Acreage Management - SamiJoe vs. Black Henbane

Last Friday evening, while the kids were playing on the trampoline, I noticed a new flower. It didn't look like any flower I had seen in our field before, so I took a better look around. There were a few more smaller ones, all in bloom. They were stalky and strong like a Canada Thistle, so after looking through my wildflower-plant-weed books, I decided to put the question out to my social media world.

Within only a few moments, a lady I know was pretty sure this weed was a Black Henbane, also known as 'Hyoscyamus Niger'. I was a little bummed to discover that this weed was noxious and was extremely harmful to animals, humans and the environment.  That only meant one thing... I was going to have to walk the entire ten acres field to look for more traces of the Black Henbane. With over 500,000 seeds in each plant (and seeds that were good for up to four years), I was sure to have a field of them in no time. 

I geared up in jeans, big tall boots and long sleeves to protect myself from ticks. I packed the kids wagon with some tools and was off to seek and destroy noxious weeds. After clearing out the known spots of Henbane, I needed to make sure they hadn't spread to other areas. That's when I started making new discoveries.

Like this one...

How does one have rhubarb growing on their land and not know it? A few years back, a new septic tank had been installed and a patch of rhubarb had been destroyed by a group of men who didn't know better. Sigh. Any ways, the rhubarb had survived but was off in the middle of the field, between two evergreen trees. This rhubarb plant towered over me, at about 9 feet tall including flowers. I examined the rhubarb plant... clearly it had never been chopped off. A lot of the stalk was woody in texture, but the stalks nearest the bottom were a beautiful red, dripping with juice when cut.

I was pretty stoked to find a stockpile of rhubarb, but what was hiding on our property next was even more exciting! Up on the hill behind some trees, I found a whole patch of wild strawberries! I can't be sure how long strawberries had been lurking in this area, but I found two sleeping deer nearby... so I assume they must have known about it for awhile.

That morning, I had woken a little annoyed that I was going to have to search the whole property for the Black Henbane plants. After the chore was done however, I laughed at my silliness-- if I hadn't needed to go looking for these noxious weeds, I never would have found the other treasures!

And we will be enjoying these new found treasures for a long time! 

Strawberry and rhubarb pie anyone?


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