From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Bitten by the Rhubarb Bug

More About Trees and Plants...



Signs of spring

Here's a sure sign of spring -- onion sets, rhubarb and asparagus rhizomes, flower bulbs, seeds, and much more for the garden have appeared in WalMart.

We had a big clump of rhubarb when I was a child. It was an extremely tart variety with red stalks and huge leaves. My mother liked to make a few rhubarb desserts in the spring when the stalks were fresh and tender. The flavor was probably mildest at that time!

My favorite of Mama's desserts was a baked rhubarb and mulberry pudding that was sort of sweet and sour. The bland, sweet mulberries toned down the sharpness of the rhubarb. Regrettably, I don't have the recipe for it. I don't suppose Mama ever wrote it down.

A few years ago, my brother told me about the rhubarb he's been growing in his garden. "Rhubarb is good!" he announced in the voice of one who has made an amazing discovery. He explained that Mama had got the start for her rhubarb from my great-grandfather. It was "pioneer stock", my brother said, not an improved, selected-for-sweetness rhubarb. Vastly superior strains are now available, he assured me.

After I took the photo that's posted above, I bought a bag of three "Victoria" rhubarb rhizomes out of one of the boxes. I will set it out sometime soon, if the ground dries up enough that I can dig a hole! I don't know how well it will do here with our very hot summers, but I'm going to give it a try.

Still, I wish I could have a start of that old sour rhubarb of my childhood. I looked in the place where it grew when I was back at the ranch several years ago, but there was no trace of it.

Bar

Technorati tags:




One year ago today, I posted a photo of typical Kentucky countryside and wrote about the words, "field," "pasture" and "meadow".

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.