Wednesday, 4 March 2009
And I'll tell you why....randy bleeding tomcats. Everywhere, that agonising howling that twists your intestines into knots. That pungent smell that eminates from their bums! Feline hormones that turn normal cats into frenzied, feral, sex crazed nutters trying to leap on unsuspecting girl cats. Actually that sounds like a normal night in a British town centre to me!
I think it's rather fascinating though. How, with a little more sunshine and a warmer wind, Mr Blackbird takes it upon himself to chase the Mrs around the treetops and toms find their urges too enormous to ignore.
Same for us too. The reasoning behind the Maypole is fertility. Apart from the obvious phallus to dance around, (Wahey!) people knew that if you got pregnant in late spring/early summer you would have your baby the following year after the winter, and this would give it more chance of survival. Makes sense really.
I love the spring - I buy too many seeds for my garden, and find the enthusiasm I lost so completely in late autumn - as I grumbled everytime I mowed my lawn - has come back in abundance. Like giving birth really. Amazing how quick you forget the misery of cutting back, the pain of sweeping leaves, the loathing of digging over and the pulling up of annuals. It's as if it never happened!
Today, I shall tackle the ground elder while it's still young. Something rather satisfying about pulling up their roots, although it really is a losing battle. Better to eat the stuff - like spinach - steam and serve.
I always tell people I cultivate my elder and nettles for eating - some believe me. If said with enough conviction, I usually get away with it.
Honestly though, do make some nettle soup or risotto. Full of goodness and along with sticky weed, is a well know cleanser for your lymphatic system. Country folk used to make a soup in the spring with the young leaves of these plants to give them vital nutrients after a long cold winter. If sticky weed (goose grass) is too much to bear, just use the tops of nettles. They'll lose their sting on cooking, but don't pick after late May as they then have quite a laxative effect!
Right, off to do battle with the ground elder. Tally ho troops, chocks away and all that...