In the Garden: Too Much Chard?

Today in the garden I pulled up the last of the spinach, broccoli and arugula, and planted carrots, climbing beans and mustard seed under the tomato plants.

Our weather is unusually pleasant: dry, clear, breezy and not too hot, so I found myself enjoying the garden in the noonday sun, not besieged by biting flies. Some years I’ve felt there was no way to keep up with the weeds. this year, better bed prep and garden fabric paths has made a huge difference. Pulling the occasional crabby or cracky grass is easy.

The crop dujour is the Rainbow Lights chard: huge rippled leaves of juicy green with stems that are red, pink, yellow or white. Yesterday faced with an excess of chard and eggs I made two lovely quiche that are even better reheated for breakfast.

Swiss Chard Quiche

2  pie crusts (I love the pillsbury ones in the red box!)
1/2 large sweet onion
BIG bunch of chard, stems diced and leaved shredded
2T each butter and olive oil
1/3 c heavy cream
12 eggs (I used 6 guinea eggs and 6 hen)
1 c shredded cheese (cheddar, gruyere, mozzarella)
salt and pepper
nutmeg

  1. prepare pie crusts
  2. preheat oven to 400f (205c)
  3. whip the eggs and cream, adding the seasonings
  4. dice onion and saute diced chard  stems and onions in butter and olive oil, over high heat until beginning to brown. layer leaves over top, allow to wilt.
  5. fill the bottom of the pies with onion-stem mix, layer leaves on top.
  6. pour egg-cream mixture over the vegetables
  7. sprinkle cheese on top and bake about 30 minutes until golden brown and firm.

This recipe will work fine with spinach or other leafy greens.

New Life arrives in Storm

We humans were warned to expect violent thunderstorms late this afternoon. The doe, if she knew of them, was too preoccupied to care. She found a safe-enough place in my woodlot to birth a tiny fawn.

Coming home from the CSA pickup run and snacking on fava beans, I see a deer cross the road, from the woods on one side to a field of tall grass on the other. Between road and field is a ditch, narrow, but rather deep.

newborn deer, about the size of a cat, with longer legs

As I drove closer, this tiny creature, like a cat with stilt-like legs, wobbled after her but was daunted by the ditch, and teetered there, afraid to continue. I backed up the car, put my flashers on. The fawn toddled along the roads edge toward my car. Moma waited nervously in the field, about 40 feet away.

A car approached, and I waved frantically for them to slow, stop. It was friends Grace & Patrick. Another car comes up behind me, and it’s Josephine! Hah, no coincidence that my neighborhood loved ones are all present for the big event. We form a blockade, and turn other traffic away.

Baby deer wobbles over to Grace’s Prius. Patrick gets out and tries to shoo the creature, and it comes to him like a puppy. He starts walking and the fawn is following him like he’s Moma. He leads the babe to a driveway where she can get off the road, but when he tries to go back to his car, guess who trots right at his heel!

At this point we’re all out of our cars, and gently waving and shooing Baby down the driveway adjacent to the field. She follows Patrick and he leads her a ways from the road and into the field. Again he tries to return to us, and Baby follows him. Looks like she wants to meet everyone. He waves us off, and we go back to open the roadblock. Grace waves at her husband: “I’ll pick you up tomorrow, honey!” He rolls his eyes and heads back into the field.

In a little while we see him calmly walking toward us, then running back to the human world. Welcome to the neighborhood, little one!

Spring Awakening

Patrise on a Rock

Fifteen years ago I climbed this hill, carrying only a bedroll, a sheet of plastic, some twine and a gallon jug of lemon-maple cayenne water to carry me through a three day fast. Today I am sitting on the rock that I slept on back in 1997, listening to spring awakening the mountains. Here a hawk, there a crow. Further down in a valley, an owl calls, a fox barks.

The wind comes, I hear it chasing along the ridge through bare branches, coming closer until it passes overhead like a wave. Last time I was here it was July, mountain summer sweet and green. I slept in the forest with no roof and no tent for the first time in my life. When the sky showed first light the air began to stir and the sound of birds began, like the wind is coming today, first faint from afar, then moving closer riding the edge of sunrise. Theoretically I knew about this everyday miracle: Continue reading “Spring Awakening”