Sunday, April 28, 2013

Today's Phenology Report- Ramps!

There is a nice article in the NYT this weekend on the virtues of Ramps a type of wild leek found in the spring woods well before the start of morel mushroom season.  After seeing the lovely photo of Ramps and eggs for breakfast I leapt from bed and searched the backyard under the Viburnum where I had transplanted some ramps maybe 10 years ago.  Here is what I saw:

These beauties are about 6 inches tall.  Below is the pair of two on the right.  Notice how deep the stalk goes to the bulb and roots.  You need a good sturdy long trowel to lift these out intact.

Ramps are a perennial.  These are youngsters who probably reseeded from my original planting a few years ago.  The bulb remains and gets thicker each year.  All except roots are edible and can be chopped and used like scallions or garlic.  If you don't want to lose the plant you can just pick one of the two leaves from a number of Ramps and they will live to share another day.

No photo of my fried eggs with ramps breakfast but it was delicious.  Thanks Peggy.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Last Lap

In a few days I will be back in my shop for my 22nd and final year of spoon retailing.  As in years past I will be open Thursday-Saturday from 10-6 and Sunday from 10-4.  Both my home and garden are just a few minutes from the spoon shop so call my cell at 507-467-3376 if you want to visit at a different time or day of the week.  Unless I've wandered too far away (like during morel mushroom season) I'm happy to do so.

Since this is my last year, I thought it would be interesting to feature a particular spoon or utensil when I do a new post.  Today's is titled "Ban Land Mines" and was made in 1998.

This spoon is made of buckthorn wood.  The prosthetic right leg is a brass boat nail.  Here is how it came to be and came to be named
It was a quiet day in Lanesboro.  Warm, sunny, a perfect day!  
I was polishing this spoon with some abrasive 3M pads spinning in a drill press as I had done many times before.  Thousands of times really.  It was pretty much finished, ready for signing and oiling.  Suddenly, inexplicably the right leg flew off across the shop bouncing off the wall and landing who knows where.  I never saw it again.  I looked at the jagged stump where once had been a perfectly formed and functional limb.  Gone.  Forever.  It was the metaphorical experience of stepping on a landmine.  Most times when limbs are lost to landmines they are those of civilians going about their normal duties.  Farmers farming, children playing when suddenly, gone, forever.  

I did for this spoon what most people do for each other around the world where land mines rule: gave it a prosthetic limb with readily available materials.  

I am mostly glad I have kept this spoon.  It does remind me of how fortunate it is to live where land mines do not rule.  (Where land mines do rule.)