It’s important for all of us to try to help Mother Nature as much as we can, because the way most of us live isn’t very easy on the earth. Whenever you plant and harvest your own food, remember: you’re reducing plastic packaging, chemical use, and the pollution caused by food transport. Start by just planting a few vegetables that you like eating, such as carrots, radishes, tomatoes, or beans. Food fresh from your garden tastes so much better, and it helps your food bill too!
This year we also hope to hold three gardening classes, with the help of MSU’s Outreach and 4H programs. The first would address planting techniques, the second harvesting and easy recipes incorporating what we’ve grown, and the last will be on canning and food preservation. There will be more information available on these as they develop. As usual, we’ll provide as many veggies and flowers as we can to all our participants.
This was also farrier week at Pathways! A word about our new farrier, DJ McQueen. DJ, the product of a very “horsey” family, has been trimming, shoeing, healing (and re-heeling) horses for 26 years, since the tender age of twelve. Based in Kalkaska, he works throughout much of the state. Says DJ: “A lot of people just think of farrier work as keeping hooves trimmed, but its feet are a horse’s foundation. If their hooves aren’t trimmed correctly, it can affect everything about how the horse moves and feels.”
DJ’s work is clearly helping our Norwegian Fjord mare, Belle. Belle has ringbone - a form of arthritis that affects the bone just above the hoof. It can lead to permanent pain and lameness unless the bone fuses together. Belle’s first trimming by DJ, about six weeks ago, enabled her to comfortably place more weight on the foot. While we still don’t know whether the bone will fuse, it has been very encouraging to see her limping greatly reduced. During today’s visit from DJ, Belle was able to support herself far more comfortably on that foot while the opposite hoof was being trimmed - something she was barely able to manage six weeks ago. A big thanks to DJ, and to Kat for holding horses. (Kat is a wonderful all-round, multi-talented volunteer.)
There will be an update appearing here soon regarding the days we'll be visited by SafeNet kids. If you’d like to volunteer - particularly if you have some experience with horses - watch this space! We’ll be posting more on our HARVEST program, and there may be other big changes coming - the way we handle fundraising, a membership program, volunteer training, and more! So don’t forget to check back in. Summer’s coming!
From left to right: seedlings awaiting warmer weather; the first dandelion crop (remember that dandelions are a highly nutritional spring green - but NOT if you use weed killer or pesticides.) Dandelion salad dressing-to-be (Combine flowers with apple cider vinegar, soak for one month. Strain and add olive oil to liquid, season to taste.) You can use dandelions in all sorts of recipes - soups, salads, smoothies, even desserts. Try a dandelion smoothie - blend a cup of coconut milk, a tight handful of dandelion greens, two tablespoons of honey, 1 cup each sliced frozen bananas and strawberries. Combine with your choice of hot tea. For more recipes, check out "Dandelion Recipes: A Cookbook Using Foraged Wild Dandelions," by Laura Sommers.