Yellow Flower Desert

It’s really amazing how spending some time outside can make you feel so good. Spending time outside in an amazing new location is even more invigorating, refreshing and revitalizing.

We decided to take a late afternoon hike the other day and couldn’t quite find the right place. One place we tried was surrounded by massive power lines, another place led straight to a cell phone tower, and yet another was polluted by the constant racket of an oil well. We kept looking.

We finally found a place that looked pretty decent and decided to give it a go. Chad let me lead the way, and I have to say, I did a good job. We had fun walking over badland-like hills, taking pictures of all the yellow flowers everywhere, and discovering all the vegetation that had come to life in the desert.

It was just that time of day where the lighting makes everything look magical: golden hour. And then we came to a stunning overlook that opened out onto wild open land. It was so exciting that I had to do a little dance. Having grown up in the thick temperate forests of the SE United States, I am still thrilled by the exoticness of the wide open desert. The expansiveness seems to lift your entire being up into the air, and make you feel that you can fly.

You can tell by the number of photos we took that we were enchanted. The extreme close-ups are mostly mine and the beautifully composed landscapes are mostly Chad – especially the clouds. Chad is a specialist in cloud portraiture!

Discovering this place was exhilarating too because it was just off the road, was an easy hike and was very rewarding for very little effort. What a sweet interlude from spring into summer.

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking wild asparagus

Asparagus grows wild and abundant around here in the springtime, but we only have a few small patches growing near our driveway. We harvested a few stalks one morning for brunch, and it made a delicious side dish with our omelettes. But my sweetie had been telling me he could take me to a place where we could harvest bags full of asparagus. The opportunity came up and we walked up to one of his dad’s pastures. Well, the pasture did not disappoint.

There was asparagus everywhere, and we didn’t even get to the motherlode. On our little foray we harvested over 3 pounds worth, a nice big bag full!

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When you buy asparagus at the grocery store, you don’t tend to scratch your head and think, gee, what am I going to do with all of this? No, you parse it out and fight over the last spear with your tablemates. Not so when you’re picking it wild. I love asparagus but the idea of eating it the same way over and over made my stomach curdle. So I started digging deep into the food catalog part of my brain for ideas to keep the asparagus interesting. Here’s what I ended up making.

Meal 1: Sauted asparagus with fried eggs:IMGP2376

Meal 2: Asparagus potage (cooked and pureed asparagus with a little half and half):IMGP2421

Meal 3: Asparagus quiche with charcuterie served with garden salad and homemade  gf sourdough brown rice bread:IMGP2441

Meal 4: Asian style asparagus served with sticky rice and pink sauerkraut:IMGP2475

Meal 5: Sweet potatoes, onions, ground beef and asparagus:IMGP2547

All of these meals were pretty simple and delicious but I think my favorite was eating it with sticky rice and sauerkraut. The brightness of the sauerkraut makes a nice contrast with the earthy asparagus and the sticky rice provides a nice framework.

If you’re rolling your eyes at me because you don’t have a pasture full of wild asparagus at your disposal, go plant some! You don’t even need a garden, just plant it in a healthy spot in your yard and let it do it’s thing. Consider it an edible landscaping plant.

One of the coolest parts of our asparagus foraging adventure was an encounter with a skunk. It was totally oblivious of us for at least a minute, so we got to observe it doing its thing. And when it did notice us, it took off running so quickly we both had to laugh. My sweetie pie captured the lovely pasture under a moody sky and got a souvenir of our unexpected foraging buddy here:

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