Besides the 88 degree days we had in NY last week (it occurs to me I often start by talking about the weather) there have been a few indicators that summer is starting. Just now, making coffee in the studio I put the half and half right back in the refrigerator instead of leaving it out for my second coffee. This happened instinctually; an animal in my natural studio habitat responding to increases in light and temperature. The kiln was also on this morning and this could have thrown my sensitivity askew. (I re-read that sentence and think we have a kiln!)
At the farm I ask Eric if he wants to spend some time in the city, or leave for a while. He is tan and handsome. Having spent a lot of time apart I notice this in new, different ways. He eats more at dinner, sleeps sooner, is up earlier. He responds as if I've asked him an inconsiderate question. This is my season he says, already walking away. He still lets me borrow his clothes, and does my laundry when I come back which I take as a good sign. Eric is very good at laundry.
Indeed, the farm had switched from being a cold, wet, lamb-birthing blood bath to a place where interns and friends are eager to visit. In the two weeks I was away it exploded with green. I arrive back after two weeks in the city and traveling for work and get upset. So much has happened here without me. Lambs are practically weened, in full fleece, asking for iPhones.
Despite my chaotic schedule I've made rhubarb compote what feels like a hundred times already. I'm not sure if it qualifies as something to write down, but I will. In the spirit of sharing what we eat what's worth mentioning is the seasonal fruit cycle that starts with rhubarb and ends with apples in October. It's a wild ride folks! One love affair smashes into the next, juice running down your chin, leaning suddenly over the kitchen sink. Cooked rhubarb bubbling over on the grill outside, turns to the small local strawberries pressed together in their green cardboard quart containers complete with the steamy hint of mold that blooms in between them at the bottom almost immediately. (Consider then, the box of driscolls.)
I could sit here and write to you about how I am learning constantly about the shortness of life. How the farm teaches that in every chore, every evening walk, every humming bird you try and save. A farmer, maybe 45 years old, once told me that she only had 15-20 more tries to get her potato crop right. You only get one try a year.
My mother, says she's always thought of herself as 27.
My favorite rose bush blooms in the city, I bring everyone to it.
This is a loose recipe of how we make it at Saipua, which is really without any measurement. Weird, that surprises you? Suffice it to say, rhubarb is sour and usually recipes call for a lot of sugar. Personally I have a rather complex relationship with sugar, having been denied it as a child (major themes: deprivation, froot loop envy) I now am very weary of it as an adult. Also, I prefer to consolidate my sugar consumption to afternoon coffee/cookie breaks and wine. I walk this tense line of indulgence and restraint like nobody's business. If you want, replace the honey with a scant cup of sugar, you nut.
PUT IN A POT:
1 pound of rhubarb, chopped up in 1 inch pieces, rinsed, water still clinging to it
dash of salt
dash of cinnamon
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup of honey
COOK ON HIGH, STIRRING EVERY FEW MINUTES
ABOUT 10 MINUTES
It will bubble up and cook down fast. Turning into an unattractive brown slop. Cool it.
Put it on yogurt. Excellent source of vitamin K and C.