How to Eat Weeds

Nut Sedge, top left, and purslane.

This is purslane, it’s the only thing growing in my garden(other than nutsedge, always, forever). It seems the old seeds I bought are not going to germinate, but my compost probably came with these residue seeds.  Purslane is a tasty nutritious succulent.

Breakfast!

In Mexico, it’s known as verdalagas. Here’s a traditional recipe from Morelos.   Above are the makings of my breakfast. Huevo y Verdalaga Tosada.

1 egg

1 Tbls chopped chili

1 Tbls chopped onion

1/2 cup roughly chopped purslane

1/8 avocado

1 Tostada

 

I sauteed the veggies, broke an egg on top, and covered the pan.  While the egg egg white firmed up a bit I smashed the avocado on the tostada. I topped the avocado’d tostada with the scramble and swirled on a ribbon of sour cream.

It took about 3 minutes, I ate it, standing in the garden.

Purslane grows pretty much everywhere. If you know they haven’t been sprayed with pesticides try them. They’re also good raw and will make a tasty addition to the dandelion salad you may already be harvesting from your lawn!

Probecho!

 

 

Jocotes/Cirellas…Olives?

Jocotes

Living in rural areas in developing nations makes one resourceful. My mother and I are fond of olives, but they’re expensive, you have to drive an hour to buy them, and I don’t need any more glass jars in my pantry.

So, I’m salt curing jocote tierno. Hopefully, I will end up with something like a salt cure olive.

Jocotes that will hopefully be salt-cured olives one day

In Mexico, this fruit is called a cirella.

This variety is much like an olive, with dense slightly astringent, quite acid flesh, and a large pit. It makes great if somewhat labor-intensive salsa. I decided against the presoaking process olives undergo because I don’t think jocotes contain oleuropein. Dry-curing rather than brining I chose out of laziness and my love of salt-cured olives.

Fingers crossed!

Probecho…hopefully

A little more about Jocotes

 

Let’s Take a Walk

I am blessed with a trail on the land next to my house. The man we bought our home from still owns the property next to us, and he allowed me to create a path around it. It takes about 10 minutes to walk, but it’s easy to wander out well after that.

-Tigger, Pirate and Chica’s morning walk

Walk. This word is for me a spell, the action a rite.

I am a Walker, not for exercise: for thought, connection, and growth.

When I suffer, I walk as if I am kissing the earth with my steps, as we were taught by Thich Nhat Hanh. My bare feet touching the ground heal me. When I cannot feel joy, I can find it through the soles of my feet, from the earth, the sky, the wind, all of life around me. When I feel lost, when my loved ones are not enough to hold my heart, I have my feet and the earth. They are always enough.

Grounding, is part of the process, but the forward movement is essential as well. And the sunlight, the wind. Dr. Andrew Huberman agrees with me. It isn’t just abbyscience. He prescribes a walk or jog, outside in sunlight upon rising for the best brain function.

I thought when I moved close to the ocean I would want to walk on the beach every day, but I still prefer the woods, I like shade and birdsong. I like to see animals going about their business. There are of course birds and animals on the beach, but it feels different to me, I guess it’s the Midwesterner in me that still prefers green to blue.

 

-harvesting congo chilies on my walk this morning

I logged hundreds of hours on Chicago streets, finding treasure in garbage, my creative flow stemmed directly from my feet on the pavement.

I memorized 52 poems in 2016 while walking the Cero Frio in Mexico. I mourned my father walking that mountain, and I lost my beloved Bear there. But, I had hundreds of deep work walks there with her too. Walking is not a cure for hardship, it’s a balm, and can be therapy when applied regularly.

I wrote three books while walking, putting them to paper was the outcome of the actual work that occurred while walking. I have received real magic from the earth as I place my feet, one in front of the other upon her.

-my spirit animal, red dragonfly, resting in my hand

I know the earth is alive and sentient. I have felt it, heard it, talked to it, received care, support, and inspiration from it.  If you haven’t visited her lately, she misses you.

Are you a walker, a surfer, a gardener? How do you touch the earth? I’d love to hear your stories of earth magic.

El Sabino

 

The Way

The Way

 

When Felipe’s family arrived in La Tigra, all the ejido land close to town was owned by the town’s founding families. Thus, the plots his family was allotted for planting, though ample, were far up the mountain. Because of the distance, they lived there during the growing season.
Felipe’s father built a shack of sunflower stalks covered in a tarp for the family to sleep in during the season’s heavy rains. It’s difficult for me to imagine this. I’ve weathered the spring rains in my “tank of cinder blocks” house, and felt fear that comes from awe at their force. I shake my head in wonder thinking of him as a child with seven other people inside the tiny structure, made, essentially of sticks, during a deluge.
He says it was cozy and dry. His father and brothers dug a trench around it to divert the water. Every afternoon, his mother smoked it. He recalls the small thuds as scorpions fell from the walls, dizzied by the smoke, as he puts is, they were easy to kill.

 

Under El Sabino

Under El Sabino

Felipe, Socorro and I spend our Sunday afternoons together. Occasionally, they like to trek up the mountain to El Sabino, the piece of land they lived on, to look around and reminisce. I pack a lunch. This week’s menu was tostadas de picado de res , and trail mix. The land is called El Sabino for the huge Sabino that lives there. It’s an odd place for a Sabino, generally they grow on the river bank. Socorro thinks there’s an underground river below it and its companion, the biggest mango I’ve ever seen. Both trees require three sets of arms to encircle them.

Soco demonstrates her baking moves

Soco demonstrates her baking moves

The tour includes a hike through the land as Soco shows us the trees they planted, guajes, limones… and laments the guayaba that died. A tumble of rocks was once her bread oven. She sold bread to the workers who cut a road into the mountain side. The family never needed a road, they came on burros, packed with all the household items they’d need for the season, on trails too narrow to walk abreast.
We pick up garbage, do small repairs to the fence, and fantasize about having a cabin here, like the city slickers from Cuernavaca with a vacation cottage in El Mango, a tiny town even deeper in the forest, which can only be reached by burro or four-wheel drive.

Prodijiosa

Prodijiosa

Socorro grabs a handful of prodijiosa* on the way out and Felipe encourages me to taste it, but I remember its remarkably bitter flavor from our last visit and ruin his trick. Soco tells me she’ll make a tea to clean her blood. Felipe recalls the annual ritual; she made him drink a tiny cup for nine days in a row, and if he threw it up, he had to drink another.
Faithful bocho creaks down the “barely a road”, Felipe waves other travelers coming from El Zapote, the “barely a town” on the Cero Frio’s plateau, around us. It’s rumored the road is soon to be paved. El Zapote residents commute to civilization is a jarring, and sometimes treacherous hour, each way. I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to have a fast, smooth commute. I wonder if anyone will feel as I did , happy for the convenience, but saddened by civilizations encroachment.
Concrete or no, we will still have the sabino, the mango and Soco’s stories of life in the campo in the house made of sunflower stalks.

• As usual Soco’ remedy was confirmed by “modern” information.