A Rite of Spring

Way back, when those lovely spring days seemed to last forever, one simple pleasure in our garden was to pull out a stalk or two of this beautiful vegetable, called rhubarb. We’d dip its end in a handful of sugar and munch away enjoying the lovely combination of tart, sweet and crunch.

I suppose it is this nostalgic fondness for rhubarb that made me delighted when a DC offered to dig up a few crowns from his patch so that I could grow my own. Now my rhubarb has been in place for  three years and is well established and vigorous. This past weekend I pulled a large bundle of stalks, discarded the noxious leaves and proceeded to prepare my version of Rhubarb-Strawberry Crumble.rhubarb-1

The Recipe:

6-8 rhubarb stalks

1 quart strawberries, sliced (I used frozen ones)

1/3 cup cornstarch

1 cup sour cream

1 cup granulated stevia (for baking)

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Trim  the root ends (the white-ish part) from the rhubarb stalks, and discard.  Chop the stalks into 1/2 inch pieces. Combine the rhubarb pieces with the strawberries in a greased 1 1/2 quart ovenproof casserole dish. Mix together the cornstarch, sweetener, cinnamon and sour cream and pour over the fruit mixture.

Crumble together 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (or gluten free all-purpose flour), 1/4 cup Demerara sugar, 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon with 1/4 cup softened butter ( or coconut oil), until the mixture is well blended. Distribute evenly over the fruit – sour cream mixture.

Bake for 45 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

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This makes about 6 generous servings. Enjoy!

Tip: When using a stoneware or pyrex-type baker, place it on a metal baking sheet before putting in a pre-heated oven to avoid thermal shock.

What childhood memories do you have, if any, about enjoying the spring garden?

Auction Action

Last week during coffee conversation with a DF, I learned that there was going to be an auction sale where she was volunteered to be a “spotter”.  On Saturday,  I dragged another DF along with me to what I think of as “an old-time-country auction”. We arrived early  at the rural location to have a good look around. The organization was impressive. Household contents were displayed under a tent in the front yard. Other items were set out on two hay wagons and on the ground further away from the house, under a canopy of magnificent oak and shagbark hickory trees.

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The auction began promptly at 10:00 a.m. at the barn area. The auctioneer moved the sale along quickly and one had to be careful not to move one’s hand and inadvertently make a bid.                                                auction-17

 

I had never seen a cradle like this iron one. Its canopy was missing, but otherwise it was in good shape:

 

Old wooden crates, tins, and old windows were popular with the patrons:

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There was a van selling food and beverages:

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And, as my DF calls it, a “little blue house” for relief.

More than an opportunity to bid, and if lucky, acquire rare and beautiful items, an old time country auction is a social event. It is fun to meet old friends and make new acquaintances.

From old wooden boxes,

to antique china ware, I was pleased with my purchases.

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This pre-1891 china set belonged to the proprietor’s grandmother’s great-grandmother!

As a bonus, it was a “Goldilocks” spring day: not too hot, not too cold, and no rain!

My auction sale tips: Arrive early enough to  preview the sale. Set a spending limit for what you want to bid on, and stick to it. Dress comfortably. Most important, plan to have fun.

 

Spring Decorating

We have had record amounts of rainfall so far this spring, and cool temperatures. Together these have given us the most beautiful burst of spring flowers ever. Scilla and wild violets were first, followed a few weeks ago by daffodils. I took photos of some over a week ago:

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The daffodils are mostly done but not before a profusion of forget-me-nots appeared in the background! (I wonder where those came from since we didn’t plant them!) The tulips which began to flower a week later are still looking lovely, thanks to daily temperatures around 10 degrees celsius.:spring flowers-1-2

It was surprising to see the flowers on our two ancient lilac bushes come into bloom  last week , as it seems a bit earlier than usual. It might be my imagination, but there appears to be many more blooms than in other years, too. Their fragrance is so sweet, I love burying my nose into a bunch of them to take it all in.

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Not the best picture, but I wanted to include the chickadee.

There are so many lilacs this year, I don’t mind cutting a few:spring flowers-5

Our old apple trees are just beginning to blossom now, but I worry  with the  lack of bees whether they will be pollinated:

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The birds have found this tree, but will the bees?

I have placed a “spring wreath” on the front door:spring flowers-4

I guess I can do my part to help Mother Nature with the spring decorating.