Potluck P.L.A.Y. – Curiosity & Simple Sumac


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Time to share a bit of curiosity and my own recent series of outdoor P.L.A.Y. moments involving experimenting with Staghorn Sumac (not poison sumac) that grows quite well up in our neck of the woods.

Staghorn Sumac in late September

I had heard that it could make a great glass of lemonade if you are so inclined and provided you have plenty of sugar on hand to off-set the tartness.

And I knew that the goaties absolutely loved the leaves as I had shared some stalks of it (with permission from their mama – aka my daughter) in August.

Goaties eager to help eating the sumac leaves.

However what I soon discovered, when I went to retrieve the stalks to clean up their pen space, was that the goats also loved nibbling the bark (like deer) and munching on the red berry cones found on the top of some of the sumac sticks.

This got me to thinking . . . spoiler alert . . . about to commence P.L.A.Y.!

BTW- Cats are curious however they are not interested in experimenting in eating this “fluff stuff” (staghorn sumac berries)

What if I harvested some of the sumac trees that were beginning to encroach upon our house and also beginning to block the view for one of our neighbors AND made use of the entire harvest?

After doing some research here’s how my P.L.A.Y. nature experiment looks to date:

  • Harvest the sumac and feed to our goats and our community members goats so that they may strip the leaves and bark off of the wood.
  • Pre-clip the staghorn cone of red berries and place in dehydrator for 24 hours to store as an excellent source of crunchy Vitamin C and other nutrients that is great for all the goats over the winter when fresh forage is scarce for them.
  • Once the goats have stripped the wood set it aside under cover to dry and be used in future community bonfires at our new fire pit as kindling or logs (depending on size).
  • Be sure to take only what can be used this year and save plenty for the local wildlife that also make use of the sumac berries to make it through the winter such as birds and squirrels.

What excellent P.L.A.Y. partners – so very helpful!

To see the video of these cuties in action visit PINTEREST (HERE).


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What curiosities did you find in your P.L.A.Y. today? 🙂


Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!