Published On: Fri, Mar 21st, 2014

Bits of News from The Birdhouse

by Debbie Bond

Is it spring yet? Do you not agree that this has been one of the longest and hardest winters to date or am I just getting older and my body just can’t handle the cold any longer? I have been spending much of my evenings looking at seed books and on line enjoying garden photographs. I am so ready for spring and I am sure you are too!

Along with the cold and dampness it seems viruses linger and linger, my household has been fighting the “crud” for more weeks then I care to count. Once you get this stuff it just won’t go away. Of course my daughter stated that with spring comes allergies and although she’s right I really don’t think I am going to complain one whit over a stuffy nose as long as I can be out of doors with my fingers in the dirt, sun on my head and warmth on my face.

How many of you like RAMPS? This old gal loves those old stinkers, but only if they are cooked right. I normally prefer to cook them myself, that way I know they are cooked to please me. As bad as I hate to put anyone’s cooking of the ramps down, the folks up at Richwood’s Ramp Festival cook about the nastiest ramp I have ever tried to eat. I think they must boil them. I only know that if not for the great arts and crafts and just meeting and seeing folks you haven’t seen in while, I sure wouldn’t go for the ramps.

Now, last year over at Leivasy People’s Place they had a good ramp dinner. They actually fried their ramps which is how it should be done. Like Richwood, I think they have their dinner sometime in April. When I know the dates for sure I’ll share with everyone.

As for me, I am having a good “mess” of ramps this weekend. Fixin’ them myself and being real stingy with them too. Now in my personal opinion the only right way to cook ramps are to clean them well, of course this time of year you’re only getting the “white” for there’s not any tops on them yet and these are my personal favorite. You cook these just a little different then the ones with lots of green on them. I take the white and chop them up small and fry in hot bacon grease that I add a little sugar, salt and pepper to, and fry until they are tender and sweet. That’s it. I serve them with fried potatoes, bacon, brown beans and cornbread, (eggs are optional when you just have the white ramp to cook).

With spring comes dandelions and with dandelions comes jelly making time. I love dandelion jelly and it’s my grandson’s favorite jelly as well. I personally love the dandelion flower, you can eat the green leafs, the blossoms, make jelly with the flowers plus they look so beautiful throughout your yard giving it a touch of color.

My grandmother taught me years ago to stop wearing myself out trying to remove what most call a weed from the lawn and instead, see it as the beautiful flower it is, relish the many uses of it, (jelly, greens, blossoms) and recognize it as the first sign of spring. Her advice was to not see it as a weed and pest but as a blessing and sign. That works for me and hope it gives you a new outlook to a very old problem.

I wanted to share my address once again with everyone so those who wish can share garden tips with me, recipes or just those who like to say hello. I love hearing from everyone. My address is, P.O. Box 673, Leslie WV 25972. Don’t be a stranger.

With garden time just ahead and you have plants to share let me know and I will put the word out. There is nothing more wonderful then to share the beauty of flowers. It was through a very talented and lovely lady, Barbara Jones from Hines that shared her beautiful plants with me that continue to give me so much joy. Barbara’s one of those wonderful ladies that has a green thumb and lush gardens. Her beautifully simple landscaping  gives ideas to even the novice gardener, that with loving care anyone can have grow beautiful flowers.

There’s nothing more wonderful then the first pretty days of spring. Enjoy them. Also spread the joy. There’s so many people out there, some elderly, some disabled, that just can’t do the yard work they once did. There’s no better feeling then helping out someone who can’t do it on their own, open a flower garden they thought they’d have to neglect. Take a friend with you and make it a fellowship day! The only thing that could make spring any better is sharing the joys of spring with everyone.  I encourage acts of kindness in all things. Be it a smile at a stranger, a warm hello as you hold a door open. You receive so much in return when you show kindness to others.

With much prayers, I hope to get back on a regular schedule with my little column, your kind cards of encouragement mean so much to me and your prayers have helped me through this old nasty cold winter. I have never met a stranger in my life so therefore I count all my readers as friends, and who doesn’t enjoy hearing from friends.

Looking forward to getting out this spring and summer and meeting so many of you… no one ever needs a reason to get together for tea or share an afternoon strolling a garden, all you need is an invitation… so everyone be sure and enjoy each other’s company.

Until next time, wishing you and yours much love, laughter and sprinkles.