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Dandelion Lesson

dandelion flower and greens

I rarely post anything about our guinea pigs, and they prefer it that way. They are very cute, but extremely shy and are perfectly content to be left alone to eat their days away in peace and tranquility. And I do mean EAT… about 6 hours a day they are nibbling on something. Maybe that’s why they are called “pigs”?

But I have been musing about how animals can change our perspective on the world. Dandelions in our city are considered one of the most pervasive weeds, and there are many who ravage their lawns (and our ecosystem) with weed killer to get rid of them. I’ve tried not to stoop to such measures, instead I’ve pulled them upΒ (when I could be bothered), or mowed them short… until we got our guinea pigs.

Upon researching how to care for the guineas, we learned that they need a source of vitamin C every day, as their bodies can’t produce it on their own. We often give them a couple of leaves of kale, sometimes oranges, but their ABSOLUTE favorite thing to eat is dandelion greens. I never realized how chock full of vitamin C dandelions are, as well as a superb source of many other vitamins and herbal remedies. And the guineas really can’t get enough of them.

guinea pigs eating dandelions

So now, when I’m out on a walk, or in our own yard, and spot dandelions, I get really excited. FREE guinea pig food!!! And it’s made me more aware of how there is a purpose for everything natural in our world, and that maybe nature wouldn’t mind if we tried to help her balance things out a bit more. Instead of complaining about the dandelions, we should be eating them ourselves! If only they weren’t quite so bitter, I probably would. If we were all starving, we DEFINITELY would. And we’d be healthier for it!

Another example of our crazy Northwest US city dwelling values: blackberries are hailed as even more pervasive weeds than dandelions! Most of our neighbors can’t stand them, and get rid of them through any possible measures, as they can quickly take over a garden. But I have consciously let them take over and share the ground with part of our VERY hardy laurel bushes, because at the end of the summer, we can’t get enough of their sun-ripened goodness. The kids go out and pick them for supper practically every night for a couple of months. Judging from the flowers we have right now, we’re going to get a bumper crop this year.

blackberry vines in laurel bushes

We will also owe this bounty to our local bees, who are loving the blackberry flowers right now. You can see the green blackberries already starting to poke their way through here:

bee in blackberry flowers

This looks pretty cozy. Almost makes me want to be a bee.

bee in blackberry flower

We live in such a rich climate and society, we can hardly wrap our brains around just how spoiled and ungrateful and wasteful we can be sometimes. Food, right in our own backyards, is unwanted and despised, and the earth is poisoned just so we don’t have to look at it.

Or maybe my perspective is skewed by the fact that I’m a terrible gardener, and I don’t mind if my yard looks messy. I’m just grateful for whatever goodies nature decides to bring my way. As are my chickens.

backyard chickens


15 thoughts on “Dandelion Lesson

  1. I have a friend who just finished a holistic nutrition course. He learned about the detoxification properties of dandelions. He said it was interesting how the earth provides for our needs and that it wasn’t coincidence how dandelions are so prevalent at a time when toxicity plays such havoc with human health. I too agree they’re bitter but have started adding them to my shakes in the morning. You can’t taste them when combined with sweet fruit.

  2. One mans weed is another pigs feast! I love the photos of your little pigs.

    My chooks loved dandelions and couldn’t get enough of them when we kept them locked in their run and if I brought them a dandelion I was their hero. Once they got free range of the whole back garden they started taking them for granted and if I pick one and hold it for them they look at me like I’m a huge disappointment. It’s all about supply and demand in my little back yard.

    • Thank you!!! I was scared to get too close, since my last bee sting was a nightmare, but I got as close as I dared and took a bunch of shots, hoping for a winner. πŸ™‚

  3. Your little g piggys are so adorable!!! Glad that they enjoy a pretty weed:) I personally like dandelions. But probably bc they are yellow!

    • Thanks! I remember liking them as a kid, and wondering why others didn’t think they were as pretty as I did. As I’m learning to set aside my jaded thoughts about them, I’m starting to see the beauty in them again. They are very cheerful and sunny!

  4. I say good call letting it go through! And I can’t imagine blackberries being considered so invasive!

    But it really IS incredible how much we throw away or waste or kill without knowing what benefits it could bring us or really valuing it. Slowly some people are changing their minds though!

    • It’s true that more and more people are changing their minds, which is great! I’ve see considerably more dandelions on my morning walks lately. πŸ™‚

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