herbalism/folkways mentor wanted

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Passenger, Sep 18, 2005.

  1. Passenger

    Passenger New Member

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    My daughter and I are interested in expanding our knowledge of medicinal and edible herbs, basketry, pottery, wildcrafting, animal husbandry, alternative energy systems and building styles and in general most homesteading activities. We would even love to learn to milk and churn butter. I have searched high and low for weekend-type classes and have found little available. The herb classes that are out there are tremendously expensive. Seems to me that someone with a small homestead would appreciate someone willing to pay a few dollars to learn how it is that they live. We aren't looking for anything fancy...just something real! We are settled in our own community so we aren't drifters. We are non-druggies, non-drinkers, and non-smokers. We would really like to find someone to teach us for a day or two here and there. We would have our lodging with us (a truck camper) if overnighting would be necessary and could easily find a state park or somewhere to stay. We would even provide our own food! Anywhere within a reasonable drive of where we live would be great. Maybe in the Nashville/Louisville/St. Louis/Evansville region?
     
  2. Bootlegger0173

    Bootlegger0173 Active Member

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    Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but you might want to check out:

    www.stalkingthewild.com

    It is the partner site to The Southern Herbalist. It is run by Darryl Patten who is a fairly scatterbrained feller, but also extremely knowlegable. Has written some very good books with good pics and illustrations too. Also there, you can find George Hegepeth, who is also very knowlegable and a very good friend of mine. There are others there as well. Like I said, the site is very slow to update, but the info is there, and if you PM the folks, you will almost surely get good responses. Hope this helps...
     

  3. ChiliPalmer

    ChiliPalmer Well-Known Member

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    Advice: be adaptable. Homesteaders often have to make do with what's available and learn to substitute or cobble together a solution. You may or may not find someone willing and available to do as you are asking, so a suggestion for Plan B would be to decide what one thing you want to learn right now and then post a thread asking for instructions, locals who can demonstrate and books about that subject which people here found informative.

    For example, if this thread had been on how to churn butter, I would have answered with:

    It's embarrassingly easy. Get yourself some heavy cream - which, if you're buying at the store, is sold most often as 'whipping cream' - and put it in a tight and sturdy container. I'm partial to old mayo jars or tupperware. It's easiest to churn a pint or so at a time and I like the temperature to be around room temp. Pour cream into your container, put the lid on tight and start shaking back and forth. Takes about five or six minutes, give or take. This is unsalted, unwashed butter and won't keep well. It also doesn't make much butter when you churn only a pint, so this amount isn't worth the bother of washing and salting to keep; just eat it up within a few days.

    Washing butter means putting it in a wooden bowl and running cold water over it while working the butter with the back of a wooden spoon. Keep at it until the water runs clear from the butter. Then thoroughly mix in some salt (can't recall offhand the exact amount... not much though), pack and store for use. Butter doesn't have to be refrigerated but will eventually go rancid without chilling, just like other oils. Letting the cream go sour makes better tasting butter, in my opinion, but I'll let someone else go into the subject of soured cream or give you the opportunity to look it up on Google.
     
  4. Passenger

    Passenger New Member

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    Believe me, we are completely adaptable and flexible in what we are looking for. Observing how different people "substitute or cobble together a solution" is one of the most interesting aspects of the type of interaction we are looking for. I have a nice collection of reference books on this stuff and even have some skills of my own but want a hands on instructional approach so my daughter (an adult) can forge some of the same memories I have and so that I can revigorate my own.

    Thanks for the link. I've gone there, looked around, and posted regarding the availability of formal or informal classes on plants. Thanks also for the information on the simplistic approach to butter churning. I will probably do just that in the near future with my grandkids, buy my whipping cream and have them shake away. I am really looking as much for atmosphere though as step by step written how-to do its.

    I remember watching adults milk as a kid and helping churn in the old wooden plunger type churns. Didn't remember the specifics of the washing part (other than the lump sitting in a bowl of cold water with a cotton cloth over it?) but do remember pressing the finished product in butter molds and thinking how cool real butter was! Want to do those types of things again and this time I want the cow/goat to share her milk at my hand and not just the adults! Never happened when I was sporadically allowed to try and milk as a kid.

    I want to help someone gather basketry materials from the wild and weave a basket. I want to have someone guide me in pottery form. I want to know what "weeds" grow in other people's yards that they actually consider indispensible. Simple stuff but invaluable in my eyes!
     
  5. katlupe

    katlupe Off-The-Grid Homesteader Supporter

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    I know it's not in your area, but here in NY state there is family that teaches all kinds of homesteading classes. They teach a homesteading week in May, where people come to learn, camp on their homestead and meet others. But you can also go for the day, and maybe it's about $40. or so for the individual class you want to take. They also publish a newsletter that you can get in the mail.

    They are called The Catholic Homesteading Movement, and formerly were called The Christian Homesteading Movement. Don't let the name put you off, as they teach people of all religions.

    They are friends of mine and I do love going to their homestead. I have taken a couple of classes and one was about the milk cow and another was grafting fruit trees. They raise over 500 different varieties of heirloom apples. They sell them (the trees) to the nurseries.
     
  6. Ruby

    Ruby Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Go to Country Side Familes forum and there is a thead about Pioneer Gathering. They will be teaching a lot of the things you want to learn. They said it was free to attend.

    Hope this helps.
     
  7. BamaSuzy

    BamaSuzy Well-Known Member

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    Somebody else already mentioned the STalking the Wild web site featuring Darryl Patton but I wanted to add that you REALLY REALLY need to get Darryl Patton's book: Mountain Medicine: The Herbal Remedies of Tommie Bass.

    It has GREAT information in it and is told in such a folksy style that you will love it. Tommie Bass was a man who lived in the foothills of the Appalchians in north Alabama and was a self-taught EXPERT on anything herbal...

    Darryl Patton studied under home (Bass died in 1996) and now has written this wonderful book and is struggling to get a couple of magazines going...

    This is the next best thing to having your own personal mentor and would be great to have even if you do have a personal herb mentor!!!

    You can write Darryl Patton at P.O. Box 8481, Gadsden AL 35402 or check out the web site at www.stalkingthewild.com
     
  8. ellebeaux

    ellebeaux Well-Known Member

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    Look into historical societies, too. Someplaces where they teach pioneer ways. You could probably volunteer in exchange for lessons in whatever. Around here I'm thinking of colonial Williamsburg but isn't Edison's home up your way? Grant's Farm?? Call the museums and ask them.

    There are great places and people that teach the kind of stuff you like, I just don't know of any around there. In Florida, I can suggest Crone's Cradle Conserve near Ocala.

    Beaux
     
  9. Bootlegger0173

    Bootlegger0173 Active Member

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    Darryl is a really knowlegable feller, in fact, we did a "skills course" down in Fl. this past June, and I learned a few things myself. Am currently working on a short article right now on that one. The best thing that I liked about his book was that most of the plants were from my area, not some exotic place that I may never get to. As I mentioned though, you might have better luck getting the book straight from the publisher, as Darryl is a little slow sometimes as getting around to things. Stays busy and gets sidetracked.
     
  10. Q_Links

    Q_Links Well-Known Member

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    Land-Between-the -Lakes in western KY/TN should be in the area your talking about. They have the Homeplace 1850, a working farm. Here's the website for the park.http://www.explorekentuckylake.com/ Q
     
  11. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Some of us herbalists offer fairly inexpensive classes to get you started.

    I am teaching "Menopause Naturally" for 2 hours on October 1 for $15 a person. My "Super Immunity" class later in the month costs the same. Each offers handson experiences and something to take home. Keep looking around, you'll find someone nearby I bet.

    Tommi Bass was an interesting guy. His "Plain Southern Eating" is on my shelf--a different perspective of the world.
     
  12. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Well-Known Member

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    Hey! I've been here. Had a great time. DH & I, two friends and their two little girls went a few years ago. I really enjoyed it.

    Nance
     
  13. Passenger

    Passenger New Member

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    Thanks everyone for your input. I am pursuing possible weekend classes with Darryl/Stalking the Wild. I do haunt the living history places. The Old Homeplace at LBL is one of the best. I really want more hands-on verses playing the tourist though. Sure wish you were in my area BCR...your herb classes sound just like what I am looking for. The same goes for Katlupe's homesteading family in NY. Wish they were closer!
     
  14. Farmer Willy

    Farmer Willy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Raising garden and chickens now. I'm still putting up buildings and planting. If you want to drive out and spend a day watching what we're doing you're more than welcome. We're in Central Kentucky.
     
  15. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

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    If you would like to learn about folk remedies and other kinds of wildcrafting for free, perhaps you could ask around about older people in your neighborhood or in local nursing homes who grew up on the farm. Much of what I've learned came from an elderly aunt and uncle. They may not call it "medicinal herbalism" etc., but if you ask about salves, tonics, water witching...they open right up! Also, a field guide will do you a world of good. I like the Golden guides, but there are several other good ones. Take it outside and get to know every weed in your yard. You'll be amazed at what wonders are right under your feet!
     
  16. LOCKHA885

    LOCKHA885 Active Member

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    Have you ever read the Foxfire books? They are filled with a lot of "down home living" and they tell a lot about how the folks did different things when times were hard. I have a collection of the 11 volumes, and you can either buy them at your local Bookstore, or read them from the local Library.
    They really do tell you how to do the things you are interested in, making butter, building banjos, etc.
    I always go back to them when someone needs a good recipe for Pickled Beans, or Biscuits, etc.
    If you haven't read them yet, go and get yourself a copy of one of the 11 volumes, and you will be hooked.