Sunshine filters through the fresh new foliage overhead; my coffee and I stroll toward the greenhouse garden area. In the distance a woodpecker is already busy with his day's work and roosters are calling then hens to come along in the search for good grubs. A cool breeze brushes my face- my eyes close, turning my face into the beautiful touch too bad it won't last.
The gate squeaks as it swings open I remember when my dad hung this; I smile. Passing the greenhouse my thoughts trickle back to the seedlings nurtured there only a few weeks ago- now thriving in the warm soil digging deep with their roots in search of water and nourishment. Walking the paths of young plants I bend here and there to pull a weed or check under a leaf.
One section of the walk has grown up a bit over the weekend need to run the mower over this patch; I make note of that as I walk through. Stopping in my tracks fire races though my leg why did I wear Capri pants in the garden? There stands the culprit; a flourishing stalk of stinging nettle nestled among the blue flowering wild weeds.
A hardy and quite nasty plant, stinging nettles' leaves and stalks are covered with fine "hairs" called trichomes. When brushed against our skin these trichomes act like little needles releasing histamine causing a burning whelp; quite painful.
While unpleasant to brush up against, nettles do have value in this world. Known to be an excellent source of vitamins, iron, and protein- they are often sauteed like other garden greens or steeped in as an herbal tea. Dairy goats benefit from nibbling them for it seems they aid in milk production and overall health.
Whatever your convictions about this tenacious little plant, their sneaky presence in the garden offers up a very unpleasant encounter.