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Ozark Inspired Podcasts

Prefer to listen to your stories more than read? Do you like Pinterest? I’ve created a Pinterest board just for Ozark related stories and essays. Do you write fiction or non-fiction that is inspired somehow by the Ozarks? Put them to audio recordings and join my board at Pinterest.

Ozark Inspired Podcasts

I’ve started putting my flash fiction stories and the photo prompts that inspired them to my Writing website as podcasts. If any of you who are writers want to use the photos I post and create your own stories, feel free & to link to your post in the comments to my stories. I’ll be posting the podcasts to Pinterest as I get around to it and having been inspired by another writer friend of mine, have created an open/shared board called “Ozark-Inspired Podcasts“. If any of you want to make audio recordings of your stories and join it, let me know. This board isn’t limited to fiction, but only needs to be Ozark inspired or written by Ozark authors. To join, comment on one of the pins and let me know. I’d love to get a variety of audio pins from Ozark influenced authors.

Madison Woods Stories

My stories are all somehow influenced by my life here in the Ozarks, but are usually not “about” the Ozarks. Eventually I’ll add some audio of my non-fiction articles to the Pinterest board, the Nature Journal essays and some of the ones that are about the plants and things more directly Ozark related.

 

 

 


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snow covered oak limbs
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Raising the Bar at Wild Ozark

Today we were gifted with more snow. Yesterday when I got out of bed, the sun shown brightly with promises of warmth at least from direct sunlight. So I let the horses out to scrounge around for what little grass might be popping up from beneath melted snow from last week. We decided to go to town to get more hay. By the time we’d paid for the hay and were walking out the door it had become overcast and snow fell from the skies. That was unexpected.

Snow continued to fall, tiny powder flakes, for the rest of the day. Thankfully, the horses came when I called and I didn’t have to get on the 4-wheeler to go retrieve them from a grassy honey-hole somewhere.

The snow drifted down slowly all night long, too. Still only about an inch or two collected on the ground. But snow is still falling now at 1018, and the flakes are bigger and falling with what seems intention to cover all with a blanket of white.

southeastward

This year is still new-ish, but already it’s gathering speed and momentum. Look- February is already gone! Before we know it, we’ll all crash through the finish line of yet another year. Here at Wild Ozark we’re experiencing the thrill and excitement of raising the bar. Since it’s so early in the year, the challenge will be to continue to meet these expectations…

Excitement at Wild Ozark

Egg-cellent Performance

strange colored eggI’ll start with the chickens. Their greatest accomplishment this year had to do with eggs. The hens raised the bar on their own performance this past week by laying eight eggs yesterday, more than we’ve had all season in one day so far. And one of the hens left a very unusually colored egg in the nest. One hen has decided that the hay storage area is a better place for a nest and has begun sneaking in there to lay eggs, then escaping from the window that has no glass left in it afterward. Altogether we have 15 hens and a rooster. Four of them are new and won’t begin laying until possibly spring.

The maran’s are trying to get the color saturation right, I guess. Their eggs become very dark brown later in the season. One of the green egg layers laid two eggs in one day, two days in a row! Talk about feats hard to beat.

On the Business Front

  • Lots of addresses on the nursery plant list. Twenty interested persons have asked to be added to the nursery mailing list. This is a great start for a small nursery. Each year we’ll have more to offer and better variety. This first year will test the waters on demand so I’ll know how much of everything to plant for next year’s market season.
  • The Huntsville Farmer’s Market begins some time in April or early May. Our first meeting to plan is on March 17, so I’ll have more details then. I’ll be there at least on the weekday market every week with Ginseng Habitat Related books, information, and  plants to sell. The slide-show on USB will be playing on the monitor so if you can’t or don’t want to buy it, come by and watch for free and enjoy the good market company. It’ll be fun just to visit. I’d love to hear your ginseng stories.
  • Wild Ozark sold more books in one month than ever before! 52 and the day isn’t even over yet.
  • Survey Results – thank you to all of you who voted in my survey about the best format for a photo book. The results say that in spite of the higher cost, most prefer a hard copy book. For second place results were tied between the USB and magazine format. There are five winners of the Wild Ozark Herbs DVD/slideshow to be notified. I’ll need to collect addresses for shipping. Those winners are listed below.
  • Landed a grant from United Plant Savers to install ginseng habitat – my first ever successful grant application (and the first grant ever applied for). This will pay for printing booklets for the next and greatest of the bar-raising highlights so far…
  • Wild Ozark will work in conjunction with Peel-Compton Gardens in Bentonville to install a ginseng habitat, complete (of course) with ginseng and companion plants. This will be a public place people can go to see and learn about ginseng. I’m so excited by this project. The goal is to provide a hands-on interaction with ginseng and the companions. It will help teach how to identify and protect the habitat. Our hope is that with education about the fragility of the ecosystem, we can help protect the plant and give knowledge to those new to the lure of digging. We hope to instill a sense of stewardship and long-term thinking and planning, thereby providing the means to ensure ginseng’s survival for generations to come. We hope others will become interested in restoring habitats on private property for a plant steeped in history and lore. Once we get started working on this project this spring, I’ll chronicle our progress on a page all of its own. If you’re on my monthly newsletter list, you’ll be sure to get the announcement when that page is ready, or you can watch for it here or on the social medias. Newsletter members may get special announcements or invitations regarding this project that I don’t post to my blog…

Winners of the Wild Ozark Herbs DVD/Slide-show

  • Piya
  • Terry
  • Jim
  • Carla
  • Bill

Thank you for voting! I’ll be emailing you for your mailing addresses.

 


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sun sparkles on water
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Sun Sparkles

Sun sparkles in winter enchant me like sirens calling sailors to the rocks. The moments when these occur are the result of perfect synchronization, the synergism of all five elements: wind, fire, earth, water and spirit. They do not come when summoned, appearing only when conditions are right and only appreciated by those who heed the call to notice.

sun sparkles and snow in creek

sun sparkles on water

more sun sparkles


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Snow and Ice in the Ozarks

Snow and ice are a common winter-time theme of my photos out here in the wild Ozarks. I like the balance of movement and stasis and implied potential in this photo of the snow capped rocks. The creek continues to flow no matter how cold or frozen the surface becomes, even if it must do so below the ground’s surface. And yet the ice embraces solidity and resists change, giving way only slowly in the return to liquid state when the sun warms even the shady spots. Beneath the snow, grass is already beginning to green up and even while they sleep, trees siphon trace minerals and nourishment from the slow snow melt.

snow capped creek rocks by gate

Snow capped creek rocks


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Snowy Day in the Ozarks

It’s our first snowy day for the season. First it sleeted about an inch or so, then it snowed. It’s still snowing today. Not too much but enough to make everything look pretty. It’s about 20*F, so no danger of melting away just yet.


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Which format is best?

header image for forest companions book

Which format is best?

The book in question is about 100 pages long. It’s mostly photos, with a little bit of prose. Three of the chapters are at Amazon as individual e-books. The file size is too large to make it one big e-book, because of the photos. So I’m exploring the options for ways to put those three chapters plus a fourth one together into one product. Should it be a real physical book? Or do you like the idea of the USB or DVD better? I could also turn it into a magazine style publication, or even just put it at a site like Slide-Share. I’d like to make it available in all the various formats, but that will take time and money, and sales to inspire me to make it more widely available.

You can help me decide which formats to work on first.

I have a survey going on at SurveyMonkey right now. Newsletter subscribers got this in their email today. You can take it, too, and if you email to let me know you’ve done it, I’ll enter you into a drawing for one of my “Wild Ozark Herbs” DVD. I’ll chose five winners from all the emailed notices. The survey is anonymous so unless you let me know you’ve taken it, I won’t know to enter your name.

 

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

This project is already listed at our online shop. It’s marked “Out of Stock” for now because I’ll be updating it soon with the additional chapter (The Look-Alikes). When I’m done it’ll be a comprehensive collection of everything I know and love about the American ginseng habitat.

Current survey results say that USB is the preferred format, with the paperback book running a close second. That was my first thought, too, although I think I’d like to also see it in magazine or book format as well.


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Bloodroot Bud

It’s early February and the plants in the ginseng habitat are still buried beneath leaf litter and possibly snow. We’ve had a very mild winter so far this year. I won’t be surprised if I find hungry ticks waiting in ambush today.

I’m going out to the mountain to find goldenseal so I can get some root divisions before the spring growth begins. I’ll take pictures and possibly make a short video and post it to this website later on. When it’s ready, there’ll be a link here for you. I’ll try to get pictures of all the plants as we propagate them throughout the year at the appropriate times and in the various methods. Right now and until spring for some of the plants, it is time for root divisions.

Before these plants went to bed for the long winter’s sleep, buds were already in place and waiting to rise come spring. Bloodroot, goldenseal, ginseng, cohosh all have a new bud waiting for the growing season to begin. All but ginseng will sometimes have more than one bud per root clump. Bloodroot and goldenseal in particular are easy to divide and propagate because the rhizome root can be divided everywhere there are roots coming off of it and each section will make a new plant even if there’s no bud at that spot.

Here’s a picture that shows what the bloodroot bud looks like. You can click on the image to make it bigger. Be sure to sign up for our nursery brochure if you’d like a plant list mailed to you in spring or just want an idea of what we’ll have at our booth at the farmer’s market in Huntsville.

bloodroot bud

 


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Random Nature Connection: Too Many Irons in the Fire

Random Nature Connection photo prompt - fiery sunset in the ozarks

“Fire on the Mountain”

This is a fiery sunset photo taken several years ago. Dense dark clouds hung low on the horizon, allowing the setting sun to illuminate so brightly as a backdrop giving the appearance of wildfires raging on the distant mountains.

If you’re writing essays based on this photo prompt, you probably won’t immediately associate it with the topic I’ve connected to today. But if you have the tendency, like me, to take on too many projects at once then you’ll know exactly why imagery of fire brings this saying to mind. “Too many irons in the fire”. I’m not sure of the original meaning of this phrase, but when I hear it I think of branding irons in a fire. If there’s too many of them piled on, then none of them will heat evenly and the branding of the cattle will be more chaotic because the irons become tangled in that pile.

To see what Random Nature Connection is all about, click here. You’re invited to write a nature blog post using my photos as prompts if you’d like. If you do it, leave a comment with your link so I can come take a look!

As it relates to my topic of musing for today, I have a tendency to get too many things going at once. And then all of the projects suffer because it’s not possible to allocate enough time to each all of the time. My tasks become jumbled like the piled on irons in the fire.

As it relates to nature, I think this is a uniquely human condition. I wonder how natural an occurrence among us it is? Does it only happen to a certain type of person, or is it random – afflicting everyone at some point? In my current state, I’ve taken a few irons out recently. You might have noticed I didn’t make one blog post this week except this one today. Instead of writing, I’ve been working on understanding income taxes and how to file them for a small business. The process of figuring out what needed to be done, which forms needed to be filed, and what expenses could be deducted, and on and on ad nauseum kept me so occupied that very few of the other irons in my fire received much attention. I’m almost done with the tax headache and we’ll still end up needing to bring them to an accountant. But at least I have a better understanding of how to keep better records this year because of the struggle I’ve undergone over the past few weeks.

Now that the most demanding iron is nearly out of the fire, I can add some of the other ones back in and rekindle the flames. This fire of mine is a creative one and each iron is a desire to create. To create an art of the imagination, whether in the form of words in a story or photos arranged as visual art or seed-planting or business-growing.

What desires do you have burning and are you plagued with having too many irons in the fire?

 


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Tall Thimbleweed (Anemone virginiana)

Thimbleweed is a graceful, interesting native Ozark plant that grows along forest edges (also native to many other areas of the eastern United States). It is most often found in the dappled shade of liminal spaces between forest and clearing.

Thimbleweed (Anemone virginiana)

During the heat of July while out scouting for rocks (yes, rocks. I scout for plants, habitats AND rocks regularly, lol), I spied the bristly elongated cones of Thimbleweed. Of course I had to zip back up to the house because I generally don’t carry along the camera while dealing with rocks.

Thimbleweed flower cones

Once the petals fall, the cone resembles a thimble, which is how the plant gets its common name.

This week (it is now late January) I noticed the seed fluff getting ready to take flight. Of course I gathered some of the seedheads. In the course of my gathering, many were naturally released onto the breeze to reseed elsewhere, so no danger of over harvesting seeds from this one.

Thimbleweed gone to Seed

Thimbleweed gone to seed

Thimbleweed is another one of my favorite plants (I have quite a few “favorites”, haha) of the Ozarks and now I have some seeds to grow these plants for our nursery. I should have some of them with me at the farmer’s market this year. If you haven’t already, sign up for my nursery brochure. When I know what’s available and set prices, I’ll send that out to the list. I’ll be able to ship plants soon too, so if you’re interested in mail-ordering plants, join up: http://www.wildozark.com/ginseng-habitat-nursery/.

Here’s a few links to pages with more information about Thimbleweed. It has a history of medicinal use, but I’d enjoy this plant just because of its unique appearance. It stands out in a crowds of weedy growth and I like that about it. That’s what I’m trying to do as a writer and blogger in a sea of other writers and bloggers, so we have something in common.

It’s a plant that should be easy enough to propagate, so hopefully it will also one day grace the “Plants” category in our online store. I should be able to begin offering plants by mail in a few months.

More info

Photos

 Tall Thimbleweed plant, Anemone virginiana Flowers of Thimbleweed, native to the Ozarks

 

 


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Random Nature Connection: Liminal Spaces

Thimbleweed grows often at the forest edge, where it could have full sun or partial shade or deep shade. It is one of those plants that like the liminal spaces. My next blog post will be about this plant. This post is about liminal spaces.

Thimbleweed flowers

Thimbleweed

The topic – Liminal Spaces

It wasn’t until 2012 that I really started paying attention to “liminality”. The phenomenon/occurrence of it fascinated me already, but I didn’t know there was an actual word to describe it. Then I interviewed Dr. Harrison Solow. After that, I saw the liminal in almost all of the time/space places that had always fascinated me most. I’ll repost that interview with her soon and link to it here. She’s a fascinating woman who lives a fascinating life. One of her specialty topics as a writer is liminality.

In this Random Nature Connection post, I’m going to talk about my love of the liminal spaces. Not all of those spaces are in nature per se, or at least they’re not all physical locations. But liminality is a natural “thing”. Not everyone notices or pays attention to these places-in-between where boundaries are blurred, and then again, not everyone likes the grey areas. Some prefer definite orientation on one side or the other – a definite yes or no, steering clear of ambiguity.

I like them because of the variety of life that usually exists in such places. I like the ambiguous things, the dichotomies. Probably because I sense a lot of myself in those places.

For those liminal spaces that aren’t physical locations but are instead metaphysical spaces, I like them because of the opportunities that exist only at times like that. Those kinds of places are where the strands in the webs of life are wavering on the pendulum between touching or not, and whether they do makes all the difference in the moments happening next.

This article is about the metaphysical liminal spaces, particularly when it comes to communicating with nature: http://wakeup-world.com/2014/11/28/some-pointers-and-pitfalls-for-talking-with-nature/. I found it very interesting and it puts into words what I’ve never been able to explain.

Here’s a list of liminal spaces I consider to be my favorites. I’d love to hear of yours.

  • Between night and day, mostly the mornings just before dawn when darkness is giving way to the light. But then I like to ramble around outside as day is giving way to night, too, so I guess I like them both. I like to hear the different animals moving around or waking up.
  • At Water’s Edge- beaches, rivers, ponds and creeks. The edges of these places are very interesting to me because of the life that lives where the two meet. Some dabble in both, some prefer to keep wet feet and never venture to the dry ground, and some never actually touch the water.
  • In the forest, on the lower part of a mountain before it becomes ground level
  • At the edge of waking or falling asleep
  • Where mountains meet field or valley, although the exact spot where this happens is sometimes thick and brushy and hard to get through. I don’t like that specific cluttered place so much, but do like the approach to the space where there is both mountain and valley, or forest and field.
  • Just before autumn, when the angles of the sun’s rays cast light a particular way that tells me fall soon will arrive.
  • Just before a rain after a long dry spell.
  • The moon while in Horns of Isis phase – showing both the shadowed part and the illuminated crescent at the same time.
  • The moment as comprehension begins but before fully recognized, after struggling with a difficult concept (I like witnessing this moment in others. as well). And this one has a dark side, as well – when comprehension of something unpleasant begins to dawn… and while I don’t “enjoy” this side of it, the space is still fascinating to me.

Random Nature Connection

This post was a Random Nature Connection post. Please join me and link to your own blog post about this topic or this picture.

Previous Random Nature Connection Posts

Here are the previous Random Nature Connection posts:

  • 1rst Friday – water (photo of water dripping)
  • 2nd Friday – planning ahead (photo of sunset)
  • 3rd Friday – resistance to change (photo of ice shard lifting rock)
  • 4th Friday – abundance (photo of farkleberry)
  • 5th Friday – force to be reckoned with (photo of tractor)

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