pink lemonade: the real thing

Step One: find some clean purple clover, i.e. where pesticides, car fumes and/or other schmutz has not touched it. (mine came from the market)
STEP TWO:  remove green bits, rinse blossoms (store where they can dry out or they’ll go soggy and rot; can be used fresh or dried; dried they can last months).
STEP THREE:  add 3 cups blossoms to 4 cups water; boil 5 to 7 minutes then strain (the cooked blossoms are a nice garden mulch/compost).

The liquid will be brown at this point but when you add 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice, alchemy happens and it becomes… pink. (A very fun ‘presto’ moment—to watch, or stun audiences with!)

Honey or stevia to taste.Chill.


first forage of the season

Consisting of: nettles, dandelion, and sorrel (our friendly garden rabbit finally had its fill and deigned to let us have a go).To which was added: olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, a handful of seasonings and slices of cold hamburger.
*Note: to eat nettles, pick off leaves and chop finely (discard stems)

yes yes yes, we should!

In case I’m not being clear—to the oh-so-excellent question posed: Should We Learn to Love Weeds?—I say yes! We should learn which are the good ones and make salad and soup and tea and allow them a few sacred spots in our gardens and yards and welcome the variety of insects their variety will attract, which, if all goes as it’s meant to means most of those insects will eat each other, saving us the trouble and expense of spritzing nonsense all over the place and poisoning the very air we hope wafts in through our windows on a pleasant day.

There are some dastardly ones too of course, but no need to tar them all with the same brush or to miss a good meal…

Makes me think of the story someone told me about seeing a homeless man downtown with a Feed Me, I’m Hungry sign. The irony was that he was leaning against a cement planter that was full of dandelions, purslane and lambs quarters—the stuff of pricey gourmet greens.

Self Seeded Nettles Soon to be Soup


here’s to fresh food and farmers

The picture doesn’t do this bounty justice.  All of which was less than seventeen bucks. And yes, that’s the last of the asparagus (sad to say goodbye—it’s been sooo good). The first (for me) of the strawberries—which, by the way, I learned recently, are best picked and eaten in the morning when the dew’s still on them—just in case any of you are heading out to a strawberry patch in the coming dewy days.  

To the left, a pile of mini hothouse cukes, most of which got left out of the snap. (Tomatoes are also hothouse; I normally wait for vine-ripened, but it was my first day at the local farmers’ market, the sun was shining, and, well, I had a mad moment…)

From the garden, there’s this—

I’m slightly insane about salads. They would be my preferred last meal were I to face a firing squad and be offered a choice.

This one includes nettles, dandelion leaves, mesclun, arugula, lambs’ quarters and purslane. Oh, and nasturtium leaves and flowers for oomph and a peppery je ne sais quoi-ish quality that never hurts and is not hard on the eyes.

Also garlic. I couldn’t resist pulling one from the still ripening crop. Normally the ‘First Garlic Bulb of the Season’ is almost a ceremonial event around here.  Not this year. I just yanked one out and diced a few perfect, crisp, translucent, completely-unlike-the-stuff-from-China cloves, then topped the whole schmozzle with my favourite dressing: olive oil and fresh lemon juice.

Anyway, definitely oodles to choose from at this time of year, right from our own ‘backyard’.  (It’ll be months before I step inside a grocery store again, except to buy detergent and sardines.)

aka saskatoon berry

The gardening robin is in the serviceberry tree. The fruit’s just ripening and he’s all over it these days, flapping amongst the leaves, hopping nervously from branch to branch. He used to be more relaxed about things but I guess he’s twigged that I’m also fond of the stuff.

It breaks my heart to see him looking over his tiny shoulders, scanning the yard, wondering when my berry bucket will appear.  

He needn’t be so afraid, I want to tell him; I’m happy to share.

Update: Now the cardinals are in on things.

Can you see how his beak is twisted into a tiny worried frown?

things to do with weeds

Chop nettles. Don’t worry, they don’t bite. Much.

Rinse radish seedlings (these are the ‘thinnings’ you pull out so the others have leg room to grow into plump little morsels).

Add chopped garlic, cucumber and broccoli stems (peeled), shredded carrot, dandelion blossoms and violets. Toss with lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt. Take outside and eat in the sun. Smile. Weeds are good.