Thursday, May 31, 2012

Work cut out

I've been on my knees on the ground forming paths and beds. Wish me luck. I have a ways to go.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Honeysuckle on

Spring brings forth a most delectable array of tastes and smells, guaranteed to awaken the minds and hearts of even the most sluggish of lingering hibernators. Who among us can walk along a quiet evening, peripheral breezes of some distant thunderstorm wafting waves of honeysuckle perfume into her very breath, and not stop, eyes closed, breath deepened, and momentarily relive a lifetime of vernal memories? First love. Spring breeze. Great grandmother's quilt. Childhood back fence row. Soft cool. Pair of indigo buntings. Warm evening. Firefly mystery. Love resurrected. There is something about the honeysuckles. Was it growing up in the south, where the May air holds the strongest of perfumes- the honeysuckles that lift you up and out of your very chest and the southern magnolias that literally knock you dizzy? Or was it the shady back fence with my sister and the other neighbor kids- savoring drop after ridiculous drop of honeysuckle nectar- competing for the best technique of procuring the sweetest drop and not being able to stop eating them? A tiny drop of nectar on the tip of the tongue was more flavorful and alive than anything else we ate that day or that week at home or school, and we knew it. We knew it like we knew that we were going to be sent to bed before night was even done falling, and that we would have to whisper the last of the light away, lucky if sleepiness found either of us before we got checked on and had to hush mid whisper to expertly fein slumber. I used to stand out there at the back fence, between our yard and the Culps (the darling old couple whose house was dark and hot and always smelled like pickled peaches) and daydream about somehow collecting enough drops of nectar that I could take an entire sip. Or if I was really on a roll, I would fantasize that I could gather an entire cup-full of nectar. I would drink that and drown in its righteousness. These years later, I'm still on that same roll. I'm still trying to get that sip full or that cup full of honeysuckle nectar. May being arguably the busiest month of the year for a gardener, it is tricky to find the time to empty the blossoms of their precious nectar drop by drop, but somehow I can find the time to take a weekend and GET MY HONEYSUCKLE ON. This weekend found me lingering again at fencerows, dreaming of times other than now, and drinking in each spectacular and simple moment, adding them to my pool of honeysuckle memories. Read on...
1. I gathered a reasonable quantity of honeysuckle blossoms, carefully avoiding the poison ivy that often shares the same fencerows. 2. I cold soaked some of the blossoms in the refrigerator overnight in cream from the Mechos' cow. I also soaked some of the blossoms over night in some half and half (again from the neighborhood cow.) 3. With the majority of the blossoms, I cold infused them with spring water for 24 hours, then strained off. Saturday morning, I woke early and brewed my most favorite black tea- Barry's Gold Blend (strong Irish). What did I put in it? Honeysuckled half and half. Oh yeah. I think I'll have a second cup. Feeling pretty jazzed up, I set out to do some projects outside for the morning hours. The air was cool and fresh. The scent of honeysuckles and the buzz from the strong tea made me drunk but alert- a fine, fine combination. When I got a little hungry, I headed back to the house for guess what... A honeysuckle smoothy- maple yogurt, fresh strawberries, a banana, and some honeysuckle half and half. Oh yeah. Keep it coming. I decided to check on Friday night's project, opened the refrigerator and pulled out the bowl containing guess what- honeysuckle chocolate truffle base, which is honeysuckle infused cream incorporated with melted dark chocolate. Somebody help me- I'm getting carried away. Later on neighbor Moonie stopped by for a visit, and funny, but it was time for more tea with honeysuckle half and half, served out of a sweet and lovely assortment of tea gear given to me by various beloved- Austrian tea pot from Donna and Heidi, tiny yellow rose tea cup from Emily's grandmother... Tea with Moonie is always lovely, especially when accompanied by the viewing of some videos of the Daulton Quartet and other such male harmonizing awesomeness! Sunday it was time to pull out the big guns. I went over to Hot Springs and fetched my sister and brought her back to the house for a little honeysuckle mead making. Last year's sample gallon batch was pretty much the dream, so we decided to go a little bigger this year. Pulled out the five gallon carboy and dusted her off. Dissolved most of a gallon of local wildflower honey and handed Jenna the siphon. The day was perfect, a perfect May breeze with some perfect birds singing and perfect sunlight moving across the perfectly well-greened terrain. It was the right day to bottle and drink a toast to in a few months.
Come see me in about August, and we'll pour a glass and rededicate ourselves to never forgetting the beauty of this world we live in.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Greening

The sky opened and the rain poured out in buckets. It rained and rained. Later the clouds parted and the light of the afternoon sun shone down on friends and family, on the house, on the good green earth, on the straights and gays (Because the good green earth and the golden sunshine don't deem one man or one woman more worthy of the priviledge of their water or warmth than another man or woman based upon such things). The music began and the people gathered in the field around the Maypole, the straight solid poplar pole which was firmly planted in the fertile ground of the garden. Holding their ribbons and poised for the ancient dance round, they gasped in amazement at the emergence of the blue man from the woods, their recognition of him strangely cellular, visceral. He is a man of the ages. He has moved through our human dreams since we started dreaming, snorting and pawing the ground in his power, staking his claim in our psyches, just as the Green stakes its claim in the forest come Spring. He is attended by his daughter, a modern day artemis, blue rings adorning her wise young eyes and nimble fingertips. Together they encircle the dancers, the ribbons, the pole, the rite, simulataneously containing and freeing the dancers with their potent presence. The full moon rose from the mountain as the night fire was lit, fireflies twinkling in tandem with the silent breathing of the forest in the cove. Men drank and ate, marked each other's bodies with paint, sang and rhymed, guarded the fire. Women drank and ate, laughed in communion with each other and with the moon, recited poetry, guarded the young ones, some with strong hands and guiding words, some with the havens of their wombs. Hours of the night typcially safeguarded for dreaming were greeted with bold awakeness, the tedium of daily routine shed briefly for the marking of another winter survived, for the celebration of the Greening.
The dance has been danced. The ribbons have been woven, as have the lives and stories of friends and families. The ancient ancestors have been honored. The man from the woods has been seen and respected. This farm has been consecrated.