#13
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So what is the one thing that you find to eat or cook with or do food wise that tells you that "Spring Has Sprung?"

I am thinking of everything from planting potatoes as Good Friday has come and gone, the first fresh from the plant vegetables, starting seeds or "starter" plants in the house for planting soon...the first BBQing of the season or how about my favourite the tapping of the Sugar Maple Tree to make Maple Syrup.

Growing up my grandparents on my Dad's side had a Sugar House and it would be in full operation from the start of the season until the very end of the flow when it stayed above freezing all night for a week. As soon as "rings" started to form from snow "pulling away" from the trunks of the Sugar Maple trees my grandfather would tap the tree next to the garage. An "old-fashioned" covered bucket would be hung. As soon as the first drops were found he would hitch the horses and head out into the woods surrounding his farm and start tapping in force. Daily he would go out and empty the buckets into a large stainless steel tub and bring in the sap and begin the boiling process with a great big fire from the wood of Sugar Maples. Now throughout Quebec and Vermont and the rest of "Syrup Country" you see "pipelines" flowing to big "tubs" for collection of sap before boiling or running all the way to the sugar house. He was the second generation on this farm but the fourth generation of his family to do this along the Quebec and Vermont boarders.

Until his health started to decline this was the best time of his life. I remember a lot more snow back then and using the sled behind the horses to collect the sap. My uncles and my Dad's uncles and most of the men of the area would come and sit in the sugar house as my Grandfather and Dad worked. The coffee and Scotch would flow as would the stories of great spring blizzards and run ins with wild life (not sure if any of the stories were true) but it was an education to the then only grandchild and a treat as well as the first syrup of the year still warm flowed over a bowl full of snow for me to try first. Before anyone else even! Sugar on snow was a treat I remember to this day. A community dinner would be coming with local farm raised ham (most years my Dad's hogs gave their all for those hams) my Grandmother's baked beans and again lots of coffee and Scotch. The warm syrup would be on the tables to top the ham and the beans...of course a coffee cup or two would be ruined by Grandpa as he would stir and stir until a nice whipped "maple candy" was formed for all of us kids from the area (I routinely got the most...don't tell!) and the ladies would scold him for doing what he had done and take away his spoon and cups. Dessert was ALWAYS fresh snow (don't know how or why but it ALWAYS snowed that evening) topped with the syrup made in Grandpa's sugar house.

Sorry this is so long but that is how I knew Spring was coming or was arriving. The sap was flowing and days were getting warmer. The snow that was on the ground was melting and any new snow wouldn't last long. More memories from food. Gotta mention the wacky old guy down the lane that would tap the telephone pole at the end of his drive...
"Ponder well on this point: the pleasant hours of our life are all connected, by a more or less tangible link, with some memory of the table."-Charles Pierre Monselet, French author(1825-1888)
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#14
  Tastes of Spring? (Sorry it's long) firechef So what is the one t...
We went to Houston last Saturday-- the symphony performed "The Four Seasons Suite" with a guest soloist-- beautiful--each movement is so descriptive, especially spring and summer. Vivaldi. Wish you could have heard it after reading your post. Happy spring.
P.S. I stir my gin martinis--Have you ever read Jefferson Morgan's ode to the decline of civalisation?
"He who sups with the devil should have a. long spoon".
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#15
  Re: Tastes of Spring? (Sorry it's long) Old Bay We went to Houston l...
No sir Bill I have not had the pleasure of that "Ode." I am referring to my health with the "shaken" not stirred comment. I, being a little wet behind the ears have not the pleasure of a Martini with Gin or even those imitation drinks that the youngsters today mistake for Martinis.
"Ponder well on this point: the pleasant hours of our life are all connected, by a more or less tangible link, with some memory of the table."-Charles Pierre Monselet, French author(1825-1888)
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#16
  Tastes of Spring? (Sorry it's long) firechef So what is the one t...
What a "sweet" memory! I never had an experience anything like that. One thing I've always wanted to do was ride in a horse drawn sleigh! I'm sure I would eventually miss the mild weather and the ocean, but I'd sure love to live it for a little while. Thanks for the memory.
Daphne
Keep your mind wide open.
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#17
  Re: Tastes of Spring? (Sorry it's long) Gourmet_Mom What a "sweet" memor...
When we were in Ohio that was what I wanted to do - ride in a horse drawn sleigh!!! How romantic that would have been.

Spring here is always about the first asparagus! Tonight Bob grilled asparagus with olive oil, salt, roasted peppercorns, and lemon zest and juice. We had it with grilled butterflied boneless leg o'lamb with tons of fresh herbs, fingerling potatoes, and a beautiful Greek salad!!

We planted 3 tomatoes,2 crookneck squash, poblano and jalapeno peppers, tarragon, and basil. This week we're off to get more - and some dwarf citrus!!! It was close to 80! Beautiful - but time to go crawl in the hot tub with a last glass of relaxation!

Happy Easter, Spring, and new beginnings to my best friends and family here!!!
You only live once . . . but if you do it right once should be enough!
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#18
  Re: Tastes of Spring? (Sorry it's long) Harborwitch When we were in Ohio...
We went out to our farm after the picnic today. Our friend and gardening "guru" came out with us and explained to me about pith and tith. In other words, he said our soil was ready for planting and should produce a good crop. The plot is twice the size as last year, but William said we would plant wide rows so the tractor could till between. So HOPEFULLY it's not too big. We've got everything planned out. The first seed should go in the weekend after the new moon, April 5th. Can't wait!
Daphne
Keep your mind wide open.
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#19
  Re: Tastes of Spring? (Sorry it's long) Gourmet_Mom We went out to our f...
The sap is running around here, they have gathered several times and with the temps running up to the 40's here this week, should be in full swing. I am waiting for the "end run" to make my candy, but given how we went through it last year, I have told the guys to save me a 5 gallon bucket.

As a lot of you know, we have a small farm, complete with draft horses, wagon and a bobsled. When the girls were young (VERY young), our Sunday routine was to pack a lunch, fill a thermos with hot chocolate, load up the wagon with blankets, and put them in their pajamas. They would climb into the wagon, cover up, and down the road the girls and Daddy would go. The neighbor kids knew they were welcome to join and would hop on if they were out playing. They would go for several hours around all the back roads, drop everyone off that they may have picked up and eventually make it back to the house by 6 or 7, so tired from the outing that they were ready to head to bed. It was one of those wonderful memories that they still treasure today of the wagon rides with Daddy.

For me, spring is those first crocuses and watching the buds on the trees. We sit high on a hill, so I literally can watch the valley turn green as the trees sprout their leaves.
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#20
  Re: Tastes of Spring? (Sorry it's long) iBcookin The sap is running a...
Spring and your posts bring back MANY memories when growing up on the farm. When the first lamb was born and the garden was ploughed---we knew spring was in the air. When I was older and a "big city girl" (Springfield, Mass-- ),the sprouting daffodils and crocuses in my garden signaled spring and the entire neighborhood out and about working in their yards. We used to run up to Vermont for that famous Vermont Syrup LJ is talking about---miss that terribly. No maple syrup here except for what is imported from Canada and that is an arm and leg plus half another arm to purchase. Once in a while, I will splurge. For some reason, French toast and pancakes etc are not the same without it. The locals use honey--not our idea of syrup..

We know spring is here (we are going into fall now) when the vineyards have those little green shoots and the laborers are tying up the branches in neat little packages....it is amazing to see the growth from one week to the next. We have to drive through vineyard country on our way to the shooting range and what an interesting act of nature we view each time we travel through.

The other sign of spring is planting the herbs in my herb garden and the pool is warming up enough to swim without turning blue

Great memory lane, LJ.....
"Never eat more than you can lift" Miss Piggy
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Tastes of Spring? (Sorry it's long)


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