Thursday, April 30, 2015

Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage 2015 Day 4

I’m continuing this week to talk about my experience at the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage. There will be four posts in all so I hope you enjoy it!

Here are the pictures that I took during the week.

Here is the list of flora and fauna that we saw this year.

Our first hike was about Forest Foods and Pharmacy. We learned about the edible, medicinal, and otherwise useful plants of our area with Ila Hatter and Brittney Hughes. This is the third year we have attended this session and every year, I learn something new!
After lunch we were supposed to go on the Chestnut Top Trail but we got there early so we hiked it on our own. It was really narrow and steep. We decided not to hike with the group since there were so many people who showed up that it would have been impossible to hear the leader unless you were the two people behind him. So, we left there and then hiked up the Ash Hopper Branch trail where we found some beautiful flowers (but not as much as we saw last year).  After we crossed the water three times, we found one yellow lady slipper on the right over the creek and then we found a cluster of 3 yellow lady slippers up the bank on the left.  We hiked further up the trail until it got really steep and turned around.
We were going to change clothes and then head to dinner but instead, decided to head home. Since 100% rain was expected in the morning, we decided we wanted to be home before the rain started. I had totally expected to pay for the room since we were there past check out time, but they didn’t charge us for that day.
Things I Learned:
  1. Ila keeps an emergency kit taped to her hiking stick consisting of needle and thread, bandaids, charcoal, string.
  2. Ila would leave sage or tobacco in the hole where she collected a plant as a thank you to the earth.
  3. Plantain – used for skin ailments. Make a salve (cold press or hot). Cold press – crush big pieces of leaves and stick a jar of canola oil. After a few days, add to beeswax. Hot – fry in olive or canola oil. Good for bug bites. Crush in hand and put on the bite. Antiviral and heals cuts.
  4. Solomon’s Seal – cut the root and it looks like the red wax used to seal envelopes; when cut, show the Star of David
  5. Doghobble – used to cover graves
  6. Violets – use leaves and blooms; make syrup or jelly from blooms; Vitamin C, add leaves with other greens for a salad; too many leaves is a diuretic; common blue violet mostly used. When making a salve, add to pine and yellowroot.
  7. Cinquefoil – add to salves; antibiotic properties, not edible.
  8. You can freeze oil mixtures and heat them up later to add to beeswax.
  9. Pine needles – young, steep in tea for Vitamin C
  10. Dogwood – inner bark used for quinine
  11. Partridge berry – has progesterone and estrogen in it.
  12. Yucca (Spanish Dagger) used to make cordage
  13. Usnea lichen can burn when wet.
  14. Cherry – has arsenic in it so it has to be used fresh
  15. Wild geraniums used for hemmorhoids (boil and cool off and then sit in it); used to shrink tissue
  16. Spotted wintergreen – use to help pass kidney stones (diuretic), used with pipsissewa, sweet birch, sassafras, and roots of joe pye weed.
  17. Bee balm – has thymol (like Listerine); disinfectant, expectorant
  18. Wood sorrel (oxalis) – used to stuff fish or in a salad; lemony tasting.
  19. Sweet birch – pairs of leaves on each branch; low dose of aspirin in it.
  20. Club moss – doctors used to rub hands in spore powder to disinfect their hands.
  21. Azalea galls – fleshy; great source of water
We really enjoyed the Pilgrimage this year! It was fun getting together with friends and also making new friends. 

Hope you enjoyed my four posts about the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage 2015. I am looking forward to going again next year.

Original photo by Pat Hensley

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