Foggy spiderwebs are the best
Although cute warblers are good too
And you can never have too many wildflowers, right?
These are coltsfoot, not dandelions. I see them most often along roadsides as soon as the snows are melted. They’re usually home by May but I found some still in bloom at the top of smugglers notch!
A family weekend in photos
Hiking and scrambling
Building our new fire pit!
If you’ve never heard of them – well I’m not surprised. They’re a member of the allium family (along with garlic and onions) but ramps (or ramsons) grow wild throughout much of eastern north america.
I’ve actually never foraged for ramps before this year. And I was starting to think that’s a good thing. Ramps have been in the news ’round these parts for some pretty serious over-harvesting. But we went out for an early season hike, and along with all those wildflowers I posted about, we found these guys:
And lots more where they came from. I’ve heard you shouldn’t harvest more than a third of any wild thing when you’re foraging. We harvested less than a tenth of the ramps growing on the hillside we found.
What we brought home was just the right amount for us. I’ve got two jars of refrigerator pickles steeping at the back of my fridge:
And we made a ginger beef stir fry with the remaining ramps and all the leaves. The first green harvest of the season:
Of course this was two weeks ago. The dandelions are blooming now, so they’re up next! And just in case you’d forgotten, my book (Cast Iron, Cast On) has two recipes for edible dandelions!
After a cold and snowless winter spring in Vermont seems to be taking its sweet time to arrive. Trees still haven’t started leafing out and the grass is only just turning from brown to green. But the ephemeral flowers didn’t get the message, so at least there are a few signs of hope!
Bloodroot – grows in moist woods and thickets – including the edge of my yard.
Trout Lily – with mottled leaves that are supposed to look like brook trout.
Both of these grow just one seed per plant and that seed is carried away and eaten by ants! Talk about slow reproduction…
Red Trillium – the reds always bloom first, the white and fancy will come later in spring.
I honestly don’t know! It’s too early for strawberries and the leaves are wrong. The leaves are wrong for bloodroot too. Anybody want to guess what these little guys are??
Maple Open House weekend. A chance to drive all over Vermont, visit neighborhood sugar houses, and drink large quantities of maple syrup. Well, that was past years. Windsor doesn’t love her car seat, so more recently we’ve gone to just a couple of them. That was just as well since half the sugar makers weren’t even open. The maple season is wacky. (I mentioned that recently, didn’t I?)
Saturday, at least, was seasonably cold, sunny, and generally perfect for maple weekend!
Also perfect for making friends with the donkey
And the pretty draft horses.
And I had a chance to take some scenic photos
and some close ups
Saturday was the right day to get outside, because Sunday was cold, rainy, and then snowy. We stayed inside, made soup, and had a lovely quiet weekend.
Spring is slowly creeping into Vermont (we had snow again this week, and there’s more in the forecast) and I realized yesterday that the only seeds I’ve started are the mixed handful that Windsor and I threw into a pot of soil two weeks ago. My garden plans are sorely limited compared to some previous years.
It’s not just living with a toddler, have I told you my current schedule? I used to work 8 hour days, and take lunch breaks online. Since maternity leave ended I’ve been working 9 hour days and taking lunch breaks with Windsor. The combination means a lot less time for everything. I miss reading other blogs, I miss digging in the garden after work, I miss many things. There’s plenty I don’t miss (I don’t really care about the dishes, or the sweeping) but all life is a balancing act. And right now I feel like by blog is as neglected as my garden.
Do you feel like our blog conversation is covered in weeds? I apologize! I hope you’ll stick around, because I hope to be back soon. This summer holds some big changes for the Herrick family. Neil will soon be done with grad school. We’re looking forward to him having a regular schedule, which will let my schedule level out – finally. I have some new designs that should be out this year, and someday I’ll even get some garden and chicken pictures for you!
Spring is here, the early version of it anyway. The last of the snow lies in dirty piles, hiding in the shadows.
The chickens are so happy to be outside again! My breakfast eggs have turned from sunny winter yellow to vibrantly orange. Which is a delicious sign of spring.
And finally, the morning sunrise has almost caught up with my alarm clock (again). It had just barely caught up when daylight savings time pushed it back. So I’m relieved to have it back again. What signs of spring are popping up where you live?
These are the mittens that took forever (Pinales, pattern available!). I started them back in January. I think the first pair were knit in a weekend, but this pair took 2.5 months.
Honestly since March started I kept waiting for spring be around the corner. I figured I didn’t really need to finish them before fall, right?
Well, it was -6F Monday morning, -4F Tuesday morning, it snowed on Wednesday. Oh and this morning? It was a toasty 2F ABOVE zero.
So in honor of the winter that Just. Won’t. End. Here’s my third pair of Pinales mittens. These are knit up in Peace Fleece instead of Bartlett. Otherwise I just stuck to the pattern. It’s a sign of how sleep deprived I am that I changed. Nothing.
Maybe now that I’ve finally finished these mittens spring will come? Please?
Vermont’s maple open house weekend happened last weekend. It’s been so SO cold the sap has only run a few days so far. A lot of the local sugar houses weren’t open because they simply don’t have anything to boil yet, and they may or may not have anything left from last year to sell. It’s just been a weird winter…
But Boyden’s was open, and as usual, the place is shockingly photogenic…
And of COURSE we couldn’t go eating all that sugar on snow without sharing any. Windsor has had a little yogurt on a spoon so she sort of knew what to do when we offered her some sweetened snow:
That’s her “new flavor” face. Trust me, she loved it. She started reaching out to the bowl of snow with both hands! Then after just two stops she got tired and it was nap time. But all in all, a successful outing!
The yarn I’m working with right now is the EXACT same color as new leafy growth:
Which is to say it contains all the shades of green and it changes from light to shadow. I love these properties in both yarn and leaves.
Our trees have all started to leaf out at once in the last 5 or 7 days. Less than a week ago the willows and poplars had a green tinge from a distance, and that was it. Now we have the soft, baby green on the maple trees. The hard, edgy green of oak leaves. The poplars have full shaded green already, and the willows are wispy light green.