Monday, April 21, 2008

Fluff Piece

On the left here, you see an adorable baby chick. I might even say a fluffy chick. This is some anonymous internet chick. My kids have known real chicks at a nearby working farm we visit that is run by a community park district. The chicks squawk and dart around the penned in chicken yard and my kids desperately want to touch them. They have touched chicks at their cousins' hobby farm, where my sister-in-law and brother-in-law have: 45 wooded acres, 6 horses, 2 donkeys, a rescued turkey (it was secreted away to them in the dead of night by some neighbor children to save it from the Thanksgiving table...), a couple of peacocks (so my brother-in-law can feel like the landed gentry of the 18th century Thomas Jefferson agrarian ideal) roaming and roosting directly over the parked cars (did you know peacocks roost, and then shit on the cars below?), a flock of chickens, a dog and several cats.

My in-laws get up early in the morning and spend the next hour or so feeding all of the animals and gathering eggs and maintaining all of the animals in the various ways they need to maintain them. They do this for fun. As I said they have a hobby farm--this is how they get their kicks. Different strokes for different folks, I say. I have enough problems maintaining a cat and a fish.

I say to daughter, "Daughter, do you want to feed the fish?" It's her fish. Daughter says to me, "No. That's OK. You can do it!" So, I am the fish keeper. I can't imagine livestock in addition to that.

Over here on the right you see a dandelion puff. It's a fluffy ball of seeds ready to scatter on the wind. Or, as my kids would see it ripe in the middle of our yard, ready to scatter on their blowing as hard as they possibly can to get every single seed out of there and spread fully across our own unkempt lawn and onto the neighbors' immaculately kept lawns. We don't have a lawn service. More than that, we don't do our own weed-and-feed application in the Fall and the Spring.

That's not to say that we haven't, because we have. Many moons ago, we did it a couple of times. My husband filled the hopper of our fertilizer/yucky chemical spreader and walked up and down the yard in neat, uniform rows letting the pellets sprinkle out all over. Our lawn didn't really notice the difference.

My kids love to blow the seeds out of the dandelion heads and they get a wish if they blow them all out. If nothing else, this practice is increasing their lung capacity.

They also like to take the dandelion stems and split them lengthwise into several strips and then float them in a bowl of water. The strips curl up--we don't know why--it's amazing to see.

I feel responsible to the other conscientious neighbors who do not let a single blade of grass go astray, and certainly do not have dandelions or even Queen Anne's Lace growing in their yard. One time, we let the lawn go and didn't need to mow it because it was so dry, and Queen Anne's Lace popped up in the middle of our back yard. That's a prairie flower. It knew it was safe to grow in our untouched yard. That would never happen in our neighbors' chemical laden yards.

As I said, I do feel a little responsible to the patches of pure green surrounding our house. So, I'm trying to implement a three-pronged dandelion removal system--the kids are to pick dandelions whenever they see them and not let them go to seed. I am to try and dig out the dandelion plants whenever I see them to not let them even flower. My husband is to sprinkle clover seed all over the lawn after he mows to help fix nitrogen and nourish the lawn, so the grass can crowd out the weeds. Or as we see them around here, the little spots of happy sunshine.

On the left here, you see a jar of Fluff. Well, someone was being smart-assy and did a satirical jar of Fluff. If you know the real Fluff, you know it does not say "what the Fluff?" on it.

I have fond memories of Fluff. My mom used to make us kids sandwiches with it in the early 70s before she realized that nutrition can effect people. A health food store opened up in our local shopping area and she never looked back. We started getting pita bread. Unheard of! We got granola. We got whole wheat bread. We stopped using margarine and stopped buying Wonder Bread! My mom was quite radical.

But, before the health food store came to town, my mom would occasionally make us fluffernutter sandwiches. Do you want the recipe? Here it is: Two slices of Wonder bread, Fluff, and peanut butter. Spread one slice of bread with the Fluff, and the other with peanut butter (preferably some peanut butter with additional salt, sugar and hydrogenated oil) and put together to make a sandwich. Delicious!

My poor, deprived kids will never know the wonder that is fluffernutter sandwiches unless they explore that culinary cul-de-sac on their own as adults. I can't in good conscience take them there. Oh, but those early 70s were good. I do remember the glue-like texture of the bread sticking to the roof of my mouth, and the fluffy feeling of the marshmallow Fluff and the creamy saltiness of the peanut butter. Heaven...

Those were three examples of fluff. Fluff is not always bad. Right? What fluff do you like? Tell me about the fluff in your life. Tell me your fluff memories.


Anne said...

I can relate to the first two examples. My kids are drawn to chicks...well, baby anything with soft, fluffy coats.

As to the second example, after trying some science experiments on air pressure yesterday, my son devised a most efficient way to make sure that all his wishes are granted. It seems that if you rest a dandelion fluff in the neck of a two liter bottle (stem down in the bottle) and bang the side of the bottle hard, every last bit of fluff is freed at once. Our yard will forever be graced.

Laura said...

Hi Anne,

I may or may not tell my kids about that revolutionary and creative fluff removal system that your son has devised. It runs contrary to one of my dandelion removal prongs.

Evil genious that. He must only use it for good...

Laura said...

And by evil genious, I mean GENIUS...

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