Nature lovers began the frenzy of watching for the first flowers of spring a few weeks ago. Here at Wild Ozark, we’re in a little eco-microcosm that is often more than a week behind surrounding areas in spring. Our temperatures stay cooler more often and our snow is often deeper. I watched with no small amount of envy as one after another of my peers posted victory photos to the various online medias, mainly to the Arkansas Native Plant group on Facebook.
Usually, Harbinger of Spring or Dutchmen’s Breeches are the first flowers I notice out here. This year they have not bloomed yet, or else I missed them if they did. I went out looking for Harbingers a couple of weeks ago and came back with only dried relics from last year.
Spring peepers have been regaling the nights and days with songs of merriment and woo. It was so loud last night I could hear them over the sound of rushing water, runoff from the day’s rains.
For all intents and purposes, it does seem that spring is here.
The very first flowers I saw bloom here at Wild Ozark was cress, on the last day of February. I think it is hairy cress, sometimes also called winter cress or chicken cress. It’s a delicious edible during early spring, but it’s a small plant and so gathering is a little tedious.
The next flower to appear was spring beauty, Claytonia virginica. This is always one of the first flowers.
And that’s about it so far right here at Wild Ozark. I think I saw a violet blooming but I didn’t stop right away and couldn’t find it when I went back down the driveway later.
When Does Ginseng Come Up?
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.