A Summer Walk In the Woods
It was a steamy day in July in the north woods and we took the Potting Shed students and some friends for some plant identification and escape for the oppressive heat. It turned out to be the perfect stress release, fun, exploration and learning with friends. Here are some of the reports
It was my birthday and my first hike in 4 years due to knee surgery. I was hiking with my friend Patty and Cathy Dodge and her Potting Shed class. We drove up to a Moscow Rd. path beside a beautiful stream in Stowe. This is the first time I had met people in the class and I was warmly received. The weather was beautiful, I was excited, inquisitive, and eager to learn about edible plants on the trail. I was along for the ride, not a student yet. We hadn’t gone up 15 feet and we were inundated with plants being identified by classmates. The “bug bit” me and instead of looking up, I was traveling with my eyes down on plants around me. Tommy pointed out a mushroom on the side of a birch called Chaga, known for its melanin and medicinal properties used to strengthen and heal the body. I’m looking at that chunk of black mass a bit differently now that I’ve looked it up. There were so many mushrooms I missed that were pointed out. I thought they were all poisonous. The wheels started turning to thoughts of making a tincture for my son-in-law who is dealing with prostate cancer.
Patty and I were there to harvest some nettle for herself and a friend dealing with allergy symptoms. I couldn’t believe how available it was right next to the trail. We filled three bags without making much of a dent in the patch and only took what we would process. I have personally fried this up with onions and it tastes just like spinach.
We were finding many plants too numerous for me to remember. I didn’t have the right book for identification and had to rely on everyone else’s knowledge and my camera. All I could think of was how great God is to supply humanity with all this food I knew nothing about. It was a great field trip!
What a glorious day on July 10 in Stowe, VT! I played hooky from work in an office building to walk in the woods. What a refreshing way to get re-energized during the week! I joined a group of plant lovers on a Healing Leaves Center hike where we identified plants, enjoyed the very pleasant weather, and talked plants and all things herbal.
Our leader, Cathy Dodge, asked questions and helped us identify plants along the way. We also asked her a lot of questions which she very graciously answered. It was exciting and relaxing at the same time as we observed nature and listened to the mountain stream/river that cascaded next to the hiking path. We saw many beautiful rock formations in the stream bed.
Things we learned
Thank goodness for Petersen's guides which we consulted to identify the plants. We identified Clintonia, Woodland Nettles, and Heal-all, as well as other plants and trees. Let's hear from all the hikers.
I went on this hike twice last year and learned so much. This was my third trip, and I was so proud to identify St John's Wort, Plantain, and Nettles. But there are so many more plants to learn, remember, and photograph. We saw Moosewood so named because moose love to eat it.
Speaking of eating, we talked about how to use some of the plants in different recipes. Seems that whenever I hike, I think about food!
It was great to find the herb Heal-all, a lovely little plant that grows along the path. This plant is used by herbalists topically to heal skin abrasions.
Over 40 years of Herbal and nutritional experience.