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The Separation


I know it's time to say goodbye:  It's sad, but you must go.

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My Mulberry marathon continues

Just for fun!, Gardening, Good food / recipes, Living well on less $

For full photo version see brookfield7

Mulberries: birds love 'em, so do the deer*; I think they are quite tasty too. But I only just had my suspicions confirmed: they are also packed with the anti-oxidant resveratrol. Best of all, they are free!

This summer, it seems that the ripe fruits just keep coming. I think we are past 2 months now and my tree still has plenty of unripe fruit in it. (Unripe fruits are white.)

I can't remember a longer production season, so I am beginning to wonder if our cold summer is the cause of my Mulberry marathon? Whatever the reason, the critters and I are enjoying their sweet, delicious fruits.

We have several mulberry trees on our acre lot here in Brookfield, and I suspect they were all volunteers - planted by the birds. (Some people consider them a weed tree but they are available for purchase too.)

The dark side of Mulberries is that the ripe berries that fall to the ground or via bird droppings can stain. So planting near a sidewalk or driveway is not the best idea. (Alas, our best tree is near the driveway.)

I have read that you can propagate trees by rooting a good sized cutting or planting seeds. Since our fruit producing trees are much too tall for a practical harvest, the animals get most of them. That is OK, I enjoy watching the Orioles eat their fill. If I manage to get some new trees started, I will plant in a better area and prune to a shorter height!

Outside of eating them right off the tree, putting them in a fruit salad, or adding them to a muffin or pancake recipe instead of blueberries, I have not cooked with them. I did find a few recipes though if you want to give them a try: Mulberry Recipes

The Mulberry has been in America for a long time. Cortez first brought the Mulberry tree and silkworms to Mexico in 1531. Later, early colonists imported the Mulberry tree in an attempt to start a silk industry in America. (Silk worms will only eat Mulberry leaves.) This industry never really got off the ground, but the trees provided plenty of tasty fruit.

There are many varieties of Mulberries: Black, red, pink, and white. I believe my trees are red. The berries ripen to a deep black-purple color (pictured), although you can eat them as soon as they turn red. The flavor varies depending on the ripeness. The lighter red ones are more tart. Some say they resemble a grapefruit flavor. The deeper the color, the sweeter they get. Once they reach full ripeness, they remind me of a Bing cherry.

Since the trees produce an amazing amount of free fruit there is enough for the birds, beasts, and us. I hope you give them a try. **

If you have a favorite recipe or way of using Mulberries, please share. I would love to add more to my repertoire.

*I don't really like the deer in the yard, because they eat my flowers and often carry Lyme's disease infected ticks. They do, however, at least clean up the dropped fruits.

**PLEASE, if you are at all unsure if a plant is edible, DO NOT EAT it until it can be verified. If you are harvesting wild plants with young children, instruct them NEVER to eat anything on their own.

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Striving For...?


We leave behind our fancy clothes, our garden, yard, and house...

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Will parents opt kids out of Pres. Obama's national school address?

Culture, Education, President Obama

What goes on inside the walls of public schools used to be considered a local responsibility. Like almost everything else in our society, the creep towards Federal interference is becoming more like a leap.

Next week Tuesday, the president will address all public school students in a video address. He is to urge students to work hard, set goals, and be responsible for their education, something the teacher no doubt already told them on the first day, in the first 5 minutes of class.

The pep talk seems harmless enough. It's the other activities scheduled that day that are more troubling: Editorial: Beaming Obama into your kid's head, The president expands his cult into the classroom:

"But there is more to this noontime event than simply interrupting lunch. The Obama administration has recommended a series of activities before, during and after the speech intended to drill home the president's messages. Given that the teachers' unions are some of Mr. Obama's most ardent supporters, we expect that the supporting activities will have the feel of pro-Obama pep rallies".

"In a move suggestive of the Pyongyang public school system [in North Korea], the U.S. Department of Education recommended that before the speech students collectively brainstorm questions like, 'Why does President Obama want to speak with us today? How will he inspire us?' [A leading question that assumes the president inspired the student.] Classrooms are to be festooned with 'notable quotes excerpted (and posted in large print on board) from President Obama's speeches about education,' presumably alongside benevolent-looking images of the dear leader."

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No need to opt out at Elmbrook, our district will NOT show Obama broadcast

Education, Elmbrook, President Obama

Guess I wasn't the only one who felt watching and discussing the Obama broadcast next Tuesday was an inappropriate use of class time. Dr. Matt Gibson informed Elmbrook district parents via recorded phone call late this afternoon that they will NOT be participating in Tuesday's national address.

Thank you, Dr. Gibson, for making this decision. No doubt he heard from a few residents. ;-)

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If You Need a Laugh...

Fluff, For Laughs, videos

This is just something fun.  A friend posted this video on Facebook, and I thought I'd share it.  

Click here if you need a laugh.

Radar Reliant


When nothing's on the weather radar, all is fine outside.

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Students Raise Smiles for Charity

Last school year, Mrs. Sue Schmitt, a Social Studies teacher at St. John Vianney School, assigned her then seventh-grade students the task of preparing a social justice plan.  The students were to brainstorm and plan their own service-learning project.  Emme Granger, Amanda Neimon, and Simone Tegge dreamed up the idea of holding a lemonade stand and bake sale for The Smile Train.  This international charity focuses on providing free cleft lip and palate surgery to millions of poor children in developing countries.  Most children with these facial deformities cannot eat or drink properly and aren’t allowed to go to school or hold a job.

The girls fulfilled the requirements of their seventh-grade assignment by identifying an injustice they wished to address and devising a plan of action to help right the unfairness.  However, as eighth-graders, the girls decided to actually execute their plan.  This past August they spent one afternoon selling lemonade and baked goods from a stand they set up on a neighborhood street corner.  Determined to raise even more money, they restocked their stand with lemonade, water, cookies and other treats to sell on school grounds during volleyball try-outs and football practice.  In total, the girls raised $159 for The Smile Train, nearly 2/3 the cost of one Smile Train surgery for a child in one of the world’s poorest countries.    

The girls were quite please with their results, sharing a special sense of satisfaction knowing that they gave a desperate child not just a new smile, but a new life.  It put smiles on the faces of these three St. John Vianney eighth-graders as well.  

Forces To Reckon With


Be cautious leaning to the careful leaning right.

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Fox News at Brookfield Central?

Education, Elmbrook, President Obama

I just heard on WISN's Jay Weber show this morning that Fox News (national) is at Brookfield Central to do a news story about Elmbrook's decision not to show Obama's speech. Granted, Brookfield is RED suburb in a BLUE state, but Wauwatosa isn't showing the President's speech either. I would have thought that was more newsworthy.

I don't have cable TV, but you might want to watch for the piece if you do.

These 2 communities are not alone; all across the country school districts are opting out of showing the speech and doing the lesson plans.

You can read the president's speech for yourself; it's available online. Transcript: I did like the section where he said, "Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer," because it stresses personal worth.

Original email from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan: Why was this portion included? "Educated people are more active civically [sic] and better informed on issues affecting their lives, their families and their futures. Issues like living wage, health care, increasing militarism? torture?" (That's not even a sentence. What action did Arne intend be taken on those topics?)

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Cheer up, still 2 weeks of summer left

Just for fun!, Weather

We certainly had glorious weather for Labor Day weekend, didn't we? It was especially notable because our summer so far has been less than stellar. Hope you did something outside.

People tend to think that just because the kids went back to school, the summer is over. But if you look at the calendar the official first day of fall does not begin for 2 more weeks. I plan to enjoy every day still in summer mode.

This isn't a new pattern; even when I homeschooled, our first day of school was not until the first day of fall on September 22nd. I figured, why waste all those beautiful days starting school before summer ended? (FYI: If you don't take 2 weeks off for Christmas and a week for spring break, you can get all the hours in and still finish by early May. Homeschools don't have all those early release days either.)

I am going to do my best to enjoy these last 2 weeks of summer to the fullest. Hey, I just had my first garden grown tomato and mayo sandwich! Mmm-Mmm. Hopefully there will be more to come. Then it's time start on my next favorite season: autumn.


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It's No BIG Deal


I head out for some exercise;  The day is dry and bright.

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Obama pitches Health Care at Wakefield High School

Education, Health care, President Obama

Yesterday I questioned why this section was included in Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's email to the nation's principals: "Educated people are more active civically [sic] and better informed on issues affecting their lives, their families and their futures. Issues like living wage, health care, increasing militarism? torture?" (That's not even a sentence. What action did Arne intend be taken on those topics?)

Today I learned* that prior to the president's very conservative national broadcast address to America's school children, he met with 40 freshmen at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. (Same school he made his broadcast address from)

Let's just say I don't think that meeting made the national news, but CNS reported it: Obama Pitched Universal Health Care to Students in Meeting Prior to His Speech on Education. It was a face to face Q&A session with innocuous questions like how has your life changed, how would your life be different if you father were involved, who would you like to have dinner with, and what were your main goals when you were in college, etc. The session was filmed, but not broadcast as far as I know.

Transcript It seemed Obama could not resist steering the question, "How [do] you motivate yourself to do all the work that goes along with your job?", toward discussing his health care reforms. He replied, "... I'm just going to be honest with you -- some of it is just you don't want to fail. Right? A lot of people are counting on me," and went on to talk about the 40,000 letters he receives a day on all different subjects. He reads 10 a day -- some inspiring, some depressing.

He elaborated on both. The inspiring being about someone who was the first to go to college. The depressing, "You hear about people who are sick but don't have health care, and suddenly they get a bill for $100,000, and there's no way they can pay for it, and they're about to lose their house."

"And you're just reminded that the country is full of really good people who sometimes are going through a hard time. They just need a break. They need a little bit of help. Maybe the way things are set up right now isn't always fair for people, and that motivates you, because you say, well, I can't make everything perfect, I can't prevent somebody from getting sick, but maybe I can make sure that they've got insurance so that when they do get sick, they're going to get some help."

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But how would Obama know if health care recipient was legal or not?

Government / Bureaucracy, Health care, President Obama, Socialism / Marxism, Truth

Last night I had to take my car to the shop and only caught portions of the President's Joint Session of Congress speech. I did catch the now infamous, "You lie" section and must confess I said, "That's not true!" at the same moment.

I certainly understand Congressman Wilson's frustration with a president who likes to make promises regardless of the facts, but he was out of line. (Remember, I am the one who wanted to maintain a sense of decorum on blog comments.) Of course the media is focusing on this political faux pas instead of what the bill allows. We wouldn't want to draw any attention to the facts, right?

So what does the bill, or bills (there are many versions) say about insuring illegals? Is the President correct when he promises that "the reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally."

Obamacare won't cover illegal immigrants? Yes it will, says Congressional Research Service: (For clarity, I made the CRS quote bold.) Just recently, the president stated, "Illegal immigrants would not be covered. That idea has not even been on the table."

"Well, Mr. President, [Mark Tapscott of the Washington Examiner writes] that idea must have been tucked under a stack of background briefing papers over there in the corner of the table because the Congressional Research Service (CRS) says this about H.R. 3200, the Obamacare bill approved just before the recess by the House Energy and Commerce Committee chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA:

'Under H.R. 3200, a 'Health Insurance Exchange' would begin operation in 2013 and would offer private plans alongside a public option…H.R. 3200 does not contain any restrictions on noncitzens—whether legally or illegally present, or in the United States temporarily or permanently—participating in the Exchange.' "

"CRS also notes that the bill has no provision for requiring those seeking coverage or services to provided proof of citizenship. So, absent some major amendments to the legislation and a credible, concrete enforcement effort in action, looks like the myth on this issue is the one being spread by Obama, Reid, Pelosi, et. al."

Republican attempts at adding a verification amendment were defeated earlier. Obama did reduce the number of those without insurance from 46 million to 30 million last night. The missing 16 or so million were illegals. Currently, illegals are covered by emergency rooms without any proof of residency; how would Obama filter them out from Obamcare?

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The lyrics of the song "Let's accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative , and don't mess with Mr. in-between", has been reminding me of days once forgotten but ever remembered by me.

In today's American society the negative has become more popular because it cannot be proven The positive is based on the facts and need not be proven.

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Back to School Pizza Bash

If you ask someone at St. John Vianney School, what is the best part of the beginning of the school year, many may mention the Pizza Bash being  held this Friday evening.  The Pizza Bash is a traditional event where students look forward to a delicious pizza dinner, many fun games and of course, socializing with friends.  Parents, on the other hand, not only get a pass on cooking dinner and cleaning dishes, but also get to network and compare notes with other parents.  This event is especially popular with new families.                                                                                                                                                                                        

I remember when my now freshman at Marquette was in 1st grade, we attended our first Pizza Bash.  Since we were only one week into a new school, we only knew a handful of families and really did not know what to expect.   I held on to my 1st grader’s hand, but before our hands get too sweaty from nervous perspiration, we were served pizza and invited to sit with older SJV families.   Right after ice cream, our 1st grader ran off with his friends and we met several other 1st grade families.  We were welcomed into the SJV community.

We have since attended eight Pizza Bashes.  Sometimes it's eat and run as we raced to a volleyball match.  Sometimes we ate in shifts as we volunteered to serve.   We always have fun catching up with friends on summer happenings and tips for the new school year.  Oh, for those parents with younger children, this is a night where you can actually socialize.  Chances are your children are in the games area enjoying the supervised activities.  This year, the games will be run by the 5th grade Girl Scouts and 3rd grade Boy Scouts.

Tomorrow, we will enjoy our 9th Pizza Bash,  as we race between high school volleyball practice and two volleyball games.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Color Change


For quite some time, I've thought to change the color of my van.

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9/11: A day to remember, not re-purpose

History, Special events, President Obama

Today is the 8th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. It seemed it would always be a day to be remembered much like Pearl Harbor Day or D and V Day. But this year, President Obama has changed the purpose of this day from a day to remember what happened on that day and be thankful that our nation is safe, to a National Day of Service. I must confess that I did not even know that happened back in April of this year*.

What is a Day of Service? Something to help the police and firefighters who did so much on Sept. 11, 2001 perhaps? or sending care packages to soldiers?

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UPDATE: Hoping for a really BIG Washington D.C. TEA PARTY

Conservatives, TAXES, Special events

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin reported that as of "12:34pm Eastern: Police estimate 1.2 million in attendance. ABC News reporting crowd at 2 million." You can keep track of Tea Parties on the Tea Party Express blog

I've heard there is a March on Washington D.C. Taxpayer Tea Party planned for Saturday, September 12, 2009. Whatever push-back there has been on taxes, spending, Obamacare and Cap and Trade has been primarily from grassroots groups and Tea Parties, not the Republican party. Evidently, FOX and Glen Beck have been promoting the rally. A huge turnout would be wonderful.

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