I smoked poison hemlock.

posted by Deanna

Not really though. well, kind of…let me explain.

Last Sunday there was no fellowship meal after church, so we had my Grandma Brown and my several aunts and uncles (who happen to be the same ages as us) over for lunch. After lunch but before dessert 13yo William and I decided to go burn trash.

Now since Mom has gotten all frugal on us we have canceled our trash service, so we just separate the burnables and non-burnables, and now when I take the trash out I  just throw the bag into our burn barrel and light it.

Well, the day before we had done a lot of yard work which included pulling up huge quantities of poison hemlock which had taken root under the deck. It had been fresh on Saturday so I assumed that was why I hadn’t been able to get it to burn then. So on that fateful Sunday I took out the trash and asked William to bring me a piece of paper to start it with. (I wanted to burn the now dried up weeds before I threw the bag in, and I was having trouble getting the flame to take from just a match) So he very obligingly brought me the paper and we tried to get it to burn. I won’t bore you with the details but we stood over that barrel for nigh on 30 min trying to get those dried up crunchy weeds to burn. It smoked a LOT and the flames only lasted as long a the paper/cardboard/cedar bark etc. At one point we had probably 10  pieces of paper crumpled and shoved into a cereal box burning under the layer of weeds which produced even more smoke, but not a lot of progress. Finally we just gave up. I threw the trash bag into the barrel and let it burn. It was right about then that I looked at William and said “William? Do you realize that we just smoked poison hemlock?” We laughed about it at the time  but when we came in Mom made me google the effects of poison hemlock smoke but we didn’t find much. The most helpful informative thing we found was a study that showed that 50% of lab rats exposed to hemlock smoke for 20 min died. Ah well, such is life.

It’s tuesday though, and I’m still alive, so unless I get lung cancer or something I’ll probably be fine. We washed our hands really good when we came in for ice cream and briefly considered rinsing our lungs with soap, but decided that dying of paralysis and respiratory failure was better than self inflicted agony.

Mom’s note: For those of you who are prone to worry – and you know who you are – let me reassure you that we are not quite so cavalier with the lives and lungs of our offspring as Deanna’s narrative might lead one to believe.  Let’s just say that the story sounds better told this way, and leave the rest to your imagination.


  1. HAHA!
    That sounds a lot like me.
    I’m always real careful about not getting poisons stuff on my brothers and sisters.
    But running though the woods a few weeks ago,
    I went off our land and on to our neighbors. I was halfway across a wooded place when I happened to look down.
    Mmmm… Poison Ivy.
    And did I mention I was barefooted.
    Silly me.

  2. You know we have some Hemlock down the street

  3. LOL!!! Sounds like something I might accidentally do. 🙂

  4. ROFL! Ahh… the adventures of country gals! I hate it when things don’t burn when you light them… I tried to burn a magazine a couple weeks ago and that little stinker would not burn for anything! I used like 20 matches on it… had to get some newspaper to get it to burn and it still didn’t turn to ashes.
    Keep posting so we know you’re still alive! 😛

  5. Weirdo 😉

  6. We had LOTS of poison hemlock on the property at the little house. I don’t remember finding anything about the effects of smoking it, but kids have died from making whistles from the stems and blowing on them.=(

  7. D,D,D! Hey, William PLEASE stop Deanna the next time she does something like this! I don’t want my next visit to be for her funeral 🙁

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