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Sep 23, 2009

Beginners.

Do you like to eat fruit? What are your favorite kinds? I like all kinds of fruit, local and tropical. I am fussy about one thing, though, when it comes to fruit: it has to be fresh. There is nothing worse than biting into an old apple that is soft, or an old orange that is starting to lose its flavor. Because we live close to all kinds of orchards, we have the benefit of shopping at local fruit stands. Every year there seem to be more and more of them. Just around the corner, a block away from where I live, is a fruit stand. It sells most seasonal fruits from this area: apples, cherries, apricots, nectarines, peaches, and pears. The first fruit to be sold are the cherries. They are ready for harvest before the other fruits. Then come the apricots, followed by the peaches, nectarines, pears, and finally the apples. It's all colorful and delicious. The fruit stand, or stall as they say here, is a simple construction made out of wood, a shade, and a table. You can park your car next to it, get out, and choose from a number of different bags of different sizes. The owners also grow tomatoes, so, just like in an open market, you can choose your own. And did you know that there is a drop box for the money that you pay, in case nobody is there to serve you. Yes! The fruit is sometimes left by itself, and if you take a bag, you are expected to put the money in the box. It's a test to see if you are honest! And, you know, most people are!

Grammar notes.

Common expressions: Did you know?, there is nothing worse, a block away.

Exs:

Did you know that chocolate and coffee are actually good for you?

There is nothing worse than a badly made cup of tea.

The park is a block away from my house, and the supermarket is three blocks away.

Advanced.

The fruit stand nearby is almost a permanent mini store. It gets set up in Spring, and doesn't come down until Autumn. It's a good reminder for us locals to think about whether or not we are eating enough fruit. There has been nationwide advertising for several years now, emphasizing the need to eat lots of fruits and vegetables in order to improve health, and to prevent cancer. In the schools, the children even have a health class where they are presented with information about the goodness, or lack of goodness, in all foods. The kids are encouraged to think about their bodies, and what they need on a daily basis, and to come up with healthy alternatives to the American diet. They color in pictures, answer questions, and memorize fact. They really become quite informed. I take pride in having lots of vegetables and fruit at home. We introduced a variety of veggies to our children from a very early age. How did we do it? Well, we made it into a game. We called Brussel sprouts 'green eyeballs', and Spinach became 'rabbit food'. The kids were so amused and intrigued, that they tried everything over time, and liked it all. We haven't had to make up any games to get them to eat fruit, of course. The natural sugar content is all the attraction they need.

Grammar notes.

Vocabulary: to set up/ to pack up or disassemble, on a ....basis.  Practice of the pluperfect.

Exs:

We set up the tent yesterday, but we had to take it down immediately because there was a big hole in it.

The machine was disassembled so the mechanics could find where the problem was.

I eat vegetables on a daily basis, and I have a check up with the doctor on a yearly basis.

Pluperfect.

We hadn't even driven a mile, when we had to turn around because we had forgotten our passports.

We hadn't seen our friends for months, when suddenly, they dropped by to see us.

Hadn't he read the instructions? OR Had he not read the instructions?