What happens at an herb class?

Whew! What a weekend!

June 16-17, this past weekend, Mr. Darryl Patton came up to lovely Saugatuck, Michigan to teach a two-day herbal class. He’s been doing this particular class since 2007 and every year we learn more, exciting, and amazing things about our wonderful world of herbs. Since many people can’t even imagine what occurs at an herbal class here’s a few things that happened:

On Saturday we learned that even “poisonous” mushrooms can be processed in a way that not only makes them safe to use externally, but can cause an amazing reaction for certain types of nerve pain. We also learned how to do a percolation tincture and why this process is often better than simpling herbs, depending on the type of herb. Darryl also taught us how to make a “double extract”, which is a good process for certain plants, especially mushrooms.

Saturday afternoon, after the rain finally blew over, we went to a local park that is a “best kept secret” deep, dark, enchanted forest. Darryl answered dozens of questions and introduced us to many medicinal plants including yellow root, black capped polypore mushrooms, violet, trillium and jack in the pulpit, magnolia trees, and poke root.

For lunch Saturday Maggie Conklin made vegan (not her normal) onion potato soup and Darryl Patton made a type of salsa, and he gifted us with his home-made pickled ramps (wild onions) and bamboo shoots. Sunday’s lunch was salad with wild watercress, “aebleskivers” made with a blend of yellow dock seeds added to the batter, and a delicious chip dip of naughty things like sour cream, mayo, pickled jalapenos, pureed with handfuls of healthier wild greens including chickweed and lamb’s quarters. Yummy!

Sunday’s plant walk found stag horn sumac, motherwort, yellow dock, ground ivy, blue spruce, Joe Pye weed, boneset, and service berries. Who knew that all of these common “weeds” have so many medicinal properties? Well, we know now.

And we learned how to start a fire in less than a minute with a cotton ball, some wood ash, and two wooden boards! Every single person was successful in starting a fire in about a minute.

So if this sounds like a blast to you then pencil in upcoming events into your calendars because we’re doing it again next year. April 2019 will be in Alabama, and later in the summer, probably August or September, will be in Michigan. Hope to see you there, and until then…

“See you in the woods!”

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