What was interesting was that despite this cognitive response, the visceral reaction of seeing a flowing yellow field of pure sunshine was also noted by both of us. The presentation was made more startling with the juxtaposition of the golden wave to the neighbor's pure green lawn. The dividing line was so apparent between the two that it appeared as if the Maize Rebellion and Emerald Empire were facing off in an epic showdown right at that property line. Having known the neighbor for some time, this was not a surprise. In fact, upon closer inspection it became apparent that the Emerald Empire was winning as it had taken over some of our new kingdom. In other words, the weed-hating neighbor had sprayed onto our property. A quick consult with him confirmed this as he shared his concern that our Maize Rebellion was a clear and present danger to his Emerald Empire due to our secret weapon . . . an aerial attack of millions of paratroopers. Never mind the fact that dandelion seeds can be carried for miles by the wind--that extra few feet was apparently pivotal.
At the start, this was just humorous to us as we were not offended by the invasion due to our own archaic view of lawns. However, the vision of that field of dandelions stuck with us for that year. As they died off, it became clear that we were far from having an Emerald Empire as our soil was abhorrent. The next year we were graced with the dazzling spectacle of our dandelion crop once again. By this time, we were questioning the necessity of exterminating the "King of the Lawn" as we were distracted by our first garden (more to come on this one) and the fact that we secretly enjoyed the passive-aggressive power we held over the neighbor, even though it became apparent that his Emerald Empire had advanced a few more feet into our kingdom. The start of our "organic" gardening had led us to confront his use of spraying and we were met with the thought that not only did he think he was doing us a favor, but it almost seemed as if he was programmed to unleash a terminating assault on the innocent flaxen flora. (As you may have guessed by now, he is more than just a neighbor. . . he is my father-in-law.)
It's safe to say that we were not totally clear as to why our front yard was a flowing yellow tsunami every spring, until this past fall when we began our expedition into sustainability and permaculture. It became clear very quickly that our "Kings of the Lawn" were there for a reason. Remember how I said our post-dandelion lawn was a disaster? Well, the dandelion was already telling us this, we just had not listened . . . or better yet, did not know the language. The dandelion is especially prone to propagate on hard soils that may be lacking in a number of essential soil minerals. Due to its taproot, the dandelion will literally bust through hard clay soils, slowly drilling holes one by one to loosen the soil and mine for minerals and water. As it dies, it leaves is edible greens behind to accumulate on top of the ground, deteriorating and becoming new soil . . . also known as bioaccumulation. The Maize Rebellion was not waging war on the Emerald Empire as previously thought, it was waging war on our horrendous soil texture and quality, which had become more and more apparent due to the recurring sore lower back after a tumultuous ride on the lawn mower.
More research on our part found that in the world of bees, dandelions are an essential early food as they emerge from their winter hibernation and await the onslaught of flowering summer annuals and perennials. Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health divulged a number of unknown uses, including dandelion root as an incredibly effective and safe diuretic, blossoms as a wine or vinegar, and the greens as a salad green or in a tonic tea due to the potent combination of vitamins and minerals. This list leads her to state: "Dandelion is, I'm convinced, one of the great tonic herbs of all times." While there is no argument on our part, a quick look on the Internet at some forums at permies.com and other sites shows that these are only a few uses of this "weed."
So as we venture into this new endeavor, it became almost silly how we arrived at the name. While I had thought of the name earlier in the week, it had slipped my mind in the chaos of whatever else was going on. I do know that I had come to the name by asking myself, "What are we the best at growing?" Of course, we aren't growing them per se, but we have yet to stage a suburban assault on them and we have been working to keep the Emerald Empire at bay as best we could. So as we continued to dig deep in the crevasses of our cerebral cortices, it came to me again while in the shower . . . of course. As I was preparing to yell to Diana to come and hear my idea, I heard her approaching. Before I could share my news, she exalted her forthcoming idea with glee. At this point, I began to laugh. I almost knew what was coming before she said it because her level of joy was what I was expecting from her when I shared with her my idea. Of course she shared some offshoot of our name utilizing dandelion, leading us to settle on Dandelion Hills. Serendipitous? I think so. Does it fit? Absolutely! Will the Maize Rebellion bring the Emerald Empire over to the Saffron Side? Stay tuned!