Carpet of miner’s lettuce
This morning, there was a flurry of planting activity as we prepared the garden for the approaching storm. Obviously, transplanting is best right before a rain because it helps save water and reduces transplant shock.
Flats of tiny seed starts need to be planted in the raised beds and the kiwi vines will be soon transplanted to their new space in the garden. Now, all we need is a deep, soaking rain to water in all the plantings.
Hopefully, this weekend we’ll all help erect a long trellis made with lodge poles over one of the walkways. We’ll probably plant climbing lima beans on the trellis, along with hanging the self-watering strawberry planters.
This year we are trying a few new veggies. It’s always a challenge to control one’s self over the smorgasbord of seed and seed catalogs that inundate us at this time of year. But, we decided to splurge a little this year, and one of the new veggies we are trying are the white, yellow and purple heirloom carrots. Another new addition that we want to add to the front yard is a dwarf mulberry bush(es) to act as a small, edible hedge. Then we can merrily sing “here we go ’round the mulberry bush!”
Miner’s lettuces are popping up in all sorts of places around the yard this year. The delicate, heart shaped leaves of the miner’s lettuce make it one of my favorite greens. The plant are lush and green and their blooms are delicate, white clusters. They are great ground cover, surely one can’t complain of this pretty looking “wild weed” growing amongst all the fruits and veggies.
Miners lettuce is named after the California gold rush miners who ate it to get their vitamin C to fight scurvy. Imagine how thankful the miners were when this plant came up in the spring. The winter has just past and they all have red bleeding gums and loose teeth. Many of them have sores that will not heal. Rejoicing that spring has come, feasting on a salad of miners lettuce that cures them of those miseries brought on by scurvy. If they had only known about pine needles and straw berry leaves they would have had plenty of vitamin C.
Both the leaves and stems of miners lettuce are similar in taste to iceberg lettuce. You can add it to sandwiches and salads just as you do any lettuce. Furthermore, unlike many wild edible plants, miners lettuce does not grow stale or bitter as it ages but remains delicate and mild through its entire life cycle.
The plant grows between February and May, with tiny flowers of five white petals coming at the end of the growing season. It can reach a height of eight inches, though is usually shorter.
The replacement Envirolet composter came last week and we are happy to say it arrived safely and the seal looks to be properly sealed. We are very satisfied with their customer service. We figure since the toilet won’t fit in the service porch bathroom we may end up installing it in the front full bathroom. That’s good news, the “bad news” is that we probably won’t be installing the compost toilet for sometime while we finish a few other projects.
Today we ordered 5lbs of red worms to help increase our worm population. We were worried that our having moved them and temporarily placed them in tubs that some may have died. I think we found an ideal spot on the corner north side of the house nestled among the bananas.
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS
There are many people who talk about caring for the environment but are actually doing very little about it—so-called “environmentalists” included. I don’t think you can proclaim something without doing something about it. ~ Saving God’s Green Earth: Tri Robinson ~
Well, our plans for visiting New Zealand this winter didn’t work out as planned. The homestead life got in the way. It should have, no complaints, just stating the facts of modern pioneer life. However, a trip to New Zealand would have been nice! 😉 Instead, we look forward to making our little corner of the earth a better place.
To be truly self-sufficient one has to spend a better part of the day doing chores that will help one make it to the next. So much for time-off and vacations – right. One day, besides food and energy, even vacations will have to be localized. No more jet setting to places thousands of miles away.
There are very few people left in the world who are totally connected or dependent on the earth. China has had the largest migration in history (over 350 million!) of those leaving the country and relocating to the city. These migrants, of course, are looking for a better, easier life and who wouldn’t? Who really wants to work the earth “from sweat of their brow” with its irregularities? Sure, they may get a easy life, but at a price. They also get toxic pollution, crowds, and an endless bombardment of consumerism.
About our disconnection with the earth: For instance, notice the first things “normal” city folks do in the morning:
1. flip a switch to turn on a light
2. use the restroom, flushing the toilet
3. turn on knob for water, shower
4. go to the fridge, take out milk or other store bought/packaged products
5. turn on a few electrical gadgets — coffee maker, toaster, etc.
6. cook breakfast on gas, electric range or microwave
7. turn on the computer, tv, radio
8. get into car, drive on an asphalt maze to work
I may have missed a few, or the order could be a different, but this is basically the morning routine played out in millions of households across the world. What connection do these routines have with the natural cycle of earth? We, more than ever, are so disconnected and have lost contact with the natural order of things. where our The earth should be central to our daily lives (not on weekends or perhaps some eco vacations)
We have to look at our daily lives and ask ourselves: What do we get directly from the earth ourselves–when we eat, or drink , or bathe? Today, these conveniences are usually just a flick of the wrist away. If we want a drink of water, are we ever concerned if it rains? Or if someone is polluting the water?
Jules recalls a conversation he had with a man, who with his wife, moved to Alaska. He said that 3/4 of his day was spent making sure they could live another day. Think of this–3/4 of the day! How many hours do we spend getting enough food, fuel, water for the next day? We definitely have a ways to go.
Recent generations have lost feelings for their daily needs, taking them for granted and that in turn has made us lose our care for the earth. What feelings does one have turning on a switch? Do you appreciate the sun — no. Do you care if the sun’s out – no. There’s been a wholesale slaughter of our feelings by the modern devices which have buffered us from the natural world. We are so comfortable now we don’t even truly feel anymore.
Everything is out of sight out, and, therefore, out of mind in a magical world of smoke and mirrors.
This modern world has flat lined our feelings; there are no ups and downs anymore (heaven forbid!). As it with a heart monitor, experiencing the “up and down” is a good. This is a vital sign that we are alive, experiencing nature’s heartbeat. Having had the “up and downs” taken from us, we have flat lined these natural rhythms. (If you were in the ICU, a flat line would mean one was dead.)
We need to have two hands, two feet, our whole body following the cycles of nature and, until then, we aren’t completely whole.