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Monday, August 15, 2011





Monday, 9:00 AM.  70 degrees, wind WSW, light.  The sky is clear but a bit hazy. The humidity  is up and the barometer is down, predicting rain, perhaps by evening.
    Garden lettuce, Lactuca sativa, has a very close relative that is a common roadside weed in Europe and America, Lactuca serriola, prickly lettuce.  Both are in the sunflower family.  There are a number of species and look-alike genera so it can be very confusing, but I am pretty sure of this identification.  Priclky lettuce can be eaten like garden lettuce when the leaves are young.  It  has had a number of uses in European herbalism because the milky sap has a sedative effect similar to opium (although said to be non-addictive) among other qualities, as does garden lettuce to a much lesser extent.  Prickly lettuce should probably be used with caution, if at all. 
    The local bear(s) are becoming a bit too prevalant and bold, as evidenced by the remains of the “Teddy Bears’ Picnic” across the street.  The bears'  “den” is just through the hole in the solid wall of vegetation, and the watermelon only half eaten attests to the animal’s scavaging ability.  Our next door coast guard neighbors have called the DNR to trap the bruin and I heartily agree.  Small children and an aggressive bear do not belong on the same block.  The DNR was not very positive abot trapping the bear, citing other priorities, a typical bureaucratic response.
    I personally think the time ahas come for a very liberal bear season or seasons until the over populatrion is reduced.  At present it takes about five years of successive applications to obtain a license.

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