How delightful it would be, I thought, to have close by one’s dwelling a little bit of the field, the lane, or the wood; to extemporise a little forest dell, or dingle, by one’s very door; to see, in one’s garden, the flora of riverside or brookside; to bring, in short, within the region of the town a fragment of ‘the country’ – the real ‘country’- a reality so dear, so prized, so loved and longed for, in these days of hard toil, exhausting brain-work, and never ceasing worry!
Not smoke but water vapour evaporating from a mossy tree trunk on a cold frosty morning. The volume of water vapour was considerable, it was billowing from this sunlit Oak tree, I must have seen it just as the bright morning sun fell upon the soggy wet mosses and rapidly warmed them driving off the ‘steam’. This little phenomenon, was like so many natural treats only visible with backlight.
There’s a fashion at present for re-visiting South American vegetables that were rejected in favour of the Potato back in the day. Oca is an Oxalis, the leaves are a total give-away and when they flower it’s even more obvious. The tubers are on the small side, can be eaten raw or cooked up like tiny potatoes, the ones you would normally throw away. One of the top qualities of Oca is the variety of tuber colours, they range from yellow through gold to orange, pink and red. In my cold clay garden Oca does not perform well, a lot of work for a few tiddley tubers but in a sunny garden on good soil, who knows, they might be worth some space. Folks who want to avoid eating Solanaceous plants will find Oca a good alternative to potatoes.