Markham-ism 3

The only good line is a dead line.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Markham-ism 2

The longer you live, the greater your likelihood of dying friendless and alone.

You’ll outlive the people who cared about you. Too bad you never married and raised children. Perhaps your grandnieces and grandnephews will make better of their springtime years.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Markham-ism 1

When life gives you lemons, it rarely gives you sugar and water as well.

If only you could go back and save some of that sugar when you had it. Maybe the rising generation will learn from your failing and conserve some of their own for those sour, burning years to come.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Plant Walk at Sutter’s Landing Park 2/2

Mugwort in shade in Northern CAMugwort, leafy, in Northern CA

Mugwort. The herb used to brew one of the oldest known beers. It makes a very dark, heavy, bitter beer. It also makes a good component of a marinade.

Equisetum (shave grass) in Northern CA

Equicetum. Shave grass. Puzzle plant. Horse tail. It can be pulled apart (making popping sounds) at the knuckles and then reassembled.

It contains enough silica to be used as a scouring brush. As a tea, it is used to improve hair and nails.

Conyza. Mares tail. Used in WWI for a vanilla substitute, but Heather has tried it and tastes no such thing.

Box elder in Northern CA

Box elder can be tapped for sap, though it’s syrup will never be as rich or sweet as maple syrup. The name is a bit of a misnomer: it is a member of the maple family and is not an elder.

Has whirligig seeds. Young seeds can be steamed and eaten.

Purslane. (No photo.) Notice succulent, lobe-like leaves. Edible and nutritious. Examples we saw grew rather flat against the ground, not up right on stalks. There are no look-alikes of this plant in the area. Possesses tiny, yellow flowers.

Tribulus trebuleris. (No photo.) Puncture weed. Contains testosterone.

California poppy. This flower is recognizable to anyone who’s lived in California for long. Harvesting it invites fine of $500 because it is a state flower (and we live in a liberal democratic society). But it is said to make a relaxing tea, not strongly opiate.

Cotton wood. Oil from the buds of this tree makes one of the best sore muscle salves.

Oak in Northern CA

Oak. 24 oak species in California. All edible. All must be processed to remove tannins from acorns. The many varieties can be approximately categorized as white or red. White oak lacks spikes on its leaves and require less leeching to make its acorns palatable.

Black walnut in Northern CA

Black walnut.

Epizote in Northern CA

Epizote. Smells like turpentine. Add to beans to reduce promotion of flatulence.

Star thistle in Northern CA

Star thistle. It’s good only for bees. Will kill horses. Very prolific.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment