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Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Study of Dandelions

My mother lived in a suburb where the kids played in the street, even though everyone had a yard. There was more room on the street and it was neutral territory. If someone got mad they might go home with their ball, but you could still keep playing because they couldn't kick you off the street. 

But today's blog is not about playing in the street, it's about a man obsessed with having the perfect lawn.

The family were lovely people, but every kid in the neighborhood was afraid of his lawn. We played stickball and kickball in the street in front of his house and we knew that if he was home and the ball ended up in the front yard we were S.O.L.

They had a lovely veggie garden in the back, a single car garage where I tried to teach my friends how to dance and we put on shows, and a front lawn he was forever digging up.

To me the grass was lovely, but to him it was never right. Every year he would dig the entire thing up, search for rocks, pull up every root, and reseed. 

He set up little wooden stakes and ran strings (about two inches off the ground) from post to post with little flags that would blow and hopefully (from his point of view) scare the birds away. 

The children were never allowed on the grass. We really didn't mind because they had a lovely, roofed, front porch where we could play cards, board games, do homework, and read.

You are probably wondering why he tore up perfect lawns every year and spent hours hours flattening and leveling it.

Here is the reason:

This is not a picture of his actual lawn. His was a perfect deep green, with nary a dark spot. This is a picture I took today just because I love dandelions.

And I started thinking about how much Mr. B hated dandelions!

In my area dandelions are the true flower of spring. They are in bloom before the tulips, daffodils, and in some instances the crocuses. 

I took this picture on my walk today too. These beautiful flowers were not in bloom last week, but the dandelions were. 

This LittleGuy picked me a bouquet of them last week.

Dandelions are survivors. 

You may be able to dig them all out, but they will return. It just takes a few flying fairies and they replant themselves in your yard with no effort at all.

You don't have to water them, fertilize them, or even plant them.

Dandelions can grow anywhere:
Growing between the cement walkway and the cement slab of the building.
Growing on the sidewalk.
Growing  in the gutter between the street & the curb, surrounded by trash.
In the crevice of a stone wall.

Dandelion greens can be used in salads. They have a lemony flavor. You can cook them like spinach, or you can even make dandelion wine.

This recipe for dandelion soup looks delicious. I haven't made it yet, but I plan to tomorrow.

Here is a link for 5 recipes to make dandelion wine.

Here is a link to a wonderful blog where I found recipes for dandelion tea and coffee. 

I even found a recipe for dandelion jelly!

Dandelions are a good source of vitamins for your pet rodents.

The most important thing to look for in a dandelion is that it is pesticide and herbicide free. You may be coveting your neighbors dandelions, but before you raid his yard at midnight and pick them for your wine and jelly, make sure he hasn't used Round Up to kill the poor little things.

I must go now. I need to make a salad for dinner and I have to go raid my own yard for the greens. 
Sparky loves dandelions too.

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