National Mustard Museum, which I wrote about 3 weeks ago, of a sign which read, "Eating Ketchup is believed to cause childhood stupidity (be safe, eat more mustard)" But I evidently sent it to the trash. So just imagine it here. Today's posting is catch-up (or ketchup, if you want), several things I would have posted this week had we not been getting ready for the MEGA GARAGE Sale. We filled one 14 ft. U-Haul truck, plus 3 stuffed full pick-ups and drove it via caravan, to our friends, Neil and Sarah's house in Forsyth, MO. They have good traffic past their house, while we have maybe 2 cars a day. The sale went well and the living room and storage building are basically empty. (What I wanted for my birthday, coming up next weekend, was a garage sale, or you can read it another way, I wanted some new furniture and the garage sale was the means to get it). So, on to the catching-up.
I met Brian Paffin at the Carmel-Indianapolis "Dilly of a Day" herb day and was immediately impressed by his candles he had for sale. Candles are candles, right? Not exactly. His are made of soy oil, so no smoke, but the better aspect, is the fragrances he uses. You can read more about his tantalizing candles on his website, Herbal Art website. I bought a candle with the scent of Dirt (really - it smells like fresh plowed garden), and 2 Peach Sangria candles. They're so good I wonder if people try to eat them. His products include soaps, body products, wedding gifts, fund raising products and a lot more. You'll be pleasantly surprised at his very creative, unusual, high quality products.
We had a wonderful visitor in the garden guesthouse last week. Pat Crocker, of Riversong Herbals in Ontario, who's best known for her books, The Juicing Bible and the The Smoothies Bible, stopped by for a visit. She was on her way back home in Canada from having been the keynote speaker at the Ozark Folk Center's annual Spring Herb Extravaganza. We know Pat through the International Herb Association and Garden Writers of America and always look forward to getting to spend time with her. Her book, The Juicing Bible won 'Best in the World' in the nutrition category in Perigueux, France, in 2000! We talked about the International Herb Assoc.'s annual conference in Collinsville, IL, in July, where she and I will be 2 of the 4 hosts for what's called, "hosted dinners." It's a great way for conference attendees to get to visit over dinner about a specific subject, sort of like a mini-workshop, with food, in small groups.
And next on my list of catch-up, is this wonderful book from Jennifer Vasich, The Lavender Gourmet, from Moose Run Publications. I didn't count the recipes, but there are 325 pages of them. Here are some examples of the taste-tempting recipes Jennifer has: Lavender Mint Brownies, Vanilla Lavender Hot Chocolate, Raspberry Lavender Sorbet, Lavender Chicken with Lemon Butter Sauce, Southwest Chicken Lavender Enchiladas, Basil & Lavender Pesto, Hibiscus Lavender Lemonade. I could go on, but the best compliment I can give this book, is, I wish I had written it. Jennifer created a book that will likely change the way you think about lavender.
My lavender isn't blooming yet, but the garden looks better every day. Even with nearly 5 inches of rain this week (including during the garage sale), the garden is coming alive. Adam, who I've written about several times, is here for another couple of weeks, and has done wonders in the garden. Nearly all the beds are fully planted, most are mulched and now we're working on expanding the garden to the south to make room for a row of grapes. Yes, I know, the garden is already more than we can take care of without help, but, it's grapes and I found some 3 year old plants in 5 gallon buckets, blooming and ready to give us grapes.
Our irises have been beaten hard by the pounding rains, but still manage to bloom vigorously. This one is 'Betty Wold,' simply because the late Betty Wold is the one who gave it to me 20 years ago. Many of the plants in my non-edible garden are named for who they came from, rather than a distant Latin name. So when the Betty Wolds are in bloom, I stop and smell them every day, trying to memorize the fragrance for later. Much like the way different colored tulips have different smells, so do iris. These deep purple Betty Wolds are the most fragrant of all, so delicious you want to spread some on buttered bread (IF they were edible). Or stuff a pillow with the flowers and take a nap. Thank you, Betty, I think of our friendship every spring.
And because it's Sunday and the rhubarb is ready, I made a strawberry-rhubarb pie. I think it turned out pretty well, although the taste will be the real test. This is a recipe a friend gave me many years ago, simple, quick, and my favorite. It's 4 cups of cut up rhubarb (or 3 cups rhubarb, 1 cup sliced strawberries), 1 1/3 cups of sugar (I used part non-sugar sweetener), 6 tablespoons flour and a few dots of butter. Mixed together, poured into a pie shell and topped with another pie crust, it's baked at 400 degrees F. for 10 minutes, then baked for another 40-45 minutes at 375 degrees F. It will be the top-off to one of our favorite Sunday dinners tonight: meatloaf, baked beans, spring salad, and....rhubarb pie. It is the best reason for growing rhubarb!