Wild Ozark

Ginseng, Nature, and Homesteading Life in the Ozarks

Mailbox and Back in Under an Hour

Yesterday I brought my camera with me when I went to the mailbox. If I had walked, I know it would have taken more than an hour because I would have seen so many more opportunities to stop and take a picture.

There’s Never a “Quick Trip” Anywhere Out Here

My intention was to make  *quick* trip to check the mail because I was waiting on a delivery of something in particular. But before I started the mailbox run, there was a mushroom that Rob had spotted near where he parks the tractor.

He’d told me about it the day before so I needed to get pictures of it first thing.

A bolete of some sort. This mushroom looks like a pancake when you're looking down from above, though.

Just as I took its picture, I saw there were more of them, just a little up the hill.

Another of the mushrooms that look like pancakes.

Saw this one just a little farther up the hill.

And there was this one peeping out from behind the leaves. Same type of shroom but the shape is a bit irregular.

And there was this one peeping out from behind the leaves. Same type of shroom but the shape is a bit irregular.

Don't they look just like pancakes?

Don’t they look just like pancakes?

But from this angle you can see they do have stems.

But from this angle you can see they do have stems.

The day before that he’d seen a different one, so of course I got some pictures of it, too:

mushroom from above

A humongous mushroom growing at the base of Gloria, the old white oak tree out front.

This perfect mushroom looked like it should have had a fairy sitting on the edge, with her legs dangling from it.

This perfect mushroom looked like it should have had a fairy sitting on the edge, with her legs dangling from it.

But I digress. After I finished taking the pictures of the pancake mushrooms I took the 4-wheeler to get on with the mail-checking task.

But the 4-wheeler was having issues and died on me a few times. This, of course, is where having the camera on hand came in handy indeed. I had ample time to walk around a bit and take some pictures while I waited for it to start again.

Dinner Leavings along the Mailbox Route

I know it was a squirrel who left this mess on the flat rock by the first creek crossing. The day before we’d seen a squirrel running across the driveway with a mouth full of mushroom.

Leftovers from a squirrel. Mushroom stem and nut shells.

Leftovers from a squirrel. Mushroom stem and nut shells.

Mushroom stem leftover from a squirrel.

Mushroom stem leftover from a squirrel.

Good thing I wasn’t watching which mushrooms the squirrels were eating so we could try them too! Squirrels have some interesting digestive abilities. They can even eat the deadly mushrooms without it hurting them. There’s more information about that here: http://www.mushroomthejournal.com/greatlakesdata/Terms/squir27.html#Squirrelsa

Leaves to Notice

It’s only July but already the leaves of the sourwood are beginning to color and drop. They always do this a little in late summer. And I always notice them. I love the leaves of autumn and the teasers of late summer.

Black gum leaf on a rock.

Black gum leaf on a rock.

My favorite leaf picture from yesterday is a rock and leaf composition with understated colors. I love the paleness of the rock and the light colored leaf:

Yellow leaf on pale rock in July 2016.

Herbs to Notice

I’ve been watching for a particular herb favorite of mine. It’s about the time for Lobelia inflata to bloom. I use the seeds of this plant to make a tremendously appreciated anti-spasm formula.

A mature Lobelia inflata plant with blooms and swollen pods.

A mature Lobelia inflata plant with blooms and swollen pods.

Swollen seed pods of Lobelia inflata.

Swollen seed pods of Lobelia inflata.

When the seed pods are brown and dry I’ll snip the stem and put the whole thing in a paper bag. Then I can smash the bag a bit and the pods will burst, releasing all the seeds inside the bag. After that, I’ll use a portion of them for my herbals and spread a portion of them outside so I’ll have more to gather next summer.

Frogs and Feathers

I love finding wild bird feathers. It seems that I encounter a lot of crow feathers during my walkabouts. Yesterday morning was no exception. We have free-range chickens, so chicken feathers are easy to find. And I’m always finding feathers as evidence the cats have killed a bird, too. But those feathers don’t catch my attention the way randomly placed ones on rocks in creeks do.

A small crow feather I spotted on the way to the mailbox yesterday on a rock in the creek.

Just as I was getting ready to try the 4-wheeler again I saw this small frog in the creek.

A little frog after he thought he'd jumped away and hidden from me again.

A little frog that was in the creek on the way to the mailbox.

He’s only about an inch or two long and thought he was well-hidden, which he was. But not so well-hidden that he could escape my notice, ha.

Other Posts Like This One

If you enjoyed this, this post reminds me of Why it Takes Me an Hour to Go to the Post Office and Back  so you might like it too. Both demonstrate how I shouldn’t leave home with the camera or a notebook or a sketchpad if the trip is intended to be a quick one.

 

I ♥ Wild Ozark's blog! #Nature www.wildozark.com Click To Tweet

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural 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 get free copies of my short stories and read excerpts from my novel-in-progress: http://fiction.wildozark.com.

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


Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

.

 

Need a little help to make your own nature sketch? Get my new ginseng color page! An outline to start with and a step-by-step visual guide to help you complete it.

.

 

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.

Top Questions from Readers: Healing Herbs

Healing Herbs: the first of the Top Questions and Topics of Interest from Readers


Healing herbs and using the wild plants for medicine was one of the most often mentioned topics in the recent survey results.

In case you’re just joining me here and aren’t yet a Wild Ozark Musings newsletter subscriber, I recently sent a survey to subscribers. I wanted to find out what sort of things they’d be interested in hearing me talk or write about in the newsletter.

I got so many good responses! Thank you!

So it took me a while to get around to it, but now I’m going to start addressing those questions and topics. I’ll do one each newsletter and later post it to this blog. Eventually I’ll probably compile them all into a book, but for now, they’ll just be newsletter topics and blog posts. The first question on the list is actually several questions and topics, so I’ll take each one separately. Here’s the first one.

I would like to know more on healing herbs.

This is a huge topic! I’ll address what I’m personally doing with herbs at this time of year. I just made a harvest from the garden of echinacea, thyme, oregano, and sage. From the mountain I gathered wild mountain mint.
My recent harvest of some healing herbs.

Not only are the oregano, thyme, and sage great culinary herbs but they’re also medicinal. None of those three taste very good as a tea to me, but they make a killer gargle for sore throat and an excellent tea for washing wounds or burns. I like using the mint to flavor any of the syrups and it has stomach settling qualities to add. There may be a lot more use for mint than that, but that’s how I use it.

Usually I also harvest beebalm (Monarda fistulosa) at this time of year, but all of it has powdery mildew this year. It doesn’t kill the plant but it gives a bad smell to the dried herb and may not be good for you to use that way, so I don’t. Beebalm has a propensity for powdery mildew, especially if it’s not growing in full sun with lots of air flow around it.

A great combination

I use the beebalm in combination with the echinacea and marshmallow root to make a tea once a week. This tea has helped my bladder issues more than the surgery I had to correct the problem over a decade ago did. Had I known then what I know now, I would never have had the surgery. Why? Because I almost died from blood loss from it, and the effect to cure the ailment wasn’t very long lasting anyway. This tea combination works for me. It has worked for others for cystitis, too. I, and my daughter’s family, also use it when we feel any sort of illness coming on and it shoos that right out the door. Elderberries would be great to add to the combination to combat viruses, too.

red raspberries

Wild raspberries are ripe right now, as are blackberries. I pick those whenever I can. Raspberries might be a delicious treat but they are also very beneficial as a healing herb. The leaves of red raspberries are good in teas to help tone pelvic floor muscles which will help prevent things like prolapse of the bladder and uterus. The berries themselves are healing. They’re very high in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties, too. Blackberry fruits have similar properties.

The elderberries aren’t ripe here yet, but the flowers are blooming and the bushes are loaded with green berries. Here’s a photo from last year’s crop:
ripe elderberries

Another way I use elderberries and beebalm is in a syrup made with mullein. This syrup is my grand-daughter’s favorite remedy and she’s always wanting it even when she isn’t really sick. I have the recipe for that syrup here on my website. It’s great for that pesky, lingering winter “crud” and cough.

The pic below is of the beebalm harvest from last year. After it is the mullein. I use the fresh velvety leaves in spring, not the ones nearest the ground but the next layers up.

The front side of the Beebalm card in Wild Ozark's Plant Identification Card set

Mullein, First Year

I harvest mullein during its first year, when it looks like the picture. In the second year it develops a flower stalk and the leaves aren’t as luscious. Mullein decoction alone, without the beebalm or elderberry is very effective for thinning mucus and making it easier to cough up, and it quiets the cough which makes it easier to sleep.

I hope you found the response to this topic useful. Feel free to email with questions or leave a comment to share your own stories.

Here’s a link where you can read all the back issues of the Wild Ozark Musings newsletters if you want.

I ♥ Wild Ozark's blog! #Nature www.wildozark.com Click To Tweet

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural 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 get free copies of my short stories and read excerpts from my novel-in-progress: http://fiction.wildozark.com.

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


Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

.

 

Need a little help to make your own nature sketch? Get my new ginseng color page! An outline to start with and a step-by-step visual guide to help you complete it.

.

 

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.

Installing a Culvert Retaining Wall was Today’s Homestead Project

Today I built a culvert retaining wall for the culvert on the shop driveway to keep it from washing out around the sides. I was grateful for the overcast and dreary day so I could do this work without getting burnt to a crisp or dehydrated.

Sloped Lands = Washed out Culverts

Almost all of our homestead area is sloped. Some of it is sloped pretty steep and when it rains, it tends to wash out around the culverts.

We needed a culvert retaining wall new culvert for the shop driveway to keep this from worsening the situation.

The culvert before I started working on it.

The culvert before I started working on it.

You can see the buildup of silt in front of it and where it’s starting to wash out around the upper sides.  When we traveled to Germany a few years ago, there was so many rock wall structures and I loved seeing them. I’ve seen many of the culvert retaining walls here in the Ozarks, too. Building them is hard work, but a structure that is both beautiful AND functional is such a nice combination to me.

I was determined to try and I had the idea in mind of how I wanted it to look.

Getting started on the Culvert Retaining Wall

Rob brought a nice pile of rocks to the worksite from a pile of rocks by the creek with his front end loader. So much easier than walking around to gather rocks from the area!

The rock pile for culvert retaining wall.

The rock pile for culvert retaining wall.

Ordinarily, I would take photos of all the steps along the way in a project like this. But with it looking like it might rain at any minute, I didn’t want to have the camera out there.

But that’s not the only reason I didn’t take pictures between the start and finish.  The work was hard and I was too tired to take pictures when I did take breaks.

First Step

The first thing to do is to dig out around the culvert. I also dug a little beneath it so I could place the “floor” stone.

Then I chose an assortment of various sized rocks from the pile and brought them closer so I could reach without getting in and out of the ditch.

If the rock I wanted to use was too big for the spot, I dug out a little more. Keep in mind that all the dirt had to be removed from the ditch. This was the hardest part of the entire job.

The digging and shoveling out of the dirt was not enjoyable and it was extremely tiring. But it had to be done before I could stack the rocks around the sides.

One of the rocks broke when I dropped it and when the shard came off of it, I saw that it was a beautiful pink sandstone. Most of the rocks here are sandstone, but some are prettier than others. This was one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen.

Pink sandstone from the Ozarks.

Pink sandstone

 

For each layer, or “course”, I dug out deeper than the rock needed it to be. Deeper, as in deeper into the side, not deeper downward. Then I backfilled behind each course with the small stones and soil that I’d taken out initially.

Irregular Rocks

These rocks aren’t uniformly shaped, as you can see in the photo below, and they don’t stack one on top the other without some shimming with flat or smaller smaller stones.

Once it was all done, I was pleased to note that I’d done a pretty good job of keeping it all level. That’s not always easy to do with odd-shaped rocks.

The finished culvert retaining wall.

The finished culvert retaining wall.

So that was my project.

The Other End

While I worked on the entrance end, Rob worked on the exit end. Two culverts intersect there and it also has a tendency to wash out, but in a different way.

Different Problems need Different Solutions

So it needed a different kind of rock work. He put big flat rocks on the sides and bottom after digging out the accumulated silt. This will help keep it from washing out on the sides and bottom.

The floor on the exit side of culvert.

The floor on the exit side of culvert.

Homesteading can be backbreaking, muscle-exhausting work. But I love living out here and I love seeing the results of all of our hard work. I just hope when the next rain comes it doesn’t wash it all away!

I ♥ Wild Ozark's blog! #Nature www.wildozark.com Click To Tweet

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural 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 get free copies of my short stories and read excerpts from my novel-in-progress: http://fiction.wildozark.com.

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


Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

.

 

Need a little help to make your own nature sketch? Get my new ginseng color page! An outline to start with and a step-by-step visual guide to help you complete it.

.

 

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.

No Water

This morning I turned on the faucet to put some water on my toothbrush.

photo of faucet dripping

No water this morning. Not that I used the outdoor faucet to wet my toothbrush, but this was the only photo of a dripping faucet I had.

Nothing but a few drops came out. Then, nothing. No water.

No Water

My thoughts immediately led to the question in my mind, which was “Where did all the water go?”

This isn’t the first time I’ve had nothing at the faucet first thing in the morning, but it’s been a long time.

It always takes me by surprise when this happens and results in a few moments of disbelief.

Especially when I haven’t had my coffee yet.

So I took a quick look around outside to see if I left the hose on or whether the auto-waterer on the animal’s bucket overflowed.

Nothing obvious turned up.

What it turned out to be was the downstairs toilet. It didn’t stop running the last time someone flushed.

Yay for quick fixes!

When someone in the city has water running all night, they get a whopper utility bill.

When someone on spring water leaves the water running all night, they run out of water.

At least this time, by making sure the toilet wasn’t trying to refill, our water shortage would soon mend itself.

It can take as long as 24 hours for the water storage tank up the hill to completely fill. Within a few hours we were able to at least flush toilets again.

Water Conservation

This is one of the *big adjustments*. It’s such a big change of thinking that it is more accurately called a paradigm change.

When we moved from an urban environment to the very rural Ozarks, we had to make quite a few changes in our awareness. Staying conscious of our limited water resource is probably the biggest of the adjustments we had to make.

Out here, it’s really important to know when we can afford to “waste” water. Our spring has greater flow at certain times and lower flow at others. So during times of low flow we are careful to wash clothes only as needed, wash dishes only as needed, and be more conservative in all water usage.

flat rocks in creek

Water is one of our most precious resources. It is for everyone, everywhere.

 

I ♥ Wild Ozark's blog! #Nature www.wildozark.com Click To Tweet

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural 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 get free copies of my short stories and read excerpts from my novel-in-progress: http://fiction.wildozark.com.

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


Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

.

 

Need a little help to make your own nature sketch? Get my new ginseng color page! An outline to start with and a step-by-step visual guide to help you complete it.

.

 

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.

Homestead Work

We’ve been busy doing a lot of outdoor homestead work since we came home from our gold panning trip to Colorado. That’s why there’s been no recent posts from me.

The weather has been atrociously hot and I’m just too worn out by the end of a day to even type. But I figured I’d better post *something*.

Photographing Plants

Yesterday I brought the camera with me to do a wedding photography shoot for a friend. So of course I had to stop and take a few pictures of plants before I moved on to the people.

Stopped to get a pic of one of my favorite woodland plants blooming while taking a break from the homestead work.

Black Cohosh – Stopped to get a pic of one of my favorite woodland plants blooming while taking a break from the homestead work.

Queen Anne's Lace and Chicory look so pretty together.

Queen Anne’s Lace and Chicory look so pretty together.

Photographing People

Here’s my favorite photo from the wedding. The bride is one of my daughter’s friends of many years.

Wedding photo of bride and groom hands.

Reflection of the Bride

Reflection of the Bride

People aren’t my usual subjects. I find it so hard to get good group photos, but I love it when I manage to get good candid or staged shots.

A candid bridal shot.

And since I’m posting people photos, here’s my daughter’s youngest bitty girl when she stayed overnight Friday night so the other two could go to the rodeo.

The littlest bitty girl.

The littlest bitty girl.

More Work and More Homestead Work

And now I’m off to figure out why my website doesn’t come up when the naked URL is used (wildozark.com without the www or http in front of it). And since Google booted me out of the  Google+ system, I’ve been scrounging around through the files removing old references and putting in the new ones for the NEW Wild Ozark Google page.  Because that all tied into the gmail login, I had to also open a new gmail account and Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, and install new tracking codes to all the pages. That’s been a big PIA and I’m not even sure what caused the whole rigamarole, so there’s a strong possibility that whatever I did wrong the first time could happen again, lol.

Then I’m going to write on Bounty Hunter for a little while until the temps cool down again outside before getting back to the weed eating of the driveway.

I ♥ Wild Ozark's blog! #Nature www.wildozark.com Click To Tweet

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural 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 get free copies of my short stories and read excerpts from my novel-in-progress: http://fiction.wildozark.com.

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


Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

.

 

Need a little help to make your own nature sketch? Get my new ginseng color page! An outline to start with and a step-by-step visual guide to help you complete it.

.

 

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.

Panning for Gold in the Rockies

One of Rob’s lifelong dreams, panning for gold in the Rockies, has been fulfilled.

After finding out how relatively affordable such a thing can be, we bought mining rights to a small claim, sight unseen except for photos, in the Rocky Mountains.

This week, we’ve been out here in the mountains getting our first look at the property and trying our hands at panning for gold. I was afraid we might have been ripped off. I was ecstatic to find that we had not. All was exactly as described in the listing. It’s accessible and beautiful!

Heading for the Hills

On Tuesday we headed out from Breckenridge to see what was what.

The roads to get there are unbelievably curvy. I thought the Ozarks had curvy, hilly roads!

The roads to get there are unbelievably curvy. I thought the Ozarks had curvy, hilly roads!

Our “mine” isn’t the kind that has shafts or machinery, it’s a “placer mine” which means the owner of the claim can pan or use sluices up to a certain measurement to find gold dust, flakes, or nuggets. We don’t own the land – it’s BLM property. But we have the rights to go there anytime we want and look for gold. And on that particular acreage, those rights are exclusive.

One of the creeks where we are panning for gold in the Rockies!

One of the creeks on the claim. This one is moving a bit too fast for easy panning…

Gold Fever?

So we’re not thinking we’re going to strike it rich with gold. This is just for fun, and we’ve been having loads of that. Rob’s son’s family flew in from Florida to join us for vacation. We panned all day yesterday.

Rob doing the first test pan.

Rob doing the first test pan while Tina, Chris, and Nickolas watch.

Let me tell you, it’s not as easy to do as the videos make it look.

Me trying my hand at panning for gold in the Rockies.

My turn :)

But the excitement that makes a heart beat quicker when you think you’ve spotted gold in your pan is awesome and I can see how it easily can be addictive.

Whoa! What-is-that?!

Whoa! What-is-that?!

Is it gold? I don't know but it sure looks promising!!

Is it gold? I don’t know but it sure looks promising!!

Once I found what might or might not be gold, everyone went back to work, harder than ever.

Heads down, hard at work. Chris panning.

Heads down, hard at work. Chris panning.

Rob hard at work.

Rob hard at work.

Nickolas was bored after a while and decided he didn't like panning so much.

Nickolas had fun, but in the end decided he didn’t like panning so much.

Practice Makes Perfect

I’m not good enough yet at the panning to risk losing what little bit of gold I might have found, so I put it all (the fine black sand with the gold dust and flakes) in a little vial to bring home and work on in a more controlled environment.

Even if it turns out to be mica or fool’s gold, I had a blast and will look forward to working our claim whenever we can find the means to get up here. We’ll be camping the next time we come, so that will add a new dimension of adventure to the trip.

 

I ♥ Wild Ozark's blog! #Nature www.wildozark.com Click To Tweet

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural 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 get free copies of my short stories and read excerpts from my novel-in-progress: http://fiction.wildozark.com.

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


Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

.

 

Need a little help to make your own nature sketch? Get my new ginseng color page! An outline to start with and a step-by-step visual guide to help you complete it.

.

 

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.

Gold in them thar hills? Ozarkians in the Rockies

I doubt there’s any gold in them thar hills of the Ozarks. Right now, though, we’re on a prospecting mission in the Rockies.

Part of my soul lives out there where the mountains are a mile and more high.  However, the Ozark hills make more sense for doing all the other things I enjoy doing, like growing the ginseng and wildcrafting medicinal plants.

Gold in them thar hills?

Rob also has longed for the Rockies all his life and so we decided to just get ourselves a little placer gold mine! Supposedly there is a little gold there, but there’s no real telling whether we’ll actually find any or not.

But we sure intend to have fun trying.

Here’s some pictures from yesterday and today.

On the way there I noticed some power lines that were still using the glass insulators. This was somewhere outside Pueblo, CO.

A photo from our trip to see if there's gold in them thar hills. Glass insulators on the power lines.

Glass insulators on the power lines.

Not in Kansas Anymore

The first sight of mountains always excites me, especially when coming in from the plains. I even enjoy seeing our Ozarks on the horizon upon returning when I’ve gone out of the hills for whatever reason.

The first sighting of terrain variation was of the Devil's Backbone (I think that's what these are). They're artifacts from volcanic activity and erosion over time.

The first sighting of terrain variation was of the Devil’s Backbone (I think that’s what these are). They’re artifacts from volcanic activity and erosion over time.

Some more of the early foothills near Cañon City, past Pueblo.

Some more of the early foothills near Cañon City, past Pueblo.

It’s sad that it’s only a memory, and hard to imagine that once these magnificent animals ranged free in herds so large the path of their passing stretched a mile wide.

Buffalo grazing.

Buffalo grazing.

Bad Weather

The skies darkened the stars and moon during the night and blotted the sun out the next day. We took turns with the driving and napping so we could drive straight through and save the cost of a motel for the first night.

Between lightning flashes, we saw a tornado forming in Kansas. I didn’t get a pic of that.  And once in Colorado it was still raining.

Boiling clouds in the valley.

Boiling clouds in the valley.

Finally the Big Mountains

The snow capped peaks appeared finally as we rounded the next curve and were able to see over the hill.

Snow capped peaks in Colorado.

 

That’s all for today. As soon as I get a chance, I’ll post again with pictures from our gold-panning adventure! I’m pretty sure there IS gold in them thar hills and I sure hope to find a few flakes or sprinkles of dust in my pan.

I ♥ Wild Ozark's blog! #Nature www.wildozark.com Click To Tweet

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural 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 get free copies of my short stories and read excerpts from my novel-in-progress: http://fiction.wildozark.com.

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


Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

.

 

Need a little help to make your own nature sketch? Get my new ginseng color page! An outline to start with and a step-by-step visual guide to help you complete it.

.

 

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.

Avoiding Burnout: Fun Days at Wild Ozark

Avoiding Burnout

Anyone who has ever tried to build a homesteading life will know it’s a tremendous amount of work. So we also work at avoiding burnout.

The list of things on the “to do” list is so long, our list is more of a scroll than a list and it has no end. So we make a point to take fun days. Sometimes we take more than one fun day in a row. Sunday we went to eat out and walk around in Eureka Springs.

Monday was Memorial Day and although the day started with a bout of concentrated spring cleaning and organizing,  we moved on to fun shortly afterwards: target practice with our .22 pistols and rifles, and an incredibly good supper of smoked chicken, wild rice, and steamed asparagus and carrots. The food was so delicious I forgot completely that I wanted to take a picture of it.

All in all, in spite of the rain that kept the kids and grandkids at bay, we had a great time.

Target Practice

After the cleaning we decided to go target practicing on some cans. Target practice is a great way of avoiding burnout and relieving stress.

Target practice is a great way of avoiding burnout and relieving stress.

Cans in the Bag

dead cans

Dead Cans

I have an old Hi-Standard 9-shooter revolver that my dad gave me when I first started venturing off alone to hike and explore the world. I managed to hit a few cans too, but I did much better with the rifle. To hit anything at all with my pistol is great improvement!

Rob is a great shot. These ear muffs he’s wearing are pretty nifty. They have speakers where you can hear voices and things like the creek trickle, but it muffles sudden loud noises like gunshots. I wore a pair of those, too. His gun is a Ruger “Single Six” .22 revolver. We have a matching pair of Henry Repeater .22 rifles, too, but I forgot to get a photo of those.

shooting 1shooting 2 gunsmoke

My arm and shoulder grew tired sooner than his, so I wandered around the creek to get some photos while he pulled off a few more rounds.

I wandered

There’s a tree stump in the creek from a tree that was cleared out of the landslide. This landslide is occupying a large part of Rob’s work time these days. He’s trying to clear it and open up our old driveway so concrete trucks can reach the place near our house where he wants to build his workshop.

Persistence

On this tree stump in the creek, there’s a short piece of poke root on it that washed up and settled on the downstream side of the stump during the last heavy rain, and the poke is sprouting new leaves now. The plant’s blatant refusal to yield to the unpredictable elements showcases the resiliency of nature.

poke root sprouting on stump

Poke root sprouting new leaves on a stump.

I wandered around near the creek a little more.

Then I saw a leaf. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of leaves all around, always. But I like leaves a lot, especially ones in odd predicaments that showcase color or form.

This one showcased personality. It stood out so much that I took nearly a hundred pictures trying to get the perfect one.

Beautiful in its defiance, refusing to yield to the elements trying to force it to peel off and float downstream.

Leaf on Rock, barely Under Water. Beautiful in its defiance, refusing to yield to the elements trying to force it to peel off and float downstream.

Leaf on Rock, barely Under Water.

 

Refreshed and Ready

Having done a great job at avoiding burnout this week, and with a few reminders of persistence from Nature, I’m back to work this morning. I’ve got a decent, yet manageable list of Wild Ozark items to do.

  • A blog post or three
  • Wild Ozark Musings newsletter
  • Roots Inventory newsletter
  • Prepare slides for next week’s ginseng talk in Fayetteville
  • work on Chapter 13 of Bounty Hunter

And on Thursday I’ll find out what the specialist thinks about my knee. It’s still improving so I’m hopeful surgery isn’t a priority recommendation.

I ♥ Wild Ozark's blog! #Nature www.wildozark.com Click To Tweet

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural 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 get free copies of my short stories and read excerpts from my novel-in-progress: http://fiction.wildozark.com.

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


Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

.

 

Need a little help to make your own nature sketch? Get my new ginseng color page! An outline to start with and a step-by-step visual guide to help you complete it.

.

 

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.

Transplanting Ginseng Seedlings

In preparation for next month’s talk at the Fayetteville Public Library’s Try FPL Series, I’ll be transplanting ginseng seedlings to pots. Each member of the audience will get to take one home. That event is on Wed, June 8 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Fayetteville Public Library in downtown Fayetteville, AR. This event is free and open to the public.

nature journal workshop flierComing up before the ginseng event is a Nature Journaling workshop at The Place on the Square in Kingston, AR. Each participant of that event will be guided through a journal entry with a nature sketch and they’ll get one of my Nature Journals to take home with them. I’ll also bring several copies of the ginseng color page outline to send home with them. I’ll have the full package (outline and printed step-by-step guide) available to purchase and will leave plenty of sets of those behind to sell alongside my books and artwork at the shop. Seating for this event is limited, so be sure to call if you want to attend.

Transplanting Ginseng Seedlings

First year ginseng seedlings are fragile and difficult to ship bare-root. They transplant well into pots, though, so this is how we usually sell our plants.

This year we had bad luck with the seeds going dormant again, but we found that all the seeds we planted year before last, that had also gone dormant before we planted them, were sprouting this year. So at least I can get busy transplanting ginseng seedlings from seeds sown two years back.

American ginseng seedling soon after sprouting.

American ginseng seedling soon after sprouting.

I just dig them up with a ball of their own native soil surrounding them and transplant to small pots with commercial soil-less potting mix. To ship them this way, because of regulations, I’d have to knock all the native soil off of them and I’m not sure how well they’d do without a little of the native soil.

Just as mature ginseng has lookalike plants, there are lookalikes for ginseng seedlings. Click To Tweet
I'm transplanting ginseng seedlings. Here's a pic of not ginseng and ginseng.

Not ginseng and ginseng

Ginseng Seedling Lookalikes

Usually it’s the same culprits, like Virginia Creeper and wild strawberry, but one lookalike in particular gets pretty tricky. Elm seedlings look more like ginseng seedlings to me than any other look-alike. Sometimes the elm seedlings only have three leaves showing, making it even more similar to the ginseng. In the photo above, the ginseng seedling is at the top, nearly out of the photo. The elm seedling is the one with four leaves in the center. There is a poison ivy plant at the top left, nearly out of the frame.

I’ll be trying to get at least 50 seedlings potted today.

Update 5/22

I did manage to get more than 50 seedlings transplanted.

Ginseng seedlings transplanted to pots. I keep them in the shade with a light cover of dead leaves.

Ginseng seedlings transplanted to pots. I keep them in the shade with a light cover of dead leaves.

One of the seedlings had grown up through a skeletal leaf. I liked the way that looked and left it there, potting it leaf skeleton and all:

Lacy skeleton leaf of ginseng seedling.

Lacy skeleton leaf on ginseng seedling.

While I was at it, I made a very short video clip (terrible quality, sorry) to show the ginseng seedlings versus the elm seedling lookalikes:

Most positive ID possible

If the seedling still has a seed attached to the stem and root, it’s the most positive way I know to be certain of the identity:

Ginseng seedling with the seed still attached.

Ginseng seedling with the seed still attached.

 

 

I ♥ Wild Ozark's blog! #Nature www.wildozark.com Click To Tweet

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural 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 get free copies of my short stories and read excerpts from my novel-in-progress: http://fiction.wildozark.com.

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


Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

.

 

Need a little help to make your own nature sketch? Get my new ginseng color page! An outline to start with and a step-by-step visual guide to help you complete it.

.

 

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.

Busy Burning Coffee Days at Wild Ozark

My efforts at multitasking yesterday ended with flames, billowing smoke and the awful scent of burnt coffee beans. Surprisingly, I did not stop to get a picture of this event to document it for this post. At first there weren’t any flames. That didn’t happen until I opened the roaster door.

What to do?

After unplugging it and unsuccessfully trying to dump the roasting barrel out, I thought about just grabbing the barrel and throwing the whole flaming thing over the porch.

What not to do?

Um, yeah, canned air isn’t a good idea even if it *is* cold air. I use that to blow chaff out of the roaster between batches and it was handy… but not. Don’t do that.

What to do?

Finally it dawned on me that just closing the door might be the best option.

It was. The flames went out but that’s when the billowing smoke really got going good.

Burning Coffee Beans

So when it cooled down I threw the extremely roasted beans over the rails and even the chickens won’t touch them now. They’re beyond Vienna roast, which is pretty oily and black. So I did make a point to take a picture now…

I've been busy... busy burning coffee beans!

I’ve been busy… busy burning coffee beans!

Multitasking

I’ve been working on getting the ginseng color page uploaded to all the various outlets, and roasting coffee in between. Good thing for my timer or I am sure I would have burned more of the coffee! It was only the very last batch that I burned, and that’s only because it was a smaller batch and I didn’t reduce the time.

Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

Mired in mud.

Mired in mud.

Rob’s been working on the driveway. Wow, that is a big job. We hired in for help from a backhoe operator-friend. Finally it just got too muddy even for the big machine and they decided keeping the cut-around driveway (the one we had to have cut when the flood and landslide wiped out the old driveway last summer) might be the best option for now.

The hill just has too many springs seeping through it and it never dries completely.

I ♥ Wild Ozark's blog! #Nature www.wildozark.com Click To Tweet

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural 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 get free copies of my short stories and read excerpts from my novel-in-progress: http://fiction.wildozark.com.

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


Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

Sketch Your Own Ginseng!

.

 

Need a little help to make your own nature sketch? Get my new ginseng color page! An outline to start with and a step-by-step visual guide to help you complete it.

.

 

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.

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