The rain stopped for a day or two, and the weather turned off hot! The good thing was that it gave us the opportunity to walk the pasture, look for wild edibles/medicinals and take pictures. The majority of our five acres is pasture. Since all we have, at present, is a push mower, the “hay” is already waist high. Any trip out there requires long pants and heavy shoes. Long pants to dissuade the chiggers and ticks lurking in the hay, and heavy shoes to traverse the swamp underneath.
The fence rows have been neglected long enough that large trees conceal the right hand fence, as well as the center fence between the back pastures. Between the trees, honey suckle, wild rose and wild grape vine grow; both separately and together. I was kind of hoping to find some wild black berries, but no such luck.
We usually start our “walkabout” between the barn and the dog pen, and walk up the right side of the right hand pasture. That is where I start counting mulberry trees. I never have got a good count, because something else will distract me and I will lose count. The closest I can figure is about 15, from little saplings to the monster just off the barn. If I can beat the birds and the rain, I plan on doing a LOT of mulberry harvesting. The birds are already dropping evidence that they have head start.
There are also several trees with large amounts of green berries. The biggest one looks to be about forty feet high. I thought it might be choke cherry, but my friends on the Missouri Wild Edibles facebook page think its pin or service cherry. I’ll do some more research and let you know what I find out.
In the back right corner is a gooseberry bush. Like a dragon protecting a treasure, poison ivy vines protect the bush from all but the most brave, or non allergic (like Ed). The berries are ripening, but the birds like them too, so it may be a matter of who braves the poison ivy first and best. I think the birds may win this round, but I have plans for propagating that plant a little closer to the house this fall.
Found several of these trees too. I was kind of hoping they were elderberry, but they appear to be a type of dogwood. They are pretty though
We walk along the back fence and down the center. From this side you can see the mad over growth of honeysuckle (in the picture above), and grapevine, and the odd purple sweet rocket.
We make the turn at the barn to go up the other side of the fence. This is where the real fun is for me. More and more mulberries, and whatever cherries those are, wild roses and the other side of the honeysuckle covered tree. The over growth makes a canopy that I would have lived in as a child. Ed feels the same. It would make a perfect hide out. Between a rather large stand of wild rose and the hideout, is where we buried Marshmellow a few weeks ago. Ed will want to tell you about that when he’s ready.
From inside, you can see the massive trunk of the, as yet to be identified, tree. You can see where Ed cut off some of the branches last fall. Under the canopy, is another gooseberry bush, but this one doesn’t get much sun, so it isn’t doing as well.
Heading along the back fence and toward the left hand side of the left pasture, I started seeing these fuzzy plants, culminating with the large one on the other side of the fence. We went out to the road to get a better look. It is called Mullein and it does all kinds of stuff. It probably deserves it’s own post, so I’ll save it for another time.
The fence row behind the barn is more of the same mulberry, cherry, and other, yet to be identified, trees.
Did I mention, that about half way through the walk, Meeko joined us. He’s done it so many times now, that we just started letting him out to go with us. It saves time and aggravation. He stays right with us, so we don’t have to worry about catching him. Libby, however, is another matter entirely. If she gets to go, it’s on a leash.
Out in the dog’s area, amidst the poison hemlock are Indian strawberries. They also grow around the barn and a few other places on the property. They are stunning! They look like bright red gumdrops on a bed of dark green ground cover. They don’t taste like gumdrops, however…they don’t taste bad, they don’t taste good. They taste like…nothing. From what I understand, the leaves serve medicinal purposes, but the berries are all bang and no buck. They do make a pretty ground cover. Saw this thing out there too. Most of my wild edible friends think it’s either wild rhubarb or burdock. Of course, you already know about all the poison hemlock.
Of course, in the pastures themselves red clover is prevalent, as is wild mustard, plantain, thistle and wild parsnip. Each one has its own use and, in the case of the parsnip, precaution.
I told Ed that we could probably corner the market on plantain, if there was one, but its kind of like dandelion; everyone just sees it as a weed. That’s too bad. Don’t be surprised if you see a plantain post too. As a matter of fact, I may do an entire series on “weeds”.