Monthly Archives: July 2015

More Medicinal Plant Study

Let me start by saying agian, the only way to really learn about wild edibles and medicinals is to go and study with a mentor who can teach you all the perspectives of plants. You want to be under the guidance of someone who knows how to identify and use the plants in your local area or the area you will be traveling in.

We spent the day with Kellie of Weed Woman Medicinals learning about various plants that grow wild here I our area. This has been an opportunity for me to grow and corresponds with some classes I’m taking. PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS AS A GUIDE. Plants are by no means my area of expertise and I strongly suggest that when learning you seek out the mentorship of someone like Kellie. Please contact Weed Woman Medicinals for more info.

I am using a different format for this blog to keep the informational text with the pics I post.

Here is a list of a few of the plants I learned and application I can use them for. There may be other applications- but I journaled for myself. I will add more of the plants we learned in a later posting. I’m doing this for my own growth so I don’t want to try to pack too much in.

Wild Lettuce

Wild Letuce or Lactuca Serriola is part of thr Asteraccea family. The leaves can be eaten raw or stemed/boiled several times to make palatable for food. Also used as as a tincture or smoked for tension, an expectorant, anxiety, coughs, joint pain, or sedative.

Wild Lettuce is very bitter when eaten raw. I have tried it by boiling it and switching out the water several times and adding olive oil to it.

Wild Lettuce is very bitter when eaten raw. I have tried it by boiling it and switching out the water several times and adding olive oil to it.


Catnip can be used as a tea or poultice. Kellie also told us that it can be used as an infusion or tincture. It was ntroduced early in the tour and I was too shy to ask what a tincture was until later. It can also be used for anxiety, headaches, and upset stomach. I picked some up to plant in seed form right after class. The leaves and flowers are used a tea and I learned some better methods for making teas than I had been doing in my camp sites with other plants.


Hawthorn or Thorn Berry /Thorn Apple was very new to me. Can be used as a tonic for the heart, high blood pressure, and angina. Kellie had mentioned it being a spiritual and emotional tonic as well, this has me intrigued. The flowers leaves, and berries are used to make teas and juices as well as tinctures. This is one I want to learn better before I try on my own.

Wild Rose

Wild Rose is one I have been playing with a bit since Josh taught it to me. I have tried eating the rose hips raw but find it makes my throat itch. I learned I should be pickeing the hips when dry. Also the petals and leaves can be used as an elixer fo an anti-oxidant. The petals also have a cooling feeling. I have tried putting wild rose petals in my tin cup after purifying water to drink once it has cooled to ambient temperature bcause it seems to feel cool to my mouth when I drink it. I could be imagining the whole thing though, but was told in class that rose petals do have a cooling effect on the skin.

Sage is something I use when hunting because it helps to cover my scent. I learned in today's class that it can also be dried and crushed into a powder to be used as an anti-fungal, something good to know if out in the wild for a period of time and you get funky stuff growing on you. It can also be used as a salve or chapped skin.

Sage is something I use when hunting because it helps to cover my scent. I learned in today’s class that it can also be dried and crushed into a powder to be used as an anti-fungal, something good to know if out in the wild for a period of time and you get funky stuff growing on you. It can also be used as a salve or chapped skin.

Natural History Museum of Utah

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Off to Salt Lake this week to catch my favorite band on what will most likely be the last tour. It’s been a few years since I have seen Rush perform and thought since my bride has never seen them, we would do a special “anniversary” trip. While down here we thought it would be a great opportunity to expand some of our bush craft and survival knowledge. She found the Natural History Museum of Utah would be a great place to do some research.

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I can be a curmudgeon when it comes to Natural History and other educational attractions such as planetariums, aquariums, and museums. I’ve been all over the world and hit some of the most prestigious ones out there including the Smithsonian in D.C., Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, the Natural History Museum of London, etc.

The museum is definitely a recommend, especially if you have kids. I have never been to a museum that was so open and interactive for kids of all ages. Each of the five floors allows you to explore everything from Dinosaurs to early man. There are areas that specifically demonstrate how sand dunes are created, rivers are formed, and the cycle of the Earth recreating itself over and over.

We arrived shortly after the doors opened at 10 am and stayed just before closing at 5pm. For the explorer there really is that much to see and study however, the casual visitor can choose to spend only a few hours if they wish. We wove our way through huge displays of early monsters that roamed the earth and found many interactive displays. I was shy about walking across a display that allows you to walk on a glass floor so you can see the various levels of a mock excavation site.

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Throughout the museum you can get hands on with multiple displays. I’m a tactile learner and it was awesome to try my hand at putting together a skull of an ancient reptile, learn new techniques for making cordage, and putting a clay pot back together.

The museum went well beyond my expectations. There were a few things I would have liked to see in the exhibits and the staff, but this by no means downgrades my impression.

First, I was really hoping to see something on fire craft. Of all the advances in mankind and pushed our evolution. It changed the length of our day, it caused changes in the chemistry of our brains and reproductive cycles, it made certain foods edible, chased away large game while attracting small game, and advanced our tool making. I went in search of answers and really thought there would be some great information on the creation and use of fire as well as fire making implements. Sadly there was not any. The museum was gracious enough to respond to my tweet and I agree, “You can’t cover everything”. They are absolutly correct. I spent so much time on the third floor in the mankind section I had to sit to process everything.

Second, was the knowledge of the staff on the floor areas. I asked only a few times and realized my questions were not going to get answered. Most questions were around general clarification on a display or if they knew if a certain style object was displayed, and the staff knew next to nothing. I also asked one employee if there were any large Yucca in the area like what would have been used for cordage in the displays, only to find that they did not know about the large Banana Yucca at the Botanical Gardens a few hundred yards away.

Last, I was really hoping for special tours. On the website there seems to be a common theme of “coming soon” or “rescheduled”. I was willing to spend the extra cash for more knowledge on early or aboriginal man.

Other than these few small areas, it was an awesome experience for the day and I plan on going back again the next time we are in town. The museum is well laid out for self-directed tours and even has an option to use your smart-device as a tour guide. All videos are well produced, the displays are the best I have ever seen, and everyone in the place is friendly. Even the glass on the displays is clean, which with as many kids that were in there in the afternoon has to be a full time position. There are many places to sit and process all you are taking in.

The museum also has a great café with a wonderful menu. Since I spend allot of time on the road, a good menu was a welcome relief. Also, this is not one of those museums that has a focus on huge green things that roamed the planet eons ago. Its well thought out and covers all aspects of natural history of the Utah area. Melissa took a ton of pictures of the Dino-types since she is in to that, but I spent several hours in the mankind area on the third floor with both my camera and journal. My knowledge on tools of early man in this region grew today. In addition, they are doing a special showing of “Mammals” right now that is a must-see exhibit.

The Natural History Museum of Utah is a museum located at the Rio Tinto Center on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City so just plug the address into your GPS device (301 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108). We went on Sunday and the crowd was pretty tame until 2pm. Mondays are free so I’m sure it will be a zoo. For more information, give them a call at (801) 581-6927.

This is a “Highly Recommend” and I would put it at a 5/5 on all my ratings.

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Introvert or Extrovert

First…not a big Myers-Briggs fan…hard to take a few billion people on the planet and put them into 16 classifications. But some would say I am an introvert.


The world often sees us as loners. Off in the wild on by ourselves. Hermits.

I admit, I need time alone to recharge, but I love showing people the ropes in this lifestyle. I also teach corp adults in my day gig…making contact with 50-200 people per day…so on the weekends…I often like to get to myself.

Growing up I did what we now call bushcraft. I was scrawny, too small (but still loved) to play football. I lived in an area far from other kids, or at least other kids that weren’t getting into serious trouble. I had a small patch of undeveloped land that was my safe haven. Away from bully’s, teachers, etc. I didn’t have access to a Boy Scout troop so I took myself through most of the outdoor skills and then worked my way through some military survival manuals.

Later in life, I look back and see this as a pattern. I break away but don’t disconnect from others. I find my recharge time is in a hammock with basic gear. Even on business travel, I pack a small kit and find a place to camp or at least practice my skills (you draw crowds in Taipei, Shenzen, and Seoul when experimenting with fire steel and local tinder).

The woods are often my retreat. Going through divorce, issues at work, when tough decision have to be made. This is where I go to just exist. Its where I reming myself that I don’t need allot of stuff to be happy. 10-12 items in a pack, a meal, and a nice fire is all that is required to be happy.

I now have an opportunity to provide a path for people just like me. People who are broken. People who fight addiction or co-dependancy. People who fight depression. People who have no idea why they exist.

Being alone doesn’t mean I am a loner nor anti-social. Quiet doesn’t mean I don’t have a voice. Being alone says that I have a place where I am confident and I can rely on myself.



Dixie Flames

I wish I remembered who first showed this little addition tome for my combustion kit. I have seen several on the internet lately, so be sure to Google it and see other ideas and methods. My first experience with this was some 30 years ago. It was one of my fellow team members back at Dyess when I was hanging with the Life Support guys. I was tasked with running the OPFOR or enemy trrops that were looking for downed aircrew members during the SAREX or search and rescue exercises in the west Texas wasteland known as Camp Brownlee. Not even sure the place exist anymore.

I was fresh back from Desert Storm, had done some work with the ParaRescue unit and had gone through the Royal Saudi Air Force Survival School at King Abdul Air Base. Desert Shield had “redlined” or killed my orders for my shot at becoming an Air Force Survival Instructor. I was determined to get back on the path of becoming a SERE Instructor, so I got to know the Survival Instructor and Life Support guys at Dyess pretty well. It didn’t take long and I was working with them running OPFOR teams and learning new skills that would help me if I ever got my shot. This is just one of the many tricks and tips they taught me. It was a fun group to hang with since we are all expected to learn and teach each other new things. Its where the concept of BushLab came from.

This little fire starter uses a straw, a cotton ball, petroleum jelly, a lighter, and a knife to create.

Begin by cutting the straws in half.

Next lightly dip each end in the petroleum jelly

Next tightly roll the cotton ball and straw paper and work it into the straw

Next finish off with a bit of petroleum jelly on each end, melt each the end of the straw and press to seal.

When ready to use, cur in half and pull one or both pieces of cotton out. You will have a fire starter that can light from a ferro rod and will burn for several minutes.

These make a great addition to the other items you have in your combustion kit.