May 3rd, 2021


May Day (perpetual calendar, observe)

May Day!

* Rose buds on the miniature roses.
* Blue eyed grass.
* Hyacinth-like Camassia leichtlinii ‘Blue Danube’, a western US native. The larger, pale blue native quamasn, Camassia scilloides has been blooming in the rain garden.
* Solomon's plume! A wild plant i had rescued when we cleared, thinking it looked like a nice plant. I never noticed it blooming before. An arcing stem with alternating linear leaves (looking much like Solomon's Seal) but ending with a little starry plume of flowers.
* Eastern columbine, small red and yellow rocket flowers dangling from tall thin stems
* Virgina waterleaf with it's curling cormb of pale blue flowers.
* Some sort of fleabane, maybe Erigeron philadelphicus -- the large patch in the glade looks lovely, and a new patch is at the foot of the mulberry. This daisy like flower looks lovely and not weedy.
* The mulberry is blooming!
* The chestnut might be blooming, or budding, at least
* blackberries!
* Lyre leaf sage's purple spikes.
* Sage itself -- and the sage flowers have a marvelous flavor - strong like sage, but marvelous
* Bearded iris from the previous owners, i think it's 'Jurassic Park' with greenish-yellow standards and purple falls.
* Green and gold, a low growing gold Asteraceae flower.
* the moss phlox, another low growing ground cover, is fading
* Some white ornamental onions that need to be moved somewhere.
* A bouquet of rain lilies, Zephyranthes atamasco in the rain garden
* Some scarlet clover, here and there, and the white Dutch clover everywhere.
* Japanese false hawkweed -- invasive and not particularly attractive
* Star of Bethlehem -- invasive and LOVELY
* Some lingering spring beauties
* Chives and the walking onions and many of the brassicas
* An occasional violet and the mock strawberries.
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Planning (f&f, covid-19, mom and caa, travel)

I feel like my schedule went from zero to sixty. My brother's family is coming to the states this summer, and visiting our area in June. I spent much of yesterday on plans -- video calls to brief my brother on the state of COVID here and to get their plans, junket to the state park to check out pavilions for Father's Day, discussions re choices, renting pavilions, realizing i always regret not having a swimsuit the one or two times i visit the lake with family so buying a swimsuit (and almost picking wrong sizes a few times), picking out fabric dye pens and dyeables for a gift for the kids.

While i took some time off Friday and did some yard work -- and then Christine's sister was over for a film on the deck Friday night -- the rest of the weekend i was on my laptop.

I also have plans to go to the Tampa area in July to stay with my Grandmámá (and will switch off with my sister) while my Dad's cousin takes a break. Grandmámá is finally going to get a vaccine, apparently, as her county is finally bringing them to housebound seniors. (And she did get her shot on Monday.) Maybe when i'm there she will be well enough to go out. My Dad has set an expectation of basically being housebound except for during her afternoon nap.

After a year of no events, this seems like a muchness.

--== ∞ ==--

I am realizing my sister has a better insight into just how frail my father is. She's pushing to get him moved out of the current large and expansive home to something managable.... and i think i'm ready to support that. He is overwhelmed with Mom's care. It's been a very demanding two years since the stroke.

Ugh, all the stuff they have.
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Sage wisdom (cooking, eating notes)

Sage flowers are quite yummy. If you like lavender flowers in culinary applications, i think you'd enjoy sage. I'm thinking of steeping some in vodka, and mixing some in with my drained Greek yogurt that i eat spread on Wasa crackers for breakfast.

Tonight i tried roasting my Egyptian walking onions and a very bitter chicory. The chicory, with olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasted wonderful on Italian bread -- it was a bit tough. Good to know i can eat them like this.

Egyptian walking onions don't make big bulbs. They divide into additional bulbs over time. They are particularly known for their tops that, instead of becoming flowers, become little cloned plants, "bulbils". (I've you've had a spider plant that had bayb spider plants on the stems -- those are botanically bulbils, too. The walking onion bulbils however look like little onion bulbs.) I've been growing them for years now, generally just letting them multiply -- the bulbs in the ground dividing to make a clump, the bulbils falling on the ground and making new clumps. I've had the green onion leaves in my mixed sauteed greens, but i really haven't been using the plants.

This winter i ripped out my old patch in the fenced part of the garden and moved them out of the fence: deer don't eat onions. There are a few clumps in various places from previous year propagation attempts, so i've been pondering what to do with them. The bulbs and bulbils are not particularly mild onions. One attempt at pickling last year didn't go as well as i would have liked.

I pulled up three. At this time of year the base is a little broader than the rest of the plant, but it's more like a scallion than a spring onion (no round bulb at the end.) From that end to the top, it's about two feet or 60 cm.

Onion scapes (or garlic or leek or tulip or lily or gladiolus scape) are "a peduncle arising from a compressed or subterranean stem, with the lower internodes very long and hence few or no bracts except the part near the rachis or receptacle." Cough. It's a hollow stem for the flowering part of bulbs to be far less precise and much more clear. So the stem and the flower buds of onions are edible, and there were scapes on these plants. The top six inches are tender, but the rest is a fairly rigid hollow stem. I cut them into sections of the hollow tubes. I trimmed the leaves from the bases of the onions and cut them in half laterally. I left the tough scape to see whether it would be edible after roasting.

These i drizzled with (too much) olive oil and salt and pepper. Roasting at 400°F for half an hour produced some very crispy bits (didn't get oil on those) and some very mushy bits. It caramelized up nicely,so that's a plus. The lower parts of the scapes were kind of tough: if i was serving to guests i think i would remove them.

As an experiment i think it turned out pretty well. Moderate my olive oil use in the future, do a better job coating, keep the tough bits out of what others might eat. I'm eating them on my salad tonight.

The leaves -- which are the diameter of say two drinking straws -- i've cut up into small pieces along with small pieces of celery leaves from the garden and some sage and sage flowers. I'm dehydrating them, and i hope to blend them into a powder. I made an onion-celery-sage mix with store bought onion and sage a year or so ago, and it was nice to mix into things. I'm hoping this will be an intense seasoning mixture.
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