Spring ?!?

chickens

I have to admit that I do not wholeheartedly celebrate the arrival of spring. I celebrate the lengthening days, the renewed strength of the sun, and the increasing birdsong. When the time comes, I enjoy getting my hands dirty first in the greenhouse, then in the garden, and I do appreciate the presence of fresh greens on our plates.

But there is also a certain grief that I experience with the arrival of spring. It means that winter is drawing to a close and with it my season of structured reading, reflection, structured homeschooling, crafting, homemaking, and rest. Of course most of these activities do not grind do a halt with the onset of spring, but as spring progresses into summer they are increasingly pushed to the margins of my days. And in spite of my best efforts to curtail my Tetris-like tendencies to crowd as much as possible into a day in favour of embracing a sense of sufficiency, I cannot help but feel that spring sneaks up on me before I have accomplished enough of my winter projects.

Nevertheless, the sun is shining brightly, the snow is trying to melt, the birds are singing, the hens are laying, the cellar is emptying. It is time for spring. In less than two months, we and our members will be enjoying the delights of fresh asparagus. In the meantime, we continue to creatively seek new ways of enjoying the winter staples.

The March vegetable orders included potatoes, carrots, beets, garlic, squash and (for most of those who wanted them!) parsnips. This will be the last you will see of beets, parsnips, and squash this season. So rest assured, those of you whose beets have been piling up, you have until July to finish them up. And for those of you who can’t get enough of them, think how much sweeter they will taste after a few months without! Your April shares will be primarily potatoes and carrots, perhaps with a few onions and a bit more garlic for seasoning.

Wondering what to do with all the potatoes? Here are a couple of our favourite ways to enjoy them:

Shepherd’s Pie

2 Tbsp oil

1 large onion

garlic to taste

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp thyme

1/4 tsp sage

1 tsp basil

2 lbs ground meat

Saute together until meat is browned. Place in the bottom of a baking dish. Top with:

5 cups of mixed diced veggies (I use a lot of frozen beans, seeing as we seem to have quite a few!, along with some peas and fresh carrots)

2 Tbsp Bragg’s or soy sauce

1/4 cup milk

And finally, boil and mash 6 cups potatoes and add in 1/3 cup milk, 3 Tbsp butter, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper and spread on top of the veggies.

Bake at 450 for 45 minutes.

 

Another dish I feel was created just for this season is a Baked Vegetable Loaf.

Boil 1 1/2 cups diced potatoes and 2 cups diced carrots until barely tender. Drain.

Mix in:

1/4 cup melted butter

1-2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup broth or water

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp summer savory

1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper (or dried pepper, or other green veggie)

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 cup oats

Spoon into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for 1 hour or until set. Serve drizzled with a sauce (tomato, mushroom, cheese, or whatever sauce you prefer).

 

 

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