Monday, April 13, 2009

Have salmon, will travel

Early last week, our dear friend RantWoman had a salmon emergency on her hands. She had been gifted with a piece of salmon too large for her to handle on her own. The problem was not all inside her head. But since she took it logically, the answer was quite easy. She got on the phone and called the Wenches. Of course, we told her, we'd be more than happy to help her in her struggle to be free--of the salmon.


The oracle that dispenses freeze dried salmon--i.e., the lid to the box that holds the kitty treats

Back in January the Wenches had a bit of a seafood emergency of our own, a mussels emergency to be exact. When our favorite fishmonger at the local market was more than generous with our request for a pound of mussels, it was RantWoman who came to our rescue. It grieved her so to see us in such a pickle that she dropped everything on the spot and rushed right over to help us eat up all those mussels. I might add that RantWoman is always more than accommodating whenever we ask her to come over and be our guinea pig, I mean taste tester, for a new recipe that we're trying out. So when she called, asking for our help with the salmon, we did not hesitate or misconstrue. We offered our services without intruding or being crude. It is not in RantWoman's nature to be coy; she could see clearly that we had the key--Salmon: A Cookbook, by Diane Morgan. There certainly was no need to discuss much; we quickly made a new plan--the salmon would be frozen in RantWoman's fridge until the weekend.


The salmon after its uptown journey

Saturday evening RantWoman hopped on the bus and made her way to our house. When she arrived, her many bags contained all manner of surprises that she'd picked up at the Pike Place Market--rhubarb, pears, chocolate, a bouquet of lilies. And of course the salmon. We opted for simplicity when it came to cooking the salmon--mostly because we were too exhausted and not very coherent after a day of teaching, for Curmudgeon, and a day of mandatory work meetings and vet appointments, for Wing Nut (even though it was her day off and her b-day to boot). The salmon was drizzled with olive oil. A few shakes of salt and pepper and a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary were added, and into the oven it went. While the fish baked, RantWoman prepared a rhubarb pear crisp, Curmudgeon made a side dish of sauteed red peppers, kale and great northern beans, and Wing Nut tossed together a salad of spring greens with apples, toasted walnuts and grated parmesan. Half an hour later, we were sitting down to a scrumptious meal together.


Wing Nut's birthday lilies

Here in the Pacific Northwest these types of seafood emergencies are not uncommon. Luckily for those of us living here, there are at least 50 ways to eat your salmon.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter from the Wenches


Narcissus 'White Lion'



Narcissus 'Cheerfulness'

Friday, April 10, 2009

The end of a love affair. . . and a potager update

During our first winter here in Seattle I noticed a large shrub with rose-like flowers that began blooming in February. I had met my first camellia, and I was head over heels. How can you not love something that brings so much color to a dreary, gloomy, rainy Seattle winter? And when I found out that there was one of these flowering shrubs right in our own yard, well, I was downright ecstatic! Now, as it turns out, I don't get to see our own camellia very often as it is located around the side of the house that has no windows. Whose brilliant idea was that, I wonder? But in winters past I've enjoyed visiting the camellias all around our neighborhood. They seem to be very popular here.


Alas, my love affair with camellias has soured a bit since its first hot pink blush. Camellias are less than graceful in their fading. I've found that how a plant fades is as important to me as how it blooms. Camellias fade about as gracefully as overripe pears sitting in the fruit bowl, fermenting, forgotten, and fuzzy.


This is the cleaned and amended bed where we plan to set up the second cloche. You can see the first cloche there on the right. Last Friday, under marvelously sunny skies, we sowed carrots, beets, spinach, orach, mache, lettuces, radishes, mizuna, and pac choi. Today we were hoping to set up the second cloche and sow some more. There is just one itsy-bitsy problem.




The love affair is definitely over. I foresee some serious pruning in this shrub's future.

In other parts of the potager, things are just bursting up and out. A few days ago, the rhubarb had only a few red-tinged leaves.


Look at it today! Guess what kind of snack the attendees at next weekend's SAGBUTT meeting will be getting. We've already found a recipe for rhubarb bars, from Folk Art and Foodways of the Pennsylvania Dutch, and Wing Nut is in the kitchen experimenting as I write.


Keeping the rhubarb company at the far end of the potager are the peas, cabbages, and broccoli.








All the way at the other end of the potager, near the patio, are the shallots and garlic. The bigger ones were fall planted. The areas that look a little bare have sets we planted last week.


Finally, a sneak peek at the baby lettuces under the cloche.


Quick, close the closhe before any slugs get in!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

April meeting of SAGBUTT


The Good Shepherd Center, site of the April SAGBUTT meeting.


Seattle Area Garden Bloggers United To Talk


April meeting


Saturday April 18th

1:30 to 4:00 pm


Good Shepherd Center

4649 Sunnyside Avenue N.

Room 209

Seattle, WA


Discuss gardening

Talk about blogging

Seed/plant exchange

Visit the Seattle Tilth demonstration gardens

If you are a gardener, a garden blogger, or thinking about becoming either of these, you are welcome to join us.

The Good Shepherd Center is located in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle.  It is easily accessible by bus and is only half a mile from I-5. Here is a map.

By bus: Take route #44 (east-west) or route #16 (north-south), get off at 45th and Meridian, walk three blocks north. Meridian Park and Good Shepherd Center are on the right.

Driving directions: From I-5, take Exit 169 for NE 50th St., head westbound one-half mile, turn left (southbound) on Sunnyside Ave. N., and use the second driveway on the right to enter the Good Shepherd Center parking lot. Parking is free.

Please leave a comment if you are planning to attend. And don't hesitate to leave suggestions for the meeting agenda.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Garden Bloggers' Muse Day -- April 2009

Mother Nature is hitting us with a one-two weather punch today. They say we'll see the sun come Friday, maybe. I've mostly lost hope that we will EVER see the sun again, or that the temps will EVER get out of the 40s, or that it will EVER dry out enough for me to sow the 'Drunken Woman Frizzy Headed' lettuce seeds.



II pleut doucement sur la ville.
--Arthur Rimbaud

Il pleure dans mon cœur
Comme il pleut sur la ville;
Quelle est cette langueur
Qui pénètre mon cœur?

Ô bruit doux de la pluie
Par terre et sur les toits!
Pour un cœur qui s'ennuie
Ô le chant de la pluie!

Il pleure sans raison
Dans ce cœur qui s'écœure.
Quoi! nulle trahison? . . .
Ce deuil est sans raison.

C'est bien la pire peine
De ne savoir pourquoi
Sans amour et sans haine
Mon cœur a tant de peine!

--Paul Verlaine, Romances sans paroles (1874)


The rain falls gently on the town.
--Arthur Rimbaud

Like city's rain, my heart
Rains teardrops too. What now,
This languorous ache, this smart
That pierces, wounds my heart?

Gentle, the sound of rain
Pattering roof and ground!
Ah, for the heart in pain,
Sweet is the sound of rain!

Tears rain-but who knows why?-
And fill my heartsick heart.
No faithless lover's lie? . . .
It mourns, and who knows why?

And nothing pains me so--
With neither love nor hate--
A simply not to know
Why my heart suffers so.

--Translated by Norman R. Shapiro, One Hundred and One Poems by Paul Verlaine: A Bilingual Edition, 1999

For more GBMD posts, visit Carolyn Gail at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago.