Sunday, May 27, 2012


After that long trip to Nevada, it’s time for a rest. We might have come to the farm sooner except that last week the weather turned cooler and rainy after a spell of 90-degree temps the previous week while Mike was gone. I tell him he missed summer.

So Friday morning (May 25), we packed up the Dakota with a bicycle, provisions, the laundry, and Nellie and headed for the farm. We stopped at the nursery in Orofino, sharing pleasantries with the owner over what a lovely day it was – sunny and warm. I bought a bundle of day-neutral strawberries to plant in one of my old raised beds.

But when we arrive at the farm, a thousand feet above the nursery on the river, the warming sun was nowhere to be seen and the wind was blowing with some ferocity. We quickly unloaded the pick-up and went through our arrival routine. Finding the pilot on the wall furnace was still lit, Mike turned it on for some instant heat.
I say we came for rest, but that’s not quite true. We’re planning a celebration for July 14 and we have things to do – like clean the house, improve the yard, and plan, plan, plan.  

Mike didn’t let the wind stop him. He mowed the lawn first thing. And despite the wind and threatening rain, I planted the young strawberry plants.

Saturday morning we took out the old spirea bush. I think it’s really quite old so I was disappointed to have to remove it, but over the last several years it has been in decline, and I noticed rodent activity in the roots. So Mike took a saw to it and it is no more, unless it comes back. And I poisoned the rodent hole.

But Saturday afternoon we enjoyed a new activity with new vistas. A friend has property here at Gilbert where the original homesteaders planted rhubarb. Homesteaders did that, you know. They planted rhubarb because the deer don’t bother it and it tends to be prolific (for other people), providing a family with an easy source of nutrition. Anyway, my friend invited me to this rhubarb grove – and since she and her husband were coming to visit the cemetery, we agree to meet them and gather some rhubarb.

After decorating at the cemetery, the four of us went on to the rhubarb grove where I counted at least five huge rhubarb plants. We pulled beautiful big stalks, dug roots for replanting, and enjoyed the wonderful vistas above Orofino.

And look at this spirea hedge in bloom. My friend said that the vegetation here benefits from the fertilizer that is poured on the field. Hallie would love to hear to that, I remarked to Mike. The vegetation was surely lush, what with the rain and the fertilizer, which is something we just don’t see in this dry place.
After a leisurely visit, our friends left for town while Mike and I went back to the farmhouse. We planted four rhubarb starts down by the pond, and I’m already nervous that it won’t grow in that environment. And at the end of the day I had six quarts of rhubarb in the freezer and six cups waiting in the refrigerator for our next dessert. KW


Hallie said...

What a great spot! Do your friends have a house there? Were they friends of the Dobson homesteaders?

Kathy said...

This lady's grandparents surely knew the Dobsons. She came to Gilbert as a child in 1938, went to high school in Nezperce, and then she and her husband raised their family in Nezperce where he owned a business. They retired to the valley 20 years ago. No house at the spot. She pointed out where the original homesteader's house had been, now long gone. I believe her grandfather was the third owner of this property.

She said her father was excited to move back to Gilbert where he grew up, but her mother was not. Her mother insisted on bringing her fancy electric washing machine even tho there was no electricity here at the time. But then in a couple of years they got electricity and her mother could use the machine again. Without electricity, the laundry was such a chore and difficult to manage, she said.

She said that her mother had their house torn down years ago due to vandalism. She misses it but understands the problem. But -- she has a lovely home in the valley.

Leah said...

Kathy, we must have ESP! A couple of days ago I was thinking that it's time for you to talk about rhubarb. That's my favorite pie.

When I retired (Sep 2005), I found a recipe for Rhubarb Cake that I'd had for a long time. Never made it. So I made a list of the items needed & went to the store. Then I learned that rhubarb was a spring thing*. Had to wait until the next spring to make it. I should have known that, but I hadn't been baking for years.

I think it's especially funny that we call an argument a "rhubarb." There must be a story in there.

*Wondering if rhubarb is a fruit or vegetable, I learned today that in 1947 a New York court decided it was a fruit. This decision reduced the rhubarb tariff since vegetable import fees were higher. Their logic was that people in the U.S. use it as a fruit.

Kathy said...

I love rhubarb, too. This afternoon I'm making our favorite rhubarb dessert as follows:

Start with a skiff of chopped nuts in the bottom of a 9x11 pan.
Add 4 cups rhubarb.
Sprinkle with a small pkg of raspberry Jell-o.
Sprinkle with one cup sugar.
Top with three cups mini marshmallows.
Cover with white cake batter mixed according to package directions.
Bake 30 minutes at 350 or until rhubarb is tender and cake is set.

I am experimenting with this recipe, trying to make half a recipe and cut back on the sugar. The one I made while Hallie was here wasn't sweet enough. She ate hers with a little ice cream.

drMolly, the BeanQueen said...

I just made rhubarb custard pie yesterday. But that cake sounds good Kathy.
(please write to me as I can't find your e-mail address)

Chris said...

No rhubarb here. I need to plant one. I do have a great recipe for rhubarb quick bread though!