It uprooted my sage bush. The fierce windstorm we had last week didn’t spare my yard. In the sandy, damp soil, my beautiful sage bush that I have been nurturing for years simply uprooted and rolled down the street like a tumbleweed. Sage is one of my favourite herbs not only because it livens up an otherwise boring chicken, but I like to deep fry them. Sage chips are yummy and I use them for garnish on fancy dishes. Oh, who am I kidding, I love to munch on sage chips just as they are, a big bowl of them – they’re delicious! My beautiful big bush gave me enough sage leaves that I could indulge in sage chips whenever I wanted, but that’s not all.
We had a beautiful old tree at the back of the house. It was taller than the house and spread out to shade our deck, especially the area around the patio table and chairs. On any hot summers day we could sit and enjoy lunch or dinner under the cool, comfort of that big tree. It was so big it also provided shade on our upper deck; a favourite place for morning coffee that usually ended up in long, Sunday afternoon conversations – a great tradition.
But with a shaking of the ground it simply fell over and with it, it took another 2 smaller trees. One was a wild dogwood that my neighbours friend brought over one day in a cut down orange juice carton. That was over 20 years ago and that dogwood, while it took a few years to establish itself, was a blaze of beautiful big white saucer-like flowers every spring. It’s a pity it won’t get a chance to bloom this year. It’s just buried under the massive trunk and mound of branches that is sprawled across the yard, over the hedge and into the neighbours.
While my sage bush took the brunt of the force, my entire herb garden looks like it barely survived a stamped of elephants; so the clean up begins. The best way to revive an injured herb garden is to begin snipping and trimming away so it begins to grow back.
Herbs are the first garden harvest each year. Almost all food and herb pairings such as dill with pickles or oregano on pizza are international transplants from one European country or another. While I may eat bowls of crispy herbs, I’ve noticed that even with the culinary revolution focusing on fresh-from-the-earth ingredients, there still seems to be a certain hesitation regarding the liberal use of herbs. In my opinion, using herbs sparingly is like not using any herbs at all.
As a general rule, basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage and tarragon are the more dominant herbs that require frequent tasting before increasing amounts. Often times they don’t mix well together but don’t shy away from blending strong and subtle herbs because work very well together. A bit of basil, marjoram, oregano and parsley livens up a traditional tomato sauce for pasta.
For myself and others whose yard was ravaged by the force of Mother Nature, the clean up begins. Friends and neighbours gather to help each other as the unmistakable symphony of chain saws buzz in the neighbourhood and the aromas of good meals seasoned with plenty of herbs float through the air.