Good Enough

I have said in the past that there’s no such thing as too much pesto and I stand by that, but wow the freezer’s getting full and we sure do have a lot of garlic scapes.

scape seasonWe turned to the internet, like you do, and came across this recipe for pickled scapes. We won’t know just how good they are for six whole weeks, but I have a feeling we won’t think we made nearly enough.

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Sticky Situation

Extracting honey is a sticky, messy job.

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The first step is to scrape the cappings off the wax so the honey is free to flow when the frames are spun in the extractor. This can be done with a knife or, as above, with a scratching fork. I’ve done it both ways, and find the fork to be the better tool. It’s more precise, allowing me to leave more honey on the frame. I’m also a lot less likely to stab myself with it when trying to maneuver with my wax and honey and propolis-covered hands.

When the frames are spun, the honey collects in the bottom of the extractor tub. We position a double strainer beneath the tub, open the gate, and do our best to keep our tongues out of resulting stream of honey. Fingers are another story.

(photo courtesy of a friend)

Drop by Drop

Time is the hidden magic behind every beautiful garden you’ve ever seen.

IMG_9904When you first start a garden, it’s not going to look great. It’s going to look spotty and a bit sad, really. The trick is not to get discouraged but to keep plugging at it, planting a snowdrop from a neighbor here and a columbine from your friend there, dividing anything and everything and redistributing as if you know what you’re doing. For a few years you’ll wonder if maybe you’re just not great at making gardens, then, poof, one May your garden will spring to life. All those plants will suddenly look like they’ve been there forever, lush and thick and trying to outdo each other with flowers, and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll feel the itch to get started on another section of your yard so you can experience the ride all over again.

 

A Bit Of Earth

This little swath of bulbs is part of my daughter’s garden, a patch of land she claimed at seven years old and has tended for the sixteen years since. Some years it was meticulously cared for, others overgrown and weedy. These days it’s generally the neatest spot on our property.

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“Might I have a bit of earth?” is the question posed by ten year old Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden, and it sums up an almost universal longing. To have a bit of earth is to have a sense of belonging, of being part of the world. What I’ve learned from my bit is that ownership doesn’t necessarily mean, ‘this is mine’, but rather, ‘I care for this.’

Slow Tech

Time got away from us this year. Word is that sugar season was short with our unseasonable weather, and we missed it.

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But maybe not. I checked the ten day forecast at the beginning of the week and saw what looked like good flow weather. Cold nights, warmer days. Taps went in just in case, rigged with our high-tech system of old milk jugs and wire. We won’t have gallons of syrup, but I’ll be kicking myself a little less than if we got none.

Let There Be Light

My usual cure for my impatience with early spring – waiting to plant seeds, waiting for seeds to grow – is to buy myself a new houseplant.

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Nothing fancy, just a little something  to bring life and color and give me a bit of dirt under my fingernails. Cheap therapy. This year I went with a $4 Pothos. Not my favorite plant in general, but I was drawn to these leaves, which have golden spots that give the impression of being filled with light. Just what I need to get me through mud season.

Victory is Sweet

Last year’s experiment with growing stevia left me intrigued by its sweetness but not sold on its aftertaste.

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Happily, cold weather worked its sugar magic last fall and the aftertaste disappeared completely. Results of hanging those cold-snapped leaves to dry are good too, so stevia has now earned a spot in our pantry.