Moore’s Mill, Mississippi

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“My husband sometimes thinks women can’t do much of anything… but I’ll tell you- he shouldn’t have married such an independent wife. Me, I am an adventurer. I love hiking, cat-fishing, snake hunting, horse riding. All of it.  I really like hunting for wild edibles.  My brother taught me when I was a little girl.  I look for golden root, star root and ginseng. Right now, I’m getting $800 a pound for the ginseng. It’s gotten really popular in the last ten years. For the ginseng, you look for a stalk that is nice and fleshy with stems coming off at equal angles horizontally from the stem. And in the spring you’ll see a big fuzzy bud right in the middle. You dig straight down with a spade to the bottom of the root, and be careful not to break it. I then dig it out, dry them, and take it over to the feed & seed in the next town to sell them. No one around here does it anymore that I know of. So many of the old forests have been replaced by pine plantations. Those roots can’t grow when you’ve got only one kind of tree.  They’re getting harder to find.  Most of the time I go on other people’s properties.  I’ve only been caught once.  He came out with a shotgun.  But I sweet talked him and then went running.  That was the only time. I’m usually pretty sneaky.”

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