Tuesday, May 31, 2011


"...We run through the sprinkler, water on our lips. Water dripping from eyelashes. Water like fat raindrops that fall from skinny trees when you're not looking. I run like a monkey in my orange swimming trunks, jumping up and down, pounding the mushy grass with my feet..."
~ Gary Soto


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

rhubarb syrup :: rhubarb soda

It is that time of year...rhubarb time! I try to make a bit of everything with it so that it can last us through the year. Frozen, jam, compote, chutney, syrup...combined with some of the decadent freshness that is the seasonal treat like rhubarb ice cream or granita or baked honey glazed rhubarb. The house has the constant rhubarb and honey smell this time of year and it is a good thing.

We have a lot of cold and now wet this week (frost tomorrow night?) so it is perfect for home and kitchen puttering. Yesterday I made one of my favorite things. Rhubarb syrup - this year with ginger and cardamom. SO GOOD.

::Rhubarb Ginger Syrup::

8 C chopped rhubarb
1.5 cups honey
sliced fresh ginger (2" knob)
2 cardamom pods, cracked - seeds only into pan (optional, but it is good!)
1/2 vanilla pod scraped (or 1 tsp good vanilla extract)
2 cups water
(If you want it to look pink, add a slice of fresh beet)

Combine everything in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook gently until the fruit is soft and the liquid has thickened slightly, about 30-40 minutes.

Run the mixture through a fine strainer (or cheesecloth) that has been placed over a large bowl. Strain until most of the liquid is in the bowl. Give a little press on the solids with a spoon to extract more syrup.

Pour the syrup into a clean bottle, cap or cork the bottle and refrigerate. It will store for quite a long time in the fridge.

The solids make a nice rough jam or are fantastic added to baked goodies (just remove ginger slices), so if you want you can put what is left in the strainer in a clean jar and keep them in your refrigerator and use as needed! I'm making muffins this morning with it.

What to do with it? I love using it to make rhubarb soda. Or, add a little to lemonade (my boys love this) or iced tea. Drizzle over vanilla ice cream. Or perhaps ... vodka and a sprig of basil!

Of course the first thing we did with the syrup was make rhubarb soda. We don't drink store bought carbonated beverages/sodas, but having a rhubarb ginger soda is a real treat - and sweetened with only honey!

::Rhubarb Soda::

Rhubarb Syrup (for a pint canning jar glass I fill to about 1/4)
Club Soda
Sprig of Fresh Basil (optional, but so good!)

Put the syrup in over the ice and then gently pour the club soda over. Lightly crush the basil and stir in. It is so so so so so so good!

More rain and cold this week, and more rhubarb in my kitchen! Today we are freezing some so that we have it when the strawberries are ripe. Yum.


Monday, May 23, 2011


I feel lately like every time I have photos I want to post, I stop myself. I mean, how many photos of seedlings and the garden can people take? ;)

But that is what I find myself looking at. Down at the ground, all the small details, all the life, all the growth.

I don't know what it is - the big picture is OK, but I really like the close up. The minutiae.

The beauty in the smallest of details, the underside, hugging the earth, from a new perspective.

Beauty that is there for no particular reason - and you can see it only if you get really really close and take a moment to look.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011


May 2011

Do you ever dig through your photos and find photos from every year at the same time? I find myself every few months thinking...hmmm, I wonder what we were doing last year at this time. And then I keep digging and going along.

May 2010

May 2009

May 2008

May 2007

Today I looked through photos of my boys - best buddies, brothers. And yes, every year at this time I have photos of them together (of course). I imagine this going on and on and on, through the years, looking back, sharing, how big they will be, how much they will grow.

Can you imagine?


Monday, May 16, 2011


We decided to stay close to home this weekend. The things we enjoy about our city are not inside at all, they are outside - and the weather hasn't been really outside compatible yet! So we did a bit of everything at home. Spring cleaning, room arranging, furniture moving, playing, talking, baking, cooking, reading, game playing. All the good stuff. Those are always the best weekends too - when it feels like time flies, but at the same time you can't believe you fit so many things into one weekend.

Some of our favorite things from this weekend?

Dandelion flower salve making.

Dandelion syrup (and dandelion vinegar, and dandelion oil!).

Windows full of fragrant basil.

The first rhubarb of the season.

Little boys in the kitchen. Kneading.

Learning things like how to braid.

And of course eating the results (here is where I found the recipe).

Getting out for a walk at the botanical garden - before a surprise rainshower sent us running and laughing soaked into the building.

Two harmonicas, a guitar and a drum machine (what more do you need, really?).

Seeing so many flowers - so much SPRING - in one little spot at the botanical garden that we stood silently together just staring at it all. It was so beautiful, blooming like wild even in the cold and rain, it reminded me of this::

"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night."
- Rainer Maria Rilke
The weather is looking up this week, so I see a lot of mulch and dirt in my future. It was nice to have a quiet weekend before we jump into outside and 'catch up in the garden' living!

Hope you had a nice weekend!


Saturday, May 14, 2011


I intended to take a picture of that frog. I really did. But I got distracted. Beauty does that to me.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

dandelion season.

Spring is here. And with that comes fresh greens from the garden as well as foraging for all kinds of good things nature has to offer. One of the closest and easiest things to forage is dandelions. I don't have to go far at all. I can find them in my own yard. Yesterday we had a sunny morning, a hot day ahead, and lots of dandelions in bloom.

To pick dandelions is easy - we needed a few quarts of flowers for several recipes, so we just plucked the heads right off. It is best to pick the dandelions early in the day - before full heat and before they wilt or close up. I know this is pretty obvious, but only pick from organic lawns -not anywhere that has been sprayed - and best to stay back from busy roads or where you know animals (dogs) have been doing their business.

What we wanted was enough dandelions for lemonade!

We found a really good recipe here via a Facebook friend - but since I am biologically incapable of ever following a recipe exactly I have my own version. ;)

1 quart of fresh dandelion flowers
3 lemons, juiced (organic best so you can use the rind too)
2 limes, juiced
1 knob of ginger (thumb sized), thinly sliced
honey to taste
filtered room temperature water

After picking the flowers rinse and drain them in cold water. Add them to a 1/2 gallon canning jar. To that add the juice of the lemons and limes, as well as a few (clean) rinds left from the squeezing, the ginger and the honey. Fill the canning jar with room temperature filtered water.

Let it steep for a few hours. From there strain it and chill!

A loves it plain (and cold!).

G loves it with a little elderberry syrup. "Pink" lemonade.

Both are delicious!

We have some more time in this dandelion season and are working on batches of dandelion vinegar, oil and a salve. Dandelions and their greens just have so much good stuff in them it is worth it all. And if you are looking for some other ways to eat the flowers - check out these recipes. Dandelion Fritters over at Clean. And Dandelion Cookies at 5 Orange Potatoes. Yum.

What is your favorite way to enjoy dandelions?


Monday, May 09, 2011


There is something about a sunny spring morning in the garden...

"Be like a flower and turn your face to the sun."
- Kahlil Gibran


Wednesday, May 04, 2011


I think I only need one word. SUNSHINE!

After a few days of (very) cold & dark (again) we had sunshine today. Chilly but who cares.

We had to get OUT OUT OUT! Such big smiles on my boys. We needed that.

Tomorrow more rain - but we had a whole day of skin quenching spirit lifting smile inducing happiness giving energy infusing SUN.

OK. That is all I have to say. SUNSHINE!!!