by Curt Kovener
As I drove back from the wilderness Sunday evening—tired, sore and rather dirty from another on-going home remodeling project—I noticed in the fields and ditches along the route that the Queen Anne’s Lace are in full bloom and quite abundant.
For the wild weed challenged, Queen Anne’s Lace is wild carrot (though I have never tried tasting the underground portion of the plant) and produces a large circular bunch of tiny white blooms. And each flowerette produces a seed which explains why there is so much Queen Anne’s Lace around fence rows, unmowed pastures and hayfields.
And seeing the wild weed, my memory took me back to my youth and staying with my grandma. She was the cook and domestic engineer of that big farmhouse on the hill.
She was always glad to see her favorite grandson (my other family members needn’t bother commenting) but keeping a young boy from getting bored and out of mischief on a farm sometimes was challenging.
So it must have been this time of year when she sent me out to gather some Queen Anne’s Lace.
Of course, wanting to please Grandma, I clipped only the best looking flower heads…which took quite a bit of time which might have been a part of Grandma’s plan.
When I returned she had me get several soft drink bottles (I will refrain from naming an particular brand but if you think of a four letter word for an illegal drug made from the Coca plant, those of you over 50 you will have a pretty good idea of the size of the container.)
She had me fill them nearly full with water and into each bottle she put several drops of food coloring from her kitchen cabinet and had me stick the flowers into the various bottles.
“What now, Grandma?” I asked.
“Now we wait until tomorrow,” I was told.
Telling a pre-teen boy that we had to wait was not something pre-teen boys like to hear. But since it was Grandma, I did.
The next morning I was amazed to see the formerly white Queen Anne’s Lace in a variety of tints—yellow, blue, pink, green.
At first Grandma said it was magic but then explained as she took the flowers and placed them in a vase that capillary action, their a need for moisture, and time allowed the flowers to absorb the colors and make for a pretty wild weed bouquet.
But I was too busy to pay much attention to her. I told her I was heading out to get some more of those Queen Anne’s Lace.
“Take a bucket with you and pick some blackberries. Bring back enough and I’ll make you a cobbler for supper,” Grandma said.
And so she kept her favorite grandson occupied for another day on the farm.