The Homestone

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spring tonic

This time of year our little dog Kali searches everywhere for the appearance of her Quack grass (aka couch grass, dog grass, twitch grass . . .) By any name it's a favourite herbal medicine of dogs and cats. Kali grazes on the fresh green shoots in spring and summer and fall. She loves carrots and yams too! Smart wee pup. I watch and wait for the little crop of dandelions under our kitchen window. They are always our first spring flowers.

The often vilified Dandelion is as nutritious as broccoli or spinach. It's attractive to birds and deer, and makes excellent food for sheep, horses and poultry.

Dandelions are well known to have medicinal value as a diuretic; fats and cholesterol cutter, gas pain reliever, treatment for kidney stones, cancer and diabetes fighter, blood cleanser, weight reducer, vision sharpener, skin and acne treatment,blood pressure controller and the list goes on ...

All parts of the dandelion are useful. The leaves can be cooked as table vegetables; the blossoms transformed into wines and jelly; and the roots can be dried, roasted, ground and made into coffee. Kali likes her Quack grass fresh. We fight the stuff like everyone else in our garden while appreciating that, should the need or desire arise, the roots of this invasive weed can be dried and ground to flour for making bread or boiled to make a syrup. The roasted root of Quack grass (like dandelion) makes a coffee substitute. The young leaves and shoots can be eaten raw in spring salads and juice from the shoots apparently makes a fine spring tonic. Bright flowers and good eats! Just their appearance on the meadow is tonic enough for one winter weary dog and her humans.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The first weekend in April

Some views from our weekend wanderings with the little dog leading the way. Photos of the meadow and the creek as our world emerges from under it's winter white. The vibrant willows sporting their spring colours of gold and red. This is such an exciting time of year! We had a visit from a Shrike on Sunday and our first bluebirds returned. The soil in the greenhouse is very nearly thawed ... oh happy planting days ahead.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

An April Fool's Flicker at the Feeder

It's snowing here today. It snowed yesterday and the day before too ! It does keep the birds coming though, and we’re happy to oblige. We had an April Fool’s Flicker at the feeder yesterday =) A Red Shafted Northern Flicker. We got a few snapshots of him and watched as our resident flock of blackbirds tried to intimidate him. Yon Flicker was back again this morning enjoying the suet on the end of the feeder.