The month of May has to get the Academy Award in the garden year. I try to notice particularly nice displays as I drive around and make weekly written comments. At the moment everything is simply lovely.
Cynthia Shilling has a magnolia soulangeana easily as big as her house. Nestled in with azaleas and forsythia, it screams May.
Rainy Day has some great window boxes with deep pink English daisies and lime green lettuce. Check it out.
Then, across from Oak Lane avenue on State Road between John’s Fish Market and the Little House Cafe, there are two remarkable ornamentals behind the house. I’m not sure what they are exactly but if I made up a Latin name I would call them magnifica spectacularensis. How about the forsythia gone wild at the old property next to Holmes Hole Road across from Crane Appliance? Back in the day it was a tiny shrub in front of Helios Greek restaurant. Then the property twined into the Art Worker’s Guild. Wow! Talk about a blast from the past!
There is much going on in the vegetable garden. I’ve been munching on the newly developing flower buds on last year’s kale right in the garden. They taste like mild cabbage and satisfy one’s salad needs without all the preparation.
I ate my first asparagus. It was a plant that escaped last fall’s mulch. Everything under the mulch will take another week or so to emerge. Note to self: leave a bit more unmulched next year to stretch the season.
I’ve been eating radishes for almost a month. They only take three weeks to become edible albeit they are tiny still. If they are really small I eat the greens as well.
I cannot stop thinking about the malice aforethought in the making of the Boston Marathon bombs. To put nails and BBs into a pressure cooker to do harm to another human being is so far removed from my way of thinking. The lack of empathy in the young men is hard to imagine in the human psyche.
I have two pressure cooker stories to share.
In 1980 I suffered a serious burn requiring skin grafts. I was airlifted to the Mass General burn unit for three weeks of treatment. One of the other patients was a grandmother from Roxbury. She tried to force open a cooker full of 32 quarts of short ribs. She was blown across the room and burned horribly. Her nine-year-old granddaugher called 911 and said “You have a police officer in trouble in my building.” When asked why she lied, she told them “Police don’t come to my neighborhood.” Wow! What social commentary!
While we were healing, I asked the grandmother if she would ever use her pressure cooker again. She replied “That cooker wasn’t the dummy.”
In the fall of 1977, friends Gale and Sharlee and I were making and canning applesauce. We had gathered bushels over a few weeks. We got tired of peeling and coring and decided to use our 32-quart canner/cooker to cook them enough to run through a sieve for easy removal of skins and seeds.
We put a huge amount into the cooker and whipped them up to 10 pounds pressure. After an amount of time with the fire turned off, the pressure still did not drop. Gale and Sharlee decided they would get that top off. They each placed a foot on the counter and put all their strength into it.
I was holding three-week-old baby Reuben and luckily got a bad feeling. I turned my back and covered him in time for that cooker to explode sending the heavy top flying past toddlers Naomi and Abigail. They furiously sucked their thumbs with wide eyes.
After tending to our burns and scraping two quarts of applesauce from the ceiling, we read the directions.
1. Never force the pressure cooker.
2. Never cook apples in the cooker as a skin can become wedged in the pressure release valve.
That’s all I’ve got this week. Enjoy May!