Updated: May 13
Power to the Peaceful.
In our Spring 2022 blog we like to share a wonderful art project, take you into our garden and have a very tasty and colorful soup for you.
Since November 2020 we have been living in the French countryside. Through blogs we share our green lifestyle and experiences. If you want to respond, share healthy/vegan recipes or ask us a question, you can do so via this link.
Worlds and Wonders.
In the run-up to spring, in the darkness of the evening, a spectacular art project by Alain Thomas took place in Hénon, a small village with 1500 inhabitants near our house. It was literally a light and hopeful project entitled ‘Worlds and Wonders’. Alain makes naive primitive paintings of natural elements and projects them on buildings. The facade of the Hénon church was transformed into a jungle, with colorful flowers that skyrocket like lians and flying hummingbirds. In the church the fairy tale continued, with flapping birds on the ceiling and huge nature paintings between the high columns. Both inside and outside, the enchantment was enhanced by 'le Cantique des Oiseaux', the song of the birds. Together with dozens of other visitors, we watched and listened with amazement to what was happening. And that wasn't all. The local baker, butcher and pharmacy showed in their shop windows works of art that students had made in response to of this event. Great! (See video).
The art project evoked our emotion through the enchantment but also a high 'alarm state' by the realization of the great vulnerability of nature, humankind and the earth as a whole. Shortly afterwards, the spring of 2022 emerged in an entirely unexpected and unwanted way. The nascent beauty became and is overshadowed by insane horror with untold human suffering and far-reaching consequences. In the meantime, the alarm messages surrounding climate change are constantly piling up. Perhaps it sounds strange but we find comfort and hope in naturalistic gardening, actively caring for our own environment, community, piece of land and healthy, flavorful food: small, slow and sensitive.
As wet as the spring was in 2021, so dry it is now. We are fortunate to have fertile ground that stays moist for a long time. We don't need to spray often. When we give water, we do this from a ground water source. We also use the ground water for the washing machine, flushing the toilet and in the utility room. In this way we save on the use of drinking water and our water costs. The warm weather of the last few weeks caused a real growth explosion! From family and friends we had been given a lot of flower bulbs, all of which have blossomed, very festive. The crap, bush, climbing and rambler roses grow well and the first flowers open, 15 species we have now around our house. Most are chosen for smell and bees friendliness, either single or semi-double blooms. Summer evenings will be perfumed, sulk and buzzing...
Also in the vegetable garden and greenhouse everything grows as ‘cabbage’. We already eat delicious strawberries, lettuce, radish, rhubarb, onion, fresh parsley, coriander (and dried coriander seed of 2021). The focus now is on the peas and beans that we accompany with bamboo sticks. When it goes well, we will have plenty of legumes, super-healthy and very tasty in a few weeks' time. For supporting and training the climbers our neighbor, Damien, brings freshly cut bamboo from his garden. He ties the stakes along his old car with leftovers of rope. For a cup of coffee and a good conversation. Attention and beauty is in the small, isn't it?!
Narcissus and Plum.
Blossom so beautiful and delicate, contrary to what appears; a bony fruit. This is certainly true for a quince. The beautiful soft pink blossom of spring turns into hard bony fruits that need to be cooked before you can eat them. Then the plum tree is a little more lovely to see from blossom to fruit and easier to eat, for come straight from the tree in the mouth! Last autumn, in the flower meadow, we planted a Mirabel and Reine-claude plum. A good combination for cross pollination. The trees are well rooted and already full of leaves, unfortunately we will have to wait a year for the beautiful blossoms and delicious plum. Gardening is certainly also an exercise in patience. White and yellow are typical spring colors, why is that? We do not know but it was particularly striking here in Brittany. It gives light in the dark spring, which is fine and perhaps one/the reason? The various yellow and white-flowering fruit trees, rape, daffodils, broom and maple grow and thrive here richly in the wild. As if spring is shouting at you ‘there's another new beginning'! Likewise in our garden. We try to make it a paradise for all that lives and as spring began with high temperatures. All kinds of insects visit the first blossom, thick bumblebees, honey and wild bees. Unfortunately there was also a week with freezing cold nights, causing several plants and flower buds to suffer frost damage. The pictures shows the blossom of the prune tree next to our house. This gives late summer delicious deep purple sweet plums, not for jam because they don't get the kitchen. And the narcissus poeticus is a gem, as painted on watercolor paper. Together with camassia these are the first blooms in the flower meadow in development.
Beetroot soup ingredients.
Since we live in Brittany, a lot of time has been spent sowing, harvesting, sharing, processing and enjoying vegetables and fruit. We now have time and attention to it and we have to say that it enriches our lives. All the senses are addressed. To enjoy the season picks together at a nicely covered table, especially outside, with a fresh local cider or good glass of organic wine, that is quite pleasant. In our previous blog we started sharing a vegan recipe, simple, tasty and healthy. We will continue with this, the culinary finalization becomes a permanent ingredient. We choose a recipe based on what we can harvest at the time we create the blog. It would be nice if you could do the same yourself. If you don't have a vegetable garden buy the season ingredients at an local organic shop or farmers market, you taste and make the difference. The taste makers are this time home grown beet, rhubarb and leaf parsley!
Fresh tasting beetroot soup / borscht; yes it exists.
The ingredients are:
* 1 large onion, shredded
* 2 cloves of garlic, shredded
* approximately 250 grams of beetroot
* 3 stems of rhubarb
* 2 slightly sour apples
* 2 cubes of vegetables -/ garden herb stock
* hand of fresh leaf parsley
* pinch of cinnamon
* pepper and salt to taste
Cut vegetables and apple into coarse pieces. Fry the onion and garlic golden brown, add the beetroot and rhubarb and fry for a few minutes more. Then add 1 liter of stock and the other ingredients and cook in a slow cooker (or on low heat) until everything is soft. Mash into a thick soup. Before serving, garnish with a dash of good olive oil and some fresh garden herbs. The meal soup is both hot and cold very tasty.
Suggestions and comments are welcome as always
See you again at the next Ty-Vert blog!
All the best Erika and Dennis