Tomorrow afternoon, you have the chance to learn about wild foods and foraging with Darryl Patton, "The Southern Herbalist". Darryl will take kids and parents on a fascinating tour of Southern plants that can serve as food and medicines.
"Wild Plants: Earth's Free Feast and Pharmacy with Darryl Patton" will be held on January 30th from 2 to 4 pm in a classroom at Hoover Tactical,(yes, it's a firearms store, which of course makes me a little uneasy)near Hoover, Alabama. But I'm going to trust the sponsors, including Sheriff Mike Hale and Fresh Air Family's Prepared, Not Scared safety/survival courses for kids and adults.
The cost is $10 for members and $15 for non-members. But I think the experience is worth it. Here's why...
Mr. Tommie Bass, Lookout Mountain's herbalist
The Southern Herbalist has learned from those who came before him. Darryl's book, Mountain Medicine: The Herbal Remedies of Tommie Bass, takes us through the life and mind of a man who grew. There is a wonderful
I first met Tommie Bass as a result of several people telling me stories of the ‘Herb Man’ up in Leesburg not far from where I lived. It seemed as if I were constantly running into people who either knew of him, or had family who knew and had been treated by this white-haired gentleman. Reading about him on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in 1985 had also served to pique my curiosity.
My first trip to his home was one which I will never forget. It also served to show me a little of the extent to which he is known and respected in his community. Even without an address to go by, and I had no trouble finding his house. All I had to say was that we were looking for Tommie Bass, the Herb Man, and people immediately told us how to find him.
For the next two hours, I was treated to fascinating stories of Leesburg and Lookout Mountain in the first half of this century, stories of herbal treatments, and even a couple of songs played on the French Harp. It turned out to be the most interesting day of my life.
I found Tommie to be the most humble and guileless person I had ever met. There is nothing pretentious about this man. What you see on one visit is the same person you see on subsequent return trips. His overriding concern is to bring some ease to his fellow man. He is not out to make a dollar at the expense of others’ ailments. He is a seeker of neither glory nor fame.
Mr. Tommie Bass
Among Tommie's remedies:
For sinus trouble, he may recommend drinking a tea of Wild Cherry Bark or inhaling the steam from a boiling pot of ‘Rabbit Terbaker.’ Overweight folks will be told the wonders of Chickweed and Queen Anne’s Lace. “They’ll do the trick!”
Women suffering from what Tommie calls ‘Women’s Trouble’ need to know there is nothing like Red Maple, Black Cohosh or Squawvine tea. Pokeroot is good for the itch and, “Of course,” says Tommie, “Yellowroot will cure stomach ulcers.”
To hear Tommie tell it is to know that Wild Cucumber Tree bark and Prickly Ash are the most wonderful things in the world for arthritis.
Kids and adults can prepare for this event by listening to Mr. Bass talk about mountain life and herbs right here. I think hearing his voice adds another layer of value to his words.
Darryl shares thoughts on Eastern Red Cedar/Juniper.
For those familiar with Euell Gibbon's incredible Stalking the Wild Asparagus, I can honestly say it changed my son's life when he received it as a gift from our dear neighbors, Doug and Carol Brooks. Now you can sign up for a free newsletter combining Euell and Darryl's wisdom, as well as enjoy archived issues online.
Other great resources and online treasures from Darryl include:
A-Z Herbal References Guide, with a heavy focus on Alabama
"How to forecast weather by nature"
"The history of using sassafras"
"Stalking the Wild Day Lily," an adventure
The mysteries of rabbit tobacco (Pseudognaphlium obtusifolium)
"Beautyberry, herbal bug repellent", one the Eldest will love
Darryl's list of links