• Elisabeth/Tonya

The Chilly Days of May

Summer is not my favorite season because of the hot temperatures. It brings such beautiful flowers, however, that I can't say I dislike it. Needless to say, I have been enjoying the chilly days this spring. There have been enough warm days to bring out blossoms and they have been lovely this year. And it's almost time for the peonies to bloom!





In the photo above, the dyer's coreopsis and milkweed are just beginning to push up in our butterfly garden. We have more plants than what is shown above and are hoping for many blossoms with which to dye and lots of monarch butterfly caterpillars on our milkweed. Stay tuned later this summer to see how the dyeing with coreopsis turns out. This is the fourth year for our milkweed and it spreads each year. I have found, when buying perennials, that it is a good idea to purchase one or two and then divide them each year to increase the display.

The foxgloves are looking beautiful!


We harvested the first of the rhubarb beginning last month and have made, so far, rhubarb bars and a rhubarb crisp. Rhubarb has such a nice, tangy taste. Here's the recipe I have used for many years and it lends itself to all fruits. The crust is reminiscent of an oatmeal cookie.


Rhubarb Crisp (I usually double the recipe and bake in a 9 x 13 pan)


Preheat oven to 450 degrees


Crust:


1 cup oats

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup melted butter


Mix together


Press 2/3 into an 8 x 8 pan for the crust and reserve the other 1\3 for the topping


Filling:


4 cups of rhubarb

2/3 cup of sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 1/2 T lemon juice


Mix and let stand for 15 minutes


Pour rhubarb filling on top of the crust, Dot with 1-2 T of butter. Sprinkle the reserved crust over the top.


Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes


Reduce the oven to 350 degrees and bake for another 35 minutes. (I find I have to bake mine for a bit longer in my oven. I bake until the top has a soft brown color.




It was good to have Katharine and Elisabeth with me on Mother's Day. We always have lots to talk about and the time just flies. I've been in so much that it almost seemed odd to have someone visit...but I adapted quickly ~smile~.


It is hard to put into words how a mother feels when spending time with her adult children. Listening to all of their plans and dreams, talk about their friends and acquaintances, their memories of growing up...it's so interesting to listen through the lens of being a mother. A lens that has you see this grown up daughter discuss her current job as you listen but also see her walking to get the mail at the end of the lane when she's 8 and singing to herself. Seeing her leave for work in the morning with her lunch and mug of coffee while you remember her riding her scooter down your long porch every day in a flowered dress. Sitting together each day as I read aloud Treasure Island or Swallows and Amazons while they knitted or drew or sat in interesting ways on the furniture. And now you see them kayaking or doing yoga together, running a Savage Race, responsibly working at their jobs, or running their own household. I like the people they have become ~smile~.


Spring is a time to refresh your home and porches as well as flower and vegetable gardens. We have 4 big boxes and bags waiting to be taken to the thrift store when it opens. My winter project was transferring all of our photographs from albums to photo storage boxes, making boxes for each daughter as I did so and boxes for my husband and I to keep. The boxes take up much less space and the photos are sorted and labeled by date. I also threw away some photos that were blurry or not very good. I'm now working on decluttering and organizing our filing cabinets better.


I overwinter geraniums each year, the same ones. They're a soft pink color and that color is not easy to find locally so I just bring them in each fall and keep them in the sun room over winter and spring. They bloom beautifully during those months. When we want more, we just break off a leaf at the stem and put it in water to root and then plant. Elisabeth's vegetable gardens are looking nice and the spinach is ready to be harvested for salads. She is planning a market garden this year and hopes to have many vegetables to sell to customers along with her pastured raised chickens. (Find her at Pastures of Plenty on Facebook and @pasturesofplentyfarm ).


I hope this note finds you enjoying the end of spring and taking advantage of the sun whenever you find it.


Warmly,

Tonya

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