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January 8th 2010   tim candler

    The phrase "Cloudy with highs near 17F" does not inspire the Grey Cat.   I at least can dress up like Inuit and waddle down to the barn for adventure.  He has just the one outfit and it does not include boots.  So he sits on the table staring at the outdoors while I dream about Leeks in the vegetable garden.

    This living in the Arctic and sometimes in the Tropics, does provide about three months a year of those temperate conditions that Leeks enjoy.  If I sow them in August, and winter comes late, I think they might manage.   But leeks are picky and if August is too hot and dry, Leek seeds will not germinate.

    I have dreamed of micro-climates in the Vegetable Garden.  Imagined air wells that remove water from humidity which is then channeled to evaporate and cool surrounding ground.  I can persuade myself that this makes perfect sense because some suggest Andean potato growers surrounded their potato fields with trenches filled with water to maintain temperature against cold nights.  And sometimes I feel similarly inspired to combat summer heat.    

    There is another member of the Onion family of plants which is naturalized here in Kentucky.   This is a wild Leek, which apparently has its admirers, but also has what I suspect is a "fashionable flavor".   Like Breadfruit, an acquired taste.   And I am guilty, because when I was once offered Breadfruit to eat I called it delicious and agreed to have more of it.  This even though it tasted like something that had died too long ago. 

    Invariably it is better to hunt for those plants that are, rather than those plants that maybe.  Here there is Goats-Beard, which has a root that tastes vaguely of Oyster, sounds incredibly fashionable and at my age well worth trying again even if it might still taste revolting.  And because Goats-Beard in the vegetable Garden sounds like a weed,  I will refer to it by its magnificent culinary name, which is Salsify.

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