Sunday, May 29, 2011

More about Dandelions

This is a piece of information I copied from another website. Since it was an informative page, I didn't think he would mind.

Dandelion Nutritional Value

The nutritional content of the Dandelion plant is exceptional. The entire plant is usable from the root all the way up to the beautiful flower, including the stems and leaves.
I especially like the tea produced by roasting the roots, but the leaves and flowers have that distinct pungent flavor as do the ilk of healthy vegetables like collards, spinach, chards, etc. If you think about calcium and phosphor when eating the Dandelion, you'll understand why it has the flavor it does. You are tasting health. The Dandelion has, in addition to fiber, the following particularly good concentration of:
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Phosphorous
  • Calcium
More specifically, look at this chart on percentages and other information (Serving of 55grams):
  • Calories: 25 (from fat 3)
  • Total fat: 0 grams or 1%
  • Saturated fats: 0%
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 42mg
  • Carbohydrates: 5grams
  • Dietary Fiber: 2grams
  • Sugars: 0grams
  • Protein: 1gram
  • Vitamin A: 112%
  • Vitamin C: 32%
  • Calcium: 10%
  • Iron: 9%
It makes me wonder that if early sailors had known of this plant, would they have been inflicted with scurvy? For one thing, they'd not had to carry limes only, but could have had dried Dandelions which would store well and as far as I know, would retain at least some of the vitamin C. However, I'll need to research that concept to see if the C actually is retained or is it lost during drying. I don't see why it would be lost because drying is not the same as cooking. The roots are roasted to create the tea, but the leaves and flowers are easily dried and stored for reconstituting later when placed in soups, stir fry, or crumpled over salads. I would not cook them into the soup, but instead, place them in the soups once the soups is already cooked and allow the dried Dandies to absorb the juices of the soup. Toss in a few earth worms for protein and mmm mmm good! OK, maybe I'm not ready for earth worms, but in a pinch, if stranded somewhere, I could probably do it since they would be cooked and I'd hardly notice them mixed in with all the other wild herbs and flowers like Horse Tail, and Lambs Quarter.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Are you one of those People that Poison your Dandelions?

You are killing food. Dandelions are good for a surprising variety of things. For one, if you have dandelions, your soil is right for growing most vegetables.

They are extremely nutritious for any livestock that eats grass.

Though I have never done it, the roots can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute. The early greens fall in to the bitter greens category and can be eaten in salad, or steamed as a vegetable.

You can make wine and dye from the blossoms too!

I cut blossoms this year for egg fritters.

First, simply pick the flower off the stem.
So many flowers to choose from!

Wash the flowers, then stir in beaten egg, along with any seasonings you might want, such as garlic powder, or salt or onion powder.  Chopped fresh onions or peppers would be good also.

Roll them in flour, then fry.

Bad picture, sorry!
This was the first time I made them ever. The second time I did it, I made them in to an omelet form, added salt and pepper, and cheese. It was a total experiment the day I decided to do it. Surprisingly they were very good! We thought they would be gross, but they were not. Since then, I've picked more, rolled them in egg, and put them in plastic bags for freezing so we can have some later on in the year, or over winter when they are done growing. That too is an experiment.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Isn't Spring Great?

Spring is so awesome because of the flowers!
This is the apple tree in front of our house. It smells SO good, and it's so pretty!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I don't care for mowing the lawn..Part 2

In the interest of self-sufficiency, and of course, my quest to avoid mowing the lawn more than absolutely necessary, I have decided to begin turning the most of the lawn into garden space. 
More food, less lawn, mom's happy.

I began with raised beds. I pulled the wooden squares from the other part of the garden and put them on the lawn, in between the fruit trees.  I used cardboard and paper feed sacks straight on the grass, under the squares. Then I had them filled with some topsoil I had from 2 years ago.

I planted beets, carrots, kale, broccoli, kohlrabi, lettuce, peas, and spinach in them. I covered them with hay, then laid a piece of old field fence over the top to keep the chickens from scratching them up. 
The grass in between, I will simply cover with spoiled hay as I get it.  On the right, center, is one of the rabbit tractors. I ran out of topsoil, so I decide to use them to help prepare the next spots. I am moving them over a little at a time, and letting them in place long enough to eat the grass down to the dirt.

This is a spot they ate totally away. In the rear, after the rabbits were done, I dug a single hole in the sod, each a foot apart and planted a seed potato. Then I mulched with spoiled bedding hay 8 inches deep, with a small depression left where each potato was planted. Strangely, the chickens really haven't bothered this one.

In the front, the black plastic is in place to warm the dirt in preparation for sweet potatoes.

This is the finished square the rabbits were just starting in the first photo. It took them 3 days to clear it.  Chris was starting to till for me, but the tiller decided to take a break (the machine, not him).  So the center isn't tilled at all.

This is the back edge in the square in the previous photo.  I planted 100 bush bean plants.  It's still a tad cold for beans, but I am tired of waiting. Call it an experiment. I covered them with old glass patio doors I got out of someone's trash. I hope they will keep the soil warm enough to prevent the seeds from rotting. Beans tend to do that it cold, wet soil. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

You Think Obama is Worth Keeping? Think Again!

Mark the date – Thursday May 19th. It’s the day the leopard showed his spots. It’s the day Obama stabbed Israel in the back. It’s the day he told Israel, DROP DEAD.
For the first time in history an American President has chosen to abandon our great friend and ally, Israel, in favor of radical Muslims led by the terrorist group Hamas. But, mark this also as a great day- the day Obama lost the 2012 election. Obama has awakened a sleeping giant- American Jews and Christians, united in their love and support for Israel. They are outraged, shocked and sickened. Obama clearly showed his radical and hateful colors. The American people will not forget.
Just days ago, because of the weak GOP field, I wrote that Obama was the favorite for re-election. Thursday that all changed. Obama’s ego and hatred of Israel could not allow him to play possum for another eighteen months when he’d be re-elected. He could then unleash the full extent of his anti-capitalism, anti-American, anti-Israel venom without having to ever face American voters again. But, like all radical true believers, his hatred is so extreme he couldn’t wait. He’s been so indoctrinated by communist organizers, Marxist professors, terrorist sympathizers, and radical Muslim apologists, that he just couldn’t contain himself.
On Thursday, Obama left no doubt that he sides with and wants to redistribute money from American taxpayers to Palestinians and radical Muslims like Hamas that target Israeli women and children…that encourage their own children to become suicide bombers…that hand out candy in celebration for the murder of an innocent Jewish baby…that force women to endure public lashings for disobeying a husband…that execute women for “allowing themselves” to be gang-raped…that pour acid on the face of little girls who dare to want an education…who throw gay men off the roofs of buildings…who marry off their 5-year-old daughters to pay the bills…who imprison all women for life behind dark veils in 120 degree heat, to keep them from being seen by other men.
Obama wants to redistribute your taxpayer money to radicals who attack churches and murder Christians. He wants more foreign aid for Egypt, a country headed for domination by the Muslim Brotherhood, an ally of Nazis in WWII. That is who Obama has chosen to side with over a modern, capitalist, American-loving Israeli society with democracy, freedom and equality for men, women, gays, and Arabs. Not perfection, because we all know that neither America nor Israel is perfect. But, like in America, all people (including Muslims) enjoy far more freedom in Israel in any Muslim country.
If you are a thinking, fair minded person, Christian or Jew, that supports Israel’s right to exist, you must be sickened and outraged by Obama’s demand for Israel to return to its 1967 borders. That demand displaces over 300,000 Israeli citizens. What right does America have to make 300,000 people of another country homeless? What right does America have to meddle in Israel’s affairs? What right does America have to demand an ally give up its own territory won in a defensive war? Should America give Texas back to Mexico? Should we hand Boston back to the British? What right does Obama have to give away the land Israel needs to provide natural defenses from Hamas missiles and terrorist attacks? What if America’s meddling leads to the destruction of Israel and the death of millions of innocent Israelis? With friends like this, Israel no longer needs enemies.
If you are a Libertarian non-interventionist who has “no dog in the hunt,” you should be outraged that an American President is choosing sides at all. You should be outraged that Obama is inflaming tensions that could lead to World War III. You should be outraged that instead of cutting off foreign aid to radical countries, or eliminating all foreign aid, Obama on this same day recommended several billion dollars in new foreign aid to countries filled with radical hate for America, as well as Jews and Christians worldwide.
If you have common sense you should be outraged at the very idea of throwing away more money. America is broke. We must cut back dramatically on foreign aid, or eliminate it. Why would we commit billions to countries ruled by despots and radicals that hate America and support the destruction of Israel? Billions from where? We now borrow almost 50% of what we spend and Obama wants to give away more money that we have to borrow from China, or have the Fed print more fake money to give away to people that hate us? This defines reckless and radical.
On Thursday Obama made it clear he hates Israel and doesn’t care what the American people want. That’s the day he lost the election. Jewish voters will never again feel the same about Obama. And while Jews make up only 2% of America’s population, they provide a majority of the donations to Democratic politicians. Obama lost many crucial Democratic donors on Thursday. But Obama’s biggest mistake was awakening a sleeping giant. It is Christian voters that elect Presidents. And almost 100 million evangelical Christians who love Israel will now vote and donate to Obama’s opponents with a fervor and passion of a patriotic group on a mission to save America and Israel from destruction. And sadly, they will be right.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I don't care for mowing the Lawn...Part 1

Our lawn usually gets out of control rather quickly. First, you have the spring flush of growth, then summer weeds, then august rains...ugh!

This year, I have a plan, and its already looking to be too late!
Every year, I run rabbit tractors.

These handy little devils run double duty. They give the bunnies destined for the pot a chance to live a semi-normal life before they meet their final day. They get to run and play and eat all the fresh greens they want in the sun or the shade.  For the most part, they are as happy as a confined animal can be. Plus, there is the added bonus of free feed.

Second, those fuzzy little buns eat that grass right to the dirt. It helps keep the grass mowed, and the lawn gets fertilized without chemicals.  The bad part, is I have to move the thing 3 times a day, and there is always the danger of them digging out, which they do from time to time it I let them run out of feed, or don't take the time to check for holes under the edges.

My second part of the plan is my goats and my bull.

I drove 4 rebar fence posts into the ground and slipped steel O's over them. Tie the O to a piece of twine (of which we have plenty), and tie the twine to goat collars. Instant tie out!  At the end of the day, the goats go back to their pens and the rods get moved for tomorrow.  The bad part is the 'mowing' is inconsistent. The lawn is already too long, and I don't think random circles are going to do it.  I will probably have to mow anyway...sigh.

In the case of Cave Lion...
(Remember, the bull calf I bottle fed because his mom tried to kill me?)

I just let him out. He is so tame, I can walk up to him anywhere and lead him away.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Mom is a Couch

My mom is a couch
My own soft, live furniture
Aw, shucks! No TV.

Spring has finally Sprung!

The strawberries are doing great! 
Here is what they looked like today. It rained yesterday, so they are happy and growing.

In the lower left, you can see chocolate mint. I planted it in a sunken bed originally, but alas, it has escaped and is slowly creeping about. That's fine. It generally doesn't hurt other things and it smells good when you step on it.

In the center of the photo, far right, is thyme. Thyme is a slow creeping ground cover that is used herbally in cooking and medicines.  It does best in rocky type areas. Three winters in Wisconsin and finally success!

This is one of our pear trees. It is some kind of oriental pear. The pears are small and sort of resemble lemons. It is always the first tree to flower.  Most of the other trees have colorful cracking buds, but this is the only one open so far.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Planting Strawberries

I ordered 100 strawberry plants through a seed catalog, and they are here.

Strawberries are perennial, which means they live through the winter and come back every year to produce more delicious berries for you to eat.
Strawberries are what I like to call a 'beginners berry'. They are very easy to plant and maintain, and you don't need to wait years, like a fruit tree, to get results.

The first step is ground prep. Choose a place that will get full sun. This means at least 6 hours. A place that is well drained is best. Strawberries need to be moist but not drowning.

I used a shovel and removed all the sod. Shake the extra dirt off the grass hunks and feed them to your pigs. Pick out all the broken grass roots you see, as they will re-sprout and cause you to say angry things later when you have to pull them again.

I heaped the soil towards the middle, then spread it out with a rake, resulting in a sort of raised bed with no sides. This allows the soil to warm up a bit faster and gives a little more room for the roots. Eventually it will pack down, but as you add mulch over time, it will build up. Never step on your prepared soil!

Strawberries are shipped in an aerated plastic bag in bundles of 25. Remove them from the bag, remove the rubber band and pull the roots apart. Depending on how long they have been in the bag, some may have very long roots and you might see new rootlets growing.

If the roots are super long, cut them with scissors to 4-6 inches long.  Dig a hole with your hand trowel about 6 inches deep and a few inches wide. Put the plant in the hole with the roots down, but spread them out a little. Firmly pack the dirt around the roots. Strawberries are kind of funny about the depth at which they are planted. If you plant them too deep, they will rot. If you plant them too shallow, they might dry out and die. You have to plant with the crown just above the dirt. 

If I had to choose, I would rather accidentally plant too shallow rather than too deep. The bags usually have directions and a picture printed on the side. The bag says plant them in rows 3 feet apart and plants 18 inches apart. I think that is too much room and I never plant that spacey. The reasoning behind that is the plants will throw off runners to make new plants. The runners will fill in the spaces between the plants. I prefer to plant them closer together, then when they grow runners, I cut them off and plant them where I want them. 

So after your plants are all in the ground, mulch them with old hay, or cured compost. Don't use bark, sawdust, or grass clippings. Grass clippings mat and get gooey, sawdust leaches nitrogen out of the soil and bark is too hard. Keep them well watered for the first 10 days or so and water weekly if there is no rain.  The directions say pick off all the blooms the first year to give them a chance to develop their root systems for a better harvest next year. I pick off blooms through July, then let them get a few berries towards the end of the summer. Why go through all that work for nothing? I want a least a few for my time.  It won't really hurt them.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Little Baby Sausages.. Mmmm sausage....

The Ecker pig had babies a couple weeks ago. This would be her second litter and she did great. She is a cross breed of unknown origin.

These were born the 3rd week of April. A pig's gestation period is 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days.  We saw her bred around Christmas.  The father is Rip, our Tamworth boar. 
Cute little buggers!

It's Shaving Day!

Goat shaving day that is...

Usually the second week of May I shave all the goats. Their winter hair starts coming out in clumps and they just look a mess.

This is Hollyhock. She is an Oberhasli cross. She actually has the best looking fur coat right now of everyone. Not for long!
15 minutes and a little patience, wa-la!

Naked! Smooth and shiny!

This is D'ax. She is an American Saanen. She was much more cooperative than Hollyhock. D'ax has been down this road before and knows what to expect. She knows that once it's done, she'll feel a whole lot better, and not quite so itchy.

See? Much better, though she looks a little subdued. Maybe she is embarrassed at her own nudity.