The beginning of spring is filled with plenty of rain and time for planning - planning for gardens, projects, and farms. Shall we get more peach or apple trees? How many more rhubarb plants? Should we plant three flats of greens or four? More laying hens and meat birds?
Things begin to show up in the flower beds and in the yard, old friends that we haven't seen in a year that we're happy to see. Hyacinths and daffodils begin pushing up through the wet ground. Nettles and wild onions appear and the tips of tulips nose up from the dirt.
We bring out Easter decorations and reread some Elsa Beskow books - Pelle's New Coat, Peter in Blueberry Land, and Children of the Forest. The Peter Rabbit tea set is laid out and ready for little visiting hands, and winter pictures are put away and replaced with spring wreaths and lighter pictures.
We have had lots of rain but it doesn't appear to hamper the new pigs or the laying hens. The pigs are quite vocal with their desires - let me out! more food! why aren't you scratching my back?! A new batch of chicks should be arriving in the near future so there will be more meat birds and laying hens to increase Elisabeth's business. In between the rains, Elisabeth has been setting up some new permaculture garden beds and sowing seed trays with vegetables and flowers. On rainy days, we turn our attention to indoor projects of sewing, spinning, knitting, reading, making wreaths, dyeing, and photograph organization.
Book recommendations: The Orchid Thief, Great Possessions, and Wilding.
Instagram accounts we have been enjoying: @peoniesandposies, @fresh_delivery, and @georgiannalane.
While Elisabeth sews herself some new clothes, I use Sashiko stitching on some osage orange dyed potholders, and make some sourdough bread. It's satisfying to put on an apron to attend to home things. I love this quote from Tasha Tudor, "I enjoy doing housework, ironing, washing, cooking, dishwashing. Whenever I get one of those questionnaires and they ask what is your profession, I always put down housewife. It's an admirable profession, why apologize for it. You aren't stupid because you're a housewife. When you're stirring the jam, you can read Shakespeare.
A recent recipe that everyone liked is Mediterrean Baked Cod.
Mediterrean Baked Cod
4-6 pieces of cod
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
Lemon Juice mixture
5 T fresh lemon juice
5 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T melted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 t ground coriander
3/4 t sweet Spanish paprika
3/4 ground cumin
3/4 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
Preheat oven to 400.
Mix lemon juice, olive oil, and butter in a shallow bowl.
In another shallow bowl, mix flour, spices, salt and pepper. Set next to the lemon mixture.
Pat fish fillets dry. Dip fish in the lemon juice mixture then into the flour mixture. Reserve leftover lemon mixture.
Heat 2 T of olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
Add the fish and sear on each side to give it some color (about 2 minutes on each side). Remove from heat.
Add the remaining lemon juice mixture, and the minced garlic and mix. Drizzle over the fish fillets.
Bake until the fish begins to flake easily, about 10 minutes or so. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with fresh parsley.
We hope you are staying well and busy at home, that all of your needs are being met, and that you will join us in looking for good to do during these unusual times. I encourage you to journal your thoughts during this historic time, even if it is just one line a day. I think you'll be glad you did.