This is our journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matthew 7:14), even the old paths (Jeremiah 6:16), submitting to the Bible as a light unto both (Psalms 119:105). It is our prayer that these documented moments in our earthly time benefit whom God might choose to edify, but ultimately that God glorifies Himself through them.

Category: perennials

Providence’s Perennial Provisions: Pink Primrose

While our work for our provision requires the sweat of our faces (Gen 3:19), in God’s glorious creation and graciousness, He has provided some things to just grow naturally as edible for humans. We here are always looking out for those kind provisions, and we’ve talked some about them in other perennial blog posts, and so we have another one we have discovered on the land — Pink Primrose.

Recently I was mowing the orchard area. With the gracious rains the Lord has brought this Spring, this is what I was mowing down…many of the weeds half the height of many of the trees!

Orchard Spring 2019 with Lots of Weeds

… and during the mowing, I came upon a pink primrose patch that the honeybees were making great use of, and so as to not take away their food supply (we do whatever we can here to help the valuable honeybee!), I left the patch. If you look closely, you can see some of the bees busy working:

Pink Primrose Flowers with Bees
More Pink Primrose Flowers with Bees

We had learned about pink primrose in the past, but I thought now would be a good time to do this blog post. Here’s a patch of them:

Pink Primrose Patch

And this one shows the leaves well:

Pink Primrose Plants

And here is Foraging Texas’ article on pink primrose. You can eat the leaves before flowering, and you can even eat the flower petals! The plants apparently provide vitamin F and some fatty acids. You just have to be careful about how much of it you eat, although the leaves are pretty small, so it takes a bit of work to collect much of it anyway.

But, once again, we are thankful for this free gift from God in graciously granting something He is singly growing for us!

— David

Providence’s Perennial Provisions: Re-Id: Curly Dock to Prickly Lettuce

Well, since our blog post on curly dock, a humanly-edible weed, we’ve discovered that it appears what I thought was curly dock is actually prickly lettuce, a species of wild lettuce. So, it was actually more “lettuce” than I thought. 🙂 I originally went with curly dock because when I did an internet search for weeds that look like lettuce, that came up and wild lettuce didn’t that I saw; and also because in the Texas weed book we have, curly dock was the closest match. Thankfully it ends up being an edible too. :O

At any rate, to me they do look similar, but the lettuce we have growing fits closer to the prickly lettuce description. Here is the Texas Foraging site on prickly lettuce. It has vitamin A & B, and minerals, and apparently doesn’t have the oxalic acid problem, although it says if you eat too much it can upset your stomach.

From what I’ve experienced, their taste varies — sometimes a little bitter, sometimes not at all. But it all goes well in a salad!

Here are some more pictures, that look much more like this type of wild lettuce:

Prickly Lettuce Plant
Prickly Lettuce Leaf Showing Pricklies

As I’m eating them raw, to get rid of the little pricklies, I just run my finger down the leaf spine, and that pretty much takes them out.

As before, we are grateful to the Lord for granting this provision directly off the land!

— David

Providence’s Perennial Provisions: Curly Dock

Please see our update regarding re-identifying these plants as prickly lettuce. While curly dock is close, it appears what we are showing below is much closer to being prickly lettuce.

Since we desire to live more under God’s direct provision for food, it’s important to us to see if there are any things growing here on the land natively that are humanly edible.

Well, at the beginning of Spring, I was in the garden and noticed something that to me looked an awful lot like lettuce. With land perennials on the mind, I thought that I should really try to discover if this was something we could eat.

After going through our Texas weed book and not finding anything obvious, I started searching the internet looking for perennial lettuces or something like that, and then looked at images in the search. Eventually I came across a web page from Foraging Texas that had a picture that looked very much like our plants — curly dock!

And with some further study, I’ve come to believe that indeed what we have is curly dock or some other very close relative of it!

How wonderfully great is that?! Free, native lettuce growing!

Apparently it has vitamins A & C, and the roots can be medicinal too! And the seeds can be eaten! The only thing is the leaves are apparently much like spinach with oxalic acid, which is especially of concern to those who get kidney stones.

Here are some pictures of the plants:

Perennial Prickly Lettuce of 2017
Another Perennial Prickly Lettuce of 2017

And just how much is growing in our gardens:

Garden 1 Full of Prickly Lettuce Plants
Garden 2 Full of Prickly Lettuce Plants

And these are a couple of other links to some information about docks, eating them, and their nutrition:

How exciting! At least to me. 🙂 They don’t taste too badly raw, but go very nicely in a salad! We plan to see if we can lacto-ferment some as well, for longer-term storage.

We are very grateful to the Lord in His mercies and graces for granting this perennial provision, and we pray He might continue to show us other things available on the land that He has graciously provided!

— David

Providence’s Perennial Provisions: Agarita Berries

Agarita BerriesIn trying to live off of the land, we have learned to consider ways that God via the land already provides. There are quite a few native edibles out here, one being Agarita berries. They are small, red berries that ripen around this time, and can be fairly sweet if gathered at the right time. Even a bit tart, they’re not too bad.

And so, we decided this year to pick a few, to take advantage of the gift off of the land the Lord has granted.

This is a picture of a some Agarita berry plants with fairly ripe berries:

Agarita Berry Bush

And here is Sue gathering the berries. The Agarita plant leaves have very sharp points, and will stick you and stick in you; and so, she is wearing gloves:

Sue Picking Agarita Berries

When we picked the berries, we tried different methods, including using a fork to pluck them off, but decided to try to just grab as many berries as we could, which seemed to be the quickest way. However, when it came time to clean them, Sue had to go through the lot of them pulling out those prickly leaves; and in the end, it might have taken just as long to pick and clean them as it would have to just pluck them cleanly in the first place. Thanks to Sue for her patience in somewhat painfully going through all of those. Gary marveled at her patience too 🙂 :

Sue Cleaning Agarita Berries

And here are the results!

Harvested Agarita Berries

Since it’s only Sue and I here on our homestead, we have to make a lot of priority decisions as to what we spend our time doing. Because of how long it takes to collect them, we didn’t spend much more time doing that, although I went out one other time to try the fork-plucking method. And, to save time in the processing, and to continue to practice not relying on the world’s fuels, we put them in our solar food dehydrator to dry them:

Drying Agarita Berries in Our Solar Food Dehydrator

If you’re interested, here is a link to some details about the Agarita berry plant. And here is the Wikipedia entry for Agarita berries.

We are grateful to God for His provisioning of these perennial berries here growing natively off of the land.

— David