I’m, the first to admit it. I am easily amused. On Thursday, my dear friend, Sheri, suggested I plant some Crimson Clover on the bare ground between my hazelnut bushes. The area had been covered with black plastic for a few years and needed a ground cover if it wasn’t going to revert to weeds this summer. The clover has some really neat features. It’s beautiful and the bees, which are housed only ten feet away, will love it. I can harvest some of the blossoms to dry for tea and in the fall it just dies down. The mat of clover should be thick enough to choke put any competing weeds. Well. I went down to check on my seeds yesterday and they are already sprouting. The ground is dotted with tiny crimson shoots. I was so excited; you would have thought I had sprouted diamonds.

I tried a new recipe yesterday and it turned out so nicely that I want to share it as it’s made from a lot of pantry ingredients. I picked up a pound of stew beef, a rarity around here, and the cold, damp weather made the day just right for stew. I have been rereading Independence Days and found a stew recipe from Sharon. I calls for all of the stuff you would expect like potatoes, carrots and onions. I added a couple of turnips as I have some growing in the greenhouse, some rehydrated mushrooms and some celery and I added more garlic than the recipe called for. The broth was based on V-8 juice. I happen to have had some tomato sauce that I made last summer so I substituted that, added some Worcester Sauce, red wind vinegar, red wine, rosemary, salt and pepper and spicy mustard. I didn’t measure anything but tasted as I went along. I put the whole thing in a big cast iron dutch oven and left it alone for the afternoon. It was really good with a rich flavor and nice thick broth. I have enough leftover for lunch.

The volcano in Iceland has certainly made a mess of things in Europe. It’s been less than  a week and there are already shortages of fresh fruits and vegetables. If one had  a root cellar, a garden or at least a supply of sprouting seeds, the need for imports would not be so acute. I am grateful every day for my pantry and my garden. I sleep better knowing my family does not rely on a “just in time” delivery system that is easily disrupted.