Wild Ozark’s Monthly Newsletter -May 2015

Here’s the online issue of the monthly newsletter that goes out to my subscribers. This month is all about challenges, new discoveries, and a brand new product from Wild Ozark.

“Greatest” Challenge

Are you often faced with challenging situations to figure yourself out of? It seems I get to encounter “greatest” challenges often. Sometimes they’re tech related, as when I’m trying to learn how to do something new to or correct a problem with my website.

Sometimes the challenges are physical, like when my body thought it could go no longer while we were working on fences here around the homestead.

For the past week and a half, my new challenge has been Mother Nature.

Specifically, it was the wind at the farmer’s market. Today (I’m writing this on Saturday 4/25) the wind was especially brutal. Signs kept blowing over, plants were toppled off of the shelves, and it was blowing from the beginning. I didn’t even bother to put up the television that runs the DVD in my booth. The booth itself tried to blow away (but thankfully that was tied to the truck, and a kind customer held onto one of the legs for me). My business cards have probably traveled on the wind all the way to Newton county by end of day. I had to close up shop early.

Even with the distraction of the wind, the booth is at least a “storefront” and I’ve been enjoying talking to people who come in about ginseng and the habitat where it grows. If you’re in town (Huntsville, AR) on a Tuesday or Saturday morning, swing through the town square and say hello!

Wild Ozark's Market booth Wild Ozark's Booth setup

What’s for sale at the booth?

Well, not ginseng anymore. I’ve already sold out of all I had. Remember how I’d said my seeds didn’t sprout? More about that, below. What I do have is elderberry, wild strawberry, wild red raspberry, spicebush, pawpaw trees, witch hazel trees, gooseberries, and a few other things. I still bring some bloodroot, goldenseal, wild ginger, and blue cohosh. Once the doll’s eyes and black cohosh blooms, I’ll bring that too. I didn’t label the pots last year, so I’m waiting for blooms to be absolutely certain which is which.

Procrastination Confession

I’ll share my poor planning so you can avoid doing the same thing – I didn’t plant while the weather was still good, and then it started snowing and freezing and by then I didn’t want to go outside much, let alone try to rake leaf litter off of frozen ground. And then once it warmed up again, well, that’s when the rains started.

So it was a major oversight on my part and it won’t happen again if I can help it. If for some reason I do have to hold them longer, I’ll have to give OzarkMountainGinseng.com a call to help me with the proper way to do it. I know it involves a bucket of damp sand in a cool, dark place. But better yet that I not procrastinate again.

Now that the tender woodland herbs are done blooming and would fare poorly in the heat, I’m bringing more of the medicinal and edible plants like yarrow, All-heal, elderberry and some of the shrubs like spicebush and gooseberry. And I bring my books and DVD’s. Lousewort is a new medicinal herb to me and I have a few of those to bring, too. Lousewort (Pedicularis canadensis) is an interesting plant – read more about it below.

Rosy colored variety of Pedicularis
Rosy colored variety of Pedicularis, with a bumble bee visiting.
A pale yellow-colored lousewort.
A pale yellow-colored lousewort.
Some lousewort, showing whole plant. It gets larger and taller  as the season progresses.
Some lousewort, showing whole plant. It gets larger and taller as the season progresses.

An interesting find

Last year was the first time I noticed an interesting plant. Well, I’m *always* noticing interesting plants, so it wasn’t the first time to notice an interesting plant, but the first time to notice *that* one.

It was growing in the cedar grove below the pond and although I’ve walked around in there before I had never noticed the the greenish-gray ferny fronds. At the time it wasn’t blooming, but I immediately recognized it from long ago when I studied with a Master Herbalist in Bay St. Louis, MS. It’s hard to believe that was nearly 25 years ago now. Her name was Amelia Plant and we’ve long since lost touch, but I often wonder what she’s been up to. She had brought me and a few of her other students on a gathering trip in MS and that was one we collected.

Lousewort is a semi-parasitic plant. Its roots feed off of the roots of neighboring plants, but it doesn’t require a host to live. Because of the possibility that it’s feeding from neighboring plants, if you plan to use it as medicine, it’s important to make sure the neighbors aren’t poisonous plants. The variety of lousewort that grows at Wild Ozark is Pedicularis canadensis.

Some of them bloom with a bicolor rosy/white tubular flower and some have pale yellow, nearly white flowers. Medicinally, the above-ground parts are used for skeletal muscle pain. I haven’t tried it yet, but I did just harvest some yesterday to put up for later use. It’s not a narcotic, so the pain relief isn’t likely to be as effective as narcotic drugs.

This herb is reported to combine well with skullcap and black cohosh to make a pretty good muscle relaxer. Black cohosh affects female hormones, though, so be aware of that and perhaps use a different herb, like black haw or skunk cabbage as a substitute if you have a hormone-influenced issue.

  • Always consult your physician and do your own research before using herbs – the information I provide through my newsletters and website is only meant to be a starting point and is NOT intended to be taken as medical advice. I’m not a doctor, have no medical training, and am not offering medical advice.

Lobelia inflata is another local medicinal herb that would go well with this combination, but the seeds (the part most medicinal) are potent and caution is needed in dosage.

The lousewort plants I found are growing in a moist cedar grove under plenty of shade, but I think it will also grow in more sunlight. If you want to try growing some, I’ll have a few plants at the market on Tuesday and Saturday mornings in Huntsville, AR.

References for my information and more on using lousewort at these sites:

http://7song.com/blog/2012/02/pedicularis-lousewort-monograph-pedicularis-as-a-skeletal-muscle-relaxant/
http://www.altnature.com/gallery/woodbetony.htm

April Blog Post Index

New Product

Wild Ozark Herbs – Plant Identification Cards

These are 4 x 6” laminated photo-cards of some of my favorite wild Ozark herbs to help with learning to identify and use the useful plants of the Ozarks. They’ll be released in sets.

That’s all folks!

This was another pretty lengthy newsletter, so thank you if you managed to read the whole thing 🙂

I hope to meet many of you at the farmer’s market this year. The market is at the Huntsville Town Square, from 7-12. It’ll be every Tuesday and Saturday 7-12 (except May 5 & 9, and the first week in August). I’m usually running the DVD on it during the market hours so if you want a preview before buying it, or just want to hang around and watch the whole thing there for free, come on by and pull up a chair!

Please take a moment to share this newsletter with your social circles 🙂

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About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.


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