It is Dandelion season again, time to make my yearly plea to stop poisoning the Earth and ourselves. Dandelions. I do enjoy their sunny little faces, but even more so their powerful and abundant medicine. Every part of the Dandelion is useful. The flower makes great wine and a luscious petal-infused salve. The root is a deep liver support. The leaves are good eatin’… a delicious bitter and a gentle diuretic. Food for the bees. But even more important the Dandelion is a symbol for the world’s complete backwardsness. Not only is it considered OK to poison the crap out of our Earth in order to get rid of Dandelions it is actually strongly encouraged through tons of advertising– and in many places one is considered a real wackjob for not mowing, digging, and otherwise maiming them.
To achieve the pesticide-laced monocrop we call the lawn, which provides nothing of substance for Earth’s creatures! It is obnoxious that one of the plants which we need the most we poison the most vigorously. The tenacity of the Dandelion is intimidating. The mystery disgusts people.
Now, I have mentioned this before but that won’t keep me form saying it again. All pesticides and herbicides need to be eliminated. Stop making them, stop using them, stop advertising them, stop selling them. No, there is no excuse and no reason to ever spray poison onto the earth, in the air, anywhere. We do not own the Earth, we are just borrowing it.
Dandelions are tenacity incarnate, coming up through cracks in the pavement and so often we miss the lesson entirely. The Dandelion has a sense of humor, as plants do, but is losing patience with us. the Dandelion asks, “Must i paint you a picture?”
spring is apparently here, came in like a lion a couple weeks ago. we have been digging up a lot of roots, making tinctures…and homemade root beer! it is made with the sweet birch sap we collected, all day on the woodstove you simmer the sap along with a bunch of birch twigs, burdock root, sassafras root, dandelion and yellow dock roots, and some astragalus. also, maple syrup. briefly fermented, it makes a delicious spring tonic. nothing like the crap they pass off as root beer these days, which is basically (gmo)corn syrup dyed brown and artificially flavored-in a can.
yesterday i planted 8 blackhaw plants, 6 elders, 1 hawthorn and 2 black currants. it was vey invigorating. the plants look great, i ordered them from st. lawrence nurseries. next i’d like to replace a few of the fruit trees lost in the ice storm. i also took a seeding expedition through the woods, tossing shade-loving medicinals seeds everywhere i went. i’m like johnny herbalseed over here! one of my main objectives is to restore medicinal understory plants to the property/planet, many of which are in danger due to overharvesting or massive habitat loss.(like gated 2nd home communities)
and, the ramps are up. wild leeks. they are so very cheerful, waving their lily-like leaves in the wind coming off the river, growing well in leaf mulch or sand, very much in community. i like them pickled or in a quiche-you take your ramps, and some baby nettles and other wild greens or spinach, and some eggs and some goat cheese-voila! oh, yeah, and bake it. i also like wild onions, but that may be onion overlaod for the faint o f heart!
on that foraging expedition i also encountered bloodroot which is so very delightful in spring, the curled up leaf like a little shawl aorund the flower stalk. and i met for the first time dutchman’s breeches-one of the most hilarious flowers i’ve seen in a while. i like flowers that are evocative or sexy or weird. i used to think flowers were a waste of time and i was all business-“grow food! forget about those stupid flowers!” now i see that flowers make the world go ’round, and i especially love flowers which can be used for medicine. i still roll my eyes at vast, wasteful displays of annual pansies and overfed hydrangeas or fussy hybrid roses, but i see many plants as food or medicine now, for the mind and senses not just the digestive system. i’m a little more pollinator-centric in my garden decision making than i used to be. “practical” is a very relative term depending on who’s calling the shots.