Hey Pack. It has been another busy week here on our survival homestead. Most of the preps this week have involved harvesting wild plants to preserve or make salve and infusions with, and gardening.
I made plantain salve this week. It is super easy to make and can be used on insect bites and stings, snake bites, poison ivy, as well as minor burns and scrapes.
Plantain salve is supposed to be good for joint pain, but I have not personally had much luck using it for that yet. But, that might be primarily after playing and coaching sports and spending a lot of time hiking in the woods for 25 years, there is not much cartilage left in my knees. They used to crack and pop and sound awful but not hurt… now they hurt.
While I love most weeds, we now have one type I really could have gone my entire life without stumbling across – poison hemlock. The news alerts I initially saw warning that hemlock and wild parsnips were popping up all over southern Ohio due to the excessive amount of rain for the past years were in the western part of the region. Well, now it’s here in my neck of the woods.
Folks in my heavenly part of Appalachia are not the only ones discovering poison hemlock and wild parsnips on their land. Essentially every state that has sustained extensive rain or flooding is faced with this deadly plant, as well.
I actually looked up and said a heartfelt prayer of gratitude when I found the first of at least 14 poison hemlock plants. Our middle granddaughter, Auddie LOVES plants. She can identify more plants than many adults that I know, and she is only three and a half years old.
Auddie on her first visit to a professional greenhouse. You would have thought that it was Christmas morning by the level of excitement she exhibited. Just this morning we did a forest school session after the kids helped with barn chores and she proudly taught her one and ¾ year old sister Ariyah to identify milkweed.
As soon as she sees a flower, it goes straight up to her nose to sniff it. She and Colt both always ask if they can eat the flowers we find when foraging, but that good practice still might not have saved her if she had put the flower to her nose.
Poison hemlock ingested through the nose or eyes will kill you in less than three hours. A child of her age and weight would probably have only had an hour. She loves picking wild carrots – or Queen Anne’s lace – as city folks call them. They and wild yarrow, are two non-lethal lookalikes to poison hemlock.
Thankfully, they are trained to not pick anything until checking with me first, but all it takes is a split second of forgetting that rule or leaning over to sniff the really cool looking flowers on poison hemlock and that’s it. There is absolutely no treatment or cure for hemlock now, just as there as none when the Greek philosopher was ordered to consume it to commit suicide.
Please, fellow preppers, check your property for poison hemlock and make sure to tell those you care about to do the same. The close resemblance between the flowers of wild carrots, yarrow, and poison hemlock, as well as the leaves, are way novice foragers are urged to stay away from the non-lethal lookalikes, even though they have so many valuable uses.
Wild parsnips will not kill you, but they might make you feel like they are when the produce a rash and blisters until you get treatment and heal up.
This Week’s Questions:
- Have you spotted poison hemlock where you live? Getting rid of it is dangerous, how did you accomplish the task?
- What wild and wonderful weeds are you foraging in your neck of the woods right now?
- What is your favorite way to use foraged weeds? Please share your favorite salve, tincture, poultice, or herbal infusion recipe.
- What did you do to prep this week?