Author Topic: The Exotic Maca Plant & UltraNutiritious Shmooo Spice/Vegetable  (Read 31437 times)

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Offline anthropositor

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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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Offline anthropositor

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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. 
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

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Offline Bamawing

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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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Offline anthropositor

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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.
"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 #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.
"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 #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