Kim and I traveled to Oyster Creek Farm and joined Michael “Skeeter” Pilarski, founder of Friends of the Trees, co-originator of the Barter Faire, Northwest Herbal Faire, Faerie-Human Relations Congress, and Permaculture Convergence among other fame.
I mentioned during introductions that Skeeter had attended my second-ever Plant Walkabout at Deception Pass in 1998, and fortunately, I didn’t know I had a legend in my presence as I was only just learning ethnobotany at the time myself. He was very supportive and sent his son Ashely to camp that summer.
We began with an overview and tool protocol before heading across the creek to harvest Devil’s Club with great respect. A close relative of Ginsing, this is a highly revered plant, and we learned to sustainably harvest it, then later in the day, process it for tincture. I’ve studied the plant before, but I didn’t know that the barbs often contain staph and that people have died of gangrene as a result.
We returned to the Oyster Creek gardens, and harvested Dandelion Root for its many medicinal qualities, processing it later, as well as Teasel root to process as a naturopathic treatment for Lyme’s Disease.
Along the way we harvested Usnia lichen which is a strong anti-bacterial, and Kim and I made a tincture of it after returning home. Skeeter also showed everyone how to harvest Nettle root which is key for prostate health, and we used the new shoots with leaves as a lunchable. What a warm January!
After lunch, we went uphill to find Oregon Grape, whose roots we harvested for liver health as well as bacterial lung infection. Skeeter also said it can be ground into powder and used very similarly to Goldenseal. Kim and I also made tincture of it when we got home Friday night, having stopped at a Tulalip for 100 proof vodka on the way.
Another plant Skeeter harvested was Licorice Fern root which is a strong lung medicine, and there were other stops along the way as well. In fact, Kim and I have many more notes to include from the day, but who will read them all! It was as good a workshop as I’ve ever attended.