Weeds are extremely tenacious in their ability to survive. This prickly specimen has been thriving and reproducing in my front yard, a place where now two trees have found inhospitable and only the crabgrasses and leafy weeds seem to feel at home. I finally decided to confront him and evict him.
You see, I found myself out in the front yard because I needed a break. This Monday I felt weighted down by the unrest in our country, the failures of our leadership and the disappointment that the new year had already ushered in. It was one of those days of the month where you simply don’t have the energy to exist, to get through the few minor duties required of you. I forced myself to set everything down to wander outside in my garden, which is still a calming place, even amongst the dead branches and brown soggy thickets of winter.
I pruned the dead branches from the various plants that are hibernating beneath the soil and deep layer of pine straw. I said hello to the few birds visiting the feeder. I was pleased to see quite a few of the perennials are laying in wait for spring, hanging in there. And then I encountered a few of these obstinate thistles, determined to raise of family in the midst of the soggy chaos of my front yard. My pruners went in for the attack, and the spiky leaves, triggered by my assault, left splinters in my hand.
It turns out these thistles, like many of our common weeds – dandelion, wild onion, chickweed, are edible and even nutritious. Perhaps the thistle requires more work than it’s worth, to cut apart the ribs of the leaves or wait until the second year to harvest the fleshy root and benefit from the liver-healing qualities.