Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Spring: The Good and The Bad

When we first moved to Tennessee, it was June 1st. Essentially we missed Spring. And that first summer, 2 years ago (come June 1st), it was a mild, relatively dry summer. I was flabbergasted, as I had expected oppressive humidity and sky-high temperatures. But it wasn't really much different than in Indiana (where we moved from).

The Bad: Then, last March, we experienced our first Spring in Tennessee. And how. Allergies went haywire, and it was so bad for Joshua that he was diagnosed with asthma and allergies, and had to begin breathing treatments and multiple medications to get it under control. As we would talk with people at the Farmer's Markets last year, we heard from several that allergies in East Tennessee were some of the worst in the country. Super. We bought some local raw honey, which seems to help, as long as I'm consistent with getting us eating some every day. And this year, when the Top 10 Allergy Cities article came out from, guess which city topped the chart at #1? Yep - Knoxville, Tennessee. At least this year I was prepared for what was to come, and we starting taking a concoction of what the boys have dubbed "allergy apple juice," which is comprised of 1 tsp. raw organic apple cider vinegar, 1 TBSP organic raw local honey, and boiling water to fill a coffee mug the rest of the way. I drink it hot (tastes MUCH better to me that way), but I make a pitcher of it and put it in the fridge for the boys. My brother swears by this drink, and told me about it last summer. And I really do think it helps a lot. So Spring here in East TN has done a number on us allergy-wise, but each year we get better with managing.

The Other Bad: We also get a lot of rain and severe weather in Spring. And that can result in damage, power outages, and scared little people (and big people).

The Good? Well, there is a lot of good, despite the sneezing and wheezing. How fast things green up, how it starts warming up in March, and my favorite...

Wild Honeysuckle
I wish you could smell that. It is an intoxicatingly sweet and delicately floral scent. Last Spring, when it burst forth from hibernation and graced our property, I would open the front door and the fragrance would waft in. It was heavenly. We have it all over the place here. It won't last long - just a matter of weeks, really. But for that brief time, it almost makes living in the #1 allergy city in the country worth it. We have taught the boys how to get a taste of the sweet nectar, and now their favorite thing to do is seek out honeysuckle on our nature walks and savor each little drop.

Josh pulled a section of vine for Blake to hold during our walk.
This is a patch (?) of it in the backyard.
Sweet, sweet, nectar.
I think they could do this all day.
George suggested that we make a drink from honeysuckle nectar. And while I thought that was a smashing idea, I explained that it would take probably all of the honeysuckle we could find to make even a small glass of it, as each flower contains just a drop. And all of the work that would go into "juicing" honeysuckle flowers is beyond what my brain is willing to grasp.

No. This is not wild honeysuckle, but it is no less important.
These are the flowers that will become my favorite of all berries: black raspberries. This is another reason to be grateful for the location of our current residence. Lots of wild black raspberries around. We bought a few raspberry plants for our own property, and hopefully those will produce lots of yummy fruit for us in the years to come.

To add to The Good category is also our strawberry bed:
That was taking right after I weeded and mulched it for about 3 hours. Last year we mulched it with straw, and thought we had ruined them forever because of all of the grass and weeds that came up. The strawberry plants were all but swallowed up. We thought we'd have to start all over. Imagine our delight and surprise when they came back - strong! And now, we're getting a crop of lovely organic strawberries. We're going to add a couple more beds down the road, so that we can actually use them to make things like jam and sorbet.

This was today's yield. And they were SO good.

No comments: