Archive | March, 2010

First and Only

19 Mar

so far.

a crocus.

What To Do on a Sunny Spring Afternoon

19 Mar

Why read Emma with your hen friends, of course.

Or wish you could get to the hen friends.

There is a reason they are called Airedales.

Yesterday’s Flowers and Dogs

17 Mar

The aconite opened.  The honeybees found them.  How do they know?  How do they find the comparatively few flowers in acres and miles of land? Sight? Smell?

There were more cyclamen blooms open, too.

Although this is a large photo, the flower itself is diminutive.

The sunny weather was conducive to much outside play.  Hawthorne’s friend Sable came with her owners.  Although I am not sure she considers Hawthorne her friend. Notice who is always being chased away.

He thinks it very great fun.

The Importance of Being Earnest

16 Mar

The play by Oscar Wilde is funny.  So funny, that someone took the 4-H leader’s advice and (just barely) prepared parts of three scenes to give as a ‘dramatic interpretation’ for the County public speaking day with a neighbor and fellow 4-H’er.

Here we see Algernon and Jack in the cigarette case scene.

They each were Jack.  B played both men’s roles.  And the girl played Gwendolyn and Cecily as well as Jack.

For preparing the day before they did well.  Not well enough to go on to regionals.  Which was just what someone had planned from the beginning, unfortunately.

The first flowers outside

15 Mar

At this latitude one would expect aconite or snow drops to be the first spring flowers.  At my mother and my mother-in-law’s homes, they are both in bloom.  At our home, they are just thinking about opening:

But what caught my eye yesterday, and surprised and pleased me today, is what is the first full bloom of this year at our home:

This little beauty, only a thumbnail width across, is a spring blooming hardy cyclamen. There are quite few more coming on. The photo does not do it justice.

The establishment of several plants of spring and fall blooming cyclamen I consider one of my highest gardening achievements.

Then I found a couple clumps of a different variety of galanthus (snowdrop) that are also open today:

A tie for first place in outside bloom for 2010: Hardy cyclamen and snowdrop.

The pussy willows have been coming out, too.

Second March Week Suppers

15 Mar

Monday: leftovers and fresh kumquats

Tuesday: baked chicken pieces, baked grated potatoes and onions

Wednesday: Rice Picadillo

Thursday: kale with chicken, feta, and garlic on Thai Jasmine rice

Friday: baked cod, dressed edamame

Kumquat Marmalade

13 Mar

It is the time of year we in the thawing north can find kumquats in the produce section of select grocers.  I bought four pounds this year.

The girl and I eat some raw.  But after a few days they seem to strip away some of the skin in your mouth, since these are not as ripe as the ones we picked years ago in Tucson on the walkway of a miniature golf course.

So last night I made the first batch of kumquat marmalade. The best way I have found for preparing the fruits to be cooked is to remove the little green stem end with a knife, then use sharp small scissors to snip each fruit into bits.  The scissors points work admirably as a tool to flick the seeds out as you cut.

Once you get tired of preparing them, that is a few cups worth for me, place them in a heavy bottomed sauce pan, add some water or juice, and bring to a boil.  Last night I added the juice and pulp from a red grapefruit half lying around.  And some water.  Then sugar.  Repeat the last two as often as necessary.  Add more water if the fruit gets too thick. Add sugar rather sparingly– so there is still a nice tang.  It should seem a bit too thin at the end of your cooking–after about 20 minutes or so.

Let cool in the pan overnight.  Out on the cold porch is a great place. It will thicken up nicely as it cools.

I made the marmalade at the same time as waiting for bread to finish its final rise and bake.

This morning I had fresh toast with butter and kumquat marmalade. Yum!

Some will be canned.  Perhaps.

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