Saturday, May 24, 2008

Oh, really, Mr. Ed???

Well. I hear my veracity has been challenged.
Really, Mr. Ed, didn't they make you take a "Stuff I Can Eat If
I'm Stuck In The Wild" kinda class when you were all Marined up??

Yes, you can SO eat cattails. You can eat the shoots like we do,
as described in a previous post, or the pollen can be used as a
flour to make a kind of dumpling, and the roots can even be dug
up and the starch used as a food source.

Cattail Recipes
(A straightforward type of title, yes?)

Pretty much everyone knows you can eat dandelions, just as long as they aren't contaminated with herbicides. We don't spray anything on our yard, due to children and animals, plus I like "weeds." They're interesting.
Dandelion Recipes

Okay, this one you probably SHOULDN'T eat, but if you cook the
YOUNG shoots of pokeweed, or poke salat, or poke salad, for fifteen
minutes (as you would greens), it's considered edible. But since the
mature plant is poisonous, I'm thinking I'll stick to the dandelions,
thanks. BUT the poke plant is really big and gorgeous and tropical
looking, so we let it grow in certain spots in the yard. Plus, we make
ink and dye from the berries.

Now this is one I've let grow because it's pretty, but haven't eaten--it's called purslane. BUT you have to make sure you're getting purslane, and not the poisonous plant that looks kind of like it. It's easy to tell them apart by breaking the stem--if it's milky inside, DON'T eat it. Here's some
purslane recipes.

We also have something called Black Medic which grows in a pretty big patch in our yard, which is raised as a food source in some areas of the world, but we haven't yet tried to harvest any. Here it's used for animals, or considered a weed. Black Medic information.

Now, it's back to the kitchen. Basically avoided cleaning out my artroom
this week (I still feel pretentious calling it a studio. Personal hang-up. It sounds great when anyone else says it, but I just feel like a ninny). This has been accomplished by planting the garden, working in the yard, cleaning out the pantry, the cereal cabinet, and the vast majority of our kitchen cabinets. There is a huge pile of things to give away, and it's true I've been productive, but in an "avoiding-the-big-issue" kind of way.

And it is a big, and deep, and wide issue . . .

Monday, May 12, 2008

attracting butterflies

Last summer, we left some watermelon rinds in the compost
bucket by the back door, and in the morning--voila!

A BAZILLION BUTTERFLIES! (and a few flies.)

But there were SO many butterflies, it was easy to overlook
the flies, and we took to leaving our rinds on the deck
table, to make for a better view. These are the close-ups
I tried to take , which turned out okay. We fairly recently
had a flock, or herd, or whatever it is, of monarchs resting
in our trees during their migration--that was amazing.
Have NEVER seen that many butterflies in one place before.

Anyway, over In My Kitchen Garden, there is a
giveaway for a wonderful butterfly book. Which I didn't have to
mention here, but thought you might like to know . . . ;)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

have you ever eaten cattails?

We eat them every spring; they're yummy! Just separate the two outer leaves, grasp the two inner leaves near the base, and slowly pull out. Eat the pale end, until you get to the fibery part--it should be tender/crisp, not fiber/chewy! Very delicate flavor, we just eat them raw and plain, but some prefer them with a little dressing. They'd be good in salad, or on a sandwich. You can pretty much live off various cattail parts if you have to, but we've never tried any part but this, in the spring.

Some other lovelies growing in our yard--the pears, apple, and wild plum are all bloomed out, the redbuds are almost finished, and the lilacs are heading out, too.
The crabapple was a corker, for as small as it was. The storms hit the blossoms pretty hard, so if we don't get enough crabapples for jelly, it's going to be a sad thing. The daffodils were INSANE this year! The brand new iris bed is actually starting to bloom--planted them last fall, thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Smith at church. Yes, their names really are Mr. and Mrs. Smith! She was my Sunday School teacher AND my piano teacher, truly one of the nicest people on the entire planet. And the shrubby peony bush is going full tilt, it's gorgeous this year. Don't know the real name for it.

Touched my first frog and turtle of the year, saw the first lizard, have touched two squirrels (squirrel touching is our new sport), but dear husband saw the first snake.
We generally don't try to touch those . . .

***So: Two days later, and what happens? We're on our way to violin, and a big ol' snake is sunning is long ol' self in the middle of the driveway. It would NOT
move, but it DID flex itself so its scales became all bright and "scary." (We were amused rather than scared. Sorry, Snake!) It was asking for it--I touched it. THEN it moved, and FAST, thus not being run over by late violiners,
thus living to see another sunny day . . . ***

Spring is grand! Don't miss it by sitting around playing on the computer too much!
:) (Julie, what blooms in Alaska in the spring???)