We migrated to Rob’s backyard to cowboy camp for the next few days. Oh, to sleep under a dry tarp, with a warm sleeping bag…what a treat! It was almost as good as staying at the Hilton.
The first thing discussed was how to use our field guides with 100% accuracy to forgo death in the field. Remembering plant names hasn’t been my forte, but it comes more naturally to my wife. She has made and sold salves, tinctures, and even taught a few plant classes. I was sure that without her by my side, this would be one of my least favorite endeavors.
Rob turned the class loose on his backyard to gather plantain and yarrow. About halfway through, his daughter came to help us. After noticing a pile of deer turds, I commented to a fellow student, “Oh, somebody left their chocolate covered raisins out here.” The student repeated this to his daughter, to which she replied (with something along the lines of) that she was too smart to fall for such stories because her IQ was higher at 3 than his was today. She had a great sense of humor and was smart as a whip. He is truly blessed to have such a great kid. After we had filled our bags with herbs, we brought them in to dry. In between gathering sessions, we’d watch slide shows about plants, dry off from the continual rain, and warm ourselves with a cup of coffee. That afternoon, we foraged for acorns, or as my Southern friend would say… “A-kerns.” This project took longer than planned because it was late in the season, and by then many had gotten worms in them…but on the bright side, the little grubs made a tasty, pan-fried treat. That evening, we ground the acorns into a fine meal. Later that evening, we leached the tannins out of the meal using a slow stream of running water throughout the night.
USING THE PLANTS
We ended up with just enough flour to make pancakes using 50% acorn meal, and 50% whole wheat flour. William is “the man” when it comes to making pancakes. They may have been the best I have ever eaten. Later that afternoon, we worked on making salves, wound powder, and tinctures from the plantain and yarrow we’d dried.