Two large dead oak limbs were threatening to fall and smash one of our steel corral fences. Yesterday I used our pruning saw to lop off many of the high branches. This morning we returned to cut those brushy branches out of the way to make room to finish falling the rest of the limb. I backed the truck into the area, got out, and saw the most promising sign that spring has sprung — a whole field of succulent round leaves of Claytonia perfoliata, one of my favorites! I munched a big leaf and savored its succulent freshness.
Nearby was some Urtica dioica! Another favorite (after cooking of course). Eating it raw would be folly, what with its sharp little trichomes that contain acetylcholine, histamine, and 5-HT! I mean, who needs paresthesia?
Okay, joke’s over. The first plant is commonly called miner’s lettuce, having been named that by the old gold rush workers. Before their arrival, it was Indian lettuce, according to Wikipedia. It gave them vitamin C and helped prevent scurvy. The second plant is stinging nettle, another very nourishing edible that helps satisfy your need for calcium and iron. Pick it young and tender while wearing gloves, then steam it. It tastes a lot like spinach, only with a wild edge to it. Both of these plants enjoy being nourished by horse manure, and where the manure’s piled high, so is our veggie plate!
(By the way, that’s not a fence in the photo. It’s an old busted pallet.)