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Entries in spring (74)


Spring bucket list 2017

Everybody talks about their summer bucket lists, but how many people have must-do lists for other seasons? It's definitely a busy time, especially if your kids are in school, but that doesn't mean we should ignore the many wonderful things about this season of rebirth and growth. Spring is the time to see migrating birds, to start your garden from seeds, to get in lots of outdoor activity before it gets summer hot and sticky. There are lots of great reasons to embrace this time, and here are a few of our favorites:

Start seedlings inside

Plant spring veggies outside

Avian migrators: collect them all!

Listen to the frogs

Go in search of fungi (especially morels!)

Practice wildflower identification

Hike Magee Marsh

Festifools Parade

Play in the rain

And, just before it's over...strawberry shortcake


Field studies

Science! Unlike art, science is a subject I feel almost completely at home with, especially when it comes to the life sciences thread. I think one of my favorite times of year, or favorite annual school studies, is the time for spring science, for getting outside again and witnessing nature come back to life. We always start our weekly hikes just before the earth really starts to warm up so that we can watch weekly changes happening in the spaces around us. Later we look for signs that the bird migration will come through and we go in search of as many migrating species as we can find, a "collect them all" that is pock-book and earth friendly. 

And we also use this time to look at life on a microscopic scale, an activity which makes us feel very, very large all of a sudden.


10 of our favorite spring recipes 

We like to try and eat pseudo-seasonally. When fall rolls around I crave warm, savory things, the winter brings a longing for the richest foods I can get, and in the summer it's all grilling, all the time. The spring, for us, tends to be about lightening things up—fresh citrus flavors and bright spring colors. All within reason, of course. We actually use our grill year round, and the crockpot, too, because it is possible to make a good, summery meal that will be ready for you when you get home from the lake, or the zoo, or wherever, and I rely on my crockpot at least once a week year-round also.

I am not the world's most inventive cook. I know my way around a kitchen well, both with the tools and the ingredients, and when pressed I can assemble an edible meal from whatever's on hand, but coming up with unique recipes is not my thing. We are adventurous eaters, though, and I love to scour the web for interesting recipes and add them to my collection. But we also have several favorites to fall back on and as we cycle through the year I find that recipes correspond to specific seasons, meaning they are requested, or I make them, more often in "their" season. These, then, are some of our favorite go-to spring meals gathered from some of go-to recipe sites.

Artichoke Heart Frittata (NYT Cooking)
Frittatas can be made into just about anything, but I love making this one when the artichokes start arriving in spring. I've made it into a crustless quiche before, too, by adding spinach, a few more eggs, feta cheese, and baking it.

Grilled salmon and asparagus with garden dressing (from Better Homes and Gardens)
Delicious on the grill, or if you suddenly find it raining, can also be done in the oven, this recipe is exactly what it says. It's the asparagus that makes it springy, but also the green garden version of tartar sauce you make too go with it. This recipe can be made a lot lighter by using Greek yogurt instead of mayo, and I've often substituted dill for the tarragon. Delicious with a side of lemon pearled couscous.

French potato and green bean salad (From NYT Cooking)
This is a beautiful salad that really has nothing to do with spring except that it feels like spring to me, and sometimes I've made it with asparagus instead of green beans. It can be eating as a side dish or as a vegetarian meal (it makes an especially good picnic lunch), or even add bacon if you'd like. Yum.

Cabbage and kale slaw (side salad from
This colorful salad combines winter veggies (kale and cabbage) with a citrus dressing. I have made this recipe without the Maple syrup and balsamic vinegar before. I have also substituted lemon juice for the lime juice, or left out the carrots, or added sliced almonds. There are lots of fun things to be done with this recipe.

5 Ingredient Lemon Chicken with Asparagus skillet (from Pinch of Yum)
They had me at 5 ingredients, and again at skillet, which usually means only one pot to clean. The title ingredients speak for this dish. It's bright like spring should, and warm like you want it to be. I have paired this with oven roasted redskin potatoes.

Asparagus, egg, and bacon salad (from Skinny Taste)
More asparagus, I know. It's a spring staple here and Jon and I love it. Calvin doesn't, however, and I have made all of these recipes subbing beans for asparagus when necessary...still pretty delicious! This one makes a good side dish or a wonderful small dinner or lunch.

Crockpot corned beef (from Skinny Taste)
Because it wouldn't be St. Patrick's Day without corned beef, and because I love my crockpot. I often make this recipe without the parsnips. Even better, I'll make it as a soup, still in the crockpot.

Crockpot Caribbean pot-roast (Taste of Home)
There's nothing particularly springy about this recipe, but it's a great crockpot meal with a slightly lighter taste while still being warm and filling on a slightly colder spring day.

Spiralized Mediterranean beat and feta bake (side dish from Skinny Taste)
Beautiful spring colors make this warm, juicy, baked side dish the perfect accompaniment for a festive spring party. It's a thick, hearty dish, too, and really fills a plate with spring joy.

Summer vegetables with sausage skillet (me!)
This is pushing the boundaries of spring a bit, but the reason I include it here is that it's all the summer goodness we usually grill (bratwurst, sweet pepper, onion, or fill in the blank with your own favorites), sliced into bite sizes and sauteed inside on a rainy late-spring day. Perfect.


Back at it

Calvin reminded me this morning that by this time last year we had already logged several weekly hikes to watch nature wake up. This year we're way behind. The mild winter made chickens out of us and we stayed inside too long. But with or without us they're all coming out of hiding, the snakes, the frogs, the little things that sprout under the leaves, so we decided that we should finally join them. And late as we were, we still caught some winter-only residents before their annual trip north, plus lots of regulars who came out to say hello again.


Spring poems, by Calvin

The sun comes out, 
Its heat penetrates the snow
To the grassy layer below,
The clouds grow thin,
A blue sky beind,
Spring has sprung anew.

The springing spring is bouncing in,
With birds and foxes alike,
It fills the winter white with warm,
And melts the snow to slush,
And takes its place where spring should go,
With flowers and grasses alike.

Spring wakes up,
Pushes aside its bedcovers,
Rambling out of bed,
Into its dayclothes it goes oncemore,
Never to sleep for three months,
Goodbye winter, hello spring!