So I have been taking a botanical drawing class, something I have wanted to do for a long time. But mostly this has consisted of doing so-so portraits of poppies and geraniums. Things started looking up when we did beets and radishes--I thought, well, I can do this. I know food. The beets turned out ok.
Well, finally, the last day, we did the most perfect plant imaginable: dandelions. Perfect because I have been wiggling my toes in dandelions. Frying up the blossoms as fritters. Drinking root tea. Eating the greens. Dandelions are food, medicine, muse. Euell Gibbons stalked wild asparagus. Me, I crave and hunt dandelions. We are in the midst of a dandelion honeymoon. Why just this week we bottled our first batch ever of dandelion wine.
Now, when Rick and I married, he went out and bought me a copy of Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury's lyrical and evocative tale of a Midwestern childhood. Told me I had to read it (that and Death Without Weeping, but that is a whole 'nother story!) But I only understood why the other day, when I had a sip of that sweet nectar . . .which is the smell of sunshine on an absolutely still August day, flies buzzing around my head, sweat making my shirt stick to my back. It's the juice of just-picked tomatoes dripping down my chin. It's hanging wet sheets on the line with my grandmother, standing barefoot in the cool grass.
For this first attempt at dandelion wine, I used Susun Weed's recipe from Healing Wise, after leafing through a stack of books that had no recipes. I guess it's an old fashioned, out-of-favor sort of thing. Now most people think it's cool to be hatin' on dandelions. Too bad, because they are so, um, good for us (d0 you really care?). They taste good. Honest! They are pure sunshine! Ok, they're fun. We can be crazy-wise and use something others revile--enjoying a secret they couldn't even imagine all the while.
I am sure I won't convince many in a short post of the passion I feel about this. All I can do is give you some advice:
You can read the book, or you can make some wine. Your choice. Trust me: either way, you'll be transported.
And, by the way, the picture turned out pretty good too.
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