Celebrate a Dandelion Spring

Canned, frozen and fresh dandelion greens are available at some of your grocery stores. Dandelion seeds are offered in some seed catalogues. Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Albion, Maine sells more than 700 pounds of dandelion seeds each year. Considering a single round dandelion puff may contain 200 seeds, each with its own wings, that is a LOT of dandelion plants to add to a world obsessed with getting rid of dandelions.

So why would we want to get rid of them? Not everyone does. For centuries, people have used dandelions for medicinal and culinary uses. According to herbalists, dandelions have more medicinal and nutritional properties than any other single plant on earth. For some people, they are plants of last resort to provide nutrition and medicines during times of scarcity, depression or war. Yet people spend billions of dollars trying to get rid of them at great hazard to people, pets and ecosystems. Instead of listening to advertising that tells you how offensive they are you could change how you see them.

Fresh dandelion leaves collected in the early spring before the flowers show colour, are the mildest tasting, served steamed or in a salad. Yet, flowers, leaves, and roots offer endless possibilities for the creative cook or natural healer. With unusually high levels of Vitamin A , it is a cost effective supplement. Look carefully at the leaves in a package of mixed salad greens and dandelions will likely be present.

By changing how you see dandelions, not as a weed but healthy and useful, you have eliminated a ‘problem.’ There is no need to get rid of them from your lawn, you save money not purchasing weed control products and services, and you have reduced the toxic hazards to your family and pets. The first sunny dandelion faces remind us spring has arrived at last. It is so much easier to just appreciate them!

Welcome to My Nature Centered Blog

June 23, 2018

Welcome to ‘Nature Centered’, a Blog to share my excitement about the amazing beauty, magic, mysteries and myriad interconnections of Nature. I hope that each posting will grow your awareness of Natures amazing systems that make all life possible.

You may feel disconnected from Nature when you live in urban areas. Yet Nature surrounds you wherever you are. The O2 you breath was created by photosynthesis in leaves of trees, and seaweed. The furniture you sit on is usually made of wood from trees. When you gaze out a window you are looking through sand that has been heated at very high temperatures to create a liquid. The asphalt roads and walkways you walk, cycle and drive on were made from the waste from refining crude oil and mixed with sand gravel and crushed stone. The crude oil was made from trees and vegetation under great pressure for millions of years. All of these materials were created by Nature.

Spring! Have you noticed what has happened in the past month. In my corner of the world in Canada on the south shore of Georgian Bay, our world has transformed from bare branches to masses of green leaves everywhere. The tree buds for flowers and leaves were formed last summer, endured the long cold winter, and waited until they got the spring signals. The messages of the rising sap, more light with longer days, and warming temperature work their magic. Life is bursting everywhere in a million shades of green!

For weeks I could feel the anticipation of leaves and flowers about to burst. I could see deep into the woods at the side of the road with no leaves, then a very fine green lace of tiny new leaves, then suddenly one morning great change. The leaves were full size and the inner woods was no longer visible.

Imagine large maple and oak trees capable of creating 200,000 leaves that burst into full size within a few days. Each is a mini bio-degradable solar panel that will shift with the rotating earth to maximize continuous exposure to the sun yet allow leaves around them access to the sun too. This is cooperation on a level we humans could learn a lesson or two.

Imagine being the event planner for spring and all that must align for Spring to happen. Earth must move closer to the sun on its elliptical path around the sun to bring warmth. That warmth thaws the snow and frozen ground, releases the activity of billions of organisms and chemical reactions in the soil and activates activity to make moisture and nutrients available to the countless roots hidden from our sight of trees to the tiniest plants

On our Nature Centred journey together I invite you to look at the seemingly familiar in new ways. I invite you to see with new eyes. The sun is not really rising in the morning. The speed at which the sun appears to be rising is really the speed at which planet earth is rotating every day.To improve the health of Nature we must see and better understand what is happening around us. Take the time to notice and appreciate the nuances of the changing seasons, the sound of birds, the sight of the our turning planet. When we are more aware we can make better choices.