What is a "tiehacker"?

"Tiehacker" is a term originating in the Ozark hills of southern Missouri. It referred to a class of people from WAY back in the hills that made a living cutting trees into ties for the railroad. I first heard the term from my wife shortly after we married. I had been working outside all day and was dirty and stinky. She had learned it from her father, and thought it just meant "a bum". Never having heard it before, I looked it up. Although I am not really a bum, I thought it was interesting, and I do have a life-long love affair going with the Ozark hills, so ... there you have it!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Backyard salad greens

My back yard is not a golf course. There is grass, but it is a distinct minority. More weeds than grass. And I like it that way.

No, it's not "pretty". But it's not boring, either. And, after some time spent browsing the Internet the other night, I found that I have a treasure trove of nutritional greens, just waiting to be picked and eaten. Some of them I knew about from my Boy Scout days (back when dinosaurs wandered the earth), some of them new to me. Since I don't bother with fertilizers or insecticides, they are safe to consume once they have been thoroughly washed in clear water.

Broad-leafed plantain. Clover, both leaves and flowers. Dandelion greens and flowers. Lambs' quarters (sounds so much better than pigweed). Chickweed (who knew?). And of all things, newer leaves from the maple tree. Just five minutes work gave me a good selection to work with. 

If I had looked into this a couple of weeks ago, I could also have had a huge pile of maple seeds to munch on. But the ones that are still left on the ground have gotten a little bitter. (Supposedly, boiling them in one or two changes of water would take away the bitterness, but that's just too much work for the small amount that the rabbits and squirrels haven't yet got hold of.)

Sorry the pic is a little blurry.
I didn't realize it until after I ate the salad, and it was too late to retake the picture.

So, I made a small salad with some of what I picked, with some cooked and crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, and a light vinaigrette dressing. Not only was it tasty, it was chock full of vitamins and minerals that are NOT found in that silly boring iceberg lettuce that is the mainstay of most "civilized" salads. In fact, just as good if not better than the expensive "spring mix" that is found in the store, and it didn't cost me a dime.

I have had one more "backyard salad" since then, and still have a little left over that I'm going to try boiling and adding a little butter and salt, or perhaps a little lemon juice. They're supposed to be pretty good that way, also. Kind of like spinach or kale.

Nice to know that the uncultivated part of my yard can supply me with salads and greens most of the year, at absolutely no cost to me.

For the more "civilized" garden that I am trying, it's going crazy. We've had an unusual amount of rain lately, which has helped. I've only had to water it twice. The tomatoes are starting to show flowers, and everything is "jumping joints" as the Debster puts it. Should be able to start harvesting some spinach and Romaine lettuce leaves and a few of the herbs pretty soon. Also need to get the tomatoes and squash plants on a trellis before they get much bigger.

That's enough for today. As always, thanks for reading!

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God bless
Ron (and the Debster)

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