It may be hard to see the details, but from where I sit right now, the back field is awash in dandelion blossoms and our crabapple is near its peak of flowering. Photographs come close, but in this case it’s hard to capture the life and light (and sounds!) of a simple backyard view, so you’ll have to take my word for it: simply full of wonder.
About the Dandelions…
You might curse it as a weed when it pops up in your lawn, but it’s really quite beautiful. I mean, look at those curly bilobed stigmas at the end of each anther! (Sorry, just had to write some nerdy botanical terms.)
This cheerful little flower can grow practically anywhere. It thrives in difficult conditions!
I’ve known about the benefits of dandelion, but it wasn’t until we moved here that I began to really enjoy them. Now I can’t wait to gather dandelions in the spring. They are irresistible to me. I am like those first hungry bees who emerge to find a giant field of food, the first flowers to open, en masse!
During our first spring in Sequim I was entranced by what Jeff called, “the dandelion super-bloom!” I gathered blossoms and arranged them into this Hecate labyrinth design. Later I read that it might have been the goddess Hecate who strengthened Theseus on a diet of dandelions in order to battle the Minotaur … in the labyrinth! How cool is that?
Those lucky labyrinthine flowers that I gathered were used to infuse oil for a healing salve. I’ve used calendula for a long time, so I was thrilled to find that dandelions have many of the same healing properties. I also dug up whole plants to prepare a tincture à la Susun Weed. Now, I have more tincture and salve than I’ll ever get through in a lifetime! Believe me, if the USPS allowed the mailing of such potions, many of you would have received a parcel by now!
Tinctures, oils and vinegar take at least 6 weeks to infuse. So if you gather the first plants in mid April, you’ll be able to imbibe the fruits of your patience by early June. This year I want instant gratification, especially after the long-winter-like-no-other. I don’t know why I haven’t tried this before, but I finally made dried blossom tea with lemon, and I’ve added a few young leaves to my salads. Perhaps it will infuse me with its fortitude!
For more details on dandelions, there is no shortage of information out there. Whispering Earth has an especially readable blog, completely ad-free. See her post on Dandelion Medicine.
Now about the Crabapple Tree…
This crabapple is a Prairie Fire crabapple. What a wonderful name. Yes, the “fire” is short -lived, but it flourishes all year. Even in the middle of winter juncos and sparrows remain to pick at the moss, lichen, and the last little fruits. Right now it’s near to full bloom, attracting a host of birds and insects. There are two especially elusive visitors: cedar waxwings arrive for the fall fruit, and I think I finally identified a spring visitor who only arrives for bugs and the juicy little caterpillars emerging at the base of the blossoms. I’ve photographed this bird for 2 years and just last week was able to match the song. The warbling vireo is hard to catch on camera, but in the bright spring sunlight you can see glints of pale chartreuse flitting from branch to branch.
For the birders out there, feel free to correct me if I’ve misidentified this little sweetie. There are so many subtle nuances!
Thanks for taking the time to read this post. It was purely coincidental that I published on Earth Day. (“Or was it?” I can hear you ask, dear M.)
May the spring energy bring levity and good health to ALL of you dear friends and family!
Here is a little video of me preparing tea: