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.
asparagus-1

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.
spears
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.
asparagus-

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

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?

pansy and iris

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.

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.

2013 snow 2

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.

2013 snow 4

And we waited for Nemo.

and we waited….

2013 snow cornfield

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

Let It Snow-Man!


Things to love about winter…

Watching the snow fall covering everything with sparkling beauty.

The crunch of snow under my feet.

Sliding down the hill on a plastic or wooden sled, or even a piece of cardboard box.(Well, the card board thing didn’t really work out so well, I broke my leg in three places and was in the hospital for a week and a cast from my toes to my waist for 3 months, after i had the cast “reduced” to just the length of my leg, I fell down the stairs while racing my little brother Sean; broke the cast- and back to the hospital I went…. Yup, I was that child.)

The holiday lights that make the whole outside world look like a winter wonderland.

As temperatures dip, and the long nights take hold,(they are now on the upswing) Enjoy some of the things that only winter weather can bring. Without cold weather there would be no snow, no ice, no backyard skating rinks, no sledding, no snow forts to build,(my children used to paint their’s with spray bottles full of food color and water) and certainly no snow boarding! So, as long as it’s winter time, get out and have some fun,put on an extra layer, and head outside.
I have always wanted to build a skating rink in my yard, I will try this year; it’s going to be cold for the next couple of weeks.

snow man
Building a snowman, or watching a small child build one…

Drew boy
I think there must be an art to sledding…

snow fun

the walk
Do you remember the walk back up the hill…worth it every time.

Finni fun
Zooom…(uhm, not so much) putt,putt was more like it.

Andrew
Winter fun, never goes out of style.

waiting
Waiting for their turn…to shine.

home
I love the snow;with winter I feel close to home. We have our rituals and family dinners. And as I reflect, I smile at the nostalgia of my life.
Be well,
Jess

Wordless Wednesday…Spring Today Gone Tomorrow


Llamas Llove snow! (and dogs do too)

winter 2012 041

winter 2012 040

winter run

Be Well,
Jess
ps,I just noticed I posted the same picture x2…uggh.

Mud Season?


Mud season, It’s a time of pondering, planning, or plotting; for there is not much to do.

mud 2

The countryside is in limbo, ready for a sudden rebirth, the trees are bare and there is this drizzle that hangs and then drips from everything. People are grumpy, sick and tired of winter with its slush, snow and freezing pipes The skiing is over, the frost is out of the ground, and buildings, are looking tired and ravaged by winter……screech (sound of brakes) It is only January,people.

mud breeze

The Mud, which tracks into my kitchen,my car, and sticks to my dogs like…well, like mud! It appears that I can tolerate mud season better with the promise of the coming spring…until then you can find me mopping, wiping paws and under bellies, and slopping, sloppy barns…ah,well;carry on we must.

mud early

It might be warm for a January day..but, it sure was pretty.
mud and trees

I suppose these chairs can rest awhile longer.
mud chairs

Be Well,
Jess

Have you noticed?


The shortest day has passed, and whatever nastiness of weather we may look forward to in January and February, at least we notice that the days are getting longer. Minute by minute they lengthen out. It takes some weeks before we become aware of the change. It is imperceptible even as the growth of a child, as you watch it day by day, until the moment comes when with a start of delighted surprise we realize that we can stay out of doors in a twilight lasting for another quarter of a precious hour.

snowy morning in December 13

snowy morning in December 14

snowy morning in December 9

Fiini in the snow
Finnigan? “Where does your white go when it melts?”

Sipping tea,the my toes and nose begin to thaw….seed catalogs in hand.
Be well,
Jess

Let that little light of yours shine, shine, shine…


I have just one wish, or maybe we should call it a my hope; to matter, to make a difference.

You know what’s interesting? We all seem to be chasing something, don’t we? At this time of year,”The Holiday Season”; so many families are scrambling for the perfect gift. Maybe you have deep pockets; buying for the guy/girl who has everything. Maybe you have nothing, trying to bring a gift home for the child who has little to nothing, knowing you still have to feed her. I am willing t bet you the little girl who receives just one gift will cherish that gift more than the fella who has everything. I know, I was that girl.

I am searching; searching for the perfect gift for just such a child…I will buy two; one for a girl, and one for a boy. The Local Fire Department (my husband is a volunteer fire fighter)has an annual event; they use money collected from fundraisers, such as middle school dances to purchase new and lightly used toys for children…then they invite families(parents, to shop – for FREE! they can choose gifts they hope their little ones will love; even though they have no funds to purchase these. How awesome is that!

… I’m sure of only one thing. If you leave this world, this life; having touched just one person’s life, you have made a difference!

Live like you mean it.

dynamic duo
Andy and Dolly…always together…as I went out this morning to begin chores, this is how I saw them. He, my little Andy, Loves her endlessly.

Miels
Camille, one of my older girls, past her breeding age, so she just lolls about looking pretty.

LaLa
Shangrala, I call her LaLa…always regal in appearance…always.

duo and princess
Andy and Dolly, think they are missing something…racing up the hill; Princess seems to be hinking…Oh, no…here they come!

duo on the run
Kick up your heels!

optical illusion
This shot of Phantom is an optical illusion, this is really 2 llamas…Jubilee is just behind Phantom ( he is brown and cream)

Gio
Gio…aah, Gio.

Life won’t work out exactly as we had planned, it just won’t. How did you envision your life when you were a child? No where in my childhood fantasy’s did I see myself on Llama farm in Upstate NY. Life does not work out the way you expect. But sometimes it works out even better.
So SHINE, Don’t stand in the light of your convictions? Shine?….it just means to go for what you believe in with all that you have…
Own it, be it, do it and then, when it is your time to exit — depart knowing that you truly lived and boy , did you Shine!

Be well,
Jess

Roots give you something to stand on…


Why Traditions? Because I said so that’s why! No, really ..traditions reinforce; tradition works.

Have you ever been a bystander, a guest of another family – viewing a family tradition? Kinda lonely right? Tradition reinforces who we are; who our families are…it doesn’t matter who you ARE individually, you’re family…

….the hilarious uncle, odd cousins, senile grandparents, or eccentric Aunt, when a reason arises for the a family get together; we are all welcomed back into the fold despite past disagreements, Thanksgiving is such a time.

Generation after generation has gathered together to celebrate and gives thanks…a tradition that has been around for a LONG time (well, in relative terms; this is a young Country after-all).

Roots give you something to stand on. They give you an identity that you can be proud of.

Traditions are tried and true…with the onslaught of commercialism; and “gotta’ have it mentality so prevalent at the holidays it’s easy to lose track of the reason they exist. It is about family and friends. Without family, all the material and money in the world wouldn’t mean much.

Getting together as family during holidays, celebrations, and life’s milestones is second-nature, a custom, a way of life…a tradition, and traditions evoke a deep seated emotional response, a connection to our past and our present. This is why tradition works.

Tradition is about creating a refuge, a comfortable haven, away from the world. It’s all about putting some meaning behind life’s steps. No matter how much you’ve done in your life, how many miles are on your frequent flyer account, how rich you are, or how powerful, tradition will always be bigger than you are.

Be well,
Jess

Less Wordy Wednesday…


Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour. (Bosworth)

“Have you ever noticed a tree standing naked against the sky,
How beautiful it is?
All its branches are outlined, and in its nakedness
There is a poem, there is a song.
Every leaf is gone and it is waiting for the spring.
When the spring comes, it again fills the tree with
The music of many leaves,
Which in due season fall and are blown away.
And this is the way of life.”
- Krishnamurti

In a way Winter is the real Spring – the time when the inner things happen, the resurgence of nature

The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.”
- Gertrude S. Wister

Winter is the time for comfort – it is the time for home…
Be well,
Jess