March…celebrating SPRING !

Spring is a time of new beginnings, new life…new color in the garden. March means lions, lambs, mad hares and daffodils…not more snow. This morning I watched as the deer came tentatively out of the back woods, looking for food…I usually put out corn in the evening, but today with the snow and cold and seeing several still young yearlings watching the back door, I just had to don my warm jacket, scarf and clogs and venture out to feed them.

                                                                              Grabbing the bucket of corn I had filled the night before, I took a step off the deck and yep, flat out fell onto the stone path…feet straight out in front like I had decided to take a snow nap. Just a few weeks past my ‘jiffy’ left hip replacement [I now have 2 great new hips, hah!] I waited for a second to see if anything was hurting or broken…luckily I ‘broke’ my fall to the right and laid back against the deck so I seemed to be fine. Then, like a turtle on its’ back, here I was trying to figure out how to turn over and stand up…rolling on to my good leg and with bent knee, I slowly pushed myself up and grabbed the railing to get me the rest of the way upright. Feeling really flustered and not too smart at the moment, I gingerly worked my way up the hill to the spot where I put their corn.  Already starting to feel like the target of a truck! A few minutes later they came back out of the woods and found the corn…food has been very scarce this season so I try to help them through the cold months with corn and supplemental feed.

Now inside, sitting by the fire, in search of spring, I turn to my books, blogs and dreams… Yesterday it was sunny and 65 outside…today snow and freezing…the mythical weather gods are definitely confused! Peeking through the mulch…I found these tiny purpley blooms earlier before the snow began to fall and decided that soon the weather will change…

I’ve spent the dormant winter months working on garden structure and soil fertility and as much time as I could outside…planting on warmer days and gathering twigs and fallen branches to use for kindling on others, repairing gates and adding stones to paths. Preparing for the season ahead means planning, clearing, gathering as well as planting any bare root additions to the fruit garden. So expose your centrally heated self to a good long day of work outside.

This lovely group of daffodils is truly what spring means…golden shades of yellow herald spring, filling our winter chill with warmth…daffodils of all types capture the fragile beauty of the season, their delicate fragrant flowers always a delight. Everyday I find daffodil and narcissus foliage working up through the mulch…just waiting for enough sun and warmth to burst into bloom…

Just close your eyes and imagine…Bring life, beauty and a sense of joie de vivre to your home. In the house, I always think of ways to breathe new color and life to every room…Color, of course is one of the easiest changes…so paint the bedroom either cheery or calming. Fragrance…add soy candles with fresh floral or herbal overtones…my favorite is lavender followed by jasmine. Burning candles while at home adds such delight when moving between rooms. Also, burn herb bundles in the fireplace to add another fragrance dimension. Blooms…bring in branches of forsythia, potted bulbs, ferns, tulips, freesia and orchids to add fresh life, greenery, fragrance and color…always makes me feel good arranging pots and vases to show off bloom finds. Visualize simple changes to furniture arrangement and find light colored or floral pillows for the sofa. For the kitchen, cheer up with some colorful new dish towels and pots of herbs or blooms on the windowsill…bake some madelines, lemon cake or anything to revitalize the fragrance coming from the oven. In the bath, add fragrant new soaps…lily of the valley, Muguet, or lavender and hang some fresh white or ‘spring colored’ towels on the hooks. My bedroom feels lighter when I change the bed cover to my golden primrose quilt and bright white organic cotton sheets…and put away the green down comforter. For a change of accessories in the living room…frame black and white photos of family in silver and mix with old and new silver cups and boxes. The shimmer and shine of metallics can light up and add luxury to dull settings. But my favorite… BUY A GRASS GREEN SWEATER TO WEAR WITH EVERYTHING!

    Rich, flat chocolate cake or ‘Torta’…not overly sweet but very delicate and oh, so sinfully rich:

To start: Coarsley chop about 1/2 cup walnuts [toasted first in oven adds flavor]

                 Melt 3 1/2 oz. butter in a saucepan and add 4 oz. dark, unsweetened    chocolate, chopped and 2 Tblsp. unsweetened cocoa powder. Stir until the chocolate has melted, then remove from heat and let cool.

Next, separate 3 eggs…beat the egg whites in a bowl till snowy peaks form, and then set aside. Then, whisk the egg yolks, 3 1/2 oz. sugar and 1/2 teasp vanilla in a large bowl until creamy. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture. NEXT, whisk in 1 oz of unbleached flour, chopped nuts and a pinch of salt. Finally, fold in the egg whites…gently…with a metal spoon, working from bottom to top. Turn mixture out onto a buttered/floured 9″ cake or tart tin and lightly press out to cover pan. Bake for 20 minutes at 355 degrees…the middle should be still moist and soft. Lightly dust top with a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar while still warmish…This truffle type cake has an intense flavor and moist texture.

Woodland spring...As the sun warms a field of naturalized daffodils, my heart fills with a never boring joy at the beauty nature gives us. I just want to sit here all day…but instead, I pick buckets of  blooms and head for the house to add sunshine and fragrance in every room! Any day now with snowdrops and forsythia and camelias and hellebores…everything will change. It’s that rediscovery of the awakening garden and plants that fuels my enthusiasm for the new season.

Have you heard… how important it is to feed the birds and provide a fresh source of water? Well, it surely is and do add some suet for needed fats, too.

      Hellebores are blooming and Daphne is sprouting buds!!!  Springtime on the way…

Later this week I will post more about March in my home and garden…come back for a visit.