Of Robins & Rhubarb

We had a lovely rain yesterday, very welcome as it was needed! Not that we have a lot of choice in weather, but there are times when we seem to appreciate the weather that comes our way more so….

It hasn’t been overly warm these past 2 days, however. That seems quite typical of this weekend, Victoria Day long weekend in Canada. We can start out warm and end up in snow….but it always spells the first ‘official’ weekend for campers to get mobile and find a place to head off to and enjoy some RnR. Our little hamlet heralds in the weekend with a big celebration, inclusive of a parade, show and shine car rally, children’s activities, and this year we added a family dance and fireworks! It was a busy day, but enjoyable, despite the rain!

Today we are slowing it down a bit….enjoying the middle day of the long IMG_2975weekend….we need to slow down. I uncovered my plants this morning, and spent some time outdoors, puttering around. As I was walking about, I noticed that the rhubarb seems to have grown overnight! It is so wonderfully good in the early harvests. Tender stalks of red…I love it! It has a nice warm home, with a bit of a micro-climate that encourages growth, so it is very nice to find the bounty on a cool morning!

IMG_2979I decided this would be a good day to harvest and enjoy some of the early stalks, so I thinned out the plant, leaving plenty to shelter the little ones. I will need to check in on it often, as it seems to grow so fast right now.

When I was a child, we had plenty of rhubarb plants, and my memories are both good and not. I loved the crisps that Mom would cook, and also enjoyed freshly stewed rhubarb, still warm, with a bit of fresh cream from our small dairy production. As with all good things, however, there can be too much at times. I cannot say I was overly fond of canned rhubarb….or perhaps the quantity of it we consumed. I also was not fond of rhubarb cake….but I am not overly fond of any cake, so that is not a surprise.

I have experimented a bit in my own cooking with rhubarb, making juice from steeped fresh rhubarb (many recipe varieties for this) and have made the occasional pie, but not a fave again. I usually freeze the fruit after I have cleaned and chopped it, to use throughout the year. I like freshly stewed warm rhubarb, so this is a mainstay for us. I also like it in muffins. One dilemma I have at times is sweetening it. I don’t cook with white sugar or white flour, and my main sweetener is honey. If I want something not so liquidy, I turn to stevia, but that is tricky in baking…..I do an awful lot of trial and error when I am substituting in recipes. Generally, we get some delightful dishes, though, as I have been cooking this way most of my adult life.

Today saw a rhubarb crisp come forward….really, I don’t think anyone can go IMG_2982wrong making any kind of a crisp. They are not terribly difficult, and fresh fruit is a gift to use in these delicious desserts! Hubby likes them warm with ice cream. I don’t like ice cream, so I usually turn to yogurt. I sweeten with a mix of honey and stevia, after I have tossed the fruit in a bit of flour. I also add cinnamon, which is another main ingredient in my crisps!

IMG_2986I also made some muffins, which we sampled fresh from the oven!! (Why not?) Muffins of any flavor can be found in this house at any given time, so it was fun to use the fresh harvest for these ones!!

And, I just need to give a quick glimpse of what our little feathered friends have been up to! The robins have been hopping around all over the place, so I should have known they would find a nesting spot! While on my garden trek, I came upon IMG_2978a mess on the ground level deck; straw, string, roots….I wondered what the heck Hubby had been up to…..until I noticed a long strand of grass flopping in the wind off of our upper deck! As I looked up, there on the beam are 2 robin nests…..side by side! We usually get one in this spot……not sure about 2. Hubby says they are sisters who want to raise their children close to each other! Maybe he’s right.

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