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Do I Pull It, Or Eat It?
June 11, 2012

The Honey Do list must be reaching and end (for now), as the Task Master is more agreeable these days:-)

In all honesty, it is nice to have most of the task scratched off the list.

Karen's mom is doing much better, but her mind seems to be an issue more now than ever.

My girls and the fur kids are doing well also.

Bird activity continues, as more and more fledglings are brought into out yard and wildlife gardens by their parents.

That goes for squirrels too, as I begin to battle a couple of them that like the grape jelly and oranges.

The robin's nest is now home to four baby robins, and is situated where I can't get a good picture.

This past weekend, we attended our grand daughter's graduation from high school.

I also caught a bit of the 'Three Fires' 'Pow Wow' (celebration of the three tribes of Michigan).

If you have never been to a Pow Wow, I encourage you to do so sometime.

Well at least for this spring, trying to grow cotton in Michigan was a big flop.

Too many cool days and cold nights for this warm weather plant t even have a small fighting chance.

I wasn't off by much, when I said the serviceberry (Juneberries) would be Mayberries this year.

They did start to ripen the last week of May and continue into June.

A good three weeks ahead of a normal year.

On cue, the robins and waxwings are all over the fruits before they get a chance to turn purple.

Nature happens around us 24 hours a day and not always on schedule, especially this year.

We can only imagine what we miss out on, and it makes me all the more impressed by the fantastic pictures we see floating around.

The hours and days spent, to capture the perfect image.

The time these photographers and photo journalists spend away from family and home.

Not to mention, they must brave the elements so we might enjoy more of God's beautiful creations.

Sometimes we happen to be in the right place at the right time with camera in hand and ready.

I know all to often I have my camera with me, but not turned on.

Still, I have managed to capture an image from time to time.

Wednesday morning I was in the porch, sucking down a cup of coffee and keeping squirrels away from the jelly dish.

A young squirrel was walking up the ramp, when just like that one of the robin parents flew in, gave the squirrel a good what for and took off.

The squirrel jumped and went on his away.

This scene unfolds within the canopy of the tree as well.

Things happened to quick for a picture, but a case of the right place and the right time for me to see a bit of nature happening.

I told Karen that squirrels and Blue jays won't be welcome for a couple of weeks, as the robin parents only sees potential threats the the nest.

Yes, now the parents are tag teaming the Blue jays when they come around.

This is why American robins are my second favorite bird.

They are fantastic parents.

Are you having to water your lawns and gardens?

Make sure you do one or two deep soakings a week instead of spraying with the hose and calling it good.

Deep watering encourages the roots to run deep to find water.

shallow watering and spraying your lawn and gardens is only a tease and may be detrimental to your struggling plants.

Shallow watering doesn't force new and deep root growth.

It is more of an insult than anything else to your plants.

Always deep water, even if it means running a sprinkler for an hour in one spot.

This is much more effective than sprinkling 10 minutes a day.

The topic today doesn't exactly pertain to wildlife gardening, but it is a gardening concern for most us, none the less.

Weeds are a big concern for many gardeners.

After all, weeds take water and nutrients from the plants you are trying to grow.

Because they are weeds, they often choke out your desired plants and just don't belong.

Weeds take away from the beauty and habitats you are trying to establish.

Many a garden scourge (weeds) have come from far away lands, Europe, Asia, Africa, you get the idea.

Some weeds came along for the ride, while others were brought to the New World as sources of food, herbs, spices and for medical reasons.

Burdock, Wild carrot, Chicory, Dandelion, are just a few of the plants/weeds that were brought here for food and medicine.

Some people still pursue the holistic practices and will grow and harvest such plants.

Another weed that I am going to write on today is very common in most yeards and gardens today.

That weed is 'Purslane'.

Learning is always fun for me, hopefully this tidbit will give you something to chew on as well.


Purslane (Portulaca oleracea):

Pull it and throw away, or Eat It.

I do both.

It's probably in your garden right now, maybe in a few cracks of the sidewalk and driveway as well.

Purslane is native to India and Persia and has spread throughout the world as an edible plant and as a weed.

Like many introduced weeds (dandelion, wild carrot come to mind), they were brought to the new world as sources of food and medicine.

Eventually, seeds scatter, patches are ignored and we now have invasive weeds and plants everywhere.

It is cursed as a weed and harvested as a food staple and by some gourmet cooks.

Do you ever wonder why weeds pop up in freshly turned earth?

Seeds of purslane have been known to stay viable for 40 years in the soil.

Purslane is an annual reproducing from seeds and from stem pieces.

Do you ever wonder where that weed came from, when you just turned over some lawn area or tilled under a parcel of land?

Seeds of purslane (and other weeds) have been known to stay viable for 40 years in the soil.

Given the right conditions, the seeds will germinate.

Botanically, this herbaceous leafy vegetable belongs to the family of Portulacaceae and scientifically known as Portulaca oleracea.

Yes, cousins to of your South American native Moss Roses.

(I researched even deeper, and nothing is mentioned that your Moss Roses are edible. When in doubt...............)

Other common names for this green vegetable are pusley, pigweed, or verdolaga.

Purslane is native to Indian sub-continent and now widely distributed across the continents actually as a wild weed.

There exist different varieties of pusley with variation in leaf size, thickness and leaf arrangement and pigments distribution.

It is actually hard herb plant requiring comparatively less water and soil nutrients and grow well in sunny conditions.

The plant grows up to 12-15 cm in height as a low-lying spread.

Pusley is widely grown in many Asian and European regions as staple leafy vegetable.

Its leaves appear thick, contain mucilaginous substance, and have a slightly sour and salty taste.

Leaves and tender stems have slightly sour and salty taste.

Some say it has a bit of pepper taste or a bit of lemon mixed in.

In addition to succulent stems and leaves, its yellow flower buds are also edible. Purslane seeds, appear like black tea powder, are often used to make some herbal drinks.

I admit, I knew the weed/plant was edible and have enjoyed the fleshy leaves in salads, but I had no clue just how healthy Purslane is.

Read on.

Health Benefits of Purslane:

This green leafy vegetable is very low in calories (just 16 Cale/100g) and fats; but is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Fresh leaves contain surprisingly more Omega-3 fatty acids (α-linolenic acid) than any other leafy vegetable plant.

100 grams of fresh purslane leaves provides about 350 mg of α-linolenic acid.

Research studies shows that consumption of foods rich in ω-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and help prevent development of ADHD, autism, and other developmental differences in children.

(You mean I can stop taking those fish oil pills?)

It is an excellent source of Vitamin A, (1320 IU/100 g, provides 44% of RDA) one of the highest among green leafy vegetables.

Vitamin A is a known powerful natural antioxidant and is essential for vision.

This vitamin is also required to maintain healthy mucus membranes and skin.

Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin A is known to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.

Purslane is also a rich source of vitamin C, and some B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and carotenoids, as well as dietary minerals, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese.

Also present in purslane are two types of betalain alkaloid pigments, the reddish beta-cyanins and the yellow beta-xanthins.

Both of these pigment types are potent anti-oxidants and have been found to have anti-mutagenic properties in laboratory studies.

Preparation and serving methods:

Fresh, raw leaves can be used as salad and as vegetable juice.

Fresh, tender leaves are used in salads. Sauteed and gently stewed stems and leaves served as side dish with fish and poultry.

The stems and flower buds are also edible.

It has also being used in soup and curry.

Trim the tough stems near roots using sharp knife.

Cook under low temperature for shorter period in order to preserve majority of nutrients.

Although antioxidant properties are significantly decreased on frying and boiling, its minerals, carotenes and flavonoids may remain intact with steam cooking.

Stew fried and mixed with other greens such as spinach and vegetables are favorite dishes among Asians.

You can also purchase purslane seeds for the cultivated forms for better flavor and easier harvesting.

Safety Precaution:

Purslane contains oxalic acid, a naturally occurring substance found in some vegetables, which may crystallize as oxalate stones in the urinary tract in some people.

100 g fresh leaves contain 1.31 g of oxalic acid, more than in spinach (0.97 g/100 g) and cassava (1.26 g/100 g).

Therefore, people with known oxalate urinary tract stones are advised to avoid eating purslane and certain vegetables belonging to amaranthaceae and brassica family.

Adequate intake of water is therefore advised to maintain normal urine output.

One last thing:

If you are trying to control purslane the number one rule is don't let it go to seed.

About three weeks after you notice seedlings, the flowers and seeds will be produced.

Also plants or plant pieces that are uprooted but not removed can root back into the soil (think rototiller and lawn mower).

Purslane grows just about anywhere from fertile garden soil to the poorest arid soils.

It's succulent characteristic makes it very drought tolerant.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

As one's fortunes are reduced, one's spirit must expand to fill the void.

Winston Churchill

I think there is only one way to expand your spirit.

Keep your eyes upon Jesus.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary
troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

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Gardening For Wildlife.

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