Friday Curiosities II

On Fridays, we share a roundup of what we’ve been learning, watching, reading, and listening to outside of our badge topic for the week. We call this feature “Friday Curiosities” and this black cat is our curiosity mascot of sorts!

Read on to find out what we’ve been learning lately. This edition of Friday Curiosities covers tomatillos, bats, a Broadway musical, and a book all about finding more joy in your life!

What We’ve Been Learning

K: Tomatillos

I have been growing many varieties of red tomatoes for years!  I love making fresh salsa and pasta sauce. This year I decided to branch out and try to grow tomatillos.  I love a good salsa verde but had not previously tried my hand at growing the green beauties and making my own. 

The tomatillo is also known as the Mexican Husk Tomato and originated in Mexico.  They played an important part in the culture of the Maya and the Aztec. Today they often appear in Mexican Cuisine and can be eaten cooked or raw. 

I decided to start my plants from seed as I do my other tomatoes. After a few months I had two healthy looking tomatillo plants in my garden.  The tomato variation is unique as it grows inside a papery husk. I was unsure how to know when to pick the fruit. This week I noticed that many of the little green guys were dropping from the plant.  

After a quick Youtube search I discovered that the tomatillos fall to the ground when they are ripe.  Another tell tale sign is that the husk begins to split revealing the green tomatillo inside! 

After I determined that I had a number of ripe tomatillos then next step was to find a salsa verde recipe.  I found a quick and easy recipe on Gimme Some Oven’s website.   I found it interesting that the tomatillos needed to be roasted prior to making the salsa.  Delicious! Have you every grown tomatillos? Do you have an irresistible salsa verde recipe you would like to share?

K: Come From Away

Last night we saw the musical Come From Away at the Wharton Center in East Lansing, MI.  

I was intrigued by this lesser known story of 7,000 stranded airline passengers that landed in Gander, Newfoundland on 9/11 after US airspace was closed down.  It is an amazing story about how a small town rallies around these frightened people from all over the world during the tragedy and the week that followed. It is a story of community, hospitality, lifelong friendship and love.  

We prepared for the musical by listening to the Original Broadcast Recording.  We also found this Youtube video about the making of the musical delightful. It was really cool to see the “real people” portrayed in the musical. One of the highlights was the woman who ran the local animal shelter who insisted on crawling into the baggage holds under the planes to feed and water the pets (and two monkeys!) that were held down there.

This short interview with Beverly Bass was very interesting. She was one of the pilots that landed in Gander, Newfoundland on 9/11.  She is also the first woman captain for American Airlines! Gotta love a little girl power!

E: Bats!

Last week I went on a “bat walk.” I had never heard of a bat walk before, let alone been on one so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was interesting! And I certainly learned a little something about bats.

The presenter shared about bats local to Michigan and North American bats in general. I learned that one of the reasons bats are great (and so important) is that they pollinate night flowers like agave. They also eat insects – which I already knew. We have a ton of mosquitos in Michigan so I think it is common knowledge around here that bats eat mosquitos. Something I did not know… there are two categories of bats: bats that live in caves and bats that live in forests. The forest dwelling bats migrate like birds! 

Image by Jose Miguel Guardeño from Pixabay

Bats use echo location to “see” their prey without any light. The echo location they use consists of making sounds too high for the human ear to detect. You can use an echo location device that plugs into a smart phone to find them at night. This is what we did on the “walk” part of the bat walk. Finally, I learned that bats don’t grab insects in their mouths to eat but instead scoop them up in their tail membrane and then eat them. Amazing!

What We’ve Been Reading

K: Joyful

Joyful is a book I recently read by author Ingrid Fetell Lee.  I heard about this book when the author was interviewed on the Young House Love Podcast . This book will change the way you think about joy and what makes you happy.  The examples are delightful and I found myself looking up many of them to learn more.  In the chapter on Abundance Fetell Lee describes how multicolor, polka dots, stripes and layered patterns bring joy. For example: here, here and here.

This book inspired many changes in my home. The abundance chapter discusses how rainbow hues are intensly joyful. I was “over-joyed” to find some yard flamingos in a rainbow assortment and even a picture to add to my outdoor decor!

The author also has a newsletter and website Aesthetics of Joy, with a printable Joy workbook.

What has piqued your curiosity this week? We’d love to hear what you’ve been reading, watching, and listening to. Drop us a line or leave a comment below!

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