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Walk At The Farm, With Pics

Updated on July 7, 2012

A Deer Fawn In Oats

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A Stroll Around The Family Farm

Last weekend, I walked the limits of my family farm, in Northern Illinois, from the woods to the fields, and took pictures of the interesting things I saw. Edible plants. White-tailed deer. Farm buildings and machinery. Scenery. I hope you enjoy.

I went first to a tree stand used by hunters in the winter. I sat there for about half an hour and saw, in the oat field next to the woods, two half-grown fawns, still with white spots. They knew I was there but didn't appear too concerned. Eventually they ambled off through the oats.

The Second Fawn

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Landscape

Seen from the West edge of the farm, looking towards the barns, over a field of nearly-ripe oats. When I saw the fawns, I was sitting amongst the trees seen to the left in this picture. I was about twenty feet up in a tree.

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Burdock

An interesting and useful plant, the burdock is much hated by rovers in the fall. Its prickly burs stick to clothing and are unpleasant to clean out. This plant was used to make rope by our ancestors; the root is very fibrous, and extends many feet, deep into the ground.

It is also eaten by the Japanese as a vegetable called 'Gobou'. The Japanese grow it as a crop in fields and gardens. The wild American version also is edible, and in fact is indistinguishable from the garden-grown version, if dug up in its first year. Older plants are not edible, being too stringy and tough.

This vegetable is a lot of work to harvest, as you have to dig a pit at least two feet deep around each plant to get it out. It makes a great diet food, as you burn more calories getting it out of the garden than you get back as food!

Young Burdock

Looks very similar to rhubarb, but the color is not a glossy deep green like rhubarb. Burdock looks dusty! This plant's tap-root could be harvested in the fall for food.
Looks very similar to rhubarb, but the color is not a glossy deep green like rhubarb. Burdock looks dusty! This plant's tap-root could be harvested in the fall for food. | Source

Adult Burdock Showing Burs Forming

This one is a few years old and would not be very edible. Probably make good rope, though.
This one is a few years old and would not be very edible. Probably make good rope, though. | Source

Burdock Burs. Nasty Things!

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Queen Anne's Lace, AKA Wild Carrot

An attractive wildflower of midsummer, Queen Anne's Lace is also an edible vegetable, though much tougher then garden carrots.

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Milkweed

Milkweed is not edible, but quite interesting none the less. It is the only food monarch butterfly caterpillars will eat. The white milky sap is sticky, and can be made into rubber, like the sap of the rubber tree.

Milkweed

Foreground, milkweed. Behind it is wild grape.
Foreground, milkweed. Behind it is wild grape. | Source

Wild Blackberries

Blackberries are my favorite. This year is too dry, and the wild berries are small and seedy and not very flavorful, but I still ate every ripe berry I could find. These are growing in a weedy corner of the field.

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Wild Black Raspberries

The last raspberries of the season. Raspberries stop bearing fruit just about when blackberries begin.
The last raspberries of the season. Raspberries stop bearing fruit just about when blackberries begin. | Source

Wild Black Cherry, or, Chokecherry

Called chokecherry because of the astringent bite of these fruit, they take some getting used to. I like them, but most people don't.
Called chokecherry because of the astringent bite of these fruit, they take some getting used to. I like them, but most people don't. | Source

Chokecherry Leaf

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Wild Grape

Ripen in the late fall, but even when fully ripe are quite sour. They make good jelly or juice. Very aggressive plants, as the next few pictures will show.
Ripen in the late fall, but even when fully ripe are quite sour. They make good jelly or juice. Very aggressive plants, as the next few pictures will show. | Source

Wild Grape

Taking over a building and a fencerow.
Taking over a building and a fencerow. | Source

Wild Grape

Climbing a piece of old equipment to the top of a two-story building.
Climbing a piece of old equipment to the top of a two-story building. | Source

Gooseberry

Gooseberries have wicked spines.
Gooseberries have wicked spines. | Source

The Lane Back Through The Fields

One of my favorite places to walk. Deer frequently can be seen here, though it is close to the farm buildings.
One of my favorite places to walk. Deer frequently can be seen here, though it is close to the farm buildings. | Source

The Barn

No longer in use for dairy cows, the barn is getting a bit ramshackle. The silo to the left is nearly 100 years old.
No longer in use for dairy cows, the barn is getting a bit ramshackle. The silo to the left is nearly 100 years old. | Source

Tractors, A John Deere and Case

Note the wild grape, attempting new conquests. Fast as they grow, though, we can usually save the powered equipment! That contraption attached to the rear of the green tractor is for chopping grass.
Note the wild grape, attempting new conquests. Fast as they grow, though, we can usually save the powered equipment! That contraption attached to the rear of the green tractor is for chopping grass. | Source

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    • Daddy Paul profile image

      Daddy Paul 5 years ago from Michigan

      What a nice tour.

    • tmbridgeland profile image
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      tmbridgeland 5 years ago from Small Town, Illinois

      Thanks Daddy Paul. I live a few miles away now from the farm, but get there to see my Dad a couple times a week. It is just nice to spend time there, walk the woods. Lots of animals these days. When I was a kid, if you saw a deer, you told people about it.

    • Farmer Rachel profile image

      Rachel Koski 5 years ago from Minnesota

      What a beautiful place! Thanks for the tour. And you should be fermenting those wild raspberries, and your gooseberries, too ;)

    • tmbridgeland profile image
      Author

      tmbridgeland 5 years ago from Small Town, Illinois

      Too much work! My kids and I picked a lot of raspberries and used them to make jam. But it disappears so fast we can't keep up. The gooseberries are scattered here and there, picking more than a few casually as you walk by is nearly impossible. I may just try your hard cider recipe though. There is a small commercial orchard near here that I can buy a few gallons and try it with. My Grandpa always made lots of cider from his trees. He didn't go out of his way to make it 'hard', but after a few months in the jug it hardens a bit naturally. That was sure good stuff!

    • Farmer Rachel profile image

      Rachel Koski 5 years ago from Minnesota

      That sounds like a good plan! I can't find an orchard around me that doesn't pastuerize their stuff, so fermenting with wild yeast is something I'll have to try with my own apples.

    • tmbridgeland profile image
      Author

      tmbridgeland 5 years ago from Small Town, Illinois

      Don't know if they pasteurize. Probably do, I suppose, if they are selling it.

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 4 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      very nice. GBY

    • tmbridgeland profile image
      Author

      tmbridgeland 4 years ago from Small Town, Illinois

      Thanks, stars439.

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