It’s that time of year again. Gardening time.
I’ve got all sorts of things coming up in the garden which means, during the week, I’m glued to wunderground. Did it frost last night? Will it frost tomorrow? Why has it only rained a tenth of an inch this week? Gardening from afar is stressful (I’m kind of obsessed with the idea of this PlantCam, at least it would help me feel like a little less of an absentee gardener).
We have a few big projects going on this year. Two weekends ago I dug-out the compost pile. I think it dates back to both of the two previous owners of our house. I found lots of unusual things in there: the film of green grass that keeps sushi separate from wasabi, pencils (yes, plural), chicken bones and a ceramic snail. I sifted it once on a wide grid. The pile is, no lie, the size of a Smart Fourtwo, and now I’m working on sifting it again through a finer sieve. This is hard work, but it is good work, and once we’re done with projects two and three, all that shaking will have really paid off.
Project two is creating what we’re calling the Plumpkin Patch on one of the lumps our land is dotted with. We covered the area with a tarp over the winter which not only killed the grass but also served as a nice warm spot for our mice to escape the snow. We’re hoping that by giving the squash some room to run wild that we’ll actually get some squash this year (winter squash I mean, there was no shortage of summer squash last year!).
From Sugar Ann to Zlata after the jump.
It has never quite hit me how pervasive yellow is in Spring.
But it’s everywhere. Daffodils. Crocuses. Forsythia. Violas. Birds. Boxes. Ties. Hairpieces.
Color scheme for a wedding? Who, me? Never. Okay, well kinda. And yes, yellow is involved.
There is no surer sign that Spring has returned than the reappearance of ramps.
In years past, I was a part of the ravening hoard of ramp “hunters” at the Union Square greenmarket, marching from booth to booth until a waft of earthy, oniony air would hit my nose and stop me in my tracks. But for some reason, this year, I had lost all enthusiasm for them. They just didn’t seem special anymore.
Then on Saturday when I called my mom to make plans for our dinner at Local 111, she asked “Do you think they’ll have ramps?” I said I thought they would. And they did; in a spring onion soup, alongside low-poached swordfish, and accompanying a local steak.
The soup was delicious, light and pleasant in a way that’s hard to do. It wasn’t too “green”, as if it had been overloaded with spinach, nor was it too bitter, as can happen when you add too many raw alliums. It was perfect topped by lumps of sweet, briny crab. The encapsulation of Spring in a bowl.
And then there was the side of pickled ramps my mom ordered. Tinted ever so slightly daffodil-yellow by turmeric, they were piquant in the most pleasant way. Ramp-mania had indeed returned!
Want to find out where we went foraging for ramps? Find out after the jump.
So sorry about that, leaving you without a new post for a week. I hope that if you celebrated a holiday, it was full of fun and family and food.
And if you didn’t celebrate a holiday, I hope that you at least celebrated spring, because if New York is a state to judge spring’s springiness by, spring, she has sprung!
In the past spring has always meant renewal to me; flowers and birds and rabbits. But this year? Spring is all about pain.
My muscles haven’t stopped aching for weeks. Up at the house we have been doing a lot of hard, back-breaking work. We are trying our damnedest to rescue the garden from the encroachment of nature. You see, our garden was carved out of a high bush blackberry patch and neglected for at least one summer, if not two. And to top it all off, its enormous space was very badly used.
Working hard, or hardly working? Find out below the fold.
Have you ever walked through Central Park on April 2?
No? Well, let me tell you something, you should. Go ahead. I’ll wait right here while you mark it on your calendar for next year. And if you’re coming in from out of town, you’ll want to be here by the evening before, no fooling, because you’ll need to be in the park before 8am, in order to avoid the herds of tourists.
Because the most important aspect of being in Central Park on April 2 is the ability to find a pocket of the park where you are completely alone. Just you and nature and the city. It’s a powerful, emotional moment, especially if you let the sonic wall that is the park’s birds in full song wash over you.
A secondary consideration to make, if you are planning a trip to be in Central Park on April 2, is that it should have rained the night before, so that there is fog and mist everywhere (this might require a degree of flexibility in travel plans). It’s also another reason why you have to get up early, so that it hasn’t all burnt away yet. Because, I now feel strongly that there are two times when New York City is at it’s loveliest: in the middle of a snowstorm (c.f. March Snow), and on a misty Spring morning.
Central Park not your thing? How about Bermuda? Click here for some island breezes.