Saturday, March 12, 2011

washing the car...

One of the chores today was washing the car, which as is traditional, quickly turned the afternoon sunshine to rain. This action/reaction is a lot more fun in the summertime. However, the plan is to turn Nimblefoot into a small pile of funds to help pay the taxes, and that requires a bit of spiffing-up to look well both in person and in photos. Nimblefoot (my well-used Saturn wagon) is soon to be going up on the local Craigslist, and hopefully will soon find a new home. It will be much more useful to have the covered carport space empty, than to have it full of a car I don't drive.

So I'm not showing the me-made clothing I wore this morning, since by midafternoon they were all soaking wet and I was quite cold! After some hot tea and warm-from-the-dryer towels, I changed into this: stripey flannel dress, blue polartec leggings, grey corduroy jumper, stripey wool refashioned vest, blue handknit wool scarf and blue handknit acorn hat. All of these have been worn at least once already this month, except the vest.

A few years back there was a fun project at the Church of Craft (sadly no longer meeting) that involved cutting up thrifted sweaters and turning them into other things. I made two vests: one is dark grey with stripey edge-binding, and an embroidered patch on the back with...a bird on it, the other one is mostly stripey, with a floral band on the back, and an applique patch with a stenciled design of an Akita dog and the kanji that say the same thing "akita dog"
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Yesterday my friends S, and her sweetie B, came over and we did a short neighborhood "edible weed walk". It is kind of fun to see what is growing in the alleyways and parking strips that is potentially forage-able. Made me realise that I have some knowledge that is not as ubiquitous as I'd imagined, another skill to both add to my inventory, and to make an effort to further upgrade.

It is still very early spring, but there were early greens to be found. I'd hoped to see some miners lettuce, but none showed up around here, alas. That is one of my very favorite greens, and it might be good to acquire seeds and scatter them around, as it would be a tasty thing to have.

There are some violets nearby, which are edible both leaves and flowers. The flowers make a beautiful edible salad garnish, and can be sugared for cake decoration. There are dandelion greens aplenty, supposedly edible but I've never tried them, being allergic to them.

Another theoretical edible is Rampion aka Rapunzel - Campanula rapunculus, which I believe is growing in my parking strip. It is a campanula, and introduced from Europe to North America. I let it grow in my parking strip because it is a pretty weed, and will take some to Portland Nursery for definitive identification (not wanting to try eating something if'n I'm not certain what it is)

One plant that is extremely common is Bittercress - Cardamine hirsuta. Some of my friends up in Olympia gather this and cook with it in early spring. It is somewhat bitter, and has a pungent peppery nutlike taste, quite similar to arugala, but more "wild". It would be good added in very small quantities to a green salad, and I may try it cooked and mixed in with some feta or other mild dairy.

Chickweed - Stellaria media, is found all over the place. This plant would be a good introduction to foraging, as it is very mild and tender. The first time I was offered some, it reminded me a lot of the taste of salad sprouts that were so common on sandwiches in the seventies. Again, there is none in my yard, but that should be easy to fix.
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Over about four blocks away, on the way to a bus stop, there is an odd little kiosk in a front yard. Some kind of industrial salvage, about the size of a shoebox, and mounted on a pole so as to be high enough to see inside, it currently shelters this poem:

being a person

be a person here.
stand by the river, invoke the owls.
invoke winter, then spring.
let any season that wants to come here make it's own call.
after that sound goes away, wait.

a slow bubble rises through the earth
and begins to include sky, stars, all space
even the outracing expanding thought.
come back and hear the little sound again.

suddenly this dream you are having matches everyone's dream,
and the result is the world.
if a different call came
there wouldn't be any world,
or you, or the river, or the owls calling.

how you stand is important.
how you listen for the next thing to happen.
how you breathe.

william stafford

methow river poems


  1. wow, look at the adorable smile. You look so relaxed and happy. :-)

  2. Thanks for the foraging information! I'm didn't know you could eat bittercress. I have been looking for nettles, but no luck yet.