Asparagus. Asparagus? Yes, Asparagus.


An aphrodisiac. Yeah, you heard me; Nicholas Culpepper, a 17th century herbalist, wrote that asparagus “stirs up lust in man and woman.”
In 19th century France, bridegrooms were served 3 courses of asparagus at their prenuptial dinners (not absolutely necessary, I hope, but asparagus lore nonetheless) to, well, you get the picture.

Asparagus

Can you tell I’m in the mood ~ for Spring!

What is spring without asparagus?!Do you have asparagus growing in your garden? If not, it’s not hard to get started, you just have to be patient, well. for a couple years!spears

You can get asparagus crowns at most garden centers.
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Dig a furrow about 10 inches deep and wide and as long as you want your row to be. Fill the trench about halfway with compost and place your asparagus crowns on top, about 10 inches apart and cover loosely with soil and water. This is best done in the springtime as soon as the danger of frost has past.
You won’t get any spears your first year, but the fern-like foliage will still be pretty. Make sure you mulch well every autumn to keep weeds down and a steady stream of nutrients coming. Asparagus is a hungry plant.
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Do not harvest your asparagus until it’s at least three years old. This allows the plant to have time to build a strong root system. When your’s is ready; gather the asparagus and leave at least one stalk in the ground, for good luck, so the lore goes; actually it is common sense, it leaves seeds for sowing.
Asparagus is great for permaculture because it can live 15 years or more and keep providing you with tasty spears each spring.
It grows best in sandy, alkaline soil in full sun, but it’s not picky. It can handle a bit of shade and less than perfect soil too, as long as you fertilize it well.
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Your plants will start sending up shoots shortly after the frost has past and may continue well into June. Cut the shoots near the base when they are about 10 inches long and about as thick as your finger. If they are thinner than a pencil, your plant isn’t ready for harvesting yet, or it’s gotten tired of being harvested and needs to be let alone. Make sure the heads of the spears are tight and haven’t started to feather out. Once they’ve started to get ferny, it’s too late to harvest them.
Asparagus Berries

Asparagus is best eaten fresh, but if you want to save some for later, put it in a glass of water like a bouquet of flowers and store it in the fridge. If you want to save some for a long time later, steam the stalks for about five minutes and then freeze them in a freezer bag.

Asparagus is a good diuretic and is full of nutrients to help build up strength. Asparagus is one of the most nutrient dense vegetables you’ll find. It is high in folic acid, potassium, fiber, vitamins B6, A, C and thiamin, contain no fat or cholesterol and are low in sodium.

It is best lightly steamed so that it is tender-crisp and bright. I like to serve it with a tangy lemon butter sauce.
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PS. It’s a good food to eat when you are doing a bodily cleansing, a great “spring tonic” kind of food.

Soup’s on…at Picasso’s: chicken noodle with kale, corn chowdah, and creamy carrot curry (vegan)
try a citrus salad on baby kale, or grilled pear and pork on mixed greens.
Turkey burger with vidalia balsamic jam!

Be well,
Jess

Pretty little things…


Spring is all about new beginnings, don’t you think? New growth in the garden, new babies in the fields, maybe even new ideas. Does spring rev you up, kick start a new verve for life? All I want to do is throw open the doors and let the fresh air blow through the house, and clean the windows to let the streams of sunlight shine through! Breathe deeply the warmth and freshness. It has been a long cold and dreary winter. Maybe we should just enjoy these moments, go ahead sit in the sun enjoy very blissful minute; we’ve earned it. I am not certain, old man winter has yet to relinquish his grip just yet, but, I am paying no attention to his snow squalls and bitter temps.
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OK, so he’s not a baby, But he is lovely. Sachema lives at our friends farm, Dakota Ridge Farm; as do all of the other cuties shared to day. With one exception, Ruby.
This is Ruby, I don’t believe you’ve met. She was born in late October here at Picasso’s.
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I see spring. I can feel it. My hands ache for the warm soil. My feet want to run in the grass,( ok run might be an exaggeration).
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It can be an exciting time. We aren’t expecting any cria or kids this season, but I did get to visit a few yesterday. kinda makes me giddy. baby chicks and ducks will be coming soon though.
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The raised beds at our little shoppe will be built and filled with fresh soil and llama fertilizer (the absolute best). An arbor is being constructed for our open air farm to fork dinners. Can’t you just feel the excitement?
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Our soups and Specials here at Picasso’s :
Butternut Squash Bisque, no it’s not typical spring fare, but is sure has pretty and scrumptious.
Corn Chowdah, cuz, I must, I tell ya.

Roasted pork tenderloin served with a tangy-sweet mustard sauce on a bed of greens sitting atop a kaiser roll.
Turkey burger slathered with vidalia balsamic jam, on mixed greens piked on a soft buttery croissant. “nuff said here. moving on…

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Say good bye Sachema.

Be well.
J

Floating with the season, or hang on for dear life!


Seasons come and seasons go..with them come their own particular adventures, challenges, and foods. Yes, foods. Just because a particular vegetable or fruit is in our local supermarket, does not mean it is ion season in our neck of the woods. Your strawberries or lettuce may have traveled thousands of miles and many days to get to this market. And it may have been cultivated with Lord knows what synthetic fertilizers and under what ghastly conditions. The paradox of the day is available vs healthy. no?

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Our diets were, in the past dictated by the seasons and what we could grown, and “Put By” for the coming months. Does any one remember when peas and strawberries a late spring early summer treat? Sweet and succulent, juicy dribbling, red berry goodness. Pick warm from the garden and popped in your mouth. Fresh feet peas, stolen from their pod and eaten raw before they every got to Mamie’s kitchen. Potatoes, squash, and other root vegetables told you that fall winds were here, and leaves would turn beautiful colors, and fall, just for you to rake up and jump in. The brisk day inviting you in at supper time to a hearty stew, made from natures bounty.

Now, produce is transported around the world! We have all of the blessings of any season at our finger tips. Not necessarily a good thing. Local, organic fruit an vegetables are grown with age old techniques tab maintain its natural flavor, water content and growth rate. They ripen naturally, and retain their natural vitamins and minerals.

But, I digress, I was talking about seasons wasn’t I; rediscovering the joys of the seasons. Finding a rhythm, re-creating how we plan and shop for our food.
Discovering,nearby farmers markets, a local CSA, or discover a new talent by planting your own garden, or learning the new, but age old skill of putting food by. Use the changing seasons to to guide us to set more thoughtfully, mindfully, and more healthfully, you become naturally inclined to experiment and maybe discover a new favorite.

Let’s make mealtime special again, let’s slow down enjoy your meal. Isn’t that what its all about anyway? Finding joy in life. Our growing season may be short, so why not enjoy what delights it offers, take asparagus for example, luscious when eaten fresh from the garden, limp and tasteless from a can. When this season is over, what fruit or veggie are you eagerly anticipating? For me it is berries! Raspberries, blackberries, blues, and strawberries, I love them all!

Ok, so here are our specials at Picasso’s today
Soups” Vegetarian vegetable with butter beans, Creamy steamy Corn Chowdah.

Salad: citrus,and pecan salad served on fresh mixed greens, served with homemade citrus honey vinegarette. ( insert lip smacking noise here)

Have a wonderous, wondrous day! Hangon to your hats! It’s Windsday.Miss Daisy

Who’s with me?


What is all this WHINING about Mondays? Does Monday have some kind of super power that I don’t know about that robs you of your sanity, good mood or abilities? Is it a magical force, steeped in brute strength.

 What if we all had Monday off? What if we worked Tuesday through Saturday? Would we then hate Tuesdays?

Monday is the kick off for a brand new week with possibilities and potential successes  people!

oh ok, to be fair, there was a period in my life where I didn’t like Mondays but I also didn’t like any other day of the week except Saturday or Sunday because those were the days I wasn’t at that job. And I think that is the real problem when we kvetch about Mondays. We don’t hate the day because after all, it’s just a day.

I think what we are saying when they say, “Ugggh, it’s Monday”, is that the only part of our life that brings them joy is the weekend and that is really sad. Since Monday is the furthest day away from the next weekend, Monday becomes some dark and sinister power, out to sabotage your day.

Monday, interestingly enough, could be a metaphor for how you approach your life. Expect to have good things happen and attack your day with enthusiasm and energy and watch what unfolds. Or, hate the day, give away your power and be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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I’m starting a movement to stop the Monday bashing! Who’s with me?

Let’s start Monday off with a bang!

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Soups Tuscan potato and sausage, because I love it and i can’t stop eating it. Vegetarian vegetable , cuz everyone should enjoy good homemade soup.

Special: Caesar salad with  seasoned chicken breast, sliced and grilled topped with sliced parmesan and crunchy croutons. ( is it ok to drool in the privacy of your own office) 

Smoothie: Spinach peach and peanut butter blended with almond milk.  A green monster, packed with energy!

Sunday, Sunday…


Sunday in our home town, is probably much like Sunday in your hometown. Church, followed by breakfast at your favorite spot. Home for some yard work or chores…Does anyone still have their traditional Sunday family dinner, I hope so. Now that we are at the Shoppe on Sundays, there is no time for a sit down Sunday dinner. Oh, I am not complaining, I love what I do, I love the people I have met, the friends I have made, and the atmosphere our family has created, a few people have commented, on this in particular; they thought it felt like an extension of their home, their dining room, kitchen or living room. This sounds just about perfect to me. Maybe we can’t have a sit down Sunday dinner here at Picasso’s but we are surrounded with family and friends, and that is almost as good. Don’t you think?

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Our Sunday Soup specials, Tuscan Sausage, with potato and kale (just as luscious as it sounds) and vegetable (loaded with veggie goodness)

Salad special Sunny citrus on mixed greens with red onion, cucumber herbs, served with our homemade honey lemon dressing. A bright spot in your day!

Smoothie: Mango tango (oh, yes, I just made that up) Mango, orange juice, pom juice, and vanilla yogurt! Shine on!

Special: Angel hair pasta with tomato pesto and topped with fresh grilled chicken! Served with a side salad or not!

Have a wondrous day, enjoy your friends and family!

Wow, that’s a lot of exclamation points! hee her.
Be well.

Gold, pure Gold.

Gold, pure Gold.

Remember when….A Wordless Wednesday.


Common sense and good nature will do a lot to make the pilgrimage of life not too difficult”
- William Somerset Maugham

Sophie, you are not a duck...

Sophie, you are not a duck…

Andrew, my sweet, sweet little neighbor. Oh, and Claire.

Andrew, my sweet, sweet little neighbor. Oh, and Claire.

dogs,chickens, and llammas oh my 5

Andy today

remember when...

a song

remembering

lovins

duo

Breez

girls

jenni .3

Andys

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.”
- Robert Frost, Two Roads

Be Well,
Jess

Finding Nemo…


Well, he never found us. He found every town around us…but not us. Funny how nature works, isn’t it. I was a little excited for the storm to arrive.

snowy morning in December 024

A big storm ~ one that needs preparation. Flash lights, kerosene lamps, water; you know provisions.
The type of storms that forces card games,board games, and allows for guilt free lazing about.

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I filled the barns with a heavy bed of fluffy hay; filled waters to the tippy top (if the power goes out, so goes the pump), grained with copious amounts to help the animals generate their own warmth.

2013 snowy farm
(a farm on my morning journey)

The chickens and ducks tucked themselves in among the llamas. Everyone was settled in; cozy and warm.

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And we waited for Nemo.

and we waited….

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and waited…

We got about 3″…

2013 snowwolf cloud

Many parts of New England and New York were not spared; I do hope everyone was able to be somewhere safe and warm.

Be well,
Jessica

And All is Berry and Bright…


Feb 2013 Gio
Gio.

I will enjoy the snow fall we about to be “blessed” with, up to 24″. I find it refreshing, well, a refreshing change from grey days, and brown fields…blanketing everything in white; plays so beautifully against the deep blue of the winter skies(on a sunny day).

POO
Phantom of the Opera.

Yet I yearn for Spring, to dig my fingers into the earth…see precious livestock being born…feeling the warm rays of sun on my face! There’s nothing quite like the smells of the earth on a warm Spring day. Daffodil, crocus, tulips,and apple blossoms…mmmmm. When many trees and shrubs look as if they are most certainly dead but then slowly begin to show signs of life. Why wouldn’t we yearn for Spring?

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some berries for dinner tonight…nom,nom..

We live for the rhythm and beauty of our day-to-day lives, yet, we start our Spring watch in early February.[don't we] Did the groundhog sees his shadow; if he does, he will be frightened back into his den and we will experience yet another six weeks of winter.No impostors allow, this seasonal predication relies squarely on the shoulders of, no other than Puxatoney Phil. So, we hold our collective breath…and,…and,…Phil did not see his Shadow! An early Spring?!

Feb 2013
The yard will look like a totally different landscape by this time tomorrow.

Of course, depending on where we live…this could mean many things… As Henry Van Dyke said, “The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.” I usually can’t do much planting until May…but, a bit of color pops up here and there as early as the end of March depending on snow cover. Perhaps that is why we yearn for Spring; could it be that we all long for a peaceful, delicious garden?

Feb 2013 Mali
OOPs, Mali. :)

For now, I will dust of the toboggan, gather some neighborhood kids…and WHEEEEE…enjoy this Old New England winter

Be well,
Jess

A little kiss on the forehead….together forever.


There comes a point when you just love someone. Not because they’re good, or bad, or anything really. You just love them. Sometimes in spite of who they are, and sometimes because of who they are. And you know that they love you, sometimes because of who you are, and sometimes in spite of it.
Valentine’s Day makes me so sentimental. ♥

HJS&JJS

Now, what ever will I post on Valentine’s Day?!
Be Well,

Ah, you have “No Mazel”


Helen’s ( a friend from childhood) Bubby used to say this to me…”You have No Maazel” “Poor girl”…

I always tried to hide my sadness, even from myself when I was young; we all did,. We stayed outside and away from home as much as possible; we just stayed out-of-the-way. I his behind my smile. Not hidden well enough to fool Bubby, Helen and I were not friend’s long, as we moved alot..but I never forgot her or her Grandmother, and what she said to me.

As an adult, I have always believed you make your own luck. My own, Maazel; positive energy. Luck comes from work, work on your self, give of yourself to others, have a positive attitude; when you see things as they really are, you tend to have LUCK in your life.
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A Horseshoe has been said to symbolize good luck, good fortune and fertility.
Horseshoes have associations with the strength and dependability of the horse, and, in an upright position, it is also symbolic of the moon. Pointing downwards, it is symbolic of the womb. To the Greeks, it symbolized the crescent moon which was regarded as a symbol of fertility.

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The Horseshoe protects one’s house and land, to keep strangers away, when hung up on the wall of a home or above a doorway. The “U” shape will hold good luck inside forever. This tradition may stem from the 10th century Saint Dunstan. He trapped the devil using a Horseshoe and from that point on the devil would never enter a Christian home adorned with a Horseshoe over the door. (thank goodness)

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Some legends say, that a Horseshoe “‘Pointing Up” will gather your Luck, whereas “Pointing Down” it will shower you with Luck.
Do you have a good luck Charm?

Be well,
Jess