Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Yellows of Spring -2

     Yesterday, spring officially arrived in southern Michigan.  Spring arrived with a crash, boom window rattling thunderstorm touched off by a warm front moving north.  I threw open the bedroom window and took deep breaths of fresh rain fragrances.  As I traveled to church, the skies were clearing - the dark gray scud clouds scurried west while an angry dark sky moved east and then the sky opened to beautiful blue.  What a glorious way to start a new day.
      After some light cleaning I had just exited the church and was sidestepping all the worms and night crawlers on the asphalt when along an island curb there was a solitary yellow dandelion.    Although beautiful in the bright sunshine it was blooming just to lift my spirits.  I find nothing wrong with dandelions.  Whenever they bloom they put the yellow in spring wildflowers, the first to great me at the start of a new spring day.  I love to see the swaying yellow heads bobbing on a breeze, but not everyone shares my love enthusiasm for dandelions. 
     Shucks I missed my chance to put that yellow head under Pastor Ken's windshield wiper.  He's a lot like "Mickey" from an old time oatmeal advertisement.  He seemingly hates dandelions with a passion.  He loves not the beautiful sunshine flower God created.  I can't help it that my halo flickers.   
     Seldom do I use the word "hate" because it leads one to violence.  Never should man learn to hate something so bad he feels he must kill it and that goes for a beautiful flower that God created.  Ken like millions of other dandelion haters boil when they see young children pick up the fruit heads with attached parachutes and  blow the seed heads apart.  Shattering, they drift up into the sky and disappear out of sight going where only God knows where they will land.  If the humidity of the day is less than 70% they can rise to 65,000 feet and can circle the globe.  That's 10-12 miles up and when the humidity rises above 70% they fall back to earth.
     We all have our hangups.  I dislike mice and rats only because I've had bad experiences with them when I raised rabbits for food.  Rats are notorious for killing baby rabbits.  My wife is terrified of spiders, my sister hates snakes and dyslexic or Downs Syndrome children are easily frightened by even butterflies and bee's, wasps and other flying insects.  All humans have petty hangups and many have wondered why on Earth did God create them?
     Those who dislike Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) don't understand that just because they see yellow head doesn't mean you should spread herbicides all over the lawn to control one plant.  It not only kills the dandelion, but thousands of beneficial worms and crawlers that keep the lawn aerated to accept water. 
     Big "D's" are members of the aster family, but I think its ridiculous when men of faith try to destroy one of God's most beautiful flowers used in food production.  The dandelion is not native to North America - it is from Europe and it was brought to America by the Pilgrims as a food source, such as, salad greens, tea and for honey production.  The pilgrims deliberately brought dandelions into the Midwest to increase food for bees.  Thousands of honey bee hives were lost this past winter.
     In America, yes dandelions are seen as weeds in lawns or gardens, but it depends on where you live.  The tender leaves when mixed with other green salad leaves are delicious. Older thick leaves are boiled like spinach or collard and other green vegetables.  Whether fresh or cooked they are a rich source of vitamins A and C and who doesn't like honey.  Boiled flowers make dandelion wine, yellow dye, the roots red dye.
     Native American Indians once loved dandelions for they learned how to make dandelion-leaf tea.  Some Indians made tea from the roots as a tonic for heartburn.  Another brew from the roots acts as a diuretic brew for the treatment of liver ailments.  Every part of this flower or plant can still be harvested for beneficial use.  That's if it hasn't been treated with herbicides for its destruction.  Killing dandelions is not the end of them, its the beginning of an even bigger problem.  Whether living or dead they exude Ethylene gas that discourages other weeds and grass from sprouting underneath them.
     Well, like you I must stop and go to work.  Wish I could write all day, but my body would sag too much, besides I love to eat.  Watch for "The Yellows of Spring - 3." 


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