May 25, 2015

It's a Jungle Out There

Most people in Oklahoma consume poke weed. Here on Oak Hill, I think the poke weed is trying to consume us.


Poke weed, also called poke salad and polk salat, is a wild plant with poison berries. When the plant is small, folks around here gather the young leaves and go through a certain process to render it edible as a pot green. I'm told that the best way to eat it is a springtime dish that combines poke weed, wild onions and eggs.


We're transplanted northerners so we didn't grow up eating poke, and the poisonous nature of the plant is enough to keep me from giving it a try. So we consider it a weed to be controlled. This year the grass and the weeds have gone wild with all the rain we've had. The population of poke has exploded, and it and the curly dock plants are nearly as tall as I am. Hubby realized the other day that we can no longer see down the hill because of this wall of monster vegetation on the hillside.

 
Let's face it, when it rains for six days out of seven, there are things that have to be done on that one dry day: mowing the grass, repairing fences and shelter roofs, digging out the drain ditches that are supposed to divert water out of animal pens. Digging up the weeds is lower on the list. Then, to add insult to injury, all that rain just makes it all grow even faster.


So I've been pulling up the curly dock plants with their long spikes of seed clusters and feeding them to the goats and the pigs. The goats like the seeds; the pigs eat the whole plant. The weeds come up pretty easily after all the rain. Every weed I pull right now is one I won't have to battle later when the ground is dry and as hard as a rock, hanging on to those wild roots. I pull a variety of weeds, enough to fill the wheelbarrow a couple of times, and the pigs squeal as I push it over to their fence and dole out the goodies. They've long ago eaten all the vegetation in their pen so they are happy to see me.


I'm not sure that poke is safe for the livestock to eat though, so I haven't added it to the daily menu. Plus they aren't easy to pull no matter how much rain we've had. The thick red stalks are attached to large tuber-like roots. To truly eradicate them, I'd have to dig them out, root and all. For now I'm using my giant loppers to cut them down. If I let them go to seed we'll have even more of them next year.


Saturday between rain storms I worked on the forest behind the house. Besides the poke weed there are curly dock plants, ragweed, bitterweed, Virginia creeper, and vines that weave through the poke and reach from the ground up into the trees. Birds resting in the trees have deposited the seeds below and the rain has encouraged them to grow like crazy. While I worked on this patch, hubby worked on a newly-formed blackberry thicket that threatens to swallow several pieces of farm equipment. This must be what it's like to live in a rain forest. You can almost watch things grow.

 
I saved these plants though. It's ironweed, which will bloom with purple flowers later this summer. The bees and butterflies love the flowers.


If this area was fenced appropriately, I'd definitely be letting the goats do the work for me, but it's surrounded by barbed wire which won't keep them in. On days that the weather is on my side, I've taken them on walks so that they can at least help me in the war against the giant weeds. Still, the poke weed needs to be removed before the goats have access to the jungle, so I keep working on that.


This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at:
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May 24, 2015

Silver Sunday and Being Thankful

I am thankful to the Lord, my God, for:

- safety from nearby storms
- our daughter's neighbor's quick thinking
- hubby's recovery day by day
- meeting some sweet people
- God's plans working themselves out
Silver Sunday
I establish my covenant with you:
Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood;
never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
Genesis 9:11 NIV


~~~~~

May 22, 2015

Friday Follow-Up


This week:

-- We've had so much rain you can almost watch the grass grow. Each day I pull several bushels of weeds for the pigs. The goats are picky about what they eat, but the pigs sure aren't. I guess that's the basis for the saying "you eat like a pig".

Speaking of the pigs, we goofed a bit in the placement of their pen. It's in a low spot, and with all the rain we've had their pen is a muddy mess. Who knew we'd have so much rain? It looks like we'll break the record for the wettest May ever, and we might personally win the prize for the muddiest pigs ever.

-- I'd like to thank you all for entering my anniversary giveaways last week. The winners are:
Love tea from Mountain Rose Herbs - Autumn P.
Prairie Pin Pouch #1 - Iris C.
Prairie Pin Pouch #2 - Mary B.
Kitchen Herb Garden from Mary's Heirloom Seeds - Angela H.
Amazon gift card from dogfencediy.com - Nan H.
Tin sign from the Chicken Art Shop - Julie P.





-- This week's posts were The Herb Garden, Year Two and An Early Morning Gift.



-- What I found: Small Batch Fruit Preserving from The Survival Mom. With fruit season fast approaching, this is a good read.

-- Have a blessed week!


~~~~~

My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at:
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May 20, 2015

An Early Morning Gift

I had an early morning errand today. On the way home, as soon as I got to the dirt road, I slowed way down. We had more heavy rain last night and the dirt roads are getting worse and worse. In one spot I had to cross a stream. I kid you not. There's a drop of several inches, then the inch-deep running water a couple of feet wide, and back up a couple of inches on the other side.



Then I rolled the window down. I said good morning to the black cows that were in the yard of the house that's falling down. I watched a turkey hen fly across the road. There are a lot of turkeys this year.

I always look for the sorrel horse in the pasture where the road bends, but he must have been off in the woods somewhere.

I stopped the truck for a minute to watch the water pour out of the culvert under the road. It's a seasonal creek, only running after it rains. The rocks are worn bare from decades of running water and it's a pretty place bordered by cedar and oak trees. Suddenly I noticed a pair of deer staring at me. I wouldn't have even known they were there if I hadn't stopped to watch the water. What a pretty sight they were, a gift from God.

What scene has surprised you lately? Have you turned a corner and smiled at what you saw?



This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


~~~~~

My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at:
Facebook | Pinterest | Bloglovin | Subscribe via email

May 19, 2015

A Slice of My Life


One of my Mother's Day rosebushes.


~~~~~

My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at:
Facebook | Pinterest | Bloglovin | Subscribe via email
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