Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Hunting We Will Go

We’ve been M.I.A. recently.  The Moose and I finally decided to take a few days off and visit family in Wisconsin.  We had a work related trip to Pittsburgh then added on 8 hours of drive time to get to the land of cheese, brats and beer! 
We had three full days to cover as many relatives as possible.  I hope to have some follow up stories in the near future.  Our hunt for the infamous, nonexistent in Florida, unless you pay over $8.00/lb. rhubarb.  It virtually grows like a weed in Wisconsin, and this is its prime harvesting season.
On our last full day in Wisconsin spent with the Moose’s Mom and her hubby Gene, we went rhubarb hunting!  Moose’s Mom placed a few phone calls, and those few calls turned in to good prospects. 

Her friend Teresa (an interesting character, emigrated from Italy in 1955 and doesn’t take anyone’s crap, my kind of lady), had a “little” bit left.  Ladies and gentlemen, her idea of a little bit was a black garbage bag full!  Now it had the leaves still on, but really that’s a “little” bit?!  We had a great visit, and solved all the world’s problems over a glass of cheap Italian wine.  She’s Italian, if she says the wine is good, it’s good, who am I to argue?  She doesn’t “waste her good money on expensive wine”.  I could have spent a week shadowing this woman, just to hear her expressions and life experiences.
Then it was off to the Moose’s Aunt Elaine’s, for another “little” bit.  We had almost another whole garbage bag full!  Now this lady is amazing!  She lost her husband this past year, and is fully self-sufficient.  I’m guessing she’s in her late 70’s.  She pushed a lawn mower over her 1+ acre property herself, as her riding lawn mower was being repaired and the lawn just couldn’t wait.  How many 70 + year old ladies do you know of that mow their own lawn?

If that wasn’t enough to impress me, I was absolutely amazed at her garden, and yard.  She’s spent over 30 years at this property, and it is out of this world.  Another lady I could shadow, to learn all her gardening secrets.  I called her the Master Gardener and she seemed a bit embarrassed at the accolade. 
Our final stop and not to be outdone by the ladies, was Gene’s brother Jimmy.  Again, I wonder what the folks in Wisconsin consider as a lot of rhubarb.  Jimmy had a “little” bit, and I could take all that I wanted.  Yep, another bag full!  We spent time with he and his wife looking over his classic cars, and family heirloom rose bushes.    

It was a fantastic day  (thanks for driving us around Gene!) and trip even though short.   I dropped off some rhubarb to my Mom and Padre’ on our way home, and made two more people extremely happy.  My family loves rhubarb, could you tell?

 Interesting Rhubarb Facts:
  • Some of the earliest records of rhubarb date back to China in 2700 B.C. and was used for medicine.
  • It’s really a vegetable, part of the buckwheat family.
  • One pound of fresh rhubarb yields about 3 cups chopped or 2 cups cooked.
  • Ben Franklin is credited with being one of the first to send seeds to the American colonies.
  • One cup of rhubarb contains as much calcium as a glass of milk, although not absorbed as well as dairy.
  • Rhubarb leaves are toxic, they contain oxalic acid.  They can be used to make a natural insecticide.
  • Nothing tastes better than a strawberry rhubarb pie!


  1. Wow, that's a lot of rhubarb! I must admit that I've never had it, sorry. My excuse is that I've lived in the south all my life.

    1. Well it's very tart, and most people need to combat the sour with something sweet, like strawberries, etc. As a kid, I used to eat it raw from the garden, and on occassion we'd freeze a stalk or two and eat them like popsicles! I love it!

  2. I love it raw with a salt shaker ! Makes my mouth water just thinking about it!!

  3. Sounds like a wonderful time! I love listening and soaking up all the info I can from older gardeners. I think we to often make things harder than they have to be. Rhubarb...I'm on my 3rd year of attempting to grow it. So far all 6 plants have survived and are flourishing. The hubby LOVES it! I cook it down into a sauce like apple sauce and have to hide the jars to last through winter LOL!


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