Monday, December 2, 2013

I haven't died....

I admire those who can blog on a daily or weekly basis.  They seem to have a bit more time than I do or it is their mission in life.  I, on the other hand, am a caregiver and this occupies a lot of my time so I have less time for writing these days.  No matter....

What's up right now.  Here in north Georgia the henbit is up along with the chickweed and the curly dock.  Now I may have written about these incredible edibles in an earlier missive - to be honest - I have a hard time knowing what day it is - but let me refresh your memories.

Henbit is a wonderful tonic kind of herb.  It is a mint but doesn't taste like mint.  The best way to eat it is braised in a bit of chicken or vegetable stock.  Not too much, just enough to wilt the plant.  I usually collect the tops - about two sets of leaves down the stem and, if in flower, I also take the flower as I figure a bloom is worth a lot more nutrition than naked leaves.  Back to the cooking.  Cook the collected leaves under a lid so that the plant wilts and softens up.  Then, add a bit of butter and a snitch of vinegar - we in the south love vinegar on greens but in this instance it really adds a bright note of flavor.  Then, eat.

Curly Dock is another delicious greenery and so plentiful.  I always collect the youngest leaves although the older leaves aren't bad.  I just don't collect the antique leaves if you get my drift.  After washing, put a pat of butter into a medium heated frying pan, melt, and then add the greens.  Again, if there is moisture on the leaves just put a lid on and let wilt.  The Curly Dock is a precursor of spinach so it cooks quickly and has a lovely tart quality which is better than spinach if you ask me.

I know I did a thought or two on Chickweed so I won't belabor the point here.  Just make sure to wash it before you eat it.  You can guess why.  Although I love the outdoors and am definitely not a germaphobe, washing your greenery that comes close to the ground is a good idea.

Apparently there are some fungus to be had yet this season although I haven't seen anything I can eat right now.  I did get a note from one person saying she had found a lion's mane growing on a tree near her house.  Now that is a 'shroom you don't want to miss.  Slice it up, saute in butter, add a drop of lemon juice, a bit of salt and pepper.... voila!  You have a feast that is both nutritious and health-provoking.

Have a wonderful December and eat well!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Shall I tell you about computers?

News Flash - I had a lovely little column here for your enjoyment when the computer decided, quite without my permission - to eat it up and send it into that etherial space called no-man's land.  Hence, I will have to get back to you tomorrow with my latest update about what is going on in Georgia.

Please, accept my apology and recognize my frustration.  As folks so often say "we are damned if we do and damned if we don't" and that, is the story of the computer!  Back to you soon with more of what is going on in the Georgia environment.  Thanks for your understanding.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Back again.... Spring and ME!

Bet you all thought I died....   Actually, there are bumps in the road that sometimes prevent the best of intentions from actually happening.  No matter.  Spring is on the cusp and there are wonderful organic "vegetables" rising from the ground even as we speak.

 Currently, there are huge areas of Purple Deadnettle cropping up alongside the Henbit and the Chickweed.  These are not to be missed.  As you will note from the photos you can see that the top of the plant is adorned with purple leaves whilest the bottom of the plant remains green.  Too, the flowers of the plant are similar to tiny snap dragons which allow little bugs to alight on the lower lip of the flower, enter the blossom, and have the top of the blossom bob down and put pollen on the back of the insect.  This, in turn, repeats itself over and over again with the result being pollination.

Purple Deadnettles are akin to spinach and make a delightful hot veg. to
accompany any dish.  Simply blanch the deadnettles in boiling water for one minute then, in a pan that has melted butter, saute for another 2 or 3 minutes.  You can add a diced onion to this or perhaps a finely diced bit of garlic... actually, you could cream the deadnettles with great results.  Believe me, you won't be disappointed with whatever choice you make.  Deadnettles are in the mint family so don't be surprised if you find a subtle note of mint on your plate when you've prepared these lovely little morsels. 

Chickweed is also boundless these days.  I know I've written about it before but recently, I ran across a wonderful recipe for pesto that I feel obliged to share.  It comes from England:
  • A good handful of chickweed
  • Walnuts, or hazelnuts
  • A couple of cloves of garlic, or some ramson leaves
  • Juice from a lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
This pesto can also be made with cleavers (goosegrass) with equally delicious results.  Just make sure your cleavers are youthful;  use the tips rather than the great long stems.  I put the pesto on linquine but it can be used as a dip with veg's and be equally satisfactory... in fact, it is delicious.  Thanks for the help

Mushrooms are up... Morel's in particular.  It is early considering the wonderment of Georgia's extended winter but down near Columbus, GA a morel was discovered March 1.  This means the hunt is on.  Try stream banks under elms and poplar trees.  Also, old apple orchards or last year's burn sites are good places to start the hunt.  They are illusive little buggers...owing to the fact that they compete for hiding places under/near brown leaves from last fall. 

And speaking of spring.... as you may remember I cultivate garden spider's  (Argiope).  Last year, "Agnes" gave birth (pardon the familiarity) to 4 egg cases really early.  This is really a noteable phenomenon.... 4 egg cases is really unusual and late summer is also a phenom... She didn't wait, she started early.  Agnes seems to have known something none of us did;  winter was going to be long, drawn out, and intersperced with cold spells suitable for the northern climes.... in other words, hardly southern.  Now, I am waiting for my spider children to emerge so I can share a story or two with you about their development. 

Soon we will put up our schedule of events for the forthcoming season.  We have added a local service - identifying edible plants/mushrooms on personal property.  For further information, contact us at

Here's looking forward to a robust spring, a plethora of wildflowers and an abundance of mushrooms.