Farmer John, of Shepherd's Valley CSA, took the kids and I on a wildcrafting adventure on Saturday. There was a pause in the rain and we had a beautiful day for it. Even got a bit sunny towards the end. Went armed with camera and pen and paper for taking notes. (If I've misidentified anything in the pictures, feel free to let me know. I'm still learning!) Thought I'd share a little of the adventure.
Want to come along?
John Crisp is a very knowledgeable guy who is as entertaining as he is informative. Here he stands beside a plant we learned to identify well by the end of the trek. We learned that Mullein is one of those practical plants that can be used for everything from toilet paper to padding in your moccasins to rouge. The dry stalks are good for hand drills for starting fires. The flowers soaked in olive oil are good for earaches. Mullein tea is good for bronchitis and respiratory ailments.
We came across a number of wild berries. These are sandhill plums. Too green to eat, but looks like it's going to be a good year for them.
Of course, I recognize poison ivy by now, but I thought this was kind of pretty. I also learned that poison ivy commonly grows alongside wild grape. As true in the wild as it is in my fenceline. John says goats and deer like to eat the ivy. Now I just have to figure out how to lure a few deer to my yard or convince the city to let me keep goats.
This is the pod of a Kentucky Coffee Tree. When they get brown and dry, you can roast the beans and make yourself a drink. Don't eat them without roasting, however. They are poisonous.
I believe these flowers were from the elderberry bush.
This is what your face looks like after eating a gooseberry that's not been baked in a pie with plenty of sugar.
A bonus -- thanks to a wonderful telephoto lens and massive megapixels... these wild turkeys were moving across the field at a pretty rapid pace. I left this image large so if you click on it you can see in greater detail.
Here John stands beside a Staghorn Sumac. He tells us the berries, when red, make a tasty citrus-like drink.
Sumac is another versatile plant. The stems are good for cleaning your teeth. Just peel back the bark and chew.
You can see why we won't be climbing any Honey Locust trees.
More to come...