“Spring has spring, the grass has rizz…” and the fiddleheads are pushing their tightly furled heads up through the stream banks.

Nature times the fiddlehead season pretty good with brook trout fishing. Down to the Village Store, where "the regulars" meet each afternoon to discuss the weighty matters of the day, talk now turns to fiddleheads – but never to where a good spot is – and no one asks.

A good fiddlehead spot is guarded like a prize fishing hole. It’s even impolite to ask someone where a good spot is.

And, this year in Augusta, there’s a new – and asinine – law in the works to prohibit picking fiddleheads and mushrooms without the land owner’s permission. It’s bill #421 – and, for now, tabled. The proposed law contains this language: “Violation of this section is a strict liability crime.” (so – since it’s tabled right now, there’s time to call your reps and say “WTH? Do not even think of passing 421!”)

The best fiddlehead patches are way off in the willy-wacks, gotten to by climbing over hill and dale, railroad tracks, through the pucker brush, etc, way off in the woods off back roads. Who the heck knows who owns the spot you end up in, or where the property lines are for whose land? If someone doesn’t want the fiddleheads or wild mushrooms on their land picked – let them post their land. (Anyone wanna take odds on this law being cooked up by flatlanders? We Mainers have done just fine with the status quo for a few hundred years. Maine has been a friendly, neighborly, courtesy-oriented state for generations of folk. A lotta out-of-staters come up here ‘cause they perceive it’s a great place to live, but no sooner’n their feet hit the ground, many of them proceed to try to turn it into where they came from. It’s an attitude they bring with them: “We know better than you yokels.”)

Anyway, by the time this gets printed, I will have gone out to “my” patch and had my first mess of the season.

Nutrition-wise, you won’t find much about the fiddlehead other than its vitamin and mineral content: protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, magnesium, manganese and zinc. The fiddlehead hasn’t been researched much because, being a natural plant, it can’t be patented – i.e., be owned and made money off. But you don’t have to know what they might do for your health. They’re just plain delicious and that’s all we have to know.

Now then, pissenlits. “Pissenlit,” a French word. "Lit" means "bed" and the rest is self-explanatory.

Loosely translated, it’s “pee in bed.” We call them dandelions, from another French word for them: dent de lion, or "lion’s tooth," for the shape of the leaves.

I’m not to go into the long list of health benefits of what may be the most remarkable plant on the planet other than to remark on one such benefit that earned it the name pissenlit: It’s very beneficial for the bladder. (Just Google "dandelion health benefits.” The list is astounding.)

There isn’t a part of it that can’t be used, from the first tender leaves that I like to chew right out in the yard. These new leaves can be used in salad, in stir fries, soups and the most common, just boiled and eaten with butter, vinegar, salt and pepper. When the new tight buds come on, they are extra sweet and tasty. As the plant matures and starts blossoming, it gets bitter and is usually put through two waters – boil a bit, drain the water and boil again in new water. This takes a lot of the tannin out.

The blossoms, as we know, make some of finest white wine. After the blooming time is done and gone, the dandelions lose a lot of the bitterness again and keep growing right up through November. And in the fall, the roots can be dried, ground and used as a coffee substitute and for making tinctures.

But this miraculous plant is the poster child for the weed killer chemical makers as the most important "weed" to eradicate.

So, right now, both of these scrumptious plants are free for the picking, compliments of Mother Nature. And while gathering your fiddleheads, which grow along stream banks, drop a line in and add a brookie to that plate of fiddleheads.

I can’t think of a finer meal. (Well, come summer, a spread of lobster, steamers and mussels over the bay is equal, but not better.)

In the meantime, I’m making plans to turn my acre of boggy forest land, with a little winding brooklet, into a fiddlehead and mushroom garden, just in case they pass that asinine bill.

Marion Tucker-Honeycutt, an award-winning columnist, a Maine native and graduate of Belfast, now lives in Morrill. Her column appears in this paper every other week.