Unexpected Up-Side of our Organic-ish Farming Venture

We say Organic-ish, because we do use Wasp Spray. Other than that, we don’t spray anything on our garden, no chemicals, no weed-killers, and it turns out, that’s a really good thing. Our animals love all those weeds.

At first we were pulling weeds, now I’m out every morning Clipping Weeds. That’s right, I clip them because I need them to grow back. Our turkeys, chickens, rabbits, goats and pigs love the weeds we bring them every morning.

Yesterday as I was filling my three big buckets full of weeds, I realized how my attitude towards weeds has changed since we started this adventure. Weeding used to seem daunting, like a never-ending, overwhelming chore. Now it is part of a robust, plentiful and generous food supply.

I hear people talk about using chemicals on their lawns or gardens to combat weeds, and I wish they could see what I see.

Today over at a favorite blog, there is discussion about the beauty to be found in what is missing. The bowl that is made on a potter’s wheel has a shape and lines that can be beautiful, but what makes it useful and helpful is the hollow inside – the missing part.

What is lacking in my garden, the neatness perhaps, the tidy rows, is what gives my animals delicious, crunchy, nourishing greens each and every day.

What is missing from my gardening moments in the morning is the contempt and frustration I used to feel for the volunteers sprouting up all over the place. Just yesterday I realized that there has been a slight change in my weed harvest. There are different sorts of weeds now than there were two months ago. There is variety built in, and different sorts of smells. I am amazed and delighted by the bounty I get to provide to my animals.

This is one of those things I never would have imagined I would feel. Delight and joy over weeds! And perhaps it’s more than that – it is delight and joy over my ability to provide for those in my care with the work of my hands.

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. I love feeding weds! My rabbits regularly get sow thistles, plantago, dandelions, queen annes lace… Sometimes the get things like oxeye daisies and chicory. My hens love the wild “decorative” strawberries that are round, bland and watery. I, too often clip rather than pull and I distribute seeds as well for next year! It’s a great way to give them healthy food!

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    1. Liesl Garner says:

      Wow – you even know the names of your weeds. I haven’t gotten there yet. Now, I’m curious!! Will have to do some research. Thanks for stopping by!

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      1. Since I cut my weeds, my rabbits will eat whatever I put in front of them, even if it’s toxic. There are some dangerous weeds out there that seem truly harmless like dock, oxalis, catsfoot, hemlock and others, that can cause serious problems when used as a feed source. So I check what I feed whenever I can. Besides… Some of these are absolutely delicious and I like eating them for me as well!

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      2. Liesl Garner says:

        I guess I need to dig in and do some research on the weeds I’m feeding everyone. They’re all happy. But I wouldn’t want to accidentally give them something bad. Thanks.

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  2. Amy Putkonen says:

    I can totally relate, Liesl! I had this sweet little bird visitor outside my window. He was picking fluff off these purple flowers I had in my garden bed. As I investigated further, he was picking flowers off a thistle that had grown due to my garden neglect! I laughed. My untended weeds are ending up as part of a nest somewhere perhaps. Life is funny, isn’t it?

    Thanks for participating in our Tao Tuesdays! Fun!!

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  3. Spy Garden says:

    In a lot of subdivisions around here all of the grass is uniformly the same blades of grass (courtesy of chemicals) and it just breaks my heart. Who could hate marigolds or clover? The poor bees. In the spring our yard has SOO many different tiny flowers and always has different things growing. I cannot understand the idea of a “uniform” lawn and why it appeals to so many! Weeding is one of my favorite gardening activities (watering would be my least favorite) but I do wish I had some animals to enjoy the weeds, would make it even better!

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    1. Liesl Garner says:

      There is this huge “Grow Food, Not Lawns” community springing up – and they would agree with you wholeheartedly, as I do. Gorgeous variations in color in the midst of a lawn due to flowering weeds is lovely – I think!

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  4. yet another example of the unexpected benefits of keeping things just a little bit wild that I will tuck safely away to whip out the next time I have to have a conversation with someone about the all-surpassing importance of orderliness. who knows what kind of beautiful–and, in the case of your weeds, beneficial–marvels spring up when we’re not consumed with an idea of how, say, a garden is supposed to look? not me, that’s for sure.
    and I didn’t know you had bunnies! such fun. I have to show my daughter these latest pictures from your farm. thank you for sharing them with us.

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    1. Liesl Garner says:

      I absolutely LOVE keeping things just a little bit wild. There’s a song by the Dixie Chicks that says, “I wanna touch the earth, I wanna break it in my hands, I wanna grow Something Wild and Unruly” – that truly feeds my heart. I have listened to that one phrase of the song (from “Cowboy, Take me Away”) over, and over, and over again. It never ceases to bring me full circle.

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