Visit a Pennsylvania Farm in May

I can’t help it.  I love walking around and looking in on what time, nature, and the plants themselves have done since I introduced them to the soil of this Pennsylvania farm.

farm may 16 bed of tulips - 1First things, first.  I have to pause to look at this mound of tulips.  I think I bought a couple of bags when I was at the grocery and decided to dress up this mound of dirt that I’m hoping will one day be home to a large hydrangia.  So far, we just got tulips

farm may 10th bee on dandelion - 1On

On the way down to the asparagus bed (the soil of which is so beautiful, I want it remembered that I want my ashes tossed there) , I espy this honey bee with two loaded pollen bags. Honey bees were back in large number this year.  I think the most I’ve ever seen.  I would love to know where they live.

farm may 10th asparagus emerging - 1farm may 16 purple asparagus - 1

You have no idea how gratifying it is to see these fat fecund stalks push their way through their bed’s dark, rich, grainy dirt.  I keep telling you to plant the purple variety of asparagus, don’t I?  So what’s your hold up?farm may 10th rooster - 1

With the asparagus, we’re going to want to have some eggs (we’ll make a quiche, maybe). so we have to drop in on the chickens.  I think I told you that they never get locked up.  They haven’t been locked up for more than a year now (though you see the fence here, the coop door remains open.  They just like to roost in this corner).  Though they aren’t spooked around me, they are virtually feral.  They roam a good distance from the barn now, into the swamp and the thick weeds, water and grass therein.  Every now and then, I’ll remember to load up their feeder with corn, which they devour.  Each day, they deliver around 8-10 beautiful eggs.  Wouldn’t mind getting rid of some of the roosters though.  They’re terrifying the hens and riding them relentlessly.

farm may 10th rye in grass - 1

Every farm should have a dog, and most would argue a cat.  I have both, though the cat is feral (and the dog loves to stalk and tree it).  Once the spring sun gets hot, and the grass grows long, fat and moist, the dog enjoys sprawling out in it.  Oh to be as carefree as the dog.  To take the time to sit and enjoy the sun, the warmth, the smells and to sit contently until the next thing rouses one’s curiosity.   That tree in the background, btw, is TOKA, an exceptionally tasting Japanese plum that produces once about every 4 years (because frost,  bugs, and God decide to get into the way on the other three).  Also, the tree produces a scent unlike anything I have ever smelled.  Too bad perfumers don’t spend more time around plum trees.  The smell is heavy, sharp, and smells like something that you would want to kiss or to put in your mouth.  The bees (and many other pollinating insects) go mad for it.  For two or three days, when the scent is at its peak (and mind you, those two or three days are tentative at best in the here-today-gone-tomorrow spring weather that we have here) the world of bugs finds heaven in a tree in a small farm in Pennsylvania.

farm may 16 crabapple in sun - 1

My all time favorite crabapple, Prairie Fire.  Currently nursing a lateral graft of a Bechtel on its side (not shown).

farm may 10th - 1

Huh-oh.  Dessert time.  What to do with rhubarb if you don’t feel like the hassle of a pie?  I know!  Make some sweet biscuits, simmer the rhubarb in a bit of butter, wine and sugar, and dress up the plate with some ice cream and fresh violet flowers.  Did I throw some ginger in there?  I can’t remember?


farm may 16 tulips, lilac - 1Lilacs reign supreme in showing the world what blue (and it’s many variations) look like.  Here’s just one example.

farm may 16 - 1

This is Centurion Crab Apple (or maybe Almata), Japanese quince and some tulips from the yard.

Wild blue violets at Move to the

This photo, washed out as it is, does nothing to show off the perfection of color you get with a wild crop of violets.  Against the shady, dark green grass in which you typically find them, a violet’s color resonates deeply.   Violets can be dipped in sugar syrup, dried  and candied. Other recipes call for whipping up egg whites, painting them onto the violets, powdering each violet flower with fine sugar, and then drying.  I think I tried the sugar water kind cause it was the lazy way out.

Happy May!



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