Spring is my favorite season of the year, with its promise of new life, new beginnings, and lots of amazing flowers. Is there anything more beautiful than an apricot tree in full bloom or a forsythia bush in fire with color? The flowering bushes and trees are a reminder that any winter, no matter how harsh, will always give way to the hope of spring.
I was perusing an April issue of the Amish newspaper, The Budget, when I came across a lovely description of spring from a scribe in Guthrie, Kentucky: Irises are starting to bloom. Birds are busy building nests. The barn swallows are harassing the cats again. Last week we discovered a downy woodpecker enjoying himself at the hummingbird feeder.
The scribe from Winesburg, Ohio wrote: Laundry is merrily flapping and drying on the lines and our farmer neighbors are both getting fields prepared for planting, while birds everywhere fuss, warble, and sing while building nests, sitting on eggs, or caring for young.
And from Sugarcreek, Ohio: My garden has neat little rows of green where early garden goodies are popping through. The robin that made a nest on top of my grapevine wreath by our shelter has baby birds already. Spring is here.
One of my favorites from Middlefield, Ohio: Many yard sales are going on in the neighborhood and everywhere. A sure sign of spring!
A submission from Geneva, Indiana brought back wonderful memories of my own childhood: Dandelion greens, asparagus and rhubarb have found their way onto our tables.
The house where I grew up was on the edge of our family’s peach and cherry orchard. I spent many days among the trees creating adventures with my five sisters and our dog Cindy. We had sword fights with limbs from our trees, built dollhouses out of dirt clods, and made artistic sculptures out of rocks. In the warming days of spring, we often discovered rhubarb and asparagus growing wild along the banks of the irrigation ditches. We’d pick it and proudly carry it home to Mom who cooked it up for dinner. Back then, I didn’t care for either rhubarb or asparagus, but it was always magical when we found some to take home to our enthusiastic mother.
Now I absolutely adore rhubarb. I don’t have any in my yard, but my neighbor has a huge plant, and she lets me pick as much as I want. Last year I made about five rhubarb pies, and they were delicious!
I love springtime! I think spring is God’s way of telling us that there will always be hope, there will always be forgiveness, and there will always be new beginnings. In my new book, His Amish Sweetheart, coming out June 28, Hannah has given up on clueless Austin Petersheim, one of the Peanut Butter brothers. But Austin’s twin brothers, Alfie and Benji, have other plans for Hannah and Austin. Can the twins create a new beginning for Hannah and Austin? Will Hannah give Austin another chance? Will Benji set something on fire?
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is always a favorite, but I’m partial to plain rhubarb pie. Here’s a simple recipe. Absolutely delicious and always worth the calories.
Simple Rhubarb Pie (This recipe is from allrecipes.com)
4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 1/3 cups white sugar
6 T. all-purpose flour
1 T. butter
Pastry for 2-crust pie (I’ve included my favorite recipe at the bottom)
Preheat oven to 450˚
Combine sugar and flour. Sprinkle ¼ of it over pastry in pie plate. Heap rhubarb over this mixture. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and flour. Dot with small pieces of butter. Cover with top crust.
Place pie on lowest rack in oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350˚ and continue baking for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or cold.
Foolproof Pie Crust
3 c. sifted flour
1 T. sugar
2 t. salt
1 ¼ c. vegetable shortening
½ c. water
1 T. vinegar
Combine flour, sugar and salt in bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender. Beat the egg and mix the water and vinegar with the egg. Sprinkle the egg mixture a little at a time over the flour mixture, tossing lightly until all the particles are moistened. Mold into a ball and chill. Return to room temperature before rolling out. Makes three pie crusts.