Today's Hunt and Gather...

Our freezing temperatures finally gave a pause for a much needed walk through our growing plot. Today I hunted and gathered fresh foods that were available. There were not alot of choices, carrots, beets, and cabbage. Last year we discovered by trial that we could harvest cabbage during our non-growing cold season here. What a blessing for that discovery.

It has been our goal for quite a while now, to provide as much of our needs as possible. Cabbage has become one of those items we see vital, as it helps provide for our needs in several areas.

By growing cabbage for winter harvest, we are able to supply ourselves with a fresh vegetable that is packed with health benefits, especially when eating it raw. Staying healthy is a huge focus for us. If we do not have good health, it would become a hardship for us to continue our journey to a self-sufficient lifestyle.

~January, 2010~ Winter Cabbage Harvest~

With a layer of mulch over the top of root vegetables such as these Bulls Blood Beets, we are able to harvest beets and carrots from the ground in the midst of winter. What a blessing!

~Bulls Blood Beets ~January, 2010~

As I was out harvesting the cabbage and beets, I spied an enemy of our's! I have developed a keen eye for it, and can sight it out of a clump of weeds. It is called, Groundsel!

Groundsel is a winter annual, but can germinate in all seasons. Groundsel is lethal to cattle and horses. It causes irreversible liver damage. A local herd of cattle were fed hay containing Groundsel, unknowingly. Unfortunately, the cattle that ate the hay died within two days.

Cattle are not able to be as selective and pick through hay or pasture as goats, sheep, or even horses. Cattle use their tongues to pull the plant material into their mouths. Whereas the structure of the goat or sheep's lips and tongue allow them to be very selective about what they ingest.

I have read that sheep and goats can eat some Groundsel without liver damage, due to their rumen bacteria detoxifies the alkaloids. However, for my peace of mind, I'd rather not allow any of my livestock to eat it.

After I hunt and gather Groundsel, I burn it. I do not compost it, as I do not want the risk of it spreading anywhere.

I urge you, if you own livestock, learn to identify poisonous plants. Your local state university extension office or county conservation office will have information to help you. They may even be able to walk your property and help identify poisonous plants for livestock.

My bucket of Groundsel during today's hunt and gather.

You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you. Psalm86:5 niv

Have a wonderful day!