Thursday, May 20, 2010

Seasonal Blessings

It feels like a season of extremes here in the east. Warm summer-like days arriving back-to back-with the cold and wet. Flip flops one day, rubber boots, the next. I'm delighted to have strawberries so early this year, and to have such a bountiful crop of berries for jam and freezing. Strawberry pie, here we come!
(I'm not posting a recipe for this pie because although good, it wasn't the best I've ever tried. If you have a GREAT strawberry pie recipe, e-mail me! Maybe we can share.)

There is no better morning than one spent tidying the garden, keeping the edges clean from encroaching weeds, hoeing around the large green heads of lettuce. Yes, keeping things tidy can be fulfilling. Now only if they would stay that way. The farm fields to our east and north are filled with a few cole crops and an abundance of herbs. You can smell the cilantro in the air when they are harvesting it. My cousin the herbalist (mentioned in a previous post) says we are getting healing just from smelling them all around us. Hmmm...let me take a deep breath.

Somehow, I managed to actually take advantage of the weather by planting string beans right before a big rain. That saved me from having to put in the rest of the irrigation right away. But with corn going in next, I'll be setting up hoses this weekend for certain.

Each year I try to make room to grow something new. To make the room, I grow a large quantity of something that we use often one year, preserve it, and then scale back the following year and use the space for something new. For instance, this year will (hopefully) be a better tomato year so I won't need to grow as many next year. Then, that space can go to something new. This year, the string beans are new, as are the raspberries.

This will also the the first year at our house that we will have cabbage, as the one other time we tried it, it became a battle of man versus cabbage worm. It is a complete surprise that we are growing healthy cabbage this year.

The bird houses in our yard are operating at full occupancy rate. It's always such a delight to walk by one and unexpectedly hear the tiny "cheep cheeps" of new life inside. It's so precious that I've tried to get video of it on my camera, but all beaks are silent when the camera is near.

no vacancy

On the homefront, I plan to make strawberry jam soon, start shopping for bathroom vanities (our bathroom has always been one of the more finished rooms in our house), and attend a birthday party for a special little girl who is turning one. What do you buy a one year old? Well, anything that makes noise or does something once you push a button. Come to think of it, that sounds like things the Mister likes, too!

I'll be back next time with a recipe, and a review of something new and interesting that I came across. I'll just give you a hint- think salads.

lettuce, cabbage, and more lettuce

6 comments:

  1. I can't believe how great your vegetables look after the weather we've had up till now. The garden looks beautifully groomed! I can sure tell how hard you're working. How I wish I could step outside and smell cilantro! Good luck with your string beans and raspberries!

    Is your strawberry pie made from fresh strawberries? You don't mash them or cook them, do you? (Please say no!) We used to make fresh ones each year a long time ago, but just used this box preparation specifically for the gel/filling part of the strawberry pies. The grocery stores in AZ always sold it whenever they had the strawberries on sale. I can't remember what it was called, but it was really very good. I have never been able to find it in NJ, and have never come across a good recipe for anything to replace it. I gave up looking when I suddenly became allergic to strawberries in my mid-30s. My family is happier just eating their strawberries plain now.

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  2. Glad to see SOMEONE'S garden is prospering. Your stuff is definately farther ahead than ours. Some of ours got frosted :( and a lot hasn't come up yet. We are still pretty cool and wet. Our strawberries are just blossoming.

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  3. Lookin' good!! I thought of you the other day when I made your strawberry-rhubarb crumble. That's about our favorite around here now - it's got just an ever-so-slight tartness about it and it's gone in a flash. I definitely need a lesson in time-management from you!! Have a good weekend ~ ♥

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  4. BAT Mom- The only filling in that pie is the strawberries tossed with some sugar and a hint of starch thickener. Most of the strawberry pie recipes I have call for boiling gelatin or Clear Jel (pectin) to thicken the filing. I'd like to find one that doesn't call for all that, but I can't seem to find a recipe as simple as I would like it to be. Maybe there isn't one.

    Plainlady- Yes, you folks would be behind us. We're zone 6 down here. Longer growing season than the midwest.

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  5. Wow, fields of cilantro, I've never seen or smelled that. Cilantro has been a childhood favorite since my younger days were lived in southern Texas...

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  6. We're growing cabbage for the first time, ourselves. So far, so good! They're really leafing together like they should. Also trying broccoli for the first time, too... but the plants are pretty scrawny at the moment. We'll see what happens as time goes by. Other than that, the rest of our garden is doing great, thanks to the over-abundance of rain we've had this past week or so!

    My dad used to make strawberry-rhubarb pie many years ago and it was ohhhhhhh-so-good! I will have to look through his recipes next time I'm at his house and see if he still has it.

    Gardening is my therapy... and I talk to God a lot when I'm in my garden. :)

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