Songbirds & Hollyhocks (1000 Piece Puzzle by White Mountain)
Winter in Minnesota is not only cold and oftentimes sunless, but it is also very quiet as it hushes the outside world. There are no leaves rustling in the wind or songbirds singing. Two of my favorite sounds. In the deep frigid shadowy valleys of December, January and February the melody of nature consists of the discordant sound of crows cawing as they drive the squirrels away from the bird feeders.
Spring for me always arrives when sun and birdsong return. Yesterday was that day! The sun was shining bright and when I opened the door to let my dog Truman outside I heard them–a flock of song birds in the elm tree. There was a whole chorus of them. I just left the door open, cold air or not, and let the sounds of spring fill my home.
Well, that of course triggered a full blown case of spring fever which is not surprising as I have been stuck inside this house for well over a month from either low blood counts, pneumonia or it has been just too slippery for me to walk outside with my bad back, because I can’t risk a fall with my brittle bones. Yes, I have had enough of my indoor seasonal penance and am ready and willing to rejoin the outside world.
Today it is even brighter outside than yesterday which has sent my spring fever raging! The snow is melting and the songbirds are again serenading me. Calendar be darned, I am declaring that spring is here and when I think spring I think rhubarb.
Yes, the best cure for a severe case a spring fever that has be contracted from surviving another Minnesota winter absent of color, light and nature sounds is a brisk walk outdoors and being greeted upon return with a warm rhubarb crunch topped with melting vanilla ice cream.
I know that those tart tasty red stalks hiding under the large dark forest green protective umbrella like leaves won’t peak out from under the earth in Minnesota yards for many weeks yet. Just knowing they are there under the snow and just waiting to spring into action along with my tulips, irises and peonies will not do. I need a spring fix now!
Oh, it may not be rhubarb season yet in my yard, but it is spring somewhere on this earth and here’s to betting I can get a rhubarb fix from my local grocer.
Old Fashioned Rhubarb Crunch
1 cup of flour
¾ cups quick oatmeal
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup of butter or margarine
(My husband likes a lot of crispy topping. I can never get the crust to be thin enough on the bottom that I feel it meets his standards for crispy topping on top. I always double the crust recipe.)
4-5 cups of finely chopped Rhubarb
Sauce for filling:
1 cup water
1 to 1 ½ cups sugar (depending on how tart the rhubarb)
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of nutmeg
In a medium-sized bowl mix together flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter.
Press ¾ of mixture into 9 x 13 cake pan. Cover with raw chopped rhubarb. In a saucepan combine water, sugar, cornstarch. Cook until thick and clear. Add vanilla and nutmeg. Pour thickened sauce over rhubarb.
Sprinkle the rest of oatmeal mixture on top and bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.
Serve warm with ice cream.
If rhubarb is not available apples, blueberries or peaches can be substituted.
This recipe comes from the kitchen of my daughter-in-law Tina.