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Saturday, June 05, 2004

Ikea, Cows, and Cacao 

Evelin and I just got back from the USDA Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) Public Field Day. The first time we went to Field Day, we were passing BARC, noticed big tents and decided to stop; this time, Evelin found a flyer last weekend at the National Arboretum.

Field Day is geared towards kids, but I tend to like educational outreach things like that a lot and the give away seedlings, so Evelin wanted to go too. Basically, it's an opportunity to get people to think about where their food comes from and to raise awareness about the important science USDA is conducting.

We walked through the two big tents, checking out the various exhibit booths and picked up a bunch of brochures and fact sheets, as well as a bunch of plants: a Micro Tom yellow tomato, a Tangerine Dream sweet banana pepper, two strawberries, and, most exciting, two cacao trees. The cacao are about six inches tall and will take a while to grow up to the point where they might produce fruit, but we'll have to manually pollinate the flowers. Also, they have to grow inside in pots given our climate.

Among the other booths were a taste-a-cicada stand (with cicada prepared three ways: chocolate covered, deep fried and sautéed -- we passed), how to grow edible mushrooms in your basement, exhibits on improving food packaging and fighting lyme disease carrying ticks, and got some tips on transporting koi (incase we want to try to bring some fish down to my brother in Atlanta; his garden pond was raided by a heron last year).

After visiting all the exhibits in the tents, we boarded the bus to go to BARC East to visit the dairy barn and to see more cows. I also got to pet a five-week old calf and a couple of six-day old piglets.

Before Field Day, we stopped by Ikea to see what sorts of chairs and baby furniture they had. Evelin's been thinking for a few weeks about a glider, easy chair, or something similar for after the baby comes. The yard-sale recliner we bought a few weeks ago isn't comfortable enough for her, and she'll need some place comfortable for breastfeeding.

We've looked at Ikea for chairs before and never really found what we wanted, but this time Evelin right away found a chair -- Ektorp -- that was comfortable and likeable. We ended up getting the chair and matching ottoman -- Bromma -- both with white – Blekinge -- denim slipcovers. We know white may be a mistake, but it was the cheapest option, is washable, and if we have to replace them with a better color down the line, c'est la vie.

The rest of the day, I think, will be a bit lazy. We rented two movies -- Lawrence of Arabia and Clash of the Titans -- and will probably just take it easy and enjoy a drizzly day inside. I should start priming the guest room, but I don't want to paint without being able to have the windows open so that the fumes don't bother Evelin too much.

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