I have a very loyal kitchen hound. His sensitive little ears perk up the minute I enter the kitchen to cook and within moments he is sitting at my feet, looking up inquisitively at my motions, listening to the sounds of chopping and slicing, rustling papers, the unwrapping things, all sounds that have to do with food and cooking. Food is very important for dogs, I have learned, even though my dog does not wolf things down. He is endlessly interested in something to eat, however.
Food is important yes, but he doesn’t go for just any old bite. He is quite selective. We’ve been going through this routine for nearly six years, and I know that he doesn’t like onions. Still he makes a lot of little squeaking noises until I offer him a piece. He sniffs carefully and ever so slowly until he’s finally satisfied he doesn’t want the bit of onion. He turns his head to the side, his elegant poodle nose rejecting what I knew he would reject. We go though this with every vegetable, including those that are cooking. I offer him the skillet to preview, knowing he wont’ be interested. But he thinks he might be.
There are some things he likes. They are beet skins. Sweet potatoes. Cooked carrots, and what I call broccoli bones, (the coarse lower ends of broccoli stems, which he’s carries away and works over just as if they were bones). He will accept a kale stem, but then he just walks around the island and drops it on the floor. When I finally emerge from the stove the floor can be littered with bits of stems and leaves. And when I sweep them up, he doesn’t linger at the dustbin wondering if there might be a treat. After all, that’s usually about the time he gets his own dinner, which he far prefers.
You might have met my pup on the page after 231 In My Kitchen. He shows up a few times. But my favorite picture is of him sitting on the kitchen steps looking very robust indeed. In case you’re wondering, his fur is not colored and he is a small Labradoodle – actually mostly poodle. He weighs only 32 pounds, but he’s pretty convinced he weights at least seventy. Must be all those brococli bones! Whatever it is, he’s a good kitchen friend.
One day every body is complaining about snow and winter, then, the minute the temp sores to 50 degrees, suddenly it’s spring and all is forgiven.
At least that’s how it was this past Sunday. And Monday. And even Tuesday.
There wasn’t a speck of green to be seen on Sunday. The rain, wind, sun took their turns throughout the day, and the warmth was pretty fragile. But it was enough to pull people outside and make them feel giddy. I closed my lap-to, pulled on my gardening gloves and grabbed a rake. I was so tired of those brown leaves and besides, I was dying to see what was going on beneath them. Here’s what I saw. Maybe not so thrilling to most people, but let me interpret these tangles among the dead leaves. There are a few nibs of chives poking out of the withered strands that froze months ago Here are the first sorrel leaves to appear. The leaves of the thyme are looking fleshy here, instead of merely dried. And I didn’t even take a picture of the first red shoots of the lovage plant because they really were pretty small. Barely visible to the uninterested eye. This may not look like salad to you. But in a few weeks there will be a garden salad that will include, along with the lettuce, spinach and arugula still under safe cover of remay, maybe one snipped chive blade, few torn sorrel leaves, probably not the thyme, but perhaps a tender lovage leaf. There will be more snows and freezing nights for weeks to come, but this tiny bouquet will be enough to launch both spring and summer. This is the wild joy that the garden promises. Even though I’m heartily tired of brown, I rather love this time of year because each day there’s something new poking up and leafing out, usually plants I’ve forgotten about. I stare at some leaves and remember, oh, the agastache! The daffodils. The wild strawberries. Little signs of life appearing each day, taking hold. It’s like seeing old friends, whether birds as they first return from their travels, or human ones. What I’m wondering, though, would these tender shoots and leaves be happier with their blanket of leaves left to cover them a little while longer. Or can I take them off? Tell me if you have an answer to this because I really want to know. I suspect the leaves should stay, but I’m really eager to see them go. Many thanks to all who try to set the story straight.