Green and grassy greetings from the verdant leas of the Catskills.
Mid-summer is just passed, and the harvest is beginning. Everywhere the grasses are proclaiming themselves. I am here. Look at how beautiful I am. Eat me. Eat me.
Those allergic to grass pollen will be celebrating the ripening of the grass seeds, as it signals an end to pollen release from the grass flowers. Most of us don’t think of grasses as having flowers at all. But they do, though the flowers are small, inconspicuous, practically nothing but the pistil and the stamen. Those profligate stamen, releasing great exhalations of pollen into the air. Since grasses are pollinated by the wind, not by bees, they don’t need colorful, enticing flowers. Alas, eating bee pollen or raw honey to counter “hay fever” won’t work, since bees don’t collect grass pollen.
Amber waves of grain. The seeds of grasses are grains: corn, wheat, rice, rye, spelt, sorghum, millet, oats. Every grass seed is edible. And humans have been eating grass seeds for at least 30,000 years according to archeological evidence. My first classes – the ones I taught years before I taught herbal medicine – were called: The Best Bread You Ever Ate; You Make It Yourself with Love. And the first class we made a simple whole wheat loaf and I rhapsodized about wheat.
I love grains, whole grains, unrefined and minimally-processed grains. They are the backbone of civilization. And the pole star of a great diet. There is always a pot of brown rice in my fridge and a loaf of whole wheat bread on the counter.
Come with me on a walk through the wild field around the pond I had dug some years ago. There is such a variety of grasses, sedges, and rushes that I was able to take all these pictures in less than fifteen minutes.
The goats are settling in and learning the wild ways of Laughing Rock Farm. They are going with us into the woods and taking long walks with us, though they are still most at ease behind a fence. They love the goat tower, but are frightened of the tarp that covers the wooden roof which is awaiting its covering of copper. We located several local builders who can put copper on our tower roof, but, so far, we can’t pin anyone down as to when they will do it. Stay tuned. We are!
We enjoyed ourselves this past weekend harvesting weeds and peas and herbs at our CSA farm. We made thyme vinegar, sage blossom vinegar, and calendula oil, as well as collecting 15-20 pounds of primo, tender lamb’s quarter and amaranth.
What are you harvesting these days?
Green blessings are everywhere.
~ Grasses in the Lea, Part One ~