What is Wildcrafting?
Wildcrafting means finding things in your environment that you can acquire for free and repurposing them somehow. Most people use this term when referring to finding natural items (such as tree limbs or mushrooms). These items are “wild” because they weren’t cultivated by people. However, we argue that wildcrafting can also mean when you find man-made objects and make something new out of them. Since “wildcrafting” can mean so many things, we put together a (hilarious) video with ideas, inspiration, and some of our own bizarre wildcrafting projects.
BECKY: Hello, Hainted Loves. Welcome to Homespun Haints bonus edition. I’m Becky.
DIANA: And I’m Diana.
BECKY: And I can’t hear out of my right ear, so this is gonna be really interesting.
DIANA: Oh, no.
BECKY: I don’t know what happened. Well, I do know what happened. I got into a fist fight with my Hapkido instructor and she put me in a choke hold. It was stupid. She kept going, “come at me!” And like an idiot. I did. It resulted with her putting me in this weird choke hold and I haven’t been able to hear out of this ear since.
DIANA: Well, you signed a waiver,
BECKY: Yeah, I guess I did. That’s okay. I’ve got another ear. It’s like having two kidneys, right?
DIANA: I thought you were gonna say like having two kids, just in case.
BECKY: Whoa. That went dark.
Definition of Wildcrafting
BECKY: Today, we are going to talk today about wildcrafting.
DIANA: Oh, this is so exciting. I can’t wait to hear more about this because you, you tell me, I know what it is. But Becky, I’m not sure if I know what it is in the context of the way Tempest was talking about it earlier this week.
BECKY: Yes. On Monday we had the episode where we interviewed Laura Tempest Zakroff. One thing she talked about in that interview was wildcrafting a spell by using a pen from the bank and a gas receipt. And Diana was like, “oh, tell me more of that.”
DIANA: I wanna know, what does it mean?
BECKY: Wildcrafting is usually used synonymously with foraging, but it’s not quite the same thing. To Wildcraft basically means to look for something. and obtain something for free. And use it for a purpose other than what it was originally intended for, if it was planted or constructed by people, or to just go into nature and find things that are growing.
Right now there’s this huge push for foraging, and this is something we’ve been doing in Appalachia forever. We’re like, “Okay, you guys finally figured this out!” Because, we’re poor.
DIANA: [laughing] These roots are free.
Foraging in Appalachia
BECKY: Yes. And a long time ago, a lot of the woods in the Appalachian areas were just communal. It was communal.
You could just go in there and you could pick things, and I did this as a kid. I’m sure everybody does this as a kid. You wander through the woods, you pick random things. Sometimes you get a rash, sometimes you die. Sometimes it’s fine.
DIANA: Sometimes you hear an eerie fiddler, and then all the snakes go by and you just go, eh, Tennessee.
BECKY: You understand? Yeah.
DIANA: I understand. I’m getting it now. I’ve known you long enough.
BECKY: right? And I did this as a child and I got pretty good at knowing which herbs were going to cause which colors. And I could like rub ’em together with cloth or paper and stain them and make different colors and things with them.
DIANA: Oh, I thought you meant colors, like which colors of rashes you would end up.
BECKY: Oh, well there was that too. And also I learned what color of fire I could make with different things too
BECKY: That’s fun
DIANA: that’s a dangerous experiment.
BECKY: Uh, you know, being a free range kid in the eighties in Appalachia, all sorts of things happened.
Surge in Wildcrafting Popularity
BECKY: Nowadays this has gotten very popular thanks a lot to Covid, right? People are stuck at home and now there’s a recession or, or people are getting out in nature because it’s like all they could do, to enjoy someplace other than their tiny apartments. Then, there’s been this huge upsurge on social media about going out and harvesting your own mushrooms. And this root will cure warts, and this root will make a great salve that you can use for bug bites, and this you can make an oil out of and it will cure herpes….
I don’t know, there’s just so many things out there and people are like, “Oh my God, all this stuff is for free? And I can just go get it and then I can spend two years drying it out and canning it and putting it in my storeroom?” And, yeah, that’s the great thing about it is it is free, but it takes a lot of time, it takes a lot of effort.
It does take a lot of knowledge. There’s a reason a lot of those foragers on their social channels sign off by saying, “Don’t die!”
DIANA: Because you get what you pay for.
Examples of common wildcrafting foods
BECKY: Because a lot of this stuff is harmful and you need to know what you’re looking for. Now, that’s not to say that you and I cannot wildcraft on our own without having to know all of these things about which herbs to eat or not to eat, or how to know if an acorn is infested with maggots before you try to roast it and make tea out of it or something. Cuz that’s a thing, you know, you have to like, put ’em in water and if they float, you throw ’em out.
DIANA: Oh, cool. Kind of like eggs.
BECKY: Yeah. I mean there’s all sorts of cool things. Oh, and also another cool thing is like, there’s different fruits you can cut open and it will tell you by like how many seeds there are and things like what the winter’s gonna be like coming up.
DIANA: Oh, right. The persimmons with the spoon seed versus the knife seed. Yes. Yes.
BECKY: So Wildcrafting is pretty cool. Like I said, a lot of people use it synonymously with foraging, but foraging specifically refers to food. And some will go so far as to say foraging refers to eating while you move through the space. So you’re like, “Ooh, a berry—CHOMP. ooh, that mushroom looks like it won’t kill me. CHOMP. Ooh, a snake. Yum!” That kind of thing.
DIANA: Oh dear. I’m a big fan of cooking , especially snake.
BECKY: Yes, especially nowadays when you don’t know if pesticides have been spread around.
BECKY: But Wildcrafting also refers to gathering things for free that you may not necessarily want to eat.
BECKY: So, Diana, have you ever gone dumpster diving?
DIANA: Oh God, yes. Do you know me?
BECKY: Exactly. I told you you’ve wildcrafted.
DIANA: I was raised in a dumpster.
BECKY: I know that that’s not what all these earthy, cottage core sites are advocating for when they talk about wildcrafting. But, I’m sorry. Dumpster diving is wildcrafting. I just wildcrafted a cheetah covered chair from my neighbor’s driveway two days ago.
DIANA: Yeah. Okay. Okay, gotcha. So it’s this like freeganism.
BECKY: Yeah, exactly. One of the very first examples I can remember of my family doing this: I had to have some kind of a basket for school. I was like five or six, and I needed to have a basket for school.
And my father—there was no internet. It’s not like he looked this up. He was just like, “oh, okay.” Dad went to our side yard where we had a bunch of English Ivy growing. He cut off a huge vine of the English Ivy. Then, he pulled all the leaves off, and he soaked the vine so it was malleable.
And then he took an old can of—you remember those old Quaker oats jars, the big round, cardboard jar? He used that as a mold and he wove this vine around the Quaker Oats thing. Then, when it dried, he pulled the Quaker oats jar out and I had a basket. It had a few leaves still stuck on it. And it wasn’t exactly woven very well, but he was like, “there you go.”
Like it was nothing. This is what you do. You need a basket? Well, you go find some ivy, duh,
DIANA: “I just learned the art of basket weaving for you child to have one single basket. Enjoy.” And as a child you were probably like, damn it dad. Everybody else has a Jansport basket, right?
BECKY: No, I was an Appalachia. I was like, “dammit Dad! Everybody else’s ivy woven baskets were better.”
DIANA: So this was the assignment basically, unofficially.
BECKY: I don’t remember. I was very young. But, I do distinctly remember a lot of curse words coming out as he’s trying to figure out how to weave. And my mom going, “Mark, what are you doing?” He’s like, “I’m making a basket, Okay?”
DIANA: the confidence required to make that statement. “I’m making a basket” as opposed to just, “I have no idea, but I hope it works.” So we don’t have to go buy a basket from a store. It’s what I would probably be saying, but yeah, I’m making a basket. That’s quite a declarative sentence. For someone who’s never done it before.
BECKY: I’m sure you’ve made baskets.
DIANA: Have I made a basket? I mean, yeah, out of like construction paper when I was a kid, but not like out of English Ivy that I’ve stripped from a hedge
BECKY: Oh my God. Okay, well another thing to add to the list of things to do, next time you come.
DIANA: We’re already making corn husk dolls.
BECKY: Making cornhusk dolls is also a form of wildcrafting, if you think about it. Especially if you go to the grocery store, you know how they have that bin where—
DIANA: you shuck your corn Or husk your corn?
BECKY: Shuck corn, husk corn, whatever.
DIANA: Shucking? Detassling? Do you detassle your corn?
BECKY: I don’t know words.
DIANA: I’m traumatized because farmers make fun of me for not knowing the difference between lady parts and, and male parts of corn. They knew a lot about corn sex. It was kind of awkward.
BECKY: That’s a discussion for another episode. Anyway, when you go to your grocery store and they have that trashcan. They’re just gonna throw it out, you know, where they’ve got all the corn husks. So you can be like, “Hey, can I take these husks?”
DIANA: Oh, you ask, does it still count as wildcrafting if you ask permission?
BECKY: Yeah, of course. You should always make sure you are doing things legally
DIANA: “Woodland creatures, I’m taking this root!”
BECKY: Well, actually, there are some wildcrafters who say you should always give thanks.
DIANA: Well, I mean, that’s just in general a good thing to do.
BECKY: Yeah, especially if you’re like picking bugs off of a tree to then go roast and make red dye out of their shells. Somebody’s giving their life for you. It’s not completely free.
DIANA: It’s not completely free. It’s only life or death.
DIANA: Poor carmine bugs.
BECKY: So be like, “Hey, thank you for letting me use your shells so I can make pretty things.”
So, I would ask that grocery store employee and be like, “Hey, you just gonna throw those out? Can I have some of them?” And that 16 year old kid who is trying to organize the tomatoes and you know, they keep falling off and he’s trying to put the tomatoes back. They keep falling off and you make a note to yourself, do not get those tomatoes today. You ask him that and he’ll be like, “yeah, sure, whatever.” And you walk out with your arms full of corn husks and you go make tamales or corn husk dolls. Hey, cool, you wildcrafted some corn husks!
Diana is cheap
BECKY: Another thing that I remember doing as a kid, and this is why I’m like, Diana, “I bet you’ve done some of this stuff,” because you are so goddamn cheap that I know you have. I did not mean that as an insult, by the way. It is a hundred percent a compliment.
DIANA: I take pride in that.
BECKY: For people who do not know, Diana can take a quarter and stretch it over three or four years.
DIANA: A quarter won’t buy anything anymore, but a dollar I could stretch for three or four years. Yes. Quarter won’t even last one year. It’s strange math.
BECKY: Anyway, I’ve seen this woman in action and I have learned so much from her. It is amazing. This is why one day I want to create a series on living with Diana. It’ll be like that Ed Begley series where he’s so cheap that he’s like powering his toaster by riding a bike.
DIANA: If, if I could do that, I would do that. Definitely, it would get me to ride my exercise bike, which it doesn’t go anywhere, so that’s really the only way to make it worthwhile.
BECKY: He was like, “if I want toast, I gotta work for it.”
Diana’s wildcrafted TNAble
DIANA: Ddid I tell you the story about my TNAble?
BECKY: Oh no you didn’t. Please share. Is this a wildcrafting project?
DIANA: I don’t know that this was a Wildcrafting story, but you can tell me if it is. So when I was living in New Orleans, we dumpster dived a lot. And what I mean by dumpster diving is, of course, driving up and down the street and seeing if people put furniture out by the side of the road, you know. Not like actually leaping into a dumpster, cuz that would be illegal.
We would never do that on this show. But, for people who put stuff out by the side of the road. A lot of the time they’ll put stuff out that’s still perfectly good. It’s just ugly. And so we got this coffee table one day that was just the most beautifully, structurally-sound coffee table, but the top looked like somebody had done tap dancing lessons on it.
It was just awful. And we don’t know how to refinish a table. So I thought, what else do I have that I can get for free? And it turned out that earlier in the year I’d signed up for a new bank account. And at the time when you opened a bank account, they gave you crap instead of money. Like today, they’ll be like, get a $200 bonus when you do these deposits. Back then they were like, get a toolbox and a subscription to a magazine. And we were like, okay, sounds like a deal to me. So I opened up this bank account, I found this magazine subscription list. There was nothing on it that I was resonating with at all. I’m like, I don’t care about golf, I don’t care about fish, I don’t care about Businessweek, whatever.
I don’t want any of these magazines. And the only one on the list that I could think of that I’d want as a free magazine was Maxim, which if you’re not familiar, is basically kinda like theCHIVE kind of vibe. It looks like a men’s health magazine where they have mostly, not quite, but mostly naked women on every page.
BECKY: They’re not completely naked.
DIANA: Not completely.
BECKY: it’s not like Playboy, but they’re very scantily clad.
DIANA: like skimpy, bikini-clad women. And I was like, that’s really the only magazine I could think of that I would even open
BECKY: It’s a good magazine.
DIANA: Yeah, it’s an okay magazine. It’s very funny. I read it for the articles. [laughing] So anyway, I had this giant stack of Maxims that I gotten for free and I had this ugly table that I had gotten for free, and I had an idea.
DIANA: And so I went through my stack of Maxims and I cut out all the pictures of, of scantily clad lingerie models, and I pasted them with Mod Podge all over the table.
BECKY: That is brilliant. I love it.
DIANA: And then when Amber asked me what I was doing, I said, I’m making a TNAble,
BECKY: That is so cool. Do you still have this?
DIANA: No, I sold it at a garage sale, and I was incredibly proud of myself. I sold it for much more than I had gotten it for.
BECKY: Well, yeah. Anything is more than free. How much? I’m just curious. How much did you sell it for?
DIANA: It was probably like fifteen dollars!
DIANA: I know! Like, what a profit, right? It only, it only took like four days of work, and voila!
BECKY: See, I told you
DIANA: I was wildcrafting.
BECKY: You are a wildcrafting queen.
Other fun wildcrafting ideas
BECKY: I wanna give you a couple more examples of things I wildcrafted as a kid. And I wanna know if anybody else did this stuff. So, this is another fun project you could do with your kids, with wildcrafting.
My mom and I used to do this all the time. It’s so stupid. But we loved it. So again, this is the eighties where fashion was a little bit—um—I know we think about eighties fashion now as like all cool with all these sharp angles and fun hairs and lots of sequins and stuff. But let me tell you, there was a lot of junk that came out during that time and one of ’em were these sweatshirts mom and I made
DIANA: Was it puff paint?
DIANA: Was it hook and latch?
BECKY: No, not quite.
DIANA: What was it?
BECKY: You could use puff paint. Actually, I don’t think you could use puff paint. We would go to Walmart or Goodwill, and we would actually buy like the ugliest sweaters. Not intentionally ugly, it was just whatever was really cheap and we probably thought they were pretty, cuz like I said, this was the eighties. Or we would go through our closets.
So this is wildcrafting, I guess, to go through our closets and find old garments that just didn’t look that pretty anymore.
BECKY: Then, we would go into the yard and find leaves that had fallen from the trees. And, the cooler, the better. The leaves with the holes in ’em and the veins showing and all that, that was cool, too.
And then we would set out all of these paints, fabric paints, and we would dip the leaves into the paint. and just then press ’em onto the shirts. To make all these cool patterns. And we used, of course, lots of sparkly paint because it was the eighties. We made all of these garments, with all these patterns and cool things with these leaves coated in paint. And then, because we did not wanna waste anything, we took these paint-covered leaves and we put them on a sheet of card stock and framed it and made art.
DIANA: I thought you were gonna say you crumbled them and made confetti for parties.
BECKY: Oh, no, no, no, no. I think there’s still one framed somewhere, somewhere in the family. But yeah, that was kind of a fun little project we did.
And of course, we’ve all gathered nuts and made dye out of it. Right.
DIANA: Nuts. When you say nuts—
BECKY: Or, leaves from a nut tree.
DIANA: I made Easter egg die out of onions.
BECKY: okay. That works. Yeah. Especially if you found the onions.
DIANA: Why Becky? I do have wild onions growing in my backyard, but I don’t think they’re yellow enough to dye Easter eggs.
BECKY: I used to make bracelets out of wild onions
DIANA: That sounds stinky. Was it to ward off vampires?
BECKY: No, it’s just cuz they were like long and you could like weave ’em cuz they’ve got that weird like tubular thing. I loved that; I loved picking wild onions. I wonder why my parents hated it so much.
DIANA: The laundry. Oh, no.
BECKY: Making bouquets out of wildflowers. This is another great thing you can do, especially along the side of the road.
I don’t know if it’s like this where you are, Diana, but where I grew up, the side of the road was the best place to find wildflowers. And I think also where I grew up, you probably didn’t have to worry too much about pesticides. County probably just couldn’t afford it.
And the three wildflowers that we would find most often, which I see people growing these in their yards now and I’m like, I grew up and just told those were weeds.
But they are thistle, which actually has a lot of medicinal properties. Black-Eyed Susans, and Queen Annes lace.
DIANA: Those are like commercial flowers now.
BECKY: Yeah. I grew up like being told they were weeds and I would make like wildflower bouquets out of them and people would be like, those are just weeds. I’d be like, “but they’re pretty, it’s really pretty!”
DIANA: I used to make little chains out of the clovers in the yard too, and make a little clover crown to wear and be a fairy king.
BECKY: Or buttercups. You could probably do it with buttercups, too.
DIANA: We never had buttercups. That’s amazing. I love that idea. We had forsythia and I made like little crowns of thorns out of the little branches of the forsythia bush.
BECKY: Oh, did you actually have like blood dripping down your head too?
DIANA: I mean, ketchup.
BECKY: Would you ever just like, string yourself up on a fence post? Like a scarecrow, but like a weird Jesus Christ scarecrow?
BECKY: And your mom would come home and be like, Ugh, Diana, there you are.
DIANA: My mom would probably take photos of it and if it was, if it had been a few years later, post them on Facebook.
BECKY: Right. Oh, my daughter, she’s so creative. Yay.
DIANA: Aw look at her. She thinks she’s Jesus.
BECKY: Well, those are just some things from my childhood. But I mean, a lot of this sounds crafting ish, but it is wildcrafting, right? Like you could do a lot of craft projects from things you find in your yard. What are some other things that you’ve done, Diana, besides your TNAable?
Wildcrafting ugly Christmas sweaters
DIANA: Oh gosh, everything I do, Becky. I don’t think I’ve ever not wildcrafted. I wildcraft an ugly Christmas sweater every year from things that I find at the thrift store, but also just from things that I have laying around from the rest of the projects. It’s like my Fridge Cleanout Day, except it’s Project Cleanout Day for the year when I make my ugly Christmas sweater.
So it’s kind of like a rule that I have to use everything on this sweater. And I never win any contests, but I do win a lot of weird stares. Like, what were you thinking? It’s fun. I had one where I had Santa’s face that like flipped up and then you saw a little body dangling below. Little like wiggly legs.
BECKY: Like it was his uvula, but it was legs?
DIANA: Yes, exactly.
BECKY: That’s awesome. I love it.
DIANA: [looking around] I found that chair in the garage and I had a scarf that I found in the basement. And I reupholstered the chair with the scarf. Chair was broken. The scarf was torn, but now it looks perfect. Doesn’t work. It’s still broken, but it looks perfect from a distance.
BECKY: I’m sure you can find a nail in somebody’s driveway and fix it.
DIANA: probably. I did get a new roof a couple years ago, so there’s probably a nail in my driveway. I made that pillowcase. out of vegetables, I think.
DIANA: Dyeing with beets.
BECKY: Oh, okay. So you used it to dye it.
DIANA: Yeah. But beets are horrible for dyeing synthetic fabrics cuz it looks nice and bright magenta when you put it on and then you rinse it off and it looks like dried blood. So it’s kinda like a shocker, like, “Hey look, this is gonna be so pink. Oh.”
Kids and Wildcrafting
BECKY: I think kids just naturally wildcraft. I think this is just something that we’re born with and I don’t know why it gets beaten out of us when we’re like, oh yeah, I do know why. Because there comes a point, and this is why I think a lot of people like me, like know how to do all this stuff, but we don’t because there’s a point like, “ugh. I have already been through that phase of my life where I had to like find my own food and make my own stuff, and now I just wanna go to Walmart.”
DIANA: Exactly. Yeah. It’s, it’s my time is more valuable than my wallet.
DIANA: It’s the mindset of being a grownup.
BECKY: Yeah. It’s not novel anymore.
DIANA: like that time you told me to use dryer lint to make my own felting projects and like sheets of felt are 60 cents. It would take like four days of work to bleach and shape this lint into a piece of felt. Maybe in the past, I’m not that desperate nowadays.
BECKY: I feel like the very first time I ever walked into a Michael’s, I was like, “you could buy this stuff? You don’t just to have to find it?”
DIANA: It’s like, “Look, they have baskets, Dad!”
BECKY: Oh, and then I would see how much baskets cost, and I was like, “what?”
DIANA: I get it. Baskets are expensive.
BECKY: Yeah, like, why? Like you could just go fight some ivy. Don’t use poison ivy. If it’s furry, leave it alone.
DIANA: Exactly. That’s a good plan.
DIANA: So, okay, so we’ve talked about how we’ve wildcrafted random crap in our houses, but have you ever wildcrafted magic.
BECKY: Oh yeah, actually, last year I was doing a spell and I needed some kind of flower for it. And, a friend of mine was with me and she ran in the backyard and picked them, and came back. She was like, “here we go.” And it didn’t specify what it was. It just had to be a white flower. And she was just like, there. There’s some right there. Because I was like, “oh, I didn’t buy any white flowers.” And she’s like, “Ugh. Becky, have you forgotten your roots?”
DIANA: Oh, you don’t buy flowers. They don’t belong to any man. I love that. Oh, that’s nice. W
hen I was a kid, I think my main wildcrafting project for magic was taking everybody’s candle wax. When I went to their house, I would take their melted candle wax that was like around the edge of the candle holder and stuff.
And I was like, are you using this? And they’d be like, that’s trash, Diana. I’d be like, thank you. Put it in my pocket. And then I would make my own candles out of the previously melted candle wax, which just so you know, kids, if you get this idea, it doesn’t work that well after already burning. It doesn’t seem to burn as well the second time around.
But you can make it out of an orange juice concentrate can, like a frozen can of orange juice concentrate. If you open it up and take the orange juice out, rinse it out, you can put the wax in there, and then when you peel it off, it’ll have this cool like whiteish waxy film on the outside of your candle. And make it look different colors and mottled. It’s fun.
DIANA: So yeah, that counts wildcrafting magic, right? Making my own ritual candles out of orange juice cans and and people’s trash wax, if that counts.
BECKY: Absolutely. that is so cool.
DIANA: I mean, of course I’ve taken apart random garments of clothing and tablecloths and curtains and stuff to make like altar cloths,
BECKY: Uh huh.
DIANA: I don’t know if that counts.
BECKY: Absolutely, it counts. Yeah, because it’s using it for purpose different than what it was originally intended. I actually have some wildcrafted lake water right here for use in a spell.
DIANA: Is that the one Kristy left in your mailbox? You haven’t used it yet?
BECKY: I’m afraid to open it. Last time—
DIANA: I can’t blame you.
BECKY: Last time she used some sea water and we made some spells and then we opened them and it was, um—
DIANA: It was smelly.
BECKY: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
Freckle Juice of Doom
DIANA: I told you my freckle juice story from elementary school, didn’t I?
BECKY: No. Tell us the freckle juice story.
DIANA: Do you remember the book Freckle Juice? The kid’s book from the Scholastic Book Fair? Yay. It’s Reading Rainbow. It’s 1990 something. And the book, Freckle Juice was all about a child who wanted freckles and was jealous. Somebody gave him this disgusting recipe of how to make juice to grow freckles.
And he used it and it didn’t work. So he faked the freckles. And it was a story about, I don’t know, accepting yourself. But I’m such a literalist that I had to do a book report on this book. And I chose to make that exact recipe, like the actual recipe for the freckle juice. It was gross. There was some really, really, really gross stuff in it. I was as authentic as I could be, like an exact replica.
BECKY: Did you try it?
DIANA: I did not try it. Notice my freckle-less visage. But I hear it doesn’t work anyway. No, I actually made the recipe and I put it in a pickle jar and I brought it to school in my satchel because when I was in third grade, my parents didn’t think I was cool enough to carry a backpack, like all the other kids. I had to carry a leather satchel from the thrift store, which was a wildcraft…I didn’t realize.
BECKY: Well, no, if you pay for it, it’s not wildcrafting.
DIANA: Oh, really? Oh, okay. Well then all my thrift store projects, I guess don’t count.
BECKY: Well, I mean, if you’re using it a second time after you found it. And swap meet stuff definitely.
DIANA: I think it was, because it was a purpose for which it was not intended because I was an eight year old, and this was obviously a briefcase for an adult (satchel). But yeah, so I had my satchel, I was waiting for the bus. I had my freckle juice in my satchel, I totally forgot. And I was swinging it because I was bored waiting for the bus and the freckle juice fell out and landed on me and busted all over the place.
And I smelled really exciting for the whole bus ride home.
BECKY: Oh no! At least it happened at the end of day!
DIANA: At least it happened at the end of the day. That’s the one time in my life where I can be like, “well, thank God I don’t stink until the end of the day.” Like that was the one silver lining of that story. That’s why it was not too traumatic to remember.
DIANA: Yeah. So freckle juice, don’t make it. Don’t be literal like me. Make a bottle of purple food coloring and water and tell your teacher you made it. That’s all you need to do. No one’s gonna smell that. She didn’t wanna smell it.
BECKY: hopefully you got extra points for doing it authentically.
DIANA: No, are you kidding? No one cares about authenticity in a third grade book report.
BECKY: Tell me about it. I know we would’ve been best friends in third grade.
DIANA: I know.
Becky’s Wildcrafting Alcohol Disaster
BECKY: When I was in 10th grade, I had gone away to a summer camp and I had gotten like a Snapple iced tea. I was staying in this dorm. When I was done with it, I closed it back and I kind of put it on my desk, thinking I would finish it later.
And I didn’t. Two days later, I was like, “Ooh, do you think it’s still good?” And this guy was dating at summer camp, you know, summer camp crush. He comes in and he’s, “Oh cool!” He like lifted the lid off and it was fermented, like it was alcoholic. And he chugged it and he got drunk, which was all fine.
This is another part about being Appalachian is you get your kicks where you can.
DIANA: Wildcrafting alcoholic Snapple with saliva culture. Yum.
BECKY: So when I got back home, I told a friend about this and she was like, “Ooh, we could make our own booze.” So we went into her closet. I was over at her house all the time. We went in the closet cuz she always kept her closet doors shut cuz she had a pet mouse in there that she had to keep away from her cat.
And I remember this mouse was named William. He was really cute. The cat eventually got him.
DIANA: There are so many loops and turns to this story. I’m loving this.
BECKY: So anyway, so we got a jar of—I think it may have been an old like pickle jar. It had a little bit of juice left cuz I think somebody in the family liked to drink the juice. And we took that and we just were like, well, what do we put it?
Okay, we need sugar. So we dunked a lot of sugar in and we’re like, now what? Oh, we need, the sugar has to be like bound to a liquid. So we poured in ketchup and then we found some iced tea, cuz I remember it was Snapple. We poured in some iced tea and we made this awful concoction, and we couldn’t find a lid for it then.
So we took like—no wonder it didn’t ferment! And then we took like a piece of cloth and a rubber band around it and put it on the top. We’re like, well, doesn’t alcohol have to have like oxygen to…? I mean, we didn’t know what we were doing. We were not scientists by any stretch.
DIANA: Shockingly good guesses, though.
BECKY: So we left it in the closet for about a week and then we came back. I came back the next weekend and we’re like checking on it and we’re sniffing it and like we pulled it out. We’re sniffing it, we’re trying to like, steel each other up, like who’s gonna drink it first or whatever. It doesn’t really smell like alcohol and it’s got a little bit of mold in it.
And just then my friend’s mom walks in and she’s like, “what are you girls doing?” And we’re like, “eh… well?” And we explained it to her because like we were just…there was nothing we could make up. Like, we’re sitting around this jar of moldy ketchupy pickle juice, like how else do you explain that?
So we told her what we were trying to do and she’s just looks at us and she’s like, “what the hell? We’ve got beer in the fridge! If you just wanna steal some beer! Dumb-ass teenagers.”
DIANA: That’s fantastic. Oh, wow. I wasn’t expecting that twist ending.
BECKY: Yeah, so I guess we kind of—we tried to wildcraft alcohol. We didn’t pay for any of those ingredients.
DIANA: You started an illicit bathtub gin ring in 10th grade. I’m so proud of you,
BECKY: If only I knew what I was doing.
DIANA: If only.
BECKY: Hainted Loves, hopefully we gave you some fabulous ideas for how you can wildcraft around you.
DIANA: I’m full of ideas. I can’t wait to start making things out of magic and trash.
BECKY: To make magic, all you need is, as we learned, the intention and just whatever, you know, maybe some supplies for brainstorming. Again, our guest talked about a gas receipt and a pen from the bank. It can be anything. And if you just need to burn something, there’s sticks in the woods. There’s old hair. I mean, anything will work And if you need to make a basket, now you know how. And if you need to make a candle now, you know how.
DIANA: And if you need to make illicit beer, now you know how not to,
BECKY: Right? Exactly.
DIANA: Don’t do it. Just steal it from your mom’s fridge. Hainted Loves, what have you. wildcrafted lately? Have you ever wildcrafted magic? Did the magic work better than store bought magic? We’re gonna guess it did, and we hope that you have a spooky day.