The Virtues and Misfortunes of Weeds
Weeds are an interesting concept to me. They have the misfortune of having incurred our wrath. They are virtuous because of their role in protecting the soil, as desolate ground is quickly covered and its life support system restored in a matter of days. Unwanted, abundant or wayward plants with no use to us humans are intriguing, because I am constantly on the lookout for ways to work with them. I believe that every organism has a function that, if removed from the web of life, would cause the whole thing to come to a screeching halt. So I tread this line between the ideal world of harmony with all natural things, and the practical world of having to protect our crop from being overtaken. Perhaps the weeds can sense my confusion, and are trying ever harder to show me their true colors. I am watching carefully, and so far have found a few items of interest. Our most common resident, mugwort, has proved to be a moderately valuable herb. it can be used as an insect repellent either as an incense or added to animal bedding to prevent pests. The leaves and flowers are used to flavor oriental dishes. The pigs consider it a tasty treat. I have also heard that we can stuff it into pillows as a sleep and dream aid. The plant was revered by the ancients for all of these properties, and I for one believe it is time for a comeback. This idea applies to all ‘weeds’. With the right information, we can find uses and make connections between all plants and animals. But we still have to keep them at bay if we want to obtain a yield. They have their place just like any other life form.