Henbit Deadnettle: first wildflower of the season

Dear Reader:

We’re all hoping for a little more rain around here this winter. It rained four days in February last year, and three days in March, but we haven’t seen one drop since January. It’s pretty warm already, and the earth is starting to firm up. This patch of earth is covered in wildflowers in spring; the first flower is out already, and I’m scattering more seeds now. Dear friend Gregorio Taniguchi sent our farmstead a half-pound of Mountain Meadow and Butterfly wildflower mix, enough to cover the big wild field to the south. I’m weak in math, so I’m not exactly sure, but a half-pound is A LOT of seeds. While I’m pretty sure we won’t see another freezing night, a good rain would sure help establish these wildflower babies before we mow them all down in late spring.

Speaking of the big wild field to the south, there’s a pair of mating geese who have taken up residence there. Actually, the geese are probably thinking, “who is this lady who thinks this is her field? We’ve lived here for years.” My neighbor named them “Harold and Marge,” which seems like a strange mash-up of the 1971 rom-com Harold and Maude starring Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon, and The Simpsons. And my dad. My dad is a Harold too. Anyway, I need a real camera with a zoom lens so I can get a good photo of them for you. They’re quite elegant, and loud, and they are owning that field. (If you’re reading this on February 11, you can catch a blurry pic of them on the @las.flechas.farmstead Instagram story.)

It’s February, and suddenly so busy. This morning, I incorporated a load of Sasha-the-Beautiful pony poop (pure garden gold) into my garden compost, and as I was using my shovel, rake, and pitchfork, I realized I had better ease into garden season the same way I used to ease back into the gym. I climb up and down stairs, walk around this hilly property, walk up and down the road with Pete, and continue my gentle yoga practice — but my body is not in “garden-shape” right now, and I can feel it. I’ve got to start easy, or risk injury.

(PS: I also had to use my stern voice with Pete — he is obsessed with eating Sasha’s poop. That’s how good it is.)

Speaking of injury…it was right about this time last year that Pete broke his toe. His puppy convalescence slowed the whole garden process down, so I am very conscious of the risks as I negotiate all of the lumpy bumpy parts of the property, avoid the gopher holes, and the holes Pete digs trying to catch those gophers.

We have a new Meyer Lemon tree in a pot in the sunroom. It’s a beauty, fragrant and unfolding from its USPS packaging, opening up to the light.

Let me tell you the main things that are in the works this weekend: finish scattering wildflower seeds; start more vegetable seedlings in the sunroom; speed-read Beekeeping for Dummies and attend Beekeeping for Beginners class with the El Dorado Beekeepers; finish machine quilting the MHS tshirt quilt, and bind; learn to use my Speedweve darning loom; work on this website (adding two poems after this); and, I want to keep my Wordle winning streak going!

Finally, let me leave you with a little information about Henbit Deadnettle, the pretty purple flower and delightful edible herb with medicinal properties, popping up everywhere around here. Here’s a brief blurb from the linked website:

Henbit leaves are especially versatile. You can eat them raw, cook them as a potherb, or boil them to make herbal tea. Younger leaves taste especially delicious in salads while older ones taste better cooked as a potherb. The flavor of henbit leaves compliment egg and pasta dishes really well. Other ingredients that will taste amazing with this edible include spinach, soft cheeses, mushrooms, nuts, poultry, pork, and wild game meats.


Currently reading:

  • How Proust Can Save Your Life, Alain de Botton (Audible)
  • Dreyer’s English, Benjamin Dreyer (Audible)
  • Circe, Madeline Miller (Audible)
  • Prayers for the Stolen, Jennifer Clement
  • Beekeeping for Dummies, Howard Blackiston
  • Last Night at the Telegraph Club, Malinda Lo