Crazy Owl

Written by Jeff Poppen
Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The light green of spring usually brightens me up, but I must admit to a sadness. Among other things, my friend “Crazy Owl” died. You may have met him, gray old fellow with a long beard. He was born in 1927, a long time ago.

His family had a chicken ranch, as he called it. They got sued for polluting the neighbors, and “Crazy” was upset to the end about the chicken ranch moving in here. His dad put in a drive-in custard shop instead and did well.

Charles Hall (Crazy Owl) became a Phd in mathematics, and studies statistics, which is what my father did. So we had that in common. Like my Dad, “Crazy” quit the professor role to become a horticulturist.

Studying herbalism led him into the world of Chinese medicine and he helped many people with their health problems. His knowledge was vast and he enjoyed sharing it.

Crazy lived up the road from the farm, and walked down often to tend his herbs and roses. He made tinctures and other medicines from them which he gave to my customers. He never asked for money, but loved to pick a few vegetables to take back home.

He liked to take folks on an herb walk. Immediately pointing out the plantain, dandelion and chickweed at your feet, his herb walk could last an hour and not travel 100 feet. All of the plants seemed familiar to him. If he did not know it he would try and figure out what it was and what it was good for.

Yoga was important to Crazy. He practiced quite a bit everyday. His library contained many fascinating book on many different topics.

He had models of geodesic domes that he wanted to build on the farm. I came home one day to find a bamboo dome greenhouse being erected. He built top bar beehives that are full of honeybees.

On delivery days he would try to have something to send. Sometimes it was spearmint, thyme or another herb, and other times it might be an edible weed like perilla or chickweed. He was glad to be a part of our farm, and we will all miss him.

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One Comment

  1. My family and I were so saddened to hear of Crazy Owl’s passing. One of my favorite memories is taking an herb walk with him, learning more than I thought was possible in such a short time, and listening to his stories. He was truly an amazing and brilliant man, and he will be missed by all of us who’s lives he touched.

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