Punxsutawney Phil may say there are six more weeks of winter but apparently, he is not from Western Massachusetts. We see snow well into April and a late frost can wipe out the garden in May. So, what’s a garden girl to do while the snow lies deep and yet another storm is forecasted for the weekend? Well, she hunkers down with her seed catalogs, graph paper and last year’s records and starts planning her garden. Continue reading
With such a large family, I got used to cooking everything in army-sized batches. Now, with only one child still at home, I don’t need to do that anymore. But getting used to smaller batch cooking has been a challenge for me. This morning I got out all the equipment to make dill pickles when it occurred to me that I wasn’t likely to need three gallons this week. One will be plenty, and will probably leave enough left over to bring to my neighbor.
I will can larger batches for our pantry later but this early in the season I tend to make refrigerator dills a lot. They are crispy, tart, make use of the garlic that is just ready to harvest, and the dill which is producing large, fragrant heads. My own garden up here in the hills is not giving us any cukes yet, but the valley cukes are very good. They are all but giving them away down at the farmer’s market. I bought a pound yesterday and the pickles I made are chilling now. Here is the refrigerator dill pickle recipe I used.
It’s the season of abundance. The bush fruit is approaching its peak. Eggs are coming faster than we can consume them and the cow is giving copious amounts of creamy milk. Finding ways to use it all up can be a challenge. Much fruit has been juiced and gorgeous jars of crystal clear raspberry jelly grace my pantry shelves. More has been set to ferment with sugar and yeast and will provide healing syrups during the winter cold season. Eggs have been fried and deviled, pickled and poached but still they come. Cream has been churned into butter and the milk is curing into rounds of cheddar cheese. Continue reading
Usually we have some notice. The storm is forecast and we can expect that snow or wind will take down power lines and leave us sitting in the dark. Continue reading
It’s a cool, rainy day and the perfect time to clean out my dried food cabinets in preparation for late spring harvests. I’m low on almost everything, but particularly my tea herbs. I use a lot each winter. Some are medicinal, some warming and delicious, and most are both. I have my favorites. Lemon balm, anise hyssop and catmint are lovely as are lavender, calendula and chamomile. Continue reading
It takes April in New England to fully appreciate a good pair of rubber boots. I slogged through the mud and muck yesterday to reach my neighbor’s barn. The reward was well worth the effort. By the door of the milk parlor were 6 ½ gallon jugs of fresh raw milk, the deep yellow cream already rising to the top. Continue reading