"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Seasonal Harvests

Arrived back at the Lodge yesterday for the harvest. Of these....

It's the peak bloom time for my lily of the valley. I bought the original plants some years ago. They were sitting on the sidewalk outside a secondhand furniture shop in the village on the Big Lake. There was no "Hazard! Rampant Groundcover!" warning attached. But I knew exactly what I was doing when I bought three pots.

Yes, they spread. Rampantly. They now cover vast swathes of my acreage. I possess a lot of acres to spare, so I'm not fussed about it. Especially not at this time of year!

Last night I plucked flowers from a compact area about 3 x 3 feet, if that, until the mosquitoes sent me fleeing to the safety of the house.

I've got a large silver monteith and a small one that belonged to one of my grandmothers. (The very "grand" one.) Convenient for my formal arrangements in the upstairs sitting room.

But I also placed a couple of stems apiece into several humble yet quaint antique medicine bottles, neatly lined up on my kitchen windowsill.

Consequently, the Lodge smells heavenly.

Another 20 or 30 feet of blooming lily of the valley remains, some plants fully in bloom, others with unopened flowers. I shall have abundant bouquets for the forseeable future.

Good thing, as Jewel seems to appreciate them.

'Tis also the season for fiddleheads. Embryonic ferns. Forest food. (Confession: mine came from the supermarket.)

I had no hand in this other harvest, but I was the beneficiary.

As you can see, my preferred method of preparing fiddleheads is to sauté them. It's a very simple process. I wash them, snip the browned ends off, scrub them lightly with a mushroom brush, rinse them a few more times until loose bits stop coming off. I heat some olive oil in a skillet, toss them with shreds of garlic and a couple of pinches of salt till they're somewhere between crunchy and limp. (Hard to describe--I just know when they're ready.)

Tonight I matched them with an omelet and a glass of Chardonnay that I found in the fridge.

No idea where that wine came from or how it got there. We don't typically stock Chardonnay in the our cellars. Maybe it's leftover from a party?

Hard to characterise the flavour of fiddleheads. Some say the taste is similar to artichoke, or asparagus. Neither of those descriptions works for me. My palate considers them entirely unique.

After hermit living up at the Big Lake, I'm in desperate need of a makeover. In addition to memorising some words to speak (I've got an official, ceremonial duty in the near future) I need to upgrade my grooming. I'm afraid I resemble like a woman who's spent the better part of a week living in a secluded cottage. With dogs.

Nobody at the State House would recognise me.

But the Chap might. If we were here.

More on his whereabouts later.

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