Winter Herbal Adventure - Part 1

Monday, November 05, 2018 8:16 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

Winter Herbal Adventure - Part 1
by Jane Foxglove

My Winter Herbal adventure began in Woodstock, NY. My husband, Charlie, and I had gone up for the weekend to the 20th Anniversary Dedication of the Wise Women's Herbal Center. The owner Susun Weed had been a teacher of mine over the years at the Women's Herbal Conferences in New Hampshire.

We met Doc and his wife Lynn there. They had come east to pick up a new (used) small plane and attend the Dedication. Doc had been invited by several of the visiting "celebrity herbalists" to speak at the International Herbal Symposium in New York City the following week, and Lynn had always wanted to see the holiday displays and Museums in the City.

We bonded so easily over the weekend it seemed natural to invite them to come and stay with us in New Jersey to save the cost of hotels in NYC. We planned to fly to New Jersey in their "new" little plane and leave our rental car near the airport in Woodstock, NY. We enjoyed the lunch buffet on our way out of town and packed some sandwiches for the trip home. Near the airport was a farm market stand and, being such tourists, we could not resist bringing some New York Sharp Cheddar Cheese and local honey combs and apple cider back with us.

I called my Mother, who was babysitting our Parrot-child, and my dog- sitter friend, who was caring for our little puppy, to let them know we would be home in a few hours. Doc and Lynn called California to check in with their daughters at home and let them know of the change in plans.

Leaving Woodstock, NY, Doc flew above the Interstate Route 17 south towards New Jersey. We circled over Harriman State Park, also known as Bear Mountain, to see the colorful fall foliage and beautiful scenery.

Suddenly the engine hiccupped and our small plane lost altitude! Doc spotted a clearing on the ridge, and we had a bumpy landing. Lynn, co-piloting, had loosened her seat belt to reach for the maps as we were descending so she got banged about in the landing and cracked a few ribs. Doc had a cut on his forehead, but it was not bleeding much.

Charlie and I had been packed in tightly in the back seat with all the gear we had from the camping weekend, so we were unhurt. We all got out of the plane and smelled a fuel leak. Quickly we moved all of our gear and supplies out of the plane and set up a spot closer to the tree line, just in case the plane exploded from the fuel leak. Lynn stayed in the "safe spot" and organized the belongings to take an inventory of our supplies. Her ribs were hurting and we did not want her to lift anything heavy.

It was now about 3:00 pm, and we figured we had about two and a half hours of daylight to make a camp for the night. The radio in the plane was not working, and we had not heard a response to our "Mayday" call. Our cell phones were out of range on this high ridge, and I knew my Mom would start to worry soon.

Charlie and I used to go primitive camping with the Mountain Men group years ago, so he was able to lash together a few dead fall pine poles and we fashioned a simple Tipi using the tarps from the plane. A fire can be built inside a "Tipi" type shelter, and in this winter cold a fire is key to staying alive.

He used some duct tape to piece together a few of our solar blankets to fashion a liner for our shelter and packed the space between the liner and the tarp with pine needles and leaves to act as insulation, leaving some gaps for air flow upward to channel the smoke out the top.

He left the top of the Tipi open a little to allow the smoke out. That way the smoke could escape through the upward draft, but no cold draft chilled us as we huddled around the life sustaining fire.

Doc started a small fire using his strike anywhere matches and a few flyers from the conference with kindling and plenty of dry branches that lay about after a very dry summer. In no time the inside of the Tipi was warm and cozy.

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