Mother Nature is one confused broad these days. She has been showering us with hot sunny days at a time of year when we should be wet, muddy and grey. I think it will all go back to normal this weekend, but for the past week we have been playing at Summer, before having gone through Spring.
The garlic has sprung from it’s cold Winters bed. We may need to close the garden back up so the chickens can’t get in to scratch at the tender shoots. My chicken wire defense only partially works. But the green is a welcome sight. Someone asked me at yoga the other day if I had planted my peas on St. Patrick’s Day. This is common wisdom further South in New England, I have planted peas this early in other gardens, in other lifetimes. Here in Maine we wait until Patriots Day, a holiday I was fully unaware of until we moved up here. It comes right around tax day, a full month later than St. Patty’s. I suppose if one was bold one could try putting some peas in the ground now. Our soil was too frozen in the beginning of this week. By now it has probably warmed up enough for an attempt. For me however, that entails plotting out where I will plant what for the whole season, as I try to rotate my crops (!?) as much as possible to keep down disease and pests. Somehow I am just not there yet. Perhaps in another week or so, after it has gotten cold again, and I am longing for days planting with the sun on my back. Then I will plot it all out, so the next time it gets even close to warm enough, I can run right out and plant those darling peas.
In the meantime, we spent Thursday at home, having made an executive decision to enjoy its lovely weather and forgo our usual Sunday off, as rain is forecast for that day. Our friend Peter came over for lunch and we sat on the patio, eating, talking and staring out at the still brown field. We grilled some Scup, or Porgys as our fishmonger compared them. They were delicious. Just brushed with olive oil, salt & pepper and a few slices of lemon in their cavities. The crackling skin was marvelous, the meat sweet and tender. Accompanied by a Cauliflower and Red Pepper salad (because it is still March and here in Maine we have fewer fresh vegetable options this time of year) it was a tasty afternoon meal outdoors. The only thing missing was some green, no leaves anywhere with those temps was just plain queer.
We finished up with my new favorite cake, the Brown Sugar Lightning cake from The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider. It is just as it sounds, brown sugary goodness that comes together lightning fast. Split, filled with some Mangoes that had been macerating with brown sugar and lime juice, and frosted with whipped cream laced with Greek yogurt (full fat, thank you) and, wait for it, brown sugar. It was dreamy. Turns out it was Peter’s birthday, so we didn’t have any candles, and we didn’t sing at him, but it was his birthday cake.