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.

Some wild birds rely on people


There are over three dozen species of sparrows and roughly 75 percent of them can be found in North Carolina. Most inhabit open areas with a few trees. Some have distinctive calls. However, there is one sparrow never found truly … Continue reading

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

Writing spiders are spinning their webs everywhere


I’ve always called them writing spiders or yellow and black garden spiders. Other names this arachnid goes by are the banana spider, the zipper spider, the black and yellow Argiope, and the golden orb-weaver. They’re called writing spiders because of … Continue reading

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

Viburnums are underused native landscape shrubs


Last week I discussed hydrangeas. This week I feel it is only appropriate that I cover viburnums. Many people confuse these two groups of shrubs since they have many similar features. There are numerous different species of both, but far … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Black gum is an underused landscape tree


Trees are beginning to change color. One of the earliest and most spectacular is the black gum. You won’t see much of it in domestic landscapes around here, but maybe you should. Black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) is a common forest … Continue reading

Posted in foraging | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hydrangeas are many and varied


Asking if you like hydrangeas is like asking if you like dogs. There are so many types. There are bigleaf hydrangeas, mountain hydrangeas, smooth hydrangeas, oakleaf hydrangeas, panicle hydrangeas, and climbing hydrangeas, just to name a few. Hardiness and adaptation … Continue reading

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

Surprise – They’re back


Now that fall is here, take a walk along the roadsides and you’ll see them popping up everywhere. Clusters of stems with reddish flowers and no leaves seem to come from nowhere. Sometimes we see them where an old homestead … Continue reading

Posted in general nature | 1 Comment

Industrial hemp is a potentially lucrative crop for eastern North Carolina


I’ve been tempted to write about this one for a while. I get asked about it all the time, and there seems to be so much confusion concerning it. Hemp is the same species as marijuana (Cannabis sativa), but it … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment