There is something magical about moist & shady places. I’m in the woods a lot, photographing and looking at ginseng. During my wandering, I see so many little microhabitats with moss-covered rocks, cool shady spots – nooks that look like they could be fairy hangouts.
Imaginary Worlds … or Just the Unseen Worlds?
Add flowing trickles of water to the scene and even more citizens of the unseen world appear. Like sprites, nymphs, … and Water Priestesses.
Perhaps only those of us with overactive imaginations conjure up such imagery.
Or perhaps we’re just more receptive to knowing things that aren’t seen by humans.
Anyway, I’m far behind on many things, blog posting included. I’ve been too busy being influenced by the woodlands and immersing in the realm of fairies.
Projects Underway and Completed
Over the last few weeks, I’ve finished a drawing of a Water Priestess.
I’ll use her image on note cards and other artsy-type products. The note cards are listed at Etsy, and the prints will soon be listed there, too. I’ve decided to see if I can reach a larger audience through Etsy because our little online shop here doesn’t get many visitors.
In an attempt to bring some of the magic of the habitats I frequent out to the ordinary world, I’ve been making fairy gardens.
I’ve been bringing these to the farmers market in downtown Rogers (AR), but also sell the DIY kits online through our shop. Might list those at Etsy too.
Fairy Garden Mushrooms
Then I thought some cute little mushrooms would go great inside them. So I started making and painting cute little mushrooms.
After all that, I decided I needed to refresh my Etsy shop and see if I can actually sell any of these creations. They’re all listed at our online shop and at Etsy.
We’ve also been working toward being legal, FDA-approved makers of our Shagbark Hickory Syrup. The next trip to the Arkansas Food Innovation Kitchen will result in our first commercially produced batch of syrup.
On our first trip for this project, we cleaned the bark. Before that we collected the bark, which involves visiting several shagbark hickory trees.
We don’t want to overharvest from any one tree, so we gallivanted around the woods gathering a little bit of bark from many trees.
In the end, we cleaned and processed about 7 lbs of bark. It took most of the day, but we sure enjoyed using the commercial facilities for a change! I’ll write up a blog post about this experience as soon as I get a chance.
The Products that resulted from such Nature Immersion
Predator and Prey, or the hunter and the hunted is a common theme throughout my fiction writing. No Qualms, one of my short stories (free at most retailers) is about about a predator/prey relationship. Symbiosis, my first finished novel, not published yet, deals with predator/prey relationships and the balance of energy among life on earth, sometimes symbolic and often outright. Many of my flash fiction stories (I have twitterfiction and 100-word flash stories) are also dealing with this same dynamic. This is a strong theme that runs through most of my fiction and is strongly influenced by life in the wild Ozarks where we live. My first published novel, First Hunt, also has a predator and prey theme to it. I guess it's just part of my nature.
Wild Ozark is 160 acres of beautiful wild Ozark mountains. I call what I do "nature farming" because the land produces, all by itself, the shagbark hickory trees, ferns, moss, ground-fall botanicals, and the perfect habitats for growing and stewarding American ginseng. I'm co-creating with Nature - all of the things I use to make the Fairy Gardens and Forest Folk, the bark we harvest for Burnt Kettle's shagbark hickory syrup, are produced by nature without my input. This land is my muse for inspiration when it comes to my writing, drawing, and photography. It's truly a Nature Farm.
About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods
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, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.