April’s Flowers

Does anyone remember last April 1? What a difference a year makes! There isn’t one lick of snow on the ground, the sun is shining, and the cardinals and grouses are singing — or squawking — up a perfect storm. No fools for April this year — just April’s flowers. Daffodils, crocuses, and signs of life from the tulips, lilacs, beach roses, lilies, and hostas.

A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands;
How could I answer the child?. . . . I do not know what it is any more than he.

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven.

Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropped,
Bearing the owner’s name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark, and say Whose?

Walt Whitman, from “A child said, What is the grass?”

I am totally in love, this spring, with Whitman. I wasn’t, for a good many years — maybe 2 decades. I wanted to like him, I wanted to fall head over teakettle for his images and words. But every time I tried I had no luck, until recently. Something clicked, somehow now I can understand Whitman like I couldn’t before.

This year’s taste is molasses. Today I’m making anadama bread, two loaves. Yes, an actual yeast bread. How long ago was it that we took that yeast bread class? And I’m finally gutsy enough to try a yeast bread on my own? Two years?! Granted, I chose a recipe that didn’t require kneading, but there is yeast and proofing involved, so I think it should count as a yeast bread. As you can see from the link above, I decided to use Elise’s friend Hank Shaw‘s recipe at Simply Recipes. For some reason, I trust his recipe. He wrote it in such a friendly way.

And so far, so good. Two loaves are currently baking away in the oven, and in a few minutes when the timer goes off I will go say hello to them, check on them and rotate them so they bake evenly. I might trust Hank’s recipe, but I will only trust my oven as far as I can throw it. I was worried my kitchen wouldn’t be warm enough to proof the bread, being continually drafty, but I found a warm spot on top of the refrigerator and let my loaves go at it for a good few hours. They went along quite nicely, except the one on the window-side should have been rotated away from the window after a couple hours. It didn’t rise quite as much as its fellow, on the kitchen-side of the fridge. Ah well. Lesson noted. Every time I went near the fridge today I got a whiff of the molasses dough doing its magic thing up there above my head, and it smelled like manna. Next time — and there will be a next time! — I will remember to move the loaves around a bit so they get an equal chance to proof up. Not that they aren’t lovely anyway, for a first solo attempt with yeast. If they turn out half as tasty as the dough was, they’ll be a success.

Now get along, li’l doggies.

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