Tuesday, June 02, 2009


I went to fetch my good friend, Bozenka, last Saturday for a day of 'nettling'. She showed up like her grandmother, before her, with magic. She had created a Nettle Fairy and brought one for Rhiannon to decorate, which she started to do right away.

While Bozenka and I picked nettles, it was Rhiannon's job to take pictures and to escort the Nettle Fairy around and photograph her in different settings. Rhiannon took some great pictures. Here are only a few:

Here she is in our nettle patch.

And here she is with Rhiannon's blueberry bush.

And then she had a little swing.

While we laboured away in this nettle patch that has grown over some old rotting wood cuttings.

It didn't take us long to pick the nettles - we left some tall ones to teach the young ones how to grow tall again. Then we positioned ourselves in the shade on the East side of the house, outside the kitchen window and plucked the leaves from the stems. And we talked. We talked about ourselves, our children, our families, community and the world. Deep, heartfelt talking as we worked separating leaf from stem. As we have lost our sense of community and helping each other, we have not only lost the sense of sharing each other's physical burdens but also our emotional ones, which is perhaps the most important thing that comes from working together like this - sharing, listening.

Then we brought all those leaves inside and left the stems to dry in the sun and later be chopped up and used for nettle infusion. We washed the leaves twice and chopped them up like this to be put into freezer bags for the winter. Nettle can be used in any recipe that calls for spinach - not to mention nettle and pumpkin soup... And we marvelled at the bounty of nettle. Can you imagine how much spinach you would have to grow to be equivalent to one nettle plant?

Sometime in there we were famished so we made this nettle omlette with green onions and garlic and fresh oregano. Delicious.

And now I have some nettle and some fresh sheep cheese to make cannelloni with and a full heart.


bum.by.the.sea said...

that sounds lovely...and now I'm starving. :P

Laura said...

does nettle just grow wild?

Rhiannon's World said...
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Andrea said...

Well, you can plant it. I have some planted in my garden. But it spreads really easily like mint and it stings you when you touch it without leather gloves on like a bee sting so most people don't plant it. Mostly it grows wild in 'waste' places. On my property it grows on an old wood pile by the Glovers' shed and then it grows behind the fence along the railroad tracks. It seems to like damp places. I can give you some seeds if you are hankering for some.

katie said...

i didn't know you could eat nettle...

Andrea said...

Yes, you can. You just have to wash it and chop it up, or cook it which for some reason neutralizes the stinging thing. It is SOOOO good for you! A super food, really.