Sunday, June 30, 2013

Adventures From Home

The grand kids were here Saturday and I told them we were going on a journey. "Right after we eat?", piped in our four year old with a hopeful tone. We are going on a culinary trip to China without ever leaving home. We are going to eat sweet and sour chicken, rice noodles, brown rice, and American green beans. Green beans because they are big and I figured the kids might just be able to use the chop sticks on them without too much trouble. Besides the other food was rather foreign to them.
 
 Why I didn't say Japan is beyond me because the chop sticks we were using were from Japan. One set Kirk picked up when he was there and one set a friend from Japan sent.  
 The kids found the sticks a real challenge. Green beans ended up being a good choice and the first thing gone off the plates.
 Our six year old was the most thrilled with the whole adventure and asked Sunday if we couldn't go on another culinary trip. She is our fashion, culture loving child. I had mentioned that I wanted to try a new dish which is made in Germany and many other countries. To this our four year old piped in, "Can we go to Wendy's?" We had to laugh. Yes, Wendy's is a foreign land to Grandma and Grandpa who rarely eat out but somehow I think she the whole part about country being somewhere else was not well explained.
Here is our four year old who soon gave up on using two sticks and began just poking beans with one. It wasn't long before she was asking if she just couldn't use her fork.  

With a little theatrical dramatics, the kids thought the whole thing was awesome. The children could try out new food, a new set of utensils in the comfort of their own home without worrying about strangers looking on, something our six year old is particularly conscious about.  

It is what we did with our own children. We went a bit further though and watched videos from the library of the country, learned some customs, and tried making some of the food. Today they love trying new foods and experiencing new cultures.

The memories of our home adventures make me laugh and still bring smiles to our grown children's faces.  We were especially busy at Christmas time where we choice a different country to model our celebration after. There was the time Kirk and I made a duck shaped pinata and filled it with candy. The kids beat the tar out of that thing and it never did break. Another year Kirk was a  Tomte and in my nightgown and a cone paper hat, snuck around to the front door, beyond red faced with embarrassment, and brought gifts to the kids. Maybe our experiences weren't completely authentic but they instilled a courage and excitement about trying new things that has never left them. Maybe haven't liked everything but that is okay too. If you never try, you will never know.  

Sometimes I think we have been blessed to not havr much money for our imaginations have run wild. We have taken many trips, we just hardly ever left home. Yes, we did go places. Day trips where we got up early, did livestock chores, and went to usually one paid event and as many free ones as we could find. Then we ate out once that day. The other two meals we brought our own food for. It took planning, more planning than just leaving home with a wallet of cash but that was part of the fun too, to choose just how we would spend our day. And best of all the kids learned far more as we gave them the allotted budget and they choice the fun.

We also found many who were willing to share their expertese with us such as the gentlemen who excavated the Fort Phil Karney and who took us on a private tour. Then there was the trip to watch a newpaper being printed, Christmas Eve reinactment of the 1800's at Fort Casper and many more adventures.  

We did take one normal family vacation. The kids were disappointed. They said the day trips and trips from home were far more fun than sitting in the car hour after hour between sites and activities.   
 And while there are great sites to see on a trip and many different foods to try, there are also natural wonders right in your own back yard one should never miss.

Kirk and I were sorting through metal piles trying to do some major cleaning up and under a number of the flat pieces of metal were these ant tunnels. I'm guessing they were carpenter ants but I'm no expert. What I never could find out was why the eggs were of two different sizes. In bees the smaller eggs are worker and the larger ones are drones. Occasionally you will see a queen egg but that is only if the queen is very old or the hive is very crowded.

I'd say the eggs grew in size and became the big eggs except there weren't any in between sizes so these are obviously different kinds of ants, not in species but maybe male or female or queen.

I do know that a unfertilized egg turns into a male and the queens have wings and if the food supply is good, the queen of the colony will produce many queens which will fly away to start their own colony. So are these big eggs queens or are they males?

And yes, we could have turned this into a culinary adventure too as in Mexico they eat ant eggs in various dishes, kind of like caviar, but I'm not sure I'm THAT adventurous. I prefer sweet and sour chicken or rather I think I do. Maybe ant eggs are really good too. I guess I might, I said might, try them if the right opportunity opened up. My friend says cheap caviar just tastes like salt but expensive caviar is divine. I'm waiting for the expensive ant eggs I guess but I don't know of a five star chef willing to serve them.  

So for now, the grand kids, Kirk, and I will enjoy watching them and allow our minds to wonder.

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