It happened, again.
Another winter over.
I’m not sure if it’s the bone shattering cold, the conveyor belt of darkness or the sameness every day that keeps me from embracing six months out of every year. Whatever it is my survival kit involves me putting one foot in front of the other, day after day, believing blindly that winter will end and I can go back to the farm.
And here I am. As I stood in my flower garden, overlooking the St. John River Valley in all it’s early Spring nakedness, I breathed deeply. A fresh start. Once again. Time to put a spade in the ground and watch the magic.
A quick tour of the gardens tell me it was a good winter. The trees are loaded with buds ready to burst, fat shoots are poking out of the ground and the birds are in full concert. Time for work-boots, overhauls, tons of sunscreen and a tandem truckload of fly dope. I’m ramping thins up in the vegetable garden this year. With five years under my belt with this vegetable patch, I’m ready to commit to some perennial vegetables. The strawberry rhubarb is thriving in the north-west corner so I dug a ten foot trench for asparagus along aside of it. Next to the asparagus, which will not yield for three years – you need patience as a gardener, I planted a new french sorrel and in the north-east corner I’ll have horseradish. The horseradish is quite invasive, but I want it for the restaurant so bring it on! The ground is still cold which makes it perfect for cold-crops. Yesterday I planted peas, beets, spinach, leek, red onion, Brussell sprouts, kale and Swiss chard. The raspberries are thinned and ready to be staked. Until the weather gets warmer, the vegetable garden is done.
The flower beds are back-breaking. It always seems like a good idea to dig another bed until it’s time to weed. Despite my diligence when I initially prepare the bed, it takes a good four to five years before the weeds slow down. Their roots run deep and leaving even the tiniest bit in the soil will produce yet another monster in my flower beds. To date, I have three large perennial and flowering shrub beds. The oldest is now six and becoming less work as the plant material matures and squeezes out room for pesky weeds. This bed needed some shrub trimming, winter kill removal and a top-dressing of black mulch. It took me seven hours. this is the easy bed! My middle child, the four-year old bed, lost two large rose bushes and a pear tree. The damage was done two winters ago. I babied them along last summer, but they were not strong enough to survive. I replace one of the roses with an even hardier variety. The other rose was replaced with a red current bush. I’ve wanted one for years. The thought of those glistening clusters of deep red berries nestled in a dollop of creme patisserie is more than I can resist. I may leave the dead pear tree where it is and use it as a trellis for sweet peas. Essentially, creating a sweet pea tree. I’ve got this bed about half done. Another day or so and I’ll have it licked. And then there’s the monster bed; the youngest and most wild. It’s fourty feet long and twenty feet wide. At this stage the weeds are definitely winning. I can literally watch them growing as I work in the other beds. It’s as if they’re saying, “you better hurry up or you’ll never catch me!”
This is my happy time. I can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning, have a quick breakfast and head outside to play. Monday through Friday, Ralph and I grab whatever is easy for breakfast. On the weekend, I cook breakfast for Ralph. Fiddleheads are in season so this morning he’ll wake up to a Fiddleheads and Gouda Omelette.
FIDDLEHEAD AND GOUDA OMELETTE – makes 1 omelette
- 2 large eggs (crazy fresh)
- 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 ounce grated gouda cheese
- 1/4 cup trimmed fiddleheads
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon finely snipped fresh chives
- Place 1 tablespoon of butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat.
- When the butter sizzles and the garlic and fiddleheads.
- Toss to coat the fiddleheads then reduce heat to low – stir occasionally.
- Meanwhile, whisk eggs in a medium bowl until well combined and no strands of egg white remain, but be careful not to incorporate too much air. Don’t whisk like a mad man.
- Place 1 tablespoon of butter in a cold 8″ nonstick skillet and melt over low heat. Don’t let the butter sizzle.
- Pour eggs into the pan and season with sea salt and pepper.
- Using a rubber spatula, stir eggs constantly while moving skillet in a circular motion. Periodically scrape down the sides of the pan so that you don’t have overcooked bits in your omelette.
- As soon as the eggs begin to coagulate, about 2 minutes, shake the skillet to settle any uncooked egg.
- Sprinkle the grated gouda across the center of the eggs.
- Roll your omelette starting at the edge closest to you. Use your spatula to gently roll up the omelet. When you’re about halfway through, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the skillet. This will help prevent any sticking and adds more flavour to the eggs.
- Turn heat off, but leave the skillet on the burner.
- Place a lid over the skillet for 1 minute to melt cheese.
- Place your omelette on a warm plate and garnish with sautéed fiddleheads and snipped chives.
- Serve immediately.
THE LOVE: An omelette is a thing of beauty, when made properly. It should have very little color on the outside but be sumptuously cooked on the inside. The only way this will happen is if you use a low heat. Don’t rush.
Thanks for reading.