The other day, I plucked a dozen grape tomatoes from my plant, thinking they would be the last harvest of the year, but there’s a clump of greenies still hanging on.
Strange how some weird substances prove so vital to civilizations. Spermaceti. Guano. Kelp. Kelp? Kelp in this sense is seaweed burned down to ash. From the 1700s the soda and potash extracted from the ash was used to bleach linen, and make saltpeter, glass, and soap. In the 19th century, iodine was taken from the ash for medical purposes. Today, by the way, Irish moss, carrageen, is the seaweed used as a thickener in crappy ice cream, paint, and cosmetics.
I came across the Age of Kelp, completely unknown to me, in Tim Robinson’s Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage. Walking around the island, literally, this sturdy beachcomber tells the story of the limestone island’s rock, and in doing so, tells the story of the surviving Irish place names, and, of course, the people who gave those names.
Speaking of names, are you out of your chair laughing your ass off yet over