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God's Wild Herbs, by Dennis Ellingson, known as "The Herb Guy"

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A plant field guide for hikers and campers...

Star offers "wild crafting" information for beginners that includes endemic species in The Columbia Gorge on the border of Oregon and Washington.Read more: Wildcrafting for Beginners | Garden Guides


God's Wild Herbs, by Dennis Ellingson, Cladach Publishing, 2010, 128 Pages, ISBN-13:978-0981892924, $17.99

"Why did God create weeds?" asked young Ellingson of his grandmother.

"Did He?"

His grandmother's response, "in her typical cryptic way," taught her grandson to see all sides of an issue and learn "different angles and respect all living things."

In time, instead of seeing weeds as a "wild bunch of strangers," he began to recognize them as friends, and respect them as part of God's provision and bounty and he learned "wild crafting."

"Wild crafting" is the ability to "identify, forage, gather and use parts of edible and medicinal wild plants," according to the author, also known as the "The Herb Guy" on Facebook. He and his wife also own "God's Healing Herbs," research-based herb gardens in Southern Oregon.

Within these pages readers learn from clear descriptions and close-up pictures, what plants are, where to find them, why to consider harvesting them, the right time to harvest and how to use the plants, whether for edible or medicinal purposes.

Ellingson believes "all plant life is an herb or has herbal benefits," although some, such as tobacco and marijuana aren't used for the purposes God intended he writes. While others are simply deadly from what is currently known about them.

Information such as, never take more than one-third of the plant so as not to kill the plant, forage and gather in the morning or early evening to prevent plant shock and take a knowledgeable person along if you're a novice forager.

One-hundred-twenty-one plants are arranged alphabetically, with brief descriptions, indentified by their common and genus plant names, and what part of the plant to use. He reminds readers God made all trees and fauna to grow and "flourish" (Ezekiel 17:24)

A handful of brief meditations and recipes are included with meditations that point to the wonder of God and His bountiful creation. Yummy sounding recipes include Wild Ginger Dip, Persimmon Cookies, Dandelion Jelly, Chickweed Pesto and Spinach, Chicory and Mushroom Salad, with bacon dressing.

The author wrote God's Wild Herbs full-color field guide to teach readers differences between edible and non-edible wild plants, native and naturalized plants. His inspirational field guide encourages readers to " enjoy what God has prescribed and provided for us," whether in home gardens, mountain fields, or alongside remote flowing streams

God's Wild Herbsis an excellent field guide for hikers and campers of all ages, as well as for children's field trips, youth groups or Boy or Girl Scout groups. I intend to check out many native plants this spring in the mountains around Sedro-Woolley.

God's Wild Herbsis a companion volume to God's Healing Herbs, released in 2009, which I plan to review in a few days.

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