Free Range Free Chat

Good morning, free chatters and News Viewers, welcome back to Monday. This time, we are halfway through the month of May, and Mother Nature apparently can’t decide to settle down and pick a weather pattern. I hear grumblings of heat waves on the West Coast, and here in the Great Lakes region I woke to a brisk 35° at 5:00a.m. and tried to fall back asleep, worried about a pot of flowers without a blankie on my front porch. Shivering petunias!

A couple hours later, I stumbled out to the coffee pot where one of the first things I gaze upon out the kitchen window is my gorgeous new Red Dragon Japanese maple. I’m in love.

No, that’s not mine, but this is what mine aspires to be when it grows up. I find the Japanese maples fascinating, and now that I have my own, they catch my eye whenever I see one.

The Latin name for the Japanese maple tree is “Acer Palmatum,” which translates to “sharp, hand-like” in reference to its leaves.

Native to Japan, China and Korea, they are slow-growers, and different varieties can achieve anywhere between 4-30 feet at maturity.

There are many symbols of Japanese red maple trees — such as abundant blessings, peace, beauty, patience, survival, the arrival of autumn and so on. It is common to see Japanese people plant maple trees to bring luck.

In Japan, the leaves of the maples are a delicacy, fried in a light tempura batter made with flour, sugar, and sesame seeds. The leaves are gathered, washed, and preserved with salt for a year, then coated with the batter and fried in vegetable oil.

I would be willing to give those a try with my second cup of coffee.

What’s growing in your garden or yard this morning that hopefully brings you a sense of calm and peace like the “Acer Palmatum?”

Let’s make it a good chat, peeps, and don’t forget to mind your free chat manners.

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