This has certainly been one of the weirdest winter-spring times ever! It is raining again today and is supposed to continue all week. This is quite odd in my neck of the woods. The cats are certainly as confused as the plants. They keep sitting on the bench watching the rain. And then they come in the house and complain. Jade, especially, thinks I have magical powers to stop the rain so she can scamper around chasing bugs in the sun!
My beautiful little peach tree that Ofer grew from seed is suffering with this strange looking leaf rot that I have never seen before. I assume it is from these late rains. On the other hand, it has some lovely little peaches growing. Hopefully, the rains won’t ruin those too.
We spent the weekend working in the garden. The flowers continue to bloom creating a cacophony of color and beauty all around the garden! Lavendar, lilac, rosemary, California poppies, freesias, mustard and broccoli blooms, alyssum, blue-eyed grass, sweet peas are just a few…and the tulips are also starting to come up!
We decided to put out a codling moth trap in the pear tree this year as sometimes we find evidence of their presence in our pears. Hopefully, that will completely eradicate the minor problem that we have. Our apples used to also be affected by this moth, but have grown stronger and now don’t have any problems. Our pear tree is quite old so maybe it is just more vulnerable.
These California natives do beautifully in our yard. In fact, the poppies are volunteers and have found exactly where they like to be. They are more abundant each year and everyone compliments us on them. My neighbor asked me last night if he could get some to plant in his yard, too!
The lettuce is finally growing some too. I have had trouble with lettuce for some reason over the years, I guess because I have a very sun-filled, hot yard.
We’re making plans for a big garden this year. Ofer and Yo’el are building beds like crazy and we are planting lots of seeds – too many to list here. I’ll tell you all about it as we go along.
We were blessed with the help of friends on both days this weekend. Thank you to Anne, Tyler and Kathryn for all your help!
Here’s Kathryn taking a much deserved rest while I was watering at the end of the day. We spent the time pulling weeds, preparing spring beds for planting, planting strawberries, transplanting seedlings and harvesting the last of the winter vegetables that are still around. I made a lovely gratin with the fennel and today am making a quiche with the spring onions. I love using them like leeks, caramelizing them and then adding herbs, eggs and cheese for a delicious golden quiche.
Brussels, Fennel and Parsnip Gratin
1# brussels sprouts, sliced
1 medium fennel bulb, sliced
1 medium parsnip, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, sliced
4 sun-dried tomato chicken sausages, sliced
1 Tbsp. minced fresh herbs – marjoram, oregano or winter savory
1 ½ c. parmesan cheese, grated
⅔ c. milk (goat, soy, almond or cow)
- Preheat oven to 350ᵒ.
- Prepare vegetables and steam for 12 – 15 minutes until soft.
- Meanwhile, sauté the onion, sausage and herbs in a little olive oil until lightly browned.
- Lightly oil the casserole dish.
- Layer the steamed vegetables on the bottom of the oiled casserole. Sprinkle half a cup of cheese over the vegetables.
- Spread the onion-sausage combo over the cheese. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
- Pour the milk over the top, spreading evenly.
- Cover and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove the cover and bake for 10 minutes.
- Serve with garlic bread and a green salad.