Wild Ozark

Reconnect to Nature

A Muck Boot and Pj Kind of Day

I didn’t feel like getting out of bed this morning. It was cold in the room when I woke and I just felt lazy. It was a muck boot and pj kind of day.

It’s a pajama and muck boot kind of day at #WildOzark. #feelinglazytoday

A photo posted by Madison Woods (@wildozark) on

Needed another pile of firewood in the house. Might as well do that in pj’s too… #feelinglazytoday at #WildOzark

A photo posted by Madison Woods (@wildozark) on

Gathered up a little wood from the way back pile. #WildOzark

A photo posted by Madison Woods (@wildozark) on

Oops, dropped one.

A photo posted by Madison Woods (@wildozark) on


ginseng through the seasons line drawing

Line drawing from the USDA, NRCS. 2015. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 5 July 2015). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My sci-fantasy fiction usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks. Visit my Amazon page to see all of my books about ginseng and nature: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.

To read my fiction: http://fiction.wildozark.com.

For nature sketching and fantasy art, visit my online journal: http://www.wildozarknaturejournal.com.

 

The Autumn 2015 collection of Wild Ozark Nature Journal is FREE all week Monday Nov 16 through Friday Nov 20  Cover-low  cover for 10 Common Plants Worth Knowing Sustainable Ginseng Cover-front-205x267 DIY Ginseng Habitat & Site Assessment Guide Before the Unfurling cover for the unfurling of ginseng cover for forest companions

 

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READERS are a writer's RAISON D’ÊTRE - Thank you for being mine!

Each month I send out a newsletter to share links, herbal and other stories, tips on American ginseng, snippets of life in the wild Ozarks, and announcements of new books and products. You can sign up for special interest groups, too.

So How does Ginseng Taste?

photo of box of ginseng

This is the little box where we keep our dried ginseng root.

Ginseng Taste

So how does ginseng taste? The first flavor when you put a little piece of the root in your mouth is bitterness, but it’s not too intense of a bitterness. A bit of that bitterness lingers the whole time, too. Then there’s also an earthy sweetness, similar but not the same as carrot – a not so sweet carrot.

Do not eat an entire root in one day!

Eating too much ginseng is probably bad for you. My son ate a whole one when he first started digging. He didn’t sleep for two days and he said it felt like his heart was going to jump out of his chest. This is not a good thing, so don’t do it.

We usually chew a small piece, like  you see broken off in the photo below, all day. Just tuck it on the side of your jaw, don’t chew it like gum. Squeeze it every once in a while with your tongue against the roof of your mouth, or gently between your teeth, and put it back on the side.

When you want to eat or get tired of keeping it in there, put it on a plate or somewhere that you can go back to it later. As long as the bitter flavor remains, it still contains ginseng goodness.

Some people use the root in broths. I’ve ground some and used it in my coffee. I really like it that way.

a piece of dried ginseng root

The dried ginseng root, ready to chew.

I have a monthly inventory report for those who are interested in buying exceptional wild ginseng roots and leaves for personal consumption (ships to US addresses only).

Keeo up with the roots report

Ginseng

Most of the searches that bring people to this site are about how to find ginseng. Not so many seem to wonder about how to use the ginseng itself. I think most are only interested in exploiting the root for profit. We don’t dig our roots here to sell because we don’t have enough of it yet. When the population reaches a sustainable level (at least 100 plants of mixed ages per colony) we’ll harvest roots, but that’s going to be years down the road from now. Right now the focus is on habitat restoration.

In our Wild Ozark™ Nursery, though, we do plant extra seeds so I can sell rootlets and potted ginseng plants to others who want to grow it. It makes a pretty potted plant or specimen feature in shade gardens. We also offer companions to make the habitat complete.

The Ozark’s own best-selling author, photographer, consultant, and herbalist Steven Foster posted at his herbal blog about the issues he sees with the television show “Appalachian Outlaws”. My hope is that some of the people who come here searching for information because they’ve watched that show will become interested in the plant and shift their focus from the potential money in digging to a concern and desire to help it survive. I wrote a short book called “Sustainable Ginseng” with information on how land-owners can grow it in a way that’s indistinguishable from true wild. Grown this way it can be used for personal remedies as I describe below, or sold just like wild – all without adding extra stress to the survival of the plants still holding their own in our hills.


Some of our books:


For the most part, I just study the ginseng and grow it. I get a lot of enjoyment from finding new plants, growing new colonies, and just observing grandmother plants with her babies throughout the growing season. But every so often we do dig a few for our own personal use and I thought I’d talk a little today about how I use it. Dr. Laurell Matthews wrote about the virtues of ginseng root on her Natural Health blog the other day. The last time we dug any of our own was a few years ago. I keep the roots in a paper bag along with the other herbs I’ve harvested for household use.

herbs in paper bagsWhen I take out a ginseng root I put it in the little ox-bone box pictured at the top of this post and keep it in the kitchen. My husband got that little box for me when he was in Iraq or Afghanistan and I think it makes a fitting resting place for a single root of a plant I hold in high regard. That same root has been in the box for several months because I don’t use it every day. If I’m working on a project that requires more concentration and focus than I’m ordinarily prone to, I’ll keep a little piece of the root in my mouth all day. I take it out and set it on the side of my plate if I eat or put it down somewhere if I’m having a cup of coffee, but I keep the same piece in use all day. It’s sort of like keeping the same piece of chewing gum, I guess, but I don’t actually “chew” the root. Every once in a while I’ll bite down on it to squeeze the juice out of it. Yes, I know that sounds pretty gross, given that the juice is made from my saliva, ha. But the saliva is also extracting the goodness of ginseng while it sits on standby in my mouth.

If I think I have a cold or other illness coming on, I’ll use it the same way. Ginseng is an adaptogen and will try to help the body overcome stresses of any sort. This is also what I’ll do with it if we’re doing some sort of work that is physical and I want to maintain stamina throughout the day (like when we’re working on a fence project).

If you’re interested in growing your own virtually-wild ginseng and need some help figuring out where to plant, take a look at our books. By learning the ginseng companion plants, it’ll help you find the best places to plant.

Sustainable Ginseng DIY Ginseng Habitat & Site Assessment Guide Before the Unfurling cover for the unfurling of ginseng cover for forest companions

 

 


ginseng through the seasons line drawing

Line drawing from the USDA, NRCS. 2015. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 5 July 2015). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My sci-fantasy fiction usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks. Visit my Amazon page to see all of my books about ginseng and nature: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.

To read my fiction: http://fiction.wildozark.com.

For nature sketching and fantasy art, visit my online journal: http://www.wildozarknaturejournal.com.

 

The Autumn 2015 collection of Wild Ozark Nature Journal is FREE all week Monday Nov 16 through Friday Nov 20  Cover-low  cover for 10 Common Plants Worth Knowing Sustainable Ginseng Cover-front-205x267 DIY Ginseng Habitat & Site Assessment Guide Before the Unfurling cover for the unfurling of ginseng cover for forest companions

 

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READERS are a writer's RAISON D’ÊTRE - Thank you for being mine!

Each month I send out a newsletter to share links, herbal and other stories, tips on American ginseng, snippets of life in the wild Ozarks, and announcements of new books and products. You can sign up for special interest groups, too.

A problem in our gravity feed spring water system

What is a gravity feed water system?

We are fortunate to have our very own spring fed water source that runs all year long. It is a spring that pumps out enough water, without fail, to serve our household with daily water. Even more lucky to have gravity feed.

The spring is located on the mountain behind our house. We have it piped down the hill and to the house and shed. This is the “spring fed” part, and because it’s high enough above the point of use to give us great water pressure at the house, it’s also the “gravity feed” part.

Making Repairs

Sometimes I forget to leave the water dripping in winter time. When the temps are below freezing, if the water isn’t moving, it will freeze in the lines. This is one of the challenges of living out here. I forgot to do this last week and now there’s a break I’ll have to repair. I’ve had to learn how to do a lot of things for myself out here, because you can’t just call a plumber for things like this. I can’t even imagine how much one would charge to hike up the mountain to do a job!

I knew there was a break because the pressure was lower than usual and there was a lot of sediment in the water. I worried that maybe the tank had drained to the bottom and what I was seeing was the dregs. So I gathered some tools.

tools for working on the spring fed water line

Pipe wrenches for taking old couplings off and putting them back on, pipe cutter, screwdriver, pipe saw, bands, inserts for couplers, pipe cutter, 2nd pipe wrench, spare coupler

I figured out a long time ago that for the couplers you need two wrenches. I also figured out a long time ago that to go up there “just to see” what the problem is, is really stupid without bringing the tools. Because then you have to walk all the way back down to the house, gather tools, then walk all the way back to the problem. Better to just bring them the first time. I put all the tools in my backpack and went up the mountain to see what the problem was exactly.

The first section of line didn’t have any leaks.  In a gravity feed system, the higher the water storage elevation, the better the effect of gravity on the water pressure. I’m glad we have such a good setup, but that means a lot of hiking uphill when there’s a problem.

first section of the spring fed line

That’s the roof of the house down below. No leaks on this section. Going higher to inspect the next section.

On the next level I found a small leak. But the bigger problem was how the ground had eroded underneath it and caused it to stretch tight.

The water line is stretched tight because of the shifting ground and erosion.

The water line is stretched tight because of the shifting ground and erosion.

If I cut the line to put in the coupler, then I might not be able to pull them together enough to keep it from leaking. What I need to do is change out this entire section because it’s older and brittle now from being exposed to sunlight so much. All of this used to be buried, but we’ve had some really bad floods lately and the logging road (which is the path the water lines also follow) washed out.

leak on the spring fed gravity feed water line

So, I found a leak, but it’s not enough to account for the low pressure and silty water. Next stop, the tank. I need to see if it’s empty or nearly so. I set my bag of tools down here because it was heavy and I didn’t think I’d need it for the tank.

The tank was plumb full. So why the low pressure? I forgot to take a picture here, but the water was as high as it could go and about a foot over the overflow line exit. This shouldn’t be. The excess should be draining from the tank through the overflow line.

That inflow and outflow what keeps it able to go out of the line to the house. I’m not sure why that is, but when the overflow doesn’t “flow”, then neither does it flow properly out of the tank through the feed line.

I followed the overflow line to see why it wasn’t working. On my way there I saw a pretty old log with moss growing in the broken end. I liked the wood grain showing in it. Even when I’m doing “work”, I still take time to notice the pretty things.

old wood grain with moss

The overflow line wasn’t flowing because it had been chewed and twisted. Looked like a bear had been rolling around on the ground with it and mangled it.

Some critters chewed and crimped the overflow line by bending it back on itself. We had it flowing into a bucket for them, but I guess whatever it was thought it would be more efficient to get it from the middle instead.

Some critters chewed and crimped the overflow line by bending it back on itself. We had it flowing into a bucket for them, but I guess whatever it was thought it would be more efficient to get it from the middle instead.

It was a mistake to have set my bag of tools down by the leak. I needed the cutter so I could cut the overflow just before the crimped part. But I didn’t feel like going downhill and then back up again. It was a pretty good hike to where I was at that point. So I did the best I could by pinching it in my hands. It did let a little start flowing through.

Managed to open up the crimp a little and now it's flowing from the chewed spots.

Managed to open up the crimp a little and now it’s flowing from the chewed spots.

And it also flows a little all the way to the end now.

And it also flows a little all the way to the end now.

Tomorrow I’ll have to go to our local hardware store for some replacement line. Just opening the overflow gave me back the water pressure, and the leak is small so it’s not an emergency. But I want to do the repairs as soon as possible so it doesn’t get worse, and the overflow line needs to be cut. So if I’m going to hike back up there to do that part, I might as well also fix the leak.

Not too many people outside of our area use spring fed water anymore because of pollution in the more populated areas, but ours is fairly clean. No coliforms, phosphates or nitrates. Fortunately, there are no poultry houses or livestock fields in the lands where our water enters the ground. I tested it several times myself when I worked in an environmental laboratory, but we still drink filtered water. We use it as is for cooking, bathing, and washing clothes, though. As long as we take care of the lines, and conserve our usage, we always have water when we need it. The flow rate is not great, but it’s enough to fill our 1500 gallon tank in 24 hours. I would not trade it for city water or even a well.

 


ginseng through the seasons line drawing

Line drawing from the USDA, NRCS. 2015. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 5 July 2015). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My sci-fantasy fiction usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks. Visit my Amazon page to see all of my books about ginseng and nature: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.

To read my fiction: http://fiction.wildozark.com.

For nature sketching and fantasy art, visit my online journal: http://www.wildozarknaturejournal.com.

 

The Autumn 2015 collection of Wild Ozark Nature Journal is FREE all week Monday Nov 16 through Friday Nov 20  Cover-low  cover for 10 Common Plants Worth Knowing Sustainable Ginseng Cover-front-205x267 DIY Ginseng Habitat & Site Assessment Guide Before the Unfurling cover for the unfurling of ginseng cover for forest companions

 

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READERS are a writer's RAISON D’ÊTRE - Thank you for being mine!

Each month I send out a newsletter to share links, herbal and other stories, tips on American ginseng, snippets of life in the wild Ozarks, and announcements of new books and products. You can sign up for special interest groups, too.

Kings River Falls – Photos from our hike

On Sunday I went hiking with my two oldest children and their children, one of my daughter’s friends and her children, and my parents to the Kings River Falls.  This trail is a little north and east of Fallsville, AR in Madison county.  Here’s a link the Arkansas Natural Heritage website for the trail.

Kings River Falls Natural Area

The sign marking the trail head to the Kings River Falls Natural Area.

The sign marking the trail head to the Kings River Falls Natural Area.

The Kings River Falls trail was a relatively short one at about a mile. It’s not a loop, so you’ll come back out the same way you went in, making the total trip about two miles. It’s not a hard hike because there’s no hills, but a lot of it was very rocky. It was not handicap accessible.

We started out in one big group. Everyone quickly got ahead of me, but I managed to get a couple of pictures of a few who straggled around the parking lot for a little while.

Kady's first hike!

Kady’s first hike!

So sweet. Karter and my mom.

So sweet. Karter and my mom.

I’m the slow one on trails when I bring a camera because I’m always stopping to take pictures of things like leaves, flowers, bird nests, etc.

Here you can see my son, the last straggler, finally pulling far ahead of me.

I'm always getting left behind.

I’m always getting left behind.

I dare say my exercise workout from hiking is still sufficient, though, because all those things need a lot of stooping, bending, and near yoga postures to get good pics sometimes. (If you click the photos they should enlarge).

 

 Most of the trail was rocky. It didn’t seem to bother the younger folks, but it could be a bit of an ankle twister for others. Some stretches were relatively smooth. And there was hardly any change in elevation the whole way.

Rocky path at Kings River Falls Natural Area in Madison county Arkansas.

The path was rocky.

And sometimes the path was smooth.

And sometimes the path was smooth.

This trail is near the headwaters of Kings River. I’m not sure exactly how many miles upstream is the source, though. Even alongside this one mile trail you can see the many personalities of this river. The bottom is most often tumbled with rocks, both large and small. But there are some stretches with interesting sandstone formations.

 Eventually, near the end of the trail, I almost caught up with my party. But as soon as I came into sight they jumped up and ran off. This is why I usually stick to photographing plants and rocks. They don’t move when I’m trying to get pictures. Unless the wind is blowing.

Every time I almost catch up, they get up and leave.

Every time I almost catch up, they get up and leave.

But finally I did catch up at the end of the trail. I always bring water on hikes, but since we had left around lunch time and I hadn’t eaten yet, I wished I had brought some lunch, too. Besides, it’s always a good idea to carry at least a snack in case there’s a delay on the trail for whatever reason.

End of the trail

I took these while the kids were playing on the rocks and near the water’s edge and everyone was resting and getting ready for the hike back out. My card was full by now, so I was able to keep up on the way out since I could no longer take any pictures.

 I spent a fair amount of time trying to get a perfect photo of a drop of water falling from some lush moss at the base of the falls running into the river. But I never did get a good one. Here’s a so-so attempt.

Water dripping through lush moss.

Oh. And here’s a few of the destination falls.

Hope you enjoyed this “virtual” hike to the Kings River Falls Natural area in Madison county Arkansas!


ginseng through the seasons line drawing

Line drawing from the USDA, NRCS. 2015. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 5 July 2015). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My sci-fantasy fiction usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks. Visit my Amazon page to see all of my books about ginseng and nature: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.

To read my fiction: http://fiction.wildozark.com.

For nature sketching and fantasy art, visit my online journal: http://www.wildozarknaturejournal.com.

 

The Autumn 2015 collection of Wild Ozark Nature Journal is FREE all week Monday Nov 16 through Friday Nov 20  Cover-low  cover for 10 Common Plants Worth Knowing Sustainable Ginseng Cover-front-205x267 DIY Ginseng Habitat & Site Assessment Guide Before the Unfurling cover for the unfurling of ginseng cover for forest companions

 

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READERS are a writer's RAISON D’ÊTRE - Thank you for being mine!

Each month I send out a newsletter to share links, herbal and other stories, tips on American ginseng, snippets of life in the wild Ozarks, and announcements of new books and products. You can sign up for special interest groups, too.

What’s the Big Deal About Ginseng?

This is the topic of my 10-minute speech for the Meet the Author’s Event on Saturday, Feb. 6,  at the Kimberling City Library. My talk, “What’s the Big Deal about Ginseng” is at 11:10 but there will be lots of other authors there giving their 10 minutes of engaging content, too. The allotted time may not be enough to cover all of the details in the article below, but I’ll be there most of the day to answer questions if you have any.

Here’s a PDF with the schedule. I hope you’ll come out to meet and greet your favorite local authors. I’ll have a bit of table space and all of my books, so if you want one autographed, it’s a perfect opportunity.

The Feng-Shui of American Ginseng

  1. Fueled by Desire for the root – “demand” (air)
  2. Controlled by Money – you’d think supply would be the controlling factor, but when there isn’t enough to meet the demand the market just goes underground and prices skyrocket. (fire)
  3. Tempered by Supply – The amount of money diggers get for it determine how much of it they’re willing to dig. (earth)
  4. Flamed by Scarcity – The plant is endangered and naturally in short supply. (water)

These four things combine to create the “perfect storm” that makes ginseng a big deal. I call it the feng-shui  of the ginseng market. When all is in balance, the flow is sustainable and the plant remains in sustainable populations in native habitats. Too much “air” and too much “fire” throws everything off-kilter and makes the future for this plant precarious.

What is Ginseng?

Wondering what's the big deal about ginseng?

A ginseng plant with ripe berries.

Ginseng is a small understory woodland perennial plant that can live a long time. The oldest one I’ve seen from the Ozarks was about 45 years, but it can live to be 100 or more. It’s not a very large plant and the root, the part most often bought and sold, isn’t very large either.

The leaves and ripe berries have a market too, but those parts are not as much in demand as the roots.

Ginseng grows in China, Korea, Vietnam, and Siberia as well. Our north American species is called Panax quinquefolius. The other ginseng varieties in other countries have other species names, but they all belong to the genus Panax.

Here’s a post with photos if you’d like to see what ginseng looks like at various stages of growth.

Why the Desire?

What's the big deal about ginseng? Very old American ginseng roots can demand high prices.

What’s the big deal about ginseng? Very old American ginseng roots can demand high prices.

The largest market for American ginseng is China. Their own native ginseng has been a part of their traditional health and well-being for centuries.

It wasn’t until the 1700’s that our ginseng was discovered by explorers. They sent samples of it to China and the momentum of desire grew from there. Native Americans used ginseng as well, but they never gave the plant the same, nearly mystical, devotion as the Chinese.

The root has some scientifically proven benefits. Studies have shown that it may help boost the immune system and lower blood sugar, but it hasn’t been extensively researched. The main reasons the Chinese love it are because they believe it cures impotence, improves stamina, promotes a longer life span, and balances the heat in a body. The American ginseng is considered to be more “cooling” and less stimulating than Chinese ginseng.

How much money does a root fetch?

Most of the time, prices per pound of dried root starts out around $400-500. That sounds fantastic until you learn that it takes nearly 350 decent sized roots to make a dried pound. But during a good year, like the one we had in 2007 the roots can bring close to $800-900/lb. This is what makes ginseng a big deal to those who live to dig it each year.

Each year I keep a running report on prices the diggers are getting throughout the ginseng-producing states. You can read the 2015 Ginseng Prices post to see how they did last year.

How much do end users pay?

Before the roots reach the last buyer, it goes through a couple of middle-men. Each time it is sold on, it gains in selling price. By the time someone in China buys a root – one root, or a few – it can cost up to and perhaps beyond $6000.00/lb. The price depends upon the root. Average prices probably run between $1000 – $2000 for lower grade, less desirable roots. I haven’t found a source to verify the figures, so I can’t say for sure. Old and roots shaped just so will bring the highest prices. This only applies to wild roots. Cultivated roots are not desired in China but we use them here in the US to manufacture supplements and energy drinks. They cost a fraction of the price.

We have a root from North Carolina for sale at our online shop for $200. That’s one root. But it’s a very special root.

Why is it endangered?

  • particular habitat – narrow range of tolerance. The right amount of shade, soil moisture and soil structure is critical.
  • poaching – hunting out of season, extirpation by poachers
  • habitat fragility – logging impacts the habitat, as does ice storms and property developments
  • the harvest kills the plant, so overharvesting will cause depletion
  • long life-cycle – the most desirable roots are over 30 years old and it has to be 5 before it’s even legal to harvest.

The market does fluctuate and some years are better than others for either end of the business. But as long as there are users to desire the root there will be diggers supplying it. And some of them will do this through whatever means they can, whether it’s through ethical, sustainable practices or on the black market with poached product.

Wild Ozark supports, encourages, and practices sustainable ginseng harvests and hope to spread the desire to become good stewards of this valuable native American plant.

Summary

The big deal about ginseng is that this endangered root is in short supply, but highly desired. So the prices can sometimes be wildly high, and the sustainability of the plant’s existence is hard to maintain without ethical practices.

More Reading Resources:

 

 

 


ginseng through the seasons line drawing

Line drawing from the USDA, NRCS. 2015. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 5 July 2015). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

.

Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My sci-fantasy fiction usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks. Visit my Amazon page to see all of my books about ginseng and nature: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.

To read my fiction: http://fiction.wildozark.com.

For nature sketching and fantasy art, visit my online journal: http://www.wildozarknaturejournal.com.

 

The Autumn 2015 collection of Wild Ozark Nature Journal is FREE all week Monday Nov 16 through Friday Nov 20  Cover-low  cover for 10 Common Plants Worth Knowing Sustainable Ginseng Cover-front-205x267 DIY Ginseng Habitat & Site Assessment Guide Before the Unfurling cover for the unfurling of ginseng cover for forest companions

 

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READERS are a writer's RAISON D’ÊTRE - Thank you for being mine!

Each month I send out a newsletter to share links, herbal and other stories, tips on American ginseng, snippets of life in the wild Ozarks, and announcements of new books and products. You can sign up for special interest groups, too.

A Poem by Joanna Macy

This is an untitled (newly titled!) poem by Joanna Macy, a deep ecologist.  I found this poem many years ago on a website long lost to memory, but I’ve linked to Joanna’s website in her name below. I stumbled across the poem again today as I was looking through some of my old files. It still speaks to me, and in so much more than a quiet whisper. I’m sharing it with you now, and I hope you love it, too.

photo paired with a poem by joanna macy

One of my photos from a trip to Germany in 2013.

From the Council of All Beings

We hear you, fellow creatures.
We know we are wrecking the world and we are afraid.

What we have unleashed has such momentum now,
we don’t know how to turn it around.

Don’t leave us alone, we need your help.

You need us too for your own survival.

Are there powers there you can share with us?

    “I, lichen, work slowly, very slowly.
Time is my friend.
This is what I give you: patience for the long haul and perseverance.”

    “It is a dark time.  As deep-diving trout I offer you my fearlessness of the dark.”

    “I, lion, give you my roar, the voice to speak out and be heard.”

    “I am caterpillar.  The leaves I eat taste bitter now.  But dimly I sense a great change coming.  What I offer you, humans, is my willingness to dissolve and transform.  I do that without knowing what the end-result will be, so I share with you my courage too.”

                —Joanna Macy

More about or by Joanna Macy

Giving Voice to the Earth

Joanna Macy Explained


ginseng through the seasons line drawing

Line drawing from the USDA, NRCS. 2015. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 5 July 2015). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

.

Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My sci-fantasy fiction usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks. Visit my Amazon page to see all of my books about ginseng and nature: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.

To read my fiction: http://fiction.wildozark.com.

For nature sketching and fantasy art, visit my online journal: http://www.wildozarknaturejournal.com.

 

The Autumn 2015 collection of Wild Ozark Nature Journal is FREE all week Monday Nov 16 through Friday Nov 20  Cover-low  cover for 10 Common Plants Worth Knowing Sustainable Ginseng Cover-front-205x267 DIY Ginseng Habitat & Site Assessment Guide Before the Unfurling cover for the unfurling of ginseng cover for forest companions

 

.


READERS are a writer's RAISON D’ÊTRE - Thank you for being mine!

Each month I send out a newsletter to share links, herbal and other stories, tips on American ginseng, snippets of life in the wild Ozarks, and announcements of new books and products. You can sign up for special interest groups, too.

The Sound of Winter

Some sounds are distinctly “winter”. Sometimes the sound of winter is marked by the absence of sound. Maybe it’s more correctly described as the “silence of winter”.

I am often reminded of how grateful I am to have my sense of sight. Beautiful things catch my eye almost daily. Most of the time I run to get the camera but often the lens (or the photographer) can’t capture the image in the same light it was seen.

Yesterday morning I noticed how thankful I am for my sense of hearing. I usually wake up right before daylight. That doesn’t mean I’m out of bed, only that I’m awake. Ordinarily, the chickens are crowing. When the horses get impatient for breakfast, they carry their rubber feeders and drop them into inconvenient nooks and crannies behind rocks and trees near the gate. This spurs the dogs to bark at them.

Yesterday morning it was quiet. It seemed all of the homestead critters had slept in.

It was cold in the bedroom when I finally pushed the luxurious alpaca blanket off of me so I could get up and get dressed. A quick look out the bedroom balcony door explained the silence.

Ice coated the ground everywhere I looked. All of the animals were not bothering to go about their usual morning ruckus because it was just too darn uncomfortable. Dogs huddled in their dog houses, chickens clucked and fussed from beneath the house where they hide out during inclement weather. And the horses just stood there by the gate, glaring at me as I tried to walk my usual route without slipping down.

Later that afternoon, I listened to the sound of sheets of ice slipping from the upper roof onto the lower one before finally shattering on the ground. It sounds like small cannon-fire explosions when it happens, but doesn’t rock the house, thankfully. This sound continues today. The early morning’s hearty round of sleet and rain added ammunition to the rooftop magazines.

Ice sliding from the roof is a distinct sound of winter.

Ice sliding from the roof is a distinct sound of winter.

Some sounds are distinctly “winter”. So is the stark absence of sound like that cold morning when the animals all decided to huddle in warmer places.


ginseng through the seasons line drawing

Line drawing from the USDA, NRCS. 2015. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 5 July 2015). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My sci-fantasy fiction usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks. Visit my Amazon page to see all of my books about ginseng and nature: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.

To read my fiction: http://fiction.wildozark.com.

For nature sketching and fantasy art, visit my online journal: http://www.wildozarknaturejournal.com.

 

The Autumn 2015 collection of Wild Ozark Nature Journal is FREE all week Monday Nov 16 through Friday Nov 20  Cover-low  cover for 10 Common Plants Worth Knowing Sustainable Ginseng Cover-front-205x267 DIY Ginseng Habitat & Site Assessment Guide Before the Unfurling cover for the unfurling of ginseng cover for forest companions

 

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READERS are a writer's RAISON D’ÊTRE - Thank you for being mine!

Each month I send out a newsletter to share links, herbal and other stories, tips on American ginseng, snippets of life in the wild Ozarks, and announcements of new books and products. You can sign up for special interest groups, too.

Meet our new team mates – Bat Cave Botanicals

Wild Ozark is pleased to announce that we’ll be working with Bat Cave Botanicals to bring wild Appalachian ginseng roots and leaf products to our online shop.


Martin & Sara of Bat Cave BotanicalsAbout Bat Cave Botanicals

My partner & I are fortunate to live in a region of the world where ginseng grows wild. The mountains of Western North Carolina have a long standing heritage that includes hunting for ginseng & other herbs for folk medicine as well as international market value. To protect the future of this incredible plant from over-harvest, cultivation & good stewardship practices are essential in order to satisfy demand and thus relieve the pressure being placed on the wild plant by high commercial value.

We have been growing ginseng and protecting a wild population for over 10 years. This is our second season of selling ginseng online and we specialize in ethically harvested, premium wild ginseng roots. ‘Ethical harvest’ means digging roots only in the proper season, selectively harvesting less than one third any population, and zealously planting the red berries which contain the ginseng seeds.

We became involved in the ginseng business because of our mutual love of nature, cultural history, and an interest in finding a new way to profitably market ginseng as a commodity while at the same time showing respect & providing guardianship for this rare & fascinating plant.

We are located in Bat Cave, North Carolina; surrounded by the beautiful southern Appalachian mountains. We specialize in superior quality Wild American ginseng roots & products, as well as many other native & useful plants.

Bat Cave Botanicals is a registered North Carolina Ginseng Dealer. We comply with all Federal & North Carolina regulations concerning the harvest, inspection, certification & sale of Wild American Ginseng. We abide by an ethical code regarding the stewardship & harvest of Ginseng and other at-risk plants.

Martin & Sara
Bat Cave Botanicals

Martin and Sara’s premium roots are available for purchase at Wild Ozark’s online shop. Each month I send out an inventory update report just for our ginseng products. Sign up for that list if you want to stay informed. Right now only the roots from Bat Cave Botanicals are listed. Soon I’ll be adding Ozark roots from our new Ozarks team mates who will be introduced in the near future, and some of my own ginseng-related products.

Keeo up with the roots report

 

 

 

 

 


ginseng through the seasons line drawing

Line drawing from the USDA, NRCS. 2015. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 5 July 2015). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

.

Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My sci-fantasy fiction usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks. Visit my Amazon page to see all of my books about ginseng and nature: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.

To read my fiction: http://fiction.wildozark.com.

For nature sketching and fantasy art, visit my online journal: http://www.wildozarknaturejournal.com.

 

The Autumn 2015 collection of Wild Ozark Nature Journal is FREE all week Monday Nov 16 through Friday Nov 20  Cover-low  cover for 10 Common Plants Worth Knowing Sustainable Ginseng Cover-front-205x267 DIY Ginseng Habitat & Site Assessment Guide Before the Unfurling cover for the unfurling of ginseng cover for forest companions

 

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READERS are a writer's RAISON D’ÊTRE - Thank you for being mine!

Each month I send out a newsletter to share links, herbal and other stories, tips on American ginseng, snippets of life in the wild Ozarks, and announcements of new books and products. You can sign up for special interest groups, too.

On the horizon-Just filling in

I’m swamped with my project list and missed my scheduled day to post here yesterday. So I’m just making a quick post to let you all know about a few things on the horizon.

Some exciting announcements coming up – we’ll soon be offering dried wild roots in our online shop (only for US customers). We’ve partnered with a couple of fantastic wildcrafters in North Carolina to do this, and by fall, if not sooner, we should also have wild Ozark roots. We’re happy to be able to satisfy the requests from our Asian-American readers who have expressed interest. We may also be able to provide fresh roots in late spring. If you’re interested in being notified when these are available, sign up for the mailing list by using the yellow top bar on this page.

Also, ginseng workshops are on the horizon. The first one is booked but we’re still working out the details at the Ozark Folkways Center in Winslow, AR for May 14. You can find out more about my ginseng presentations and workshops the the newly updated “Learn About Ginseng” page.

I’ve been keeping up with my fitness routine but haven’t made a whole lot of progress. While it was really cold I didn’t want to walk/jog down the driveway so have been using the treadmill instead.

The January Ozark Musings newsletter is almost ready. I just have a few more things to add to it and I’ll send it out next week, early, maybe on Sunday. I’m debating whether to continue doing it in the email like I have been or just sending you a link to read or download a PDF document. Which way do you prefer?

That’s all for today and might be all for the week. I’ll be back Sunday if not sooner. Have a great rest of the week and weekend!

On the horizon- frosty leaf


ginseng through the seasons line drawing

Line drawing from the USDA, NRCS. 2015. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 5 July 2015). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

.

Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My sci-fantasy fiction usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks. Visit my Amazon page to see all of my books about ginseng and nature: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.

To read my fiction: http://fiction.wildozark.com.

For nature sketching and fantasy art, visit my online journal: http://www.wildozarknaturejournal.com.

 

The Autumn 2015 collection of Wild Ozark Nature Journal is FREE all week Monday Nov 16 through Friday Nov 20  Cover-low  cover for 10 Common Plants Worth Knowing Sustainable Ginseng Cover-front-205x267 DIY Ginseng Habitat & Site Assessment Guide Before the Unfurling cover for the unfurling of ginseng cover for forest companions

 

.


READERS are a writer's RAISON D’ÊTRE - Thank you for being mine!

Each month I send out a newsletter to share links, herbal and other stories, tips on American ginseng, snippets of life in the wild Ozarks, and announcements of new books and products. You can sign up for special interest groups, too.

Warm Egg on a Cold Day

There is something quite satisfying about finding a warm egg in the henhouse on a blustery 15*F morning.

So nice to find a warm egg on a cold morning

Not the actual egg from this morning – this is one of my stock photos and is a new maran egg. This morning’s egg was small and light brown, but not one of the maran’s.

I tried something new to help me wake up a little earlier this morning. It wasn’t until 5 a.m. when the strange noises began that I’d remembered what I’d done, though. Fresh coffee brewing in the bedroom, just what a body needs to motivate it out of bed, right?

When I got downstairs to turn on the heater and put my insulated bibs in front of the fire to warm up before I put them on for feeding rounds, I checked the temperature. I had already heard the wind rattling the house and outbuildings, so I knew it would be blustery. 15*F on the thermometer.

I was pretty surprised to find not only one warm egg this morning but two. One hen has been going into the old house where I store the square bales of hay. She goes in through a broken window. I didn’t find that nest until yesterday, because I’d been using the round bales and hadn’t gone in there for a while. But yesterday I wanted to put hay in the hen’s nest boxes and the dog houses. So when I found the nest it had several eggs in it. I threw those out.

The hen won’t usually set eggs right now anyway. But if she did act broody, I might let her go on and see how that works out.  When a hen wants to hatch out a clutch of eggs, she’ll stay on the nest and “set” them. But she won’t start doing that until she’s collected several eggs. It doesn’t have to be only her eggs. The other hens will often lay eggs in a broody hen’s nest and she adopts them without a blink of an eye.

Usually those other hens do that while she’s off the nest getting food and water. So they act as babysitters and leave a bit of a gift behind, ha.

The mother only gets off the nest to eat and drink water once a day, and toward the end of incubation, not even then.  I usually will bring food and water to her. The only threat at this time of year would be the cold. In spring and summer it’s the snakes that are the biggest cause of loss in the chicks around here. Maybe the mother hen could keep them warm enough to survive.

Hens usually lay less eggs in winter because the days are shorter. But we have two or three hens that lay an egg every day, regardless of weather or season. The only time they don’t is during molting. I wish I knew which hens had laid the eggs this morning – I’d give them an extra special treat for being so diligent!

Warm eggs on cold mornings are like little pocket warmers – if you’re careful.

 


ginseng through the seasons line drawing

Line drawing from the USDA, NRCS. 2015. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 5 July 2015). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

.

Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My sci-fantasy fiction usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks. Visit my Amazon page to see all of my books about ginseng and nature: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.

To read my fiction: http://fiction.wildozark.com.

For nature sketching and fantasy art, visit my online journal: http://www.wildozarknaturejournal.com.

 

The Autumn 2015 collection of Wild Ozark Nature Journal is FREE all week Monday Nov 16 through Friday Nov 20  Cover-low  cover for 10 Common Plants Worth Knowing Sustainable Ginseng Cover-front-205x267 DIY Ginseng Habitat & Site Assessment Guide Before the Unfurling cover for the unfurling of ginseng cover for forest companions

 

.


READERS are a writer's RAISON D’ÊTRE - Thank you for being mine!

Each month I send out a newsletter to share links, herbal and other stories, tips on American ginseng, snippets of life in the wild Ozarks, and announcements of new books and products. You can sign up for special interest groups, too.

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