I’ve always been fascinated by internal clocks.
The involuntary time piece in our brains or hearts set to alarm us when the time comes to act. Mine went off this week. Truth be known, it’s been ringing for the last two weeks. I’ve been pushing the snooze button while I launched Billy’s Seafood Company’s new menu. I’m late getting to the farm this year. Normally by now, we’d be up and running, having cocktails on the veranda with friends.
During one of my umpteen trips to the farm this week, as I lugged groceries, gardening supplies, housewares and clothing I thought back over all the years I’ve started our summers by ‘getting our summer place ready’. When the girls were little that involved airing out musty tents and sleeping bags. After a few years of spine debilitating sleeping in the rough, I had the good fortune of selling my flower shop. We upgraded to a 20′ x 20′ fifty year old camp, on a tiny island in the middle of the Saint John River. Ralph and I took it right down to the studs. When we dropped the cardboard ceiling, we were knee-deep in mouse dung. Walls, ceiling and nasty old furniture got tossed into a dumpster. We hired a painter, had the new walls and rafters painted white, bought a bit of furniture and moved in.
The island was over run with wild apple trees hence our little summer home became Crab-apple Cottage. With no electricity or running water, we spent idyllic summers pretending we were the Swiss Family Robinson.
By the time the girls were in high school, they were losing interest in spending their weekends secluded on a tiny island with their parents. We sold Crab-apple Cottage and found a more accessible place further up river. The building, again, was little more than a hunting camp. The first time we viewed the property, I commented on the lack of windows facing the river. The owner said, “what’s to look at?” We turned the river facing wall into a bank of windows complete with a wrap around deck. It was a perfect spot for us and the girls to entertain friends and family. Then one rainy afternoon Ralph said, “want to go for a drive?”
So five years later, here I am, getting things ready for summer at our farm. The girls, no longer live at home or in the province for that matter. All told, they’ll collectively spend less than three weeks here this summer and yet my inner clock is tick, tick, ticking to get things ready for them. Maybe it’s just a coping mechanism as I learn to live without them, daily, in my life. Whatever it is, I’m having fun throwing open the windows to welcome them home for however much summer fun we can squeeze in.
With the season well under way, my perennial herbs are ready to be snipped. I like to experiment with unusual varieties and old-fashioned or no longer popular herbs. One that I’ve had unbelievable luck with is lovage. I bought it solely based on the name. The four-inch romantic little herb has grown into a six-foot perennial monster. It tastes like a cross between parsley and celery with overtones of anise and curry. The young leaves are brilliant in salads, salad dressings or soups. I use the sturdy, hollow stems with their leaves for stuffing in chicken or fish. If you have a large spot in your garden, give this easy-to-grow herb a try. Its fun to watch how fast it grows.
I’ve been growing herbs for thirty years. If you’re thinking about starting an herb garden and have any questions, by all means drop me a note. I’d love to help!
Lovage Cream with Grilled Asparagus
½ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon hot Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped lovage, leaves
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed
Whisk all the ingredients together until well blended.
Taste for seasoning and add sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.
- Place asparagus spears on hot grill, turning often until fork tender.
Serve grilled asparagus topped with lemon zest and Lovage Cream.
Lovage Cream will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.
THE LOVE: Sky’s the limit as to what veg you can dip into this fresh lovage cream…
Thanks for reading.