Sunday, May 9, 2010

Baked Citron Asparagus with Garlic and Chives

My Mother’s Day present came early this year. It was two fold. Last year I received a beautiful hanging basket of flowers as a Mother’s Day gift. It was laced with white snowflake drops and showcased contrasting deep purple petunias and violet-colored pansies. It was beautiful. Of course, in my optimism I left it to hang, hoping it would winter over gently and I would be welcomed with new seedlings as the season awakened. I received more than could be expected, for a couple of Oregon Junko’s made a nest in it around the turn of spring. We watched as they scurried to forage for the fixings to soften the bedding for their anticipated young.

Within a month, we heard the sounds of peeping life from within the now dried-up basket of flowers. In turn, mother and father would tirelessly deliver freshly captured nourishment for their young. The peeps quickly increased in volume as their bodies grew closer to maturity. Then, one morning, we noticed the parents flying frantically around the garden. It was uncanny; we knew something was a miss. Then these tiny little birdlings emerged from the nest and flew, each taking off in their own direction. The parents were beside themselves and we stood there in awe as we realized that we had just witnessed the virgin flight of these young ones. Though, they hardly seemed ready for solo flight.

We lost track of them all in the frenzy and the family returned later that evening. Then the next. Then they were gone. Maybe one will return next year to nest in our garden. Moments are fleeting. Life is precious. We all need to take time to value that which we cherish.

It’s Mother’s Day and I’m on hiatus for a fleeting 24 hours. I’m taking full advantage of the opportunity, as well. I slept in. How lovely it was, a rare indulgence. No guilt. I was ordered to stay in bed until breakfast was excitingly delivered. I actually had to force myself to relax. The dishes were done and the house vacuumed as I sat soaking up the ever-so-welcome rays of sunshine, which have finally come bless this region. I’ve had time to reflect on my son and his youth as it continues to slip before my eyes with the passing of each day. The gifts of parenthood are bittersweet.

We noticed another pair of Junko’s nesting in our hanging basket of chocolate mint adjacent to the now vacant nest. We don’t know if it’s the same pair. I am not well versed on their nesting habits. I do feel blessed, however, that they seem to experience the same sense of peace and sanctuary, as do we, in our garden.

It’s the simple things in life that make it special. A couple of weeks ago my son planted flowers for me in a space previously covered in cement stones. My husband cleared it. I designed the arrangement. The gift was the special attentiveness shown by my son as he placed each new plant. It will, forever, be simply special.

I plan to continue to cherish the simple beauty of the day, each day. I hope you will, too.

Here’s a simple recipe to start...

Bon appétit!

Baked Citron Asparagus with Garlic and Chives

1# fresh organic asparagus
2 T. organic olive oil
2 T. freshly cut organic chives
1 T. organic garlic, minced
Sea salt and fresh organic ground pepper, to taste
juice from organic lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove woody stems from the asparagus and place it in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic and chives. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes and serve.

Simply delicious.

©2010 Taylor Donovan


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