Wyatt Bottorff

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since Jan 03, 2016
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Recent posts by Wyatt Bottorff

Hello Anita how has this project gone for you the last couple of years?
I have been learning permaculture and herbal medicine in Florida during the same time and have come home to focus on building my businesses here. About 90 minutes east of you.
I am not up for traveling between the two often but have many skills to offer for larger projects. Over a decade of experience contracting, in carpentry especially fine woodworking. (have some pieces still) Garden ponds and native landscaping as well.
Today Im harvesting, propapating and cultivating medicine and food plants native or otherwise.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
10 months ago
Elderberries supposedly do well under black walnuts, or so the books tell me.
1 year ago
For the record I am a professional herbalist and can tell you that Comfrey IS poisonous, I know people who have died from it. I also know people who have eaten ot their entire lives, however they also aren't the healthiest individuals today.
Its like many other plants, eat it in the right way, in proper amounts and within a conscious diet and you should be fine. Anyone who happens to have liver issues already should avoid eating it period.
1 year ago
Echinacea and Elder are great go-tos, and so easy to grow. Echinacea if used right is important for many different grades of infection, but I find that Elder's effectiveness drops off at Lyme level dis-eases; you likely caught it early enough in your case but most people with Lyme's have had it for years and decades. Which is where the most potent tools we have for actually killing it are Sida (acute, spinosa, rhombifolia, etc) and Bidens (alba, bipinatta and likely others).
You couldn't be more correct in that supporting the body is even more important than going on the attack, especially with Lyme. The more you fight (beyond initial infection)  the deeper it digs in. I had a client who's had it since the 80s and everyone she ever went to just tried to kill it...  She is in rough shape these days and I don't think anything I could do for her made her feel better fast enough.

Also, I don't think I ever got around to mentioning Kudzu in earlier replies, definitely an oversight. It has a myriad of uses, so much so I have a whole book on it.
1 year ago
Some info regarding Poke at an antibacterial, from the crazy yet very astute Susan Weed:
"... When there is a deeply entrenched infection in the pelvic area, for example, I add one dropperful of Poke root to my one ounce bottle of Echinacea. Poke is an especially effective ally for men with prostatitis, women with chronic bacterial vaginal infections or PID, or anyone dealing with an STD/STI or urinary tract infection (UTI)."

For some perspective, at about 600 drops per ounce that dropperful of Poke dilutes to just over a drop worth per dropperful of the combination.
I have also read of it being useful for breast infections. Other than being reproductive systems, what these issues have in common is the stagnation of lymph, which is Pokes primary use. Other lymph movers (from strong to mild) include Red Root, Burdock, Cleavers and Chickweed. All found in the Appalachians.
As far as antibacterial/microbial we have the "yellows", berberine containing roots such as Burdock, Yellow Dock,   and Goldenseal. There is also Usnea, a lichen common across forest globally, inner barks of some trees especially pine and other conifers (as well as needles in their case), Uva-Ursi, Barberry and Bearberry are all microbial. Most of these are safe in most circumstances, but few are safe in every circumstance.
1 year ago
Good to hear you're moving forward with your passion!
Let me start from the start:
Poke: it is an effective antimicrobial, however, it's narrow band of safe dosage makes it something ONLY to be used by professionals. We use it more to move lymphatic fluid, context is a MUST to ensure its safety. For example there are times where a proper dosage is less than a drop, down to a quarter drop. That being said there are well respected medicine makers that put a tiny amount of it in almost every formula. In short, yes it can be highly useful for infections but only with the most careful administration. (cyanide poisoning aside, it can move lymph so fast the body can't handle it)
Lyme: something of a specialty of mine. The Appalachians have almost everything you need to treat those with Lyme. Teasel root as you may know is incredibly useful, Japanese Knotweed is an edible (young shoots) invasive and strong medicine that has a mild effect to actually kill spirochetes but is more used to quell inflammation and other symptoms. Fortifying herbs such as Solomon's Seal, Thistles etc can help to rebuild the tissues that Lyme consumes. (bone broths are incredibly useful for this as well) Bidens and Sida species can be used as well, tops and nourishment and roots tinctured as antimicrobial. (THE most effective of any combo to directly kill Lyme) Mushrooms and Astragalus (or the related native Milk Vetch) can both be used to nourish and build the immune system WITHOUT aggravating autoimmune. Sida may not make it as far north as you, but I'm pretty sure Bidens does. (I can supply both in bulk, if you like, with notice) Of course there are many others to use depending on how and in what tissues it manifests.
Ginseng: it can be hard to source native, wild, seed. I'm a member of the United Plant Savers so I get it through their yearly seed sales, however Ginseng groups on facebook or something tend to have them available occasionally as well. Cultivated seed (far inferior as far as medicine and survivability are concerned) are always available through Hsu's Ginseng out of Wisconsin. Without our help the native population WILL be extinct, our solution is to simulate wild growth just as mountain folk have for hundreds of years. (maybe with some more permaculture principles and research in mind)
Chestnut: thanks for the info regarding Chinese infecting the Hybrids, I'll have to remove a couple trees on my mother's property if I ever plant Hybrids there.
Nurseries: I can think of a few you'll like as well, you already know of Strictly Medicinal Seeds, other favorites are Sow True Seeds and Joe Hollis at Mountain Gardens. (looking forward to an apprenticeship with him next year)
Land: I am famous for treating my parents land as my own, have my entire life. I have been working with them to propagate whatever we can get our hands on. So far - Echinacea purpurea, Thyme, Sage, Lemon Balm, Solomon's Seal, Rhubarb, Ginseng, Goldenseal, Black Cohosh, Yarrow, and about a week ago we put in Witch Hazel, Serviceberry, and a ton of Blueberries. The rest of the fall/winter is starting tree seeds, (elderberry and paw paw), digging natives like paw paw from the woods,  building soil and compost tea solutions including "Effective Organisms." Things I hope to get ahold of next year are Oregon Graperoot, Giant Solomons Seal, Calamus, Horsetail, more Comfrey, Sea Buckthorn etc. But of course I'm open to what comes around.
Medicine: seems to be my true specialty. I earned my certification in Florida over 2 years of study and started making medicine there (here, actually, in FL the next couple weeks) and nearly everytime I sold/gave it to someone including my teacher they were thrilled with the quality. Now I have about 20 gallons of herb tincturing, almost all of which I collected myself from the wild; everything I'm growing goes to propagation. Some of these herbs need diluted more, for example I harvested Lion's Mane and stuffed a gallon jar FULL with it to preserve it being that I couldnt afford enough alcohol; in the end it will take another 4+ gallons of alcohol. THEN it will be decocted to make a dual extract. In the end it will be 10+ gallons of medicine.
I'm stoked to hear about you committing to Appalachia Tree Crops! You seem to be a good voice and advocate for the industry.
1 year ago
I learned a lot about what I don't want from my parents as well, which I am grateful for. I have not bought land myself, but my parents still live (separated) in the area; I'm fortunate enough to have something to inherit. My expectation is to spend this next ~year to continue building and gaining exposure for my herbal business, using it to fund modifications to the properties. It is good to see a resurgence in homesteading, organics, herbalism etc. The more mass culture screws up, the more people that will see through it. I share your concern for the region, however; it has been raped some thoroughly for so long I have COMPLETE faith that it will continue to serve us. All we have to do is decide to make us of it.
In time as we help each other to get projects at home and in our communities fulfilled we can begin to focus on larger tasks. (Forest restoration, farm-scale designs, community programs, etc.) I'm seeing firsthand how permaculture communities in states such as Florida and California are maturing, since it's been there longer; and it's the real deal! You could live solely within those communities, never needed to deal with the "common folk." Better yet, the numbers of "normal people" joining the cause grows by the day. It turns out people love the idea of self-reliance, they have just forgotten what that means beyond providing themselves a big enough paycheck to live on.
We do have enormous issues that, as you say, most folks never question. From overgrazing to building codes designed for the lowest common denominator, to a medical system that provides just enough service to keep people from taking health into their own hands. (hospital in my hometown closed recently, many of us were thrilled to loose it..... that bad) You've got some good resources between "Tree Crops" and Buhner's books, if there is anything in health or herbalism you could use a hand with let me know; I just finished a certification course in Clinical Western Herbalism and work diligently daily to add to my medica. I'll never know it all, but if I don't know I'll find out where to learn.
I do have some experience working around chestnuts, though I haven't planted one myself. The full Chinese do well, though the folks at the Chestnut Hill Tree Farm have a cross 15/16ths being American Chestnut that will cost you more but may be worth it for somewhat local genetics. I've only just recently heard of Burnt Ridge, I'd love to hear how they do; you may agree that it's very possible that nothing would mean more to this region than the successful repopulation of the Chestnut.
1 year ago

christopher Sommers wrote:I want to start now building friendships and networks throughout this region and neighboring places so that we can help each other learn, grow, and adapt. Recently I have been thinking about Youtube and how I love watching people in warmer climate zones showcase their food forests but hardly anything is shown about our incredibly diverse region..... I wish I had you as a neighbor because I would love to learn how to do those things!

Hello friend, I have been looking for the same for some time! My homeland is a particular(-ly rural) region where VA meets NC at the edge of the mountains. Think Floyd VA, most folks in these communities have heard of that. Anyway I started traveling to Florida 3 years ago for love (I'm now 22, her 47) and took it as the opportunity of a lifetime to ingrain myself deeply into the network and activities there in permaculture; and found my love of herbalism. What drives me now is mixing the two to the fullest possible extent, and making the most of every resource we have from plants and ecosystems, to technological materials/systems, but most importantly communities. If we as this more "cooperative" mind and culture are going to continue to grow and influence as we have we need to get our act together and organize to support one another.
What I'm facilitating, like many others are, is a transference of knowledge and highly localized/specialized goods such as medicine, food, technological manufacturing/scavenging, as well as old-fashioned honest support; across broad yet particular areas. Growing and living are very different in the mountains than they are in Florida, yet the experience I gained there and through those connections is fueling creativity here at home even more.
I agree that Appalachia has, perhaps, the highest to rise of anywhere in the country. (I own literature on the subject)
Personally I have spent the last ~5 years studying several properties in my region of the mountains. Fall and late summer this year we've begun ramping up activities such as sowing and maintaining endangered, wild-simulated forest medicinals, starting trees from seed and bare roots, improving garden beds and installing key perennials to maintain it while providing "something for nothing", importing organic matter, working with water, maintaining existing forest. I have lists of plants native and introduced to each area, something I like to do where-ever I visit.
Something I don't see here is businesses, there are next to no permaculture installation services, not enough consultants OR herbalists/medicine-makers. All are up-and-coming, and I think in time we'll find more like myself who used one or two of these businesses to fuel others. I find that embracing the full breadth of passions is what keeps them alive and helps them grow.
1 year ago
Thomas Easley and friends at the Eclectic School of Herbal Medicine also do wonderful work in the clinic and education.
At some point next year I myself will be providing some simpler classes for folks, mostly informal walk-abouts but some class-based learning as well.
1 year ago
I have been semi-stewarding a few properties in the central Appalachians for a few years now, more focus on managing the properties rather than starting from scratch. Only now am I beginning to bring in new plants from starts, rootlets, seeds, etc. All this time observing has been KEY, with such complex environments as we have here we need to be sure to take EVERYTHING in before making much for alterations.
Being that my primary passion is herbalism, my focus is in particular medicines, first and foremost wild-simulated cultivation of endangered plants such as Cohosh, Ginseng, Solomon's Seal, etc. Although we are improving soil in some areas for more general garden plants and herbs, as well as nursery space for fruit and nut trees, etc. Depending on the way things occur, an enterprise focused on installing and maintaining permaculture installations in the Appalachians may be among my most important of occupations.
1 year ago