NEWS FROM THE HILLS

March came in like a peaceful little lamb, but went out like a thundering lion in some areas. April has drifted in, a little chilly around the edges, but promising sunny skies and warmer temperatures.

When we were blessed with thunderstorms, my sister-in-law Alice informed me that she heard that thunder wakes up the morels. She could be right, as some of the elusive little critters have already been found. We are waiting for the weather to get warmer before we begin the annual morel (we call them merkles) search.

Whether you call them Molly Moochers, muggles, or by the correct name “morels” they are probably the most sought after mushroom in the hills. They are easy to identify, but not so easily found, and in most folk’s opinion, are the most delicious of all the wild mushrooms.

Springtime brings many wild foods to be enjoyed, such as the lowly ramp; that innocent-looking but extremely powerful little plant ignored by some but relished by others. There’s no middle ground with a ramp. Either you hate them, or love them. We belong to the latter group.

I will admit that it is better to fix them on a camping trip, where they can be cooked outdoors and the scent dissipated with the breeze from the river. Of course being shut up in a tent or camper at night with a bunch of ramp eaters, unless you are a ramp eater also, can be a traumatic experience.

Oh, the joys of country living! Right now the rich, robust fragrance of sassafras tea drifts through the house, a spring tonic and potpourri combined. Forget the castor oil, the sulphur and molasses—I’ll take my spring tonic in sassafras tea every time.

The dandelion greens are young and tender now. They always remind me of my late Aunt Addie, who loved these astringent spring herbs. I like them better mixed with other wild greens, but poke salat greens are my favorite.

The hills are shaking themselves awake after their winter slumber, stretching and sending signals to the heralds of springtime. Newborn calves like blobs of molten tar lie splattered on the green grass of the meadow, soaking up sunshine. There is a stir among the trees as new buds burst forth, making a greening haze among the treetops.

Already the sarvisberry (serviceberry to city folk) bloom hangs heavy on the branches, delicate white blossoms that develop into tasty berries. I hope that somewhere it has already snowed on the sarvis bloom, so that springtime can come in earnest.

Just a few days of warmer weather has brought out the Bradford pears with clouds of white blossoms that soothe the soul. Pink peach blossoms grace fruit trees in the orchard, and golden forsythia spreads their own unique sunshine along lawn borders and creek banks.

Daddy always called forsythia “Showers of Gold,” and indeed it is a springtime treasure. Spicewood is blooming in the woods now, and it has been called “Forsythia of the Forest.” I love to break off and chew the tender tips of this shrub, relishing the spicy taste of the bark.

The maple trees are rimmed with gleaming red tips on their boughs, as they come into flower. They shine amid the bare-limbed trees in the woods, while the weeping willow droops graceful green fronds downward.

Truly, God has blessed our hills with beauty and plenty. I wonder how many of us really consider how blessed we are to live in these hills? I am so thankful that God has placed me here to live in a place that abounds with such natural beauty, amid country people who live close the earth.

We’ve had good response from folks answering requests for a remedy for plantar warts.

It was interesting to receive the remedies for plantar warts, and all of these were new to me. Elaine Greer of Canada writes that she “smothers” them. She uses an ointment that contains tea tree oil, such as Polysporin, and puts a dab directly on the wart. Cover tightly with duct tape. Repeat every day.

She adds that you can use pure tea tree oil, and cover wart with Vaseline. Open only at night to wash foot, reapply ointment, and cover with duct tape—don’t leave open for more than ten minutes—the idea is to smother the wart.

June C. Jones of Charleston has a simply remedy—use Right Guard spray deodorant daily on the wart. It will eventually crumble and fall off. She says that it has worked for her and many others, and also has been suggested by some doctors for their patients.

Eloise Hunter of Charleston, who is 91 years old, sends a remedy that she got from Grandma Pritt’s vinegar book. Apply a lotion made of half cider vinegar and half glycerin to the area. These remedies are worth a try.

Maggie Drake of Stony Lonesome (Newton area) is looking for a quilt pattern called “Irish Chain.” She used her mother’s pattern for years, but has lost it. She would purely appreciate the pattern if anyone has it.

The Waynedale News Staff
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Alyce Faye Bragg

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