Recently I read a post from Plainsimplelivingblog.wordpress.com . The author’s post was focused on rhubarb and how many rhubarb recipes are riddled with sugar. It brought me back in time…years ago when the boys were little and Tom took Dylan and his dad to Maine for a special fishing trip. I made rhubarb custard bars to welcome them home. I remember vaguely that the recipe had sugar but wasn’t overly sweet.
It was early spring, in May and the rhubarb patch was thriving and ready to pick. I picked the smaller stalks, as they were deep red and I knew were rich in flavor. I stumbled upon a recipe online and decided to surprise Tom with a yummy dessert.
Here is the recipe I made so long ago and I believe that within a day or two, they were long gone but not forgotten. What I love about this recipe is the subtle orange juice sweetener. It does have quite a bit sugar but you could experiment with it to find a balance that would work.
Rhubarb Custard Bars
shared from twosisterstherecipes.blogspot.com
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees lightly oil a 9×13 pan For crust: in stand mixer, or by hand: 2 cups flour 1 cup rolled oats 1/2 cup cold butter cut into pieces 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon salt mix together until the texture of frozen peas. press firmly into pan and set aside. for filling: 6 eggs 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1 cup orange juice 1/4 cup flour whisk all above ingredients together well… then stir in 3 cups of fresh rhubarb- chopped pour over crust. bake 45 minutes to 1 hour until center is firm. Cool completely before cutting.
Hopefully your growing rhubarb hasn’t gone to seed so that you can try this! If you try baking these, let me know if you enjoyed them or if you cut the sugar and your results.
I simply love geraniums but it’s a rather new adoration for me. My early memories of geraniums date back to relatives’ porches and upon graves in cemeteries. As a young girl they didn’t impress me that much. As an adult I was reintroduced to them by my husband’s former employer, Mrs. Geneen. She had Tom plant several box planters on her deck. Patriotic red geraniums were boldly the focal point of each beautiful arrangement. There was a staunch beauty in those geraniums…and so my adoration of them was born.
Last year Tom built me window boxes and we planted Mrs. G’s flower mix as a tribute to her. The familiar flower mix brought us back to the summer days she and her family visited the farm. They looked amazing and grew even better than we expected. Vibrant colors of dark purples, rich patriotic reds and pure white flowers greeted everyone passing by. We planted two geraniums, two petunias, two white bicopas and a gorgeous spike in the middle to balance it out.
Geraniums are hearty and easy to grow. They are far from fragile and thrive whether the weather is rainy or hot. They withstand heat pretty well and don’t need to be watered as often as most flowers. In our old house, it was pretty impossible to hang petunias or any other flowers in our back yard. With no trees or forgiving shade, planters cooked in a matter of weeks and never survived the entire summer season. Not willing to give up, I resorted to geraniums in pots! Tom said they were strong and seemed to be heat resistant and so I decided to give it a go. He was right…the deep red flowers did well in the heat and made it to September.
Yesterday I visited the nursery at Sullivan’s Greenhouse in Lancaster, NH, where I bumped into Landaff neighbors Stephen and Annette. While flower and plant browsing, I noticed geraniums come in a variety of colors now. There were bright red with a flashy eye popping hue and dark red, which I prefer. The dark red reminded me of the patriotic red flowers I picked up last year and was close enough in color for me to snatch them. Other colors were pink and coral with an pinkish tone. They even had pink and white striped variegated geraniums for a different color scheme ( maybe someday I may try these to go for a new theme).
As this lovely and tranquil Sunday morn awoke from it’s nightly nap, I waited for my husband to return from early day chores. We ventured out and shopped for Miracle Grow soil, cedar chips and cow manure for our gardens. The day warmed up nicely in the 70’s with a blazing sun cooking us as we gardened. First we visited Tom’s dad grave in our little town cemetery. We were content to plant red geraniums on each side and a spike plant in the middle. After saying a prayer and us being silent for a minute, Tom and I left our new flowers with his dad.
It took us just a few minutes to screw the boxes on and fill with the soil. From then on, I took my time planting my flowers and soaking up the beautiful and healing sun. A faint lilac scent from my nearby tree almost put me in a trance. By day’s end the window boxes were planted and watered, as I breathed a sigh of contentment.
How great gardening is, especially after a 8 month hiatus! The time in between is a quiet period of reflection, dreaming and hoping for the sweet spring days to arrive. As I grow older in mid-age, I cherish these moments more than I did in my 30’s. Gardening is a healing practice for the soul, the mind, and the body. It’s a hobby that does me more than good and I never want to live without it.
How is your planting going? Do you have geraniums as well? Do you plant window boxes? I do hope you are enjoying your planting season and soaking up that wonderful sun!
I don’t know about you, but the first few weeks of spring I walk around my flower beds and pull annoying weeds that pop up. It’s a gardener’s priority, a dreaded but necessary chore. I know it’s part of the game but if you refuse to play or can’t keep up, they overtake a space. Although it’s a pain and annoying, I’ve learned that there are tricks you can practice such as laying newspapers or mats down with mulch on top or in the veggie garden, you can till around the rows and merely weed around the plants.
Lo and behold, these guys squeezed through!
Here’s my patch of weeds that I was going to pull this week.
Every year we’ve been here, I’ve pulled them before they got too big.
weeds or not…
adorable tiny flowers emerged after a rainstorm the other day.
God’s little gift and a true reminder
that weeds are beautiful too
and maybe sometimes there’s plenty of room for them!
Welcome to the flighty days of spring, where only in New England there can be a cold rainy day in the 40’s and the very next day a drastic surge to 90 degrees with sweaty hot heat ( this happened to us this week and it was a shock!) While most of us expect crazy weather here, it still caught us off guard. One day the inside heat was blaring and the next, windows were wide open and fans were tirelessly cranking. It’s also a wardrobe nightmare. The dilemma is what do I wear to work from one day to the next? Long sleeve and pants one day and short sleeves and capris the next.
In this enchanted season, our dark green grassy lawns thrive and all around apple blossoms paint a pretty pink scene! Not only does the beauty appeal to the eye, but heavenly aroma lingers as I walk by. Our cherry tree sports lovely white blossoms and since it’s grown close to our house, I can enjoy it with a mere glance out the living room window or on a trek on the front lawn. They won’t last long and before I know it, just leaves will exist on the tree’s frame, yet twittering beautiful little birds will perch among the greenery.
Spring is here and nature’s precious blossoms and buds dominate our little world. On our front lawn we have two lilac trees. One was planted many years ago and greeted us when we moved in. It faces the roadside and much too close to the edge. Unfortunately one winter a snow plow accidentally cut it up. Tom cut back some limbs and happily nursed it back to health. That guy has a special way with things in nature! Now, a couple of years later it’s bouncing back! Rich and healthy leaves are lush and it seems ready to blossom once again. A few small blossoms are appearing, so there’s hope for future lilacs.
Our second tree stands on our front lawn as well, but faces the adjoining road( not as close as the other one.) We planted it a couple of years ago, a present from a person who Tom works for. This tree grows dark purple flowers, much darker than the other tree. The lilacs are slowly opening up to the hearty sunshine and a faint smell is a pleasant gift. In a week the tree should have several lilacs here and there, appealing to bees and birds.
Although we truly enjoy and adore the lilacs, one drawback is that they don’t seem to last here long. I’m not sure if that’s my doing and I should try to prevent that by using Miracle Grow to increase their blooming. Last year we had them about three short weeks and then a raging rain storm hit our region and knocked every lilac flower down. The tree was a naked sight and it was sorrowful that it ended so soon.
This year it’s been about a week of purple buds and every day they pop up more. Just when we get to see to their delight, they’re gone! It’s one of those fast and fleeting entities, something we must cherish every moment until their time is up. In early evenings after supper, I enjoy walking the lawn and eyeing these flowers. With a chilled glass of wine in hand, I value this time on our lot and continue to thank God for blessing us with it.
As spring marches on, my mind wanders to my future window boxes filled with flowers and of course, my veggie garden. Within the next week I’ll be visiting Sullivan’s Greenhouse for my annual flower and veggie shop. Things will start to happen and with the promise of warmer weather comes my planting work in the early days of June ( not really work though because it’s a joy of mine).
I also plan to extend my front flower gardens to wrap around the house to the front of our kitchen. I would like to pick out a hydrangea tree or bush, false sunflowers and purple cone flowers. Hopefully it will be a beautiful mix of yellow, white and purple flowers. That will be mid- June and like my spare bedroom project, when they are complete, I’ll post results.
I hope you are thoroughly enjoying whatever season you are immersed in and that you cherish the fleeting moments. As always, thank you for stopping by!
We’ve had so much rain here lately, that I feel like a duck. I desperately need sunshine and spring flowers to boost my mood! Instead Mother Nature has sent nonstop rains and clouds for weeks. I need tall boots, a rain slicker and an umbrella to cope with it. Despite being fed up with the deluge, I still welcome tinkling rain on the roof. Years ago I stayed at a house with a tin roof, ah what peaceful memories of rainy nights.