Sunday, April 17, 2011

Our House is Naked!!!!

At long last, our house has a face for the first time since we're owned it. As it turns out, it's a vaguely sad unkempt face that needs some painting and cosmetic attention--but how is one to know until one cuts the bangs and really takes stock?!?

Here's what the house looked like just two days ago. . .

My folks came up to visit and Dad gave Dan Tree-Cutting 101-classes in the front yard. And at long last those durn trees are gone gone gone.

(That's the house, Dan, Mom and Dad. . . Dad was being shy, though, and camouflaged himself as the old trees. See close-up below:)

I have plans for the front yard garden-wise. I won't leave it looking like that forever. There's a spirea at the corner that has to go and we have to grind down the remaining tree stumps. After that, though, I am going to plant 2-3 colonnade apple trees, a hydrangea and a big old-fashioned lilac. Whatever space is left over will get filled with some perennial herbs, irises, lamb's ears and any thing else I can think of that my mama and grandma grew when I was a kid (black-eyed susans? hollyhocks? snapdragons?)

Easter and Passover Season

I'm not a very religious person. I was raised Presbyterian and was active in church until I fell away in my angry teen years--but more than any other season of the year, spring still seems attached to religion and the food that is attached to religious communities.

April pops up and every year, I get a yearning for hot cross buns, delicately poached fish on fridays, and homemade matzos ball soup (raised Presbyterian, but close friends all through childhood with loads of folks from the Catholic and Jewish communities of Cincinnati. Most closely tied to the Jewish community, though, as if the German-ness of both Presbys and Jews was the tie that bound us together in a German German German town).

I am also the daughter of both a gardening tribe (Hi, Mom's people!) and a farming tribe (Hey, Pop's peeps!) And so Spring is a season of hopeful, simple, ridiculously yummy food. Sweet sugar snap peas everywhere. The first fresh herbs of the season (sage, thyme, parsley, oregano, chives) showing up in pale flavor-rich soups and simple bean dishes.

My first venture into the new season:

The strength of this matzos ball soup was the broth--some homemade, some storebought, but all combined and recooked for an hour or so with a few pieces of garlic, bay leaves, celery leaves, peppercorns and a handful of uncut carrots. Ridiculous. The matzos balls could have been a little more flavorful and will be next time. . . but topped off with fresh parsley from the garden, it was pretty great anyway. . .