Mom, Wife, Chef, Gardener, Dog Wrangler, Mom, Writer, Friend, Daughter, Sister, Mom, Creative Problem Solver, DIY Chick...figuring out life one day at a time.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mom/Gardener: Think Spring

So it's official, according to the news April 2011 was the coldest April on record for our state. When you live at roughly 2200 ft elevation, that translates to a lot of 20 degree nights and barely 40 degree days. Needless to say I have been feeling like Spring is some far off, unreachable thing that will never, ever happen. Just like when you're a kid waiting for Christmas, only I've had enough of snow, thank you very much. Last week we had the miracle of a beautiful, sunny 52 degree day and I said "enough is enough" and I went to the garden store. One bag of potting soil later and I have officially started my herbs and lettuces in pots on the porch.
porch garden
It doesn't look like much now, but give it a couple of weeks, it will soon be beautiful and edible. Which is pretty much my criteria for growing anything. If I have to choose between edible and ornimental, I choose edible, which totally explains why the only flowers growing around my house are day lillies that some previous owner planted, they keep coming back no matter how much I ignore them.
Anyway, it felt so good to be out in the sunshine, the dogs sunning themselves on the porch, the baby playing in the grass, me filling pots with rich dark soil and sprinkling on seeds. It gave me the spring fix I needed.
There are other signs of spring around here too. For instance, in our back yard, six big green leafy mounds of rhubarb are getting bigger day by day.
I did not plant these, these giant rhubarbs were a very happy surprise the first spring we lived in this house. Some previous owner planted them and they come back strong, year after year. Last year I canned some awesome strawberry-rhubarb jam, not nearly enough of it though. I am looking forward to getting a big batch or three of it going in a couple of weeks. Not only is it delicious, but no one I have met gets sad if presented with homemade strawberry-rhubarb jam as a present.
One of my husband's favorite signs of Spring poked their little heads up this week too. While walking along a trail near our house my son and I came upon a big patch of morels. We live in good mushroom country up here, and even though I tend to be a little unadventurous of a mushroom hunter, there are a few obvious ones I enjoy hunting for, morels and chanterells mostly, both of which grow really well in the forests up here and more importantly are really hard to mistake for anything else.
mushroomy goodness
This particular patch, this early in the season, was of small mushrooms, but I think they are better the smaller they are. They are less likely to be buggy or too wet, and they are easy to cook, nice little two bite morsels. When cooking morels you need to forget the conventional wisdom of grocery store mushrooms that says "don't get them wet." you want to soak morels in several inches of water to get all the dirt and things out of all those little crags and furrows. After a nice long soak, drain them in a colander then place them on a towel to soak up the last of the water. Then you can dredge them in seasoned flour and give them a quick fry, or saute them with asparagus and peas for an all-things-spring vegetable medly.
The final, for now, important Spring development is that the chickens finally have their new home. My industrious husband spent two days converting an old outbuilding into a chicken coop.They love it in there, there is space to move around, some of the Rhode Island Reds are already checking out the nesting boxes, now all they need is their outdoor run. We have to transplant a few of the aforementioned rhubarb plants in order to build their run, but hopefully the rhubarb will survive the move, I have lots of family members who will be dissapointed come the holidays if I run out of strawberry-rhubarb jam.
Hey Mom, its sunny outside!

1 comment:

  1. I am adventuring this year, by adding corn, carrots and potatoes to my mix. Also I switched out the standard beans for peas. So far so good, only the basil seems to have called it quits, but I can replace it easily enough.
    Chickens sound like fun, I can't wait until I have enough room for that!
    We miss you guys!