This grows all around us for the better part of the year. I knew the name, but didn’t realize it was edible until recently. I was so pleased to learn that, considering how plentiful it is around here, that I had to dedicate a ‘weed’ page to Spiderwort.
In the garden the poppies have been so gorgeous, I just can’t get enough of them. They’ve been so prolific I feared they would completely crowd-out the nigella, which has such a tasty seed, but blooms a bit later. Luckily, I found a little patch still making room for itself.
The poppies contrasted with the calendula are simply gorgeous, the pictures don’t do them justice!
I just wanted to share some resources I’m frequenting, more often due to mood, rather than necessity. There is so much of the ‘how to’ out there in cyberland, and that’s great, but even better are the sites out there that inspire, motivate, explore, or feel like an afternoon paseo—like taking a walk around your neighborhood.
Sometimes, I look to YouTube, of course.
Sometimes I need the high energy, no-nonsense, look at me, you can do it too attitude of James Pergioni. Little he does applies to our garden—he’s urban and in a completely different climate, but, no matter, because he does what he does so well, and that gets me goin’!
Other times it’s the Zen, graceful, deeply practical, and peaceful even in the city type of gardener, with a simply lovely channel I’d be prone to emulate if I ever made a gardening channel of my own. She lets the plants do the most of the talking and I can sense how she loves them.
Sometimes I need that super practical advice on something specific, so it’s MI Gardener, mostly because he wastes minimal time on chit-chat, my biggest pet-peeve in how-to sites.
As for the paseo I like to hang out right here on WP, 3 gardeners in particular I follow regularly, and I’d probably frequent more, if I knew of more. I don’t like the big box sites, too much noise. I think of these ladies as cyber-neighbors, while I do sometimes get gardening tips from them, I visit mostly just to see what they’re up to lately.
There’s Empty Nest Homesteading, who offers her keen sense of esthetics to the homesteading scene. Here’s her latest adventure in decorating.
And there’s the Re-farmer, who’s got to be the most ambitious homesteader, especially climate-wise, I’ve ever seen. She offers up daily posts with regular garden reports, which that alone is more than I’ll ever do! She’s got mad gumption!
And there’s Eden Unlocked, a young suburban mother who offers Biblical contemplation with some of her posts, quite a foreign foray for me, which I’ve come to appreciate, mostly because I find her to be a quite a unique lady. She and I share a powerful budding interest in learning herbalism, which brings me to my latest offering.
I have posted the first of my Herbal Explorations, Calendula, which you can find by going to the Main Page of Kensho Homestead, in the menu. Each time I’ve posted on another plant, I’ll link it here in the blog, but it will remain on the main page for easier locating. For those who don’t know already, there’s also pages there on Geoengineering Resources and Garden-to-Table Resources.
Some happy snaps and an announcement on this beautiful Sunday!
I’m sure there are a lot of gifted gardeners out there cringing when I say that, but it’s true!
I don’t always love weeds (like the pernicious summer grasses, poison ivy, and Texas goat weed, for starters) but a great many of them are delicious, nutritious, ubiquitous and deserve their place in the garden.
I don’t know every weed, yet, but I’m learning more every year.
Can you name 3 of the 6 edible weeds pictured above? (Hint below the video.)
And that leads me to my announcement, which is probably more of an intention still, but I figure if I post it, I’m one step closer to doing it.
Soon, very soon, I’ll be adding a new section to our wee blog:“Herbal Explorations”. I’m very excited about it, but it’s quite a bit of work as well, which isn’t easy to squeeze in to an already full palate (bad pun intended!)!
Of course, I’m not an herbalist myself, but I plan to research the ‘Starring Weeds’ as best I can online and in books, provide lots of references, and get further info tidbits from trained herbalists.
Including, of course, the ‘science fraud’ angle I’m so fond of that casts so many of our precious herbs in a bad light!
My hope is that it will become an on-going reference section that will be a welcome resource for all us new-bees in herbalism, foraging, and down-to-earth living.
If you think this is a good idea, please do nudge me along, to make sure I git-er-done!
And do enjoy 2 minutes of Homestead TV, if you please!
Hint from above: Start small and easy, with the middle photo, the first plant our “Sow”(there’s your hint) eats in the vid, what is it?
Quoted from the book Old Age Deferred by Arnold Lorand, M.D., 3rd edition, 1912 Carlsbad, Austria
He is considered to be a pioneer of modern geriatric medicine.
“Most of the evils that befall us in this world, including premature old age and early death, are, in our opinion, as we have often repeated, solely due to our own negligence; and to avoid such a fate we recommend the following precepts:
1. To be as much as possible in the open air, and especially in the sunshine; and to take plenty of exercise, taking special care to breathe deeply and regularly.
2. To live on a diet consisting of: meat once a day, eggs, cereals, green vegetables, fruit, and raw milk of healthy cows (as much as the stomach will permit); and to masticate properly.
3. To take a bath daily; and in addition, once a week or once every two weeks, to take a sweat bath (if the heart can stand it).
4. To have a daily action of the bowels; and in addition to take a purgative once a week if there is any tendency to constipation.
5. To wear very porous underwear, preferably cotton; porous clothing, loose collars, light hat (if any), and low shoes.
6. To go to be early, and to rise early.
7. To sleep in a very dark and very quiet room, and with a window open; and not to sleep less than six to six and one-half hours, or more than seven and one-half, and for women eight and one-half hours.
8. To have one complete day’s rest in each week, without even reading or writing.
9. To avoid mental emotions, and also worries about things that have happened and cannot be altered, as well as about things that may happen. Never to say unpleasant things, and to avoid listening to such, if possible.
10. To get married; and if a widow or widower, to marry again, and to avoid sexual activity beyond the physiological limit, as also to avoid a total suppression of the functions of these organs.
11. To be temperate in the use of alcohol and tobacco, and also in the use of coffee or tea.
12. To avoid places that are overheated, especially by steam, and badly ventilated. To replace or reinforce the functions of the organs which may have become changed by age or disease, by means of the extracts from the corresponding organs of healthy animals; but only to do this under the strict supervision of medical men who are thoroughly familiar with the functions of the ductless glands.”
This doctor’s Wikipedia page directly contradicts what I have just taken from his book—not simply distorting his assertions, or cherry-picking quotes—by saying that this doctor promoted a vegetarian diet.
No politics or unpleasant ponderings this post, I promise!
Just some homesteady happy snaps and a well wishing for a wonderful weekend. 🙂
Drum roll, please, for this next rare shot . . . A Skittles sighting!
Mystifying mushrooms! These are quite common, honies (armillaria tabescens) claimed to be good by a good many foragers, but we haven’t tried them yet, because my mushrooming buddy and her husband got wretchedly ill on them once. Oops, I promised no unpleasantries. 😉
I suppose these next snaps might be unpleasant to some, sorry! I do get that, I felt that at first too, but I was gradually desensitized as I realized how much economic sense it makes, what an amazing skill it is, and especially how magically delicious it is.
Our favorite foraging expert who we forayed with nearby this past spring has a great new website all about medicinals. Here’s a short podcast about it, and reminding me that now is the time I should be collecting some goldenrod before winter! Medicine Man Plant Co
We’ve been at this about a decade now, learning by trial and error. Because of a major health crisis in the family, I’ve been introspecting even more than usual these days. That’s why I haven’t been posting much lately.
I thought it high time to deeply consider what our own health futures might hold, Hubby and I, while we are not under the immediate duress of old age and poor health. Health is one of the main reasons why we committed to this homesteading lifestyle. Other reasons are political, esthetic, quality of life and, for me at least, a sense of urgency to hold on to something precious for future generations—nature—before it slips completely from our lives.
Watching the impact of the Scamdemic not only on the economy, but also on our ‘health care’ system has demonstrated unequivocally that, despite the challenges and hardships, we’ve made the right choice.
Our ‘health care’ system, which is actually a disease promoting system, is beyond hope, in my estimation. (This one’s surely gone viral by now, but in case you haven’t seen it yet, it’s brilliant!) The DEVOLUTION of covid vaccine efficacy
I truly believe the only way out of the mess this country has become is by reclaiming our natural rights back from the government.
However, that first means reclaiming our natural responsibilities—those ‘unpleasant’ aspects of life we’ve come to outsource to the government (and their corporate partners in crime) in the first place, which has made it ridiculously powerful, as all governments (and their co-conspirators) are wont to be.
We are trying to accomplish that by first demonstrating to ourselves, and then hopefully to others, that such a thing is possible, and also desirable.
But what if, due to our increasing age, we had to choose? Limited strength, mobility issues, cognitive decline, all are serious potential threats to our continued lifestyle here.
Considering this I’ve made a few lists, ranking our current activities against future realities based on: Required inputs, health impact, pleasure principle, and bang for the buck.
It isn’t pleasant. I don’t want to give up any of it, ever! Bees, chickens, pigs, sheep, goats, veggie garden, fruit orchard . . . . But, here goes.
Kombucha, no caveats, it stands alone. If you can make tea you can make kombucha. It’s healthy, it’s fun, it’s delicious. Hubby no longer drinks beer or soda thanks to this amazing beverage, better for health and finances for us, and far better for the environment too, with almost no waste.
Sourdough bread, and already we have caveats. I know loads of folks think they are gluten intolerant; I used to think I was too. Grains properly prepared are nothing like most store-bought breads, for health and taste. Around these parts you can’t even find good bread. In other locales you may be able to find it, but I’d guess the prices are scary. Making your own sourdough bread is time consuming, but it’s not difficult. Same goes for sourdough cookies, brownies, pizza crusts, etc. And, let’s face it, gluten-free products are not tasty, so there’s some extra incentive.
Raised garden beds, and more caveats. Starting to garden at an advanced age is probably not going to be too successful. Of all we do here it claims the prize of Most: most expensive, most labor intensive, most greatest learning curve, most unreliable results. Still, I love it! So, continuing to garden with some foresight and adjustments is perfectly doable. I insist!
That short list makes me sad. It’s the bare bones and I hope such sacrifices will never be required of us—no more chickens, goats, big dogs, great big garden?!
I don’t even want to consider it, but there it is.
There are also many projects still on my list to successfully accomplish, which are in trial and error mode now. Like making all our own body care and household cleaning products and herbal medicines. Hubby has future hopes of making furniture, if his current to-do list will ever allow it. No time for poor health here!
So, another short list is in order. The three things, in addition to those above, that I hope and pray we never get too old for: 1. Bees — not even for the honey necessarily 2. Chickens — they are easy enough to manage, but they attract predators 3. Goats — mostly for the cheese making, but they’re pretty good company too
And the three things we would most likely not be able to continue into old age: 1. Slaughtering — tough work, no doubt about it 2. Orchard — even established ones are a lot of work 3. Pigs — high maintenance, yes, but so delicious
We have no intention of ever rejoining urban life. And as far as intentions go, avoiding nursing homes and hospitals is right at the top of that list as well.
I’d love to read any comments on how you’ll be avoiding the hospitals and nursing homes too! And, are you sick of ‘civilization’ yet?!
Sanity still reigns on the wee homestead and I thought maybe a few of y’all might need a decent dose of it during these crazy dog days of summer amidst continued global chicanery.
The garden looks more like a jungle, but there is a method to the madness. Mostly it’s called ‘too hot to bother’. Still, it looks better than it ever has this time of year (which is saying very little) so I’m proud of a few things worth sharing.
The pigs are eating well off the luffa, which does so well here it actually out-competes the grasses. I wish we liked to eat it too, but I do use the sponges. It’s widely consumed in some cultures, so I might keep trying recipes to see if anything can improve its very bland taste. Plus, the bees love it, so it’s definitely a keeper.
We’re pretty limited on the veggie harvest this time of year, which means eating okra almost daily. I’m really not a big fan and it’s not even a fun one to harvest. It’s prickly and the fire ants scout every inch of it waiting to fall into your gloves or onto your thighs as you cut the spears. Its only redeeming qualities, if you ask me, are that it thrives in the heat and the flowers are pretty.
It’s our first harvest of scuppernong grapes and I’ll soon be making some wine and jelly. I’m kind of sick of canning, after all the pickles and having tried several new canning recipes this year, but I must find the grit somewhere and get back to it. For my latest experiments we’ll soon be tasting pickled watermelon rind, melon butter, and some exotically flavored cucumbers. That’s in addition to all our usual staples of pickles and salsas and sauces.
I’ve also made poke wine! It tastes pretty weird, but is supposed to be an excellent medicinal, so I thought it would be good to have on hand this winter. Despite popular hype, poke berries are not poisonous. Well, not exactly anyway. The seeds inside the berry are poisonous if chewed. You must extract the juice or swallow the berries whole.
Our pear harvest was quite small this year, but those will be processed soon too, into cider and preserves. My favorite, figs, have been doing better after a couple years of total failure. Too bad we eat them too fast to preserve them!
I’ve settled into a nice routine with milking our goat Summer and am extremely pleased with the cheeses I’ve been making. It took some getting used to, fitting it all into a workable new plan, after making mostly large-batch cheeses for several years. I’m using only traditional methods now too, so no more expensive cheese cultures to purchase.
Organizing seeds and preparing the fall plantings are also in high gear. It’s a real challenge in 90+ degree temps to be considering the cool season crops. I’ve got some started indoors under lights and my direct sow method amounts to throwing a variety of seeds in the ground every week, waterIng liberally, and keeping fingers crossed. Usually, eventually, some seedlings get brave and make an appearance and if we’re lucky, will produce something before the first frost.
Handy Hubby’s still rockin’ the new utility room and it’s already looking fabulous! It’s been a 100% DIY project for him and he never fails to impress. Once done I’ll give him a proper staging and big kudos post.
In its typical, now routine, fashion ‘science’ comes to save the day and leads everyone astray.
Once upon a time they desperately wanted us to fear cannabis, so they fudged some data to make it look like not only is marijuana a ‘gateway drug’ but it will kill all your brain cells and transform you into a moronic, lethargic two-ton-Tessy with crossed eyes.
Sassafras, that most delicious natural ingredient that used to make up root beer and was enjoyed by our ancestors for centuries—science data decided it’s a carcinogen and it gets stripped from the marketplace for half a century. Then the data decides, oops, nevermind. Then they decide it makes an awesome illegal street drug known by “Ecstasy” aficionados as “Sass” and it’s then highly processed active ingredients are exploited by twisted chemists and greedy marketers and pushed on curious kids around the world. Thanks, again, Science!
So, forgive me when I heard for the first time the panicked cries about the poisonous pokeweed I had to roll my eyes a little. I heard repeated the usual crazy as I tried to research it myself—the ranchers trying in vain to eradicate it permanently before it kills all their cattle; the dying children whose dumbass parents didn’t perform the proper ceremonial procedures before consuming; the dead chickens who consumed the poisoned berries, etc. All nonsense. We’ve never had a chicken or any other animal fall ill from this ubiquitous ‘weed’. The four-legged show no interest in it and the birds, wild and domesticated, love the berries at the end of summer when little else is available for them.
And, it is the most delicious green I’ve ever tasted, no exaggeration.
I’m not alone in my palate preferences.
“For many, getting a springtime poke-sallet fix was indeed a psychological if not necessarily a medicinal shot in the arm. Azzie Waters remembered a saying by ‘old Doc McClain’ of Marble Hill, Georgia, who declared that ‘if you’ll eat one good mess of poke sallet in the spring of the year, you won’t have typhoid fever.” (Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread, & Scuppernong Wine: The Folklore and Art of Southern Appalachian Cooking by Joseph E. Dabney, p. 263)
It’s simply miraculous our ancestors managed to survive at all before the Great Age of Scientism came to our collective rescue! Though I do suspect back in the day folks knew better where to draw that very fuzzy line between science and politics. Yet more crucial life skills lost to Progress.
As for the ‘proper ceremonial procedures’ I’m referring to the often repeated ‘requirements’ of fully boiling the greens three times, rinsing them and changing the water each time before consuming. I tried this, wanting to give these nincompoops the benefit of the doubt, knowing full well this had to be overkill. Simple logic told me there’s no way mountain folk would waste that much time and resources, hauling huge pots of water, burning all that fuel, and still consider these greens such a great Spring treasure. My hunch was correct, considering the mess of greens that resulted was the equivalent of green soup with hardly a solid piece of green remaining. Clearly that’s not what all the Southern old-timers rave about.
A bit more research and I’d bet only one parboiling is necessary. But, I’ve been giving it two, just to be on the safe, but still delicious, side. From there it can be used just like spinach and the taste is far better. Traditionally it was popular to fry it in bacon grease or coat it in cornmeal and deep fry it like okra.
Tonight we’ll be enjoying it smothered in homemade Mexican queso. Mmmmm. 🙂
It’s so funny when we get shocked looks for things like making ‘cracklin’ here on the wee homestead. “What’s cracklin’?” That’s pork rinds, chicharron, in Spanish, but they rarely know those either.
Once explained: Well, it’s basically the skin’s connective tissue from the hog after the lard has been boiled off,” then you get the squished nose ‘ew, gross’ face to welcome your educational efforts, like you’ve just invited them to eat dog shit with chocolate syrup.
Invariably these folks are pro-vaccine, amazing leap of logic that this is. List for them what’s in a vaccine—things like human fetal tissue, animal DNA, formaldehyde, aluminum, mercury and no such ‘gross face’ appears. Miraculous! To eat such weird ingredients as animal tissue is apparently disgusting, but to inject it, plus the added toxic chemical soup directly into your body with a needle is legitimate advanced science.
So, what humans have been doing for countless centuries is gross and backwards, but what science has been doing for a few generations is the pinnacle of refined intellect.