OH RHUBARB!

I said to Santa Claus
(That's what we call our elderly neighbor who has a long white beard and is a avid gardener.)
"I would love to have a few stalks of your rhubarb."
He got up from his chair.
                                          He walked toward me.
                                                                               His hands in his overall pockets.
"I make rhubarb jam.
                                    "The old-fashioned way.
                                                                             "The way my mother and grandmother made it.
"I used Jell-o. That's right. Jell-o.
"I cut enough rhubarb to give me five cups
"Of one-quarter inch pieces.
"I cover it all in a large saucepan with water.
"And sugar. Three cups.
                                       "I let it sit overnight.
"I boil it and then simmer.
"For fifteen minutes.
"Then I stir in the dry Jell-o."
My dog is at my side.
He is a very good boy.
Santa says
"What are you going to make?
"A pie?"
Or rhubarb, strawberry, raspberry tarte.

Spirit Life

"A beautiful bouquet, Bruce," Susan said.
                                                                 "Some of the flowers are dying.
"I'm going to pick them off.
                                                                 "And you can photograph them."
And I did 
                              And we dumped them in the compost pile.
Beautiful there, too.
                              Other flowers and coffee filters
                                                                               (I hope the filters are recyclable!).
Later in the morning I tied up the clematis plants
And filled the hummingbird feeder.
                                                                               Now we wait.
Birdwatching is similar to gardening.
                                                          Patience. Patience.
"Bruce," Susan called to me.
                                             "When are you going 
"To start 
             "Pulling up the roots 
                                              "In your garden?"
Soon, I thought. It is
                                Back-breaking work.
Last week I rototilled the garden.
"Eyes to future," Susan said.
                                            "You make everything beautiful, Bruce.
"Could you do me a favor, please?
"I emptied the corks out of the vase
"Holding the petunias. 
                                   "They were dying.
"Could you set the corks aside?
                                                 "For me?"
And for ten, maybe twenty, minutes
                                                         I sat and stared at the garden
While Freddy eat his bone.
I saw the garden
                          As it soon will be.

Holy Mystery

I stood at the kitchen window.
I watched the sparrow.
The sparrow gathered our dog's fur.
Freddy's fur.
I wondered if the sparrow could fly
With the weight of the fur in its beak.
I watched the sparrow
Fly with the fur.
I watched the sparrow fly over the fence.
I lost sight of the sparrow.
In Sunday School we learned.
      "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?
      Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care."
      And “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
      what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. 
      Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
      Look at the birds of the air;
      they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, 
      and yet your heavenly Father feeds them."
This is a Holy Mystery.
Last Spring a robin built a nest 
In a wreath on our front door.
I watched another robin
Build a nest in our Weeping Cherry Tree.
I watched a sparrow, too.

Some Photos

April 18–April 25. Banana Bread. Bruce. Bouquet. Bread Pudding. Chicken Maquechoux. Weeping White Cherry Tree. Baked Cod with Braised Red Cabbage and Apple. Cod Cake. Freddy. Vodka & Tonic. Red Onion, Mushroom, Chicken, Green Olive Pizza. Mushroom, Red Onion, Salami Pizza. Susan and Freddy. Second Vaccine.

Best Shrimp Creole

Recently, I watched on TV a food truck chef make Bread Pudding in her truck. It looked delicious and I remembered I often made Bread Pudding based upon a recipe from the following book:

I lost the book and mentioned this to Susan. And guess what? She bought me a copy.

It’s a great cookbook, a history book filled with vintage photos and “…great Creole and Cajun recipes from the city’s grand restaurants and modest cafes, from mansions and country kitchens, superbly clear directions, local cooking secrets.”

Here’s the recipe (Note: I added asparagus and I used cocktail shrimp which I added to the wok for the last few minutes:

Enjoy!