Taxonomy takes a curious turn at times that is hard for me to follow. When and why, for instance, did the cruciferous plants suddenly find themselves in a family now known as Brassicaceae? The crucifers, those minikins of towering mustard descent--cabbage, broccoli, and kale among them--are easily identified by the cross shape formed by the four petals of their flowers. Other characteristics, such as the number and arrangement of stamens (male part of the flower), six in all--two short and four tall--also serve to set them apart from other plants, as you can see here. Cruci-, the Latin prefix meaning cross, helps me to remember where a plant with cross-shaped blooms belongs in the scheme of things. Somehow, Brassica, derived from the Celtic word bresic (meaning cabbage), doesn't tickle my memory in quite the same way.
As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same;
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves--goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came...
(from the poem "As Kingfishers Catch Fire" by Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1877)
I think I'm a politically incorrect gardener at heart. Those pretty yellow flowers will not be lopped off any time soon just to make the garden look uniform and boringly green. I am still harvesting and enjoying the leaves of this cruciferous veggie. Do you know what it is? What's your favorite recipe for it? I have been experimenting with different ones. Last Thursday for supper, I prepared a bed of chopped whatever-it-is, onions, celery, and various herbs for baking a quartered chicken in the iron skillet at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour. I removed most of the chicken skin to cut down on the fat content, and a little olive oil on the bottom of the well-seasoned skillet prevented anything from sticking to it. Sliced carrots would have been a good addition to the dish, but I was out of them. A trip to the grocery store would have to wait until the next day, Good Friday, and so would a visit to the bank and making some bill payments by mail. Yes, you can do all of those things and more on what used to be a holiday. All of the schools locally were closed last week for "Spring Break," and county officials had Friday off. It's no wonder the beach was so crowded when SAM and I decided to go there Friday afternoon. He had the day off too, but he had to redeem one of his precious few vacation days to claim it. We avoided the crowd and drove west to Fort Pickens.
Here, you can see where the Gulf waters mix with those of the Sound in the Pass. You can observe the tide changing from ebb to flood here, twice a day, every day. We watched a man in a kayak coming into the Pass from the Gulf of Mexico just as the tide changed to flood. He struggled against the tide for a few minutes, paddling like mad without much progress as the change began to occur, and then the tremendous momentum of the water streaming landward helped him move forward without much effort at all.
Yesterday we watched our grandson hunt for the chocolates-filled plastic eggs that Grandpa SAM had hidden around the yard. It didn't take long for him to find two dozen of them. He only needed to be pointed in the right direction, occasionally redirected, and he was off and running to fill his basket. Some traditions are just too good to change or forget.