Making Balm of Gilead with Prairie Shore Botanicals

Picking balsam buds // via

The smell of spring.

A few weeks ago, I took a workshop led by botanist and local expert Laura Reeves of Prairie Shore Botanicals. Our objective was to learn how to make Balm of Gilead, or a salve using balsam or black poplar buds. 

We harvested buds in spite of a bitter, dusty spring wind. We chatted. We strained an oil infusion that Laura already had brewing, and slowly melted beeswax into the mixture. Laura poured the fresh salve into individual jars. It was lovely. I went home with my own little jar of salve and confident enough to try a batch on my own. 

Sounds great, right? That was not even the best part.

That's because the absolute best part was walking away with the scent of balsam burned into my nose, brain, and heart. The smell is indescribable. It smells so good. And once you have the scent, you begin to smell it everywhere.

It's actually the smell of spring. 

For any of you looking to dig a little deeper into wild edibles or bushcraft, I would highly recommend any opportunity to learn from Laura. This woman knows her stuff. 

You can learn more about Laura Reeves' workshops on her website and on Facebook.