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Dual Duty

April 26th, 2016

This time of year one of the only weeds growing in the gardens are dandelions. Now they’re not technically weeds, I let them grow everywhere but in the cultivated areas of the gardens. I go around during the spring and dig out a bucket full each day.
dandelions 2
I love this chore because not only does it clear the garden of perennial weeds, it feeds the chickens as well. Part of my flock is in a woodland area and they don’t have access to much greenery. They go crazy when I give them a bucketful of dandelions each day.
dandelions 1
Dandelions are particularly good for them, essentially they’re vitamin capsules (as most vegetables are). The chickens find them especially delectable. I like to eat them as well, but I like eggs every more than I like dandelions greens. It’s also nice knowing that a garden chores is making the chicken happier and healthier, as well as making their eggs more nutritious for me and my egg customers.

Do you eat dandelion greens?

The Simple Things…

April 21st, 2012

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things in nature have a message you understand,
Rejoice, for your soul is alive.”

-Eleanora Duse (Italian Actress. 1858-1924)

The dandelions have been blooming beautifully in the driveway and earlier this week they set their seed heads. Brings back memories. Who didn’t LOVE blowing the seeds off of a dandelion when they were little?

What simple thing are you enjoying today?

The Art Weeds and Salad

April 24th, 2010

This time of year salads are the vegetable of choice from the garden. Lettuce is particularly delicious since it loves the coolness of spring. Many of the wild spring greens are still tender and sweet and they can be added for more taste and texture. We’ve been eating our share of salads from the garden, although many of the greens that make them up I didn’t plant. Our salads include wild garlic mustard, and invasive weed that has is great in salads. We’ve also been adding some dandelion greens, some cardamine and a few wild violet leaves. I also love to add herbs to our salads, they not only add a wonderful flavor, but they add even more nutrition.

Wild flowers have been added as well, they add beauty and extra vitamins & minerals. Who wouldn’t want to eat a salad so lovely? These wild violets add extra vitamin C (for more info on the nutritional benefits of wild violets read this)

This salad included: mache (corn salad), garlic mustard, overwintered lettuce, lemon balm, blue stocking bergamot. The dressing was made with fresh chives from the garden, some white balsamic, a spoonful of dijon mustard, a spoonful of honey, olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper. We topped the salad with wild violet blooms, which are very plentiful in our front lawn.

Dandelion greens can also be eaten, I’ve seen them for sale at Whole Foods for around $4/pound. Pricey considering most of us have them growing in our gardens. The blossoms can also be harvested and used for many things; muffins, jelly, wine and of course eaten raw on salads (make sure to remove green stem and bits, they can be bitter). For more info on the health benefits of dandelions check out this article.

With all these lovely healthy weeds thrown in, who wouldn’t want to eat these lovely salads? There are also many other edible flowers that you can add to salads, we like the starry white arugula blooms, nasturtiums add a slight peppery tang, pansies can be eaten as can many other flowering herbs. Any of these would be a perfect addition to cupcakes or tiny shortbreads as well. I’m thinking for my next tea party with my nieces I’ll have to make some wild violet cookies.

Do you ever harvest flowers and wild plants for your salad plate?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.