Tag Archives: spring

Springtime garden soup.

One night this week I had friends to dinner, and it was a lot of fun to plan the menu, which in this case included a soup course. I always intend to make cream of asparagus soup at least once in springtime, but don’t usually get to it, even though I harvest several pounds of that vegetable from my front yard plot for a few weeks running. Having someone to share it with gave me the added push.

So I used my own asparagus, and an equal amount of leeks from the store — just over a pound each, chopped. I sautéed them together in butter with fresh tarragon leaves, also from my garden. Just before everything started to brown, I removed the flower tips of the asparagus to a little bowl, and stirred in a couple of tablespoons of flour. I added a quart of chicken stock and cooked all of that together for 10-15 minutes, then used an immersion blender to make it smooth. Added salt and pepper to taste. After I’d ladled it into bowls I dropped a few of the reserved asparagus tips on top of each serving. We were all deep in conversation at that point so the thought of taking a picture of the lovely green soup never came into my head. (I also forgot that I’d planned to drizzle on a little cream.) But earlier I had noticed the beauty of the panful of chopped vegetables and leaves…

You will have to imagine the look of the creamy green soup.
We stopped talking and slurped it up joyfully.

This lady whom everyone loves.

Yesterday afternoon the garden was brilliant under the sunbeams that followed rain showers. This strip of purple caught my eye, revealing itself to be violets that had quietly grown lush over the wet winter, along the edge of the patio where they also had planted themselves years ago. Sometimes they volunteer in pots and choke out whatever I had intended to nurture, but this little border didn’t encroach on anything, so I was pleased to see them suddenly dressed in their purple gowns, as one more sign announcing: SPRING!

I’m afraid my grandchildren went home before the violets bloomed, but I will invite a few young outdoorsy friends over soon, and invite them to gather happiness in their small hands.


And this is the lady
Whom everyone loves,
Ms. Violet
in her purple gown

Or, on special occasions,
A dress the color
Of sunlight. She sits
In the mossy weeds and waits

To be noticed.
She loves dampness.
She loves attention.
She loves especially

To be picked by careful fingers,
Young fingers, entranced
By what has happened
To the world.

We, the older ones,
Call it Spring,
And we have been through it
Many times.

But there is still nothing
Like the children bringing home
Such happiness
In their small hands.

-Mary Oliver

Boys, carrots and nosegays.

After the long winter, springtime has arrived, with nosegays in little dishes on my kitchen counter. The nosegays were assembled by my four grandchildren on their first morning of a short visit their family is making, from Colorado. They arrived last week, bringing the first day of Real Spring with them, leading me to throw open the windows and put on sandals.

We’ve taken many walks already, prompted by pleas from the children who wanted to head right down to the creek to taste the wild fennel. Last night my older son “Pathfinder” arrived from Oregon, too, so I’ve got both of them under my roof at the moment. It was balm to my soul to sit with those two last night and talk in person about everything under the sun, the way we had long been accustomed to doing — but it’s a kind of nourishment I have missed for a while.

On our walks we did find new and tender shoots of fennel to chew on as we walked, plus many species in the Family Apiaceae:

“Comprising 434 genera and about 3,700 species, the carrot family (Apiaceae) is a significant group of flowering plants. Its members are often aromatic and are characterized by hollow stems, taproots, and flat-topped flower clusters known as umbels.” Here is a list of major subgroups: Apiaceae 

My Seek app told me that along the path we were seeing Cow Parsnip, Poison Hemlock, Hogweed, and Wild Carrot, but I’m not fully confident that it knows the difference between all of those. We didn’t see any Queen Anne’s Lace! This morning the older boys were helping me tidy up the overgrown bed by the driveway, where I try to help the Mexican Evening Primrose to thrive, and one of the stubborn weeds we got to calling The Carrot, because it appeared to be a member of that family, too. I forgot to take its picture, but I know it will be back.

Buttercups and daisies are thick on that walking path by the creek, one more example
of the natural response to a rainy winter. Clara was captivated.

In the last couple of years one of my friends gave me a great quantity of scrap lumber to use for kindling; my son-in-law “the Professor” sawed up quite a bit of it for me when he was here for Thanksgiving. After Soldier arrived another friend lent us his miter saw to make it easier to finish off the sawing, and one day he organized his work force of three sons to get everything done in short order. (I found enough earplugs to protect the hearing of all.) They showed that the adage is not universally true, that when it comes to work, “One boy is a boy, two boys is half a boy, and three boys are no boy at all.”

Liam handed boards to his father, Soldier sawed them into the right lengths for my stove, and Laddie stacked the wood in neat rows; Brodie hauled the last of my old logs into the garage and laid them on the rack, and then raked up that area. They took a load off my mind, and changed it into a load of kindling for next winter. That utility yard is greatly opened up, and now I can use the clothesline without tripping on all that stuff.

This morning the boys and I leafed through my “Sing Through the Seasons” songbook, finding all the Spring songs we could remember the tune to. When we came to “White Coral Bells,” we took the book to the garden where my own white coral bells are taller than ever before. They thought my heuchera were a little greenish to qualify, but nevertheless were willing to sing the round right there by the waving flower spikes.

White Coral Bells, upon a slender stalk,
Lilies of the Valley deck my garden walk.
Oh, don’t you wish that you could hear them ring?
That will happen only when the fairies sing.