Thursday, June 10, 2010

BotanoLogos Appalachian Herbs Program

I had my first herb class with Patricia Kyritsi Howell and Lorna (sorry Lorna I can't remember your hyphenated last name) at the Foxfire Center in Mountain City, Georgia last weekend. We meet for 5 weekends from Now until October. I thought I was going there to learn about herbs and I did but I learned a couple of other things while I was at it. First of all did you know there is a rain forest in Mountain City, Georgia? Well I know Patricia said to bring rain gear for hiking but I thought because of an occasional rain shower…ah, no. It rains all the time, hence rain forest. Where have I been, under a rock? I swear no one mentioned that in my studies at Charlevoix public schools, in Michigan.

I was worried about getting chewed up with chiggers (my favorite pest of the south), but alas no chigger bites thanks to Patricia sharing what she had learned from an old-timer who told her to put a pinch of sulphur powder (get it at the drug store) in the bottom of her shoes and a little smeared around the end of the pant legs. I did what the doctor said and viola, no chiggers.
The goal of this class is to learn how to identify plants in the wild and learn their medicinal properties then harvest and make into medicine. Each weekend consists of two long days of hiking, classroom instruction and medicine making.

The first class was great – not only did I meet my classmates who are interesting folks from different backgrounds but we hiked and keyed-out various plants on the mountain trails. I learned black flex garbage bags are indispensable in a rain forest to sit on, protect back-pack and books and to wear. What a great invention.

I have home-work, go out in the field and practice identifying plants and learning (re-learning) botanical terms…lots of them. I look forward to the next class and I’m hoping to use this learning experience to teach others how to forage for food and medicine.

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