Bloodroot – Gathering Ginseng Companions

This entry was posted in american ginseng, Ginseng, Herb Walk in the Ozarks, Herbalism, Nature, Outdoors, Plants, Wild Ozark's Nature Journal on by .

Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis 

Went out to the woods yesterday to see about gathering seeds and berries and dividing ginseng companions. I’m building our nursery stock so when the inspectors come in spring they’ll actually have something to inspect. Wild Ozark is going to be a licensed ginseng nursery and we’ll also get a limited nurseryman’s license so we can ship plants legally, in the United States anyway.

Our focus will be on the woodland herbs, most of which are also ginseng companions.

One of the most popular companions is bloodroot. Here’s a pic of a clump I divided this morning:

bloodroot being divided at wild ozark by madison woods

A clump of bloodroot

When you snap a bloodroot, it actually bleeds – which of course is how the name was derived. The collage below shows the roots “bleeding”. This is a sneak peek at a collage I made for postcards and 4×6 prints of the bloodroot. When the whole collection is ready (a collage like this for each of the main companions), they’ll be available in the online shop:

bloodroot collage by madison woods available as 4 x 6 prints or postcard from Wild Ozark

Here’s a short video clip of me digging bloodroot a couple of years ago. I have to learn how to use our new GoPro camera to make some better videos. This one was made using my iPhone:

A Song of Life by Margaret Warner Moreley

This entry was posted in A Song of Life, Nature on by .

19 Aug 2014

a song of life cover

a song of life at wild ozark annotated by madison woods

An original copy (I think) of A Song of Life, published in 1897

This book is one of my new old treasures. Just got it out of the mailbox today. It was published in 1897 and is now in public domain (well, it’s been there a while). “A Song Of Life” is composed of essays by the author about nature and I can already tell from the first page that I am going to truly enjoy going through this book page by page.

My plans are for more than simply reading it. Each week I’ll take a paragraph or a page from the book and pair it with a photograph of my own. Each excerpt is going to be summarized with a word I think best fits the passage. I’ll give those posts a special category tag of the title so they can be easily retrieved from the blog. At the end, if the collection of posts seems worthy, I’ll collect them into a book to republish as a new edition.

The first excerpt is below. I’m excited by this new feature of my blog and I hope you’ll enjoy and want to follow along too. Your comments are welcome and encouraged.

Kinship: An Excerpt from the first page of “A Song of Life” by Margaret Warner Moreley

dogwood blossom to illustrate A Song of Life

“We all love flowers. Most of us love them as we love jewels and sunshine and color; they gratify our love of beauty and by their presence make us happier. But some have a deeper reason for loving them; to them the flowers are one expression of that life of which man is but another expression. They do not think of man as something apart by himself, but rather as a part of the universal life which the plants and birds and all living creatures share with him.” – an excerpt from A Song of Life by Margaret Ward Woreley

Nature Journal – Orchids Aplenty!

This entry was posted in Herb Walk in the Ozarks, Madison Woods, author, Nature, Outdoors, Plants, Wild Ozark's Nature Journal on by .


stormy skies at wild ozark

Storm coming in from northeast. The trail leads into the trees.

Yesterday as the thunder started booming I decided to see if I could get to my latest discovery and back to take some pictures before the rain came. The day before I’d spotted a plant growing on the wooded hillside beneath the pond. It looked a lot like orchid leaves from the trail but at the time I was in a hurry and didn’t take time to inspect closer. Rob and I went back out there later on that day but I didn’t bring the camera, but did determine that the plants did indeed look like orchids.

3 1

I’d hoped they’d turn out to be Lady’s Slipper, but I don’t think they are. John Moore from the Arkansas Native Plants group over at FB tipped me off to what they might be after I’d posted these pictures there. What they are most likely is Lily-leaf Twayblade, but until they bloom again in spring, I won’t know for sure. Either way, it’s an exciting thing to find a plant I’d not known existed here, and to find it so plentiful. According to the USDA map, depending on which species they turn out to be, they might not be documented in Madison county yet, either. There were probably more than 100 of them in that spot.

Also saw what I think is lousewort, or wood betony, but this too will have to flower before I can be certain. I’ve never seen either of these two plants out here before, so all in all, an exciting day for a plant nerd in the wild Ozarks!


Oh, and the rain arrived just as I did back at the house. Had my camera inside a plastic bag, just in case.

Trading Bounties – Eggs for Tomatoes

This entry was posted in Gardening in the Ozarks, Homestead Journal, Homesteading, Organic Gardening on by .

16 Aug 2014

Eggs for Tomatoes (and peppers)

Traded a dozen eggs the other day for some tomatoes and bell peppers. Wow, I should have given more eggs! And I should have taken a photo before coring and putting the tomatoes into bags, but here’s where I was when I thought of taking a picture. Drinking coffee, listening to Wheel of Time on audiobook, coring tomatoes and putting them into bags to freeze whole.


traded eggs for tomatoes

Good trade!

red bell peppers at Wild Ozarktomatoes at Wild Ozark

Garden Journal: Seasonal Delights

This entry was posted in Gardening in the Ozarks, Homestead Journal, Homesteading, Organic Gardening, Permaculture on by .

16 Aug 2014

This is the first year I’ve had a garden in many years. Though this one is tiny, it brings me much in the way of pleasure and reward. I wish there were a way to share the scent of this with you. Yesterday I harvested a bundle each of dill, parsley, tarragon, sage, and basil. A wonderful scent trail wafted behind me all the way to the house from the garden.

dill, sage, parsley, tarragon and basil

dill, sage, parsley, tarragon and basil

After getting them properly tied into the bundles, I hung them under the stairs with the beebalm.

dill, sage, parsley, tarragon and basil and beebalm


The garden doesn’t get many honeybee or bumblebee pollinators, but I did spot this tiny native bee on a bean blossom so maybe we’ll get beans:

bean flower pollinated

I don’t use chemical pesticides or fertilizers in the garden, never have, so whatever is killing off the pollinators affects even our pollinators here in the remote Ozark wilderness. I have spotted a few honeybees and bumbles this year, and this morning one came past laden with pollen from somewhere (hope it was the squash!).

squash flower zuchinni and beans

We have one cherry tomato plant that’s produced quite a few tasty orange fruits and two more vines that’ll produce larger slicing tomatoes if they manage to finish before the cold weather sets in.

green tomatoes orange cherries


How has your garden grown this year? Share links to your pics in the comments below!

Homestead Journal: Online with Propane

This entry was posted in Homestead Journal on by .

Whoo-hooo! The tank and lines passed the pressure test and we now have propane to the house. I can’t tell you how much better it’ll be to have a continuous source instead of hauling little bottles to be refilled all winter long. Rob did a great job installing the pipe and it checked out on the first test, no leaks. We’re two happy people right now. That was a major project we’ve actually finished in a few days rather than a few weeks.


Homestead Journal: Gas Lines

This entry was posted in Musings on by .

We got a lot of rain recently and although the ground is dry now, Rob started working on our gas lines while the ground was too wet to work on the wall. Now we have to finish that project before going back to the retaining wall.

Here’s what the wall looks like right now. It’s a shuttered project for the next few days:


This is the current project. I’ve found a new unbelievable level of exhaustion. I know I’ve said that before, and from the looks of it I’ll likely say it again at some point in the future. All I did today was help finish out the trench with the shovel after Rob used the backhoe to dig it. The spots he couldn’t reach with the backhoe had to be done by hand with pick-axe (not my job, thank God!). Depth of trench had to be 18″. Tomorrow the gas company will be out here to do a pressure check and fill the tank. At least this one project will be done!

1 2 4

Short post, I know. Tired. Might lie down on the floor for a spell now.

Writer’s Journal: Opening lines

This entry was posted in Madison Woods, author, Predator vs Prey, SciFi/Fantasy, Writer's Journal on by .

A pair of hawks circled overhead. Their screeching noises yelled warning, I knew, but the curse demanded that I pay no heed. The park was deserted. It usually was at this time of day. The rangers would be down to lock the gates after dark so I’d need to be done by then.” – opening lines to “No Qualms”, a short story set in an alternate Ozarks dimension.

Writer’s Journal: 10-August-2014

Opening lines are nearly as difficult for me as the closing chapter of my novel. These are the opening lines of my latest short story, one that’s seen many rewrites since the first draft. The ending lines on this one is what spawned the story, so those weren’t so difficult this time. But the opening has been one of the banes of my fiction-writing existence lately. The other has been the closing chapter in my novel, Symbiosis, which is undergoing a major overhaul.

What are some of your favorite opening lines? It could be something you’ve written or something you’ve read. Please share!

Wolf-Spider tunnel

Home Roasting Coffee Again

This entry was posted in Homestead Journal, Wild Ozark Products on by .


Today we roasted some more coffee. This time we began trying out the second of an assortment of varieties we ordered. The previous one tastes a lot like grocery store brands, which isn’t what we’re after, so we were happy to try a new one this week.

This week’s coffee bean variety is called Tanzania makumbukila Peaberry. We haven’t tasted it yet, just roasted it today and it needs to breathe overnight before we try it. (8/3/14 – we tried it this morning and it is wonderful, our favorite so far!) If you’d like to sample it too, well, now that’s a product offering through our online store! A 2 oz sample of our home-roasted coffee is $2 (plus shipping). Every time we try a new variety, I’ll add it to the store. If you like it, you can order a whole roasted pound. The beans are whole, so you’d have to grind them yourselves, but this is not a hassle you’ll mind once you’ve tasted your freshly ground coffee.

And if you’d rather order your own green beans and roast them yourself, well, I gave you the link to our source at the catalog page. The image below is linked to the catalog page. It has information about this variety.

coffee from wild ozark

Our latest trial bean is from Tanzania.