Food or First Aid? March 6th

A couple of uneventful days up till now. My wild salads consist of: ground elder, miners lettuce, rocket, hairy bittercress (not too bitter this time of year), fennel leaves from the greenhouse, lemon balm from a pot I have put above a radiator to produce rapid leaf growth, and Brooklime (Veronica beccabunga), an aquatic weed I have growing in a small pondlet which makes good watercress. A couple more days and shoots of Orpine (Sedum telephium) will be added. As there’s not much green, I have added chopped apple and beetroot – but down to my last half beetroot unfortunately.

Actually a bit worried about running out of stored and frozen veg before Easter. I remembered today (in the course of chasing the ducks off them) that I have some celeriac in the ground still- pretty minute but packs a lot of flavour. Spotted comfrey coming up today which is a great relief as it produces lots of leaf and is quite filling, but unless we get a week or so of warm sunny weather it won’t grow very quickly. Yesterday it snowed again, and the frosts are fearfully hard just now.

This morning I put some of my curd cheese in my omelette; thanks to the garlic and herbs it was most tasty (not exactly gourmet cheese mind). Hens churning out eggs well, ducks and goose show no signs of activity. They should remember I quite like roast duck. Anyway, whilst peeling celeriac for yet another stew (this one I nearly burnt and rescued by chucking in some fish stock I had in the freezer – tasted good!), I peeled deeply into the top of my thumb. It was excruciating and bled copiously. With a big pile of washing up to do and food to both find and prepare, it had to be stopped and from past experience I know the remedy. Yarrow.

Out to the nursery to see if any had come up yet – yes, it had! Then I remembered that yarrow tea is pretty acceptable compared with rosemary and wild strawberry – do I save it for tea, or stop the bleeding? (never mind the customers, their time will come). I chose healing. Made a poultice  by grinding the yarrow, applied it to the cut  and bound it with cotton wool and tape. Then donned a disposable glove to get everything done.

As is the way with yarrow, the pain stopped almost immediately, though the blood soaked the cotton wool. When I changed the dressing an hour later, the cut had very nearly sealed over.  It should by rights be throbbing, but hey, this is one old hippy remedy that WORKS. It’ll be fine tomorrow!

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