It’s still hot – and DRY ! I feel like I’ve spent all Summer watering the garden. It will be cold soon enough though, and we’ll be glad of the “stored heat” in all the things gathered and squirrelled away. I dug horseradish root on the weekend and added that to the already harvested cayenne, garlic and onions as a base for fire cider. Fresh ginger and turmeric made it in too, along with a few herbs that called out to me: rosemary, wild bergamot, calendula and echinacea. Heat to melt Winter’s cold !
Lamb’s Quarters (chenopodium album) is considered an edible weed. But go ahead and grow it on purpose. Put it with the kale and the lettuce; civilized like. Pampered, it’s much more tender, and cooked it is much tastier than spinach. Throw some radish greens into the mix. They’re prickly, but cooking sees to that. Oh, and add turnip tops; the bottoms do better in the fall anyway.
Heck, it is the heat (and the humidity). That’s southern Ontario for you; one week there’s frost warnings and the next, it’s a steam bath ! The garden has been taking up more of my time and things are coming along pretty good. The garlic is looking lovely ,
and our chums (cross between a cherry and a plum) blossomed profusely the last two weeks.
They’ve proved to be exceptionally hardy ! The other stone fruit trees didn’t fare so well. It was a hard winter on trees; we had a number of freeze thaw cycles. Then to top it all off, there were two ice storms in late winter/early spring. So, no blooms on the peach, apricot, plum or plumcot. They’ve all leafed out well except the peach which is limping along. Hopefully it will hang in there.
But hey, it is rhubarb season so time to celebrate! This year I decided to try rhubarb syrup. It makes a spectacularly pink elixir that was a welcomed treat with water and ice today. I thought it deserved a pretty name and came up with “Rhuby Slipper”. Not original alas, a quick google search showed others had similar thoughts. A refreshing local sub for lemonade !
Simmer 4 cups of chopped rhubarb with 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water for ~20 to 30 minutes.
Strain and keep the syrup refrigerated. The leftover cooked rhubarb is great on toast.
Add 2 to 4 tablespoons of syrup to 8 – 10 oz of water (sparkling would be nice).
Serve with ice.
Put a Ukelele tune on (Wild Child)
Try to keep cool !
While we’re on the topic of cold drinks …
Dorothy’s Green Dream
In a blender that can handle ice:
Blend 4 cups of water, 2 lemons (peeled and seeded), 2 strips of lemon zest, 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup fresh french tarragon and 2 cups ice cubes.
Later in the season basil is good in place of the tarragon. Some day I’ll try mint.
Spring, and I accidentally woke toad with my garden cleaning. He spent a minute rubbing his eyes and looking seriously grumpy before slowly heading off for quieter environs.
I was soon thinking of one of my favourite stories (for young or old), and a whole new year.
“Spring” in “Frog and Toad are Friends ” by Arnold Lobel
Contained in the lovely essay : “An Absorbing Errand: The Psychology of Mastery in Creative Work“.
The good life is lived best by those with gardens — a truth that was already a gnarled old vine in ancient Rome, but a sturdy one that still bears fruit. I don’t mean one must garden qua garden… I mean rather the moral equivalent of a garden — the virtual garden. I posit that life is better when you possess a sustaining practice that holds your desire, demands your attention, and requires effort; a plot of ground that gratifies the wish to labor and create — and, by so doing, to rule over an imagined world of your own.
As with the literal act of gardening, pursuing any practice seriously is a generative, hardy way to live in the world. You are in charge (as much as we can ever pretend to be — sometimes like a sea captain hugging the rail in a hurricane); you plan; you design; you labor; you struggle. And your reward is that in some seasons you create a gratifying bounty.
Janna Malamud Smith
Oh, I think everyone should have a REAL garden too !