This is the time of year I consider the middle of the root hunting season. Halfway in and I can really feel it. Roothunting on a daily basis for a number of years can really take a toll on a person. Where I used to be able to go 10 -12 hours in the heat and hills, I now get worn down around the fourth or fifth hour in and wonder how I'm going to walk out with 50 lbs of seal or 80 lbs of cohosh. There used to be quite a number of diggers it seems in this area from what I gather from being about and most of the good hollars and ravines by the roads are hunted out. If you want to find root in my 3-4 county area you have to walk for it. Although I do stumble on the occasional spot to dig close to the road or a farm with good trails going in.
From my number of years and countless hours under the shade of trees during summer I have learned that there is no better way to spend my energy while providing for my family. Working for yourself, storing back and thinking ahead with a pioneer spirit can be very rewarding. I most certainly wouldn't have ever worked for joe schmoe this hard. The woods for me are an addiction I wouldn't trade \"goin in\" for anything but I do have to come to some realizations about my summer follies. I'm definately going to have to slow down maybe I'll become a \"dealer\" (God forbid) I could get a job down at the plant? Ha yeah right . I'm definately going to have to invest in some seeds and who knows what the future holds for this old root hunter but slowing down is definately on the agenda.
This leads me to posting some midseason photos some highlights if you will of my outings. But first a little advice....Don't make a career out of roothunting unless you like bad complexion and scars, snakes and mosquitos oh and of course ch
iggers which I just got a few days ago (AGAIN!!) not to mention humidity, spider webs, falls, bears coyotes and bees, sudden thunderstorms, blisters, solitude, succlusion, retracting from society and reality, and last but not least jewish root dealers. But I do suggest you get out and enjoy the forest and if you dig, LEAVE THE BABIES AND A FEW MAMMAS.
I think it would be nice to make root hunting your primary job. I love being in the woods hunting ginseng and digging yellowroot. I just could never make enough money on it by itself to support my family. Papa, it sounds like you put a lot of time into digging roots and you probably get much more volume as a result. Believe me, i have thought about doing the same thing but when i do the math it doesn't add up. If you could dig year round it would be differnt. but with only six months to dig you could never make enough (I can't) to support yourself through the off months.
Did you say you could dig 50 pounds of yellow root in one day? That is a lot. What do you use to dig with?
I meant to put some more pictures on this thread of some outings but didn't get around to it , FOS I can dig 50 lbs of seal in a day if I have my son as cleaner to just throw roots to after I dig (he knocks dirt off and bags) and thats a 10 hour day. I have seen digs where we have gotten off with 50 lbs in around 6 hours but the patches were in good light soil and easy to shovel out. Some patches once you get a start on them you can use a shovel (round head) and pull up the roots and layer of dirt like carpeting getting 20 plants or so in each scoop. But in patches that are hard soil or hard to reach or rooty or rocky which is most likely the case I use my masons hammer. My biggest dig...well my wifes biggest dig i should say was 410 lbs of blue cohosh in one day. She was digging throwing to 2 cleaners ( our kids ) who were bringing the bags out to the road and I was loading them up and picking maidenhairferns along the road while I watched our 2 youngest kids . By the end of the day we had a whole truckload of root and maidenhair fern. The \"Root man\" was a little stressed when I dropped it off to sell wet. And the mans wife who gave me permission to dig the roots along the road down from their farm payed me a visit the next day and yelled for tearing their hillside up she said it looked like a hurrcain went through there. Nope just my wife! I don't think they knew what I meant when I first asked them for permission and I said I was a \"ROOT HUNTER\"
50 pounds a day is amazing even if you do have help. Yellowroot is going for 5.50 a pound down here in Southern Indiana. Pretty good since it started at 3.00. I think I might concentrate on digging yellowroot next year just to see how much I can come up with. I'm sure I won't be digging 50 pounds a day, though.
nice bunch of yellow root u got there papa. im hoping to get out this weekend and dig some. got into 3 bees nest this week though diggin seng. please pray the bees stay away from me the rest of the year lol