Chic-chic-chicory

That's so I'll remember its name. There's a word for gimmick-to-remember-by, but I forget it. Oh okay, mnemonic. I sort of remembered it, but can be excused for not having it clear in my head. What kind of a word is that? And how do you pronounce m and n together without a vowel? You could mumble it maybe, but certainly not shout it. I looked it up on the internet, which invention is a boon to those of us whose minds are slowly melting (like the slush outside the door). In some previous era I'd have had to root rootlessly thru a dictionary or encyclopedia (remember those things, those door-stoppers?)

The internet is where I found “chicory” too, after fruitlessly (something like rootlessly) trying to remember – begins with “a”? No, I think a vowel. “b”? Eh. Sort of think maybe “d”, but that was probably because I associate it with dandelion as a fellow coffee substitute. These would be nighttime ruminations, but at one moment while on the computer I remembered that I'd forgotten and so looked up “coffee substitutes”.

Odd that names of flowers would be going first. A while back I suddenly couldn't remember what you call those spring flowers with the big heads crawling with ants. Well, when I located it on Google I made me a mnemonic so I'll remember it now for what's left of my life. Hopefully. Pee-on-knee.

Well, actually, first it was a couple of place names. Really bugged me, because they were places I had driven through frequently. Not destinations, really just toilet stops on the way to somewhere, but still. Now I've forgotten them again. Which doesn't matter I guess – it's been years since I was there and don't expect ever to be there again. (Okay Google, do yer thing: Oops, remembered one – Hawkesbury. Surely I could have worked up a mnemonic for that – bird hovering in air over a graveyard, say. The other ... okay, looking up. KALADAR! A memorable name...you'd think. Not gonna bother trying to work up a whatchamacallit for that. If it disappears again, it disappears. Just a gas station/toilet/snack-store, couple houses, a crossroads to go north or south or continue east/west. Bye bye Kaladar. (Which I'll probably remember forever now, and whisper it on my deathbed, mystifying any onlookers.)

Reason for all this is that I was trying to clean up my desktop, which has a lot of photos that I figure to use *sometime* for *something* and I wanted them handy. The chicory shot stood out. Saving it for a little blog sometime that would go something like this:-

I love chicory. Fell in love with it when I moved to Ontario nigh-on 60 years ago. Never saw any in Alberta, whence I came, but it's here in B.C. (Hmm, must consult internet to see its range...) (Well it just says common in North America, originally from Europe. Hah – related to dandelion and sometimes called “blue dandelion”.)

It's really quite blue. Most “blue” flowers lean to the purple.

Which reminds me of a Crazy Lady I once knew. She claimed that there was no true blue in nature (except, I suppose, for the sky) and that was why the Druids who initiated her at Glastonbury carried blue lanterns (I'm not following the logic there either), and they'd initiated her because she was *special* and lived on an important ley-line juncture, one of 7 super-special ones in the world, a couple of others being Mt. Shasta and that place in Arizona that, yes, I forget its name, that is full of new-age nuttiness. Aha – remembered it an instant before Google! - Sedona. She moved a year or two after that, so I don't know where that left her vis-a-vis her extra-special ley-line situation.

That person warrants a rant, er, blog one of these days. Or have I already done it? I don't remember. If I did, it would probably have been named “Mythomania”, a term I found on the internet when I was trying to figure out what the heck was wrong with her... She had many a wonderful story. Some of which might have fitted under the rubric of Munchausen.

Anyway, blue flowers. Loved chicory. First place I lived in in Ontario I had a great view of a yard full of it. And then - horror - the occupant came out and cut it all down. Always meant to dig up some and get it going in one of my own yards, even carried a bucket and shovel around in the car during blooming time, but somehow never actually dug any up. Maybe due to my efforts to dig up some (I think) coltsfoot, which grew at the side of the road and I thought would be nice by my rural mailbox. Damn thing had roots about 2 feet long, and was growing in packed dirt, so foiled my efforts to extract it (people make extracts from it, maybe for their colts' feet. Hmm, no, for their throats apparently.


Despite serious safety concerns, people take coltsfoot for lung problems such as bronchitis, asthma, and whooping cough (pertussis). They also take it for upper respiratory tract complaints including sore mouth and throat, cough, and hoarseness.

Oops. Coltsfoot is considered UNSAFE. It contains chemicals called hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) that can damage the liver or cause cancer.

Well, I just wanted it for the flowers. Sort of a yellow chicory in appearance. Or like a dandelion. Much easier just to go with dandelions – no effort required, seed themselves, look after themselves, grow anywhere. (Funny how we cultivate the things that require effort and despise the things that beautify effortlessly.)

Anyway, out here I saw some chicory growing not far away, by the rail crossing, where I could enjoy it on the way to the grocery. Then, gloriosky, one started blooming at the corner of my front yard. Unfortunately it was right where I wanted the cement stepping stones from street to front-yard sidewalk (which goes only as far as the side of the parking space), so it got dug up. I plunked it in a bucket of water, but it seemed to die. Was late fall, so... I'll check in spring. Anyway, there's another one in the backyard, right beside one of the cat cages, where it won't get dug out, or even (reminder to self: put little stone barrier around it, or tie ribbon on it) mowed down by my enthusiastic outdoor helpers.  They do lotsa stuff, hauling rocks, digging holes, putting up fences...but their real passion is mowing.

Hoping you are the same...

Views: 53

Comment by JMac1949 Today on December 31, 2016 at 3:45pm

Chicory in coffee makes a powerful and delicious brew, from Cafe du Monde in New Orleans excellent with beignets:

and more Chicory History from the Smithsonian:

Comment by koshersalaami on December 31, 2016 at 7:30pm

I see those in New York

Comment by nerd cred on December 31, 2016 at 9:27pm

To pronounce m and n together without a vowel and such might require slavic genetics.

Couldn't you collect seeds from some of those plants?

Happy New Year!

Comment by Julie Johnson on January 1, 2017 at 8:12am

We have morning glories here, 10 or 15 different colors and shades, they're vines that creep all over the place, covering the ground like kudzu but easier to pull up.  I've seen the seeds in the store,  but they're weeds, here.  The thing is though, you CANNOT plant them where you want them.  They won't take.  Believe me, I've tried for 20 years.  Nice post to read this morning, Myriad.  Ty!  Enjoy your chicory. :-)

Comment by Myriad on January 1, 2017 at 3:19pm

Jmac - I've never had chicory nor beignets.  Look good. The history article was interesting.

Kosh - they seem to be everywhere, except Alberta (maybe their winters).

I have given some thought to collecting seeds.  The plants are pretty inconspicuous when not blooming, scraggly and blending into the weedscape.  But I should try...  Happy New Year to you too.

Julie - hah!  morning glories grow back east, and some people get a pretty good showing, but I was looking forward to coming here where I remember them from childhood visits, great long vines, covering hedges and vacant lots. Everything more lush here. Had a hard time getting them going from seed. But this spring someone brought me seedlings (she was, yes, trying to eradicate the damn stuff, digging up the babies) and they took.  Hoping their own seeding will keep them going now...until they take over...

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