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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Taraxacum Officinale

From Euell Gibbons' wonderfully informative field guide "Stalking The Wild Asparagus" I gleaned this information:

Expressed juice from dandelion roots was used in times past to improve the health of those who suffered from vitamin deficiencies in fall/winter. Roots dug up in spring can be treated and cooked like sliced potatoes. Newly sprouted greens from the springtime plant also make wonderful salads. Ground up roots may be used to make a coffee substitute, and the flowers are an important ingredient in making dandelion wine.

I'll not slam dandelions, no. As a child, I often picked these harbingers of spring to gift others. And suffered brown sticky fingers due to the "milk" oozing from broken stems. There was a way to weave them into a garland... In late summer I blew their downy fluff to "make a wish" and watched as myriads of white-winged brown seeds floated aloft on any available breeze, bound for new homes. Indeed, I could actually admire these composite flowers (flowers within flowers) for their tenacity (Can you ever really uproot one of these plants?) and proliferation. Don't tell anyone, but from time to time I have enjoyed the view of a field gold with dandelions (glad that it was not my own lawn). So, who designated them "weeds?"
This poem I wrote a while ago comes to mind:

Weed Lament
Dandelions' sunny heads
springing up where 'ere they please,
in and out of flower beds,
bringing gardeners to their knees!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Life Is Just A Bowl Of...........

How lovely is the fruit of the season! Each month offers something new. Today was moderately warm and breezy- happily lacking the recent oppressive humidity. I always feel more alive when the humidity is lower. This was Farmers' Market day in a nearby town, so I went to check out the produce displays. Dark green cucumbers gleamed, the season's first peaches blushed, purplish plums beckoned, yellow or dark red cherries beguiled. I opted for 1/2 bushel of peaches to can and a decent sized basket of sour cherries for jam.

Having previously given up on using the clever "cherry pitter" tool, I devised a simpler and faster (for me) method of removing the pits from the sour cherries: Take a handful of washed/de-stemmed cherries, use a sharp paring knife to pop the skins, then squeeze the cherries one-by-one over a small bowl, removing the pits by hand. Well, it worked for me and my first batch of cherry jam is sitting prettily in small jars cooking on the counter.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

(Photo) Strip-Art

I thought I had better keep my blog title respectable, not wanting to invite trouble.

In 2009 I attended a wonderful quilt show in Rochester, NY, then unexpectedly found myself heading south to Virginia and from there to eastern Tennessee for longer than I could have guessed. After all the uprooting and travel I needed some craft time to relax. While trimming my quilt show photo's for my chunky albums, I ended up with quite a few colorful strips.

I was surprised to note pastel colors of the (white) hanging sheets, and patterns in the gymnasium rafters. I couldn't bear to throw out these trimmings so I arranged dark/light or graduated effects and glued them to photo framing matte board. The results were quite interesting, especially as I picked out a clock here, a section of running track there, a high window and its reflection, the cage-work of pipes, a curtained door that wasn't really there.

Have fun deciding what you see in these compositions...