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Monday, February 20, 2012

A Duck, A Dog, and A Darling!

DucDuc, A Duck!
My, My, My! You would think it is Springtime on the Ranch!  This week we have had so many new arrivals!  The first to arrive was the most gorgeous Duck.  She has been showing up at chore time to dine with the chickens.  She spends her time between here and the neighbors, who I have learned are also feeding her (but they are not feeding her biscuits!). DucDuc has definitely developed a fondness for sourdough biscuits.

Stuart, A Dog!
The next to arrive was Stuart.  Now Stuart is just a guest and will go home when Nancy gets back to town.  Stuart, also,  has a fondness for Sourdough biscuits.  Don't tell Nancy but we have been spoiling this little fellow all week!

Faye, A Darling!

And then there is Faye and her mom, Richelle.  They came for a visit this weekend.  Now, Faye's favorite thing to do on the ranch is feed the chickens.  This weekend we have had the best fed chickens in Hopkins County.

As you might have guessed it has been a fun week!  Not only have we had 2 legged and 4 legged guests but I am beginning to see a lot of plants making their appearance.  Now, I just want to let you know that I am not an expert at identifying plants!  But, I did check with my field guides and the Internet on the identification of these plants.  To learn about the plants growing around us is a great adventure for me!  If I am not always correct in my id's, please be patient with me!
Let me see, where will we start?  I have seen quite a few plants this week!
The large flower with the purple stripe is
Spring Beauty Claytonia caroliniana
The small white flower, I think is
Diamond flowers
Stenaria nigricans

I will just list the plants and you can enjoy the photos!

One of the prettiest is the Bluet which is a native plant.  It could, also, be called Star-Violet.

The little purple flower
on the left
I believe is,
Tiny Bluet, Small Bluet or Least Bluet
Houstonia pusilla
Spring Beauty is a member of the Greater Purslane family and is an edible plant.   The plant grows small roots that remind people of tiny potatoes, hence the nickname “Fairy Spuds.”  These roots are edible and said to be a littler sweeter than a potato.

I believe the tiny white flower that is all over the front lawn is Diamond flower, Stenaria nigricans.

Yellow flowers and a Puff Ball!
Taraxacum officinale
The Dandelion!  Wow, what a power house of medicine and food is contained in this little plant.

"Historically, dandelion was prized for a variety of medicinal properties, and it contains a wide number of pharmacologically active compounds.[23] Dandelion is used as folk remedies in Europe, North America and China.[23] It was used to treat infections, bile and liver problems,[23] as well as cancers,[citation needed] and as a diuretic.[23] There is evidence to suggest it may have anti-inflammatory effects and assist with urinary tract infections in women.[citation needed]" this information is from wikipedia
Red Deadnettle, Purple Deadnettle,
Purple Archangel
Lamium purpureum
All parts of the Dandelion are edible.  The leaves are used in salad and the roots can be roasted and ground as a coffee replacement.  I really like the flowers and tend to munch on them as I am gardening.  (Remember, I am the only person Omer had ever met that planted the weeds in her garden!)  The flowers are made into a wine.

Just eating a Dandelion leaf a day provides quite a few vitamins and minerals!

 Henbit Deadnettle, Greater Henbit
Lamium amplexicaule

Though superficially similar to a nettle in appearance, it is not related and does not sting, hence the name "deadnettle".

Stellaria media
Here in Northeast Texas Chickweed is prolific!  Chickweed is one of my favorite wild edibles.  It is great in salads.  We have used it in salads, soups, green smoothies, on pizza and as a pesto.

Chickweed is a wonderful folk medicine.  I make Chickweed oil and use the oil in my salves.   "The plant has uses in folk medicine. For example, 17th century herbalist John Gerard recommended it as a remedy for mange. Modern herbalists mainly prescribe it for skin diseases, and also for bronchitis, rheumatic pains, arthritis and period pain.[citation needed] A poultice of chickweed can be applied to cuts, burns and bruises."information from wikipedia.

Chickweed Pesto

To make this wonderful early spring treat combine:
2 cloves of garlic, 
3 Tablespoons of pine nuts or sunflower seeds, 
¼ tsp. salt, 
2 packed cups chopped fresh chickweed, 
½ cup olive oil, and 
½ cup Parmesan cheese in a blender...
THEN...Blend well!   

This recipe is from Learningherbs.com

Achillea millefolium
Yarrow can be used to
stop bleeding.  If you are outside and
cut yourself,  squish some Yarrow
leaves and apply to the cut.  Then
as soon as possible, clean and dress
the wound properly!
Sow Thistle!
Sonchus oleraceus

(the largest plant in this photo)
The young leaves are edible.
The root is medicinal and edible.
This week I also saw Field Pansy, Plantain, Shepherd's Purse, Lyre-leaf Sage and Honeysuckle and several others.

Hope you are able to get out and enjoy this great weather.  Go for a stroll (your dog will love it!) and see how many spring plants you can see!  And remember some of them are a great addition to a salad.

Herbally yours, Susan

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image.  Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.  
Thomas Merton

Brother Cody, Faye and Cousin Sandra

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