For dinner tonight, I put rice on cook, and left chicken breasts in the oven covered in a peach conserve I made and canned last summer.
In the back yard, still mostly brown and covered with last years dried stalks of firweed, bleached by the winter and the snow, I harvested a colander full of baby chiming bell leaves, and tender fire weed shoots. I had anticipated dandelion greens galore as they are blooming at my mothers on the hill and on campus, but I only found two single little leaves, and going farther afield through the woods and back up the road, only found two plants...
I sauteed them just until they wilted in butter and balsamic. I had thought of making a salad of the dandelions and fireweed shoots, but chiming bell leaves are furry, and are better cooked. The Chiming bells we have up here, which my wild herbal distinguishes from the bluebells of Scottish folk songs, are a relative of borage- a well known edible and medicinal herb.
Dinner was delicious with a glass of wine and plans for the homestead: perennials to plant, beams to refinish, walls to paint, and floors to lay.
When Darlin' Man came home later to a plate waiting on the counter, I told him I'd picked the greens out of the back yard. He looked confused for a moment, asking what backyard? then raising an eyebrow and looking out the window asked disbelievingly 'this backyard?' Following his gaze I understood his wonder.
If I was gardening this year, plants wouldn't even go into the ground till after memorial day. That's when, this year, I'll buy started herbs and flowers at Calypso's plant sale for the pots you see on the table. The first CSA share pickup isn't until the week following that, yet tonight's dinner greens were harvested from an uncultivated backyard covered in last season's dried stalks. Blessed be the earth, fecund and sprouting.