Serendipity –The faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.
We have been in a serendipitous season at the farm for a while, or perhaps I just choose to embrace all the wonderful, valuable, and agreeable things that Elohim brings my way…
My new friend Pat, who is a local herbalist, recently came to the farm to pick up some bluebird houses (Branch’s new business – custom built to order). We were walking thru the garden when she happened to comment on the lovely stand of Stellaria I was growing. Now I admit I am weak in the Latin/botanical names for plants in the garden – so I asked for the common name – “Chickweed” she said
(http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Chickweed.html). Who knew? I have looked for chickweed during the spring, summer, and fall many times over the years as it is a wonderful plant for skin irritations and my friend Jenni uses it in many of her healing balms(http://www.etsy.com/listing/62232658/ant-y-thing-salve).
Pat was excited to see such a healthy stand and then goes on to ask if we have any betany (http://thefamilyherbalist.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/florida-betony-stachys-floridana/) growing near by. What southern gardener doesn’t have betany (evil Florida betany to be exact). Well according to Pat – there is a redeeming factor to betany – it is a wonderful survival food! Who knew? If you dig up the whole plant, you will find a tuber under the ground (common name rattlesnake weed as the tuber looks like a rattle). You can clean it and eat it raw like a carrot (tastes very mild perhaps like jicima or a very young turnip or maybe a mild radish), or chunk it into a salad or steam/roast it like any other winter root vegetable.
I had to share this wonderful info with Tim. This winter He and Branch have been consuming all the old issues of “The Backwoodsman” magazine (http://www.backwoodsmanmag.com) that Tim unearthed when he deep cleaned (after 10 years of accumulation) under his side of the bed (his favorite stash for magazines that he simply cannot part with – countryside, mother earth news, backwoods home, etc – but that is another story for another time). Well Branch overhears our conversation about chickweed and the next day he brings me an old issue with a wonderful article about it. Who knew?
Last Sunday afternoon Tim, Jessie, and Branch are walking in the woods. They ventured all the way back to the dry creek bed. Only this time they noticed something different. Creasy greens and cress are growing along the banks (http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/edible-wild-plant-creasy-greens-zmaz84zloeck.aspx). Who knew?
As one of our goals, here at the farm is to raise and nurture more medicinal & dual-purpose herbs, it was good to find out that like many other things in the coastal south, chickweed, betany, and cress and creasy are common herbs (aka weeds) that are already growing right under our noses. It just happens that these treasures, much like cilantro and spinach, prefer our mild winter weather. We just have to know where and when to look for them.
Being the sustainably minded folks that we are, every night this week we have enjoyed a wild caught salad with our dinner – creasy greens, chickweed, betany tubers and cress (with a bit of spinach from the winter garden sometimes too).
Now you have many good reasons/excuses to get outside in the mild winter sunshine and begin noticing what Jehovah Jirah has provided you, right under your nose. We found wild food and leftovers for the chickens and compost pile, plus treasures for the medicine cabinet – and the added benefit of enjoying serendipity. Thanks to God, the sovereign creator of the universe, for opening the window of opportunity and timing to bring wisdom and knowledge to benefit his children who want to be good stewards of all the resources He provides for us.