  He did come through with a regular sized bowl after he had had a good laugh.  I can't even say anything about it though because he comes by it honestly, it is exactly the kind of thing Dad would do.  Dad is known for giving the kids a potato chip and then when they say they want more he breaks the one chip into more pieces.  They are smart to him now and he doesn't get to play that one anymore.  Now it is their turn.   

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Homemade Warm Yummy Apple Sauce

Made even better this year by the fact that we didn't have any apples last year.

Willa Cather's Death

On April 24, 1947, Cather died in her New York apartment from a cerebral hemorrhage.

This was the same day as my mother's 18th birthday.  The year and date of Cather's death will now probably become one of those odd useless facts that I will remember forever.  I will be an old woman not be able to remember where I left my purse I just set down but will be able to tell you the date of her death.  Do you have any of those odd facts floating around in your head?

This came up because Dancer has been reading "My Antonia" and several of her other short stories.  She finished up the author by writing a short paper outlining Cather's life, childhood memories that influenced her writing, themes in her major works and awards she won. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Not The Plan Day

My dad was scheduled to have surgery this afternoon to have a cataract removed.  The plan was that I would drive him and wait with my mom while he was having it done.  To get ready we cooked them up three meals yesterday and Dancer baked some cookies so they would have things ready made when he was recouping.

That isn't how it worked out.  Some how while he was understanding that he was have surgery today the doctor was just doing an exam.  The same exam he had a couple weeks ago when he was referred for the surgery. 

The bad thing is he was really nervous about having it done and had mentally prepared for today.  Now he has to wait another month and go through it all again. 

The good thing was I got to go out to lunch with them, something we never do, just them and me, so I considered that part a success.  I also was happy to have a reason to bring them meals because I don't think they eat very well and now I can do it again next month.  Another good thing was that he picked to have it done next month on the 19th.  Every Wednesday the kids have AWANA so if Dad worked I would have to try and be back in time or they would have to miss it.  When I got home and looked at the calendar the day was blank, it was a planned day off of AWANA for MEA when all the schools are cancelled.  How perfect could that have worked out? 

The other non plan was tonight we went to the county 4-H meeting.  It was elections of officers and Dancer was nominated and took the position of historian.  The historian makes the county wide scrapbook.  The good things about this are that she goes to most county events and the scrapbook isn't judged at the fair.  The bad things are, well there really aren't any bad things about it. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

Target Practice

Dad took Dancer to a shooting night put on by Pheasants Forever.  She got to shoot two boxes of shells at clay pigeons.  She LOVED it.  While we aren't able to shoot clay pigeons at home without a substantial monetary investment she can target shoot.

Dancer has had gun safety training but Spark has not, so before we started shooting Dad lined up two milk jugs and sent a bullet through them.  He wanted to make it very clear what would happen to a person if they got shot.  The bullet flew through both jugs with ease and water shot out of each jug in a stream so I think Spark got the point.

The target set up towards the swamp about 20 yards from where we were going to shoot.

Dancer taking a shot.  Spark didn't get to shoot, we just aren't comfortable giving him a loaded gun.  I know lots of kids shoot and hunt at his age but he needs to get a little more responsible before he gets to.

After each of us took a turn we would circle our shots.  Dancer is a pretty good aim for her first time.

Our target at the end of our rounds.  We seem to aim to the right and no, Kacheekers wasn't by the target when we were shooting.

Color Or Black And White

I was talking to some people this week and one of them was telling the group about a dream she had had about t-shirt colors as it related to our conversation.  Another person said something about don't we all dream in black and white?  Another person said that black and white is really a new concept to people dating back only to when photographs and t.v. were invented.

I found this so interesting, mostly because I had never thought of it myself, that I had to come home and ponder it with the kids.   We decided that it must be true that black and white is a new concept because why would anyone just single out black and white.  Why not blue and orange or any other color combination.  We also dream in color, in fact Dancer just had a dream last night that she was riding a carnival banana ride that was yellow and I dreamt there was a blue mongoose in my room chasing away snakes.  It was a little hard to fall back asleep after that one because I had to convince myself in my sleep like mind that it couldn't be true since we don't live in India. 

We also wondered if animals really see in black and white?  We looked into this and found that there is a lot of discussion about this very topic out there in the scientific world.  A few interesting things we did find is that to see colors like we do, we need to have three different types cone cells.  Dogs and deer have two cones so they are what we would call color blind.  For example, we can wear blaze orange hunting and the deer see it as a shade of green.  Dogs see red and green the same so it was advised in one source that you don't let your dog drive the car.  Most fish, reptiles and birds see in color like humans.  Birds, lizards and turtles have an oil droplet by their eye cones and it is thought that this droplet may let them see colors more vividly.    Snakes have a pit organ just below their nostril and in front of their eye that lets them detect infrared light.  Mice, gerbils, bees, butterflies and many songbirds can see ultraviolet light.  All this, of course, is only theoretical and we will won't know with absolute certainty until these animals start talking and can do so on a quite advanced level.

We could keep pondering this but we have probably given it enough thought and will move on to the next topic that catches our attention and sends us down a rabbit trail.    

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tomato Pasta Salad

This salad is best made the day before you are planning on eating it to give the pasta time to blend with the herbs.  The salad is also a good way to use up some of those tomatoes that are piling up on the counter. 

Tomato Pasta Salad

2 cups of chopped tomatoes, although it certainly doesn't hurt to put in more
1 chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1/4 cup snipped parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt or a couple turns of the salt grinder
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 package (7 ounces) pasta

Cook the pasta to al dente, mix all the ingredients together and wait for people to rave about how good it is. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's Good To Be Back

We go to a church that we don't attend for AWANA.  Last year was our first year and it was sort of stressful to walk in and not know where to go or what to expect.  This year we got there and the teachers all knew Spark at the sign in table and greeted him by name.  Dancer went to her class and knew lots of the kids from her class last year, she moved up a class this year so anyone 10th grade and up was only a face to her last year.  Her class last year was huge and so this year they are about half the senior high group.  She is hesitant in new groups so it was nice she was already acquainted and familiar with people.  I always sit in the hallway/fellowship area and all the moms that it took a few months to get to know last year were back this year.  We just picked right up where we left off in the spring, it was really nice.  It is nice that most of the moms there don't homeschool so we talk about things other than homeschooling or the kids, well sometimes we talk about our kids but not related to homeschooling.  I do like to get together with other homeschoolers of course, but a change of pace is also refreshing.  We are all looking forward to next Wednesday already!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This, That and Other Things

On Friday the pump went out at 5:35 p.m.  Of course it couldn't have died during the day when we wouldn't have had to pay a plumber night time weekend rates.  The guy came out right away but Dad was already gone to work and I had to deal with him.  He said we needed to prime our water tank and didn't I know that?  No, I told him, I didn't.  I wanted to add, "If I did I wouldn't have called you now would I."  For the next 15 minutes he hooked up the air compressor to prime our water tank all the time telling how smart he was and how I should really know how to do this.  The whole time he was also straddling a big blue tank that we have right next to the pump.  After this amount of time he looks down and says, "oh, you have a self priming pump."  Who is the idiot now?  Again I didn't say that.

A skunk went through the yard.  Nikki, was barking and crazy so he must have been near.  The smell was so bad in the house it made our eyes roll back in our heads and our hair curl.  Not wanting to take Nikki out for her before bed piddle, in case he was still in the neighborhood, we just went to bed and hoped she would make it through the night.  She didn't, so I got to clean the carpets.  If you are going to do a little spot you might as well do the whole thing.

Dancer needs a retainer check at the orthodontist.  I have been putting of making the appointment until I could see what our schedule was going to be.  They can fit her in tomorrow at 12:30 and that was the only thing for the rest of the month that worked.  I guess we will be fitting it in.  I will drive 45 minutes both ways for a three minute appointment. 

Spark is the new president of our 4-H club.  I think it was because he spent all afternoon making campaign signs.  He was the only kid with signs, probably because he was the only kid who had the freedom to spend the afternoon making signs.  He is responsible to bring the American and 4-H flag to all meetings and the pledge banner.  I think that is the part that thrills him the most.  He has proudly told me a couple of times tonight what a responsiblity that is.  He has already found a bag to keep them all in for ease of carrying to the meeting. 

We got home from the meeting at almost 9:00 p.m. to find an email that there is a pot luck tomorrow night after Dancers ultimate frisbee game.  Guess we won't have to come home after the orthodontist appointment because we will be shopping for a tasty dish for the potluck.

My kids have never been very motivated to do any school.  Sure they fill in the blanks where needed and make a half hearted attempt to look like they are doing school but they could be doing a whole lot more.  After watching a news report that something like 40,000 kids applied to the U of M and only 14,000 were accepted, and their recommendation was that students take a rigorous course load if they want in, I started getting a little nervous.  Had a talk with her that she either needs to step it up or be happy with being in a low paying job with no hope for advancement.  Not that she needs to go to college but I would like her to make that choice herself when the time comes not have the choice made for her because she didn't do the work necessary to get into a college.  She has decided to step it up and has really been working hard with a whole new attitude.  It is amazing what a difference an attitude adjustment can make, she had complete understanding of her logic lesson the first time through.

We are going to try to learn Spanish the cheapest way possible, by watching children's t.v. shows.  We get seven regular Spanish channels and one movie channel so if nothing else I will feel like we are getting more out of the exorbitant dish bill we pay every month.   I had three years of high school Spanish, as did Dad, and one  year in college so we can at least tell them how to conjugate verbs, which is a lot like Latin, and some of the basic phrases.  We haven't gotten back to Latin yet but it is only Monday of the second week of the official school year.   

On Friday we got a phone call to invite us to join a small four family co-op.  They were looking for a boy Sparks age to round out their numbers. Normally I am not a fan of co-ops but the kids have really liked them when we have done them in the past.  I told myself it's not about me and I told the lady yes.  I got a list of books and art supplies a foot long that we have to buy.  Our first time having a school supply list and it is making me tense.  How do parents do this every year?  Only Spark will be part of the actual co-op, the older kids are going be teaching assistants at a place that teaches English to people new to the country.  This is way out of her comfort zone so I think it will be good for her to see she can do uncomfortable things.  I also think she will be great at it.

It has been hot, in the upper 80's the last few days.  The temps are suppose to dive so I hope that gets me more in school mode, it just doesn't seem right to be studying while sweating.  That reminds me of when I was young and would get new school clothes.  Everyone would want to wear the new ones the first day of school and we would all show up in corduroy and sweaters.  Now I can wear pajamas all day if I want, how great is that? 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday At A Glance

Dancer's breakfast.  The kids love Raisin Brand, it's the only kind they eat, going through at least a couple boxes a week.  Good thing Sam's has the two pack boxes.  Dancer puts milk on hers, drinks it off and then eats the cereal wet.  Spark drowns his and slurps while eating.  While Spark has bad manners, I think his would taste better.

Dancer had a Jr. Leader 4-H meeting this afternoon so we were off in the car yet again.  I am starting to think we should have bought a much more expensive car and less expensive house since it seems we spend more time in the car.  The meeting was in a small town where most of the stores are closed on Sundays so Spark and I ended up browsing an unclaimed freight store and a farm supply store.  Both reminded me of permanent garage sales.  The farm supply store does have a regular store part but then the whole back is consignment stuff which means junk with a few antiques thrown in.

The corn is starting to turn brown.  That means soon the roads will be full of tractors and the sound of corn dryers humming all day and night will carry across the county.

The car had so much mud on it it looked like we had been 4-wheeling, well I guess we have been on a lot of minimum maintenance roads lately.  Two kids with a hose and neither of them got wet, what are the odds of that? 

Corn for supper complements of Grandma Pat.  Have to savor every ear now since the season is all but over.

Green beans for supper, also from Grandma Pat.  Glad their garden did better than ours, which basically was a huge flop, and that they share with us.

As always, there are chores to do.  The goats have been out grazing all day and as soon as they get in the barn they are baaing for hay.  They are such Sallys, they would starve in the wild.

We are enjoying the new motion detector light Dad put up in the garage to turn on when we open the garage door.  Now with the days getting shorter we already have had a few times where we came home in the dark.  I think leaving the porch light on just screams that we aren't home so I don't like to have it on.  We also have to get out of the car and walk around outside of the garage to turn the inside garage light on, this fixes that problem as well.

Dancer and I play a few games of Racko each and every day.  Love that game.  When I was a kid a friend had it and I always wanted the game for my own but never got it.  Now that I am the parent we have the game, we even have a back up game for when this one wears out which it is close to doing.  And no, having a 57 in the first spot is not good. 

Every thing I have seen today is asking what you were doing when the attacks of 9/11 happened.  I had a house full of daycare kids, I had in home daycare from when Dancer was eight months old until she was seven.  We didn't watch t.v. or listen to the radio during the day because we were busy with playing and preschool type things.  In the afternoon Dad went to check his fantasy football stats and saw a blurb about it on the Internet.  It was several hours after it happened before we even heard it had happened.  I am surprised none of my daycare parents didn't call.  Of course, after we found out I was glued to the t.v. I remember it being such a time of unrest in the days and weeks that followed wondering if there were going to be anymore attacks.  Such a monumental event and our kids have no recollection of a pre 9/11 world, as far as they know tight security is how it has always been.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Curious About "The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons"

Dancer and I watched this movie last night and thought, while it was sad, it was pretty good.  After having the night to digest it we started talking about it today.  This morning we weren't too sure we liked it any more.  There were a lot of confusing parts to the movie.

We didn't understand why he would have been like a baby when he was born and then  revert back to being a baby in the end.  His life was bell shaped in that respect, young to old to young.  We also thought it was odd that he would die as a robust baby, wouldn't he keep getting younger until his lung weren't mature enough to breathe?

He seemed unmoved finding out that his mother had died, even telling Queenie that she was his real mom, and yet named his own daughter after his birth mother.

If he was 40ish when his daughter was born why would he leave then, she would be 40 when he died, what did he think he was sparing her?

When Daisy came to take care of him when he was five years old until he died, five years later, where did the daughter think she was?  And what happened to Daisy's husband?

There were also a lot of characters in the movie that weren't really subplots just filler.  The movie was two and half hours long, what was all that filler for?

We also tried to decided if the movie was about how Daisy told her daughter who her father was or was it about Benjamin Button?

The more we talked, and we had a lot more gripes about it, I said that maybe this was a book made into a movie because the story was so fragmented, which often happens to stories when they are made into movies.  I thought of Little Women with Winona Ryder, if  I didn't know the story of Little Women I would have never been able to follow that story line. 

Dancer did a little searching and sure enough, The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons is a short story written by none other than F Scott Fitzgerald.  It was first published in 1922 in Collier’s Magazine.  We found that Fitzgerald wrote it after hearing a remark made by Mark Twain: "It is a pity that the best part of life comes at the beginning, and the worst part at the end."  Rights to the story were held by Ray Stark until his death in 2004 and the movie was made in 2008.  What rights they needed from the story I am not sure.  Except for the name the movie, the name of the main character and that he ages backwards, there is not much that parallels the story.  A shame really because now that we have read the story (you can read it here) we think that the movie did a great injustice to it.  We are sad that people will think that they know the story of Benjamin Buttons and miss out on the real thing.  Leave it to Hollywood to mess up great literature again, or did we just analyze a perfectly good movie to death?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pallet Garden

This project was actually from this spring but I didn't get it posted.  I still wanted to get it recorded on our blog so the kids will remember it later and say "oh yeah, I remember that," years from now.

The project was a vegetable garden project for Spark to make for 4-H to put in the fair.  It is a garden that can stand up along side a wall to grow vegetables in a small space, say an apartment patio.

The base of the project is a pallet, by looking around town at manufacturing places it is easy to find them for free.

The pallet should be just plan wood, not green treated or have any other chemical on it since food will be grown in it.

Measure enough landscaping cloth to cover one side, the side with the biggest gaps, twice.  Cut it to fit the side of the pallet plus some to wrap around the sides.

Using a staple gun, tack the first layer of cloth on.

Staple the second layer on right over the top of the first one. Fold the cloth on neatly and make nice corners.  Look at the concentration on his face.

This is how the back will look.

Lay the pallet close to where you are going to be keeping it because it will be heavy.  Put 50 pounds of dirt on the top of the pallet.

Get it in all the cracks to fill up the inside of the pallet with dirt.

Realize that 50 pounds isn't even close to enough dirt and dump on another 50 pound bag.

Use a stick to knock the dirt firmly into all the spaces.

The stick is helpful but your hands really work the best for this job.   Keeping the pallet on it's side tightly plant bedding plants or densely plant seeds in all the spaces.  Keep it laying down for a couple of weeks until the roots have a good hold after which time it can be stood up on it's side and the dirt won't fall out. 

Here is where there should be a picture of the insanely successful project full of green vegetation that we are harvesting basket after basket of produce from.  Instead it is where real life took over and we had golf ball size hail that shredded and flattened the whole project right down to the last lettuce leaf.  It did rebound a bit over the summer but nothing that was picture worthy.  Google pallet garden and you can see other people who grew successful pallet gardens.  We hope to join their ranks next year.