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Wayne’s World – Think I missed it

Posted on September 8, 2014 by Maple Creek

Now that it’s fall time, I can no longer hide what has been going on in our backyard. It is the time of year when gardeners are rewarded for the hours of time they have invested in weeding, watering and nurturing their garden. Unfortunately, my green thumb activities did not pan out this year as expected.

As a result, my wife ended up planting all the garden after one little mishap which was initially credited to me. Angela was rather mystified why the peas I planted did not grow and decided she had better take over in the garden. Later, it became apparent that blackbirds were the likely culprits since they had been in the area where the peas were planted and were apparently digging up the seeds and eating them. This revelation came to light after Angela had lost all hope in my ability to plant a garden and therefore did it herself.

In some ways it was a blessing in disguise, but she also dashed my hopes of growing massive, mutant tomatoes that would dwarf Rose Lodoen’s when she filled every available spot in our small garden with seeds and plants of her choosing. Therefore, I had no choice except to spend my spare time digging dandelions and quack grass out of our backyard and taking provisions to slow their return. I think our battle to keep lawns weed free is a war we cannot win. I have spent a lot of time (while weeding the backyard) wondering if we should consider siding with the enemy. Why not make the dandelion our provincial or national flower and grow quack grass lawns? We would certainly spend a lot less time worrying about weeds, at least the ones that infiltrate lawn grass.

We could use the dandelions to make dandelion wine, we could eat the roots to see if they actually have a cancer-fighting compound (which is being scientifically studied) and we could use the plant leaves in salads. It sounds too good to be true, but it is not actually far fetched at all. Like hemp, it has a lot of potential uses and only becomes a detriment when it is used to produce an intoxicating substance such as wine. In the years ahead, wine at mealtime may be essential in order to get past the stigma of eating new types of food.

Some very educated individuals believe we will not be able to produce enough food to feed everyone as the earth’s population continues to climb. They claim insects are a viable food option that humans will have to consider in decades to come. They are fast growing, nutritious and production facilities take up little space compared to traditional farming practices. In fact, insects have long been on the list of edible foods in Asian, African and South American countries.

It might not be a bad idea and certainly could have provided an abundant food source in the Dirty ’30s and successive years when grasshoppers were a problem. Instead of killing ants, termites and other household pests, they could be trapped and converted into an entree or treat for the family. Let’s face it, insects have been taking advantage of humans since the beginning of time. They invade our space and bite us at will, so maybe it’s time we bite them back – bite and grind them up in our teeth and swallow them down with a sip of dandelion wine. It sounds so environmentally friendly that it must truly be a great idea, but I hope the day never comes when I have to eat dung beetles. No matter how it is dressed up (diced dung beetle or dung beetle dainties), the sound of it simply doesn’t appeal to me. I understand bugs such as crickets are dried and ground into flour, but somehow that process seems even more wrong when cockroaches and other creep crawlies are used.

However, could it really be worse than eating prairie oysters, kidney or brain? It is a person’s culture, mental concepts and circumstances that make a food acceptable or off-limits. Consider the rat. The rodent has a bad reputation and is despised around the world, yet it has been used as a food source by people who were starving. Furthermore, it probably tasted darn good at the time.

I am very thankful we live in a part of the world where good quality food can be produced at reasonable prices. Furthermore, we have access to imported food from around the world throughout the years.

It is very unfortunate that this year farmers have been fighting Mother Nature who continues to alternate a few beautiful days with cool and damp conditions. Damp is an understatement when it comes to rainfall that hit the area last week. A gentle rain in the morning turned into a monsoon and then repeated the process so that the area was saturated with at least two inches of precipitation in a 24-hour period. The topsoil and crops had not yet dried from previous rains, so harvest operations came to a complete standstill. A few warm summer days followed and by then weather forecasters were giving grim reports of the likelihood of rain this week and the possibility of frost and snow in the Cypress Hills.

I must be getting forgetful because I don’t know where summer went this year.

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