M. Giant's
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Thursday, May 21, 2009  

Mr. N.

Oh, I do love it when Trash takes over for the day, don't you?

M. Giant has mentioned that we are trying to decrease our negative footprint on the planet, and green things up a bit around here. We are indeed trying to hang our clothes out to dry, instead of apparently wasting tons of energy on the drier. We are attempting our hand at gardening, sadly killing the vast majority of plants in the process. We are trying to reduce and renew and recycle wherever whenever possible, which means we are actually using the public library instead of purchasing dozens of books a month, we recycle the majority of our garbage, and checking out Craig's List when we don't care if the item is used. The later strategy has netted us a couple of cool deals, including our deck furniture and a pile of camping equipment. While it's true that we are making these changes because we believe we need to do our part to fix the planet, we are also responding to the "requests" of the smallest human in the household.

Yes, M. Edium is a budding environmentalist. Now, I don't know if his interest in saving the world stems from his obsession with all things included in the solar system, or if he worries that we will some day follow in the steps of his beloved dinosaurs. What I do know is that his education is playing an important role in shaping his views, as he routinely arrives home from class with another bit of knowledge he is anxious to share. "Mr N says that pirates are terrible, and should be put in jail. So don't be one." "Mr. N told us that littering is wrong, and you should always pick up your trash and recycle what you can." "Mom! Mr. N. told us that it isn't healthy to be lazy, and we should get exercise every day." "Mr. N. says that all dinosaurs are dead, but we should be aware of cloning."

These pronouncements always seem to come out of left field, yet are stated with such fervent emphasis, sounding like the mantra of the newly converted. M. Edium is willing to fight for his conviction that it's best to drink water several times a day, and avoid soda, if that's what it takes to better his planet. And who would argue with him? No one, that's who, and thus when he comes home and suggests that we start a vegetable garden so we can see the beauty of growing plants (yup a direct quote) we spend hours on a doomed garden project.

Of course, I always thought it was a unique aspect of M. Edium's personality causing his near hero-worship. I mean, he is obsessed with all things science, likes to hang with teachers and other adults, and prefers watching the NASA channel to regular cartoons. Obviously a science nerd in the making. So imagine my surprise when speaking to a few other moms at M. Edium's class graduation today, I discovered that the other boys in class had the same conversations with their moms. One mom told me their family had been discussing the naughty pirates for the past week, wondering when the authorities would listen to Mr. N. and apprehend them. Another informed us that her son had started following everyone around the house, turning off the lights as soon as someone leaves the room - even if there are still people IN the room. A third parent told of her shock in discovering her child trying to read the newspaper. "Mr. N. says we should pay attention to current events" was the explanation given. What I would give to have that sort of influence over the boy - hell, over anybody.

I guess I should be grateful that the messages are the same as we would give at home, if we ever thought to have a long discussion on pirates. In any case, the lectures that appeal most to M. Edium are those around the environment (don't waste electricity), the solar system (the Hubble telescope), and all areas of science (no food tastes better than the food from your garden), and those are the ones that we hear at home. Thus a vegetable garden, line-dried clothes, and fewer lights left on around the house.

It's a good thing I'm working less this summer. Otherwise I'd never get anything done.

posted by M. Giant 9:35 PM 3 comments


I have friends whose first garden was a bit of a disaster. But they learned. And now, just a few years later they have an allotment in the village common (yeah, those English folk are so quaint) that yields a majority of their veggies, even last year when the weather was NOT ideal (too much rain, not enough sun). So don't give up! You'll discover how to grow what will grow well and feel quite cool when you give your friends a dinner including the roasted beets from the garden.

By Anonymous Bo, at May 22, 2009 at 2:38 PM  

M. Edium rocks! And since you and M. Giant rock pretty hardcore, too, I'm betting these pronouncements from the oracle of Mr. N. generate some pretty interesting discussions. (And please tell me I'm not the only one who hears "Mr. N." sung to the tune of "Mr. F." from Arrested Development).

I'm glad M. Edium has a teacher he admires so much, and who is obviously on his wavelength and captures his interest. That's huge, especially for a super-smart kid like M. Edium. My brother and I had teachers like that when we were M. Edium's age, and they kept us from going insane. Or, you know, to kiddie jail -- MJB and I had some pretty entertaining (to us, anyway) ways of solving the problem of "I'm bored."

Sorry to hear the garden project has hit a snag. The good news is, it's still pretty early days, so maybe things will turn around.

Here's an off the wall question: Would you guys like a purple seed potato? It grows purple potatoes, which make fun chips and mashed potatoes. I've got some extras to give away, and if you'd like something kind of interesting for your garden, I'd be happy to mail you one.

By Anonymous KKB, at May 25, 2009 at 5:44 AM  

@Bo They have an allotment? Lucky. The waiting list at the local one is about ten years.

@Trash and M. Giant, you can always start with something big and easy (pumpkins, squash, potatoes). Or put in some fruit bushes -- redcurrents really take minimal care and give a lot of reward. Or raspberries are nice and don't require that much help.

Or -and M. edium could pretty much do this himself- just plant some rows of salad mix. You can get some great ones, just plant half a row, two weeks later, plant the other half... and then just water and wait. Minimal effort, good financially and M. Edium could pretty much do it all himself.

By Blogger Jennifer M., at May 25, 2009 at 6:30 AM  

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