This post is part of the March Blog party on Emerging from Winter hosted by Karen Vaughan at  other article links at the end of this blog.

     While I’m not the biggest fan of winter, never got into skiing and all, I hardly consider winter to be toxic. We slow a bit, perhaps plump a bit, reflect a bit, sleep a bit more and look for warmth and comfort in the kitchen. Soup is a beautiful thing.
     I love watching for the first QUICKENING of spring, and being a true Aries SpringFreak, it doesn’t take MUCH to get me all happy. A bud, a catkin, a whiff of promise, an earlier morning, a bit more light, one frog singing about ANYthing at all.

first stirring plumbuds

     The older books refer to blood-thinning, sometimes blood-cleansing. The notion of our blood as ‘thickening’ for the colder season makes some sense, but when the sap starts to running, we begin to waken. I prefer to go in this direction, ever listening for my body to answer the call and crave live, bitter greens – the broccoli raab, the dandelions, the first beet greens.
     I find in the winter I’m hard-pressed to even WANT to eat a salad or much in the way of cold vegetables at all, although I do love a good APPLE. As the apples begin to lose their real crunch, it’s time to start looking to the garden.   
     Where I live now, in Western Oregon, our winters are quite mild, although the last couple of years we’ve had a couple of weeks of fierce freezes in Dec that have even done in many of our rosemary plants. But the weeds, those first tastes of spring, can grit their leaves and tough it out.

With our soft and rainy winters Chickweed in sandwich
it’s Chickweed heaven
around here.
What incredible fun to find those first glowing green tips.
This is grazin’ on the ground:
pinch and nibble incorporated.
Any sandwich gets a major boost
from a fluff of fresh


     I’m a little less apt to be chowin’ down on the fresh dandelion greens outside, as ours stay huge and lush virtually all winter…

February Dandelion

…..but I do bring them in for that great Spring ritual – First Weed Pesto.
Let the drooling begin.

      I’ll snuffle around in the garden grabbing a few garden sorrel leaves, a few snips of chives, plenty of dandygreens, lots of chickweed and those first, INSANELY Green-scented stinging nettles. All is washed, coarsely chopped and danced about in the food processor.

     I keep the recipe in my head as “Two, Two, half-half-half-QUARTER – and INHALE at every phase”
TWO cups of chopped greens
TWO (or however many) cloves of fresh garlic
HALF a cup of olive oil
HALF a cup of crunchies (I use sunflower seeds as I’m allergic to nuts)
HALF a cup of parmesan cheese (added by hand after all the food processing is done)
and a QUARTER of a tsp of seasalt (or you can leave that out)

Weeeeeeeed pesto!

     GREEEEEEEEEN never tasted so good.
But you don’t want to waste this EXPERIENCE. You’ll find with just a little attention that your tongue isn’t the ONLY part of you getting in on this! When you really savor the flavors and scents, your body gets the announcement: Incoming Minerals!!!! (and enzymes and stuff and magic) and you can FEEL it all over your body.

     I like to imagine this is what a tree feels like as its own sap thins and flows and awakens to the first warmth of spring. I don’t think of the trees as detoxing, nor the first buds as doing much other than hearing the call to GROW and responding with exuberance. I’ll dance what THEY’RE dancing.

     I suspect we may really NEED spring – perhaps more so this year than in the past, as we’ve all watched so much of what we used to be able to count on prove to be false, rigged, poisoned, fed by greed instead of our best interests. We need to trust that Spring will come again, and it will, with hopes of daffodils and songs of forsythias, and longer days and warmer sun.

She hasn’t forsaken us.

no, she has not forsaken us

all photos (c) LadyB

The March Herbal Blog Party:

Yael Grauer wrote Emerging from Winter With Herbs about her three favorite adaptogens and nasal irrigation. Rosalee de la Foret wrote about Spring violets, Emerging from Winter to Find Violet

 Sean Donohue wrote Skunk Cabbage: New England Bear Medicine about the plant that heats its way up through the snow and feeds the bears after the acorns are gone.

 Granny Sam Gahagan writes from her snow covered lair about Emerging from Winter in the Appalachians.  (You westerners might not know that we still have winter, with more storms to come- makes it a bit hard to get into the Spring spirit when you have to dig the chickweed from under the snow.)

 Karen Vaughan writes about Nettles! her favorite spring herb, and year long food.  Whether eaten, drunk or flogged on the skin, nettles stir up your vitality.

 Sarah Head has a beautifully insightful post on Emerging from Winter With Herbs, focusing on the emotional side.  Stunning photographs.

 Stefan Chemlik,  writes Emerging from Winter with a Chinese medicine point of view, focusing on the Liver.  Scroll down to to his list of things you can do to clean up your act under Feeling fat, fuddled or fatigued?