Tuesday, May 8, 2012

This year's strawberries

We did our annual strawberry picking on Friday. (Last year, two years ago)  It rained, and the actual picking only took about half an hour, before the thunder.  The kids were great sports.

Since bringing the berries home, we've made strawberry kefir pancakes (which became strawberry shortcake for dessert after dinner), strawberries and whipped cream (probably my kids' favorite-ever dessert), and have of course eaten many many berries out of hand.  I've decided not to do jam this year.  My kids prefer honey over jam in most situations, so I still have strawberry jam left over from last year.

I've been reading Tamar Adler's book An Everlasting Meal  over the past couple of weeks, and it has been inspiring.  I am a good cook, but in the past I have learned recipes, for soups and sauces, for example, and then extrapolated on them, instead of cooking individual ingredients well and then combining them into good meals.  This book has inspired me to use whatever herbs I have in the crisper with whichever vegetables are also there-- to cook what's in season and to use all of it: rinds and skins, shells and bones.

And somehow her book has let me admit that while I like to think of myself as the sort of person who makes strawberry jam each year, I'm not really the kind of person whose family eats a whole batch of strawberry jam in a year.  So we're using them as they come to us, and freezing the rest for the now-daily smoothie ritual.  Can't wait for the blackberries and raspberries to come in.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Signs of spring

"Spring, Spring, Spring!" sang the frog.  "Spring!" said the groundhog.  It was spring.
*from Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown*

Some of my favorite signs of spring around our home.  I always forget how beautiful and delicious these spring artichokes are.  I could eat them for a week.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Wild Wednesday

 (Aside: I so remember this oldest sibling feeling, of wanting your little brother to behave in the family pictures!)

The buttercups are out in full force.  Rain was threatening to fall, and I drove the car down into the cow field so we could get to our beloved creek and tadpoles quickly.  H wanted to lead the way, walking ahead of me and G on the cow paths.  The grass is growing tall past "cow creek", and all the little thick green grasses are filling in on the banks of the creek.  The tadpoles are everywhere, crowding the shallows, not just in still puddles, but in the transitional edges of the creek itself.  H and G spent a long time talking to the tadpoles, who are still very small and black, trying to touch them as they wiggled away (to G's giggling pleasure), and bringing them "special rocks".  G reminded us to say bye bye when it was time to leave.

On the way back up the hill, H wanted to look for bones on the other side of the cows' stream.  I had to pass him across the stream because it was running a little deep, over the tops of his boots.  We found a couple of cow femurs with black and brown slugs hiding on the bottoms, close to the ground.  (Every day since then he's been singing this song, but replacing the lyrics in the refrain with "sluugs and bones, slu-ugs and bones, slu-ugs have houses called bones".  Hee.)  I love Wednesdays.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dining en plein air


For the second time this spring.  Hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill.  His special deer mug.  And (always) the attempted escape when the sun goes down and it's time for bed.