North Dakota's April's weather has not been conducive to much more than lessons in patience. But May is right around the corner. Gardeners are sowing seedlings on window sills and in greenhouses in anticipation of warmer weather. And, we wait. Maybe this weekend. Maybe next week we can put our hands into the soil.
Sure, there has been a few teaser days, however my garden beds were still snow-covered on last week. In 2017, our potatoes and shallots were in the ground by April 14 - Good Friday. It's now April 23, after a weekend of 50-60-degrees and the chance of rain. It's coming, I can smell it in the air.
Even with the past month's weather being chill, I have had cravings for lettuce and vegetables. This deep desire for fresh vegetables stems from more than planting preparation. It is your body telling you that spring has arrived.
Our ancestors were not fortunate enough to have large supermarkets or big-box stores, or even roads, upon which to travel in winter months to purchase fresh food. Nowadays, you can find most anything in the store, anytime of year. Savvy shoppers, however, know that when a fruit or vegetable is on sale, it's in season. Shopping seasonal means the freshest and best fruit, even if it is trucked from warmer regions of this country.
Your body also knows about the change in seasons. Glory-be, it doesn't take a swimsuite commercial to alert your body to the fact it needs to shed some winter weight. After all, spring is a foretaste of the coming summer season where, as many North Dakotans know, we don't need to fuel up against the winter cold any longer. Your internal clock is reminding you to begin eating lighter as the days get longer and moods lift with the dawns daily symphony of songbirds building nests in budding trees.
Very soon, you will be able to find local greens for super salads. Don't forget herbs, fresh of course, eggs from farmer's hens, micro-greens or whatever you can find, or crave in this season of spring.
With spring comes spring cleaning and that might carry over very well to your cravings for lighter foods. This is the time of year I clean out the freezer and the root cellar, creating entire dinners from what I have had stored in the freezer from last fall's bountiful harvest. Jars once filled with colorful fruits of my labor are now stacked upside down and empty in anticipation of this year's local veggie delights.
Take a salad to lunch this month. It's fairly easy to do and here is a VIDEO of how I enjoy the first lettuce harvest.
My brother sent me a recipe he found for German Farmer Bread and naturally I had to give it try. Like most bread recipes, the ingredients are simple - flour, water, salt and leavening. This was no different. I just happened to have rye berries for fresh-ground flour and baked on Saturday.
We are having a farmers market on Saturday, April 21, so I needed to know if it would work for my table. There will be four long loaves for sale so my friends and customers can weigh in on the following recipe for Farmers Bread. I will also bring jams, jellies, sourdough, buns, caramel roll bread, granola bread, hand loomed dish towels, sauerkraut, cowboy candy and more. Vendors will be set up outdoors and indoors for your Mother's Day shopping. CLICK HERE for more information.
Rather than bore you with photos of my bowls, mixer and measuring cups, I present to you the recipe and this photo of the finished product. If you have questions about how to go about creating this wonderful bread, just use this contact form to ask me.
FARMER BREAD (BAUERNBROT)
1 1/2 ounces (42 g) compressed fresh yeast
4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons white sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
8 cups rye flour
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
2 cups warm water
It's time to commit to your weekly share of veggies from Bountiful Harvest CSA. If you click on this link you can download the full brochure and contract.
Shares are limited and so get those contracts in. It doesn't seem much like spring, but it's coming - it always does.
Just wanted to share a book review of the second coffee-table book published by the Tri-County Tourism Alliance from interviews I conducted about two or three years ago. The book completes the stories of the Women Behind the Plow photo exhibit that is available to communities for the price of delivering it to your community.
If you are interested in the book, it may be purchased on Amazon, through the Tri-County Tourism Alliance or the NDSU Germans from Russia Library. All can be found online.
Thank you to Anna for the kind words.
“Arbeit macht das Leben süß.”
Through the use of photography and life anecdotes, Sue B. Balcom is able to create a narrative of what it was like for the women behind the plow in the North Dakota counties of Emmons, Logan, and McIntosh. Each woman has a story to tell and Balcom is able to portray those stories through the wonderful photos attached to each chapter. The women in this book share their memories of farm life and the hard work they put into each and every day. This book doesn’t read like a novel, but instead, like an afternoon spent in the company of these strong women hearing their stories and reveling in the nostalgia. The German Russian women featured in this book make the reader feel as if they know these women. There is a sense of community and family portrayed in this book that brings readers along for the journey and integrates them fully into the community of German Russian life. This is a fascinating and incredible book that captivates audiences of all heritages and backgrounds. Remembering these stories brings us a rich knowledge of the past and a remembrance for the future.
Anna Marquardt, Angelo State University
The moon was blue and full a couple of days ago. I used to blog quite regularly as the kitchen snitch; however, I fell by the wayside a few years ago. I'm back and investigating my online options for building my business.
In the meantime, I love to write and I love to watch the moon. So here is a poem from 2010 that I penned as a blog post as the Kitchen Snitch.
Mr. Magnificent Moon
Have I not seen your face before?
Your beauty and light is reflected
By the snow meringue, whipped by north winds,
And then cold baked over earth's dirt filling
Disguising the true ingredients beneath.
Mr. Magnificent Moon
Your face is so familiar!
Your true features disguised by the bright
Reflected light of the sun who rules the day,
Who without those yellow rays would cause your
Face to fade and reveal your pitted skin.
Mr. Magnificent Moon
My face does too reflect the light
Of ruler of my life, as it begins to
Advance in age. And, I can only hope that
When you gaze upon my face you see
His Light in beauty hide my flaws and brighten up your day.
Remember the poem When I am an Old Woman? If not you can find both the poem and the backstory HERE.
Once that poem made the rounds at the art fair circuit in the late 80's and early 90's, the Red Hat Society was formed and well, the rest is history.
However, NOW, that I am an old woman I am giving up wearing purple. The color doesn't suit me as much as red and orange. But, soon I will not care about color and wear baggy work trousers without matching a shirt. There will be stains on the bottom of my shirt from carrying unwashed vegetables from the garden to the house. The hem on my pants will be worn and thready, but I can roll them up to my knees, but not past, since I might have to garden on my knees and need the protection. Shoes are optional.
I will never comb my hair and allow the wind to style it in waves and tangles. Someday you may find a lady bug, or two, sunning themselves on the twigs that wind their way through the curls. The curls, of course, becoming curlier from the sweat on hot summer days or when it's going to rain. But, I will love the rain and will stand in it with welcoming arms with prayers of thanks for thunder and lightening and precious water to nourish my tomatoes.
Oh yes, now that I am an old woman, my desire is to drive less, and walk more. Stay out of closed rooms and work outdoors. Eat all the fresh bread and butter and vegetables that I can. Order my toilet paper online and hand the UPS driver a fresh-baked cookie when he or she delivers my box.
My grandchildren will come out to visit me as often as they can and lift heavy bags for me because both Grandpa JC and Grandma Sue BB have to start thinking about avoiding lifting. You know you have to watch your back when you are an old woman, never letting that stop you from pulling those weeds or thinning those carrots.
I will daily say my prayers and listen for the sound of God the Father, Son and especially the Holy Ghost, in the wind and every living thing that crosses my path. In the morning I will stretch and give thanks for the sun and in the evening I will watch the moon rise and give thanks again.
If I have time, I will write my memoirs and tell a story that can only be told by me. If you are my friend, expect a card or letter in the mail because hand written notes are still the best.
So, now that I am an old woman and say what I want, I will begin by thanking you for all the birthday wishes and saying, "have a blessed Easter."
It is one day past the first day of spring in North Dakota. It means different things to different people. There have been days of teasing with temperatures near 50-degrees. There have been blasts of cold arctic air from the north crashing into warm wet fronts from the southeast; and in the middle wonderful wet snow.
There is nothing more beautiful than waking up at 5 a.m. and feeling the heaviness of a blanket of fresh white snow. Reflecting the distant city lights and sometimes the moon, sans clouds, the snow reveals the nooks and crannies of the landscape and the arms of bare-boned trees lifted high in worship to the creator.
Oh, yes, if you haven't guessed, I love spring. I love the smell of wet earth and the warmth of the hoop house. Farmers with season-extension high tunnels can go "south" any time the sun is out; even in the coldest of winters.
It is time to prepare for those days of warm soil waiting for a new crop of tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, celery, beans, peas, edamame, etc.
While that might be six or eight weeks away, my front porch is all warm and sunny and full of vibrant growing green seedlings. Today, I am sharing a bit of spring with you ...
Everyone changes there mind. Sometimes things happen to coax those changes and that is why I am here today.
When I was diagnosed with SVT which meant a "procedure" on my heart, it provided some incentive to reflect on my jobs, outside interests, people pleasing and other such time suckers.
It was an easy decision for me, now armed with an impending surgery, to decide which of my extra curricular duties to dismiss.
My new focus will be to keep my current position that affords me much-needed benefits while grooming my side hustle - The Root Sellers.
Yes, I have always been an artist and a gardener and about three years ago discovered farmers markets. What a pleasant alternative to traveling all over the country doing art shows. And, I did that and it was painful to give up that lifestyle, but my children needed me. Twenty years ago I made a decision to get a "real" job and get my son and daughter out of school and off in the big world.
Then, I would go back to weaving. Well, as we all know that didn't happen.
I have had time to think since the beginning of November about what could happen on January 10. No one seemed to think anything of the procedure but me. So, I made a decision to focus on my business and my job and let go of all the other stresses in my life. Here I am.
From this website, I will do my baking, selling, gardening, selling, weaving, selling and teaching. It appears I have skills that are now making a comeback. I wish I had prepared for that second coming and took more notes.
It will come back to me and then I will pass it on to you.