People Are Awesome (and an Andy Update)

It’s been over 5 weeks since Andy’s bicycle accident and his subsequent clavicle surgury.

Since then, we’ve been blessed with amazing support from family, friends & hat folks alike. It’s been humbling to be on the receiving end of such generosity, but we are most grateful.

Andy is feeling better by the day. His pain levels are minimal, but he’s getting antsy about all the projects he can’t yet work on.

Today, help came from 1.5 hours away in the form of 3 friends.

Roughly 5 cords of firewood, piled next to our garden, awaits stacking in our barn.

Roughly 5 cords of firewood, piled next to our garden, awaits stacking in our barn.

Friends who brought work gloves & a spare wheelbarrow. Friends willing to tackle stacking the 5 cords of fire wood we burn each winter.

Friends who didn’t mind doing some heavy lifting so we could rid our porch of an old clothes dryer & wood stove, in preparation of tearing that porch down (later this summer).

Nor did they mind helping load up, deliver & unload the 24 bundles of Western Red Cedar shingles Andy will use to re-side the back of our house (eventually).

6 Square Western Red Cedar Shingles in Bundles.

600 square feet of Western Red Cedar Shingles… Another project for another day!

The work done around our house was a huge help. No doubt about it.

But the good cheer these friends brought Andy (who’s struggling with the boredom involved with his slow recovery) was immeasureable!

Four friends enjoy a late lunch at the picnic table Andy built for my birthday, beneath the shade of our old apple tree.

Boys lunch at the picnic table Andy built for my birthday, beneath the shade of our old apple tree.

Happily, with New Hampshire Spring now in full swing, I was able make lots of roast asparagus for lunch, with plenty enough to send home with the guys.

Asparagus Bed in Full Production

Located just to the right of the picnic table, our asparagus bed is in full production now.

With 2 more weeks still to go until Andy gets his wrist cast removed, today’s visit was a tremendous gift.

(He’ll get new collarbone x-rays then, so we’ll learn more about his return-to-work timeline shortly.)

People can be so Awesome! We are truly grateful.

A double Inuksuk sculpture presides over our asparagus bed in Canaan, New Hampshire.

Andy’s double Inuksuk sculpture presides over our asparagus beds.

After all, there are only so many rock sculptures my impatient Patient can build for the garden…

Thank you, friends! We owe you all. Big Time.

Jennifer’s Rhubarb Tea

Just when I was nearly out of rhubarb recipes, my friend and fellow League of New Hampshire Craftsman, Jennifer Allen came to the rescue!

Jennifer is the organic gardener and creative force behind Botanical Lampshades.

Jennifer Allen of Botanical Lampshades

Visit Jennifer's studio in Sandwich, NH, & you can design a custom lampshade of your own.

Besides Botanical Lampshades, Jennifer also makes custom MapShades, and is an avid rhubarb enthusiast (did you know there is a Rhubarb Triangle in England?).

Jennifer left this tantalizing recipe on my Facebook hats page:

Jennifer’s Rhubarb Tea

8 cups cut up rhubarb
8 cups water
juice and rind of one lemon or orange
3/4 cup sugar
1 pint mashed strawberries

Cook rhubarb in water til soft. Shut off heat. Add mashed berries, citrus, and sugar, and stir til dissolved. Strain through a fine sieve, and chill. Serve on ice with a stem of fresh mint.


Fresh, Juicy Strawberries

Sun-ripened strawberries are a natural pairing with rhubarb.

“Yum” is right! I can hardly wait to try this out myself. Thank you, Jennifer! Full-fledged rhubarb season is nearly upon us, and you can never have too many rhubarb recipes.

Anyone else out there with a yummy rhubarb recipe you’d care to share? I’d love to hear from you…

Rhubarb Juice

Rhubarb can survive on very little care. However, eventually, the plant’s stalks get scrawny, thin and numerous, indicating it’s time to divide the crowns.

I suppose that’s how the previous residents of our house ended up with so much rhubarb. It’s like a botanical Ponzi scheme.

Quinn-dog and old-growth rhubarb patch

Quinn-dog and our super-productive, old-growth rhubarb patch.

If you’re lucky enough to have more rhubarb than you can give away, freeze, or turn into jam and pies, you’ll need another recipe. I have just the thing:

Rhubarb Juice

Add 2 cups water to 4 quarts cut up rhubarb.
Simmer 5 minutes or until rhubarb is soft.
Strain through a cheesecloth.
Add 1 cup sugar to juice and simmer until dissolved.

Yields approximately 1 quart.

(Recipe courtesy the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service.)

I love this sweet & tangy juice. I often mix it with seltzer for a refreshing homemade “soda”, or else add equal parts rhubarb juice and iced tea, to get a New England variety of the beloved Arnold Palmer.

One more tip: when cleaning your rhubarb, be sure not to cut too much off the base of the stalks, since that’s the sweetest part.

Abundant Rhubarb Harvest

This abundant harvest hardly makes a dent in our never-ending rhubarb supply.