In ancient China, legend tells of three great kings: Fu Xi, Shennong, and Huangdi. Fu Xi created the Eight Trigrams, “a pattern of straight and broken lines used for record keeping, divination, and interpretation of events.” Shennong, the Farmer King, made the first plow and taught the Chinese people to farm. He taught them to find the good soil and to grow grains to keep them alive, to thresh the grain, and to distinguish poisonous herbs from good ones. Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor, expanded China’s territories.

To us, Shennong is the best king of these three. Many nations, these days and years ago, have leaders who are pretty useless as far as being a person who can actually do anything goes – they don’t have any skills such as farming or carpentry for instance. They just talk a lot and wear suits. Just looking at the U.S. president alone, he goes on lots of vacations, plays golf, and entertains himself in various ways. We don’t know if he has any skills or not, but if he does, they are kept very secret.

Shennong, the ancient king of China, taught the Chinese people to farm well. We’d love to learn a real honest to goodness skill from our president. We think that would be very cool.

Well – we are getting ready to go on a camping trip now. Wish us luck with our fishing. We want to eat fish for supper tonight! Be back in a couple of days.

Dink & John

13th Birthday

Posted: August 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

IMG_0611[1]Yesterday was my birthday. I’m now 13 and will be in the 8th grade in September.

The question people are always asked on their birthdays is, “So how do you feel?”. Not that I mind, but they should know from experience that it feels no different, no matter how old you are turning.

Anyway, both of my parents made me fried shrimp and onion rings for supper because it’s my favorite, and that was really good.  For dessert, my mom made me a lemon cake because I love lemons, and it was also very good.

On our birthdays, we get to pick what we want to eat for supper and also what kind of cake we want. If we want a surprise cake, we can ask for that too.

Niles is out of town now, so we are going to “finish” my birthday when he comes back home. Then I’ll get my presents and also, probably our mom is going to make another cake and we’ll probably have a semi-special supper again too :)

by John

Yesterday I went to Costco with my parents, and on the way there, I was wondering aloud if the trees in our yard were sugar maples. No, it wasn’t just a random thought. I was reading a book about collecting maple syrup and we have 3 large maple trees in our yard and I just didn’t know what kind of maple trees they were.

My parents thought that they were sugar maples and I said that I wanted to make maple syrup/sugar/candy, even though I’ve never had real maple syrup or sugar before. Because I’ve never had it and didn’t even know if I liked it, we picked up a bottle of pure maple syrup at Costco.

Today (for lunch) we had bacon, eggs, and pancakes with that maple syrup. Maple syrup is really good, but what I was really impressed by was the design of Costco’s maple syrup bottle. Most of the time when you buy syrups in bottles, the places where you pour the syrup out of is very poorly designed, and the syrup spills over and makes for a sticky top. This makes the bottle very unpleasant to use after awhile (unless you wipe the syrup away, but this syrup bottle surprisingly didn’t spill at all.

This part of the design was good, but another part wasn’t so good. The handle on the bottle is really small and sits at the very top of the heavy jug, rendering it useless. Being near the top of the heavy bottle, you can’t get any leverage when you want to pour the syrup with one hand. It’s functionally useless.

Anyway, if you shop at Costco, their maple syrup is good and the syrup doesn’t spill on the bottle :)

DSCF2105For a long time, a quick breakfast for us has been packets of oatmeal made by Nature’s Gate. This oatmeal is really quick to make seeing as all you have to do is boil water and pour it over the oatmeal, but unlike some instant oatmeal that we have gotten, this brand tastes good. While they are still too sweet for some people like our sister, they are just right for the rest of the people in our household.

Like I’ve said, it’s very quick to make, and a nice thing to have around if you need a quick breakfast every once in a while. The addition of flax seeds and dried fruit add a good flavor and texture and all in all, it seems like a pretty healthy quick breakfast to us. Cooking oatmeal is also quick enough, but if it’s just one person, sometimes we would just prefer to eat our oatmeal this way.

Our favorite flavors are Flax Plus, Apple Cinnamon, and Blueberry Cinnamon Flax, or you can get a variety because they are all good. The company adds pretty many dried apples, but not too many blueberries so you may have to supplement with your own fruit like we do. On a scale from one to ten, I would rate this oatmeal a 9.


Three Great Bumper Stickers

Posted: August 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

IMG_0517Boy! Doesn’t this car look like it would belong to someone you would really like to talk to? A coexist sign, an equals sign, and he voted for Obama. Really, the signs speak for themselves, so there’s not much to say here. We aren’t fans of any of these bumper stickers – are you?