Author Archives: tedmanzer

About tedmanzer

I grew up in Old Town Maine and got a B.S. at the University of Maine in Plant Sciences/ minor in Botany. From there I moved to West Virginia and earned a M.S. in Agronomy at WVU. I also met my wife there. She grew up in rural WV as the daughter of tenant farmers who raised cattle and hogs. Their lifestyle at times was one of subsistence and I learned a lot from them. I've always been a foraging buff, but combining my formal botanical knowledge with their practical 'Foxfire-type' background opened up my eyes a little more. I now teach agriculture to high school students at Northeastern High School in Elizabeth City, NC. My wife teaches with me and we make a great team. I also write a weekly nature/foraging column for the local paper (dailyadvance.com). I also have written several Christian nature/adventure novels that I plan to publish eventually. One is a five book family saga I call the 'Forgotten Virtues' series. In the first book, Never Alone, a young boy comes of age after his father dies in a plane crash, and he has to make it alone. Never Alone is now available in paperback, Kindle and Nook. The second book, Strange Courage, takes Carl from his High School graduation to his recovery from a nasty divorce. The third book, Second Chances, takes Carl from his ex-wife's death and the custody of his son to his heroic death at age 59. The fourth book, Promises Kept, depicts how his grandchildren react and adjust to his death. In the final book, Grandfather's Way, his youngest and most timid granddaughter emerges from the shadow of her overachieving family and accomplishes more in four months than most do in a lifetime. I use many foraging references with a lot of the plants I profile in these articles in those books.

In the wrong hands ATVs can be environmental menaces


I still remember seeing my first 3-wheeler ATV. It was in 1973. It could go anywhere through tight places, but it was hard to steer. You had to lean the opposite direction.  The 4-wheeled variety didn’t come on the scene … Continue reading

Posted in general nature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My problems with cell phones


This is not my typical column, but anyone who knows me knows I don’t carry a cell phone. I have numerous reasons for not totally joining the 21st century. Some may not make any sense to anyone. I used to … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Water Hemlock is a common poisonous native plant


We’ve all heard the story of how Socrates was forced to drink a potion containing poison hemlock (Conium maculatum). All parts of it are toxic, and the plant is relatively common in many places including this region. Plants are deathly … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Mullein is a useful drought tolerant weed


Common mullein (Verbascum thapsus) is that tall fuzzy leaved plant that many people confuse with lamb’s ear. Once plants begin to flower, the two bear fewer similarities. Mullein has taller flower stalks with yellow flowers and those of lamb’s ear … Continue reading

Posted in foraging | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Signs of summer


How do we know when it’s summer? Each locale is different, but certain sights, events or smells remind us of different seasons, and summer is no exception. For me, once I see the smoke of the wheat fields, I’m satisfied … Continue reading

Posted in general nature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Putting up hay brings back memories


It was hot sticky dirty work. In rural areas it was also one of the few ways teenagers could earn spending money in the summer. Those who have put up hay in the heat know what I’m talking about. Baling … Continue reading

Posted in general nature | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Virginia creeper is another aggressive native vine


Last week I profiled trumpet vine, a ridiculously aggressive woody vine. This week belongs to another nemesis, and it’s also marketed as an ornamental. Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is that vine many people confuse with poison ivy. It has leaves … Continue reading

Posted in general nature | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments