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.