Autumn Blooms

Cool climes are here at last – all at once, it seems, the barrier between seasons being a drizzly Monday morning.  We get ready and gradually awake, dancing around sleeping roommates.  A half hour later, it’s time to go.  One roommate’s already flown, and cool, quiet air floats through the screen door with a hint of cigarette smoke.

I get out the door later than I’d hoped.  Autumn clematis swims around the porch and fence, a dark blot against the intoxicating murky blue.  Their white blooms, so radiant two weeks ago, may not be with us much longer.

The walk is quiet – no dogs, little traffic.  Morning glory vines spout violet trumpets, blooms hidden in mystery until just now.  Shrubby chicory, hardy and persistent, glow powder-purple against the murk.

I walk to the bus stop, attentive yet relaxed, along pavement wet but not slick.  I reflect on a busy weekend.  A busy week to come.  A busy life, period.  Between my projects and TJ’s school, finding time to relax is a chore all its own.

And on top of that, it’s harvest time! I took to the lamb’s quarters plants  – well over six feet tall – with Chris’ darndao, which proved effective and fun, though hampered a bit by my lack of technique.  Unfortunately,  the sheer amount of lamb’s quarters plants and seeds made this a bigger chore than I was ready for.  In the few hours I worked on the project, I cut down one-eighth of the plants, and processed about one eighth of that.  By “processing,” I mean chopping and collecting the seed-bearing sprouts, stripping the leaves, and chopping the stems into segments.  Yes – in theory, every above-ground part of a lamb’s quarter plant is edible (and I’ve heard the roots are used as medicine)!  The stems are supposed to be delicious cooked, though I’ve not tried that – and frankly, a lot of the stems are too thick and woody to seem palatable.  I’ll have to experiment, won’t I?

Anyway – processing is a big chore that I’m trying to find time for.  Thankfully, I’ve seen a lot of buzz about drying lamb’s quarter leaves and reconstituting them later.  This may be a way to go, as the cold weather may wilt the leaves before I can save and freeze them.

The seeds are still green, but I’m looking forward to their many uses.  Lots of people cook them as a rice or quinoa “extender”.  There’s also an organic #seedshare account on Twitter that I’ll be taking part of.  I expect the seeds to number in the tens of thousands, so yeah… I’ll have some to spare.

Keep your chin up!

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