Monday, April 19, 2010

19 April 1956 “Seedlings, Eggs, Apple Blossoms, Introspection, and Cookies”

Though I have not been as ‘Contrary as Mary’ it seems my garden does grow. My cucumber and tomato seedlings are doing so well.
Here is a close up of the cuke leaves and you can see we are onto the 4th set of leaves and they are already developing their little curly cues.cukeleaf1I just find that patterns and shape of them so lovely. Here is a close up of one of the tendrils.cukeleaf2I think this would make a lovely photo framed and hung on the wall as art or even reprinting the pattern of fabric. I am just always so amazed and in love with natures colors and patterns.
Here is a little view of the darlings all jumbled together. They are impatient to get outside, but here in New England that must wait.cukeseedlings2This year, rather than planting many seedlings per pot for tomatoes and then thinning them out, I decided one per pot. And I have to say they all look rather healthy to me for it.tomatoeseedlings2They smell wonderful and I can’t help but brush my hand along their little green heads when I walk by and then inhale the intoxicating fragrance of it. They smell, already, of tomatoes.
Here is my entire tray of Basil. I think one can never have too much of the stuff. You can freeze it fresh, dry it for seasoning and of course make buckets of pesto! It is wonderful on fish and lamb everything! So, I wanted to start a lot inside this year. I think it looks rather healthy and too has its distinctive fragrance already.basilseedlingsI only have a few windows to access for light so the seedlings live on a wheeled cart and it gets pushed around to follow the sun through the house. I cannot wait until I can build my first greenhouse. To think of all the things I could start in January for the coming spring, the mind reels!
I am trying something new this year, Quinoa.quinoaseeds I have always wanted to try my own grain, but never more so since I have learned to make my own bread and cakes etc. To have enough area to grow wheat is not possible for me at this time, but I found out that Quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wa’) is a grain that can be eat like rice or ground and used as a baking grain. It is a striking beautiful flower that grows from 4-6 feet. So, one of my front flower beds are going to be full of these flowers, as they are lovely AND useful. I have started the seedlings inside and this is what I have so far.quinuoseedlingThey have a beautiful red stems which I have found out was due to their not having enough light. But they are still holding on, so we shall see how they transplant. I am also going to direct sew some in the same garden bed to see how they do that way. chiveseedlingsI started some chives the other day as well. I am going to make a separate herb garden from the veg garden. I am also going to be making a Tea Garden with Fennel, Bergamot (bee balm), Cone Flower (Echinacea), Lemon Balm, Mint, chocolate mint, pineapple mint, Hyssop, Anise etc. I love all these fragrances both for cooking and to dry for tea. Many of these are perennial and so will come back again and again with vengeance (especially the mint!) I will share some photos of my before and after of the garden when I get them.
I brought two apple trees with me to transplant here and they are doing well. I also have an old espaliered apple that somehow managed not to be destroyed by various tenants and it is in bloom. I took these photos and I think they almost look like peony blossoms (though much smaller, but you can’t tell in the photos)appleblossoms1appleblossoms2 I also bought a fig the other day, but may take it back and exchange it for another grape vine. I love figs, but in our climate they have to be wrapped and really protected here in the North East.
I receieved all my chicken eggs. I cannot recall if I shared that I will be hatching out all my chicks this year. This of course means I will be getting some roosters, but I will either sell them off or they will be destined for the table, depending on how we feel. I decided I wanted to try and have all ‘blue’ chickens. Many breeds of chickens have been bred to be blue (which is actually just a soft grey color) so I thought the idea of having an all blue chicken flock would be fun. I also decided to get True Ameraucanas this year. It is a breed of chicken that lays blue eggs. There is a mish mash breed that is off sold as Aracaunas or Ameracaunas that are actually just a mix of a few breeds and they can lay a green egg, blue egg a pinkish egg, or a brown egg. This year I wanted a pure bred Ameraucana so that I would know I was getting the blue eggs and also if I chose to show them at our local fair ( You cannot show the other ‘easter egg’ chickens as they are not pure breeds).
Here is the color of the egg. This picture does not do them justice.ameraucanaeggs1They are the perfect blue that I love and when I redo my kitchen I am going to have one of the eggs matched as closely as possible at the paint store (With their computer scan) to get the color.eggsinincubatorHere are all the eggs in my little incubator. It only holds 42 eggs, so a few extra Silkie Bantam eggs had to go on the side. They are sitting in an automatic turner. I treated myself to this last year, as before that I have always self turned eggs. But I have never tried to hatch 42 eggs before and having to turn all of these twice a day by hand would have been rather hard. I hope we get some good chicks.
The eggs had to be shipped so there is always a chance that none will hatch because of how they get treated in the mail, but we shall see.
I sometimes wonder if my intense need to grow and make new life, albeit seeds and chickens, is really just that human element of procreation finding new paths. I have always loved planting, plants and animals. I was the little kid with the worms in the pocket, the pet cricket in the old matchbox. I once held a funeral for a pet ant that was destroyed by my over zealousness in feeding it taco meat (it rolled on it and killed the little darling).
Where does this need to create come? It is the same impetus that compels me to paint or draw or even mess about with photos. My mind is fixated and continually obsessed with it through out the day. I am never happy with a recipe I have found. I must change it, add to it, combine it with something new. Perhaps that is why I took so quickly to homemaking. I often feel that homemakers are, indeed, artists at heart. One would have to be, really, to continually make and create a home, meals, family entertainment and all still feel satisfied at home. Although I know some people have said, “Oh, I wish I had that much ‘free time’” I wonder if they really do. It seems many people are not happy being self directed and really like the ‘work place’ where they know or are told or expected what to do and then when they return home they have ‘leave’ to veg out and ‘relax’. I have never been happy in that position. At any job I have ever been I have always thought how could I do it different or better? In what way could I make this into a situation that would allow me to be home more or to work it from home.
Sometime I think, too, it comes from being for all intents and purposes an only child. There were no arguments with siblings or spur of the moment games elicited by others in my childhood. Much of my young years were spent alone. And, when those coveted summer months would arrive and my best friend (who happened to be my niece only 4 years younger than I) was allowed to stay for the summer, my over excitement at having an outlet for all the games and scenarios I had played out alone often left me the ring leader to our fun. When I look back I must have seemed a bossy little mite, for I often was the ‘leader’ of our summer time fun games.
I have often considered that what we have or how we live when we are young, as children, really colors and affects our adult lives and decisions. I don’t mean in an obvious way, but very subconsciously. I think, unfortunately, this sometimes manifests itself when a child has grown up with an overbearing father, they often find themselves married to someone rather similar, as on some deep level this represents the early years of ‘home’ and safety. Even though it may not have been actually ‘safe’ it was what happened during those early years. Like the little ducks that see the first thing upon hatching, they imprint on that and despite their being a duck, you are their mother. It doesn’t matter what is good or bad for them, they see you and other humans as safety and nesting.
So, as I sit here, older and childless, I wonder how much of that is really just a normal response to what I knew as a child. Even my ‘career’ as homemaker and even as artist, they are both such solitary paths. There are hours upon hours in my day where I am alone, I might speak to myself out loud or in my mind, but besides the dogs, it is just me. Am I lonely? I am not even sure, in a case of an only child, lonely can mean the same thing as one who was raised around cacophony of noise and siblings. Our perceptions of that concept are so different.
I certainly know my thoughts are my companion and have always been. I can find myself, now, in the middle of the day, humming along as I water my plants or laying out ideas for the garden or dinner and I stop and recall. The small child alone in her room, toys, or drawing or bugs, but in my imagination I have travelled worlds and had adventures, but all so silent. To anyone one the outside looking in, a quite contemplative child sitting alone in her room humming along.
Again, I think that might have much to do with my instinct towards the living things. In fact I have a very good repore with animals. I often understand dogs in a way and animals are often drawn to me. Perhaps in my quiet contemplation I have seen and understood them in some way missed by those who are always talking and busy amongst other human beings. So, I grow the plants and they respond. I have another dog and it seems normal and natural to me. A fish tank. An incubator full of eggs. A compost bin full of worms. Are they my companions? I even have many times (I think many artists feel this way) considered my images and my drawings and paintings my children. They are, to me, alive in that I created them and I want the best for them.
I suppose I am not really sure where I am going with this post. I think maybe I feel bad I have not posted much lately, but I have allowed myself more time to slip back into my ‘alone time’. My writing here and creating the site, I truly love, but there is a taste of the crowd in it. So, sometimes, though I have only now started to feel it more, I have begun to just naturally slip away into myself again. I don’t want to lose sight of the blog nor to not continue forward, but I suppose I just need, sometimes, to be with my thoughts without sharing them. Silly, I know, but they are my old friends and sometimes I get selfish with them; I want them only to ‘come out and play’ with me.
Well, enough of that. I will close today with my recipe for delicious Maple Oatmeal sandwich cream cookies. I don’t remember if I shared this recipe before. The cookies are wonderful, I think.
3/4 c. butter

1 c. maple syrup

3 c. uncooked oats

1/2 tsp. soda

1/2 c. brown sugar

1 egg
1 c. flour

1 tsp. cinnamon
2tbs. vanilla
Beat together butter, sugar, syrup, vanilla and egg, until smooth. Add oats, flour, soda and cinnamon, and mix well. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes at 350 degrees on upper oven rack. I always like to undercook them a bit as they continue to cook when you take them out. Then they hold their chewiness.
50 Gal’s Maple Cream Filling
One package cream cheese
one cup confectioners sugar(add more if not stiff enough add more liquid if too stiff)
2 TBS cream
1 Tbs Vanilla
1/4 maple syrup
Mix until spreading consistency. Spread on cookie and sandwich with second cookie. Eat them, so good!
Until next time, happy homemaking.
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