Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
Wild Wanderings Blog – May 10, 2012
Hello again my earthy and earthly friends! Life on the farm has been quite wet again this week. Numerous, almost daily storms have saturated the soil to its carrying capacity. A huge very fast moving storm on Sunday has crippled my internet access, making communications and running a school a bit challenging. The plants of course are thriving. All the wild edibles here are at least three to four weeks ahead of schedule. I’ve been gathering numerous plants for an upcoming edible and medicinal plant program. I currently have chickweed, plantain and yarrow infusing in some olive oil. This combination is my absolute favorite for a healing salve. I’ve seen it work wonders on even the most persistent rashes, on both people and animals. Stinging nettles, milkweed, lambs quarters, wild garlic and dandelion have all found their way on my dinner plate as of late. Many plants will be collected, dried and used for various teas throughout the season as well. The wild abundance that we’re blessed with is truly amazing.
Last week I finished up the discussion about our five major senses. Did anyone try any of the exercises? Understand that I just touched on each of the senses briefly. We could easily spend hours if not days exploring and discovering the full extent of our sensory awareness. Aside from our major senses, we’ve all heard reference to a sixth. This is our intuitive sense. Some people don’t even like to acknowledge its existence because science hasn’t been able to prove it. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist however. I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all experienced it to some degree. I’m sure you’ve had gut instincts about many things that have proven to be true, even if you didn’t listen to them at the time. This instinctive sense is very important in Nature. Animals are born with it and probably wouldn’t survive without it. But what about us? Clearly we all possess it, but I doubt that we utilize it to our full advantage. Our intuition is quite powerful and we should never doubt that. It is but another tool to help us navigate and enjoy life to its fullest. And, who knows?...Maybe we have several more:)
My goal for my Blog posts, up to this point, was to make it perfectly clear that the realities of wilderness survival / living are complex and multifaceted. It requires not only a solid physical skill set, but a spiritual and emotional one as well. Combining these three elements and having the awareness to understand them is where the real wisdom lies. Too often I see wilderness survival instruction taught purely on a physical level. Personally I think this is a mistake. Having physical outdoors skills without a solid foundation of Nature awareness will make any situation you may face much more difficult.
In a previous post I mentioned “The Eye of the Survivalist,” this is the concept of what I’m really trying to convey here. When you can combine these skills, wilderness survival becomes easy. Honestly, it has taken me years to understand this relationship fully. With that said…I don’t claim to have it all figured out, but my understanding of Nature and my relationship to it has definitely changed, particularly in the past few years. For instance, when I go on hikes now, I see opportunities and resources without having to really think about it. Even if I’m involved in a conversation with someone, I’m having an internal dialog as well. I’m saying things to myself like…that’s a great place to build a shelter…there’s some food for dinner…there’s some medicine…I can make rope with that…here’s a great place to put a trap…the deer are eating this plant…the crows are harassing an owl…etc, etc. I think you get the idea. The information I’m downloading is almost overwhelming at times. Most importantly, it’s happening automatically.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to brag or just talk about myself. I’m merely trying to bring attention to the fact that “we miss a lot”…we all do. Wilderness survival and Nature awareness training has taught me that. I believe it can teach you that as well. Modern technology has brought us many things, but is clearly a double-edged sword. It has led us away from Nature for the most part. I believe that balancing these two worlds is the key to our very survival. I think we need to take the best of sustainable technology and combine that with best of the old ways. Our ancestors understood the wisdom of having a strongly rooted foundation with Nature. Clearly we need to get back to that understanding and wisdom if we are to remain here.
Next week I’ll start to focus on individual plants and skills. I want to take you on a journey week by week, and show you what I collect and utilize during the course of the year. There are numerous free resources that we all should be utilizing. I plan to post more photos and perhaps even a few videos to help you on this journey. I’ll recommend books and various resources that I feel will benefit you as well. Remember that these skills take practice and time to master. “It’s all about the journey, not the destination.”
As always, I welcome your thoughts and input. Please consider joining a group I started called “Traditional / Primitive Living Skills” and I do encourage you to ask questions and contribute.
Richard Cleveland lives in Asheville, NC. He is the founder and director of Earth School. A self-trained Naturalist, fishing and nature guide, he has taught traditional native skills to thousands of people, of all ages. For info about his programs visit www.LoveTheEarth.com
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