Friday, August 18, 2017

Out of the Weeds

It looks like I've let the weeds grow here on the blog over the last six weeks.  Hopefully not as bad as they've grown in real life in my dad's garden this summer.  They are ruling the world over there, let me tell you.  More about that in a bit, but for now I'm here with virtual hoe in hand to make amends for this neglected space on the Interweb. 

Working on machine applique.
Behind the hedges, so to speak, I've been doing a few things.  Finished a quilt, made a bag, fixed some "not-shoes" that my niece is going to wear for her wedding, and started a string quilt. 

Hobo bag commissioned by my niece.
Quilt finish - made from bonus Christmas fabric HSTs.
String-X quilt pieces, string pieced on phone book pages.
I've also been enjoying the summer in other ways—biking, walking, reading, etc.  
One of the many bike rides we've enjoyed.
I would add gardening, but that's been a bit of a failure, it seems.  Turns out gardens are a lot of work. Not just requiring outright sweaty labor, but consistency.  I'm not able to get over there daily and tend it, and I swear it knows.  It knows.  Nature knows the shopkeeper isn't minding the till(er). 

Dad has been the master gardener in the family through the years, until the present one.  But he's still laid up with his broken ankle from January and some healing complications from that.  So with the help of a couple other family members, we got his garden planted (in some pretty boggy soil), but the crops haven't done very well.  The radishes and parsnips washed out.  About a third of the onions came up, about a dozen beets are still thinking about it, and a handful of green bean plants are struggling to push out some pods.  The peppers, nada.  The tomatoes?  They may be okay eventually, barring an early frost.
Wildflowers (grown by Nature, not me)
The weeds, however, are THRIVING.

If you can't beat 'em - eat 'em?

After whacking at the thousandth specimen of one weed, in particular, I got curious about it.  So I asked Google what the heck it was and ultimately identified it as purslane.  That's not what Dad called it, but we won't go there.

A little more investigating revealed it was edible.  Not only edible but very nutritious and supposedly good tasting.  Apparently, various cultures actually enjoy eating the stuff and even pay money for it!

And here it was in spades.  I won't go so far as to say manna from heaven, but Nature's gift, at any rate, or consolation prize.  A veritable and vegetative "participation trophy" for us amateurs.

You think you can grow peppers?  Not this year, lady.  But have some purslane.

So I ate it.  And it was good!

It tastes like baby spinach, only better.  Brighter tasting, a little lemony.  I chopped some up and sprinkled it in a salad.  I added it to soft tacos for a tasty crunch. 

I didn't eat a ton of it—you never know when my touchy stomach will decide that everything must go—but I gave it a fair shot and enjoyed it, and it didn't cause me any grief.  So there's that.

What kind of adventures have you had this summer—gardening, gastronomic, or otherwise?