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An Issue From the Zucchini Archives!

...the official newsletter from The Zucchini Brothers!


Greetings from ZucchiniLand! And welcome to this archived edition of our Zucchini Clubhouse Newsletter, a quarterly publication filled with interesting facts, news from ZucchiniLand, stories, educational tidbits, projects, and much more! Please feel free to print this out and share with as many people as you want!

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As usual, we have a number of projects in the works. In addition to writing, recording & producing the radio show and doing live concerts, we're in the process of working on another "Letter TV" series. Also, our new "Safe & Sound" CD, which consists of ten brand new songs about safety, is out and available at our shows.

Of special interest to our fans in the Albany, NY region: As part of Time Warner Cable's "Sounding Board" series, we will be taping a live concert on Sunday, April 28, at the WAMC Performing Arts Studio's Linda Norris Auditorium, 339 Central Ave., Albany.

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ell, well, I'm glad it's warming up in Zucchini Land! We didn't have much of a winter at all, but I'm so glad it's over and I'm able to do things build my Supersonic Rocketship! It's in the backyard of the Zucchini clubhouse, and while it doesn't actually fly, it's lots of fun to play in and build onto. It's made from lots of different pieces of junk/trash: an old car seat, steering wheel, and gearshift (for the cockpit), different pieces of multicolored metal (for the body/outside of the rocket--with NO sharp edges), an old radio (to communicate with other spaceships), and an old lamp (to give me light in space). I'm always adding new parts to the rocketship, so if you have any ideas, please let me know! Enjoy the warmer weather! Drink enough water, and eat lots of peaches and plums (and if you can't find those, any other fruit will do!!!).

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Guess what we have in the backyard of our clubhouse! (C'mon--make a guess!) If you said "a campsite," you were right! Last time, I mentioned that my brothers and I made an outdoor fireplace out of rocks, and a tipi out of fallen trees. Well, guess what happened! When the weather began warming up and the snow melted, our fireplace and tipi were in the middle of a small pond! It turns out we built them in the lowest part of the yard, so when the snow melted into water, all the water collected right around our fireplace and tipi--which made them difficult to use. So, for the last week, I've been busy making a campsite on higher ground, which includes a new stone fireplace and tipi, our hammock, and a place for our tent. Now, about this tipi I'm in the process of making... Whereas the first tipi was made out of fallen trees, this second tipi (which is even cooler than the first) is made out of birch bark woven in and out of reeds and branches. I got the bark from already dead birch trees that I came across during walks in the woods. Our new fireplace is twice as big as the first one. Now we can really have barbecues this summer. Well, time to get back to the campground and work on the tipi! Yee-haw!

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Spring has arrived in Zucchini Land, which means the baseball season will be starting soon. My favorite team, the Zucchini Land Zebras, is poised and ready to have a record-breaking season. Last year was a record-breaking season, but all the bad records were broken! The Zebras lost more games than they won and had the most runs scored against any team in a season. You see, their best pitcher, Sadge Blake, had an earache that lasted the entire season. He had to skip his usual pre-game routine of listening to his favorite classical music CD: Beethoven's 89th Symphony. I think he never really felt at-ease on the pitcher's mound and lost every game but one that he pitched. The one game he did win was against the Robin Ridge Collies, who finished last, just behind the Zebras. But this year Sadge's ear is all healed, and I just know the Zebras will be champions!

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: : : Living Grass Basket/Spring Scene : : :

This year, some friends of ours made Easter baskets with real grass. We thought it was a cool idea and decided that growing grass in a basket doesn't have to be just for Easter. It can be a fun way to welcome spring! So we made our own living grass basket and turned it into a miniature spring scene, which makes a perfect table centerpiece or addition to a nature table. We'll give you the directions for growing the grass below, and once you've grown the grass, you can turn the basket into a spring scene by decorating it with a variety of objects. For instance, you could insert into the soil a very small vase (or similar container) for holding a small blooming tree branch or flower in water. You could arrange in the grass other natural objects like stones, crystals or seashells, or even little animal or people figures, plastic eggs, flattened marble "jewels," gummy worms, paper flowers or drawings glued to craft sticks (and stuck into the "ground"). You can even make a pond by placing a tiny clay saucer in the grass and filling it with water. Hanging a paper butterfly from the basket's handle is another nice touch. The possibilities are endless; have fun, and be creative!

Here are the directions for growing the grass. Note that it takes about ten days for the grass to grow full and lush.

1) You will need a sturdy basket, a plastic liner such as a garbage bag or grocery bag, wheat grass berries ("wheat berries," available from natural food stores; they're called "berries," but they're actually more like seeds), and a bag of vermiculite potting material from your local gardening store or nursery. (NOTE: If you don't have access to wheat grass berries and/or vermiculite, you can use other quick-sprouting grass seed and soil instead.)

2) Soak about 1/2 cup of wheat grass berries in water overnight at room temperature.

3) Pour the vermiculite into the plastic-lined basket, and moisten with water. Then liberally sprinkle the soaked wheat grass seeds over the surface of the vermiculite. Press the seeds in lightly. With scissors, trim away any of the plastic liner that extends above the edge of the basket.

4) Cover the entire basket with an inverted brown paper bag, or drape it with newspaper or cloth. Place the basket in a cool spot away from direct sunlight until the grass sprouts. Be sure to check the basket every day, and don't let it dry out; the vermiculite needs to remain moist.

5) When the grass is about 1/2" tall, remove the covering, and bring the basket out into the light, avoiding direct sunlight. Keep the vermiculite moist, and spray the grass with a spray bottle from time to time. "Mow" the grass by trimming it with scissors when it starts getting too tall. By the way, this grass is edible and sweet; it's called "wheat grass" and can even be juiced to make wheat grass juice.

6) Transform your basket of grass into a spring scene by decorating it as you see fit, perhaps incorporating some of the ideas mentioned above!

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: : : Terrific Tofu Nuggets : : :

Mmm...these are *so* good! They taste a lot like chicken nuggets and are one of Jack's favorite treats.

Ingredients: * 2 Tbs. tamari or soy sauce * 1/4 cup water * 1 lb. block of firm tofu, drained * poultry seasoning, to taste * fine bread crumbs (plain) * wheat germ and/or nutritional yeast (optional)

Begin by slicing the tofu width-wise into slices approximately 1/2" thick. Carefully arrange the tofu slices inside a sandwich-sized plastic bag. Next, stir together in a small bowl the tamari or soy sauce and water. Pour this mixture into the plastic bag containing the tofu, and seal the bag completely shut. Place the sealed bag inside a small bowl or on top of a plate, and put it in the refrigerator for a few hours (or overnight if you want), turning it over at least once as it marinates.

When the tofu is almost done marinating, preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F). In a small bowl, mix together the bread crumbs and poultry seasoning. You also can mix in some wheat germ and/or nutritional yeast for added nutrition. You'll probably want about 1 cup of this mixture, with approximately 1 Tbs. of poultry seasoning to flavor it. You can always make more of this mixture if you run out.

Carefully remove the tofu slices from the plastic bag, and cut them into 1/2" to 3/4" cubes (or you could cut them into sticks at least 1/2" thick and up to 3" long). Carefully roll each tofu cube or stick around in the breadcrumb mixture until it's coated on all sides. Place tofu nuggets on a lightly greased cookie pan. Cook in oven for 30-45 minutes, turning halfway through, until lightly browned on all sides. Cook longer if you want a chewier texture, shorter for a cheesier texture. Serve with ketchup, tomato sauce, or your favorite dipping sauce. Yum!!

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If athletes get athlete's foot, what do astronauts get? ..........................................................Missile toe!

At what time do most people go to the dentist? ..........................................................At tooth-hurty (2:30).

Why did the man take a pencil to bed? ..........................................................To draw the curtains!

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: : : SPROUT : : :

(verb): put forth; produce (shoots, hair, etc.); begin to grow; put forth shoots. (noun): shoot of a plant.

Synonyms (words that mean the same thing): grow, bud, germinate, come up, arise, begin.

Sentence: In Zucchini Land, one of the first signs of spring is the daffodils sprouting!

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There are so many fun, exciting, and creative things to do when the tube is off--especially now that warmer weather is on its way! How about joining us in this nation-wide experiment and discovering how rich life can be without TV?! We'd love to hear about the kinds of activities you did while keeping your TV off. In fact, if you tell us about them (by sending an e-mail to, we'll pass your activity ideas along to others in the next issue of our newsletter! In the meantime, you can find out more about National TV-Turnoff Week and the TV-Turnoff Network by visiting: Here are a few ideas we've come up with just to get you started. (We listed most of these ideas in last year's Spring newsletter; however, since we've gained hundreds of new subscribers since then, we feel they're worth repeating!)

*Go for a nature walk or hike. Listen, look, and smell for signs of spring. How many sounds can you hear at the same time?

*Collect some interesting flowers, ferns, leaves, etc. during nature walks, and use them to make bookmarks or suncatchers. Here's how: First, you'll need to dry and press them by placing them carefully between two paper towels and then stacking a heavy book or two on top. Within a week, the nature objects will be dry and ready to be arranged. For a suncatcher, carefully arrange the objects between 2 pieces of clear contact paper, cut to whatever shape you like, punch a hole at the top, and hang in a sunny window.

*Lie on the ground, and watch the clouds move along. Imagine yourself as a cloud!

*Go outside, and look at the stars. Create your own constellation by connecting some stars. Recreate it on a piece of black construction paper using star stickers or a white pen.

*Clean your closets, and plan to have a yard sale or give away outgrown or unwanted items to others who could use them.

*Make homemade play dough, "slime," or bubble solution. Recipes for all of these substances are located in the "Fun Stuff" section of our website.

*Observe objects inside your house as well as outdoors with a magnifying glass. Notice the details of these objects and how different they look up close!

*Create a book of interesting, noteworthy stories about family members and extended relatives. Interview them to gather information about their lives, advice, how it used to be, family stories, etc.

*Do a little research, and create a family tree.

*Make a birdfeeder.

*Clean the hair out of your hairbrushes, and place the hair inside a mesh bag (an onion bag, for example). Hang the bag from a tree branch, and watch (with binoculars, if you have a pair) for birds taking the hair to use in making their nests.

*Learn to play an instrument, like guitar, piano or recorder.

*Read a book.

*Visit the "Fun Stuff" section of our website, and try out some of the activities described there.

*Put on a puppet show for neighborhood kids, friends, or family.

*Have a picnic.

*Put on some music and dance.

*Make a time capsule by searching around the house for objects, writings, etc. that are meaningful in your daily life. Maybe you'd want to describe, in writing, what a typical day is like for you...or record yourself on tape. Put these things into a box, seal it up, and stick a note on it saying, "Do not open until..." Then put it away for safe keeping!


*Go to a bead store, and create your very own necklaces and/or bracelets to keep or to give to someone as a gift.

*Visit an elderly neighbor or relative.

*Play 2-square outdoors with a friend.

*Go for a bike ride.

* Do a kind favor for someone you know.

*Make up some sort of creative or fun relay race to do with friends and/or neighbors.

*Turn on the radio and listen to our show, "The Zucchini Brothers, Live! At the Clubhouse!"

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"When you've lived long enough you come to see that every challenge that looks overwhelming is just life, in its role as teacher, putting an assignment on the board." -Victoria Moran

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 : : : Velcro : : :

The invention of velcro was inspired by a nature hike taken by a Swiss engineer named George de Mestral and his dog in 1948. While hiking, Mestral noticed how well burrs (which are actually sacs containing burdock seeds) stuck to his clothing and to his dog's fur. The clingy nature of burrs served an important purpose in nature: by attaching to animal fur, the seeds were able to travel to new fertile areas and thus better propagate themselves. Upon inspecting burrs under a microscope, Mestral noticed tiny hooks extending from them, which enabled them to adhere themselves so impressively to the tiny loops in the fabric of clothing. Inspired by this natural hook and loop fastening system, Mestral went about inventing a two-sided fastener called "velcro" (taken from the words "velour" and "crochet"). One strip of Mestral's velcro was composed of tiny nylon hooks simulating burr hooks, and the other strip was composed of tiny nylon loops. As is often the case for inventors, Mestral's velcro idea was ridiculed at first. However, he didn't give up. He kept fine-tuning his invention and eventually patented velcro in the mid-1950's. You know the rest of the story: velcro caught on (ha-ha...did you get that?) and went on to become the multi-million dollar industry that it is today. Have you ever taken a good, close look at velcro strips? Try looking at the two velcro strips through a magnifying glass, to see the hooks and loops for yourself!

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Have you tuned in to our radio show on one of the "Please Play That Tune" days? During "Please Play That Tune" shows, an assortment of Zucchini Land residents call up and request to hear a certain song. We'll grant their request, on one condition: that they attempt to say our Tongue Twister of the Day three times, fast. So, here's one for you to try out (and perhaps you'll have better luck than our callers did): PRESHRUNK SILK SHIRTS.

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We've been doing some web-surfing and want, in each newsletter, to pass along sites we've come across that are of particular educational value. This time, we're featuring a site sent in by one of our readers:, which contains separate sections for kids and grown-ups. This site is loaded with educational resources, including online educational games, riddles, lesson plans, worksheets and printables, software reviews, clip art, downloads, links, and much more. There's an especially impressive crafts section containing crafts galore divided into a plethora of categories, and a holiday section which includes games, clip art, printables, stories, crafts, and activities. This is a wonderful site for kids, parents, and teachers. Check it out!

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Want to drop us a line or send us something you'd like to see included in the next newsletter? We'd love to hear from you! Send any newsletter ideas, comments, and/or submissions by clicking here. Or you can send fan mail by clinking on the links below:


This newsletter is produced and edited by Susan Meyer and written by Susan Meyer and the Zucchini Brothers. Thanks so much for subscribing to this newsletter and supporting The Zucchini Brothers! We hope to see you at an upcoming performance! And please consider calling or writing your local radio station to let them know you like our show!

Your Friends,
Steve, Jack & Sam Zucchini
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Additional design by Sam Zucchini