Monday, April 16, 2007


Pine Needles in Tea

The more time I spend in my Secret Spot, the more I am startled by God's provision right in my own backyard.

Apparently, for instance, I can brew tea from pine needles (so says the man in Man vs. Wild). I can eat pine needles if there's a water shortage. They store up good amounts of water and have 10 times more vitamin C than oranges (again, so says the man). I do not know if this is true for all types of pine, but I'm going to do the research.

The other day, I harvested my first set of dandelion greens (watch for an upcoming recipe on my other blog). Soon, I'll be able to garnish salads with tender violet leaves, and sugared violet flowers. I can fry fiddleheads (the curved shoot of new ferns), as well as make tea with red raspberry leaves. And if I were to grow my grass long enough (which I almost did last year, for those who remember!), I could eat the seeds.

Considering these simple provisions, I realize that God freely gives me everything I need for life— body and soul. I just have to open my eyes, my mind, and my heart.

Needles in Tea photo, by L.L. Barkat

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Blogger Every Square Inch said...


Thanks for the reminder of God's faithful provision. In recent days, as we give thanks at meal times, I've specifically made a point of remembering that if God doesn't provide, we don't get to eat.

It's hard to think that way when we live in abundance as most of us do but it's my little way of remembering the provision of God.

6:17 PM  
Blogger Motu said...

I just started watching Man vs Wild recently... LOVE IT! And I've also harvested my own dandelion greens. I love to stir fry them with fresh garlic and a little bit of salt and pepper. Yes, God has given us many provisions. Many times it is us who do not see it. BTW, how was the pine needle tea?

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am REALLY looking forward to the recipes for dandelion greens and sugared violets. Just thinking about eating something from my lawn is once again giving me great pause before I would put any kind of chemicals on it.

I often marvel at God's provision in my life. In fact, one think I often do when I say grace is think about all the places and people that were involved in getting this food to my plate. And to think that the Lord orchestrates meals for the entire earth several times a day.

8:49 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

What a great picture - love that mug ;)

Let us know how the tea tastes.

9:02 PM  
Blogger christianne said...

Your mind works in marvelous ways, my dear -- ways I am constantly astounded and amazed to find. It seems God put some kind of snap-zip-pow! into your DNA that made you always thinking things, investigating them, augmenting them, experimenting with them, and trying more new things out. It's a different glimpse into the image of God that I see in you -- different than what I see in myself. I love it.

11:21 PM  
Blogger spaghettipie said...

Phew, I've missed reading your blog (I'm a bit behind). I'm definitely intrigued about the dandelion thing (mind giving me a reading recommendation on harvesting them?). I could start a whole business harvesting dandelions out of my neighbor's yard...

I've often thought (with no scientific proof to back me up) that the cure for every ailment and illness has been provided for in nature, somewhere. I think God is amazing in how He cares for us, and yet we run around thinking we have to figure out how to provide for ourselves...

1:24 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Personally, I prefer survivorman to man v. wild.
I love this stuff.
Harvest dandelion greens? This is new to me, but I want to learn. Do you just let them grow wild and then pick them? When do you pick them?
Reminds me of Bradbury's book, Dandelion Wine. Loved it. I think it was Bradbury. Maybe not.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Reyes-Chow said...

Does the tea taste better in an IVP cup? Hope you are well!

12:51 PM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

Be sure of the pine needles, and steer clear of poison hemlock, okay Socrates?

1:12 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Every Square... yes, I love that Psalm, where it says that He opens His hand to give us food. I suppose that abundance could make it hard to remember. Maybe that's part of why I'm putting myself into a different little setting, trying to see with new eyes.

Motu...Oh, I love garlic in greens. I don't have enough dandelions to use them that way... only as a condiment in other foods (boo hoo... why don't dandelions come here?) The pine needle tea was very refreshing (though the tea you see in the cup is Raspberry Leaf). I used White Pine, which is apparently one of the best choices.

Charity... oh, good point. No one should gather from a lawn they've put chemicals on. I like your idea of thinking of the people and places involved. I guess that's what made me feel so close to God in this... I just walked outside and there were the dandelions.

Stacey... yes, it's my favorite mug! Kind of makes me feel like an author. ;-)

Christianne... I like how you express that. Sometimes I think it's just how I grew up... always outside exploring, and, of course, with the survivor mentality because of homelife.

Spaghetti... harvest on non-chemical lawns, use a scissor and just cut the new tender leaves. Right now is a great time. And I've thought that too, about God having given us everything. Of course, there's a discovery process that goes along with it. Maybe that's what we don't want sometimes.

Heather... survivorman? I'm really behind in the TV world. Just happened to see this when I walked in to grab a book, and I got hooked! (See previous comments on harvesting.)

BRC... funny, I didn't actually intend the IVP cup, but when I put it down in the ivy, I was tickled. There it was, and it looked so nice with a little tuft of pine needles in it. But the tea was Raspberry Leaf, and I drank the pine needle tea later, after doing some research.

Craver... you bring up an important point. Some things are poisonous, and we can't go eating just anything in our yards. So, tell me, are all hemlocks poisonous? Because I have those too...

1:34 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Okay, I answered my own question about Poison Hemlock. It's not even a tree.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Very cool, L.L.!
I love your perspective on this. Can't wait to see what else you forage...:)

4:46 PM  
Blogger Shelly Kneupper Tucker said...

I love sugared violets! I've eaten them, but don't know how to make them! I finally learned how to add people to an RSS feed (duh), so I'll be watching daily. Lovely post. I appreciate you for reminding me to be grateful!

4:52 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

LL, I highly recommend Nasturtiums. They taste a bit like radishes and add a lovely splash of color to your salads.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

LL-what blows me away reading this is that you pretty much live in the city, yet you make it sound like you're out in the middle of nowhere. I need to convince my farmer husband to read this post. He often laments the lack of good growing space since our move from a half acre to a lot half that size (of course he's not harvesting dandelion greens and he never drinks tea).

Still, you remind me that it's not about where you are or what you have, but what you do with what you're given.

7:14 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Andrea... yes, I've got my eye on those raspberry leaves that are just peeking out of their woody arches.

Shelly... in fact, I've never made them either. It's a goal. We'll see how they look when I get done with them. But, the taste will be the real treat in any case.

Eve... why you sound like a regular chefess there. I don't have any of the N flowers on my property, but I'll be sure to pluck one if I go to a willing friend's.

A Musing... and also, maybe, how we make things work in ways we hadn't expected. I was all into growing tomatoes when we bought this place, but the back yard just won't cooperate. So now I get one or two plants sneaked into the front border, but it's not like I'm going to can for the winter, based on how much they produce!

I don't know about your property size. I believe we have .12 of an acre. Nothing on the sides, except a space to walk past the house; a steep, small hill to the front; and, well, you've seen some of the back yard. So, if you've got more than .12, I'd say, start the farm!

7:34 PM  
Blogger kirsten said...

I love this post! It reminds me of a couple things.

Currently being limited in my diet to whole foods, I don't feel limited at all - instead I feel like a whole new world of eating has been opened to me. Everything I need, the Lord has provided (unprocessed & not in a box!).

This also reminds me of when the Israelites were wandering around the desert & the Lord was providing them with manna & quail from heaven on a daily basis. Anything they attempted to store up would rot away. He provided for them daily, and He wanted them to trust Him for bringing them what they needed.

Like them, I think I am tempted to store up, not trusting that the Lord will provide what I think I need, or maybe that He's so busy He'll forget & I'll go hungry. The other temptation is to shun what His provision, cross my arms, & grumble that what He has provided is not what I want. Oh, I can see the lessons coming ... but what tender love He has for His people though! Whether or not I am willing see it, He does provide!

"The eyes of all look to You,
And You give them their food in due time.
You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing."
Psalm 145:15-16

9:54 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

LL, not much of a chefess, but I do love gardening (especially flowers)

10:01 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

L.L., I like the way you end your thoughts here. Mom used to fix dandelions from our yards when we were growing up. Really pretty good. She now has all kinds of pines we had little of back then. But all of this is fun and interesting. I wish some of this could be brought to bear in world situations of deprivation.
Thanks and have fun, with all this Spring, springing!

4:45 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Ted, welcome back... I have missed you and been thinking about you and praying for you.

Regarding the thought about this being brought to bear in world deprivation, you are onto something, I think. In many "deprived" countries, there has been a move to clearing land for export crops that do not feed the people. There is also a general looking-down-upon of the native people's ingenuity (including their traditional choice of foodstuffs that grow naturally). A huge issue! And we in the West have had (and continue to have) great influence in these matters.

6:58 AM  

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