A Weedy Wednesday

(I had several different posts all written up in my head as possibilities for this morning. Then I did something I have been avoiding for days…while wasting time on FB, I finally clicked on the link to the article about all the blackbirds that fell out of the sky in Arkansas on New Years Eve. Originally thought to be from shock from fireworks, more lab tests have now been ordered because MORE birds are falling from the sky. Now a lot of feelings have crawled onto my lap…alarm, sorrow… and anger that the cause is probably due to some out-of-balance human error…the wind is a bit gone from my sails for the more epic post ideas. So I will save those for later, and keep this one short and sweet.)

Those of us in San Francisco know one thing to be true.

We don’t have seasons.

Well, we do, but we don’t have four. We have two. Spring and Fall. Or Wet and Dry. Maybe three if you call it Wet, Fog, and Dry.

Right now, we are somewhere indistinguishable between Fall and Spring. Definitely Wet. Still gets a little too dark too early to bust out the flower crowns, but we have certainly moved beyond pumpkin pie and falling leaves. Unless you go up to Golden Gate Park, where most of the trees there have yet to get the memo. There are a lot of non-native tree species all over the city, and thus there is also a lot of the seasonally confused . The crab apple tree across the street has lost its leaves, still has fruit, and two of the branches have blossoms. Nature in the city has Bi-Polar Disorder.

Which is good news if you are a forager and are feeling a little bit sticky and slow from having eaten an entire wine cake over the holidays too much xmas spirit. Because it might still be January, but don’t tell that to the Miner’s Lettuce. As far as its concerned, its Spring, baby!

After the heavy rains is a great time to forage in city parks, since a lot of the grime (and dog pee) will have been washed away.
When Miner's Lettuce first crops up, it does not have the tell-tale circular leaf with the flower in the middle. The leaf is more spade-like, and does not enclose the stem. Miner's Lettuce is unlike most spring greens in that it is just as good after flowering as it is before.

There is a large field at the intersection of MLK Drive and Lincoln Way in GG Park, and if you keep an eye out in moist, open grassy spaces, you will find plenty. Clip the leaves, leave the roots and take only the smallest amount of what you need. And remember to say thank you.

For Christmas, Jeff surprised me with this beauty

I am so delighted and pleased and can’t wait to try out every single recipe. Now I just need to become a better mushroom hunter. As my mom says, “There are bold mushroom hunters and there are old mushroom hunters, but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters.”

Happy foraging.


5 thoughts on “A Weedy Wednesday

  1. woah. i wonder what i could fin out here in january…..i could ask my herbalist mentor.

    but hey, i hadn’t heard about the birds in arkansas. freaking me out…..

    1. i bet you could find usnea (the medicinal lichen that grows on trees). that would be a fun foraging challenge, looking for things in true winter.

      i know, the blackbird thing is really super sad….suddenly all these birds are falling out of the sky all over the world. my guess is that its similar to the cumulative neuro toxin that caused the bee die off…it would make sense that first the bees, since they are smaller and then the birds. this is such an intense time to be living, yeah?

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