Lindens

LindenInBloom

The linden trees bloomed late this year.

Their flowers, while pleasant, aren’t particularly showy. They don’t pop out in April or May, when all the crabapple, redbud, magnolia, ornamental pear, and cherry trees are showing off. I wasn’t even cognizant of them the first 30+ years of my life. It was only when I was getting a certificate at College of DuPage and walked along a gloriously scented avenue for a few days in June that I finally asked, “What is that fragrance?”

Lindens. Now I seek them out every year and find them all over. Thank heaven. Which is what they smell like.

I understand they’re a popular tree in Germany and had the occasion to ask a German friend (Simone Heller, who is the brilliant writer of such stories as “When We Were Starless” and “How Bees Fly”) if she liked them as well.

She shared this story from her childhood:

There were three enormous old linden trees behind our house, and I used to get up on a ladder with my dad to “help” with harvesting – most important thing was to look out for bees also interested in the flowers. We harvested the flowers only. I have discovered some places that serve linden flower around here as a hot or cold infusion during the last years, and they have harvested the seeds, too (the parts with the wings). They look very nice and it doesn’t hurt to have them, but the aroma and the pharmaceutical components are mostly in the flowers. 

We used to gather them in a basket to not squish them, and then bring them up to the attic to dry them over a longer period of time, spread out on a big cloth. They should dry in a shadowed place is what I remember, not in the sun. They were used in winter then, because they are good against the symptoms of colds or to prevent colds. But when I rediscovered them a few years ago, I found they also taste very good, mild, slightly sweet, and a lot like the blooming flowers smell. I remember not being so thrilled by the taste as a child, probably because they were used as a medicine, more or less.

We have to do some major regrading and drainage work in our yard and the old tripping hazard of a silver maple that makes it practically impossible to mow will soon be removed. We’re thinking of replacing it with a linden tree.

I don’t see myself harvesting linden flowers and creating infusions from them any time soon, but I love the idea that it’s possible…

Story Wall: Key West

I want to thank everyone who participated  in my story wall for Key West. I received many great ideas, suggestions, and challenges. I envision a number of story improvement, plot changes, and new characters. I even plan to make a few changes in Port Royal before it is released. Great session for me. Thanks again to all.

Roger

Tour de Farms – As Much Fun As You Can Have With Your Clothes On

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Graceful, huh?

I lovelovelove bike riding. It’s like flying. I don’t know if it’s
1- going faster than I ever could on my own two feet,
2- the fresh air,
3- the endorphins, or
some combination of all three, but biking one of my favorite things ever. You’d never have to pay me to ride a bike. Not that anyone would. I am not what you call competitive. If you need proof, I refer you to the picture above.

However…one time of year I do solicit bike-riding donations. The money doesn’t go to me. The lovely people in various chapters of the MS Society run terrific bike rides all over the country, and in order to ride in one of them, you need to do a little fundraising to help people with MS.

The MS Society has helped our family a lot. BK has MS. He was diagnosed with it in the mid 1980s. He’s doing pretty well, considering. He sometimes has issues with discomfort, lack of coordination and fatigue, but he’s able to get around, work, and even have some fun occasionally. Usually it’s guitar-playing fun rather than bike-riding fun, but it all counts, right?

We have other friends with MS, too. It’s not that uncommon. Anyway, multiply our family by thousands and you have an idea how much good the MS Society does. The Greater Illinois Chapter says this about their work:

Our staff and volunteers are dedicated to achieving a world free of MS. Through our chapter’s support services and educational programs for people living with MS and their families and friends, we help connect people in our local communities who want to do something about MS now.

We offer many programs — including professional counseling and peer facilitated support groups, educational programs and seminars, referrals to neurologists and healthcare professionals, national teleconferences and internet programs, services for the homebound, and social and recreational programs to assist people with MS and their families in leading productive and fulfilling lives.

And that’s just my local chapter. The national society does all that and more, driving research to help end MS.

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Last year’s team – the Power Pedallers

I rode in last year’s Tour de Farms and raised over $1000. I’d like to do that again this year, but so far I’m short of my goal. If anyone reading this wants to support the MS Society (either through a donation or by joining the ride), I’d love if you could do it by visiting the link to my personal fundraising page. Thanks so much for your support!