Spring is planting season, but it is also the rainy season here in the Missouri Ozarks and the temperatures are more variable than in any other area of the country. It can be dry and hot early in the day and cold and rainy by the end of that same day. It can be raining in one area and residents a few miles down the road can be begging for a few drops of water for their gardens. It is certainly a time of change. The objective is not to fight those changes, but to flow with them.
The chicken setting on the eggs was taken by an animal during the night. I usually hear something, but not this time. When I got up in the morning, the door was open, but I thought I had closed it. My guess was an intelligent animal opened the door and wanted what was inside. I dreaded what I would find. Sure enough, eggshells were scattered everywhere. A few tail feathers showed that Henny Penney too had been taken. Our egg setting hen was gone. My guess is that the local fox population had a fine chicken dinner that morning. Unfortunately, I had no time to mourn. It’s spring! There was too much to do.
Canning Dried Beans
Early in the week, we had very cool temperatures, so I decided to take advantage of those temperatures. I decided to can the dried pinto beans that I wanted to do during the winter, but never found the time to do.
Why do I can dry beans? Well first, it takes less energy to can eight pints of beans than it does to slow-cook each batch one at a time. Second, the beans won’t dry out like they would if I didn’t process them. Dried beans, even though they won’t go bad, do take longer to cook the longer they are kept in storage. The third and probably the most important reason is that I don’t want to have to cook them during the summer when it’s too hot to cook. Plus, that heat helps keep the house warm so we don’t have to run the heater.
I canned and added 23 pints to my pantry. This summer we’ll be eating them in Mexican meals that we make from scratch.
The actual processing of the beans doesn’t take much time, most of the processing is watching the boiling process. Therefore, there’s a lot of time to do something else. I decided that I would use that time to make granola.
Granola makes a quick and easy cold breakfast cereal for hot summer mornings. Most of the ingredients I keep in my pantry and there’s no need to be concerned with artificial colors or flavors or preservatives. Everything that goes into my granola I can pronounce. For more information about this granola and the recipe, check out this online article that I also wrote on Hubpages.
Garlic Scape Pesto
This week I also made garlic scape pesto by using the scapes from the elephant garlic that I am growing. To make the pesto, I picked all the scapes (the seed pods) from my elephant garlic. Removing the scapes allowed the elephant garlic to focus more of its energy on bulb production. What’s good for the plant is also good for me.
Making garlic scape pesto is easy. With a knife, simply cut up the scapes into two-inch sections. Then place in the blender and blend the scapes until they are well pulverized. Next, add olive oil and blend to make a creamy base. Next, add about ½ cup of dried parmesan cheese and black pepper to taste. This easy, fragrant pesto can be spread on bread or crackers, put on pasta, used with fish, or as a substitute for garlic, onion, or scallions! Add to sandwiches, pasta, lamb, and fish dishes. Tastes great mixed with mayo.
First Green Salad
This week we made our first green salad from the garden this year. We had lettuce, radishes, radish pods, green peppers (yes, we have fresh green peppers in our garden already!), and green onions. I also added a little red onion that I had in the refrigerator along with cheese and some boiled egg and some Chipotle grilled chicken and topped with ranch dressing. I ate it with grilled bread and my husband ate it as a wrap in a tortilla.
Weeding, Weeding, Weeding!
You would think that with cool weather that the weeds wouldn’t grow as fast as they do, but with all the rain we have been getting we’ve not only been mowing the lawn more, but I have had to take some time each day that it wasn’t raining and devote to weeding the garden. The good news was that the rain loosened the soil so that it was easier to work, but the weeds already had deep roots. Next week I hope to replant bare spots in the garden.
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