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June 2005
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August 2005

Eat your enemies, or make tea out of them

<p class="MsoBodyText"><em>By Megan Caine</em></p> <p class="MsoBodyText">Weeds are generally unappreciated; their nutritious value and long histories of medicinal uses, ignored. After a day of hoeing and hand weeding, it would be especially easy to hate the pesky plants that crowd our precious crops, stealing their water and sunlight. Early on I learned that a weed is any plant which grows where you do not want it. Using that definition, and keeping in mind our desire to control what is growing in our fields and lawns, most plants become weeds. Agriculture and modern medicine have allowed us to entirely discount plants that were once depended upon for sustenance and healing. </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">An abundance of useful wild plants are found in abundance at Clagett Farm. I have been learning about them through asking lots of questions of anyone who might know, from reading DC public library books, and from experimenting with eating and using them medicinally. Here are some suggestions and a bit of information on some easily found plants</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong><span lang="ES" style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><img title="Megan_lambsquarter1_4" alt="Megan_lambsquarter1_4" src="" border="0" style="FLOAT: left; MARGIN: 0px 5px 5px 0px" /> <img title="Megan_pigweed_6" alt="Megan_pigweed_6" src="" border="0" style="FLOAT: right; MARGIN: 0px 0px 5px 5px" /> Lambs quarters</span></strong><span lang="ES" style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"> (left) can be cooked or eaten raw as a salad. Related to beets, chard, and spinach, they are high in vitamins A and C. To cook, sauté garlic in olive oil, add just washed, still wet lambs quarters and cook for just a minute and add salt and pepper. You could also add it to whatever you might put spinach in – sandwiches, stir-fry, soup… Lambs quarters are also found in the city and in parks. </span><span lang="ES" style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Another plentiful weed is <strong>pigweed </strong>(above right). Best eaten cooked, boil it for few minutes, until tender, and drain. Add salt, pepper, butter, margarine, or olive oil.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong><img title="Megan_plantain" alt="Megan_plantain" src="" border="0" style="FLOAT: left; MARGIN: 0px 5px 5px 0px" /> <img title="Megan_jewelweed_1" alt="Megan_jewelweed_1" src="" border="0" style="FLOAT: right; MARGIN: 0px 0px 5px 5px" /> Plantain </strong>(left), which is as prevalent in the city as on the farm, has long been used for its properties in healing skin irritations and wounds. Fresh, crushed leaves applied directly to a poison ivy rash or bug bite are soothing. Young leaves are good in salads and older leaves add nutrition to soup stocks. <span lang="ES" style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Another source of relief for poison ivy and bug bites is <strong>jewelweed</strong> (above right). Break open the stem joints and gently crush to extract the gooey insides, then rub on affected areas. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><img title="Megan_nettle" alt="Megan_nettle" src="" border="0" style="FLOAT: left; MARGIN: 0px 5px 5px 0px" /> Most people have especially negative feelings about <strong>stinging nettle </strong>(left), but its one of my favorites. Young leaves are excellent cooked as you would spinach, and not to worry - the heat kills their ability to sting. The leaves also make a mineral rich tea. </span><br /><strong></strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong><span lang="ES" style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><img title="Megan_mugwort" alt="Megan_mugwort" src="" border="0" style="FLOAT: right; MARGIN: 0px 0px 5px 5px" /> Mugwort</span></strong><span lang="ES" style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"> (right) </span><span lang="ES" style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">leaves make a calming tea, and can be added to bathwater for the same effect. Dried mugwort is often mixed with other herbs in“dream pillows” to promote an active dream life. </span></p> <p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><img title="Megan_qa_lace_3" alt="Megan_qa_lace_3" src="" border="0" style="FLOAT: left; MARGIN: 0px 5px 5px 0px" /> One of the herbs I have yet to experiment with, but am fascinated by is <strong>Queen Ann’s lace</strong> (left). Among other things, in the Appalachia's it was used by some as a contraceptive. </span></p> <p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Interesting, huh? Go off and read more! Get ideas and recipes. When you visit the farm, ask us if we know where a particular weed might be plentiful – or wander and discover what’s growing for yourself.</span></p>

Fifteen Photos

<p>We just added fifteen photos to our 2005 photo album. Many of these new additions have been published before on this weblog, but most of them have not. To view the whole album go to <a href="">Clagett Farm Photos: 2005</a>. If you only want to see the new additions, start with photo number <a href="">26</a> and click on next to move on.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p>

Wanted: bicycle repair, office paper, and food

<p>First, let me shout-out to the anonymous member who gave us big boxes of band-aids and Tylenol.&nbsp; My most recent blister especially thanks you for the band-aids.<br />&nbsp; &nbsp; Speaking of kind gestures, one of our young members, Brigham Geurts, brought his family, his boy scout troop, and many of his church members to build a terrific bike rack for the farm.&nbsp; As sturdy and elegant as it is, it currently rests empty, because all of our bikes are in terrible disrepair and hidden in a barn.&nbsp; If anyone would like to offer their services in <strong>bike repair </strong>(replacing tubes, aligning wheels, tightening brakes, repairing gear shifts...) we will happily offer a share of vegetables for 4 hours work, and we'll cover the cost of parts. <br />&nbsp; &nbsp;Another way to earn a work share is by <strong>cooking</strong>!&nbsp; We love the great recipes you give us, but nothing beats a prepared meal.&nbsp; Fix enough for the members at your pick-up site to sample, and we'll replace the vegetables you used, and give you an extra share as thanks. Call in advance to make sure we're giving out the vegetables you're cooking that week.<br />&nbsp; &nbsp;And finally, we hate wasting trees, yet we keep using up our <strong>office paper</strong>.&nbsp; I know lots of you folks work in offices that use one side of your paper--bring it to us and we'll use the other side.&nbsp; No trees wasted and everyone's happy.&nbsp; And thanks to Deborah Sterobin-Armstrong and Sumana Chatterjee for donating so many office supplies!</p>

Garlic was harvested

<p>We have just finished harvesting the garlic and can state that it looks great. All the bulbs are now in a barn loft where they will cure for a few weeks. </p> <p>We planted selected garlic cloves last October and then we mulched the field with straw. In early spring we started seeing garlic leaves poking out of the straw mulch. During late May and early June we removed the scapes from the garlic plants. Scapes are delicious, but the main reason for their removal is to increase the bulb size. According to reports, scape removal results in bulbs that are up to 30 percent larger. Although it may not be entirely accurate, a way of looking at it is that energy that otherwise would have been spent on scape maturation is now dedicated to bulb formation. The garlic is ready to harvest once the leaves start to yellow and die back. In Clagett Farm this usually happens during the first half of July, and this year was no exception.</p> <p>And now a few pictures of the harvest. </p> <p><a href=""><img title="5_july_garlic_harvest_2_cfn" height="466" alt="5_july_garlic_harvest_2_cfn" src="" width="350" border="0" /></a>&nbsp; &nbsp; </p> <p>In the photo above we see Pat and Megan pulling out garlic.</p> <p><a href=""><img title="5_july_garlic_harvest_5_cfn" height="466" alt="5_july_garlic_harvest_5_cfn" src="" width="350" border="0" /></a>&nbsp; </p> <p>Kenji and Joe doing the same.</p> <p><a href=""><img title="5_july_garlic_harvest_7_cfn" height="495" alt="5_july_garlic_harvest_7_cfn" src="" width="350" border="0" /></a> </p> <p>The wagon after harvesting two rows of garlic (we had a total of seven and a half rows.) The garlic is grouped according to varieties.</p> <p><a href=""><img title="5_july_garlic_harvest_8_cfn" height="262" alt="5_july_garlic_harvest_8_cfn" src="" width="350" border="0" /></a> </p> <p>A closer view of the bulbs, right before they were hauled up to the barn loft. </p>