Monday, May 3, 2010

Last of the Flowers

Last fall Jim took the time to pot up many, many bulbs for forcing. The bulbs are planted in pots, put into cold storage for a time, and then taken into the warm house one at a time. They begin to sprout, and soon are blooming. We've had these pots of blooming flowers in the house since December. The blooms themselves don't last long, but there's always a fresh pot to take their place.

A long time ago I posted a photo of an Amaryllis that produced fourteen blooms from one bulb. And now here's a photo of the last blooms for the winter. Jim tells me these are Dutch Irises. They have long slender stems, and these wonderful, delicate blooms that last about three days. Some of the pots have deep purple blooms as well as the white and yellows. They have been such a joy to have in the house over the winter.

And now, just in time to follow the last of the indoor blooms, the tulips that he planted outdoors last fall are ready to open up. When they get into bloom, I'll post a picture of them.

Last week's rain and snow gave us a full 2" of moisture. So things are beginning to green up nicely. Pretty soon the trees will leaf out, and the "gentle" season will be here. How we look forward to it!

On Friday afternoon I went out and forked over the soil in the #3 bed. I like to loosen the dirt before planting so that the new roots don't have to struggle through compacted soil. I guess this bed is about 22 feet long. I planted the potatoes in three long rows, the rows being about two feet apart. (The bed is 8 feet wide.) There are four Red Norlands, and then four Russet Burbanks in each of those rows. This is the fewest number of potatoes I have planted since I started gardening. Usually we just get two boxes of seed potatoes and use them all. But we have SO MANY potatoes left over (four big boxes), that we're trying to be more realistic this year. After I was finished planting I forked some straw lightly over the bed to keep down weeds and help hold in the moisture.

Today I used the very first "fruit" from the garden this year: I picked and chopped about a cup of rhubarb for rhubarb muffins. I got this recipe from my friend M., and we think they're delicious.
In a large bowl mix together:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Add to the dry mix:
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup of brown sugar (I like to use Demerara.)
3 TB oil (canola)
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla.
Add 1 1/2 cups of chopped rhubarb
(OR 1 cup of chopped rhubarb and 1 cup of chopped, drained strawberries)
1/2 cup nuts (slivered almonds) (or whatever)
Mix all of that together until no dry parts remain.
Fill greased muffin tins so that they mound up.
Sprinkle tops with cinnamon and sugar (I forgot to do that today.)
Bake at 375, for 25 to 30 minutes.
Leave in pan for a few minutes, and then turn out on a wire rack to cool.

Makes a dozen good-sized delicious muffins.
Enjoy with your morning cup of coffee.

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