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28 February 2015

Herb Class

I bought an herb class. It's online, and self-paced, so I have a fighting chance at getting somewhere with it. Once I had it, I told the kids I'd bought a class -school- for myself. That was a fun moment. I could see the gears turning over that statement! I often study, and they know that, but I don't usually call it "school" and doing that seemed to really make them think.

So, it's got all these videos to watch, and handouts to read, plus, there's a lot of stuff that the instructor, his name is 7Song (I have yet to discover the story behind his name), has mentioned that he's not covering, but he thinks is critical to doing herbalism. Like, botany. 

Now, we've been doing our Nature Study for around five or six years, now. Hero was just a little dude, and we'd go out and look for interesting things, and I'd learn a little each time, so I could tell him about them. I gradually accumulated field guides, and field guide apps, and we've had a blast. But it's been very just-what-catches-our-eye, more than a structured thing. And I love birds, so they've really been the heart of what we've learned about. I know a few more plants than I did, mostly wildflowers, but mostly I've learned birds

Now, I'm learning botany. Whew, that sounds official and intimidating! But there's some good conversation about what kind of resources are out there. I found this series from an intro level class from Berkley. 

And this clip was recommended by 7Song. 

And, of course, there are books. Newcomb's Wildflower Guide. Field Guides like the Peterson's guides I've got, ones that are locality specific, such as you might find at the local library. Herb Mentor has some stuff too, though my budget is, at this point, exhausted, so no pay sites for me for a while.  7Song's  recommended clip has a whole Botany Every Day site that he said he likes. His Facebook profile says he dropped out of high school in 1975, but he's founded an herbalism school, and he definitely sounds like a professor when he talks. That he is very knowledgeable is obvious. It's nice to come across someone that's self-taught, and so clearly become an expert at his chosen thing. 

Anyway, The Daddy bought me a big bunch of beautiful flowers the other day, so tonight, I snipped a few off, and we tore them apart. 

I have no idea what kind of flower it is. But I did learn a bunch as I tore it up. For instance, I'd never really thought about petals from a single plant bring this different, particularly since they're shaped so similarly. 

Hero had a look, too, though it wasn't something that held his attention very long. He did tear one apart, though, and see a bunch of the different parts. I'd printed a little diagram. Turned out, it was hard to use, but it did the job, mostly. 

Once the petals were off, I had the little bundle from the middle. The chart tells me those are stamen and the pistil. I vaguely remember learning about those in school, but I can't remember what they do, any more specifically than just reproduction stuff.

It was somewhere in the middle of this process that Dragon asked me to read him his "poop book." Maybe I should have stopped and read to him, but I was on a roll. We'll read it again, soon.

Tigress was really into the project. Shredding the flower was fun. I'm a little afraid for the rest of the bouquet. Hopefully the can of worms isn't too large; I'd like my flowers to last a few more days. 

The little ovary at the bottom was surprisingly tough. First, I tried scissors, then I eventually grabbed one of my kitchen knives to get me into it. A quick internet search for a better graphic to help me figure out what I was looking at, and I realized the little bits in there are baby seeds -- this, Hero thought was pretty cool. Me, too. 

Meanwhile, Tigress was finishing off her second flower. "Did it! DID IT!!" She's a little fuzzy here because she was bouncing in excitement, and my camera didn't handle it very well. She was mighty happy with herself for destroying those blossoms -- just like her big people were doing. It was adorable. 

At the end, this is what I had. I was able to identify almost everything. One of the stamen-looking things was quite different from the rest, and I'm not sure what that's about. You can see it there, lonely, by the word "filament". Plenty to learn, here. But I made a good beginning this evening, and that feels good.


Juels said...

I signed up for the same class, although have not yet had a chance to look at it. My printer decided to go offline and I have to reload it. I'd rather be watching the course materials!

Ritsumei said...

I am amazed at how much material is there. I'm taking noes into Evernote. Spent some time late last night adding plant books to my list. I've watched some of 7Song's videos, and I've watched some from the Botany course. Today, I see that 7Song is switching to using all scientific names of plants... more intimidating stuff. I don't know any of those. But I know how to learn. Good thing I'm taking this now, and not in college: I had no idea how to study, then.


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