March: In like a lion, out like a lamb. (who said that? Google didn't really enlighten me too much. Maybe it's of unknown origin. I was too lazy to keep following links that seemed to be vague and unhelpful.)
That's the view to the southwest from my front porch, March 1. Granted, I didn't have to be on the road driving anywhere yesterday, but it seemed kind of like a geriatric lion. Does this mean monsoons and hurricanes and earthquakes in Vermont for this spring and summer? W.T....?
(Please note the black-eyed Susan heads in the lower right of the photograph, left standing for the winter. Soon the goldfinches and other small birds will be arriving, and there might still be another snowstorm or two after they arrive. They will be feasting on these lovely seeds and the other natural food we have in our yard.)
I was a lioness, however, when I got the bill for snowplowing for the month of February yesterday. Our plow guy has been positively milking us the whole non-snowy season. Oh, how I miss our old guy, who retired this year. I see a short future for this guy. He milked us even after we spoke to him twice when we noticed that he was coming EVERY SINGLE DAY (thinking we weren't home, of course, to catch him) to salt, charging us $15 a whack. We caught him putting salt on the driveway one day when it was 47 degrees, even after we had asked him not to salt unless it was literally like a skating rink. We ran out to ask him what.he.was.DOING.this.time. (this was two days after the last time we asked him to STOP.) He said he was "just trying to keep ahead of it." Yeah. That'll do it. Here, how about I go out every day at lunchtime and throw dollar bills on the pavement for extra traction? That would keep ahead of it, too.
I never liked him anyway -- he makes me cringe with his bad dentures and general sleaziness. The dishonest creep. Do I sound like a nasty person if I say, "some people are nothing more than a waste of space"? Must.find.new.plow.guy.
Don't mess with Norma. I'll chew up your ass.
I'm ready for spring to come, and gardening season. I'm antsy when I troll around blogland and see people's knitted items posing in daffodil beds. I won't have daffs for another two months, at least. NOT FAIR.
Last year I neglected my garden a lot. Blogging and knitting were The New Things, and I ....uh...neglected the garden. This year I hope you will bear with me so I can get back to the garden. I won't be doing any stupid Audrey-type sweaters or tanks this year. (famous last words)
I suppose I can blather on endlessly about the garden. Will you let me? If you want to come over and heave 50-pound bags of Intervale compost with me in my endless quest to improve the clay soil on my practically vertical landscape, you come right on over. Any time. Bring your best hiking boots (you'll need the traction - Wellies or pansyish "gardening clogs" won't cut it) and a strong back. It's very, very good for the thigh muscles and arms and back muscles. It helps if you're built somewhat like a mountain goat, since that's what our challenging lot is quite like -- a craggy, hilly mountain. Check your whining and your chemicals at the gate. There are no chemicals allowed here -- our soil and lawn are alive and healthy, not on drugs. Well, except for this year a little excess SALT, fucksake. And don't expect your manicure to be too pretty when it's over. Mr. Plow Guy is soon to have his face rearranged, too, if he isn't careful. He'd be well advised not to come around here when I'm wielding a shovel or a garden fork.
Speaking of lions, (we were, weren't we?) soon it will be dandelion (Etymology: Middle French dent de lion; literally, lion's tooth) season. I can't wait. My family and I love to eat our dandelions. I still have some from last year in the freezer, and I just had some for lunch the day before yesterday. I sauteed them in walnut oil with onions and organically raised Vermont farmed venison, (sorry, veg friends) seasoned with a little sea salt and cayenne pepper. And I've had dandelion coffee the past few days. It's almost spring. My body is telling me to cleanse. It's the true spring tonic, and I can't wait for the fresh kind to be ready. When I told Abigail what I'd had for lunch, she said, "Yummmmmm, you have to get me healthy when I come home for spring break." That's my girl! (her boyfriend, when surveying our pantry and refrigerator, was heard to say, "I could never live here." But then again, we've got him willingly eating tofu now, so....)
We often have dandelion omelets and sauteed dandelions as above with various meats, or use them in tomato sauces served on brown rice pasta. If not prepared properly, or if harvested too late, dandelions can be bitter, but when prepared properly, they are wonderful! Even when they're bitter, I like them. All it takes is a sprinkle of lemon juice to cut the bitterness. The other day I had a fresh turmeric, dandelion, and local goat's cheese (from the next town) omelet. I'd never had fresh turmeric before -- it is phenomenal. Now that so much has been learned about it as a potent antioxidant, apparently the health food stores are stocking it in its fresh form. At least up here in the hinterlands. It's probably been available in ethnic markets in more metropolitan areas forever, but it's the first time I've seen it. I've also been cutting off little chunks and eating it raw.
You can read some fascinating and fun material about dandelions here and here, (the second link is especially for Joe). The dandelion coffee is amazing. I drink it often. I like strong coffee flavor, so I use the dandelion coffee powder in a much larger amount than recommended, and it's wonderful. (there's no coffee and no caffeine in it -- it's a coffee alternative, and it tastes amazingly like coffee.)
Do your body and your planet a favor: Stop poisoning your dandelions and eat them instead. Sermon over.....for now.
Now, where is that gardening fork? I think I hear the plow coming.