It's Garlic Chives Week in my garden. These enthusiastic self-sowers have popped up all over, but you won't hear me complain. Their flat, oniony-garlicky leaves have a heftier taste than ordinary chives, and the dark green adds a bright bit of color. They're great with scrambled eggs, in dips for chips, as an ingredient in herb butters, and soups. Asian cooks use them in stir-fries; they go especially well with prawns and scallops. I like to mix a spoonful of chopped garlic chives with feta cheese and some olive oil, spread on crusty bread slices, and pop under the broiler. When I'm feeling lazy, they're a reasonable (but less pungent) substitute for fresh garlic. And their plentiful black seeds, saved and sprouted, are a nice mid-winter salad treat.
For me, one of the best things about garlic chives is the fact that they bloom at the tail end of summer, when the garden looks brown and tired. Their sprightly white blossoms have a delicate beauty. I use them as a border along the path and allow them to come up wherever they please in the garden beds. The bees adore them: the pure white flowers are a late-summer treat for them, too.
And yes, these pretties are good for you, too. They belong (like garlic) to the Allium family, and are used medicinally as a milder form of garlic. In China, where this herb is a regular on the medicine shelf, it's used as a vermifuge, an astringent, as a treatment for bug bites, and to help reduce fatigue. I'll go for that, actually. Just looking at these lovely white blossoms is enough to perk me up.
On another subject: Several weeks ago, our neighbor set a hog trap on his side of our fence, on his posted property. The guy lives in Austin, so he's not around to check it. This morning, there was a doe in the trap. The game warden drove out and released her. She was slightly injured: bloody nose and haunches. The game warden says he's been called several times to release deer from unmonitored hog traps. If I had my way, there'd be a special place in hell for people who set traps and fail to keep an eye on them--as bad as careless hunters who wound game and don't bother to track/kill.
Reading Note, from Rachel Carson: One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, "What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?"