Worm poetry with professional input

Between Buds and corn
on the cob in the fridge three
nightcrawler boxes

One nightcrawler box on the counter.

Okay, sort of hokey haiku, but hey, it's National Poetry Month and I'm running out of time.  Danced the worm Hokey Pokey with 4-5 year olds at my worm show Thursday morning.  

This post has had an edit thanks to input from Kathleen who said...
I love the nightcrawler boxes in the fridge!!
Kathleen did not say the other hokey haiku did not work, but it didn't take long after reading her comment to realize they did not.  That's why she is a real live professional poet and I am a worm lady.  Alas.
Never got around to grilling the corn last night after talking to the probate attorney and trying to understand what is going on with my registered domain name.*  You will just have to envision the cornsilk in the plastic grocery bag.  And the Buds are gone.  Today I took the three bait boxes to school and the preschoolers released the nightcrawlers into our garden.  Twenty-five of twenty-six students were brave enough to hold a worm.  The worms were pleased to get out of the boxes and into perfect worm weather--dark, humid, cool with rain approaching.  They put on a splendid movement and tunneling exhibition for the children. 
Then we found this tiny moth on the lock to the playground toy chest:.  A few kids liked the sound of "lock moth" so they stomped and staggered around chanting
lock moth
lock moth
lock moth
lock moth
lock moth

Just glad they didn't form a conga line.
lock moth lock moth LOCK MOTH!
lock moth lock moth LOCK MOTH!
During the Q&A at the worm show a mom asked if there were really one thousand red wigglers in a pound.  Yup. Then a pre-K teacher asked how I separate my worms from the humus they have made so I can use that good dirt.  I said on a Friday evening after a really rough week in the preschool I go home and sit on my laundry room floor with my worm bin and I pull the worms out, count them, and put them into a different bin.  After about five hundred worms I feel much better.  Blood pressure and respiration normal.  The earth even seems to be spinning properly on its axis.
1 red wiggler 
2 red wigglers 3 red wigglers 
4 red wigglers 5 red wigglers 6 red wigglers

*The estate doesn't have a domain name.  These are separate issues, although they are both opened cans of worms.
© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Tdap dancing up the wall

I gladly clicked my heels and toes up to the Minute Clinic to get an adult tetanus/diptheria/pertussis (Tdap) shot so I can hold my grandbaby next week.  This adult booster vaccination became available in 2005.  Adults only need it once, although the regular Td is still needed every ten years.

Pertussis, aka whooping cough, is potentially fatal for infants. At your next annual exam ask your doctor if you are vaccinated.  Not just for your grandbaby, but for all grandbabies! That's the great thing about vaccines. When we are protecting the one we love, we are also loving and protecting the greater oneness of  our community.

Whooping cough is coming back with a vengeance. We thought it was eradicated, but it didn't stay that way when parents stopped vaccinating their children. Fears of vaccinations causing autism have been proven unfounded. But now there is an epidemic of parents who do not want to inconvenience or discomfort their children in any way for even the slightest moment, as that might be a tad inconvenient or uncomfortable for the adults. If you have not guessed, this makes CollageMama VERY, VERY CRABBY.

My shoulder was sore for three days, or my solder was shore. It was a short term sore shoulder for long term prevention. Whining of the individual weighed against a win for my community. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Every parent has to weigh for a moment the possibility that a shot might make a child uncomfortable for a couple days. Is it worth the immediate discomfort and inconvenience for the long-term protection of both the child and the larger community? Absolutely!

Whooping cough — known medically as pertussis — is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. Although it initially resembles an ordinary cold, whooping cough may eventually turn more serious, particularly in infants. Whooping cough is most contagious before the coughing starts. The best way to prevent it is through vaccinations. The childhood vaccine is called DTaP. The whooping cough booster vaccine for adolescents and adults is called Tdap. Both protect against whooping cough, tetanus, and diphtheria.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Who me? Yes u!

I had no idea Friday the Thirteenth was also Scrabble Day, but I thank Kim for playing!  On Friday I was short of sleep and still reeling from the school music performance of "The Alphabet Tree".  The Word Bug in the story had to arrange the preschoolers wearing letter t-shirts into words.  The preschoolers were, how to say it, not necessarily ready or wanting to participate in this word-building.

For privacy reasons I can't post identifiable photos of my students, just as they couldn't always form identifiable words.  In the show they had to be formed into:

hot     dot

rats   sour    earth


Treat others as you would like to be treated!!!!

I kid u not.

As the art teacher, I had to watch powerless from the sidelines.  Felt like the time in '91 when Oil Can Boyd was pitching for the Texas Rangers and could not get out of the inning.  If I didn't have to rehearse my red wiggler worms for their upcoming performance I would waste time tracking down how many runs the opponents scored in that inning.  I really wanted to Little Bunny Foo-Foo old Oil Can:

bop nim on da hed

The spring semester rolls on over gravel ruts. Five year old boys are practicing writing their letters. They all have a future creating security words for blog comment verification.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Rowdy neighbors, continuous party

I keep getting distracted from composing this post by the wild spring party outside my window.  For a week now the red admiral butterflies have been playing beach volleyball in wet t-shirts in the soapberry tree.  Cedar waxwings have fought for the karaoke mike.  Monarchs, swallowtails put in celebrity appearances, and a new stubby-tailed anole thinks he is the bouncer.

It's all just so 1974!

The soapberry blossoms have a scent one would not call "subtle". It is like Boone's Farm Apple Wine mixed with Clairol Herbal Essence shampoo.  Seems odd that it is "natural".

Maybe Mother Nature has been yarn-bombing and joining Zumba flash mobs.

Wild strawberry
Six-spotted green tiger beetle

People are even wearing platform shoes again, but I haven't seen any Famolare crepe soles.

Flagrant is not the word I'm searching for, nor blatant.  Conspicuous, yes, but that's not sufficiently pumped.  Even the word "SPRING" does not seem sufficiently fuchsia alligator crinkle-patent leather enough this year...She's got electric boots and a mohair suit.  You know I read it in a magazine....B-b-b-Bennie and the jets.

 © 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Easter in Fort Worth's Cultural District

Raindrops on roses were not the problem driving home from Fort Worth.  Nor whiskers on kittens.  It was a dang scary downpour, and I was praying it wouldn't hail on my new old Buick.  

I went over to Fort Worth on a first highway test drive, and because I never made it to the Impressionist exhibit at the Kimbell Museum during spring break.  Wish I could have shared the exhibit with my parents, capped with a delicious buffet lunch in the Kimbell's restaurant.  The green chile and rice soup was nirvana!  Howie and Fritz would have loved it.

Last year when the Woolly Mammoth had a burst of soup-making creativity, I mailed him Fritzi's well-worn Kimbell cookbook.  Tonight he sent back this recipe:

The green chiles with rice soup had a cheddar cheese and cream base, but also had celery and carrots today. I've made a grocery list to make my own version when the brisket stew is gone.

Got to watch the rain begin from inside the Fort Worth Modern Museum.  Tadao Ando's building has become one of my favorite places even though I don't often like the art on display.The angles, reflections, and textures of the museum feed my inner artist.

Other buildings on my Favorite Things list:

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad

This is a strange, very tiny bee/fly I saw today.  It was smaller than my pinkie fingernail.  Love the see-through striped wings.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Infinite number of monkeys OR red wigglers with Legos

I gave the red wiggler worms about an hour on the two Lego base plates in my search for activities to keep forty preschoolers engaged at a two-hour "Worms and water conservation" program for Earth Day. The worms did not write "Hamlet" or even any letters. They were surprisingly clingy, preferring to stay in clumps rather than venture out. I expected them to be in a hurry to find the edges of the base plates so they could go underneath where it was dark. These must be Pre-Columbian Flat Earth worms. When they got to the edge of the plate, most turned around and went back to the middle. In the first half hour only one worm went underneath.
Worms don't write Hamlet

In the first act of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard, Guildenstern muses that "If six monkeys were thrown up in the air for long enough they would land on their tails about as often as they would land on their heads"

“There's an infinite number of monkeys outside who want to talk to us about this script for Hamlet they've worked out.” 
― Douglas AdamsThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

You can watch a little video of a worm moving on a base plate here.


You can learn about infinite monkey theorem, probability, and randomness here.

I will add that the worm movement was much more purposeful than our preschool students' search for plastic eggs on the playground Thursday morning.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Lean green scene

Monday's strange hike got lost in the drama of Tuesday's weather.  Wednesday's Buick is fully loaded, but not with accessories.  We just don't have room in our small school to store the various sections of the spring music festival backdrop as they are completed, so the new car's trunk and backseat have become a dramatis mobilis storage vehiculosis.  Yes, a very bad case of the aforesaid!

This is a very green scene.  The goal is a leafy forest feel without any free-standing pieces for the kids to trip over or knock down.  The stage will be very full of children and Orff instruments.

The scene is being set without spending much green.  So far the costs have been limited to one jar of green fingerpaint, one roll of wax paper, and one roll of strange lime green netting from World Market.  The netting was in the gift wrap department.  Total under twelve bucks.

Other material include a bushel of toilet paper tubes, fabric from two donated Indian saris, mesh-cut corrugated packing materials, donated prints and papers, used tissue gift paper, leftover wire, and some burlap found in a closet.  How is that, Mother Earth?

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Look Mama, no rust!

Glad to get my new vehicle home to its carport this afternoon with no hail damage.  Many places in the DFW area have serious tornado and storm damage. There have been at least twelve tornadoes in the region. I don't have the latest information, but I'm glad my students are safe, and our school was not in the path of a storm.

We spent most of the afternoon in the windowless interior lunchroom in distraction/diversion mode. None of the students worried, so I think we were very successful. Lots of teachers tap-dancing in North Texas today!

Several friends suggested that my 1996 Skylark would not get a trade-in offer, and that I would have to pay to have the car hauled away.  Some said the only value was the cool  EARTH bumper sticker.  The good news is I had a replacement bumper sticker in reserve in hopes that I would one day have a new vehicle.

My two daughters-in-law have heard me rhapsodize about my newlywed 1980 brown Toyota Corolla, and suggested I would buy a new Corolla. Gotta love these smart women in my family now!  But no, not a Corolla.

Most people guessed small, fuel-efficient vehicles. Danger Baby offered his usual Chevy Malibu suggestion.  Friends with magical thinking guessed a pick-up truck or maybe a bright red Prius convertible!  Nobody guessed a '61 Plymouth Sport Fury, but I still would love to own one!

My dad's longtime home health helper guessed I got another Buick Skylark. Sharla's is the best guess and wins one autographed license plate. Just have to figure out how a car can sign an autograph!  Danger Baby was closest with his $401 guess on the trade-in offer.  His prize license plate will be a classy item in his law office!

So what did I get?  Enquiring minds want to know how I'll be driving my traveling worms around to their performances.

Yup.  A Buick.  A 2002 Century with only 30K miles!  It's a cream puff.  A little old lady only drove it to church and kept it in her garage.

I hope a reader will tell me the expression for verbally carrying on and on in glowing, golden, melodic terms to compliment someone or something.  Geez!  Is this the beginning of dementia?  All I can think of is

raps his naughtic
rhaps hypnotic
hips rhapsodic
lapse hypsrhosdic

Please, please help.  I'm so far off I can't even find a way to search for this frequently used expression.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Halma's Kolache Recipe

I have never actually made Grandma's kolaches, but I've also never found kolaches that were as wonderful as hers.  Although her heritage was English, her husband was 100% Bohemian. My own mother would make an annual effort at the recipe and get pretty close, but never close enough.  Good luck to Prairie Bluestem and others trying to recreate this Czech delight.


1 1/4 cups milk scalded.  While milk is warm add

  • heaping 1/2 cup lard
  • good 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Let cool to lukewarm.

In 1/2 cup lukewarm water dissolve 2 pkg. Red Star dry yeast with 1 teaspoon sugar.  Let stand until it rises.

  • 1 egg
  • 5 cups flour before sifting

Sift part of flour into milk, etc., liquid.  Beat well; add egg whole and beat it in.  Add yeast, stir.  Add rest of flour.

  • 1 teaspoon mace.  Never add mace on wet dough as it discolors dough.  Put it on flour before stirring.

Stir as much as it will stir then knead in rest of flour.  Put in creased bowl and let it raise double.  Keep warm.

Punch down and pinch off large walnut size.  Work dough into center.  Place on well greased pan.

Let raise again. (1 1/2 again as big, feel soft.)  Punch down again--flatten out.

Raise again (no wrinkles, double size).  Grease over top.

Put teaspoon of fruit.  Spread out using finger to punch down center.

Bake ____ degrees for 20-25 minutes.  [Of course there is a water drop blurring the oven temperature.  I think it says 345.]

Fix fruit in advance.

Box prunes with 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cloves

Box apricots and about a cup of sugar [My mom's note says 8 oz box to 1/2 cup sugar.]

Stew fruit very tender.  Drain juice off.  Cool prunes and pit.  Chop fine, add sugar and cloves. Should be consistency of jam.

Pierce Congregational Cook Book 1914
This next recipe is from Halma's mother-in-law, Mrs. Mary Mastalir, of Verdigre, Nebr. from page 94 of the Congregational Cook Book.  Mary Novak Mastalir was my great grandmother, known as "The Gran".

   Set sponge the night before baking with one cup of luke warm milk and one yeast cake, previously soaked in a little milk.  In the morning add one cup of milk, one level teaspoonful of mace, a pinch of salt.  Sift part of three cupfuls of flour over the sponge, then add thre-fourths [sic] cup of melted butter.  Mix in sponge and add three-fourths cup of sugar.  Gradually work in the remainder of the three cups of flour until the dough is smooth.  The dough should be quite soft, too soft to work with hands.  Let it raise from one and one-half to two hours.  Roll into little balls and place in greased tins, then flatten with finger tips.  Let raise until light and fill the center with a teaspoonful of stewed fruit, apricots, prunes or anything desired.  Bake in a moderate oven about fifteen minutes.

And now to check on the swallowtail and cedar waxwings out in the soapberry tree.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


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