It is bright and a mere 30 degrees this morning, a good sign. Yet there’s still plenty of snow on the ground in my garden.
There are days when I think that gardening is like cooking is like painting. My husband gets upset when I grind pigments with the kitchen mortar and pestle and when I borrow the double boiler to cook glue. This morning I am mixing potting soil with water in his pasta cooking pot. But don’t tell.
This is because of the time I ruined his favorite enamel pot when I decided to make charcoal following a 15th century recipe from Cennino Cennini. Fill the pot with straight, quarter inch width twigs of willow, wrapped in little bundles with a wire; seal the pot (lute it) with clay; and place it in the embers of a fire, with more embers piled on top. Cook slowly over night. Well, the pot was destroyed, but I got some fine drawing charcoals!
We’ve been happily married for twenty five years. Poor man, I use the kitchen for almost everything creative I do. Most of the time the materials aren’t toxic.
I am transplanting the exuberant Bok Choi, which begs to go outside under a tunnel. Not yet. Recipes, recipes, recipes. “Mix six cups of water with nine quarts of soil.” I estimate – how many quarts of soil in a pasta pot and how much water? Out come the measuring cups, the spatula, and a tiny silver spoon that used to belong to John’s grandmother. It is the just right size for spooning in potting soil around the seedlings I have pricked out, their delicate roots dangling for a second. Will this work? I finish the bok choi seedlings, all twenty of them, and then go ahead and plant some leek seeds with the silver spoon for good measure.
I order a few more seeds over the computer. There are never enough, and these are seeds for things I have never grown, that Barbara loves to grow: Fava Beans, Lemon Grass, and Epazote. I am hoping to expand my cooking palate. Just like she expanded mine earlier this spring with the bok choi.
My friend Vint writes from Connecticut; he is going to share some tomato seeds with me: one variety came from tomatoes in a friend’s patch in Germany, and the other variety came from a friend’s mother’s garden in Italy. I call my friends Margy and Jordan.
We’re planning our communal raspberry patch over supper this evening. Not only that, they are going to order chicks and one turkey for me: they have offered to share their henhouse. Perhaps I’ll name the turkey “Snowdrop”. We’ll eat the turkey for Christmas.