Thursday, May 5, 2011


Promise, an indication of something favorable to come:
A garden does not promise, in the sense of assuring that something will happen.  A garden is never "mastered."  A gardener doesn't know what will come along -- a tornado, hail, windstorm, varmint, pest, disease, or thief-in-the-night.  Something stole our six 3-week-old chicks a few nights ago.  We naively thought they were safely enclosed in an antique chicken coop.  This, too, could happen to a strawberry...

or to future wheat berries...
 to my grove of young pomegranates...
or to the whole shebang -- flowering arugula (left forefront), cilantro, garlic, potatoes, carrots, peas and beyond.
Meanwhile, it's fun to watch green beans grow fast...
and parsnips big and tall.  This one, planted last fall, looks as if it may provide seeds for this fall.
The parsnips offer rich leaves and thick celery-like stalks.  Can we eat them?  Yes, but what will happen next?  Tony, in The Two SmallFarms Newsletter. Issue Number 270 - March 31st , 2004, writes: "...parsnip leaves are toxic and exude natural chemicals called furocoumarins. These toxins can provoke an irritating rash somewhat like poison oak if you get them on your skin or rub them in your eye. The roots don't carry the furocoumarins at all, but you will notice you never see bunched parsnips in the supermarket" (see the mention of parsnips in my immediately preceding blog entry).

On the other hand, on September 29, 2010, "Dustee Pines" wrote: "Parsnip leaves are absolutely lovely to eat! I enjoy eating them! I just made a batch of beet soup with them for supper tonight. I use the relatively younger leaves or the small to mid size. Wash them and chop them up and cook them in your favorite dishes. if the stalks are small, I use them and if they are large I just use the leaf. I am not partial to them raw -- just cooked. They add a lovely aroma and flavor to your food. I put them in mashed potatoes, soups, stews and savory pies! I am Alive and Well! I typically put them in recipes for a longer cooking time. For mashed potatoes, I put them in right at the beginning of the cooking time. For soups, I put them in with my other vegetables. So for chicken soup -- it is lovely! If you are not concerned about allergies, give it a try -- maybe in smaller quantity -- just one or two leaves to see how you do.~ Cheers to Beautiful Food!"

"She was alive then," says Virginia.  "Is she still?"

I'd bet on Dustee and her "give it a try -- maybe in smaller quantity."  Sometimes we're quicker to lean on legend than learn the truth.

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