Poke Berries And History

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Pokeweed Berries 81419”. The image was taken specifically for this article. Unless stated otherwise all photos are my original work and are available as prints by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

My Appalachian ancestors were resourceful people as was the case with most early settlers. They had to fabricate almost everything they had. Iincluding ink.

For those who are unfamiliar with the plant in tonight’s feature image it’s Pokeweed. Sometimes called Poke salet or just plain old Poke. It’s a wild edible plant that requires a little processing in order to safely consume and never when the stems are red. One day we’ll do a Forage Friday post about Poke and the hows as well as the whens of eating Poke greens but for now treat it like poison. Tonight I want to focus on the berries. As far as I know the berries are always poison. What they are good for is making ink.

I have grown up with the knowledge that the U.S. Constitution was written in poke berry ink. However, that’s just an urban legend. ( It’s not written on hemp either. It’s Parchment which is an animal product. ) While I’m a little disappointed to find out that such an important document wasn’t created with the aid of a native plant Poke berry ink was a more common medium back at the time. It was used for less important writing. During the civil war soldiers used it to write letters to home and I’m sure that it was used for anything that didn’t require a permanent record. That’s because the ink just doesn’t last well. It reacts to U.V. light and soon turns brown. Eventually it fades away so much that it can’t be read.

Before I started writing I did a quick Google and found a few facts about poke berry ink. Using the raw unprocessed juice doesn’t work. Apparently the juice alone rots quickly and the message is lost. The prefered method is by fermenting the ink. The alcohol from the fermentation process acts as a preservative. One person said that you can use vinegar to mix up poke berry ink and there seems to be plenty of recipes online.

My personal experience with poke berries as ink just may have been the original paintball game. I remember that we used to make slingshots with rubber bands and use the berries as ammo. The purplish red stain left little doubt as to who was hit.

I hope to do an actual post on poke greens in the Spring but for now the berries are what’s in season. Those who homeschool might step out and collect a jar full of them and look up some of the ink recipes for a historical expiriment.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

If you would like to Follow me on Facebook the web address is

https://www.facebook.com/aviewfromthelens/

If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Click here to visithttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!

More Thoughts On The Changing Technology And Driving.

Every once in a while I’m transported back in time. I see or hear or smell something that strips away the high tech digital world of the present. On August 4th 2016 I could have sworn that I was passing through some kind of time slip. I have posted about the Shay Reproduction Roadsters before however for those who don’t know these are antique car design with modern modern materials. The Aesthetics of the older vehicles bring to mind thing like the feel of fine leather upholstery and the smell of wood polish. There was a time when people drove for the pleasure of the open road and not just going from point A to point B. There was an age when a person’s time was their own and a craftsman was appreciated for the quality of his work and not just the sheer volume of production. The artistry in the architecture blended with craftsmanship and skilled hand gave life to the machine. Mass production made them affordable but each piece had its own personality. We gave them names and made them members of our families. When the older ones began to break down we learned how to repair the machine and extended it’s lifetime until there was no choice but to let it go. As I look towards the future of the motor car I can see a time when Artificial Intelligence just might have the potential to deepen our connection with the vehicles. I can imagine how smart cameras embedded in car will recognize our faces and the cars will know our names. When it will learn our routine and wish us a good morning as we step out of the house. There will be lots of bells and whistles. There is already cars with Wi-Fi networks to keep us entertained. Advanced warning systems to keep the driver from changing lanes at the wrong time and cars that drive themselves are becoming more and more common. But, in all of the wondrous technology that is on the rise I have to admit that I will miss the simple pleasure climbing behind the wheel just driving.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. All of your kind words have been a great blessing to me! If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by continuing to comment and sharing my work on your social media.

If you’re not already following Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook just click the link hit like. If you are not seeing the daily posts in your feed then you can sign up for an email subscription on my Home page.

Tonight’s Feature Image is available for purchase in sepia, black and white or color. Just message me with the Title “Shay Reproduction Roadsters 2” and let me know what size so I can reply with a quote. You can use the message button on Facebook or the Contact Form on my website.

Remembering The Country Store

I remember the country store. We still have a few country stores in the world but not many. There was one gas pump (Petrol for my international friends), a variety of canned goods, perishables such as fresh vegetables and hardware. There was no vending machine. Instead a large chest near the counter kept eight ounce glass bottles of soft drinks on one side and beer on the other side. In the back of the store you could find a small selection of sporting goods. All of fishing tackle, shotgun shells and 22 caliber rifle rounds were common as was traps for fur trappers. But the most sought after resource to be found in the country store was the counter itself. Not a counter that’s crammed to brim with cheap impulse buys but a spacious wooden counter that worn down from being well used. It’s stained with coffee and soft drinks and scratched from hardware or change being tossed down at checkout. A properly equipped counter in a country store comes with a smiling face and plenty of conversation. In the days before Facebook we made a public post by mentioning something to clerk ( Who was usually the owner/operator). The clerk would then leak the news to the next customer during his checkout. ( yup, back then gossip was done without any social media). There was a bit of an art to being a clerk in the country store. Just the right amount of conversation and gossip would keep the customer in the building long enough to encourage a subsequent purchase but not so much that they felt trapped. The clerk knew everyone in the community and what gossip to keep to himself. ( A built-in spam filter!) Well, most of the time anyway.

Today mostly what you find is the convenience store. The best way to tell the difference between a country store and a convenience store is the atmosphere. A country store is welcoming and inviting where a convenience store is focused on bulk processing of sales. The later type is usually clean and neat with no coffee stained counters and very little in the way of a relationship with the customers. Just pay and get out. With the onset of automation the friendly clerk will be replaced by computer and a scanner.

My friend Sophia and I was commenting about how something made by human hands was more valuable than something stamped out by a machine. As we move forward into the brave new world of robots and app purchases consider the value of the people who are out there building their business based on a relationship with the community rather than just bulk processing of sales. ( And do stop by Sophia’s blog. She covers a broad range of things from an intelligent and interesting angle in the UK. )

Very Old Things And The Secrets They Hold.

What is it that we love about very old things? I like nothing more than stumbling upon an old well weathered piece of wood or a rusty hunk of iron. Last night I talked about God’s perspective of time and how time carries us along as it flows. Tonight I’m thinking about our perspective. As time pulls us ever closer towards a destiny we cannot see clearly we can only measure the progress by looking back. Those things were once shiny and new now serve as landmarks. The old rusted trucks, crumbling stone and this old barn are like anchors that help us navigate the raging river of time. It’s even better if there’s a personal connection with the object. I have to wonder if anyone ever passes this barn and relives a special moment? Was there a first kiss that happened here? Was this the place where a spark grew into true love and then into a family? Was this the place where a parent answered a child’s important questions about life’s mysteries while doing the daily chores? Did a grandparent tell stories about when the parent was a kid? Do these stories still echo across the river of time? Yes. I think that they do. These very old things are the sentinels of memories that are still being made today.

An Echo On The River

Tonight’s image is the remnant of the old bridge at Gauley Bridge. If memory serves me it was burned down during the American Civil War. To me it not only represents history but also a lost future. The fog that surrounds the old pylon gives me the feeling of something ethereal like a visitor from the past has come to the future to check up on things. Is it a manifestation of a memory or am I a vision of the future? It’s in these moments when the past and the future seem to collide that fascinate me. Maybe it was the fog on the river and maybe it was the contrast between the old stones and the seedling trees that are growing out from it that seemed to suspend and warp time for me. I can imagine that I can hear a lament echoing out from the fog. It’s a voice from the past warning not to burn bridges and be quick to reconcile with those on the other side of river.

West Virginia Day

Today is June 20th 2018. It’s a state holiday. Today is the 155th anniversary of West Virginia becoming a state of it’s own. The American Civil War was raging when Abraham Lincoln separated us from Virginia. We’re the only state in the union to be created from another one. The T.V. and internet if full of trivia and history about West Virginia.

Rather than cover what’s already covered so well by mainstream sources I want to talk about today. West Virginia is still a frontier. I’m not just talking about the “hills and hollers” that are seldom seen by human eyes. I’m talking about the unwritten future. Yesterday’s post about what it must be like to step outside time-space and actually be able to view all the past, present and future maybes was meant in part to help people see that the future is the product of our choices. On this day of remembering history and pride in our state I want to ask what June 20th 2026 will be like? How about June 20th 3018? As we look to our past and remember the greatness of our ancestors let’s not forget that the responsibility of future history is in our hands today. If we want our descendants to be proud Mountaineers we have to create that history today. Today’s challenges go by different names than our ancestors faced but the solutions are ultimately the same. Namely, innovation, self motivation and gumption. Our ancestors built a lifestyle that we are proud of because they didn’t wait for someone to do it for them and we’re not going to pass on that heritage by waiting for someone else to fix our economy or solve the drug problem or any other challenge of modern life. West Virginians are a culture of doers. In the past we lit up the world one lump of coal at a time and today we can do so much more if we’ll just put our hearts into it. The way I see it, West Virginia Day 3018 is looking pretty good.

Echoes on a foggy morning

I stood in the mists and listened, and I heard the echoes.

The echoes spoke to me and here is what they those echoes said.

Once there was a house and the house was a home.

Once there was friendswho would gather.

Once there was laughing.

Once there was a song.

Once there was dancing.

Once there was the smell of dinner cooking over an open flame.

Once there were games played on the lawn.

Once there was a warm bed and quietly spoken conversation by candlelight.

Once there was a sadness and a warm embrace to lessen the scars on a wounded soul.

Once there was work to be done and rest to be enjoyed.

Once there was love and love grew into life. And life was good.

The echoes fade away but love lives on.

Poetry by Lloyd A Dempsey II

The Feature image for this post is the Old Mason-Drennan house. Sadly, it’s a historic site that is quickly succumbing to the effects of time.

As I look at site I think about all the different stories that would have played out at the old resort. In the early Twentieth Century this was a destination for people who would travel from far away. I wonder how many family lines got started at the dances and social gatherings that were held there? That question was the inspiration for my poem. As the old inn fades away do the memories live on like an echo in time?

As the weather in the Northern hemisphere warms up people in Appalachia generally gather around a camp fire and tell ghost stories. But such stories don’t always have to be scary. After all, it’s just a story… isn’t it?