About Thursday at noon last week I realized that even Queens of Multi-tasking have limits. Actually, I think it was 11:45 a.m. when I stopped and wrote three e-mails. All of them canceling appointments I had previously set up because “I was going to be running errands around town for my daughter’s wedding and might as well take care of (X).” I took off my multi-tasking crown and tossed it somewhere into the back of my SUV; it landed alongside three bags of clothes (dry cleaner, gym bag, sack of clothes I had to buy because I forgot my gym bag last week), four boxes of Mason or Kerr canning jars (drinking glasses for the wedding), six wedding presents for my daughter and her fiancee’ I had collected from church and friends over the last week, school books (both teaching and learning) and five crumpled pieces of paper. If unwadded, lists of 10-15 things “to be done before the wedding” would be revealed on each of the paper balls. They rolled to and fro on the floor of my car as I drove madly around town, forward when stopping and backward when I took off again.
Five days later, the crown is still resting haphazardly in the back and I’m not quite ready to don it again. Rather, I’m still thinking about all the seeds planted in my Life Garden last week: memories, new friendships and relationships, a new marriage in our family and, well, more memories. I’ll talk about those in just a minute. First I want to honor this post by reporting on my garden.
“My Little Victory Garden” was neglected most of the week. I took solace in the fact that our neighbor’s sprinkling system was watering my seedlings nightly. Evidently last summer during a long hot week, Dennis (my neighbor to the west) told Mick that he was watching after my garden by adjusting two of his sprinkler heads to rotate 360 degrees, thus also covering my garden as well as a portion of his yard. Nine months later, I thanked him in my head for that little gesture by commenting to myself, “Well, at least the garden is getting a little water at night. You rock, Dennis.”I mentioned last week I was going to talk with my neighbors about produce-sharing and this is the same lovely family. I’ll introduce you to two of them right now:
Here are two of their raised bed crops I may be sharing over the next few weeks:
Garden Report for Week of March 14th: My lettuce is plugging along, Swiss Chard is FINALLY showing their little first leaves, broccoli is growing taller, cauliflower is growing wider, onions are good, potatoes must be percolating under the ground – they’re definitely not up yet. And, the spinach is making me hungry. Today there are two starter leaves PLUS four wrinkle-dy edible leaves. See?
Recipe Time: I’ve shared a recipe each time I write this series using something out of my garden. Unfortunately, I don’t have any crops this week so I’ll share a recipe for those of you who grow mint. And, let me warn you…if you’ve never grown mint and decide you just might, make sure and plant it where you can manage the overgrowth and spreading! Mint is prolific, and before you know it, you’ll be having mint tea, mint juleps, mint lemonade, and trying like crazy to figure out how to make anything at all with your bumper crop. I HATE to purchase herbs at the grocery store – they’re expensive, not very fresh, and the packaging occasionally has portions that are not recyclable. However, I did this week because we were making mint lemonade for my daughter’s wedding. Here’s my extremely easy, fool-proof recipe for homemade lemonade via my Grandmother Emma Lee:
Easy and Delicious Homemade Lemonade
4 large lemons, juiced
1 cup sugar
2 quarts water
Of course, there are variations. For example, you cut the recipe in half, and then cut the water by one-half (meaning, just use 8 oz of water, 2 large lemons, and 1/2 c. sugar). Put that in a blender with 2 cups of ice and 10-12 mint leaves, blend, and all of the sudden you have a really cool, refreshing drink. My neighbor used to love to visit Israel for business because they always had frozen mint lemonades everywhere he went.
Another variation? In blueberry season, juice a quart of berries, measure how much liquid was produced, then replace that much of the water with the recipe above. You can do this same thing with blackberries during blackberry season, peaches during peach season, strawberries, raspberries…you name it! Lemonade is a great base for many other fruits. Just stay away from melons, cherries or plums. Fruits at the very sour or very sweet end of the spectrum tend not to work as well. Here is a photo of Mick working on making mint lemonade for the wedding this past Saturday: 56 lemons, 8 cups sugar, 7 gallons of water and 3 gallons of ice…and, about 1 oz of mint leaves blended in approximately 1 cup of water until liquefied, then added. Delicious! Okay – final variation note? Use sparkling water instead of still water if you’re going to be drinking the entire two quarts within an hour or two. Carbonation make all the difference!
Well, it’s time to wrap up this week’s post so I’ll leave you with my “garden of memories” from my daughter’s wedding this past weekend:
First, an explanation of the photo at the top of this entry… There were three children in Rachel and Drew’s wedding. Conner was the ring bearer, his sister Violet carried a little heart with “Here Comes the Bride” artistically burned onto the wood, and Kristen was the flower girl. From the moment the three children arrived during rehearsal they had a grand ol’ time. At one point Friday night, the stage was vacated and one of the girls lept onto the platform and began an impromptu ballet. The other two followed her. I ran to grab my camera but it was too late. However, the next morning while taking photos of the wedding party, they repeated their fun and my sister-in-law snapped that photo of the two girls. Here’s another, this time Conner was swinging Kristen in a circle and Violet had just begun to sit down, her skirt still full of air from swirling. Oh. My. Heart. What a precious set of memories.
The bride and groom left the wedding in my father’s 1977 Ford 4-wheel drive truck, just because …well, they love the truck! A creamer and sugar set first used in 1960 at my parents wedding, then at subsequent weddings and anniversary parties after that, sat at the coffee bar. My mother made the ring pillow from fabric and lace provided by grandparents and family members. It included some material from her dress, and lace from my wedding hat. The church had been constructed in 1825 in Nova Scotia and the B&B where the rehearsal dinner was held was a historical Oklahoma home originally built on another site. Drew’s grandma caught the bridal bouquet (we joked that she knocked the bridesmaids out of the way to get to it), the groomsmen looked like babies while smoking their celebratory cigars, there WAS a little baby who made his first road trip just to be at the wedding (Tyler, my great-nephew!) the bride and groom left the stage after being wed to theme from Star Wars (and also had Star Wars themed cake toppers)…
…the seeds of sweet memories are still being planted as I play back the wedding in my head over and over. What probably touched me the most was the fact that the bride, the groom AND the pastor got emotional during the exchange of vows. What that told me was that the couple loves each other, and they have friends who love them too.
May this week provide you with special memories to plant in your own garden. All the best to you…