So, with all the rain here, and now with the truck being broken which means until the road mud dries up some I can’t go out anywhere, I’m doing some of the other things on my creative bucket list. I need a break from writing/editing/formatting from time to time, and *shakes head* housework is not on that list.
Yes, I do the domestic stuff when I need to, or more likely, when I absolutely must. Besides, I’ve done enough of that while confined in this house due to the relentless rainy weather. And I seem to make messes as fast as I clean it. Today the mess is compounded by my project. As it turns out, making paper is quite messy.
Handmade paper is high on the list of things I *want* to do. After today’s trial, it appears I’ll need to do it a lot more often to become proficient.
Those little wasps make papermaking look so easy.
The other day I collected some mulberry leaves, chopped them up and put them in a large pot to cook.
Day one and the leaves were still completely unchanged by the heating and stirring.
Day two and ditto.
Day three and I gave up and threw it into the blender.
That might have been a mistake, but I’m not sure yet because I haven’t tried the pounding it into a pulp method yet.
The first mistake I KNOW was a mistake is the improper use of my improvised deckle.
The next mistake was not having a good place to turn out the wet sheet so it could press until it dried. I turned it out onto a folded sheet and covered with the other half of the sheet. That wasn’t easy to manipulate when I tried to peel it off.
So my first sheet of handmade paper was, in most ways of looking at it, a complete failure. I even wasted two of my ginseng leaves that I wanted to press into the surface of it.
But from a learning perspective, it was a useful experiment. Now I know to do some things differently next time. Hopefully the NEXT photo you see of my handiwork, it looks a lot better than the one below!
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.