What Is Outdoors Today?

When I first moved onto this 30 acres, I would wander until dusk, discovering all of the plants and trees on the land.
Still, today, I am finding new places, plants and trees that I hadn’t noticed before.
I had hoped most of all that I would find an Elderberry bush.
My father introduced me to these wondrous little berries.
He always knew the best spots. We would come home with quite a haul for making wine and what I now realize was medicine. A mixture of ginger, clove, honey, cinnamon and juices from the elderberries. Just one teaspoon per day gives your immune system a boost.
I had about given up hope of finding it on my property. It would just be too perfect right?
One evening, while wandering and talking on the phone with my friend Kaylee, I noticed something quite similar to Elderberry. I figured that it was just another Chokecherry tree. It was not! Finally, Sambucus Canadensis! (I’m sure it would have been a sight to see a person so overjoyed by the discovery of a common, wild plant.)
Since that day, I’ve come across 3 more patches of both American and Red Elderberry on the land.
I’ve been in an intense battle with the Honeysuckle this week. It wants to take over and suffocate the Elder. However, I’m out there with my silky saw and gloves, sawing and pulling away at the beasts. So far, I am winning.

What is Outdoors Today?

Yellow Trout Lilies are another ephemeral spring plant. Making their appearance for just a short time. They are an ancestral food source that also boasts many medicinal properties.

The plant’s root was also once considered to be an aphrodisiac. 17th century Europeans were excited to obtain specimens of the trout lily from America because of its sexy reputation.
English herbalist and gardener John Parkinson wrote:
“Wee have had from Virginia a roote sent unto us, which the naturall people holde not onely to be singular to procure lust, but hold it as a secret, loth to reveale it.”

Their colonies are extremely slow growing. Some colonies are 200-300 years old. For this reason, I do not harvest them at all.

What is Outdoors Today?

Bloodroot is among the first flowers to bloom in spring. The white petals stand out amidst the dead leaves and tiny tufts of green. The petals begin to fall just a few days after blooming.

When plucked from the ground, red fluid exudes from the swollen root. This produces a superior red dye, which has been used by tribes to paint their skin for ritual and war. The dye was also used on fabrics and baskets.

Though it has been used as a medicine in low doses for ailments such as pneumonia, pertussis, croup, rheumatism and jaundice, in high doses it is lethal. Bloodroot can cause tunnel vision, nausea, death and permanent scarring or disfiguration when applied to the skin.