Spring is the time to….

In Florida, you know spring is here because all the snowbirds pack up and leave for the north. It always seems that we have left too early when we get close to our northern home and find the trees still bare, the hillsides wet and brown, and the skies overcast. We’ve seen it snow three inches in the middle of May, though, so picking the time to return north becomes more a matter of appointments and commitments than weather.

Once back however, attention turns to all the work to be done, the flowers that have pushed through the snow, muck, mud, or whatever to make their annual appearance, and the condition of the raised beds that will produce the summer’s yield of vegetables. This has truly been a joy. We’ve become thoroughly spoiled on fresh-picked lettuce, squash, beans, tomatoes and cucumbers. I love salads, and I especially love garden-fresh salads.

Last summer we had so many cucumbers we made pickles, and we are still enjoying them. What a treat! We also canned applesauce and made strawberry jam. I can easily see why so many people are turning to growing and preserving their own foods these days. It’s a healthier way to eat and a tremendously satisfying way to get in touch with something that seems real and natural. There is so much information available on the net for cooking ideas, recipes, and techniques. It seems a logical extension to taking cooking to the next level of getting back to basics and grow and preserve some of the food we eat.

My niece Reseda used to write me about the foods she had grown and preserved at her home in Washington. I really loved getting those letters. We don’t grow nearly as much as she did, but we love the results of our garden nevertheless. So, a toast to all the folks who are adding the joy of fresh, home-grown vegetables to their culinary lives. I can’t wait for the first of our garden to find its way to the table.

By the way, I had another reason for this blog in addition to the season and the annual migration of self and neighbors. I was checking through my old blog and clicking on the follower icons. One of them turned out to be that niece’s oldest daughter. Talk about a special discovery! So with all the good thoughts of summer meals on the back deck, fresh salads from our own garden, and the simple joys of getting back to basics, this blog is to Reseda and Julie. Julie, I’m so delighted to discover you have been a follower.

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