Easter comes early this year, but I feel as though I’ve been anticipating it for a long, long time! Perhaps this is because the Daffodils have been out for several weeks, and the Tulips and Trilliums are finally here to keep them company? We have scads of Daffodils and Tulips now, and the Trilliums have finally made their appearance just in time for Easter. The wild Johnny-Jump-Ups are showing nicely now. Truth to be told, they are my favorite of all the Spring flowers. Not only is their name cute and endearing, but the bright little yellow blossoms pop up out of nowhere and last for months. We have a few favorite places to visit where the JJU’s thrive in incredible abundance- usually on an obscure and almost abandoned back road with a swampy shoulder. Perfect for an afternoon bike ride!
Easter is full of traditions, and if you grew up in the Western Hemisphere, you have probably colored a few Easter eggs in your youth! Do kids still do that??
There has never been a time in my life when eggs were scarce, but then- I have lived in a blessedly rich country in a bountiful time. Chickens do not enjoy winter any more than we do, and their egg-laying schedule slows considerably during the cold months. As the weather warms up and the daylight increases, they begin to perk up and take notice. More eggs appear, just as Easter approaches. Do you see a coincidence here? If you were living during the 1200's, scraped your way thru a long cold winter trying to put food on the family table, and suddenly the miracle of new life and a new season brought an abundance of fresh eggs, you’d have been so thrilled with that bounty that you would be serving eggs with every meal! They stay preserved longer when hard boiled, and perhaps, on a whim, you decided to boil them in the same water that the beets had been stewing in. Wow!! Reddish-pink eggs!
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The Hoquiam Farmers Market has a fantastic supply of eggs from hens who are celebrating the end of winter! These are the freshest and best eggs that you can find, unless you have hens of your own. One word of caution however- the fresher the egg, the harder it is to get the shell off when it has been hard boiled. So get these eggs for frying, scrambling, omelette-ing, baking- anything but hard boiled! Not only do you know that this is a good local egg, but you also know that the chicken has had the freedom to run around being a happy chicken. Factory chicken farms never allow the chicken to even see the light of day, much less to romp and scratch in a field.
Beginning on Wednesday, we will have home grown seed potatoes available! Wait until you hear what kinds they are; Yellow Finns and German Butterballs! Doesn’t that sound better than the ordinary russet?? Growing potatoes doesn’t require much skill at all, but the results are phenomenal! You get this impressive plant appearing above ground, and come harvest time the resulting search for buried treasure beats any pirate’s hoard. These seed potatoes come from Lubbe Farms in Satsop, tried and true varieties grown especially for our fickle Grays Harbor climate!
Easter is often the occasion for families to gather, and feasting is a longstanding tradition of Easter. If there is one thing that the Farmers Market is really good at promoting, it is feasting! Given an honest-to-goodness excuse for cooking great food, we go a little bit crazy! Nancy will be baking all kinds of pies this week, and the annual Hot Cross Buns will appear on Friday and Saturday. I recently learned that Hot Cross Buns were once illegal in England, but due to the threat of mass rioting, Queen Elizabeth the 1st made it legal to bake and sell them only for Easter and Christmas. Thank goodness we don’t have to worry about our Nancy becoming an outlaw for bun baking.
Speaking of outlaws. Honestly, I didn’t even have to plan that segue, it just happened! This Saturday night, April 3rd, the Hoquiam Business Association is hosting Dan Whyms, the Johnny Cash Living Tribute concert at the 7th Street theater. We all know that Johnny has been gone for a few years, but you’d never know that by listening to this man’s music! I never had the privilege of hearing the Man in Black in person, so I am thrilled to be able to attend a world class tribute artist singing Folsom Prison Blues and I Walk the Line. Swooning may occur. Tickets are available at Les Blues in Aberdeen, Harbor Drug in Hoquiam, the Farmers Market, or online at www.brownpapertickets.com. For only $15.00!
This Wednesday is the birthday of a very special person in my life. I was in fifth grade when I met Jean Hogan. She was my teacher. Every child should have a teacher who changes their life. A teacher who makes such a difference that they cannot imagine how life would have been without that teacher. Sometimes we don’t realize how enormous of an impact a particular teacher had, and often- all too often- the teacher never knows. I think that part of the reason I understand how lucky I was is due to having lived in Hoquiam all of my life. The stability of knowing people from an early age and having them be a part of one’s life as maturity slowly but surely does its’ work- I have a continuity that doesn’t exist for someone who has bounced around from one place to another. They have other skills that I lack, but I am thankful beyond words for what my community has provided for me. You see, I didn’t know my teachers only in the classroom- they were also part of my church, members of the Olympians Hiking Club, volunteers at bazaars and car washes, Girl Scout leaders. A constant and abiding presence. I knew that they had the full authority of a parent no matter where I was or what I was doing. Jean Hogan Savidge is celebrating her 80th birthday on Wednesday, and I am grateful for the opportunity to let her know how precious is her presence in my life.
Don’t wait for a birthday announcement- hug a teacher today!
Barbara Bennett Parsons, contented manager of the Grays Harbor Public Market, fondly known as the Hoquiam Farmers Market. Open 5 days a week! 538-9747