Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring Break

As much as I love my job it can overwhelm me. This week (March 2 – April 2 2010) is spring break at Valley View Christian School. I keep meaning to check in and make sure all is well with students who are behind and NEED to work but everything within me resists going there. It has been glorious reading what I want to read; researching something other than projects for facts and plagiarism; having the freedom to choose when I will do a project or chore instead of trying to work it in because there is a never ending pile of work that needs to be graded. A girl needs a little time to breathe.

Ray and I had planned a camping trip to Turlo in Robe Valley (above Granite Falls). We had hoped to invite my parents whom we had wanted to spend time with. I am the world's WORST phone person. I HATE making phone calls. They make me feel stuck. I don't even like to answer the phone. I have to resist thinking, "there goes 40 minutes of my work day." That will put me seriously behind. It isn't actually true and the people who call are usually people I love (someone else loves sales people) (RANT over). I had put off calling my folks about camping. Two days before we would have left the suburban started acting up. We are still waiting for parts.
It is easy to feel stress when your plans start to unravel.

I have learned a secret. Actually it is a well publicized bit of wisdom. "Thank Elohim in ALL things and for ALL things" A series of spring storms has been rolling through the Pacific Northwest, dumping up to two feet of snow in the Cascades. I am so happy to be at home. It is only 39 degrees at 8:30 AM and we are on alert for hail, but there is no snow! If the truck had been running we would be stuck in the snow in a campground without electricity. If we had not thought to take a moment to honestly thank Elohim for our circumstance and what was going on in the unseen world, we would have completely missed His hand in our life.

There is a cover over the SFG, a cover over the deck that Jason and I put up yesterday (mostly Jason put it up) and electricity! The strawberries have all shot out new leaves, the fruit trees are budding (there is life in those sticks!) and the garden is starting to look like a garden instead of a box of dirt. Yeah! The elements for the next box are in neat piles of hardware and lumber in the garage waiting for Ray to have a day off. In nicely stacked plastic bags are the raw material for filling the box with soil, waiting for a day when the garden frame is complete and the weather is nice. Until then, the tomatoes are in the window and the seeds are at the ready. I brought the tomatoes inside because the little things were getting a tad yellow even though they were not getting leggy on the deck. Even bringing them in at night and not taking them out unless it was 40 degrees or better, it was still too chilly without a cold frame. I am suddenly missing my collection of windows that I kept in Robe Valley.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville, WA

My Gram'ma would take me to the Sunnyside Nursery when I was a little girl. We would hop in her car to get lunch. She would have a deluxe cheeseburger and I would have a tuna fish sandwich with a root beer float. Once in a while, in the spring, we would end up at the nursery to look at the pansies.

Ray and I were there on Sunday afternoon. Fruit trees were 30% off as long as they were bare-root. The sign warned that the trees would soon be potted up. We bought three.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cooking Asparagus and a Garden Video blog

I have a Costco size bag of Asparagus. My family loves asparagus. Usually we like to roast it in a hot oven after tossing them in olive oil, sea salt and herbs d'Provonce with lavender. A creamy, garlicky-lemon sauce for dipping as well as dressing the brown rice and the salad. We can make a meal of it.

This is not our first bag of asparagus this year so I tried some new preparations from "Fields of Greens" by Annie Somerville

I've been missing my Meyer Lemon Trees since the big snow last March. When a tray of them landed in my basket while shopping at Trader Joe's I came home and found a way to use the lemons with the asparagus. Spring Vegetables with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette. Yellow Potatoes are roasted while shallots and half a red pepper are thin sliced and set to marinate in the salad bowl with some of the vinaigrette. Three inch lengths of asparagus, snap peas, cauliflower and a sliced carrot are blanched in boiling salted water before being plunged into ice water. The warm potatoes and blanched veggies are added to the salad bowl with the rest of the dressing. Plates of this Potato, Asparagus salad are sprinkled with toasted walnuts and given a couple of Nicoise olives.

A big winner was the Spring Tart with Asparagus and Red Onions. There was no magic to this one. A standard tart but the crust was a very simple yeasted tart dough that I found to be nearly as good as a puff pastry crust. Ray still likes a regular pie dough crust best.

The Spring Risotto with Asparagus and Peas was labor intensive. But, it is Risotto! A tomato stock is made ahead of time to replace the cream of most risottos but is still rich with Parmesan cheese.

There are two pasta and asparagus recipes in the book, but I'm looking forward to Asparagus soup with orange creme fraiche.

Now, back to the garden......

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Onions Have Sprouted!

It only took three days on my dresser! Whoo-hoo! Now I need to get myself to Costco to find more grape tomatoes. The container makes a good nursery flat and for all my talk, I still need to start my Leeks. I've been taking my tomato sprouts to the deck every day that the temp is above 40 degrees. So far they are looking good. Today the onions join them.

The "Storm Train" is still rolling through the PNW. We have gone from freezing to drenching. It is worse in south west Canada. Now that the Olympics are history the snow comes. Did I hear correctly? Winds gusting up to 30 mph? That's some train!

The seventh time the servant reported, "A cloud as small as a man's hand is rising from the sea."

So Elijah said, "Go and tell Ahab, 'Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.'"

Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the LORD came upon Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

1 Kings 18:44-46 NIV

Daily there are reports of wild weather in someone's backyard. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. The Old song reminds me that, I know whom I have believed in, and am persuaded that he is able, to keep that which I've committed, unto him against that day. What more or less can be committed to my Y'shua but myself and the trust that those for whom I pray are in his hands. Victory.

After listening to the rain all night on the sky-light I have this song running through my head.

Deborah .... Wishing her baby brother a happy birthday today.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Winter was mild in the Pacific Northwest. Snow was just a news item about places far away.

I knew I was getting excited too early about gardening. But it is healing to my soul. After being without a harvest for too long I gave myself permission to indulge in preparing for dinners to come. Sure there were herbs and lavender, potted strawberries, a bit of salad and the pole bean; but that is not the same as tending a garden that nourishes the heart before it fills the stomach. I think I will always adore shopping farmers markets for flats of sun ripened strawberries, stone fruits, apples, pears and sweet local corn. I love when friends and family with a garden have too many carrots or beans to deal with and invite me to relieve them of some of the burden (grin). Gardeners are some of the most generous people you will meet. But as much as I love that, there is still nothing like taking my morning coffee out to my garden to welcome the morning with birdsong as I note what changes have taken place since my last visit.

It awakens my heart with a sense of God given purpose. I know that my impact on this earth is no more then a good season of sweet peas. I don't even care that it is short, sweet and easily out done by others. I just love feeling the pleasure of my God and seeing hope for tomorrow in lessons learned by delicate carrot or onion sprouts struggling to overcome the burden of the loam that weighs them down but soon becomes the anchor and nourishment for life, short though it may be.

The talking heads on the evening news were excited about the possibility of snow in Seattle. Film crews were sent to the far corners of King County to record actual footage of snow flakes coming down. After a year of tragedy, police gunned down sitting in their cars or sipping coffee while preparing for the day to come, young girls whose life should be coming into full blossom are found grossly violated in shallow graves, video violence of children attacking each other as authorities look on, infants brutally murdered by mom's boy friend or stolen by the nanny. . . who can blame the media for child like excitement over the possibility of snow. Sometimes non-news is good news. They said it loud and often; get ready, snow is coming! This morning I was relieved to see that it has not come to my house yet.

However, I was concerned about the unending rain we often receive in the Pacific North West. Ray and I took some time to cover our toy box of a garden with plastic. We do not want our infant sprouts to drown. Can you see the picnic table-clothe weights that we hung from the plastic to keep it in place? That seemed like a fantastic idea until I came out to find it all bunched up behind the garden. Cloths pins pinched plastic to cage and it was still in place this morning.

For the last few days I have been taking my 2nd cup of coffee on the back deck. Bird song, clean air and sunshine. Not today. The cold is too hard-core for this old lady.

Lemon Thyme and Oregano. The pots are to encourage the puppies to go around the bed. In the foreground is a lavender who would like to me moved to a sunnier spot. Way to the right is a rosemary that survived our mild winter. I wish I had covered her up last night.

Golden Marjoram The chives behind the marjoram have never been this lush this early. Itty-bitty parsley is tentatively taking root on the right.

Here comes the sun (little darlen) Here comes the sun and I say, it's alright!