Once upon a time there was a dandelion named… Louise. Her golden hair gently pushed by the warm breeze, her stem was strong; she stood her ground well. Louise had many admirers, but yet she would fancy only one. Art, the ant, soon became tiresome, as he only threw himself into his work. Burt, the beetle, was scatterbrained, and though she tried time and time again to invite him to a picnic, he would forget again and again, which Louise simply had no time for. Then one day, it happened. He came along.
Buzz was unlike any other she had met before. He was cool, sly, and his yellow and black stripes excited her. Buzz saw Louise from a distance. Their eyes met. He started to move towards her; she could hear his rhythmic tone getting closer. Louise started sweating a little. What will happen? She was nervous. What am I supposed to say? Hey? How could a cool bee like that ever find any interest in a regular old dandelion?
His eyes were locked on her though, and she could not resist looking back, unable to move. Buzz slowed down and parked himself next to her.
“Hey.” He was so cool.
“…hey.” Louise looked around nervously.
“I couldn’t help but come over to you. You have quite the reputation around here, you know.”
She was terrified. What had he heard?! More importantly, who told?!
“Oh? That’s odd. I’m Louise. I live here, with everyone else.”
“I’m Buzz. I don’t usually come here, but I just had to meet you.”
“Oh. Why?” Her thoughts were running wild.
“Well, from what I’ve heard, you’re unlike any other I’ve met. I’m drawn to you. You’re bright, talented, strong, and a little magical.”
She snorted and belted out her sweetest laughter. Buzz blushed badly.
“Magical?! What are you on?!”
Buzz was so embarrassed. This beautiful being was now laughing at him and his awkward words. He looked from side to side to quickly find a verbal escape route. He started to stutter, but eventually found the words.
“Well, I’ve heard you can prevent bad things from happening, and, like, you can make others feel good. There are endless things about you that I can’t help but be drawn to. I just thought I’d see if what they say is true. I don’t mean to be so forward, and I’m usually not. But now I can’t help it. Look at me, I’m just stammering on now.”
“Why don’t you stay and chat a while? Do you have time?” Louise glanced at him in anticipation.
“Of course I have time, Louise! I mean, yeah, that’d be nice.”
Buzz and Louise sat together for hours that day, and soon the sky darkened and the stars came out by the millions, along with the moon that washed a bright light across the land. They had endless things to talk about. Buzz had seen the world, and Louise had to find out everything. Buzz loved Louise’s qualities, and asked her a hundred questions to find out more about her and her life. They shared many things, but also discovered their differences, and began to discuss how they could balance each other. Though both of them would never agree at this stage… they were falling in love.
The earth trembled with a terrifying rumble; Buzz and Louise jolted awake, blinded by the bright light of the sun. They had talked each other to sleep, and woke up side by side. Buzz and Louise threw their heads around to try and make sense of the sound. Had they dreamed it? But there it was again, and this time it was constant. They could barely hear each other over the sound. Buzz signaled he would fly up and check it out. Louise grew nervous as she watched him rise higher and higher, only to nosedive straight back down at a tremendous speed. The look on his face said it all: something is coming.
Buzz started to pull on Louise’s leaves, as others screamed around her.
“What is happening?!” Louise yelled, as Buzz tried again and again to push her stem over. His eyes were as wide as could be, and her words brushed past him like he was in a trance.
“Buzz! Buzz! BUZZ!”
“I have to get you out of here! You’ll die if I don’t!”
Louise’s world crawled down to a quiet stand-still. She let Buzz pull at her and push at her to no avail, but she knew. She knew now what was coming, and there was nothing she could do. She took a deep breath in, closed her eyes, and smiled up at Buzz. He noticed what she was doing, and he understood; this wasn’t her giving up, she was accepting. He stopped pulling at her, and settled back down beside her in the grass.
“You have to go,” Louise said, quietly.
Buzz smiled. Louise smiled back.
“No. I’m not leaving you now. There is so much that we still have to talk about.”
Apparently I was inspired to write a story. Now to the actual post: the uses for the beautiful little dandelion! This wonderful weed actually has many medicinal properties, and can be used for many different things, but there are also many misconceptions around the dandelion as being a pesky backyard weed; the dandelion has been misunderstood.
Last year I facilitated a compost workshop, featuring Mike Dorion of Living Soil Solutions. Though I had considered myself to be an able and knowledgeable composter, he taught us so much more about soil health, and what is happening beneath our feet, deep within the ground to the roots. He also made us see the positives of weeds. What?! For example, some of your neighbours might use a machine to aerate their lawn each year. Well, weeds are actually a lawn’s natural way of aerating itself (yes, I just used the words lawns and natural in the same sentence).
Let’s talk about our dandelion friend that will soon be visiting on a lawn near you. Before you run over those beautiful dandelions with your mower, there are a few things you might want to consider to make the most out of this yellow visitor:
- dandelions are food for bees, and we need to support our bees.
- dandelion oil (Homespun Seasonal Living)
- salve and another recipe for oil (Montana Homesteader)
- lotion bars (The Nerdy Farm Wife)
- whipped moisturizer (The Nerdy Farm Wife)
- dandelion tea (Medicinal Plant Zone, multiple recipes)
- vinegar (Fresh Bites Daily)
- more ways to eat dandelions on The Prairie Homestead
As with everything else, there are certain things to watch out for. If you treat your lawn with chemical fertilizers, do not try aforementioned recipes. Also, based on my readings, there are certain medical conditions that may not agree with ingesting dandelion (i.e. diabetes, etc), so you should talk to your doctor about that. There is also not sufficient scientific information to determine whether or not there is a risk for pregnant or breastfeeding women to ingest dandelions.
The dandelion: a beneficial and misunderstood plant/weed/whatever you want to call it.
Do you have favourite dandelion uses or recipes? Share them here!