Enjoying the long spring

There are currently a lot of frogs around. We hear them at night by the ponds. They also come close to the house when it is this damp.

This one was sitting outside with us. He blends well with Jason’s table.

little froggy 2 Little froggy

This other was on our bedroom window when I first spotted him.

tree froggy 1

We have lots of flowers right now. Some of these are “native.” Some of them are also “weedy.” But they are much better than crabgrass and bindweed.

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This small white flowers are fleabane, which belong to the daisy family.

fleabane 2

The larger white flowers are showy evening primrose. Ours have pink on the outside of the blooms before they open, then are white when they do come open.

evening primrose

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Radishes

We have an abundance of radishes now and have tried some different ways of preparing them. I like radishes but I’ve never been that interested in them until now as they are something fresh but more substantial than just salad greens. ┬áHere are some radishes that I roasted with seasoning salt and vegetable oil. The roasting process makes them a lot more mellow to eat.

roasted radishes

I also made a batch of radish refrigerator pickles. They are seasoned with salt, pepper, rice vinegar, and coriander.

pickled radishes

Both of these have turned out well. I can’t speak for our new concoction yet–we are fermenting some radish slices similarly to some recipes by Sandor Katz. Not sure about this yet ­čÖé

fermented radishes

We do like the radish greens, as well, so we have been using them for salad along with kale and arugula. An easy salad dressing that we make is 1 part sesame oil, 1 part soy sauce, 1 part water, and some sugar to sweeten it a little.

sesame dressing

Spring greens

It has been very wet here. One of the highways to go to Emporia is flooded and the Cottonwood River is out of its banks. Today and tomorrow are supposed to be drier but there are more storms predicted this weekend. It has been very nice weather for greens.

Our kale is doing well although it is a little small.

russian kale

We planted some summer lettuce that should be heat-tolerant and seems very resistant to inset damage.

summer lettuce

We had lots of asparagus from Jason’s parents but our own asparagus patch is improving. We are not picking but letting the asparagus ferns grow so that the patch is better established.

asparagus

We have some carrots coming up. I know that most people think that carrot tops are not edible but after researching this extensively and not finding a definitive answer, I have made a tabbouleh-type salad with the greens for the past few years and not had any ill effects. Certainly, they can be bitter at times and are not for everyone.

carrots

It’s late in the season for good walking onions but Jason has made onion powder from them before so we are still planning to do that. I’m not sure what the process is yet. I do like how they look, though.

winter onions

We have seen a lot of deer and rabbits this year, including the twin deer that were fawns last year. They do not generally run away when they see us and come close to the house. I had some concern about them eating our garden but the deer are more interested in eating the elm trees right now.

deer by the office

More rain and cooking

We have had more rain lately. Yesterday we went into town and stopped by the Cottonwood River on the south edge of Emporia. The river is high and lots of people were fishing the rapids. I guess that there are times when it will come out of its banks and cover the road that leads to it. Cottonwood River 2

Cottonwood River 1

Jason’s parents gave us more garden stuff. We got a lot more strawberries, which are almost done for this season. After this the gooseberries start to come.

strawberries

I also wanted to bake another really good batch of cookies. These have been turning out well.

chocolate chip cookies

Front yard visitors

There has been a lot of rain lately. There was an alert yesterday that the Marais des Cygnes river, which is the closest river to us, might flood due to the rain (about 4.5 inches two days ago). A lot of our ground is boggy right now.

We had an unexpected visitor in the driveway yesterday morning. We assumed that he was temporarily flooded out of his home.

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The birds have also been very busy in the front yard collecting worms. Here is a pair of cardinals. I am still not used to seeing these–they seem unreal to me due to their coloring.

Edited cardinals

Rainy days cooking

I have been busy at work and also with mandatory education activities, so haven’t done a lot very interesting lately. The only news is that the barn swallows have decided to take over the front porch and rebuild the nest we took down from last year.

barn swallow nest

The weather here’s rainy, which lends itself to cooking and comfort food.

rainy day

Jason’s folks gave us a bunch of strawberries, so I made some strawberry syrup yesterday.

box strawberries strawberry syrup

This morning we had pancakes with this syrup and also sorghum syrup. The specks are chocolate chips.

choc chip pancakes

I also roasted some butternuts that we have from last fall. Not quite sure what we’ll cook with the pulp yet. Maybe I’ll make a dip to have with sourdough flatbread.

roasted butternut squash

Easy harvest

We are in the process of clearing out the freezer, so we are still eating a lot of soups with frozen vegetables at the moment. However, tonight all of our dinner was fresh. We had asparagus and mushroom stir-fry with pickled garlic.

mushroom asparagus stir-fry

We also made a salad of spinach, kale, and radish greens with sliced radishes. The dressing (not shown here) was 1 part sesame oil, 1 part water, and 1 part soy sauce. We added some ginger powder and sorghum syrup for flavor, then dried xantham gum as a thickener. It’s exciting to see fresh foods start to come up. More to come soon.

greens with radishes

Weeding and plant starts

I was able to do more weeding in the garden beds east of the old house. It’s a work in progress but certainly looking much better.

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Jason has been very industrious with the front yard. We hope that this will be a good site for our plants that need more interventions to get started.

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This is cinnamon vine, which is growing under our living room window.

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The larger of these plants are honeyberries. They are supposed to be similar to blueberries in taste but without a requirement for an acidic soil.

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A lot of the seedlings are ready to be planted out now that the overnight lows should be in the 50’s. It still is a little early since it’s not Mother’s Day yet, but thus far the weather has seemed unseasonably warm.

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The aloe plants also appear to have adjusted well to being back outside. Lots of work to do with almost everything except them.

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