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Il Blog di Lella Canepa

FIOR DI PRATO... FLOWER OF HAY ... last part


e n'avais pas quinze ans que les monts et le bois, et les eaux

me plaisaient plus que le cour de rois

Rostand

- early 70s - me, back at 10 in the evening

after collecting the cows and bringing them to the stable -๐“ƒโ„ด๐“ƒ ๐’ถ๐“‹โ„ฏ๐“‹โ„ด ๐’ถ๐“ƒ๐’ธโ„ด๐“‡๐’ถ ๐“†๐“Š๐’พ๐“ƒ๐’น๐’พ๐’ธ๐’พ ๐’ถ๐“ƒ๐“ƒ๐’พ

โ„ฏ ๐‘”๐’พ๐’ถ ๐’พ ๐“‚โ„ด๐“ƒ๐“‰๐’พ โ„ฏ ๐“โ„ฏ ๐’ปโ„ด๐“‡โ„ฏ๐“ˆ๐“‰โ„ฏ โ„ฏ ๐“โ„ฏ ๐’ถ๐’ธ๐“†๐“Šโ„ฏ ๐“‚ ๐’พ ๐“…๐’พ๐’ถ๐’ธโ„ฏ๐“‹๐’ถ๐“ƒโ„ด ๐“…๐’พ๐“Š ๐’นโ„ฏ๐“๐“๐’ถ ๐’ธโ„ด๐“‡๐“‰โ„ฏ ๐’นโ„ฏ๐“ ๐“‡โ„ฏ


With this post, I conclude the articles dedicated to the hay from my meadows, the hay that has been grown here for years to cut and store for the winter as food for cows, horses, donkeys, etc.

What was once truly wealth and whoever had the most animals could keep, given the large amount of hay a cow eats in one day, considered the most necessary animal, together with the pig, for the peasant life of this part of the Apennines, especially in Liguria, where there are very few plots of arable land, and the division of properties is infinite.

The animals were kept on pasture for as long as possible until the snow arrived, so that they fed on fresh grass and needed as little hay as possible.

In these areas there was no real transhumance, the cows were taken to pasture every morning, once upon a time almost always by the children who lived their days free in the mountains, territories that were grazed by sheep, goats and cattle were very clean, with perfectly traced paths.

Around the 70s, the last remaining farmers accompanied the cows to pasture every morning and picked them up in the evening, I myself spent my summers like this and knew every nook and cranny of my mountains.

Here I learned to ride a horse, bareback, on a neighbor's mare, I learned, sniffing the air, when a storm is about to arrive, I learned to recognize the footprints of the boots of those who had left before me to mushrooms, I learned to watch out for vipers on sciumbrio days.

Mountains that I no longer recognize, covered as they are by vegetation that is no longer kept under control.

Those rare times that I have them bring me, I am submerged not only by brambles and dog roses, but also by ferns, a plant that almost did not exist before, 50 years ago we went to see above where the cows didn't reach.

One term, among many, that I haven't heard for years, is dare the cow in sciรน-vernu, that is, those who had more cows but not enough hay delivered for safekeeping, a kind of temporary adoption, a cow to a neighbor who had hay but couldn't afford the cow or had died for some reason.

He lovingly raised it throughout the winter, taking care of it as his own, taking the milk, which then also gave him the cheese, to return it to its rightful owner in the spring when it would give birth to the calf.

A sort of collaboration, unknown today, which allowed not to waste resources and for someone to survive better, without the slightest exchange of money.


As I already wrote in the two previous posts FIOR OF PRATO>> and FIOR DI FIENO>> the abandonment of these territories and the changes in the climate have caused them to grow wild, giving birth to other herbs among the valuable herbs for animal feed more resistant that are still cut by the few remaining farmers and by those who, like my son, try to keep the land clean, without therefore taking into account whether this or that grass is more or less useful.

I've realized this in recent years by being interested not only in edible herbs and noticing less and less flowery meadows and with flowers that I knew well compared to others that I had never seen.



One of the plants that are now weeds everywhere and whose toxicity is often not known are the common yellow buttercups.

The name comes from frog as they are often found in damp places, the family is that of the Ranunculaceae, the same as the VItalba, the Favagello, the terrible Aconitum, the Aquilegia, the Hellebore, and others and I don't know of any personally one that is not dangerous.

With different toxicities, always if ingested, often even just by contact, from the simple bunch of yellow buttercups that can cause a rash, to the Aconitum where there are cases of death just for touching it.

The animals avoid the Buttercups and then resign themselves to eating them in the hay, when dried they lose their toxicity a little, the bees, if not forced, do not forage them.

If you look carefully at a donkey or horse enclosure, you will notice the beaten earth and every grazed grass, except for yellow tufts of buttercups appearing here and there which they carefully avoid.


- Cockscomb -


One of the widespread plants, no longer eradicated by farmers, easy to meet in the meadows, are the Creste di Gallo, genus Rhinanthus, as always there are infinite varieties , family of the Orobanchaceae, and therefore, in addition to being moderately poisonous (animals avoid it) it is a hemiparasite, hindering the growth of nearby plants.


- Mercorella or Mercurial Herb -


Another truly toxic plant that is invading the countryside and will soon be here too is the Mercurial Grass.

Toxic to humans, it can cause poisoning in grazing livestock.

Like many others, with drying it loses a part of toxic components, but it is certainly not a good forage.

It was even said that the presence of Mercorella in the rows of vines then made the wine go bad.


- Common Senecio -

- Senecione of St. James or Jacob -


Among the weeds also found in vegetable gardens, there are those belonging to the genus Senecio, a very common plant that attacks the liver, animals avoid Senecio plants when grazing, but if they are in the hay in significant quantities they can cause even lethal damage especially in very young animals.

Another really dangerous plant is the one known as Ragwort, but belonging to another genus, the Jacobaeae.


- stem of hemlock -


I always smile at meetings when speaking of Cicuta I hear myself say - But what, is there hemlock here?-

There is now more hemlock than wild carrot and together they often live close together, and this is why I strongly advise novices to collect herbs that resemble parsley (the first rule taught by old collectors) or carrots, because the risk there really is no way to confuse them.

Species in spring with young plants, among the various hemlocks, the Conium maculatum, is more recognizable by the red "spotted" stem, and also by the bad smell it gives off and if by chance placed on the tongue the immediate burning sensation you feel.

For all grazing animals it is highly dangerous, 500gr. they can be lethal to a horse...

Also this can be found more and more often in the now uncontrolled hay, where it loses toxicity, but ...


- wild carrot and hemlock that coexist in the meadow near the house -



- Bracken fern -


The same fern I was talking about before now covers all the woods and meadows, it is rich in toxic substances that cause different diseases according to the animal that ingests it, in cattle for example it causes cystitis and bladder cancer ( THE ROLE OF THE FERN...>>>).



The Coronilla, despite being a plant with important toxicities, has a content similar to the foxglove, it is sometimes unknowingly cultivated as forage, and also as a decoration.

Here I find it more and more often to replace clovers and clovers and even if perhaps a large quantity is needed to cause problems in livestock, it is certainly not one of the most recommended plants.


We are from peripheral Italy,

Those who lived in the countryside a hundred years ago,

Those who seek to snatch from oblivion

At least some of the thousand magic of ancient peasant life.

We are the ones who have resisted everything, for millennia,

To silence, to abandonment, to cold, to cyclical poverty,

To silence, to abuses, to the city laws of the bosses,

To silence, to the terrible, sweet, endless succession of seasons.

To silence.

One day you will really need us.

You will come and ask us how to live like this.

And you won't do it out of curiosity, but because you will have no other choice.

And we will show you wastelands, with our usual, unique face.

We are from peripheral Italy.

We are waiting for you here.


This is a limited list, mostly of the herbs I have around in this area.

Furthermore, plants that are poisonous to one animal are not poisonous to another, just as delicious herbs infested with fungi can become toxic or like the Galega, cultivated for years for its stimulating activity of the milky secretion, so much so that it is also given to new mothers, it was later discovered that during flowering it became toxic to the point of causing the death of some animals.

Other weeds or shrubs now weeds and with toxicity, of which I have already spoken such as IVY, PERIVINCE,EBBIO, ELDER, VITALBA, etc.

La CELIDONIA from the Papaveraceae family, it is toxic to humans and animals who discard it when they find it.

The IPERICO< /strong>, becomes toxic if eaten in large quantities by cattle, horses and sheep.

In the meadows there are also non-toxic species but sometimes of little palatability such as for example the large white daisies, edible even for humans, but bitter and unwelcome, and to a lesser extent known herbs and flowers of which I have already written, of little forage value that are not properly part of the haymaking herbs. LINO, POLIGALA, ACHILLEA , SAGE, DANDELION , GALIUM, PLANTAIN< /a> etc. etc. and others that are in the category FIOR DI... click to access the dedicated article.


- Natural History Museum, Vienna, Neolithic Sickle -


The old peasants knew it well and especially the peasant women when every day armed with mesoรฎa, the sickle, a tool that has remained almost unchanged since the Neolithic, first in flint then in bronze and finally in iron, they cut the grass for the farmyard animals hens, rabbits.

A work done by hand, often in the hills where it was possible to control and eradicate those considered weeds.



The men, on the other hand, used the hay scythe, the gruiร tta, to cut the hay in the fields, a job that lasted throughout the summer, and everyone, adults and children, women and children took part in the harvest .

The cut hay was first turned several times so that it dried well, then raked and tied into the reje wide-mesh rope nets, which were carried on the shoulders into the "cabanne", when melted, it was kept dry. A net could weigh even more than a quintal.


- 70s -

among the last "cabbanne" with a thatched roof, classic constructions of the Val di Vara,

(apparently they come from the Celts) near the stable to store hay and leaves


As my last considerations, I certainly don't regret the unthinkable life of inhuman toil that haymaking once was.

My son who would not be able to mow a lawn by hand and would not carry a reje for a few meters, cuts and bales a few tons of hay by himself with the machinery.

I would like just a little more attention to the territory, to combine the experience of the past with current knowledge to have a livable environment for everyone, men and animals, nature and science in that balance that is now absolutely lost .

The potentially toxic herbs that I have described certainly have their place in the inscrutable design of nature, the very nature that reminds us every day that it has no need of man.

We have to find the balance to survive.


The grass has little to do.

Sphere of humble green.

To raise butterflies

And toying with bees.

Move all day

A breeze melodies

Keep the sun on your lap

And bow down to everything.

Thread dew

Night like pearls.

And look so beautiful

To outshine duchesses.

When it dies, vanish

Like dormant spices

And pine charms.

And dwelling in the sovereign granaries

His days are spent in dreams

The grass has little to do

And I would like to be hay!

Emily Dickinson








some photos are taken from the site Actaplantarum>>>




Share the post! and then come back, you will find fascinating experiences.


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Lella

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Lella Canepa, creator of Women from Yesterday to Today a fantastic exhibition later translated into a book and of "Erbando" a sought-after event that always produces the "sold out" immediately, also translated into a manual where you learn to learn about and collect edible wild herbs like our ancestors did.


Lella Canepa has always loved everything that is spontaneous, simple and natural and for years she has cultivated a passion for everything that surrounds the manual world of women. handed down for generations by his mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.


If you want, you can get in touch with Lella here>>


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