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