Our weather had made a complete about-face. Last week I posted about the really cold, wet days we’d been having, days that required lots of hot tea and soup. Last Sunday I made a large pot of Andrea’s lentil-rice soup, and it was just what we needed, very comforting. But as often happens in Wisconsin, Spring is short-changed and Summer comes in like a lion…. a really hot lion. Today it was over 90F! (C = really, really hot.) That changed our cooking and eating behavior a lot. The other day, I made some cole slaw and a melange of quinoa, tempeh, and vegetables… I guess the cole slaw was what made it feel like summer.
Tonight we made more tempeh; I had marinated it in anticipation that I would finally finish assembling that grill (you know, the one we bought three years ago and finally got around to putting together last year….). After another hour of relative progress (i.e. putting some part on, realizing it was on backwards, taking it off, putting it on again) I feel the end is in sight. However, dinnertime was approaching, so I pan-fried it instead. This plate lacks the bean salad I also made; summer pot-luck season is starting, and bean salad is my standard go-to dish. It’s something substantial (in case there’s nothing else on the table to eat) and still summery. In this case, tomorrow we’re actually going to a memorial service for the late Madison activist Nan Cheney, and bringing the food along.
This weekend I peeled the paper wrappers off at least 100 crayons. Claudia, who is a true friend, helped me with some of them. I bought the 24-packs of crayons (eight of them), because that was the best value, and also because I wanted to maintain my sanity — keeping 24 different colors straight was a lot worse than the standard 8, but way better than the 64 pack! How may iterations of red do you need?
My class is still studying geology, so we’re going to have a hands-on activity about the rock cycle. First the kids will use a pencil sharpener to turn the crayons into thin curls of colored wax. This will represent erosion of solid rocks into sand, smaller stones, etc. They’ll then layer the colors onto some aluminum foil and carefully press them down. When they open the foil, it should have hardened into some layers (which we’ll break apart to see), representing sedimentary rock. After that, they’ll rewrap the sedimentary rock, and then press it in their hands to warm and compact it, and then stand on it to represent the pressure needed to change it into metamorphic rock. Finally, we’ll melt it into "magma" on a hotplate, and then pour the "lava" (igneous rock) over ice cubes to simulate how actually flowing rock cools and hardens when it leaves a volcano. The resulting hardened new rock will be in interesting formations. And the cycle could repeat if we wanted it to. Anyway, that’s life in the land of nine year olds.
In other news, I often try to read kids’ and young adult books to see what’s in and what’s new, etc. This week’ I’m reading a book that’s too old for my kids, but humorous, called Wurst Case Scenario, about a vegan from Colorado who ends up at a small college in Wisconsin. The college and town could be based on Beloit College or any small private school, and that’s part of the fun: because I live in the blond hair/white skin/meat eating heartland, I get all the humor. Not a Pulitzer-winning read, but still enjoyable.