October 06, 2012


I love taking photos of wildflowers and interesting bushes or trees when I am fishing. When I do presentations at schools, I love dropping a quick "What they have been used for in the past" description. The next statement is what I typically say to them: "Don't put anything wild in your mouth unless you are 100 percent sure it is ok to." I beat it in to the young folks heads that many of the old remedies and so called cures from these will flowers or berries have been debunked and DON'T EAT THAT!!! For a poison emergency in the U.S. call 1-800-222-1222 Below are some of the pictures I have taken of plants that at one time had medicinal qualities attached to them.
Bells Wort is not very common in Southwestern Wisconsin. I have only run in to a couple times in my vast wanderings. A wort that is more common is St. John's and has proven medicinal qualities. For a poison emergency in the U.S. call 1-800-222-1222 In the past Bells Wort has been made into a tea that was used in the treatment of sore throats, inflamed gums, coughs and scads other ailments. The taste was pungent and unappealing. There is no evidence that Bells Wort has any effect on any maladies. The power of suggestion resulted in some improvement or maybe a placebo effect. When in doubt, don't eat it!!! For a poison emergency in the U.S. call 1-800-222-1222
Prickly Ash has an oil extracted from the bark and berries that was used in the past to cure rheumatism and typhoid and impurities of the blood. The stems and fruits were chewed by the Native Americans in the past to alleviate toothaches because of the numbing effect. Many cures have been debunked and have been shown to have secondary negative effects that outweighed the initial medical qualities. I am going to sound like a broken record here but "Don't Eat That!!"
Wild bergamot was used by many Native Americans in a tea to treat colds and flu. The flower was used in a poultice for skin infections and as an antiseptic for minor wounds. A tea made from the plant was also used to treat mouth and throat infections caused by dental problems. This plant was used for a variety of purposes that varied from stopping farting to clearing up acne. I bet the Snake Oil Salesmen of the old days made some serious jingle on this cure all.
The leaves of the Columbine were used in potions for sore mouths and throats. The seeds taken in wine with a little saffron purports to remove obstructions of the liver and is good for the yellow jaundice. I believe a doctor should be consulted about liver problems.The flowers of various species of columbine were eaten by Native Americans with other fresh greens, and are reported to be very sweet and safe if consumed in small quantities. The plant’s seeds and roots are highly poisonous however, and contain cancerous elements. Don’t ingest these things.
In mythology, bluebells are used by fairies to trap passersby, especially young children. They symbolize death in Britain and are often planted on graves there. The bluebell is a poisonous plant. This one I bet has been tried and it failed miserably as a medicine or folk remedy. The key word that should alert you is "POISON." A friend bought several mushroom identification books a few years ago when he was really into mushroom hunting. It can get pretty confusing in a hurry. I remember when I was a cop and a dad was in the field and picked some mushrooms. He identified them wrong and took them home to his family. He fried them up. He fed them to the family. He went on the internet after supper because his kids gave him such a hard time to show them that the mushrooms were identified correctly. He had misidentified the mushrooms. He had his whole family stick their fingers down their throat. He called to dispatch for follow up. He was referred to Poison Control and we were sent to the residence later to make sure everything was okay. These flowers and berries may be pretty and have some historical medical values but I for one am not willing to be a Guinea Pig. Modern medical science has the FDA to vet medicines and cures for our medical problems. "DON'T EAT THAT!!" For a poison emergency in the U.S. call 1-800-222-1222

September 30, 2012

The Tackle Box

I ran in to Scot Schellhorn on Friday at the Apple Festival in Gays Mills. Scot and I usually talk fishing when we meet. This was one of those talks. Scot was a little more excited than typical. He had inherited his Dad's tackle box. He wanted me to look at. I will quote Scot: "There are some really old neat lures in there of my Dad's and he thought he might sell them if I thought they were worth anything." I told him I would make time and come to his house and take a look.

 Sunday morning I drove in his driveway and found him splitting wood outside. He knew what I was there for and he ran up his driveway to the garage to retrieve "the tackle box." He walked out of the garage cradling it in his arms like a baby. It had a handle but Scot carried with both arms clutching close to his chest. From that second on I knew Scot really didn't want to sell any of those lures. He just wanted to show me that special tackle box.

Scot opened it carefully and I could feel Scot's excitement as he did it. He quickly found his favorite lure. He held it up like a prize and said: "This was my favorite lure." "I could catch any kind of fish in any waterway with this one!"

He went back to the corner of the garage and retrieve the creel and the "helicopter" lures. These were our big fish catchers. I could see the twinkle in Scot's eyes as he touched each one the lures and described them. At one time I could see Scot's mind wander to a long ago memory. The twinkle in his eyes told me he was with his Dad in Hudson, Iowa again fishing and he was 10 years old.

There was one special lure that had glass eyes and he had to show it to me. He made me look closely at the lure to show a tooth mark on it. He said he didn't get to see that fish but it almost ripped the rod out of his hand. He could still remember the disappointment he felt from not landing that fish. He was just a little tike and his Dad reassured him there would be many big fish in his future.

That tackle box seemed to have an endless supply of lures and reels and many memories in it. This "Rocket" reel still was in its box and the price tag and manual were in there. It costed $13.95. Scot commented that some good line costs more than that today. Scot's eye brows raised as he showed this reel and eyes got big. Scot exclaimed: "The "rocket" was for bass and huge catfish!"

Scot was truly caught up in the moment. He was showing me all the treasures his Dad's tackle box held. The Martin reel held many memories of days past. When we were done and I had taken some photos, I told Scot he was a lucky man to inherit such a tackle box and if I owned it and it was my Dad's there would be zero chances of me selling anything in that box.  Scot smiled widely. I watched as he put everything back in the tackle box.  He was very meticulous as he did it. He wanted to make sure it was all put back in there correctly just like his Dad had taught him. There is ZERO chance that Scot will ever sell anything from this time capsule of his days fishing with his dad.