Tag Archives: quince

I am helped to be glad of Spring.

Normally it takes 15 miles and a half-hour to get back from the dentist, but today I added considerably to the length of the trip what with all the U-flipping I did along the country roads, trying to find a place where I could safely pull over and park, near a good view of the mustard fields.

Mustard is ubiquitous right now, I kept telling myself, so why bother? You should be home pruning your own roses. Acacia trees are also appearing like so many suns along every block and mile, but I like the mustard better, especially when it crowds in among the rows of black and twisty grapevines.

Before I’d started home from Dentist Town I walked around being nostalgic. In times past our family would on Sundays drive down the highway to church, through a valley that in springtime was scattered with old trees in pink or white blooms. We made a game of counting those trees – especially the white ones.

When Mr. Glad and I moved to this area 40 years ago I learned what a quince was, and after that, about this time of year the coral-colored bushes always came out and introduced themselves again, dressed exactly like this one that I found today. And look! Even the bee was with me in my blossom reverie. He is just left of center intent on his business.

Rosemary was in flower (photo near top), and in another shape climbed up the wall alongside juniper. I found an old white tree with Miner’s Lettuce at his foot, looking very like the ones we used to tally up as treasures. The hope that my photos of trees and shrubs might be o.k. comforted me when all the mustard views seemed flat and distant.

But it turned out I had a couple of pictures on the camera worthy of snipping and cropping to show you my loves. Until I saw them in two dimensions on my monitor, I hadn’t lifted my eyes to the hills at all, being so obsessed with the lower stretches of terrain. Now I can glean a little comfort from my pictures on another level.

privet berries

It’s been a dry winter since Christmas, and as a farmer’s daughter I find it a challenge to respond wholeheartedly to the greetings I hear daily now, along the lines of “Isn’t it nice to have this beautiful weather?” and “Don’t you just love that Spring is finally here?!” It feels a little scary to leave what is usually our rainiest season behind without getting soaked.

But just because I’m writing on the topic, I did some research and found an encouraging map that gives me some good news: Some of California’s reservoirs are fuller than average right now; a third of them are full to 80% or more of their capacity. Another chart, though, shows that the water content of the Sierra snow is low. Not the lowest ever, but….Things have always been iffy this way for mankind, since The Flood. Sometimes enough water, sometimes flooding, sometimes drought. At least this year the trees and fields are drawing enough moisture from the soil that they can make flowers. The hills are green now…perhaps we’ll even get rain in March and they won’t turn gold and parched too early. I will thank the Good Lord that by His mercy and faithfulness Spring has come again.

Snow and Birds

On the way up to Pippin’s place this week I stopped in to see my friend Myriah. She lives in a low mountain region where the street names are Quail, Pine, and Towhee. Tall conifers fill all the yards in her neighborhood.

But I didn’t spend any time outdoors that afternoon, because of drenching rain. We stayed inside and I got to meet her miniature parrots that I think are called parrotlets.

She gave me bags full of fabric from a gift that an elderly friend had made to her. I don’t know how I will manage to make use of it–yet. But I got ideas, looking at her inspiring quilts.

Driving down to the valley again, I came into sunshine, and the air was warmer. Then at Lake Shasta, fuller than I have ever seen it, buckets of rain made driving hard at any speed. It was awfully cold here at my destination, but it didn’t snow, until this afternoon. Light slushy snow, then what Pippin calls popcorn snow, a sort of cross between hail and snow. This is a view from across the street; it’s only dark because of the clouds.

The snow paused for a spell, and birds came to the feeder! I didn’t see them, of course, until Pippin pointed them out to me, just a few feet on the other side of the window above my sinkful of dishes. We took pictures of the Black-Headed Grosbeak and the Mountain Chickadee. The Grosbeak was a bird she hadn’t seen before this spring.

My daughter and husband haven’t lived here a full year, so every time something comes into bloom or loses its leaves it is an event. Everything was so different at my first two visits especially.

The crabapple trees in front are covered in flowers now.
And one of the birches uprooted in the very rough winter.

I’m wondering if this is a quince brightening up the roadside.

 

 

 

 

I built a fire in the stove this morning, as it was colder than yesterday. And the cats seemed to enjoy it. They slept in nooks and crannies all around the warm room.

 

 

 

 

Pippin made us some kale chips tonight. I’m not sure I’d ever have tried them if she hadn’t demonstrated how easy they are:

Take a bunch of kale, wash it and tear approximately 2″ pieces off the stalk. Dry them in a towel or salad spinner, and put them in a bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bake in a 350° oven for about 12 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

She thinks you should try to cook the kale on parchment paper as her original recipe directs, but she hasn’t always done this. The kale comes out looking brownish-green, but it is crispy and light and flavorful. One person could easily eat a whole bunch this way. We don’t know how much of the nutrient value is retained, and I haven’t researched what anyone else says about that.

When I get home again I will be in the midst of the disarray that seeps into my mind and makes me incapable of writing more than one coherent sentence per day. It’s been nice to relax away from the home that is not homey, and play with Little Scout, who’s seven months old now and lots of fun. While he napped I read and wrote, and even laid away a draft for a little blog I can post later if I feel like it.