Saturday, March 26, 2011

Time is aflying!

Dogwood blossom
I don't know how two weeks have disappeared but that's life, isn't it.  Just when you think you have control of everything you have control of nothing at all.  Well, my disappearance hasn't interupted spring, has it?  No matter where you look, something new is erupting from the earth; flying overhead; or on the breeze.   And, true to form, March has come in like a lamb and is now chilly -- hopefully only for a day or two.

Shortly, Dr. Mary Meyer will be taking folks on a fascinating walk through the woods over there on Kennesaw Mt.  With spring being early, it is difficult to say what she will find.  I did notice that the dead nettles are up, the Dog Wood in bloom, and the cleavers tacky green and waiting.  Meyer has a CD out entitled "Wildflowers of Kennesaw Mountain and North Georgia" that has some great pictures on it.  She not only provides the name of plants but explains some of their uses.  It's listed in a number of places but this site is also useful for other happenings, history etc. in Georgia.   So this link serves more than one purpose.


And now, because you know I love to eat the weeds....  How about a pot of cleavers.  Just grab yourself a handful.  Wash them off thoroughly but do not drain.  Chop them up and slip them into a fry pan that has a small clove of chopped garlic or teaspoon of onions....  Stir them around with or without a lid, depending on the level of starvation you are experiencing.... and eat with a bit of salt and pepper.

Dead nettles

On the other hand, if you come across a field of dead nettles and are in the mood,  you can treat them the same way as the cleavers. 
OR.... you dry them for another day; crumble them up and brew yourself a coffee-like tea.  Dead nettles are in the mint family -- not like they taste minty -- they just have a hollow,square stem like all the mints.  Either way you are getting a good dose of lovely greens complete with vitamins and minerals.  Too, they don't have pesticides or fertilizer on them so they are naturally organic if you don't pick them by a roadway (and I'd never do this under any circumstance as there is lead in the exhaust fumes of motor vehicles).

Bon apetite'

Sunday, March 6, 2011

It must be Spring!

It seems like spring burst forth with abandonment during this last week .  I’ve seen daffodils, crocus, and magnolias blooming their little hearts out.  En route to the airport, the decorative pink cherry trees are prolifically in bloom and the crab apple trees are just about to burst forth along with some redbuds I discovered.  In my backyard the plum tree is in flower and up the street the fuchsia quince bushes enliven a yard.  This is called "eye-candy" season.

 If you listen carefully, you can hear the blue jays calling out in argumentative tones suggesting that the mating rituals are just about to take place and everywhere else there are birds in song.  Just the other day there were two Pileated woodpeckers romancing up and down the pine trees in the neighbor’s yard.  One hops around the ground pretending to look for insects while the other one dances around the base of the tree playing “now you see me- now you don’t”.  Then they change places and start the dance all over again.  It is always such a delight to view these “Woody Woodpecker” characters as they are quite illusive the rest of the year. 

And then, on Saturday, I saw a gray squirrel sneak quietly into the backyard birdhouse undoubtedly to set up a nest.  Every year I reinforce the holes of the bird boxes so that the critters take up residence elsewhere.  And every year at least one squirrel removes the reinforcement, enlarges the hole and moves in.  One year, I went to clean the bird box and out flew a flying squirrel frightening the breath from my being.  Bird box flew in one direction, me in the other and both of us required psychic first-aid.  I’m sure the squirrel is still telling his neighbors about the invasion by an alien human. 

But on with the real story.  The grey squirrel is in residence now and every evening she puts a leaf over the open door, presumably to keep the draft from her fur.  During the day she sits at the "window" surveying her domain and, after a thorough review, moves out into the world to feed.  I haven't seen any babies yet so I think she must be preparing for delivery.  When she's completed her yardly rounds, she moves about the base of the tree and all the trees in between, making sure there isn't a predator in sight and then up she goes, back into her house. 

As you can see, now is the time to get outdoors.  Once again the renewal of creation is at hand and we are reminded of the cycles of time. It is a time for sharing with those we love and those we meet along the road.  We need to touch the green; to feel the advent of spring; to hear the sounds that refresh the soul.

And don't forget to check our website:  Scheduled events are listed here.