Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Eating Thistles

"Look Hunter, it's Eeyore's favorite snack!"

And that's what started it.

While we were cleaning the gym today and dumping out the mop water, we noticed that the field behind the building was now bursting with beautiful purple thistles. I first pointed out the liking of these plants of Eeyore (a Winnie the Pooh character) and then recalled a childhood episode of eating these pleasant flowers, as there is a sweet nectar to the little petals.

"Look, Hunter, you can eat these."

I put a little purple petal in my mouth. "Mmm!" And that's how you get a three-year-old to eat a flower.

I never lie to him, never make a game out of trying to trick him, and as a result he trusts me. He eagerly ate a bite without hesitation, even though he's never eating a weed off the side of a building before. "MMM!" he replies. "Tastes like candy!"

Well, I wouldn't exactly call it candy, but I assume he was referring to the sweet taste of the nectar.

I carefully pulled off a few more petals and ate them myself, and before I know it I turn around, and there's Hunter shoving entire flowers - leaves and all - into his mouth, all the while saying, "Mmm... tastes like candy!"

Now, note that you really do have to be cautious with eating wildlife: don't take this advice and head to the woods to eat whatever looks good. Some plants are poisonous or partly poisonous, such as the leaves of raspberries. So make sure you know what you're doing before exploring edible wildlife. But once you do that, it sure is fun to know how many edible things there are in the woods. I don't know anyone who wouldn't take some sort of small rush of confidence in knowing how to identify edible plants in the woods. The idea that, you could win if you were ever to have to battle nature is a reassuring thought, even if you may never have to use it. Then again, it's also just a little rush of fun to pick up a weed off the lawn, pop it in your mouth and say, "Mmm... yummy." Either way, it's a fun learning adventure for a child.

"And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good."
Genesis 1:12

Hunter is 3 years, 2 months old

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