Do It Now

Dressed for battle with bugs (some artistic license may have been taken )

Dressed for battle with bugs (some artistic license may have been taken )

In the hills where I grew up, Spring was a leisurely affaire. She took her time, cuddling into to Winter and having breakfast in bed before giving graceful way to the heat of Summer. Bulbs peeped above the leaf litter, fruit trees blossomed, and the various deciduous trees donned leafy finery all in the appointed time. Bees meandered through the bounty, sipping like connoisseurs, dancing their cute wiggle-bottom pleasure to one another.

On the plains however, Spring is a hurried, harried wham-bam-thankyou-m’am conducted with the Juggernaut Summer pounding on the door demanding to know what you are doing with His Daughter.

Limey Passionfruit Curd

Limey Passionfruit Curd

Limey Passionfruit Curd

A few years ago, Chosen Sister ran a home business that produced jam, preserves (and everything delicious) from local, organic and/or home grown produce. She sold her “delectable comestibles” in a Farmer’s Market and very soon needed an assistant.  I didn’t so much “step” into the role as “throw myself in with wild abandon”. Those were very happy years. Long hours of foraging, researching and preparation, not to mention actually running the stall, were forgotten in the joy of her companionship.  I miss the excitement of brain-storming ever more fantastic concoctions (and ways to use them) over coffee.  Panama Red Passionfruit from a particularly lush vine in her back yard featured heavily in our plottings. The luscious curd produced from this fruit was extremely popular, each batch selling out in a few hours. We didn’t quite get fist-fights-over-the-last-jar, but it was a near thing!

There are many things I have missed since my Chosen Sister left for foreign climes. I miss singing together .. and laughing together over some very off-coloured jokes that matched our off-beat conversations. I miss her gorgeous, eccentric family .. and I miss that vine!

Monsters in the Garden; Invasion of the Red Weed

“.. the Red Weed grew with astonishing vigour and luxuriance. It spread up the sides of the pit .. afterwards I found it broadcast throughout the country .. Red Weed clung and grew with frightening voraciousness, its claw-like fronds .. covering field and ditch and tree and hedgerow with living scarlet feelers, crawling! crawling!”

~ H.G.Wells. The War of the Worlds 1898

Spring. New shoots  appear

Spring. New shoots appear

Madder (Rubia tinctoria) is one of the oldest fodder, medicinal and dye plants known to man. It is still widely cultivated for the production of Rose Madder, dyes in shades of pinks and reds produced from the dried roots of this little Monster. With visions of my own gorgeous hand dyed wool and silk threads, I contacted a heirloom seed exchange to obtain fresh seeds. A few weeks later a package arrived in the mail, containing a few dozen and a handwritten note. “Watch this one, it will take over if you aren’t careful”.