Sunday, December 28, 2008


Finally we were able to get together for more than just a potluck--lately-- (although potlucks are great!).

Today we went wild and practiced building Paiute deadfall traps. It was even easier than I had remembered. It felt good to use my hands again for such a fine purpose.

On the way we saw an amazing log with at least five varieties of beautiful living slimes and fungi. We intend to participate in the Avl mushroom club this season. I can't wait.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cold days of winter

Well its not actually that cold, it was for a second, but it has warmed up a bit. I like the weird weather we have here in the winter. I am in the midst of a job change and haven't been able to find as much time as I'd like to be in the woods, but I have gotten myself out there. A friend and I got out to harvest wood for bow drilling, and as soon as I knelt down to show him how to bow drill the rain began to come down. But we did get our selves some pine to work with so the next time we practice we will be ready with some dry white pine. My medicinal herb class has been great, i really enjoy the folks who are taking the class, and i am enjoying the knowledge I am receiving. However I am also feeling a bit overweening. Over and over I am hearing from the few teachers we have had these past 2 weekends, that herbal medicine is more an art form than anything else. They can give us some basic guidelines, however it is up to us to test it out for ourselves and find what works best for us, there is no set book of rules . For me it is both overwhelming and wonderful at the same time. Most of the knowledge I am to receive will be what I learn from doing it on my own, getting to know each of the plants intimately, getting to know my body and how it works intimately. Yes this is what i want, what i have been looking for, but along with all this is the dreaded "P" word, yes......"patience". A lesson I am having a difficult time learning, or actually I have been having a difficult time with this one for quite a while now. My relationships, my jobs, the people who have passed through my life, my body, the woods have all been working very diligently together on this one, I supposed its important.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Saturday in the woods

Hello friends, we are going to the woods this Saturday and Sunday to explore and collect berries, and anything else we can find, you are welcome to join us, email me if your interested and I will give you directions. The location is only 30 min from Asheville, so you can come for the day or overnight. I will share what I know about bow drilling if you are interested. Hope to see you there.

Wild foods Camp

A few of us met near Hot springs for the wild foods camp. I had alot of fun. We gathered Autumn olive berries, there were tons of them! chickweed, wild onions, and burdock leaves. After we walked around and sampled wintergreen, gathered sumac berries, sassafras root, and some other herbs for tea, we went back to camp to feast on bear and deer meat provided to us by some folks from wild roots. The meat was cooked up with the berries, and the salad was tossed with bear fat and apple cider vinegar that some one made. As people came they brought with them food that that gathered, grew and created. Persimon pudding, pickled glasswort, folks bought squash,apples and garlic, that we used to make soup. It was soo good, no salt added and it was still wonderful. And we found persimons! I have never eaten Persimons and I love them! We sat around the fire and listened to some incredibly talented musician entertain us with mountian/ bluegrass and waltzing music, it was good fun watching folks waltz in the woods.
The next morning we woke to the cooking of wild boar, that someone gave us, we cooked that along with chicken of the woods, cabbage, garlic and Dakon. Chicken of the woods reall does taste like chicke, its weird! But delightful. Pears were added to the left over soup and apple mix, and we ate that as well. After the morning feast, we gathered up for another plant walk. It was more of a medicinal plant walk this time, since a few folks that joined us in the morning had quite a bit of medicinal herb knowledge. I thoroughly enjoyed it! It was a great weekend, just sitting around the fire listening to folks share their knowledge and love of the the woods and a simpler lifestyle was wonderful. I hope we can create this more often. This coming weekend, I am going camping and anyone who wants to come is invited. I will share my knowledge of bowdrilling with anyone who wants to learn. Sat and Sun, Nov 15 and 16th.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sunday morning discussion anyone?

Hello friends, It's always a challenge trying to find a time when folks can all get together. SO how about Sunday morning, Would anyone like to meet for breakfast/coffee/tea/conversation? Send us an email if your interested.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A journey to the bear site

I have gotten back to the bear site a few times this week to do some exploring. I really like it up there, and I really need to find more time to get there, and of course some folks to come with us. Exploring a place is so much fun, and so relaxing. I am excited to spend some time just sitting out there and watching. Getting to know the changes that happen throughout the year. I am, however concerned about the Bear living there. My concern is that we will be invading a place this Bear, and lots of other animals have found. I am concerned , that I , being a human will again be invading another of the wild places in the park . I wonder if there is a way we can all live together there, respecting the wild things that live there. Will our presence scare the Bear somewhere else, will it scare animals that that Bear lives off? I am tired of being a negative impact on the world, and I don't know if I know how to be a positive impact. I have so much to learn!!!! Again I would love to hear you thoughts. THanks

Thoughts from a soul stuck in the middle

The more I become aware of our roles in this world we live in, the more amazed I am. We spend so much of our time working so we can have the things we need and have the things we think we need, and the things we just really want. After all that time we have very little time to do anything else. I grew up believing that this way of life was the only way, and that living like this made our lives easier. To live in the wild was to live a hard dangerous life filled with work and no time to play. I don't know where I learned that from, but it apparently is not true and actually quite the opposite. My desire to no longer work a job has nothing to do with wanting to sit around and not do anything, I can't handle that on my days off. My desire has more to do with living simply, in the wild. To build a community of folks that have a desire to live life with the belief that it is not mans place to rule over and take from the plants, animals, rocks, and everything on this planet. Life cannot go on with out the plants, the simple organisms that we can't even see, life can however go on without humans, and honestly from the way we are behaving, life on this planet may be better off without us. So what I want to know is how can I live with the wild things, respect life on this planet, and ensure all life has a healthy planet they can continue to live with. I would love and appreciate your thoughts and ideas about my thoughts and ideas. Thanks

Friday, October 17, 2008

Upcoming Fall Events Sponsored by Wildroots

November 1-3
Fall Wild foods camp 2008:

This is the 11th biannual wild foods event coordinated by
the wild roots community. Recently we have been alternating
wild foods hikes with wild food camps. Last fall’s wild
foods camp went so well that we have chosen to do another
one this fall. We plan to have a hike again in the spring.

We will meet on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 11 am on Mill Ridge
in the Pisgah National forest near Hot Springs NC.
We will gather to enjoy eachothers’ company, stories,
music, big beautiful communally prepared wild/garden
meals, and excursions to gather and to meet wild and
feral plants. Some will leave on Sunday, most of us
plan to stay until Monday morning. We were planning on
scheduling the camp for Friday-Sunday, but when we realized
that Halloween falls on that Friday, we thought that it
would be best to shift things forward a day.

Directions from Asheville:
Take I-26/25/70/19/23 North from Asheville
Take the Hot Springs exit (25/70 West)
Follow Signs Toward Hot Springs, following 25/70 to turn L
at the Steady Eddy coffee shop
Go for a couple of miles, when you see a bridge passing
over the road in front of you, Exit right
Turn left to pass over bridge over the 25/70
Follow gravel road up hill
When you come to a T at a big white oak tree go right…
you should see a bunch of cars pulled over, walk from
there. If you get to a dead end and a helipad you
have gone too far.

What to bring:
-wild or garden grown (in your garden) food and drink to
share or $20 if you don’t have anything
-shelter: tarp, tent, etc
-lots of warm clothes (especially wool)
-cooking utensils for big groups (don’t bother bringing
small stuff)
-if you are vegetarian, and are sensitive to foods cooked
with wild animal fat please bring your own oil and frying
pan.(I would encourage you to think of wild or local options)

What not to bring:
-please no dumpstered food (it is a great resource, but
doesn’t fit in with the theme of the camp)
-purchased food or drink (including commercial alcohol)
If you have any questions please call 206-661-6550 and
leave a message. Please do not email.

Braintanning Buckskin workshop, Asheville, NC

A wet scrape brain tanning class will be offered by
Natalie in West Asheville Friday, November 7-Monday,
November 10. Full instruction will be given on scraping,
braining, softening, and smoking deer hides. Prices
are based on a sliding scale: $60-120 to share a hide or
$90-$180 to tan a full hide. You may choose how you fit
within the sliding scale based on your financial situation.
I have one work trade position available. Food and lodging
are not included. If you want to make any special
arrangements please give me a call rather than using email.

Please contact me early to reserve your space. A 50%
deposit is required. My phone # is 206-661-6550.
I often do not answer, so please leave a
message including your phone #.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Bear site!

We had a great time this weekend scouting a site that we like alot. Its a spot close to the road, and up on a ridge, that isn't too difficult to get up and down to get water. I like ridges alot because they are often open at least at some points, and i have a view of what is happening around us. The only disadvantage is lightening on ridges can be bad. We hiked up a old logging road that doesn't appear to have been hiked much at all, especially on the ridge. We did find alot of bear sign, scat, tracks and overturned rocks and logs. It was awsome to see that much evidence of bears. That hopefully means there haven't been many people around there. We do have to be really careful about living in this bears territory. There are a lot of differen't trees in the area:pine, maple oaks,hickory,sourwood,a few black locusts, and which hazel. As we hiked down a drainage, we noticed lots of evidence of animal activity, eaten hickory and oak nuts, scat from rabbit, dear and bear, and heavily used animal runs. I was very nervous about running into the bear or bears so I did not pay much attention to the trees growing along the way. We hiked all the way down the drainage across the creek and ended up on a trail that lead us out to the road. There are a few old logging roads to explore, it was really nice to find a spot of land that seems to have been left alone by humans for a few years. My hope is that i will be able to spend alot of time there getting to know this place intimately and learn how to have as little impact as I can on this little spot of heaven. I did forget my camera and do not have a visual to go along with this post.
Other things i observed were that most of the flowering plants are in seed or dying back for the winter. The trees are changing! And i love it, it smells so good, and is so beautiful. Hiking through the yellowness of the woods was lovely. I do love fall, and i am excited for the cold, for pumpkins, and squashes, for soup, hot oatmeal and cocoa and for the restfullness winter brings. Ow and sleeping under the heavieness of many blankets.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friends come gather!

We are heading out tomorrow to check out a place to set up a shelter. This spot is near the road, and easily accessible, so if you want to just come for the day or a few hours, that would be great. My hope is that we will be checking the area out, then settle down to observe what goes on there. Let us know if you'd like to join us.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Oh the places we go

So we went out to the new spot on Sunday, We hiked to the location and took another route which was quite a bit longer this way. We were looking for a easier, shorter way to get there, I guess not this way. It took us a few hours to get there. Fall is definitely here. Many blue/purple Asters were in full bloom, as was this white petal aster. But many other things were dying back. The bull thistle was letting go of its seeds, Milk weed pods look ready to bust. Yellow leaves from the trees were scattered along parts of the trail and the creek. Its a beautiful place we found, however it takes too long to get there for me to use it before and or after work. It will be a good weekend spot or something we can use when we have more time, or if we have to at some point get there for longer term living. I'm anxious to find a place to begin making camp at, at least for a while. I miss being in the woods, I don't get much outdoor time at my current job.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This is the one!

We all agree we love it here! I think this site will work, at least for now. Its a wonderful spot, that took us about an hour and half to hike to, and it was well worth the hike. There are a few fields, a beaver wetland, mountains, evergreen and deciduous tree, ferns, wild flowers, and animal signs. It seems like it was either logged earlier than the other parts of the forest we have visited, or that less people go there because it is farther away from the road , or maybe a mix of both. On our next visit to this spot we will spend most of our time observing the area. Getting a feel for the behaviors of the animals and the folks that do get this far. There were mostly horse and bicycle tracks along the trail so it is frequented by others, however I'm not sure how often people actually get off their horses or bikes to spend time in the woods, so I believe if we can find a safe spot for our shelter and camp we will be just fine. I am excited for the next time I will be able to get out into the woods, I hope we will get some gas soon, this will mess with my "forest time"
Some plants I observed were
Purple Aster
Tons of Goldenrod
Autumn Olive berries were plentiful
Milkweed seed pods had not yet exploded
There were so many mushrooms I could not believe it, unfortunately I know nothing aboud edible mushrooms yet.

What are we searching for?

The three of us ventured out of the city limits in search of a secret place in the woods where we can set up our first camp. I am excited and a bit impatient to find this place. I have always loved being in the woods, and I find it difficult to leave my "to do list" back in civilization on our over night trips. When I have been able to spend many days in the woods, I have found it easier to relax into the slow quite and relaxing way of nature. My dream was to find a place that I can travel to before and after my job, I suppose a home in the woods. I have never truly felt at home,and have always felt a sense of longing for a home. I have since realized that my home is in the woods, but my home also includes a family or community of people who want the same. I believe that is what we are all looking for, we are always searching for that something that will bring us happiness, an end to the searching and the loneliness we often feel, even when we are surrounded by many people. In the woods our awareness shifts, the daily distractions are gone, so we can be present with each other. We move from the lonely world we construct in our head to the world that will provide us what we need from each other. I have experienced this while working and living in the woods for a wilderness therapy program. I have felt and seen how living like this can change our lives. However I am struggling to find that peace and awareness in and out of the woods. While this challenge is difficult, I believe it is what I need and what will help me the most.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Elk Call Moon, Santa and Reindeer Piss

" and shamans drank reindeer piss"

this happened to be said at one of those quiet times, after a pause, that made it oh so much more profound. i laughed, i cried.

sitting around the fire we heard the story of jesus the mushroom and how santa hung mushrooms in stockings with care.

somehow, oddly, it all seemed at least somewhat appropriate since we saw a loincloth load of mushrooms.

we found a great spot to set up camp that had an existing fire ring and a somewhat concealed location for our tarps atop a small ridge. after tara tarpqueen perfected our shelters we began calling out invitations for fire to join us. tara's was answered and we cared for the fire for the rest of the night.

there were little to no expectations or pressures and we found some pleasure and relaxation in each of us doing our own thing as well as coming together and making deeper connections.

i carefully walked over to the area where i had set some snares and checked each one. one had been disturbed, pushed out of the way actually, but all were empty. i searched for more sign and found more middens. i stepped slowly, deliberately and found this place sinking deep into my bones or, perhaps, i sank into it's bones. i was invigorated by the realization that i could spend the rest of my life getting to know this one place.

the setting sun was followed by a spectacular moon. this moon is called the elk call moon.

sunday found frederick and i alone and resting for the remainder of the morning. we did some carving on the black locust crazy bow we are making. then we set out up the ridge to our north and we were greeted by a big, black rat snake. it was at least five feet long and was stiff, out straight. we both mistook it for a stick. by the way, this black rat snake did not like to be petted.

i am toughening up my feet again. it was good to feel the earth directly... unmediated.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Wild Spirit

trekked into pisgah again today with lawrence. explored off trail and onto some old logging roads. the magic of ferns and pines filled our being today. traces of deer and fox (perhaps) were seen as well as a copperhead and many ground nests of bees.

we went deeper than before and found the wild spirit of the place to be very strong. i was happy to feel it and know it. tinder mushrooms and big oaks. stands of straight young poplars. the gray of their bark and the gray of the light among them. the brilliance of wingstem flowers. the soft white of mountain mint.

we collected some black locust for a bow stave and some straight poplars for staffs. carved a couple throwing sticks and practiced our aim.

we shared our hearts, our dreams and our wild spirits

Monday, September 1, 2008

Spring Creek near Bluff Mountain

Bloodroot Sanguinaria canadensis

saturday found us meeting a new friend and traveling to visit a friend and her family up by bluff mountain. her property is full of beautiful flowers and trees.
our new friend, lawrence, is an amazing person with a lot to share, including some chicken and avocados.

some plants in the yard we shared time with were:

Elderberry Sambucus canadensis

Horseweed Conyza canadensis.

Mountain Mint Pycnanthemum virginianum

New York Ironweed Vernonia noveboracensis

Evening Primrose Oenothera Biennis

and a very mellow praying mantis.

then we trekked across the road and into the forest itself. there we encountered:

Bloodroot Sanguinaria canadensis

Black Walnut Juglans Nigra

Spice Bush Lindera Benzoin

Hog Peanut Amphicapaea Bracteata

Virginia Dayflower Commelina Virginica

Mockernut Hickory
Carya Tomentosa

Stinging Nettle Urtica Dioica

Jewelweed Impatiens Capensis

all of these were found at about 2600' elevation.

at night we sat around the fire until sleep led us to our bedrolls.

the next day was more exploring and we found:

Wild Stonecrop


a big red shelf mushroom

several deer runs and many burrows.

and along came a spider...

then we had a meal in hot springs and set out to find the wildroots community based on a dilapidated map i keep in my head and heart. we found it! there we experienced beautiful people barktanning and smoking hides and they invited us to share a meal. we gratefully accepted and had a wonderful time sharing our hearts, minds, fears and hopes.

on monday we gathered together with another friend and played a game that deepened our connections and helped us practice communication skills and radical honesty. we hope to make our gatherings around this a weekly thing.

all in all, it was.

Friday, August 29, 2008

New Moon August 30

so we are planning to head up to the hot springs area and celebrate a little one's day of birth, spend some time with his wonderful mom and celebrate the new moon. we will also be exploring the area, as always. we will ask fire to share with us its warmth and joy and likely practice some simple trap making. who knows what else we will find or do. we will go wherever the wind blows us.

Discovering Ashevilles hidden bird sanctuary

Robert Paulson and I ventured out into a bird sanctuary off Merrimon across from Ingles. It wasn't very quiet, as its surrounded by traffic, stores and houses. Oh and a dude playing his trumpet over the lake.
However we found there is quite a lot growing there. I believe we successfully identified several wildflowers. And we forgot the camera so we did not take any pictures this time.
This is what we found so far:

Shrubby St. Johnswort Hyperericum spathulatum
Jewelweed Impatiens capensis
New England Aster Symphyotrichum novae-angliae
Bonesett Eupatorium perfoliatum
Selfheal Prunella vulgaris
Queen Annes Lace Daucus carota
Evening Primrose Cenothera biennis
Wingstem Actinomeris alternifolia
Cardinal Flower Lobelia cardinalis
Box ElderAcer negundo
Cattails Typha(not sure which one common or narrow leaf)