Happy Spring!

No matter what the calendar/astronomy/astrology or the cosmos says, I rarely ‘celebrate spring’ just when I’m ‘supposed to’.

Spring is Heralded at Bally Bin when….

The rhubarb and irises poke their heads out to do their ‘own’ thing.

Easter and Mother’s Day are heralded by the lilac bush putting on buds, and/or getting nipped in the bud – at which point, I cry and think…’maybe next year!’

Tomorrow?

I’ll be outside walking the place and looking carefully at mulched areas and eagerly hoping for any SMALL sign from perennial plants that Spring as actually arrived –

For today?

After seeing so many other posts sharing Spring Heralds, Well Wishes and Celebrations of Spring – well – I just had to post what dreams I have and remember, as I yearn for spring.

Some years, the dreams show up – some years, I miss the moment they arrived and others? I spend Spring and Summer, hoping my neglect in supplemental watering or keeping bindweed at bay in some areas, hasn’t ‘killed the dream’ of what could be.

Below then, are past photos of spring and summer.

A reminder to myself of what Spring flora so often deliver on, all while, overall, my memory of them in my heart and brain, keeps m ‘dreaming, yearning, hoping’ year round.

No matter what the calendar, temperature, forecast says or when it says so, for my locale – the beauty of past springs and summers whispers to me to “Remember!” –

To lose my faith even those times when both my internal and external worlds, feel ‘stuck’ in the perpetual dormancy of winter.

Hope this finds you and yours well.

Ode to Sue

Ragged and Raw I read The Last Post?

Even Though….I knew and have known….

this or another tomorrow

Might bring this news

I have walked this path before,

Thus, I should not be caught unawares

And should have finished an Ode worthy of Sue

I have tried to write the right words…

While my throat choked

And my heart broke in two

And edit, perfect it, put it in poetry form

Or short haiku

Perhaps a 20,000 word short-short-novella?

For what is but a short time,

and yet, feels-like-so-long now….

Instead, I chose to read and comment…

And thrilled each time the Notification ‘ting’

Showed your name…

Just one more time –

Today….you felt well enough to ‘do you’ and your passion

One more time!

Oh… how I have spent so many moments in ‘pre-grieving’

Being sternly with myself ‘realistic’ and wondering…

Can my heart take one more loss in this way?

Can I show up as I need to for her, while being me?

And being me means mourning for me, too?

In the daily ‘real’ loss of her?

All while I also tried to put to mere words,

What you, your words, your thoughts, your emails

Your pen-pal friendship,

Have meant to the joyful parts in the tapestry of my life.

I tried a poem – it didn’t rhyme…

I tried a novella – ran out of ‘time’

In my patience with me and my wandering tangents world –

And instead….I did what I have always done –

When faced with impending loss

I get the gift of knowing may be looming sooner than I wished

Of one who is part of ‘the making of me’ that goes ever on….

I waited to see what you said…

And went where your spirit led…

Be angry? Heck Ya! I can do that with you!

Be grateful? YES! I am grateful for having met you

Some regrets here and there? YES! can do!

Cuz, I really thought ‘someday’

I would scoot around your beloved countryside,

All on the ‘wrong side of the road’ to my American eyes.

With you at the wheel and us laughing like loons.

That you would understand when I stood stock still…

in some field, and whispered,

“Do you feel that? what is it do you suppose?”

Trusting you would understand when I said,

“Please, can I just sit by this rock for awhile longer?

Really, after all, what time does the pub close?”

And yet – for me –

All while I grieve in my mind and realize

The end of my ‘someday’ dreams draws near

My heart says, “But, she is not gone!”

She lives on in your dreams

Who you can be –

What you may do –

How you may skip, trip, dance along –

The path that lies before you.

All because, for whatever lifetime on this plane…

Still lies before me…

I KNOW, I can engage with the world about me,

And close my eyes and say, “Hey, Sue? Did you SEE THAT!??

Isn’t it wonderful?”

And I know and trust

the warm brush of air, containing the you who are you

Will wash over me in answer.

How do I know this?

Because, you have never laughed at me

Or called me a fool,

When I said to you –

“Sue – check this out….isn’t it wonderful/terrible/what it is?”

And yet, through all of my brain memories of you –

My inner-soul-me, will continue to tool around your country,

In your car, knowing a daring redhead is at the wheel.

And I am safe.

All while I hold on as we turn quickly into this stop or that –

A pub or a field

Your son’s house to clean and tend the garden

A walk with Ani

Dancing through bluebells

Or scrubbing floors

Pehaps throwing a slobber ball, one more time…

As we sit in the backyard at sunset, with a glass of wine….

Still –

I’m really sad I”ll not make it over to build a back yard wine cellar for you

And have fun ‘trying out the one month country wine brew’ recipe…

I’ve been testing out

With us doing daily taste testing to figure out if it is ‘bubbly soda’ or ‘smooth dinner wine’ yet

Or smelling it and, “Crap that turned into snatch ya bald Hooch – maybe use it to remove paint?”

And the giggles over each option come – whether we drank it or not…

The Last post or one more last post or telekinetic posts and comments back and forth?

I believe, for

While I grieve some losses, I also wish to bid you fond farewell until once more we meet.

For I must or did I leave it too late?

To me…

You’ll never be truly gone…

for whenever I gaze upon the beauty around me…

I’ll think

“Hey, Sue! Checking in to share this ‘magical’ moment with you…

I miss you ‘out there’, but in my heart?

You live forever.

Bon Voyage dearheart, whenever that said ship puts out to sea.

You and your perspective, live on in so many ways.

But I’m grateful the spirit of you, was shared with me.

(Hey Sue! Check that out! This ramble DOES rhyme here and there!)

❤ ❤ ❤

Sourdough Oatmeal Muffins

I’m more of a yeast bread or flat bread type of cook – I often don’t have good luck trying to make cakes, muffins or cookies, although, I can usually manage turning out a loaf of zuchinni or banana bread – sometimes I can nail a pie…

So imagine my total THRILL when my first stab at making sourdough muffins turned out nice and tasty and baked up like they should, at my high altitude, after I read a lot of recipes and on the fly, substituted in what I had on hand…

Recipe

Note* the following made at high altitude, with gluten free flour someone gave me and I needed to haul out of the freezer to make room for other stuff – the sourdough starter I have was made with hard red winter wheat.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup of raisins/dried cranberries
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup of molasses crystals (or 1/3 cup of brown sugar if you have such fancy baking goods on hand – – – LOL)
  • 1/3 cup of cooking oil (I used avocado)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Stir together the sourdough starter, milk, rolled oats and raisins/cranberries. Let sit to soften oats/fruit.
  2. In separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  3. Grease or line your muffin pans (IF I hadn’t been cautious about filling/overfilling them, this recipe would have made 12 regular sized muffins, I ended up using my 3rd muffin tin of 6, and filled 4 of the holes – so I actually made 16 just under regular size muffins.)
  4. Preheat your oven (I used my toaster oven) to 400˚.
  5. Add the brown sugar or molasses crystals, oil, & egg to the soaking oat/fruit mixture.
  6. Once blended, add the dry ingredients just until the mix is blended.
  7. Spoon into muffin pans, bake for 20-25 minutes (mine were done in 20 mins.)
  8. Immediately dump out of pan, onto cooling rack, once cool, store in your oversized cookie jar that doesn’t fit anywhere else but on the one counter space you thought you might use for sprouting/fermenting projects….LOL

They are nummy, nummy and I’ll be playing with the fruit amounts, adding in nuts/etc. And report back in – but overall? Really happy with how well this first ‘attempt’ at it went – 🙂

I managed to look through several recipes for sourdough muffins and did the various calculations for batch size, substitutions etc., and didn’t book mark all the recipes I looked at – so sorry – no ‘inspiration’ credit line – 🙂

Stardate – um.. someday – Report

The countertop fizzy soda that I left sit long enough to become some fine sipping, fruity beverage that I had 3 half-full rocks glasses of before realizing – “Um – guess I’ll have to water/ice that down, too! I’m such a light weight”.

The Sima started is mellow, smooth and nice sipping, but doesn’t have the depth of flavors/complexity to it the peach/mango and straweberry/raspberry blends did.

That said, the Sima was ‘salted’ with some additional orange zest and lemon zest, a tiny smidge of more yeast, and more raisins and is now back to sitting and ‘mellowing it/thinking about what it wants to ‘be’ as it grows older – 😀

The sourdough experiments started off so grand, but still haven’t gotten a recipe nailed down for hamburger type buns, JUST yet –

The sourdough oatmeal, dried cranberry muffins came out good – recipe to follow….

So, update – there are now ten, (yes I said 10!) 2 liter bottles with various fruity sodas fermenting along their way to ‘knock Tamrah on her keister next Saturday night (we finished ’em off during Saturday night game night – they were at 21 days from initial start!).

I now have 2 different sourdough starters going, and am doing something with sourdough starter in the neighborhood of 2-4 cups, every day.

The grass is growing, the weeds are getting pulled, I still haven’t gotten many ‘seeds’ in the ground – but little by little, more areas under sheet mulching or pretty up and mulched and ready to face a hot, dry summer (if that’s what we end up getting this year)

That said, no pictures for this, so used an old one of my iris/rhubarb/poppy bed – irises and poppies coming along and soon! I’ll have rhubarb to start THOSE counter top experiments!

P.S. I just carefully poured off the top clear portion of the fermented ‘hard sodas’ added more raisins, warmed up the fruit/sugar mixture for a new batch, let it cool, added the lemon juice and poured into the 2 liter jug with the yeast sediment, gave it a good shake and man! Did those take off!

I did 3 jugs of blueberry, cuz I had blueberries I could use and also, have sometime soon, a ‘I don’t eat them and have 5 pounds worth – do you want them?” gift coming, and the blueberry ones are trucking along okay – but they started with NEW yeast pitch and are bubbling along as furiously as the ‘oh, let’s just mix the fruit/sugar and dump it into the same jug , let’s see what happens with that” –

Alas, I must be getting old and tired – because I’m not just a lazy gardener – or a lazy housekeeper, I’m trying experiments so I can be a lazy cook from scratch and homebrewer, as well – – but still, with all the kitchen experiments ramping up and getting back to adjusting better for grinding my own flour from grains, still long, long days – can’t wait to have it all streamlined and into a ‘routine!”

P.S. – I did go ahead and snap a picture of my ‘kitchen fermentation projects’ but be kind – I’m still moving things and trying to get my small kitchen more user friendly for daily, multiple, long term projects… LOL

Baby Rhubarb – Far from ‘home’

As another Spring unfolds since the 7 years ago Spring I first was ‘here’ at the homeplace, yet another ‘seeded myself without any help from you’ rhubarb shows up –

In Fall of 2013, I moved the rhubarb crowns from under the propane tank of my new ‘home’ to a dry garden bed with rescued from mowing operations, Irises

In Summer of 2015, I quit harvesting from the first transplant who put up a seed stalk…

In Summer of 2016, I did the same on another transplant that put forth a seed stalk –

In Summer of 2019, I had one baby rhubarb, about 2 feet away from the 2015 stalk

This spring, of 2020?

Another Baby Rhubarb, about 4 feet from the 2016 stalk and 5 feet away from the 2015 one…

Moral of the story?

Mother Nature cares not about my understanding of distance, time or clumsy operations – She finds the way forth!