Monday, July 4, 2016

Northeast Summer Events


I am pleased to announce that the botanical adventures will be continuing through the Summer months! The greens are abundant and the flowers are in full bloom with new faces appearing daily, so what better place to be but in the woods and on the trail! I will be traveling throughout Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, so take a look below to see if there is an event in your area. I am continuing to add new events, so please do check back at my Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/thebotanicalhiker for updates. If you would like to schedule an event with me, please shoot me a message there. I hope to see you on the trail!

WHPC 90.3 FM - Natural Nurse Ellen Kamhi, an interview with the Botanical Hiker
July 6th 12:00 pm and July 10th at 11:00 pm

Plant Walkin' and Cider Drinkin' 
July 17, 1- 4 pm
Join me at Cider Creek Hard Cider for a walk along the Finger Lakes Trail where we will identify wild edible and medicinal plants. This easy 1 - 2 mile hike begins and more importantly...ends at the tasting room where you can enjoy a cold cider and wild edible refreshments. Pre-registration is required and group is limited to 25 people, visit the Facebook link below for more details and to register.
https://www.facebook.com/events/804740379626326/
 Location: Cider Creek Hard Cider in Canisteo, NY
Cost: $20 per person

Susquehanna Sierra Club and Triple Cities Hiking Club Outing
July 24, 1:30 pm
Become a member of the Susquehanna Sierra Club or Triple Cities Hiking Club and join in the fun! I'll be leading a plant walk at 1:30 on the nearby Finger Lakes Trail. At 4:00 reconvene in Greenwood Park for a vegetarian potlock.
 Message me at Facebook if you are interested in joining.
Location: Greenwood Park in Lisle, NY
Cost: Membership fee

Festival of Wood
August 6 and 7, 10 am - 5 pm
Find me at the Delaware Highland Conservancy table. This organization does incredible work for our regional wild lands! Learn more about our protected lands, how you can get involved and pick up a signed copy of my book, "A Guide to the Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Finger Lakes Trail"
http://www.greytowers.org/festival-of-wood/
Location: Grey Towers in Milford PA
Cost: Free

Plant Walk with Skylands Sierra Club
August 13th, 10 am - 1pm
Join me for a walk inside one of New Jersey's state parks where we'll identify our local edible and/or medicinal plants. An inside scoop...this hike will include a waterfall and the water-side loving plants!
Group is limited to 20 people and pre-registration is required
Contact David Alcock to register: dwhoob@hotmail.com to register
Cost: $20 per person

Delaware Highlands Conservancy Picnic
August 27, 12 - 4:00 pm
Here I will be leading an hour-long easy hike along a woodland trail on the 119 acre Lemons Brook Farm. There will be a community potluck, live music, and activities for children of all ages. Come join in the fun!
Pre-registration is required
Visit this link to register: http://www.delawarehighlands.org/newsevents/event/62-member-and-volunteer-thank-you-picnic
Location: Lemons Brook Farm in Bethel, NY
Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Adirondack Mountain Club Monthly Meeting
September 15, evening (time to be determined)
Join me for a presentation about my hike along the Finger Lakes Trail and N NJew York's edible and medicinal plants
Contact me at my email or on Facebook if you would like to attend.
Location: Binghamton, NY
Cost: Membership fee to Adirondack Mountain Club


Saturday, July 2, 2016

Lackawaxen Foraging



It has been a busy Spring to say the least. I've done a good job of filling my days with plant walks, vending at various herbal and trail fests, and sharing in your love for the plants and your enthusiasm for our long distance trails. In my downtime, I have been galavanting through the woods, along the rivers, and over the mountains with my love's hand in mine. This is all such good stuff...so good that I give my gratitude daily for the joy that is my life these days.

However...it does leave little time for blogging...but there is so much to blog about...where do I begin?

The Delaware River along the Finger Lakes Trail - if you were to follow this river south, you would eventually reach where the Lackawaxen River joins with the Delaware and where the tiny town of Lackawaxen sits.
Let's begin with Lackawaxen. 

This is where you say..."Lacka-what?" Lackawaxen is as little known as it is small. It's a friggin' speck of sand on a map, or rather a cluster of civilization in the northeastern mountains of Pennsylvania. We have three businesses on the main drag and they are all owned by the same person, these consist of a sports shop (and I don't mean tennis rackets and basketballs) with lots of stuffed heads mounted on the walls, a cafe with a beautiful view of the river, and a convenience store providing bread, eggs, milk, and well what else do you need? I didn't let my cat outside for the first month we lived here because I was scared she would get picked off by the bald eagle that nested on the cliffside outside our front door. I got over that when the trees leafed out but she still doesn't go out at night due to the pack of coyotes we opened the door to one evening. 

So we don't have much of the sophisticated here in Lackawaxen...but what Lackawaxen does have besides bald eagles and coyotes, is...plants. Okay, that's an understatement...a botanical wonderland divided only by the confluence of the Delalaware and Lackawaxen rivers and the occasional winding road.

Gooseberries (Ribes spp.)
Just two weeks ago, the Gooseberries (Ribes spp.) appeared, which mind you, if you don't know just where a bush is and when it's going to fruit, it's likely you may never spot an actual Gooseberry bush bearing gooseberries. The woodland creatures enjoy them so much that they are gone long before they are ripe enough for our picking. There are numerous species, some native and some non-native, and are quick to hybridize, therefore offering a wide spectrum of flavor, from disgusting to delicious. These here were sweet and flavorful but with high astringency. 

Mayapple leaf (Podophyllum peltatum)
 
The Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) with their large umbrella-like leaves have already put out their waxy white flowers and are on their way to sporting small egg-sized fruits. Mayapple has two forms. The first is that with a single leaf atop a single tall stalk, the other is that with two leaves atop a forked stalk. Look for those with forked stalks to find a juicy fruit that is edible when ripe. Be certain the fruit is yellow, then slice in half, scoop out the seeds and discard, then scoop out the edible flesh of the fruit from the inedible skin. Eat only the seedless flesh of the Mayapple fruit, as other parts are mildly cathartic to potentially deadly.


Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) fruits

In this sunny, dry spot against the rockface, Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) is already beginning to fruit, relatively early for this small tree. Staghorn begins with cones of yellowish-green flowers that give way to these fuzzy fruits that taste sour as lemons. Harvest a single cone and submerge in a pitcher of cold water, mashing the fruits with a large spoon or spatula once in water. Allow the cone to steep for 2-4 hours and remove. Strain the pink liquid through a clean bandana (that you don't mind dying) to remove the tiny hairs, sweeten to your taste, and sip. Sumac is loaded with Vitamin C, an important vitamin to replenish during the hot summer months.

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) underside of leaf
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), as a non-native invasive often gets a bad rap, but we should remember that it is a highly medicinal plant with a lesser known spiritual side. This plant begins small, bearing just a leaf or two, but by summer's end, will be a tall arching cane over four feet tall bearing these alternately arranged, deeply lobed leaves with silvery undersides. The aromatic leaves are highly effective in aiding digestion when steeped in a tea and consumed before or after dinner. Pagan practitioners also enjoy a cup before ritual to encourage astral projection. Why not try a cup before bed to enliven your dreams? Use just a few leaves to one cup.

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)

These Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) leaves quickly landed in a pot, going to feed a host of plant people, perhaps a few of you reading this blog! This particular community of Stinging Nettle resides along the Lackawaxen River and was so prolific that it may as well have been a forest unto itself. Stinging Nettle is actually a non-native nettle that has naturalized here in the states. This Nettle has opposite leaves as opposed to our native nettle (Laportea Canadensis) which has alternate leaves. However it matters not which nettle you have as both of these are edible. Harvest the leaves before the plant has flowered then steam, simmer, or saute to eat as you would a green vegetable or puree into a hummus or pesto. 

Besides the plants found throughout the area, I have been enjoying discovering a host of nearby trails such as the Tusten Mountain Trail, Indian Lookout, and various trails with names unknown to me. I will save tales of these treks for another blog post as I don't want to keep you gazing at this computer screen any longer. Get outside and breathe it in, soak it up, feel it through and the through, and give thanks for these long days of Summer while they are here. Also, be sure to check back for details on my guided hikes that I'll be leading on some of these area trails!

Atop the cliff behind my house (yes, the one with the bald eagles and coyotes...and of course many, many plants!)
                                       


Friday, May 13, 2016

Northeast Spring Events

Swamp Milkweed (Asclepius incarnata)
I am excited to have a full schedule of book signings, plant walks, and presentations lined up for the Spring here in the Northeast. My newly published book and second in the Botanical Hiker Series: A Guide to the Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Finger Lakes Trail will be available at all events. Thank goodness Spring is here to warm our bones, drizzle us with rain, sprout our woodland medicinals and, yes, even our common weeds, and beckon us back onto the trail!

Medicine Wheel Fest at Lusscroft Farms (Wantage, NJ)
May 14th and 15th (Saturday and Sunday) 10am - dusk
Join me on a plant walk at 1 pm on both days of the fest and pick up a signed copy of the new book at any point in the day at my booth. There will be variety of botanical workshops and craft vendors to the tune of foot-stomping local music. This is a celebration of Spring in the Medicinal Wheel Garden at Lusscroft Farm.
https://www.facebook.com/events/909543679166517/
Cost is Free

Herbal Hoedown at White Hawk Ecovillage (Ithaca, NY)
June 4th (Saturday) 9:00 - 6:30
Join me for a edible and medicinal plant walk on the grounds of the fest and pick up a signed copy of the new book throughout the day at my booth. There will be host of botanical experts available to share their knowledge with you through various plant walks and workshops as well a wide selection of local botanical goodies for purchase.
https://m.facebook.com/Herbal-Hoedown-1484625858425963/
Cost is $20 - 60 sliding scale with work/trade opportunites available

Plant Walk with the Sierra Club at High Point State Park (Montague, NJ)
June 11th (Saturday) 10:00 -12:00
Take a ramble around New Jersey's highest point and learn about our local edible and medicinal plants. Hike will be easy/moderate with lots of stopping to admire the plants, so be sure to bring your camera and notebook as well as your hiking shoes
Contact Dave Alcock at dwhoob@hotmail.com to register
Cost: $20 (group is limited to 20 participants so be sure to reserve your spot!)

Finger Lakes Trail Spring Gathering (Montour Falls, NY)
June 17th - 19th (Friday - Sunday)
This is a hiking-filled weekend with fellow members of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference (check out their website to join if you are not already a member www.fltc.org) I will be Saturday night's keynote speaker leading you along New York's 1000 mile trail as I experienced it during my 2015 thru-hike. I will also be leading a hike on Saturday through NY's one and only national forest, identifying the botanical beauties along the way.
http://www.fltconference.org/trail/whats-happening/hikes/spring-weekend/
Cost is affordable and varies according to chosen lodging options (Registration closes 5/20 or at the limit of 180 people)

More plant walks, classes, and book signings to come! These will be listed here at the blog or on my facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thebotanicalhiker/ . Hope to see on the trail or on the festie fields!






A Guide to the Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Finger Lakes Trail


A Guide to the Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Finger Lakes Trail - published by Pisgah Press 2016

I am so very thrilled to announce that my second book in The Botanical Hiker Series: A Guide to the Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Finger Lakes Trail (Pisgah Press 2016) is now in print and available for purchase. It was a long winter of researching and writing and dreaming of seeing the familiar faces of Violet, Trillium, Bellwort, Chickweed, and others that are the first to appear in spring. However over the last nine months--a new guidebook was born and just in time for the foraging season!


Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) - A valuable woodland medicinal that enjoys the cool of  the waterside in shaded woods. It is rich in thymol which is an organic compound found in its aromatic oils. Thymol is antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal. This make a trailside encounter with Bee Balm very handy when in need of first aid. Pluck and steep the leaves to make an infusion that may be used both internally and externally. (Full description and recipe may be found in the guide)

A Guide to the Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Finger Lakes Trail is a backpacker's practical guide to identifying, harvesting, and utilizing the useful plants found along the Finger Lakes Trail and throughout New York state. All of these plants may also be found here in our Pennsylvania and New Jersey rock strewn mountains, deep river valleys, grassy meadows and farmfields. Many of the plants are common weeds of the eastern United States and woodland medicinals found throughout the Appalachian mountains.


Dame's Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) - A common weed of roadsides and meadows. Its leaves, flowers, and long slender seedpods (also called siliques) are all edible. Why not try this recipe, preparing the dish as you would sautéed kale or collards :

Dame's Some Greens
1 handful of Dame's Rocket leaves
2 handfuls of non-bitter wild greens
5 Dame's Rocket siliques, diced (or the seeds from 5 siliques)
1 small shallot slivered
2 t olive oil or 2 pats of butter
1 squeeze of lemon or dash of rice wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
A few Dame's Rocket flowers to top dish (optional)
(Method of preparation included in the book)


The guide is perfect for both the budding plant enthusiast as well as the blossomed botanical expert who desires to learn yet new ways to utilize and prepare familiar plants. Besides botanical and habitat descriptions, each plant in the guide is accompanied by a color photo and showcased in an easy-to-prepare, wholesome and delicious recipe which may be prepared on or off the trail. Quick Reference pages in the back of the guide lend a hand in the field, grouping plants according to habitat, food and/or medicine, and plant parts used.

Deviled Eggs and Violet

Veggie Bruschetta with Wild Greens Pesto 
Presently, the book may be purchased here at the blog through Paypal and very soon at an outfitters or independent bookstore near you! Stay tuned for the next blog post in which I'll provide a schedule of upcoming events of book signings, plant walks, and presentations throughout the Northeast.

Woohoo! Now step away from this computer and get to hiking and botanizing!

The Finger Lakes Trail through Hunter's Creek State Park


Monday, April 11, 2016

Spring Southeast Events

Purple Dead Nettle (Lamium purpureum)
This is just one of the wild edibles presently speckling our lawns, roadsides, and garden edges. Its triangular leaves, square stems, and lavender flowers make the most delectable pesto when blended with a heavy pour of olive oil, chopped walnuts, crushed garlic, and shredded parmesan cheese.

Happy Spring my fellow plant enthusiasts and hiker comrades! I must apologize, I have been a lil' delayed in getting this post up, but the truth is I have spent the last so many months in a winter of writing, pouring all my energy into getting the next book on the shelves. In between your warmer weather forays into the woods, keep checking back here at the blog for the release of, A Guide to the Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Finger Lakes Trail. It should be available in the next month!

The good news is, now that the purpose for all that writing is coming to fruition, I'm hitting the trails and the herb and trail festivals again...presently in the Southeast. I had the pleasure of seeing a number of you at the Mother Earth News Festival in Asheville this past weekend. Thank you to all of you who attended my talk, Eat Wild: Identifying the Wild Edible Plants in your own Backyard. For those of you who purchased a guide, I hope you are already nibbling on those Violet leaves, Wild Onion shoots, and Dandelion flowers adorning your lawns. For those of you who were too busy hiking to attend, I'll be leading a number of other events in the Asheville area this month. Check out the schedule below:

A Mountains to Sea Trail Plant Walk
hosted by Diamond Brand:
April 12th, 1-3 pm, Diamond Brand Outfitters in Arden, NC
Cost: Free
Join me for an easy walk along NC's long distance trail, identifying the edible and medicinal plants along the way. Be sure to bring your cameras and a notepad (or for the tech-savy, your smartphones!)
https://www.facebook.com/events/476501832550765/
 
Book Signing
hosted by Diamond Brand Outfitters in Arden, NC
April 14th, 3pm - 6pm
Get your wild edible and medicinal plant questions answered, talk trail, and get a signed copy of,
A Guide to the Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Mountains to Sea Trail
The Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Appalachian Trail
at Hot Springs Trail Fest
April 16th, 12-1 pm
Learn about the plants found throughout the Southern Appalachians, swap hiker stories with thru-hikers, and enjoy some foot stomping music in the beautiful town of Hot Springs, NC
Cost: Free
http://www.hsclc.org/newsevents/trailfest.html
 
Urban Wild Foraging: Identifying the wild edible and medicinal plants in your backyard, city streets, and urban thickets
hosted by Villagers in West Asheville, NC
April 26th , 6:30 - 8:30
Join me for a presentation on our local wild plants and a plant walk through town. Herbal snacks and tea provided.
Cost: $15 - 25 sliding scale
http://forvillagers.com/collections/classes

Spring Herb Fest
at the WNC Farmer's Market
April 29th - May 1st, 8:30 - 5 pm 4/29 and 4/30, 10 - 3pm 5/1 
This is Asheville's 27th annual Herb Fest. Vendors offering every plant imaginable, as well as herbal products and goodies will be on site. Come pick up a signed copy of, A Guide to the Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Mountains to Sea Trail!
http://www.ashevilleherbfestival.com/festivalinfo.htm

After these events I'll be heading back up to the northeast where a slew of other hiker and herbal fests will be in full swing...our flowers are just beginning to show their faces there, so by this time we'll be celebrating their full arrival.

I'll also be sure to fill you in on my woodland ventures, mountaintop views, and little known trails in my new home of Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania. I know, I know, "Where in the world is Lackawaxen?" On the map, it's about as tiny as a single Wild Mustard seed, but as far as it's beauty goes, it's Daylily blossom big.


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Headin' South!


I am excited to announce that I am headed down to North Carolina in just a couple of days for a whole week in my favorite mountains. It's always a trip, in more ways than one, to take the long drive from the northeast to Asheville. Sure, it's 12 hours long in a car...that's not fun. But its a beautiful drive, cruising along Interstate-81 between the Appalachian mountains I hiked on my first long distance trek and passing road signs for all the lil' towns I stopped off in, some I never wanted to leave and some I couldn't get out of fast enough. I usually make a point to take an exit for one of these towns just so I can walk into the local gas station again and remember what it felt like to rush in there with the one-pointed focus of a hiker in seek of an ice-cold beer and pint of ice cream. I'm always acutely aware in my car too of just how far 2175 miles is...and I'm only driving 700 of those 2175 miles. But besides all that, a trip down south to other valley I call home, full of friends and favorite haunts, is always welcome and I'll have the company of my sweetheart to boot.


I am planning this trip south around attending the Annual Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail Conference on Saturday, February 6, at Elon University in Burlington, NC. This conference is a treat every year as it is all things MST. The keynote speaker this year is Sharon "MamaGoose" Smith who has thru-hiked the trail once already and will be leading a Warrior Expedition this September on the MST. There will be updates on all trail work completed by the hardworking trail crews and news about new reroutes. I'll be there selling my book, A Guide to the Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Mountains to Sea Trail, and happy to answer your plant and trail questions! Check out this link to register: http://www.ncmst.org/

Tyler, Harold, and Me at McCrays - MST thru-hike 2014


But above all it is always a joy to be surrounded by people who share the same deep love and enthusiasm for the trail and to catch up with dear friends. Above is a pic of my good friend Harold who I met on my first thru-hike of the MST in 2011 while walking a country road. He took me out to breakfast at McCray's Grill and joined me for a couple miles of my hike, fending off an angry dog. We have stayed in touch since and he came out to meet me on my second MST thru-hike, again taking me out to breakfast and joining me for not just 2 but 20 long miles on country roads on a hot day in July. With Harold and me is Janice's granddaughter, Tyler. Janice is a long time cook at McCray's and also a member of the Union Ridge Church where I pitched my tent on that first thru-hike and joined the Vacation Bible School children in their arts and crafts. Harold and I already have a breakfast date at McCray's for this upcoming weekend.

Rachel, Jodi, Michelle, and dogs Harvey and Smokey

While not at the trail conference these just a few of the incredible people with whom I will be gallivanting around town, tromping around the woods, booty shakin' and belly laughin'. Can't wait to see you North Carolina!



Friday, November 27, 2015

Frosty Foraging

The McDade Trail in Milford, PA

Although our days have been growing increasingly shorter...I'm talkin' short...like 4:30 pm short... and colder...I am grateful that I've still had many a perfect day for hiking and foraging. Although quick to darkness, these are days when the sun shines golden, illuminating the yellow meadows and contrasting the bare black tree limbs against bright blue skies. The colors of autumn seem to crisp and sharpen in the cold dry air, clarifying the landscape and its living inhabitants. These are days to be seized, hitting the trail to connect with that beauty. And what better way to connect with that beauty than by... well...eating it...or perhaps making medicine out of it.

Flowers of Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Once Summer's green starts to fade it's easy to forget that there is still a world alive out there. Energy is focused in roots and seeds and buds, encapsulated there, slowly strengthening and laying in wait for the days to lengthen and warm. There are also a number of plants that defy the norm, flowering in autumn and holding onto their berries through the winter. Wild food and medicine remains abundant...it's just a lil less obvious.

Wintergreen with berry (Gaultheria procumbens)
Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), a member of the Heath family (Ericaceae), is one that I have been particularly appreciating lately. It is one of our evergreens, offering us a bit of green all year long and a common sight  in our northeastern woods. One underground lateral stem actually supports many Wintergreen plants above ground, therefore where there is one there usually always are more. Look for this plant lining trails or deep in the woods, sharing space with Oaks (Quercus spp.), Birches (Betula spp.), Maples (Acer spp.), and other Heaths (Ericaceae). It especially enjoys the canopy of Eastern Hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis), probably because of the acidic soil to which they contribute.


Although the leaves can appear to be whorled at the top of the plant, they are arranged alternately. Margins of leaves are subtly toothed and pale on undersides. In the spring, flowers number 1-3 and are waxy and white and urn-shaped, perched on nodding stalks that arise from the upper leaf axils. These flowers give way to red berries in the fall that will, to our advantage, persist on the plant through the winter to early spring. Leaves and berries will always smell of Wintergreen when crushed.

There's a number of ways to enjoy Wintergreen. Firstly, it makes a delicious and medicinal tea. Pinch off leaves, then slightly crush, and steep or lightly simmer in hot water for 10 minutes. You can use a loose handful to 1 pint of water. Wintergreen contains methyl salicylate, which you may be familiar with as a constituent in Birch (Betula) bark, which also gives off a minty aroma when scraped. Methyl salicylate acts as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory, making it effective in alleviating muscular aches and pains. Wintergreen also has diaphoretic properties meaning that it is warming to the body and will encourage sweating, and therefore is useful in loosening tight muscles and breaking a fever, two issues we may encounter this year during flu season. To top it off, Wintergreen is an astringent, making the tea an excellent gargle for a sore throat. To make a more potent tea, pour a little hard liquor over your whole leaves and muddle. Oil of Wintergreen does not easily extract in water, but does quite well in alcohol. Allow the alcohol to do its work for about 30 minutes and then pour this mixture into your pint of hot water and proceed with the first method.

The berries are edible minty morsels as well. Eat them plain or try adding them to cookies, granola bars, ice cream or smoothies, as they pair well with chocolate and fruits.

The roots of a Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis)

Speaking of Birch and its methyl salicylate...this is also an ideal time to harvest this bark, which has all the same medicinal properties of Wintergreen. Simply harvest a small twiggy branch and scrap away the bark until you reach the inner hard woody core. Simmer the shavings, about a handful to a pint of water, for 20 minutes, and strain away plant matter. Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis) has distinctive bronze peeling bark whereas Black Birch (Betula lenta) is the one Birch with smooth brownish-black bark and bearing elongated lenticels (these look like slender horizontal lines on the surface of the bark and are the pores through which the tree breathes).

Young Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) bark
And speaking of lenticels....Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) is another tree that when young bears smooth bark and lenticels. Small branches will bear these as well. However as the tree ages, the bark will become rough and scaly, easily breaking off in "chips". A tea of Black Cherry bark makes an effective cough suppressant while at the same time opening the lungs due to its containing amygdalin, a cyanogenic glycoside. When this glycoside breaks down, the hydrocyanic acid therein is excreted largely through the lungs, which in turn stimulates respiration and sedates the nerves that cause one to cough. If the lungs are full are mucous it is of course better to expel this out of the body, but sometimes the lungs can remain irritated long after they have been cleared or sometimes during an illness one needs to sleep instead of spending the night hacking; this is when Black Cherry would be a suitable medicine. Harvest and prepare Black Cherry as you would Birch. Never ingest the leaves of Black Cherry as they are poisonous and can have quite the opposite effect, causing an inability to breath and ultimately suffocate.

Interesting that many of the plants that are available for harvest during our cold and flu season are inherently beneficial in fighting these very illnesses. So is a good hike and a dose of wonder. Everything you need to stay healthy in one trek.

But this is just a glimpse into the medicine and food available to us in our woods right now and through our frosty months. Good thing I'll be leading a workshop about these plants in December at a lovely lil healing arts studio called Whirled Revolution. I'll be offering a presentation on how to identify, harvest, and process the botanical beauties described above as well as many more. There will be a slideshow of photos to acquaint you with these plants, as well as bark, berries, and leaves for you to lay your hands on. A number of tinctures will also be available for sample. The more ways you can get to know a plant the better. And by the way...I do encourage you to connect with these plants by simply sitting with them and getting to know them...one mustn't always eat them.

Click on the links below to learn more and to pre-register....I hope to see you there!

Plants for Winter Foraging
December 13th, 1:00 - 2:30 pm
at Whirled Revolution
1 Church Street, Sussex, New Jersey 07461
or