ay 2016 is starting out in the nicest way possible – with temps in the 60s and 70s; and even a hint of 80’s for the first Saturday of the month. Sadly, April ended on a cold and chilly note – but newsflash: the winter coats are officially washed and packed away and I’m not pulling them back out for anything. Anyway, the weather has no bearing on how the kids dress. Now that they are all teens and pre-teens, the kids pretty much just wear athletic shorts and hoodies. Occasionally, I might be able to coax my little giants into wearing a hat if it’s real chilly – but otherwise, with no snow on the ground, they roam freely outside with only the flame of youth to keep them warm.
In the garden, the containers are filled with herbs and cold crops. The kitchen garden has over 25 basil plants and I’ve already harvested four cups of basil leaves from the brand new plants for two batches of basil pesto. The other herbs that are on hand this year are parsley (curly parsley for garnish and flat parsley for cooking), cilantro (for our homemade version of Chipotle rice – John’s favorite), rosemary, dill, lemon balm, sage, and mint.
Inspired by my friend Alice’s garden, I bought seven Chicago Green Velvet Boxwood for the tiered garden to use as an edging. They should be positioned and planted by the end of the first week in May. Another shrub that will need to find a home is a brand new Bridalwreath Spirea. Here’s a tip: Don’t go to nursery in April and think you’ll be able to resist that baby’s breath bloom on a Bridalwreath Spirea – it’s just too sweet to pass up.
In the kitchen, this month I’m working on all kinds of new spring recipes to keep my garden to table pipeline flowing. That’s a huge goal for me this summer – figuring out more ways to incorporate fresh ingredients from the garden. I’m excited to make my own version of Panera’s Tomato Mozzarella Flatbread Sandwich. Another new menu idea for lunch is a hot or cold rosemary chicken salad. That just might make my Mother’s Day menu if it’s a hit. Finally, all the lettuce I’ve been sowing for the past two weeks will start to make “build-your-own salad” a dinner option for the kids two nights a week. Emma’s going to bake up some chicken breasts and then we’ll cut them up for our salad bar nights. The kids will be on point for harvesting the lettuce, greens, and herbs which makes the whole dinner experience extra rewarding.
Aside from those pesky allergy flare-ups, everyone has been pretty healthy around here. School is in the home stretch which means we’ve got a flurry of finishing up activities: MCA testing, end of year projects, teacher gifts, and a final round of concerts for band and choir. Thankfully, summer camps for the boys are locked and loaded. PJ’s spring basketball will wrap up this month with a tournament in Hopkins and then the State tournament. For homeschooling, Emma continues to work on Algebra 2. Last week, she registered for fall classes at Maple Grove Senior High. She’s waiting to hear if she lands her summer job and she’s also signing up for driver’s ed in June. Will’s mastering the art of juggling two jobs. He’s doing a great job of driving to his ref jobs all over the city in all kinds of traffic. He’s growing up way too fast.
Ol’ Sonny is happy now that we’re all outside and spending more time in the yard. He follows me up and down the garden path as I grab the clippers, get a new pair of dry garden gloves, set the sprinklers, and plant to my heart’s content. He’s still spry enough to grab his rope for a quick tug-of-war and investigate various movements and sounds around the garden. But, he also takes some timeouts to nap – snoring loudly in the sunshine – and reminding me to slow down despite the thrilling call of Spring.
That’s the View From Up Here for May 2016.