Saturday, February 6, 2010

Day 31: Bringing Spring Inside (Apportant au coeur de Printemps)

Today was market day in Revel. Part of the pleasure of going to the market, for me, is bringing home fresh flowers. They're so affordable and available, even here in our small market town of Revel.

When I lived in the center of Amsterdam a few years ago, in the Jordaan, I could buy flowers at the Noordermarket, the weekly bio market on Saturday, and, even on Sunday, choose from a wonderful seasonal variety of moderately priced flowers at the Bloemenmarkt.

Today I saw the first bunches of daffodils for sale here, probably come over by truck, train or plane from the Aalsmeer flower auction, near Schipol Airport, also in Holland.

Daffodils are an irresistible harbinger of Spring, for me and most people, I suspect. Just looking at them lifts my spirits. I picked up a bunch each of jonquilles and narcissus for the table.

On the opposite side of the market halle (the covered area of the market), the other big flower vendor had pots of forced Tête à Tête miniature daffodils for only 1.50€. I had to have two of those as well.

Back home, out at the well on the patio, I transferred the bulbs to a pedestal dish I have that fits on the ledge behind the sink.

Tomorrow I will walk the short circuit around the abbey grounds, along le Chemin du Tour du Parc, and pick up some moss to tuck over their roots. I love to watch the tiny daffodil flowers emerge over several weeks, the shape of the Lilliputian shadow they cast on the wall of the stairway that runs behind the ledge.

I got in the habit of bringing in flower bulbs while living in Germany and then Holland, both known for their long, dark winters, where bulbs are plentiful and cheap at this time of year. And, hey! What price sanity, I always say. Here's a good article online about forcing your own bulbs at home. You might be able to find paper whites on sale at this point, and they sprout the fastest.

At the web site I linked on forcing bulbs, they advise replacing some of the water in the bulb's container with whiskey, bourbon, vodka or even tequila! to slow the growth of the plants and keep them from falling over...Now that's kind of counter-intuitive...but they say it works. While you're at it, you could make yourself some "grog", which a local Dutch friend told me is just hot black tea, lemon, honey or sugar and a little whiskey. "Goes straight to your head." A light dose of that might be a good thing when you're havin another cold, gray Saturday.



Ms. Moon said...

The paperwhites are blooming in my yard now. You know, when I went to Europe a million years ago, I realized how uncivilized the US can be compared to Europe. We are just so...not very aware here. We want frozen low fat dinners but we forget the flowers too often.
Here's another blog recipe- heat water to almost boiling, add lots of lime or lemon juice, honey and rum. That, too, will comfort and cure.

Bethany said...

I love the word Grog. Could use some right now.
Oh so happy to see the flowers for sale and the bulbs you brought home. Pure delight.
I just took home a book on forcing so I can have my own collection next year in the dead of winter. God knows we need it.
Lovely photos and words, as always.

derekh said...

flowers . . .hmm lovely but you cannot eat 'em so I go to the market to buy cheese and bread and fish and fruit . . OK when I am feeling romantic I MAY buy flowers too . . . not often enough methinks but still, the thought is often there!!

N2 said...

Ms Moon -- Low fat dinners don't have to be the in a box frozen kind, non? I know you know that because you are a "from scratch" kind of cook (just found my way to your Angel Biscuit recipe yesterday...Wow!). And, of course, Grog doesn't have to be alcoholic in nature. Love the hot lemon/limeade recipe. I often drink a mix of lemon juice w/lemon peel, a pinch of cayenne pepper, boiling water poured over these in the cup. Gives a new twist to Hot Toddy.

B - You are an enthusiastic gardener, I am sure forcing bulbs will be a snap for you. You might even be able to still do hyacinths (l love blue) and/or narcissus this year.

Mr D - Next week would be a good time for feeling romantic and buying flowers for that "significant other", I just sayin.

Bisous a tous! N2

Kathleen Scott said...

My first daffodil of the season debuted last week. She looks lonely but there will be company soon, I hope.

We make a toddy of heated (not boiling) grapefruit juice, honey, a tiny pinch salt and a jigger of dark rum. Takes care of a sore throat, stuffy nose, or winter blues.

N2 said...

Kathlee - I seem to have encouraged y'all to give me your hot beverage recipes (a blog subject of its own, it seems). This grapefruit one is a good new twist. I drink a lot of ruby red grapefruit juice, it is so thirst quenching.

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