Below are this weeks pictures from New Nandagram, with more thorough descriptions below the slideshow:
1.-4. We had to keep the cows in the goshalla and a small paddock over the winter because if we let them on the pasture, they turn it to mud. It wasn’t really dry enough to let them out, but it was mid-April and they are usually out by the beginning of April. I’m always careful to check on them when they change feed suddenly–in this case from hay to grass, but they did fine. I thought they’d run and buck when they got out, but they just dove into the grass and couldn’t graze fast enough. Our neighbor lets us use his 5 acre pasture and because it is mostly canary grass, we let them there first.
8.-11. It is time to harvest nettles, a common plant in our forest. Nettles are easy to identify because if you accidental touch them, they sting severely. However they are a healthy and delicious vegetable when prepared like spinach and when dried make a pleasant tea, particularly when mixed with mint. Nettles do have some mild medicinal value as an antihistamine, but we harvest them more as a food and a tea.
12. Morel mushrooms appear at this time of year. They are hard to see because they blend in with their surroundings, but I understand people can train themselves to be able to spot them readily. I didn’t harvest these, primarily because they are growing in a place where I know they spray Roundup every year. I also personally don’t care for the taste of mushrooms, although I understand that Srila Prabhupada enjoyed them.
13. Billy was suffering from acid reflux, and a tea made from the root of the avens weed gave him immediate relief. This is the time of year to harvest avens root. After thoroughly cleaning the roots, they can be dehydrated and used to make tea. They have a spicy flavor, something like cloves.
15. and 16. After one week, my experiment to determine if the peat moss was contaminated with 2,4D has some preliminary results. The growth on both the monocots and the dicots was very stunted from the seeds grown in the peat compared to garden soil. Because the dicots (wheat) were also stunted, I can conclude that the culprit was not 2,4D, but rather something else. I did run into a friend in town and mentioned the experiment and she’d also had trouble starting seeds in a potting soil/peat mix last year. She was so disappointed with the stunted growth that she didn’t start any seeds this year, never suspecting the peat.