Wisconsin in the Spring is a wonderous thing – full of fat robins, tulips gently pushing their way into bloom, kids outside playing in the crisp air…but not in March…and not over eighty degrees.
And, so…it’s March…in Wisconsin…and it’s over eighty degrees…and I’ve been pulling weeds…in shorts. I can honestly say that I’ve never, ever (ever ever ever) worn shorts and pulled weeds over St. Patrick’s Day weekend. It’s been a very unusual winter (and now spring) here in Wisconsin and it’s probably only going to get more interesting if mother nature has her way. And, with that in mind…I’ve started the garden.
The garden is six, very handmade, 4×8 beds that my dad and I made last year…very late in the year. Most of my seedlings that I started died a sad and lonely death because the beds weren’t in (and done) yet. Chalk it up to a first year ‘gardener’ that was winging it. This year we decided to wing it just a little bit less. The seeds have been ordered with the last frost date in mind and will be started soon – despite the overly warm temperatures now.
But, I digress…back to the greens. So, on Sunday, I planted: red salad bowl, seed savers mix (both cutting lettuce), tennis ball and red leprechaun (both head lettuce), renegade and samish spinach and dwarf grey sugar peas. I’m beyond excited because my gardening style (such that it is) is very much of the mindset ‘we’ll see’…I’m not going to be upset if something doesn’t come up…I’m more excited IF something comes up!
Inspired by my millions (quite possibly), dragged kicking and screaming by one, I started canning last year. To say that I was bit by the canning bug might be an understatement – chewed on by a nest of mosquitos might be more apt. Previously, nothing said botulism to me like a jar of canned whathaveyou…well, not anymore.
My first foray into the formidable world of canning was with peaches and raspberries, fresh from our CSA share. We (the ONE and I) went shopping for jars and a cookbook (THE cookbook)…and planned a canning date. I rounded up the things I needed, grabbed my fruit (and my husband) and took off with dreams of drunken peaches (aka peaches with vodka), raspberry jam and a mixed-fruit jam. Hours and jam burns later…I was drained, and hooked on canning.
The summer of 2010 passed with more canning dates, a Craig’s List find from a UW professor selling fourteen boxes of jars (about twenty-some dozen), a water-bath and a hooch jug (his words, not mine) – pickles and salsas…and an obsession for this resurgent process. Canning has seen a come-back from the 20-30 somethings that long for: the way it was, the way it should be, the way it could be, the sustainable way…you name it, people are back to canning in droves.
And, so this canning season begins, with rhubarb…and a blog. The blogging will suck – run-on sentences, lots of commas, and sporadic thoughts. The photos will be blurry, the recipes from books and the reviews, non-existent. But, it’s mine – a place to document my canning trials – like it or not!
So, hello world of blogging and canning…my you both succeed.