Discovering Wild Plants

Was it sleeping in the grass?  Was it eating something I’m not used to?  I’m not sure, but I had a headache.  I drank water. I took advil. I didn’t feel very well.  And then we went to Nancy and Julia’s place.  It’s a beautiful strawbale house and a way over-built greenhouse/gathering space with a field of wild plants and flowers out front that falls away into the valley.  Nancy took us on a plant walk.  The knowledge of the group rose up out of the mass of vegetation as we went.  The first thing Nancy showed us was Wormwood and said it was good for headaches.  They passed a couple leaves to me.  I looked at it sideways and Terri figured it out and told me to wad it up in the side of my cheek like a wad of chew.  Besides feeling like a squirrel, it kept my mind on something other than my headache.  It didn’t hurt that the sun was shining, blue skies and a shimmering ocean in the background.  Off in the distance both volcanoes stood out prominently on the horizon.

We stomped down the hill making meandering river-like formations in the tall vegetation.  We’d stop and try out some willow tops.  Then some yarrow.  Every once in a while we’d all try a stinging nettle, or examine the invasive hawk weeds that look so pretty.  We’d all talk at once about the philosophy of whether plants can be invasive or not.  Then we’d move on to the spruce sprigs and cotton wood sprigs and listen/share all the stories about how we’ve used these.  But when the poster came out, we all listened with care about the difference between angelica and a very deadly plant.  The rhyme was vein to the tip:  that’s hip.  Vein to the cut, bad for the gut.  But will I ever feel at home enough in the woods to really be confident?  I hope so.

We gathered greens for our salad and headed back to the straw bale house for burgers on the grill.  We sat out until late basking in the sun and making deepening friendships.  Another great day at Permaculture Camp.

By Cindee Karns

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: