Author Topic: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable  (Read 31439 times)

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Offline anthropositor

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The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« on: Friday August 29, 2008, 02:10:51 AM »
The idea for this thread began over in Rant & Rave in a thread about a chess game.

For quite a while I have been experimenting with, and eating, in voluminous quantities, what I refer to as Shmooo.  I have eaten the seeds, the sprouts, the young plants, the leaves and tender stems of the taller plants.  I have tested in cooking, both alone and mixed with a great variety of other herbs and spices.  I also eat a wide variety of other sprouts in substantial amounts.  This corrects a singular deficit in my diet.  I am unenthusiastic about cooked vegetables, and therefore do not eat enough of them.  My tendency to be a carnivore is a weakness I need to alertly deal with.

Although I have cut my meat consumption sharply in recent years, my intake is still probably higher than it needs to be.  Before I got to eating so many sprouts, and now eating the Shmooo at all stages of growth, mostly raw and still alive, I was trying to make up for the vegetable deficit in my diet by eating great amounts of fruit.  Frankly, in recent months, I have really pulled out all the stops with this single vegetable, using it as a spice, after low temperature drying, and eating a lot of adult leaves every day.  I figured I would, somewhere along the line, finally get my fill.  It hasn't happened yet.  It sort of astonishes me that this plant is so unrecognized as a food source, not only for humans, but also as a forage and supplemental crop for farmed animals.  My dogs and cats get some in their food.

It harvests easily, and is easily dried for use as a spice.  But my currently favorite way to eat it is sliced thin like cole slaw, a mound of maybe half a cup, with lime juice squirted liberally on it.  I generally do this with my salads too.  Most dressings are loaded with things we can do without.  How we, as a society got so hooked on them is beyond me.  I am now doing my best to leave 3/4 of the crop alone so that it will go to seed.  I will need a few pounds of seed, as a minimum in the spring.  And the seeds are not cheap.  I have no idea what kind of seed yield I will get, since I have not yet seen one of the plants with the mature seeds.

Now, as to Maca.  Talk about expensive seeds!  These have to be some of the most expensive seeds on the planet.  They are reputedly extremely hard to grow.  The Peruvians are trying to keep the market cornered apparently, making it difficult to export seeds, or even roots, unless they have been dried and powdered first.  I suspect this means that the plants could probably be grown from the root.  They also put out "information" suggesting that it can only be grown at high altitudes, requiring both brilliant sun and very cold weather.  I take all this with a grain of salt.  I also reserve judgement on the other claims that it is an aphrodisiac and several other notions which may or may not have any foundation.

So Maca is something of a long shot which will perhaps require all the skills I can muster, particularly since I am also using No-Till procedures, which are themselves highly experimental.

My seeds came not from Peru but from Bolivia.  I suspect that I paid more for them by weight than the costs of the most expensive illicit substances on the planet, but as far as I know, Peru is the only country that is trying to proscribe export.

I have been having considerable difficulty getting the seeds to germinate, perhaps in part due to the triple digit heat wave that has gone on for several weeks.  The temperature has dropped down to the mid-nineties now and that is making some difference.  Another factor is that I had been unable to find any pictures of the sprouts, so I didn't know what I was looking for.  When the sprout first appears, as it turns out, it is about the tiniest sprout I have ever come across.

Now, for those of you who do not know, I'm sort of blind.  Nothing serious or irrevocable.  Just cataracts in both eyes.  Frankly, I'm pretty glad to have cancelled the operation on the first eye in February of 2007.  In the intervening time I have generated some devices for changing the impact of glare and halo problems for night driving, not only for people with cataracts, but also for the people who have had lens replacements, yet still have night vision problems afterwards.

But what I am most pleased about is the monocle I devised which, if used in the better eye (my left) sharply clarifies my vision and increases color intensity as well.  The point is, if I had not made this monocle, I never could have seen the Maca sprouts.  Nor could I read a book with small print.  I expect that this monocle will only be useful for a number of months more, perhaps a year or so at the outside.

This monocle also gives me a pretty clear picture of the pattern of opacity in the lens of the eye as well, and allows me to monitor the development of the vision impairment without the assistance of an ophthalmologist using a slit lamp.  I don' need no steenking slit lamp.

Today, I made a second monocle to address the tunnel vision artifact of the first monocle.  With the first, I have to be 9 or 10 feet away from my 32" HDTV to see the whole screen.  The second monocle eliminated this problem.  I have about tripled the horizontal scope of vision.  It is also worthy of note that without the first monocle, I would not have been able to see well enough to make the second monocle.

So, in spite of being involved in a friendly fire ambush a few days ago, elsewhere, and being bent out of shape over it, I am still productive and getting some worthwhile things done.

Still, I have some serious firefights going on.  And I was just required to answer some questions for Federal Jury duty.  I suppose I will be called to serve next year.  Sort of appropriate in a way, justice being blind and all.
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

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Offline anthropositor

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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #1 on: Friday August 29, 2008, 06:28:15 PM »
Having a breakfast of Shmooo and eggs with cheese, waiting for a phone call that may not come for a few hours, I have decided to talk a bit more about Maca, and the diversity of opinion about it, in spite of the fact that it has been used since ancient times.

Some say the foliage is inedible.  Only the root in one form or another is available for purchase as a medicinal substance.  The seeds are probably edible, but it would be the most expensive meal you could imagine. 

Others say the leaves can be brewed into a tea, or can be eaten fresh and raw in salads.  I certainly hope so.  I will also be quite interested in using it as a dried spice if it works out that it actually tastes good.  They have been compared loosely with cress, but this is propably no more accurate than saying rattlesnake tastes like chicken.

It will be a few months I expect, before I find out for myself.  To me, the taste will be pivotal.  At least I have found nothing that indicates that Maca foliage is toxic in any way like potato leaves.  I haven't delved too deeply into the properties of the roots, sort of turnip-like in shape.  I do hope that they are delightful or can be made to be tasty.

So far, I have come up with no reports that any part of the plant is actually toxic in dietary amounts.  Still, my first few nibbles will be small and tentative, because of the contradictory nature of the information I have already found. 

At this point, I am not growing it because I want or need an aphrodisiac, but judging from the success of several other products currently hyped by the medical and pharmaceutical industries, this  will be a central selling feature, even though certain other healthful benefits may be considerably more important.
 
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Offline anthropositor

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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #2 on: Saturday August 30, 2008, 06:54:04 PM »
Since this is about a cataract monocle, it has been moved ro General Health, Design Evolution In the Cataract Monocle.
« Last Edit: Saturday August 30, 2008, 11:06:25 PM by anthropositor »
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday September 03, 2008, 09:00:40 PM »
The rain has been steady, sometimes hard, since yesterday.  But drainage is apparently good so far.  The sprouts are only a quarter inch high. but as far as I know, they have not yet been fully submerged.  They have not turned yellow, but have remained a nice shade of lime Popsicle green,  I'm still resisting the urge to protect the little tykes or transplant them into pots.  Seems to me, if they can survive in the high Andes, they should be able to make it in my yard.  And if I just protected them, then I would never really know. 

The winds have not gusted over 40 mph.  That has been a challenge for the Shmooo, but it is probably ideal for the Maca.  And with the growing hurricanes stacked currently in the Atlantic, we ought to be getting a lot more of this wetness and wind for the next few weeks.  As long as the wind doesn't get too curly...

I still haven't removed the couple tons of tree that missed my kitchen a few months ago.  Since I have no fireplace and don't like chain saws much, I need to figure out what to ultimately do with it.  Meanwhile, the cats are enjoying it a lot.

I have also been trying to get some Goji berries to grow.  No sprouts yet.  It may just be hype, but they are referred to as adaptogens.  That sure has a pretty ring to it.  And the dried berries  taste very nice.  At least I will have something to experiment with to. distract me from the Shmooo so it will eventually go to seed
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

Pray to the Gods, for the Gods are not unless you pray to them.--Don Marquis

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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #4 on: Sunday September 07, 2008, 11:11:28 AM »
That's interesting. I've been trying to be healthier as well, especially with all of my health problems, maybe I should try that as well, though I've never heard of it, it puts me to shame as I am a vegetarian, haha. Thanks for posting.  ;D
With care,
Caz (Carolyn)
xx :hugs:

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Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being." - Gandhi

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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #5 on: Sunday September 07, 2008, 12:15:52 PM »
...Also, what exactly is it? I haven't gotten many results in a search I did. I'm lost.  :o
With care,
Caz (Carolyn)
xx :hugs:

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Offline anthropositor

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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #6 on: Monday September 08, 2008, 12:51:17 AM »
The Shmoo was a creature shaped a bit like a fat bowling pin, originated by Al Capp, an American cartoonist with a very popular comic strip called Lil Abner. He was a hillbillies in the deep south.  The Shmoo liked to be kicked, and if you were hungry, the Shmoo would instinctively turn themselves into whatever taste treat was going through your mind.

When I was a boy, I often thought how nice it would be to be able to eat things not ordinarily thought of as food.  We Americans are now undergoing considerable shock over the skyrocketing cost of food.  The previous hard times, the Depression, the rationing of the second world war, they all seemed transient.  Prosperity was always just around the corner.  And when it came, it wasn't going away again, ever.  That was the convenient illusion.  For most of us, the illusion is still there, but it is nowhere near as convincing any more.

When I visited the deep south as a teen, I noticed a lot of folks ate boiled greens.  I guess some of them needed boiling.  But the whole idea of boiled green glop did not appeal to me much.  In the intervening half century, my opinion of green glop has remained unchanged, but I have developed a taste for raw and alive plants.  Sprouts of various kinds are far more nutritious than cooked dead vegetables.  So too, the young greens and even the adult greens of some plants.

So, when I came upon these seeds, which I was eating because they were nutritious, it was natural for me to sprout them, eat the sprouts, then grow them in dirt and eat the mature plants.  At every stage, I was hard put to come up with a liability for this Shmooo except this one.  I had never seen it in any produce market.  I really don't know how well it travels.

And that was what got me to thinking about chopping it immediately at harvest, quickly dry it at low temperature, using it in soups, sauces, and on a whole array of meats, seafood and fowl, not as a vegetable, but as a spice.  It also went with eggs and cheese very well.  And I still haven't tried it in breads and other baked goods.

But so far, whatever I have done with it, no matter how I mix it with other spices, the result is delicious.  Very much like a Shmoo.  Which is why I call it Shmooo.  Or maybe Shmooo!

In terms of nutritive values, it deserves the exclamation point.
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #7 on: Monday September 08, 2008, 03:46:56 AM »
Oh! haha.
With care,
Caz (Carolyn)
xx :hugs:

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Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being." - Gandhi

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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #8 on: Sunday September 14, 2008, 08:52:01 PM »
For a few months, I was topping the Shmooo plants, for a couple of reasons.  I figured that the top half would be more tender as greens, and that I would be encouraging them to bush out rather than growing tall.  These things were true enough, but an unintended consequence may be that I shocked them to the point that they delayed going to seed.  I didn't know for sure, because what little I could find on the plant was pretty sparse on the life cycle.  The focus was on the highly nutritious seeds, but no one was saying how long it would take for them to show up.

And certainly the commercial growers were not topping the plants as I was, because they were not interested in the plant as a vegetable or as a spice.  They were harvesting only the seed.  So I was on unknown territory.  Now I have plants in the neighborhood of half a year old, and still there is no sign that they are going to seed.  I have during this time eaten a lot of seeds from the original bag that I bought, since I bought enough to sow a couple of acres.  One does not plant a few acres for experimental purposes.  Fifty square meters will suffice for that, planting some in full shade, some in mixed lighting and some in blistering heat.  The Shmooo doesn't seem to care much.  As for the seeds, I like them a lot, but can't eat as many as I would wish.  A few tablespoons at most tend to fill me up. 

And it was actually something of an annoyance to me that I couldn't eat nearly as much of anything else that I wanted to eat.  If I went to a buffet, as I do at least weekly, I couldn't eat a half pound of squid and follow it up with thirty clams and a few frog legs and a plate of crawdads after a snack of the seeds.  Very annoying to me that a tablespoon or two of the seeds would have such a negative impact on my robust appetite. 

Some people could find that useful I suppose, but since my weight ranges from 165 to 180, I am not overly motivated to reduce the weight.  As winter approaches, I wouldn't mind getting back to the 180 range.  My guess is it is going to be unusually cold this year here.

It doesn't even seem to care if it is trampled flat.  It may not look as pretty anymore, but it just picks itself up and gets back to growing.  This is all the more remarkable since I had not done anything to cultivate it but throw the seeds out and walk around on them on the more thinly populated sections of lawn.  No digging.  No weeding.  No regular watering even. 

I had read somewhere that they like pretty dry conditions.  So of course I flooded them now and then, just to see how they would do.  They didn't seem to mind.  But of course, this could have something to do with how long it is taking them to go to seed.  The soil could be too acidic or too alkaline, or both in different areas.  I just seeded the chicken coop that the tree falling a few months back crushed.  That has to be the most acidic soil I have.  I doubt the Shmooo is going to care.  What will probably kill it is the first hard freeze.

But by that time, whatever Maca has survived the warmth of fall should be starting to flourish, so I will have something interesting to keep me busy.  So far, the Maca is showing few signs of happiness that I can recognize.  But we have only just met and I have hardly given it ideal conditions.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #9 on: Sunday September 21, 2008, 08:01:55 PM »
This morning I was out in the garden eating some of the young Shmooo plants that were threatening to shade the Maca from the from the fall and winter sun.  So these days, I am actually getting my first big helping of a raw, alive, highly nutritious vegetable even before breakfast.  For a carnivore like me, this is just short of amazing. 

In my attempts to find the maximum possible intake of Shmooo as a main vegetable, only minor side effects have come about.  Eating the seeds particularly, takes away my appetite, which is very inconvenient before a buffet.  Also, I wouldn't have noticed but for my wife no longer eating it right before bedtime.  That was when I realized that I was sleeping even more alertly than usual. 

(One of the experiments I often do is done with dark-adapted eyes after a full sleep cycle, and done before the eyes are open or exposed to light, so I guess I am still technically asleep, but conscious, or at least semiconscious.  Others have had some difficulty replicating not just the results, but doing the experiment itself).  Volunteers can contact me.

So I am guessing that the Shmooo leaves, as well as the seeds, are both so nutritiously dense that that they are adjusting my metabolic rate upward.  Since I have little concern about my weight, I only weigh myself every few months.  Actually, the scale I had been using got lost somewhere in our catchall room.  I picked up another one, and it says I have dropped maybe fifteen pounds in the past few months.  Not dieting, not changing my eclectic eating habits other than the addition of a couple big mounds of Shmooo every day.

On the downside, this also results in the minor elevation of my blood pressure.  It has climbed a bit.

Since I want to keep it down, and since I don't want to stop eating the Shmooo, something needs to be done.  I have been adjusting my potassium intake, which helps, but not enough.

Another hardy plant I have been playing with, but haven't brought up before is called Bitter Melon.  It has an excellent reputation in some branches of eastern medicine.  It is said to be excellent for diabetics and also to lower the blood pressure. 

Having dissected and tasted one of the little melons, which looks vaguely like a bumpy cucumber.  It tastes less bitter than I was expecting.  But to me, bitter is personified by absinthe, a drink which the majority of people could not even drink without adding sugar.  Then I ate a few of the leaves.  They too were only hinting at bitter. 

Now, as far as the seeds go, I couldn't tell you how they taste.  They are like a large kidney bean, and are very soft to the touch.  I would sooner eat scorpions roasted over an open fire, than eat one of those seeds.  I won't be eating a whole lot of the melon either, but my testing indicates that I can grind the leaves into a great many different recipes in small amounts.  I put a good pinch in the coffee grounds today.  It worked out just fine.

Usually my coffee has the grated peel of an orange thrown in with some very finely ground darkly roasted black oily coffee beans, some cinnamon, some bakers cocoa, and a pinch of turmeric.

Today I found myself without an orange.  Good.  An opportunity to experiment.  Then I threw in a good pinch of the Bitter Melon leaf, and peeled the skin of a Nectarine in as well.  Then I brewed the coffee.  It came out just fine.  So if it really does bring the blood pressure down, as a lot of people throughout the  world claim, I should be able to find exactly the right proportion to add to my Shmooo diet to keep the blood pressure right where I want it.  I understand that bitter melon is also helpful for diabetics to control their sugar levels and be able to perhaps adjust their insulin intake downward some.

I have not traveled in the middle east.  I hear they use cardamom to flavor coffee in Turkey and several other of the countries in the neighborhood.  I think I'll replace the cinnamon with cardamom in my next pot of coffee. 
« Last Edit: Monday September 22, 2008, 01:17:06 AM by anthropositor »
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #10 on: Wednesday October 08, 2008, 06:43:30 PM »
In the plot of Maca which I planted when it was still very hot, I doubt any has survived.  I'm going to try to plant it again as winter approaches since this is a plant that loves the cold.  But frankly, it is still a longshot.  The plant also likes very high altitude and we are at very low altitude.  For all I know, Maca also requires a very low atmospheric pressure to even survive.

But the Shmooo has grown explosively, in spite of my hacking away on it for my daily hefty vegetable ration, and supplying some of my friends an ounce at a time of the dried spice/vegetable.  I do not intend to run short for myself, so there will be some rationing for the winter.

Some of the plants are now six feet high, and yet no flowers have yet appeared.  Therefore no seeds are being generated and we are fast approaching the first freeze.  Of course, for all I know, having no previous experience with this particular plant, it could flower and go to seed all in a matter of a few weeks.

All I have learned so far is that I can eat great amounts of it on a daily basis and not get sick of it.  On the contrary, I miss it when I don't get it.  My original notion was that I would eat a lot of it for a few weeks and probably get thoroughly tired of it.

But what is really exciting me now, is that when I weighed myself a week or two ago, I found that I was down to the same weight I was a few decades ago, even though I am not doing anything to diet.  I still eat at a couple of all-you-can-eat buffets each week.  I eat no Shmooo earlier in the day when I go to the buffets.  I eat it a few hours afterwards.

I just checked my weight again today.  I have dropped four more pounds.  Now the question is, how long will the weight continue to come off now that I am in my absolutely ideal weight range?  I certainly don't want to waste away to skin and bones.  I am actually already lighter than I want to be considering how cold I expect this winter to be.  Under those conditions, a layer of fat is useful insulation.

I have also been powdering the Shmooo and adding it to the dog and cat food for my pets.  They do not seem to be getting tired of it either, and I have not seen the cat colony or the dogs in better health since they were impacted so seriously by the Chinese pet food additives.  They all seem happy, healthy and energetic

I intend to continue on with my normal eating habits to find out.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if it turned out to not only supply food for the hungry, but cause a return to healthy weights for our huge populations of overweight people?

And to think that all I wanted to do was develop a crop which would grow without plowing and planting and fertilizing and using insecticides to help feed the starving and malnourished populations of the poverty stricken third world.  Little did I know exactly when we in the first world would be devolved into second world status.  But that has now happened, and has continued to worsen in the past few weeks. 

Every creative or research action I have been engaging in for many years has been to prepare for this emergency.  Every focus of mine has been on preparation for greater self-reliance among individuals and far less reliance on government and all the programs and assistance that everyone is so used to being there for them.  They will, more and more, be supplanted by emergency orders and edicts, ushered in by our own panic and inability to care for ourselves.  It is not just our governments which have brought this about.  It is our own apathy and lack of real gumption and courage.  We have become effete and totally dependent. 

Those programs will be less and less accessible available as this emergency worsens.  It will worsen, and it will worsen everywhere.  There are no borders to this problem.  We are all in it and it is out of control.  The bank failures and market crashes will turn into a runaway inflation of what were pivotally important currencies.  This runaway inflation will not be confined to the dollar.  And I can guarantee that this will cause us great difficulties with food and shelter and medical care. 

I am now drying and powdering Shmooo and adding it in quantities almost equivalent to the huge amounts I eat, to the colony of our pet cats and dogs as well as the cat colony of lost and abandoned and abused cats that we have taken in.  In the past few months, I have seen the health of the whole bunch improve visibly, at least as much as when I replaced about half of their commercial rations with chicken in response to the Chinese poisionous additives last year.  

 
« Last Edit: Saturday October 11, 2008, 05:32:58 PM by anthropositor »
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #11 on: Saturday October 11, 2008, 08:01:15 PM »
One of the most unanticipated things about the Shmooo early in my experimentation, was how adaptable a food product it would turn out to be.

It was a terrible mistake to only have planted fifty square meters.  I should have planted two hundred and fifty square meters.  Then I could have shared it more widely without shorting myself.

I no longer think, as I did at the outset of my loading experiments (eating it to what I thought was extreme excess, day after day, week after week, month after month.  I now know with certainty, I will not be going without this Shmooo food/spice, ever.  Not for a day.  I had anticipated the loading experiments would terminate in two or maybe three weeks at the outside.

What my animals are getting are the older more mature leaves, dried and ground to powder.  What I eat are the tips and younger leaves that I slice like cole slaw or just eat fresh off the plant.  What I dry for cooking is about the consistency of coarsely cut herbs.  The reason I actually powder it for the animals is that carnivorous creatures have much shorter intestinal tracts than omnivores like humans.  Most of the vegetables that carnivores eat are already partly gigested, in the stomachs and intestines of their prey.

Yesterday, I did some nice "Flat Iron" steaks, very lean, much like a flank steak.  On the raw steaks, I put on about two heaping tablespoons of Shmooo with a dash of Rosemary, a few pinches of Cilantro and some No Salt.  Then I ground on some mixed peppercorns.  I flamed the steaks from the top side.

At the outset there was so much Shmooo coating them that they looked solidly green, rather than red.

I was collecting all the juices, since these are very lean steaks, for the Au Jus.  I have had Chateaubriand (the whole roast that filet mignon is cut from) in some of the most expensive restaurants in the country.  They were not as good as this cheap steak.

A big mound of the Shmooo ran off the steaks with the juice.  When I make a conventional Au Jus I add five or six other things before I am done, depending on my mood.  This time I added nothing else.  I have never had a better Au Jus in my life.  I don't even like most cooked green leafy vegetables.  Now, we are probably talking about a half cup of Au Jus and almost that much of the now cooked Shmooo with the tiny amounts of the other few herbs and peppers.  We almost fought over the steak flavored vegetable.

I am going to eat like a king during the Depression.

Oh yes.  I may have mentioned earlier that over these past several months, although I have been eating at two buffets a week, I have been continuously losing weight without dieting in any way.  On the days I am going to eat at a buffet, I restrain myself from eating Shmooo for the entire day.  Then I stuff myself to the brim at the buffet.  Last night I had eight heaping bowls of food.  I couldn't have eaten another bite.

Two hours later, I was out in the garden with a flashlight, wolfing down raw Shmooo.

Now, this morning, after two mugs of coffee (with Shmooo in the grounds) I weighed 162.  I don't think I have weighed that little in thirty years.  While I have never been really obese, there have been times when I got into the 205-210 range.

Of course, I am curious to find out how someone who has been eating as much Shmooo as I have, will react to the sudden stop of Shmooo in the diet.  But I certainly won't do that experiment on myself.  Not unless I continue losing weight until I am in the 140's and still dropping.  That would concern me, but I would probably just cut back on quantity until I started to gain weight again. 

I just hope that this weight loss tapers off soon on its' own.  I would not like to get much below where I am now.  But I'm not going to worry about it today.  I am going to do a very lean three pound London Broil roast.  This time, I'm not only going to completely heavily coat the meat with a layer of Shmooo,  I'm going to throw another 2/3 cup in the broil pan that catches the juices.  I can hardly wait.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #12 on: Sunday October 12, 2008, 03:18:29 AM »
You are really intriguing me with these descriptions, anthro.  Is the flavour of Shmoo like any other vegetable that we might be familiar with?  Also, why have I never seen this vegetable in any store?  Our local greengrocer carries just about anything you could fancy, and yet he's never carried it, nor have I seen it in any shop...  Why?

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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #13 on: Sunday October 12, 2008, 06:26:34 AM »
All I can say is, I find it extremely agreeable to eat by itself, and it mystifies me that it is not a central food on every continent and island on the planet. 

But I am reminded that during the Great Depression (not this one beginning, but the last one), millions starved with unrecognized food at their fingertips.  It did not occur to them that the wild plants in the countryside were a cornucopia waiting to be tapped.

But here is an opportunity for you.  Over on the General Health Section, I have just posted a puzzle, a practical conundrum having to do with how to save your home when someone is trying to steal it. 

Those who have the gumption and the imagination to come up with some good answers that bear some similarity to what I have done already, or who can predict even some of what I have planned to do next will get a bag of dried Shmooo from me. 

And if you are in Britain, feel free to consult your solicitor.  Solicitor is a particularly apt name for a lawyer from my perspective since, here in the U.S., one who solicits is either a salesman or a whore, each of whom usually gives somewhat less than what was paid for.

But those giving the best and most well thought out answers will get a square deal from me. 

And I don't care if there are two, tweny two or two hundred twenty two good answers.  I'll honor them all.  Those who use their imaginations and logic and a certain panache can expect to find out exactly what Shmooo tastes like, and how it makes them feel. 

Even the lurkers can do this, but they have a little extra hurdle.  They have to figure out how to get the answer to me.     
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #14 on: Monday October 13, 2008, 03:26:14 PM »
I have added some clues to the original puzzle.  It is a "What would you do?" kind of thing.  There are no absolute right or wrong answers, particularly for those in other countries which may not have precisely the same convolutions at law. 

And for those of you who are wondering what Shmooo tastes like, or if it is really a good diet and energy food suitable for daily long term use, I can't think of another way for you to find out.

The "loading" experiments I have been doing for months on myself, and the more conservative dosing I have suggested for some of my local friends give every indicator of a high degree of safety and nutritional efficacy. 

Even so, the energy imparted to me particularly, since I am eating such huge quantities, could be caused by unusually high nutritional density alone, or there could be some as yet unknown stimulating factor involved.

The fact that I miss it some on those days I refrain from consumming it for the whole day when I have plans to go to an all-you-can-eat buffet is interesting. 

I am certainly not feeling any physical symptoms of withdrawal, but I'm still out in the garden a few hours after stuffing myself, eating Shmooo as if I were still hungry.

This requires further examination and thought.  I have not yet scheduled a two or three day period of total abstinence for myself though clearly, it would be a well warranted experiment.  Maybe in a few months...

One new thing though.  Many of the six-foot tall plants have begun budding at last, in preparation for going to seed.  I intend to eat some of those buds in a few days.   
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #15 on: Tuesday October 14, 2008, 06:51:53 PM »
I am interested in finding out by chemical tests, if the Shmooo has within it any chemical, in whatever small amount, which might show some sort of false positive in any of the standard drug tests that might be used for testing athletes who compete in the Olympics or professional sports. 

But there are a lot of different tests and none of them are cheap.  It is for that reason that as I drive around, I leave a couple of half ounce baggies of Shmooo that is destined to go to one of my people,  in plain sight on the car seat next to me. 

Then, should I be pulled over, and the officer notices, I will just say, "I don't know what's in there.  It belongs to a friend of mine," (who I will considerately refuse to identify).  I would also say that I believe it to be an edible and nutritious spice/ vegetable and would not object to it being tested with every test in the law enforcement arsenal.

Law enforcement will then subject the Shmooo to a variety of tests to determine if it might be an illegal substance. 

Although I know it is not an illegal substance, I would like to know with certainty that it would not wind up disqualifying an athlete from competing or negate the result of a horse race because the winning thoroughbred had eaten some Shmooo before the race.

As an example, let us say you have a taste for poppy seed buns, and eat several with each meal.
Even though the poppy seeds are not the same variety as those that produce opium and the various alkaloids like morphine, heroin and so on, if tested, you will still show a false positive, and could be disqualified from performing in your sport. 

Before such testing, I would not knowingly give any Shmooo to a professional athlete, or a racehorse subject to blood or urine tests. 

If the officer stopping me confiscated it, I could then let law enforcement pick up the tab for the testing.  I would perhaps not get to know all the details, but I would still know if the Shmooo would set off any false alarms.

Sending it across national borders, since I know it not to be an illegal substance, could also subject it to some sophisticated testing by customs inspectors, and would therefore also be worthwhile from my perspective.

My tax dollars at work.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #16 on: Tuesday October 14, 2008, 08:19:45 PM »
 :lol:  Good plan! :up:

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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #17 on: Tuesday October 14, 2008, 11:44:05 PM »
...so I am rooting for you to be the winner of the first bag.  No reason you can't be the one.  Just ask yourself what you would do under these circumstances to bring more real security to the deal.  To make it impossible for a bank to get the place in a seller bankruptcy.  I doubt that there is great risk of that in the next three or four months, but that is not a terribly long time frame.  In a Depresson, I wouldn't bet any significant amount that they would survive for another year.  So I need to do something about that even if they do not attack again.  (hint, hint).
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #18 on: Monday October 20, 2008, 05:25:40 AM »
Now that the crisis is no longer pressing, I can return more of my attention to what to do about the Shmooo.  Although we may not get a freeze for a month, it could happen virtually any time.  Yet the plants are in seed production so they can't be harvested yet.

Since it is all hand labor, with no mechanization in the works, I do not relish the thought of harvesting fifty square meters of Shmooo all at once.  And even less attractive is the idea that a freeze could just wipe out the leaves.

I think the best choice is to leave the plants continuing to grow, but daily, to snip several hundred leaves.  Not enough to put the plants in shock, but perhaps stimulating further leafy growth.  That way the inspection and drying are manageable.  In another week I'll have enough to hold me to spring.  In two weeks I ought to have enough to continue with the research.



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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #19 on: Monday October 20, 2008, 09:33:16 PM »
I planted some Bitter Mellon a while back, trying both the vines and the fruit.  So far the vines have done nothing, but five new vines have sprouted from the seeds in the pieces of the melon.  I suppose this is an Asian plant.  The woman I bartered with for a little Shmooo to get it, is from Thailand, Cambodia, Laos or Vietnam, I'm not sure which.

But it is a delight to see it starting to grow, even if it doesn't survive the winter.  It means I can grow it in the spring.  Bitter Melon is reputed to lower blood pressure and slow down sugar metabolism in diabetics.

I still have green tomatoes growing wild in various parts of the yard.  I am resisting frying green tomatoes.  I like them best alive and red.

My wild Indian Strawberries are still producing, but far less than a few months ago. 

And as for the Shmooo, I expect now that it will take at least another three weeks to complete the seeding cycle.  I'm still biting my nails over the possibility of an early freeze.

Of the whole plants I have harvested, I have noticed that the stalks are really strong and fibrous.  I have no clue yet how the fibers might be harvested for use in fabrics, but I expect a number of unpleasant chemicals are involved.

Still, I don't want to waste them.  So I will let them accumulate until I have enough to try fermenting some cellulosic COOH.  Of course, I won't get any usable alcohol, since it would have to be distilled, and I have no intention of building a still.  I would have to get some sort of Federal License for that.

My own personal need for pure alcohol is not great.  Less than a liter a year takes care of my lab needs.

For drinking, I prefer my low alcohol content fermented juices and tea.  That way I can't get too stupid.  Plus, I am absolutely convinced that naturally fermented "live" wines are good for you in reasonable amounts.  Strong distilled spirits are not.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #20 on: Tuesday October 21, 2008, 01:51:02 AM »
Anthro, here is a novice gardener's question for you... how can you tell when seeds are ready for collection?

I think I posted earlier here that I've been growing amaranth in my garden, and now the plants all have seed bearing buds on the tops (they look kind of like the little flowering bit that comes up on basil plants).  The forecast tonight is for the temperature to go down to 2 degrees C, and risk of frost by the weekend.  I'm not sure how or when to harvest the seeds.  I read somewhere that the plants can be hung upside down over paper, and then the seeds collected after they fall out, but I don't know when to do it.  I can't actually see any individual seeds yet, so I'm guessing it's too early. 

Thoughts?

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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #21 on: Wednesday October 22, 2008, 06:15:26 AM »
I once got some amaranth aeed, did a little experimental cooking withit and decided not to grow it.  But in your position I would pull it out by the roots, hang it upside down.  Keep the root  s moist in some fashion, and that should allow the plant to finish the seeds.

Have you experimented with the leaves?  Tender or tough?  Taste?  Do you have a favorite use?
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #22 on: Thursday October 23, 2008, 09:01:03 PM »
I don't want anyone to take my reaction to amaranth too seriously.  I have a long standing prejudice against many kinds of beans, particularly pinto, lima, and fava beans.  And frijoles, from my misspent youth.  Had no choice when I didn't have fifteen cents for a bullmeat, avocado and tomato sandwich. 

I wprked very hard to always be able to afford three or more of those sandwiches, and maybe an ear of Mexican maize every day.  Not that I liked the maize, but it beat beans.     
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #23 on: Friday October 24, 2008, 12:37:22 AM »
To be perfectly frank, I don't know for sure that this is what I've been growing.  I only know it for sure by the Greek name.  I was given small seedlings in the early summer. 

The plants I have don't bear fruit (or beans!), and are grown exclusively for their leaves, which are delicious when steamed or boiled and served with olive oil and fresh lemon juice... and a big hunk of bread to mop up the juice....  It tastes somewhat like a cross between spinach and swiss chard, maybe closer to collard greens, but with a finer texture, and it doesn't make your teeth feel furry like spinach can. 

The cooked leaves have a smooth and tender texture.  In Greek (and I think most southern Mediterreanean cooking), greens are widely eaten.  I don't know if you've ever tried dandelion greens, but those are really commonly eaten, and as a kid I used to hate them, as they have a slight bitter taste to them (the bitterness increases with the age of the plant... the small ones are the nicest).  This plant, on the other hand, has no trace of bitterness.  For this reason alone, I'm guessing it's not as nutritious as dandelion or the other bitter greens. (This is not based on scientific knowledge, btw, but conditioning from my formative years!) My grandmother used to actually drink the cooking liquid when she cooked all these plants (and especially dandelion)... 

I always chuckle when I go to the fancy neighbourhood greengrocer and see dandelions sold for $6/bunch!

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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #24 on: Friday October 24, 2008, 05:42:52 AM »
No, amaranth is certainly not a bean.  It is a grain.  And it was the grain I was interested in at the time.  This was another plant for which there was little information about the greens and the level of nutritional value of the leafy material.  It comes as a surprise that the leafy material is tender.

All I have done is play around with cooking with the seeds.  I never actually planted any. Neither spinach nor swiss chard, as cooked vegetables, hold any charm for me.  I enjoy spinach leaves raw though.

I do get some dandelions in my yard, but haven't tried the greens.  When Ibreak a stem there is a milky fluid.  That makes me a bit cautious about eating them raw.  It is raw vegetables that hold the greatest attraction for me.

Half the Shmooo I eat is the raw or dried leaves.  Initially, I shredded it coarsely for drying.  Lately, I have been drying the leaves whole, and at the opposite extreme, I have been powdering the leaves.  Each consistancy is good for different cooking purposes.  But, by far, my favorite way to eat it is raw.  Even so, I incorporate it into just about everything I cook as well.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #25 on: Friday October 24, 2008, 12:48:24 PM »
Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever seen anyone eat raw dandelion.  The stems are never eaten, and ideally the leaves are picked before plant flowers at all.

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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #26 on: Sunday October 26, 2008, 01:52:52 AM »
There are several compelling reasons my focus is on a high nutrition density green vegetable which requires no cooking, and which does not require planting or weeding efforts.

I saw a program about Malawi, Africa.  There were industrious and motivated people laboring throughout the day with hand implements.  It certainly had elements of a success story. 

The people had, with fairly minimal and conditional aid, eliminated most of the visible starvation.  But a high amount of  the actual work had to do with the digging, planting, weeding, and even hand watering of maize.  At one point, I saw a woman pulling weeds and throwing them on a fire,  A fire that was doing norhing at all but burning some weeds.  The point of the story appeared to be that the people could help themselves.  But I was not really convinced.  To me it seemed they had had a few years of unusually ideal growing conditions.

Perhaps I misunderstood what was happening when I saw the woman burning weeds to no good effect in an area in which people go out and denude the countryside for fire materials for the cookstove.

And lest we think that this shortsightedness is confined to the abjectly poor in third world countries, think again.  All my life, I have seen refineries which burn off "waste" gases with a huge yellow flame. burning continuously atop a tall standpipe, year in and year out.  Hundreds of them throughout the world, burning all the time.

I can think of no good reason that flame couldn't heat a boiler and spin a turbine to generate the electricity needed to run the refinery and surrounding communities.   

 
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #27 on: Tuesday October 28, 2008, 06:44:28 PM »
Last night we had a 30 degree F freeze.  The Shmooo crop was more than 90% wiped out.  It looks like I will need to get creative to keep on track with my accustomed daily ration until next spring.

 
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #28 on: Thursday October 30, 2008, 09:58:58 PM »
Well Itchy,
In answer to your question over on the thread about losing ones home in this  economic crisis, requesting recipes for Shmooo.

The main way I eat it is raw, right out of the garden.  I eat the leaves, small or large.  When I take the leaves inside for drying, I often slice them cole slaw style and sprinkle some lemon or lime juice on, and perhaps a little cracked pepper.  The fresh leaves are also good on any sandwich which might otherwise use lettuce or cress.

Since you are getting freshly dried leaves, you don't have the same option, but you can still sprinkle the crumbled leaves liberally onto the mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, butter, or whatever other relish or sauce might go on the sandwich.

I am now eating a lot of the "buds" which, had they been allowed to complete their growth, instead of having been caught in the freeze the other day, would have fully matured and produced viable seeds. 

Let us bear in mind that I have been experimenting with this plant, in outdoor, No Till gardening, for about half a year.  I have been eating it in large amounts, often exceeding a half pound of leaves per day, for most of that time. 

This was meant to be a loading experiment.  I had not intended to continue with this level of consumption for more than a few weeks.  But the fact is, I have become quite content with this quantity, and see no reason whatsoever to reduce it.

And on those days when I refrain from Shmooo so that it will not interfere with my ability to get the best value out of an all-you-can-eat buffet (in which I usually stuff myself beyond normal capacity), I am out in the garden in a few hours, wolfing down Shmooo.

Yet, in spite of these regular ongoing food binges, I am still at least forty pounds lighter than my heaviest weight.  Even then, I would have been regarded as being a little overweight, not obese.

I was not looking at Shmooo as a diet food, but as a way to remedy my tendency not to eat enough green vegetables.  I had no initial idea that it would take on the characteristics of other spices it was mixed with.  Thus, when I use oregano, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, sage, dillweed or whatever, I reduce the amount by half, then add two or three times that much Shmooo.

I originally had no idea that this food would become such a staple portion of my diet.  It just happened.

Now I am experimenting with the buds, which seem slightly stronger in flavor.  I suspect that they have some additional nutrition as well, but I have no convenient way to test that.  But I won't be shipping any of the dried buds until they too have undergone the same sort of loading tests that I did with the leaves.  I have only been eating the buds for about a week.  So far, I think they are better in flavor than the leaves, but not by much.

When I have guests, and they see me eating fresh Shmooo in the garden, I have noticed that about half have some hesitation before their first big bite.  A few have simply refrained from even a nibble of the raw Shmooo, but ask for second helpings of cooked foods in which dried Shmooo was a major constituent.

If you have a member or two of your family who may have a food prejudice or two, I would put some Shmooo in a food that is one of their favorites, perhaps a soup or stew or an omelet.

My recipes tend to change each time I cook.  my usual recipe for coffee includes orange peel, turmeric, baker's cocoa, cinnamon, and these days, a hefty pinch of Shmooo.  But today, I also added some grated lemon peel as well, just to see...  (Oddly, it worked out just fine).  I drank two mugs.

It seems to me that the best way to use Shmooo is just to add it to recipes you have already had good success with, that your family is already enthusiastic about.  Since Shmooo tends to be filling and tends to reduce appetite, particularly if you use as much as we do, you may want to reduce the amount of food you prepare by perhaps a quarter.  I have enough animals that leftovers are not a problem.  Both the cats and dogs finish off whatever we don't eat, and they do so with considerable enthusiasm.

The only reasons you are getting the first Shmooo to go to Canada is that you were diligent in working on the puzzle on the other thread, and you seem unusually openminded and curious.  But I suspect the people who will be most interested in this food will be those who would improve their health and longevity by dropping a lot of weight.  Clearly, you do not have this problem.  But the good side of that is, if you wind up craving this food as much as I do, it will be because, like me, you are eating it only because you like it and like how it makes you feel.

One more thing.  Many of you who have read earlier posts of mine know that it has been my custom for a long time to use a substantial number of different supplemental vitamins, minerals and other trace nutrients, and to do so on a daily basis.  I am taking a fraction of what I did.  There has been no apparent deleterious affect on my health.  Which indicates the possibility that Shmooo is making up the difference.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #29 on: Wednesday November 05, 2008, 07:44:44 PM »
I am now in the 150's in weight, roughly 50 pounds less than my highest weight.  I can't even remember when I was at this weight.  Maybe forty years ago.  And all without dieting, and some frequent visits (at least weekly) to all-you-can-eat establishments. 

And exercise cannot be playing a big part.  When the cold weather starts, I get less exercise.  Also, about half the dogs and half the cat colony have new homes, so it is a lot less strenuous to give the dogs their daily run.  I don't take them as far, and I walk a lot more than I run. 
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #30 on: Wednesday November 05, 2008, 09:42:04 PM »
After I wrote the last post I went out to see if there was anything left that could be eaten in my wild garden after the freeze a week or so ago.

The wild Indian strawberry patch showed little ill effects in the foliage, but I only found a few berries.  My red clover too showed no damage either, which was interesting because the closest grass showed freeze damage.  The wild onions (maybe chives) were totally dead, at least in front of the house.  But behind the house they were still thriving. 

The various tomato plants had taken terrible damage to the foliage, but the fruit inself was absolutely pristine, green and hard as could be, a glossy medium green.  I picked some and decided to have fried green tomatoes.  Waste not, want not.

I sliced them about a quarter of an inch thick, poured some olive oil into the frying pan, and then couldn't find any bread crumbs or corn meal,  So I ground up some oat meal between my palms, added some cracked black pepper, salt, potassium chloride, and about a tablespoon of powdered Shmooo.

They fried up very nicely.  I ate the whole plate full, and then licked the plate.  They were the best fried green tomatoes I have ever had. 

I don't make too much out of the fact that they were the best, since they were also the only fried green tomatoes I've ever had.  I had been prepared to eat a bite or two, conclude that they were not my kind of food, and throw the rest into the dog food or something.

I will actually eat them again, maybe using bread crumbs or corn meal with the Shmooo next time, although the outmeal was just fine.
« Last Edit: Friday November 07, 2008, 03:22:20 AM by anthropositor »
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #31 on: Saturday November 15, 2008, 03:57:54 AM »
I just got a report about Shmooo that I sent out.  It was enthusiastic, but it was Email.  It is not for me to post it here.
« Last Edit: Saturday November 15, 2008, 04:05:52 AM by anthropositor »
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #32 on: Thursday December 18, 2008, 12:35:57 AM »
It has been about six weeks since I have had fresh Shmooo.  I still use some dried leaves crumbled in all my cooking, including my coffee.  Maybe my consumption has been reduced by half since the freeze took out the crop.  I haven't been at my most productive lately and there has been sort of a grim pallor to my mood and attitude.  Part of that may be the sudden turn of weather, and the general pattern of current events.

On the other hand, I did effectively remove half of that fractured incisor the other day, thereby eliminating an emergency trip to a dentist new to me.

But winter hasn't even officially started yet.  I'm starting to feel a little housebound.  The loss of vision has its' inconveniences, but the compensatory learning curve has been interesting and useful.  Even so, if it were not for the vision, I would have at least five square feet of Shmooo sprouts going at all times.  Enough to eat and barter until spring.

Luckily, in the spring, even without sprouts, I'll have fresh young plants enough to keep me going in just a few weeks.  I harvest the plants from five inches tall, on up to six or seven feet.  The odd thing is, the plants supposedly do not grow that tall.  I planted very late, getting only half the growing time I will have next year.

Meantime though I am going to have to get back on track, mood and energy have to be restored.  Returning to my pre-Shmooo levels of supplemental vitamins, minerals and other nutrients should be a good way to start, since I don't really know how much Shmooo I am actually taking in each day.  At a guess, I would say between one and two tablespoons of dried coarsely sifted dried leaves, which I suppose would equate to 10 to twenty tablespoons of minced fresh leaves.  That is quite a reduction in intake.

As far as the old fields of Shmooo go, I won't be sowing any seeds at all in those areas in the spring.  I know I overcrowded the plants deliberately last year.  Those fields will indicate the more natural density for me.  It may be that my plants grew unusually tall, because I gave them too little room to bush out much.  But why wouldn't that have simply stunted them, giving me a bunch of distressed two foot plants, instead of so many six footers up?  It could be that the soil, which has gotten several tons of organic materials from me over the past eight years, and no herbicides or insecticides, is simply unusually healthy.

Along with my No Till gardening efforts, designed to reduce the heavy labor of digging, planting and weeding virtually entirely, I think I have also found the irreducible minimum of labor for composting as well. 

It has always struck me that the folks who have a compost heap have to periodically tumble it or turn it over with a shovel.  I, on the other hand, just distribute it directly on those sections I plan on planting in the next season.  I have quite a variety of mushrooms in my yard.  Many of them come from edible mushrooms that were getting too old to eat, so they were scattered around the yard.  I won't be eating any of those mushrooms that grow as a result.  I am not a mycologist, and a certainly won't take a chance on a potential mistake.

But those mushrooms are certainly not wasted.  Fungi are an essential part of the soil ecology.  Yet I don't hear of anyone else who is going out of his way to be hospitable to all forms of soil fungi, including all the varieties of edible mushrooms I buy commercially.  Probably at least eight or ten varieties.

My egg shells are dried, crushed, mixed with bird feed and widely distributed.  Chicken, beef and pork pones are consumed by the carnivores with the teeth to do it.  When I come back form the Oriental Buffet, I bring my accumulated clam shells, maybe 50 or 60.  I suppose I should run over them with the truck to break them up, but I don't bother.  The dogs like to lick the sauce off them. 

They eat the chicken bones, but I have never seen one dog or pup crunch up a clam, mussel or oyster shell.  The cats too will eat the ends off big chicken bones as well as eating the smaller bones completely, but won't even try to crunch a sea shell.  And the cats distribute that compost widely, even burying it conveniently and enriching the soil all over.  Unfortunately, good with dogs though I may be, I have never taught one how to dig a hole (which many dogs do instinctively), take a dump in the hole and then cover it up again.
But a dog can be taught to use one particular section of his territory.  That is good enough for me.

And it would be a good idea for me to be having more physical activity.  Particularly with the eyesight, I tend not to get out much further than to feed the animals, though today I have a  pound of raspberries I am going to seed various areas with.  The ground is frozen.  It should be a perfect time.  I know nothing about growing raspberries, but I have the notion that if you are going to grow from seed, the raspberries may profit a bit by a freeze or two.  My other berries don't seem to mind.  Muscadine grapes too, may need a little cold weather.  I would like to have a few dozen Muscadine vines going.  If I don't accomplish that in the next few years, I'll read about them and find out what I might be doing wrong.

I lament the kind of dilettante curiosity which saturates our societies.  I think it is the result of our industrialized educational systems.  And yes, probably the internet as well.  I know there are uses for the search engines, and I don't mean to denigrate their value.  But my concern is that we are being spoon fed, often with information embedded within a great deal of garbage.

What are your burning questions?  What would you like to accomplish?
Now, what can you yourself, with the knowledge you already have (possibly), bring to the task?  And, as you are reviewing what you already have on hand, reinspect it from the perspective of your own logic and reason, not just the consensus of opinion.

Try to learn what you can by doing rather than reading what others have done.  Even try to find ways to fly in the face of established prevailing views, if an alternate view has some prospect of bearing fruit.

We live in the moment of absolutely the greatest opportunity there has ever been.  Never in history have so many essential systems to assure our collective wellbeing, been so far out of whack.  Yet, for our comforts and well being, we have become absolutely dependent on a regular water and food supply; transportation repair and health care, replete with monumentally expensive tests, equipment and procedures that only experts can provide. 

We have been digging furrows in the ground to plant crops for millinnia.  Plowing, planting, weeding.  Our crop plants are not as hardy as a result.  They have adapted to the easy life, cannot take the stresses that would hardly be noticed by their wilder cousins.

What if we had a highly nutritious green food crop that could just be seeded by airplane over vast tracts of countryside?  So that anywhere there were people who, for whatever reason, no longer had the resources for a commercial food supply.  So that in an unexpected famine, there would still be a healthy ration to fall back on.  Would that not be a good thing?

For poor or starving people, it would perhaps even be life saving.  But those in the business of agriculture would look at it quite differently.  These edible "weeds" would displace demand.  It is true of me.  Lettuce and other greens are not on my shopping list these days.  Shmooo has supplanted my demand for these other greens.

In the South is a pest plant called Kudzu which likes to take over and choke out virtually anything it competes with.  Pretty scary.  Then along comes a fellow who says, "Hey, this plant could produce alcohol."  Now we no longer have a pest.  We potentially have a useful crop that will regrow itself without effort.

Now I find Kudzu interesting, but I am not especially interested in growing it, for several reasons.  I like many of my other crops.  They seem aggressive enough to fight for their territory.  But I really don't know if they could stand up to this plant.  And I think to test it out, it would be better to take the Shmooo to the Kudzu patch than bring the Kudzu to my Shmooo.  I suppose if someone had a Kudzu infestation going, I could supply them with some Shmooo seeds to see which plant would get the upper hand in a fair fight.

I already know Shmooo is a delightful food in too many ways to count.  I don't even know if Kudzu is edible for humans.  I have every confidence though, that I could find uses for Kudzu other than alcohol production.  But meanwhile, why don't the folks suffering with the plant stop suffering and just figure out some ways to use it?

Same with the Zebra Mussels infesting so many of our waterways.  Are we entirely sure they are just a pest?  Do they taste bad?  Are they poisonous?  would they make good bait, or food at a catfish farm?  Or even for chickens for that matter?

Or are they not food simply because we don't eat them?  I have eaten a lot of things that we do not eat simply because we don't eat them.  And I'll do it many more times before I'm done.  I think I will go have a glass of wine with a few million wild yeasts partying and doing the backstroke in each gulp.   



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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #33 on: Sunday January 11, 2009, 03:30:07 PM »
Well anthro, I've finished the bag of dried shmoo you sent, and I found it to be a pleasant addition to quite a few dishes.  I used it almost as a herb in finishing stews and soups.  Rather like dried parsley, only a much nicer flavour.  It was quite mild, and I agree with you that it seems to amplify the flavour of whatever it's served with.  I have to admit, though, that I didn't notice a huge difference in how I felt eating it.  Maybe the quantities were insufficient.

How would you say that the flavour of the dried shmoo compares with that of fresh?

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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #34 on: Monday January 12, 2009, 08:35:42 AM »
A good question, but almost impossible for me to answer.  The truth is, almost all the time, I eat fresh shmooo by itself, or as greens on a sandwich, or with lemon or lime juice sprinkled on it, or a little cracked pepper.

The dried is virtually always added to other foods along with other herbs and spices, or in foods as diverse as coffee, chocolate pudding, steak, chicken, fish, hot breakfast cereals like oatmeal, hot shredded wheat (along with butter, salt and pepper), grits, and so on.  Oh, with regard to the coffee, I do not stir it into the coffee cup.  It goes in the grounds with the other ingredients I use.  I have not tried it in thin liquids like soft drinks either.  But in more thickened soups and sauces and gravies, there is no down side,  And even in a thin hot broth or bullion, its' texture is an asset, not a liability.

I can't really tell you if I am eating more dried Shmooo during the winter than fresh during the growing season.  To do that, I would have to determine the precise water content of the fresh Shmooo leaves, then dry them thoroughly, then weigh the Shmooo after thorough drying, and so on.  Then I would have to carefully weigh each portion I consumed throughout the day.  That would be incredibly tedious, particularly since I don't ordinarily use recipes or measuring spoons or cups when I cook.  When I bake, I'm precise with a few measurements which have to be relatively proportionate,  but otherwise its a fistful of this and a glop of that.

I only measure in analytical chemistry, or when combining reagents in which there might be a safety issue.  Most recently I have been fooling around with the viscosity of the cyanoacrylates I use on my teeth.  I'm sort of careful about those mixes, but come to think of it, I'm not making exact precise measurements there either.  I have no scales that go down below a tenth g, and at the moment, I'm too blind to read that scale anyway.  Let us remember, the Greeks of ancient times did some excellent geometry using straight edges with no markings, not rulers of the sort we use today.  I don't know how I digressed to that.  It must be bedtime.  Good night.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #35 on: Sunday February 01, 2009, 05:59:32 PM »
Even though we are still recpvering in my state from a freeze emergency which is still affecting more than two hundred thousand people, the big dangerous tree did not collapse on our kitchen.  Our only problem was about a half day without electricity, and one burst water pipe.

It may seem odd that I have just started planting Shmooo.  It is really still early to do it.  We will probably have at least a few more freezes.  I did about a hundred square meters, in the form of a hedge across the front of the yard and up my side of the driveway.  O was distracting myself to a certain extent from some very unpleasant skulldugger.  The younger of my two remaining dogs was not on his chain when I came home at about midnight from some group chess lessons.  Sox is a strong but affectionate dog and on occasion he has just pulled the stake out of the ground and gone for a run dragging the chain and stake.  He is never gone for long.

But I went over to see if the chain and stake were gone.  The stake was still in the ground, chain attached.  And on the other end of the chain, there was SOx's leather collar.  Cut through as if it had been hacked with a hunting knife.  This gave me a terrible sense of foreboding.  I had checked that collar before I left.  It was too dark to check for blood.  During daylight in the morning I was unable to find any blood in the dirt.  That was a great relief.  Perhaps he was just stolen, rather than just strangled or knifed.  I would much rather think that Sox was stolen rather than killed. 

But I have to be realistic.  There is no way SOX could have cut his colar.  It had no space for him to get is lower jaw under it, and if he had, there would have been perforations along with the two hacking cuts.

Couple that with the fact that in the past eight years we have lost perhaps two dozen cats of the feral cat colony due to unknown causes.  Some of the prettist may well have been stolen, and that's fine considering the alternative.  BUt over these eight years I have seen eight or ten in the throes of dying convulsively or in great pain due to some sort of toxin or poison. 

And some of you may remember my efforts to bring Felice, my king cat back to health after his eye was knocked out of its' socket and his upper and lower jaw were broken in an incident I have no real data on.  While he did live for a couple of years and sired some more lovely kittens, he was never the same after that trauma.  The remainder of that incident is described earlier on one of these nutrition threads.  With my eyes in their current condition it would be difficult for me to locate it.  And besides, I am in no mood to look for it.  Also, I am about to leave for my Sunday afternoon group chess class.  But with luck, in a month, I will have some young fresh Shmooo.  I am really looking forward to fresh picked raw Shmooo.  I hope I didn't make too many typos.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #36 on: Monday April 13, 2009, 02:36:04 AM »
While at this late date it is still possible for another freeze to hit, I think it is less and less likely.  The most recent planting has begun to sprout.  So in about three weeks, thinning the crop, I ought to be able to eat fresh Shmooo again.  I have only been eating the dried Shmooo through the winter, in coffee, eggs, soup, in breading on fowl, fish, and so on.  Not even eating all that much.  I stepped on the scale for the first time in maybe a month or two.  I am down to 156 pounds, a loss of about ten more pounds since last time.  I guess it has been about 40 years since I have weighed this little.  Without dieting. 

Just lucky I guess.  I still think this could be a useful thing.  Looking for someone who needs to lose 100 pounds or more.  Modem still fried on my PC, but I still check my gmail and messages here when I can, on a borrowed laptop with Wi-Fi.

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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #37 on: Friday April 17, 2009, 07:59:31 PM »
Maybe I was a little over optimistic about having some fresh Shmooo in three weeks.  It seems to be slower in development in the cool weather.  When I began growing my first crop last year, it was already hot.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #38 on: Friday May 01, 2009, 07:00:28 PM »
The Shmooo now seems to be taking off now, increasing its' growth rate.  I am now beginning to eat fresh wild, uncultivated Shmooo starting today.  If I don't get too enthusiastic, I won't thin out what is currently growing all that much.  This last time I weighed myself, I had broken the 150 lb barrier.  Now the test will be, eating only two or three ounces a day, will the weight still continue to drop off as it did when I was eating a half pound a day in the loading experiments of last season.  I certainly hope not.

The ideal, for me would be to remain at 149 + or - 3 no matter how much or little I eat, with Shmooo as a main vegetable.  And since I have no immediate prospect of returning to a hospital or a doctor's jammed waiting room, I don't expect any further difficulty with any strange bacterial or fungal contagions.  It is interesting to me that the very first serious illness for decades, just happened to occur right after sitting in the crowded waiting room of a general practitioner for the required general physical in preparation for the two eye operations, and then the several hours in hospital for each operation.

I can't draw any firm conclusions about this, but I am certainly glad to have all the follow-up visits out of the way.  If I should have a hospitalized friend in the future, I think I'll just send a get-well card.  Hospitals are good places to avoid.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #39 on: Tuesday May 12, 2009, 11:39:52 PM »
Now that it is the middle of May, I at last have enough fresh raw Shmooo to eat any amount I like.  I won't need to eat any dry Shmooo until late fall, after the first freeze.  Fresh and raw can't be beat.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #40 on: Sunday May 17, 2009, 11:47:22 PM »
I also have several plum trees which I haven't pruned for several years.  The result is too many plums.  They start to fall while still green.  But I have been thinking about the nitriloside in the seeds, and it occurs to me that the unripe fruits may also contain the nitriloside in some small amount, and I don't need to crack any seeds open to get at it.  So today I went out and ate a half dozen unripe plums between the size of a nickle and a quarter.

When I was very young, perhaps five, I used to pick unripe apples and unripe concord grapes.  My mom didn't approve.  She said they would make me sick.  She was pretty authoritative about it.  But I had already been doing it for some time without her knowledge and had not gotten sick, which sort of made me suspect that perhaps someone had misled her on the subject.  My mom was a grownup and a college graduate (though I didn't really know what that was at the time) but she had a tendency to believe quite a few other things without much evidence.

So I did modify my eating habits to suit her.  I stopped eating unripe fruits when she was likely to catch me, but otherwise, I ate more than ever.  I don't recall ever getting sick.

It was she who also told me that gnawing on limes and lemons as I was fond of doing, would dissolve my teeth.  There may have been some merit in that.  I have at least five broken teeth now, not including my two upper front teeth.  The ones I have used all my life to gnaw on lemons, limes, oranges.  The bottom edges have now worn through until they are now horizontally slotted across the bottom.  Maybe my habit of drinking some fresh water after eating a lime or lemon (just to err on the side of caution) helped minimize the damage for all these years. 

So thanks for the warning mom, where ever you are.  I did listen to some of the things you told me.

And in your honor, tomorrow I intend to eat no more than a dozen little unripe plums.  Can't be too careful.  You were right dear.  After over sixty years, a couple of my teeth did dissolve.   
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #41 on: Thursday May 21, 2009, 05:07:05 PM »
At last, I am now eating raw Shmooo again every day.  And I have a tobacco addict (two packs a day) who expresses some interest in using Shmoo to assist him in quitting smoking, and keeping the weight off that often is gained by those who do successfully quit the smoking addiction.  But frankly, he equivocates so much that I don't think he has the real commitment needed to do the job.

I had some thoughts about raising a steer again, this time combining a large proportion of Shmooo in its' ration, along with the other Kobe style methods I used the last time I raised a steer over twenty five years ago.  But I have decided that maybe I no longer have the stamina for raising an animal that will top out 1200+ pounds.  Maybe rabbits.  Very lean meat which comes to harvest very quickly.  And people eat more game animals during depressions.

Or I might get a goat or two.  This bears some careful thought.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #42 on: Wednesday May 27, 2009, 07:10:01 PM »
I now have enough fresh, raw Shmooo that I can eat whatever amount I like until next winter.  The dogs and cats all get some dried Shmooo in their rations every day.  I haven't yet gotten any rabbits or goats.

My preference is for rabbit.  Aside from the meat being too lean, there are no liabilities.  And I have some ideas about their diet and living circumstances that I want to try.  They will certainly get a lot of Shmooo stalks in their ration, along with another secret ingredient which I know few if any rabbit breeders are feeding their stock. 
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #43 on: Thursday June 04, 2009, 10:26:20 PM »
I was talking to one of my neighbors, who happens to work for the people who are trying to steal my house back after nine years.  But he is a nice guy, and I am certainly not going to hold his employers against him.  He had gotten some Shmooo from me and I think he wanted to return the kindness.  The other day he brought me some turnip greens, which I had never tasted.  So I said, "...and how about some Shmooo greens for you?"  But while I was cutting his Shmooo, it occurred to me that this was the first time I had ever used the word "greens" when talking about Shmooo leaves.  In a way, at least for that moment, it sort of seemed to fit.

Then, later, as I was trying to eat some of the turnip greens, I had some seconds thoughts.  Clearly, turnip leaves qualify loosely as food.  That is, they are not likely to poison you, and probably contain a certain amount of nutrition.  But Good Grief!  They do not taste good.  This is one of the big elements I use in defining something as food.  It must taste good to a discriminating person who is not starving.

Anyway, we got to talking while I was out gorging on my wild Indian Strawberries.  He ate a few and liked them, although they are only about a half inch long.  So I grabbed a big fistful of vines to give him.  But he noticed that they have spread over an extended territory without being cultivated in any way.  He didn't want anything that might take over his lawn, which he has to mow on a weekly basis.  Different strokes for different folks I guess.

Then he says, "I notice you don't use that Toro." (a sitdown mower). 

I say, "That's true.  I like to mow when the grass is pretty tall, and the mower slips the belt once in a while in the really tall stuff, and I have to get underneath to put the belt back on.  It would be a good mower for someone who never lets his grass grow over four or five inches."

He wrote me a five hundred dollar check for the mower, and he can now sit while he mows his lawn.  It won't be more than another few years before my wild strawberries, Shmooo, and other foods that can fend off the competition will populate the entire yard.  But why on Earth would anyone choose a lawn that had to be maintained weekly, instead of an unlimited supply of fruits and vegetables, without cultivation?  It just doesn't make sense to me.  And I guess I won't be using the word "greens" coupled with Shmooo.  I would hate to give the impression that Shmooo was sort of like turnip greens, or mustard greens or collard greens, unless I am talking to someone who already holds that all these other greens are really food.

There is some food I grow which I haven't bothered to eat.  I have some Tarot plants, but I really like those huge elephant ear like leaves too much to dig up the root to eat.

 
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #44 on: Friday June 05, 2009, 11:40:01 AM »
*giggle* The best part of greens is the juice. Called "pot likker," that stuff'll put hair on your chest. :)
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #45 on: Friday June 05, 2009, 05:22:09 PM »
Yech.  I felt that way about dandelion greens as a kid. :P

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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #46 on: Monday June 08, 2009, 07:13:03 PM »
I suppose there is a lot of nutrition in these various southern "greens" that would boil out into the water to form some sort of soup stock.  I may revisit the idea, but I suspect I will have to make it a complex soup to disguise it all. 

The Shmooo, on the other hand, goes very nicely in my coffee every day, and needs not to be disguised.  (Of course, I use dried crumbled Shmooo leaves for this).  On occasion, I get distracted and forget the Shmooo, and in spite of all the other ingredients I brew into my coffee, (turmeric, Baker's cocoa, cinnamon, grated orange peel, and after brewing, Irish creamer and coffee liquor) my wife says, "What, are you out of dried Shmooo again?  So, although the Shmooo is not particularly overpowering in the coffee, it is missed when it is not there.

Speaking of subtle flavors, a few words about my spreading patch of Indian Strawberries.  A friend had an absolutely lovely huge Muscadine grape vine covering an entire arbor.  Her elderly father, who I call Zeus, took a dislike to the vine, so she hacked about nine tenths of it back, and I suppose she would have gotten it all out of the ground, but she couldn't.  Some of the roots were as big as your wrist.  So I told her I would come over and get it out of the ground and provide it a new home.  It took me the better part of two hours.

Anyway, before going over, I went out and harvested some of the Indian Strawberries.  When I got there, she looked at them and immediately exclaimed: "You can't eat them!"  Then she went to her horticultural encyclopedia and showed me that they weren't for eating.  It said so right there.  It also said that there was no toxicity of any sort.  Just that they were less flavorful than commercial strawberries.  But the typical reader, like my friend, would conclude that these perfectly satisfactory little fruits were not to be used as food.  She would not touch a single one.  The book said no.  So I ate them all.

Some people also conclude that Muscadine Grapes are only good for jellies or jams.  The skin is thick and rather chewy.  They have, as grapes go, unusually large seeds.  The nutraceutical industry actually sells the ground seeds, in capsules, at an extremely high price, for all the benefits they provide.  These have to be the most nutritious grapes there are, between the nutritious seeds and all the resveretrol in the skins.  The grapes themselves sell at the farmer's market for about $5 a pound.  They are not at all like any other grape.  They are picked singly, not snipped off in bunches for example.  I will eventually have many of these vines on my property.

I transplanted that hacked-up vine in my back yard.  I broke my No Till rule.  I dug a hole.  And, for a little while, I will actually water it.  It is the least I can do after hacking it up the way I did.

My Mom taught me not to eat grape seeds or watermelon seeds, and of course, it really is a good idea not to eat apple seeds in any great quantity (two or three may not hurt you, but a quarter of a cup would probably kill you.  Anyway, Mom said seeds in general wouldn't be good for me.  I listened to her about that.  I'm not quite sure why.  I knew she wasn't right about unripe apples or unripe concord grapes giving me a tummy ache.  I guess we all just sort of want to believe our parents, even after they lie to us about Santa or the Easter Bunny.  Who knows?  Maybe that is just some sort of preparation for all the lies we will get in the future from our respective governments, and from big business, and from each other.  Yes friends, we too are part of the problem.  We may not mean to spread disinformation, but we often do.  End of rant.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #47 on: Saturday June 13, 2009, 09:29:01 PM »
Last fall, I deliberately left the Shmooo seed on the plants so that each planted area would seed itself, eliminating the need to reseed the following year.  I didn't really want to let the seed go to waste, since it is almost certainly even more concentrated in its' nutrition than the leaves.

It turns out that this was a totally wasted effort (except for what I learned by trying).  Not one plant grew from these previous plots.  What this means is that the Shmooo seed won't remain viable even in the fairly light freezes of the winters of the deep south.  Next winter I will harvest the seeds of all but one patch, and bury that patch in a light layer of compost.

My Indian strawberries continue to reseed themselves and take over ever larger sections of lawn each year, without any cultivation whatsoever.

The big Muscadine grape vine I planted seems to be in shock for now, but I will continue to water it heavily.  I laced the roots with a tablespoonful of rooting hormone, so even though it is looking pretty peaked at the moment, I have hopes for it.

The Tarot root plants are now in their third year, or maybe fourth, without any help from me, but they don't seem to be spreading on their own.  I think my next project is going to be raising some big New Zealand white rabbits.  I have eaten wild rabbit on a few occasions when I was younger and very hungry.  It is a good use for the many varieties of weeds I have growing.  I'll just let the rabbits turn them into meat and fertilizer.  But first, I have to find some New Zealand rabbits.  They should grow quite a bit bigger than the ones I used to eat.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #48 on: Saturday June 20, 2009, 09:11:17 PM »
I would like to say a few words here about invention and innovation.  Historically, and certainly prehistorically, most invention has been done by individuals.  Even in the early industrial revolution, that was still largely the case.  In the twentieth century this really changed sharply.  And today, most invention is done at the corporate level.  This is an artifact of how government/industry has metastasized, and to my mind, it is unfortunate in a variety of ways.  But it is not likely that much can be done about it.

I have been engaged in my No Till Farming Experiments actively for about five years.  It is not surprising that for the bulk of that time, not too much of note happened.  That is the way innovation works.  Dead end after dead end stack up during the learning and investigation phase.  It is actually crucial for the creative process.  A part of the regimentation of inventors is in the patent notebooks to prove priority and diligence and so on. 

If you are really into the creative process, and wish to accomplish something, this is a real liability.  The time expended for documentation is mind-boggling.  So I did not really begin to write about what I was doing until some tangible successes began to accumulate.  So let us review a little bit.  Let us first talk about what I wanted to accomplish.  I was looking for crops which would grow with little or no cultivation effort.  No tractors.  No digging.  No weeding unless the weeds were being harvested for another purpose.

Two crops that were of merit were the Indian Strawberries and Tarot plants.  Both were planted by throwing down the roots or the plants and berries and stepping on them.  Now, Tarot tubers are used to make Poi, which I have no special liking for, so it was very easy not to pay any attention to it, other than to supply a little water during a drought.

The Indian Strawberries do not seem to me to have much commercial merit, but I like them.  On top of that, they require no care.  They tend to spread over a wider territory each year on their own.  They have spread over perhaps fifty or a hundred times the original area on their own.  So they are an unqualified success.

Bitter Melon had some medicinal properties I was interested in, but had some aesthetically displeasing elements.  And there were literally dozens of plants I experimented with, with other liabilities that scratched them from my list. 

I failed completely to get Maca to grow in this particular environment.  I get some tomatoes each year, but they struggle a lot without some minimal tending.  The yield is not great.

I have not yet been successful with Muscadine grapes yet, though I have some other kinds of grapes growing wild.  I don't know if I can get them to grow and bear, using my No Till methods, but in the case of Muscadine grapes, I will keep trying for years if necessary.  I will find the minimums required to make the plant thrive.   

Most of the other commercial cultivated berries I have tried to let grow, have not yet accomplished anything.  Some of the wild berries I have growing, other than the Indian Strawberries, I don't eat too many of, simply because I am not sure of the levels of possible toxicity.  It is not a great test that the birds eat them.  But if it looks like some sort of wild raspberry, I generally eat all I can find, so far without ill effects.

It is the Shmooo that is currently my singularly greatest success.  Volumetrically, nutritionally, and particularly in terms of taste and gustatorial adaptability.

Now I am looking for some New Zealand meat rabbits, to see how well this prolific Shmooo crop and some of the abundant weeds can be converted into lean protein.  It takes almost no labor to skin out a rabbit, and with two dogs, and cats in abundance, there is no waste at all.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #49 on: Friday July 10, 2009, 12:10:17 AM »
It is amazing how hard it has been to find some nice big meaty rabbits.  I really want to buy locally.  I have been fairly busy in the fight for my home, but even so, I should have had a couple of pairs of rabbits by now.

Insects, especially grasshoppers, have been more active with the Shmooo this year than they were last year.  One farmer suggested that I start using insecticides, and herbicides like Round-Up.  I think not.  It seems to me that organic and No Till should fit together.  And since I am growing considerably more Shmooo this year than last, I am in no real danger of running out.

And when I do get the rabbits, they will get to eat the leaves with the holes in them.  No waste.   
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #50 on: Monday July 27, 2009, 11:00:43 PM »
In the southern USA we have been experiencing some pretty serious drought conditions.  Shmooo likes water.  So I was wondering how successfully I would raise my crop this year.  I have not been watering daily, but I have been watering pretty deeply.  Sometimes the crops have begun to droop considerably, but then, when water is supplied, the plants come back fully.  There are no apparent after effects of this stress on the plants.  As a matter of fact, some of the plants are seven feet tall.  That is why I am so anxious to get some rabbits to try it on as the central feed.  Aside from the fight for the house, the other thing that has been slowing me down has been the extremely hot weather.  I really don't know how well rabbits survive in blistering hot weather.

The other objective I am working on is finding someone who is seriously gravitationally challenged to consume Shmooo on a daily basis.  I have an appointment later today with a fellow who would like to lose ninety to a hundred pounds.  We will see how that works out.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #51 on: Friday July 31, 2009, 02:33:58 AM »
I haven't yet gotten the rabbits, partly because of the drought and heat wave.  I don't really know how well rabbits stand up to heat, so I'm going to let it get a little closer to fall.

We just got a couple of inches of rain.  A few of the Shmooo plants are approaching eight feet in height.  We have a pretty good crop of grasshoppers this year, but the plants are continuing to thrive in spite of their predation.  I will certainly not employ insecticides or herbicides.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #52 on: Friday August 07, 2009, 02:32:28 AM »
I have been mixing Shmooo with my coffee grounds during brewing, for at least a year now.  Recently, I tried straight Shmooo tea.  Good hot or cold.  It takes quite a while to darken.  I have used well dried, crumbled leaves with good success.  Today I made a gallon of tea using fresh leaves.  I'm just going to let them steep for some time.  One of the things I want to find out is, how stimulating the Shmooo tea is without coffee in the mix.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #53 on: Saturday August 15, 2009, 11:15:25 PM »
I decided to see how little sugar I could add to get some wild yeasts going from one of my wines.  The packet of Turbinado sugar had no weight printed on it.  Figure less than a rounded teaspoon in a gallon of tea made with 60 Shmooo leaves.  Then I added a tablespoonful of wine that had little yeast action going on.  In a few days, the glass jug was somewhat pressurized.  The yeast had eaten the sugar, but the population was not large and carbonation was barely detectable on the tongue.  Perhaps a tenth of the carbonation of an actively fermenting wine or less.  I added a few more packets of Turbinado sugar.  The Shmooo makes a pale amber brew, even though I made the gallon with 60 average sized leaves.  Next time I'll try 100 leaves.  (I don't drink teas on a daily basis, and favor dark strong smokey teas like Lapsang Souchong.  So, for me, the Shmooo tea will have to get a lot stronger before my palate is going to pay much attention.

Now that I have demonstrated that the tea can be fermented with the wild yeasts cultivated in grape/pomegranate/blueberry wine, I hope to see if I can produce a Kombucha style growth on top.  That could take a few months.  My next batch, I may add some dark, smoked tea like Lapsang Souchong and start out with a half cup of Turbinado sugar for the gallon.

My favorite way of eating the Shmooo is raw, right off the plant, or a dozen leaves or so on a sandwich.  Of course, it's in my coffee every day, but since the leaves are crumbled right into the grounds, I don't know, quantitatively, how much of the essence of Shmooo actually gets to the coffee mug.

When I was doing the half-pound-a-day loading experiments on me last year, I didn't count what went into the coffee.  Only the fresh leaves I ate.  If I ate dry crumbled leaves, I held three grams dry weight to be equivalent to an ounce of fresh Shmooo.  This year, I am no longer measuring.  I am probably eating more than a half pound some days, but probably not quite that much usually.

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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #54 on: Saturday August 29, 2009, 03:32:44 AM »
Some of the Shmooo plants are now over eight feet tall.  This is rather astonishing to me.  I just planted about twenty more square meters.  Two reasons.  I have some enthusiastic grasshoppers munching some of it.  I choose to live with the losses rather than apply anything to discourage them. 

I may have mentioned that I wanted to test the Shmooo on some herbivores.  I raised a Black Angus steer experimentally, using a few of the principles applied in Japan to Kobe beef.  It wound up being the best beef I had ever tasted.

But raising a thousand pound animal is a bit more daunting now than it was a quarter of a century ago.  I decided on some New Zealand meat rabbits, but the only ones I was able to locate were a considerable distance away. 

Instead, I found a pair of normal-sized Lop-Eared bunnies.  A mating pair.  The only trouble is, they are quite attractive and cuddly.  I am afraid they are going to be permanent pets.  I would have to be very hungry to eat one of them.  But at least I will learn how well they acclimatize to a diet in which the biggest component is Shmooo.  Time will tell.   
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #55 on: Saturday August 29, 2009, 06:22:49 AM »
Ooh, wild strawberries! I have missed them greatly.

Apparently many people - some of them educated - think they're poisonous. I've had folks beg me not to eat them... but a big, ripe, juicy... I keep shocking people. :)

Lops are cute. However, if the cuddliness is going to be a problem, I recommend a dwarf. Sure, they're small, and would have less meat... but on the other hand, those things are so violent that killing one would be a pleasure instead of a mournful task. My family owned one of these little devils once, and to this day the only rabbit I think is cute is a Lop.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #56 on: Tuesday September 01, 2009, 02:58:40 AM »
Perhaps, Bama, we are not talking of the same variety of strawberry.  These are only about as big around as the tip of my pinky fingernail.  And the seeds are not flattened against the strawberry, but stick out enough to get a few knocked off as you pick and eat them.  So, in essence, I am replanting in the process of eating them.

As for the Lop-eared rabbits, they have, in the past week, provided me with considerable interesting information.  Since I surmise that in their eight months of life, they have had nothing but rabbit pellets to eat and water to drink, I didn't want to shock their systems too much.  So I got a ten pound bag of pellets.  So far, I have given them each a quarter of a cup every couple of days.  But they have had a veritable cornucopia of of plants from the yard.  And of course, more Shmooo, which they seem to eat preferentially over most of the other plants.  They seem blissfully happy, particularly since they are living on the ground, and not running around in a chicken wire hutch.  All in all, it has been a week with a pretty high learning curve.  Particularly since I have been working on an oceanographic project as well.  Leave it to me, to work on an ocean project with no ocean anywhere near.   
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #57 on: Thursday September 03, 2009, 06:10:45 AM »
Flicker pic here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/justinandtelly/687503729/

Every now and then you'll get one that has had plenty of water, and it'll get over a centimeter long. Those are the best...

I was surprised to find, via image search, several pictures of wild strawberries that look like tame strawberries. They've got recessed seeds and little leaf tops and everything. I have actually never found those in the wild.

Another pic:

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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #58 on: Saturday September 05, 2009, 01:26:43 AM »
Your picture looks very much the same as the Indian Strawberries I have in my front yard, except the elevated seeds are a coffee brown in color and are crunchy.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #59 on: Saturday September 05, 2009, 10:26:10 AM »
I've seen them with brown seeds. And yes, those are the "poisonous snake berries" that should have killed me a long time ago. ;D The rest of the world does not know what they are missing.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #60 on: Saturday September 12, 2009, 08:26:36 PM »
I have never heard them called that.  The most common name I hear is "Indian Strawberries."  And my two rabbits eat the greens from the plant voraciously, not paying all that much attention to the berries.  I do have some purple, almost black bush/tree berries around my place.  I didn't plant them.  They are all over this area.  The berries are in bunches less dense than grapes.  The leaves are broad and perhaps up to six inches long.  I have not nibbled on a single one of these berries. 

But as to the Indian Strawberries, I probably eat 150 a week.  Something around a pound.  They have never given my any distress at all.

I have been moving the rabbit cage around the yard, in the grass and weeds.  My presumption was that the rabbits would have good instincts about what to eat.  So I wasn't paying a lot of attention to the fact that I moved the cage adjacent to one of these bush/trees.  Apparently the buck Lop-ear was able to snatch one of these bunches of purple-black berries right next to the cage.  He didn't just nibble one or two.  He ate the whole bunch right off the bunch stems, which were still laying on the ground next to him.  I hadn't been gone more than fifteen minutes after I moved the cage.  When I returned, he was in a coma with spasms.  Very, very quick.  My guess is, a loosely bound cyanide in the amygdaline family.  I now know one plant not to get the cage anywhere near.  I buried him deep enough to keep Cloud from digging him up, after moving the cage to yet another new area of tall grass.

But I am no longer quite convinced that rabbit instinct is fool proof when it comes to food from the local environment, even when there is a very large variety of plants to pick from.  That had my working theory.  Not that I would deliberately let them near other toxic plants like tomato or potato leaves.  Now I am even a little worried about the wild mushrooms in the yard.  After a rain, they can come up unexpectedly.

In any case, today I went back out looking for new rabbits, of different breeds.  I got lucky.  Next Saturday, I will pick up another pair of Lop-ears, since they are a small rabbit, easy to handle.  But also, at long last, some big New Zealand meat rabbits, a buck and two does. 

Although my wife and I eat far less meat than we used to, the cost of commercial beef and pork is getting more and more substantial all the time.  And once the Shmooo is totally dry and properly stored, it's shelf life is relatively unlimited.  I should be able to produce live rabbit very, very economically. 

Though many of the pundits and talking heads say we may be close to seeing the end of this economic downturn, I am less optimistic.  I am preparing for longer lean times.

The odd thing is that, paradoxically, as these hard times worsen, people won't get skinnier.  They will get fatter, at least in the previously affluent countries.  The cheapest foods are also the ones highest in refined carbohydrates and saturated fats, lowest in real nutrients.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #61 on: Wednesday September 23, 2009, 11:40:38 PM »
We had some more seriously stormy weather.  Straight line winds of perhaps 60-70 mph.  Lost some more tree near the kitchen, one limb landing on the roof, but doing no apparent damage.  All the Shmooo was blown over.  It really put a dent in my harvest for human consumption.

But now that I have gotten some meat rabbits, I need to have enough Shmooo for the winter.  They also eat a lot of grass and clover, and a whole variety of weeds, not to mention tree leaves of various kinds.  On top of that, they eat small amounts of lime and orange skins, left over salad greens, apple cores.  They pretty much self regulate.  But now that I know that their instincts are not entirely perfect, I intend to be a lot more careful.  I won't be supplying them with yard mushrooms for example.

Heavy winds blew over the whole crop of Shmooo.  But while the supply of the best Shmooo took a big dent, My supply for the rabbits and other animals is already assured.  The interesting thing is that the plants that have been blown down stick roots down from what was previously the sides of the stems and start new growth all along the stem.  Three weeks from now, the crop damage will be hard to see, and premium crop will again be growing. 
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #62 on: Thursday September 24, 2009, 02:22:19 PM »
I am totally going to have to get my mitts on some of this Shmooo stuff, Anthro. I have the feeling I will recognize it, although I have no idea what it might be. Like the wild/Indian strawberries.

If it turns out to be poison ivy, I'm going to laugh! (Poison ivy is 100% edible - eating it gives you an immunity to the rash-causing oil. They say you should start out in the spring, making little sandwiches, under the observation of someone who has done it before. I'll give it a try one day, just for the sheer benefit of watching people watch me eat the stuff.)

(While I doubt that this is the true identity of the mysterious Shmooo, it would be pretty funny... and add an extra benefit!)
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #63 on: Thursday October 01, 2009, 12:59:58 AM »
Shmooo is decidedly not poison ivy.  When I had my first taste of the leaves last year, I did only eat a leaf or two, after uneventfully having a nibble or two.  But it wasn't long before I was eating substantial quantities (in excess of half a pound a day).  Call it 225 grams or more, every day, for weeks at a time.  This is the central experiment.  "Loading" the body, looking for any and all possible toxic effects, no matter how subtle.  Not just allergic reactions, but possible nervousness from a build-up of some stimulant chemical for example.  The leaves did seem stimulating, but the stimulation seemed more akin to well being related to eating something highly nutritious, rather than a chemical stimulant like caffeine.  The loading experiments seemed to bear this out.  Certainly 10 cups of strong coffee would have most people exceedingly hyper for an extended time.  Yet with Shmooo, even in large quantities, I had no difficulty sleeping at will.

My recently acquired rabbits eat it as the major constituent of their diet.  I am making sure that they get a considerable variety of grass, weeds, fruit scraps, apple cores, carrot tops, orange peels with the pulp but not the zest (which I grate into my coffee), and even banana peels in modest amounts.  They also eat the ends of the branches and leaves from my plum trees, giving me a reason to prune them. 

And most recently, each rabbit has been getting a fistful of whole kernel corn.  These kernels are very hard.  I pre-soak them in water for at least a few hours, or overnight.  I am presuming that this makes them easier for the rabbits to consume or digest.  But I have fed them a little of the unsoaked corn.  The rabbits don't seem to notice the difference.  But the corn does not amount to more than 10% of the rabbit diet.  And as for conventional rabbit pellets, the rabbits get a handful a week.  The corn is actually a fraction of the cost of rabbit pellets.  I use deer corn which comes in forty pound sacks, and  is cheaper than chicken scratch grain.

Another interesting thing is how little fresh water the rabbits consume on this diet.  They are getting the greatest amount of their water from the fresh greenery, peels, and fruit and vegetable scraps.  The rabbits are consuming 1/4 of the water I expected.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #64 on: Monday October 05, 2009, 02:42:53 AM »
The Great Escape.
I have some experimental cages which are helping to maximize my knowledge of rabbit behavior.  Some of the cages are open on the bottom.  They worked just fine for a number of days.  The rabbits showed no initial inclination to burrow.  Therefore, I was moving the bottomless cages to new greenery, providing new food and clean new territory at the same time.

I had just done that.  I went into the house to make some coffee.  In that short time, the brown buck dug his way out.  When I went back into the yard, there he was, looking at me warily.  I thought to myself, well, I don't really know how fast this rabbit can move.  He has led a sedentary caged life.  How fast could he run?  I put it to the test.  It was readily apparent that, in a sprint or even a longer race, that buck could easily outrun me.  Not only that.  If I chased him much, probably he would get spooked and head for parts unknown. 

Now, I could have gone for my gun, put a bullet between his eyes and had him for dinner.  But I had some chess lessons to teach scheduled, and I was hoping for a call from my lawyer.  I really didn't have the time to dress out the rabbit, stretch the pelt and so on.  Particularly since my Honey was not very likely to eat a rabbit which was still identifiable as a rabbit.  That meant I couldn't roast it outside and then just serve it up like that, nicely smoked.  No, what I would have to do is cut it up in small chunks and prepare it as a stew, after the original roasting.  I just didn't have the time.

So I just let the rabbit go and went into town to give the chess lessons.  I got back near midnight.
Very dark.  I went to check all the animals.  I guess we now have about twenty cats, and Cloud, the dog, and the half dozen rabbits, including the escapee.

I figured any of several of the bigger cats might get the rabbit, or chase it in the direction of Cloud, and instinct would take over.  Either that, or the rabbit would be totally gone and I would never see it again.  Well, one of the ways I quickly check my stock is by retina.  I step into the dark, put a very bright flashlight next to my head, shining straight out ahead of me.  Now, when that beam makes eye contact with any creature, the glow of the eyes gives away the location of the creature.  I have been a flashlight hunter for many years.  I even used to catch tarantula's and opossums on the west coast in that same fashion.  With the tarantula, the eyes are a very tiny cluster of pinpoints, not large glowing eyes.

First I saw Cloud's single eye.  Then I called the cats.  They came bounding up from all directions.  I tossed them a few previously roasted chicken leg quarters, each weighing about a pound.  That would keep them in a small area for quite a while.  That way, if I did see the loose rabbit I could deal with it without stepping on, or tripping over a cat.

The other rabbits were caged and in their expected locations.  But right near them was another set of rabbit eyes.  The missing buck was still around.  I slowly approached, keeping the rabbit's eyes dazzled with the light.  I finally made my play with a lunge.  I barely got my hand on the rabbit, but he made his escape and I gave some chase.  The rabbit got quite confident.  He knew he could outrun me, just running around and between all the cages.  What I really needed was a photoflash which would really blind the rabbit for a good number of seconds.  But I didn't have one.

But the rabbit was pretty overconfident.  He really had no direct evidence that I was a carnivore, and he was close to being food.  So I just rearranged the cages a bit, leaving a V-shaped area for the buck to get caught in, only to find that I was occupying the open end of the V.  Now there was no way he could get away.

Anyway, a happy ending was had by all.  I caught the rabbit and put him in with a doe and a handful of Shmooo and plum branches.  So never let it be said that a sixty-eight year old human can't catch a freely running rabbit in the dark in rough terrain.
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Re: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable
« Reply #65 on: Friday November 13, 2009, 12:18:24 AM »
I have Shmooo that is about seven months old, originally seven to nine feet tall before some high winds blew it all over, and now growing back from a prone position with new uprights on the fallen stems.  I also threw some seeds on the ground in a fresh area maybe three to four months ago at most.  Maybe ten or twelve square meters. 

Now these new plants were not blown over because they were very short during the wind.  Now they stand about three feet.  The interesting thing is that all these plants, old and young, are flowering and going to seed at the same time.  The difference is that the younger plants are producing much smaller seed stalks than the older.  Half an inch to an inch, as opposed to up to four inches for the older plants.

It is worthy of note, I think, that I would have been less likely to have learned this if I had really known (or thought I had known what I was doing) because some experienced gardener or farmer had told me how to do things the "proper" way.

I know it seems counter-intuitive, but the truth is, in terms of invention or creativity, often the breakthroughs are made by the person with the least preconceived "rules" of how to do things.

Another example is in the raising of rabbits, which I just began to do several months ago.  While I have eaten wild rabbits, hunted with blow-gun, sling-shot or improvised snare, I have never raised them in semi-captivity.  I really knew very little about the animal.  I deliberately avoided learning too much by reading or asking questions of the people I got them from.  It is true that I have had one mishap causing the early demise of a buck.  But I really doubt that I would have avoided that with research.

Now, I have begun to actually read the advice of more experienced people.  I find that I have "broken the rules" in a plethora of ways.  Yet my rabbits seem quite healthy.  Now I am not saying that I am not learning from these experienced breeders, and that their knowledge is not helpful.  Just that some of it is nonsense, and without my initial experimentation, I wouldn't have known it.

One of the things I learned is that these rabbits have certain preferences in food.  The typical rabbit breeder feeds a lot of rabbit pellets and water.  These pellets are "scientifically designed."  Therefore they must be good.  But it was never my purpose to follow slavishly in the footsteps of others.

One of the reasons I got these meat rabbits was to see if the meat was as good as the game I have had when I was hungry enough to hunt or trap.  Of course, it is hard to tell, because generally when you hunt or trap, you are unusually hungry.  Everything tastes better when you are famished.

And another thing I had in mind with these rabbits was, would they eat my experimental Shmooo preferentially to the wide variety of other things they were getting?  Clearly they like it a lot.  But my handful of rabbits also like a wide variety of other available things.  The greens from my wild Indian Strawberries, certain other succulent weeds which I have not bothered to identify,wild green onions, clover, Banana peels and a certain amount of banana, cores and peels of other fruits. 

My point is, without knowing what I was doing, save the one casualty, my other rabbits have thrived on what they have gotten.  Oh, I should also mention that they get a certain amout of multi-grain feed laced with molasses.  And I am planning on getting them some alfalfa cubes for winter when greenery will not be available.

So far, their least favorite food is the natural grasses that are harvested in the big round 6 foot diameter bales.  They eat some, but they do not seem enthusiastic about it at all.  I have only one of these bales.  I didn't buy it.  I confiscated it from my back lot which was harvested without my authority.  I only took the one because, although my permission was not asked, it was something of a convenience for that waist high grass and weeds to be taken down.  I had neither the equipment, nor the inclination to do it. 

Of course, the test will be is the meat great, or will it be impossible to tell the difference from conventionally raised commercial rabbit?  I may not know until spring, unless my curiosity gets the best of me.

I could go on, but I am hunkered down in the book section of a WiFi place because all the tables are taken.  This is a good stopping point.
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

Pray to the Gods, for the Gods are not unless you pray to them.--Don Marquis