In Honor of Forests- Two Worthy Fundraisers for Earth Day

We all depend on trees. A single tree planted in an urban lawn is better than no tree, but the larger collectives of forests are needed, too.

In honor of the forests, for Earth Day 2017.
Limbs of the beautiful oak in our front yard.

The Earth needs large swaths of unbroken forests to maintain habitats that support the biodiversity present beneath tree canopies. These habitats are disappearing around the world at unprecedented rates.

Logging, plantation building, mineral mining are some of the reasons we are losing our forests. We are destroying the Earth in pursuit of money and riches.

Physical

The forests are the lungs of the Earth, for they cleanse and replenish the air we breath.

Forests protect the water by minimizing runoff, but also by holding large quantities of moisture within their bodies. When a forest is extensively logged, the ground becomes drier and springs slow down or quit flowing altogether. That’s because the trees aren’t there to hold the water any longer. It evaporates into the air and is lost.

I have a particular affinity for the woodlands. They inspire me to write books, poetry, create art with pencil and camera, and they give shelter to my favorite medicinal plants. Without the forests here at Wild Ozark, there would be far less of the biodiversity I love and crave.

Metaphysical

Trees are messengers, tapping into a network connected to each other and the rest of the world by vectors including fungal, birds, wind, and insect.

Lofty Goals, Two Worthy Fundraisers for the Forests

There are many other foundations and organizations trying to raise money, but these are two I want to share today.

United Plant Savers

I’ve met Susan Leopold, Executive Director of United Plant Savers. She’s a real person full of passion for the medicinal plants of this country and the world. Many of the at-risk and endangered species of the plant world depend on the forests directly, and all of them indirectly. Susan is a spokesperson on behalf of these plants.

Right now United Plant Savers is competing against other fundraisers for prize monies in the form of donations.

From their fundraiser pageStand up for Sustainable Medicine! Our future forests are our best solution for climate resilience – trees are medicine for planet Earth and we are saving the forest by redefining its value!

Eden Reforestation Projects

From their documentary: Their village name means “True Village” in English. Eden Reforestation Projects (“Eden” for short) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is alleviating extreme poverty and restoring healthy forests in Haiti, Madagascar, and Nepal by employing local villagers to plant over a million trees each month.

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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.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Dirt Road Photos – Ozark Sunset Silhouettes


 

Scene from the dirt road in the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas.
Scene from the dirt road in the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas.

The Ozarks from a Scenic Dirt Road

I was driving home from my daughter’s house this evening as the sun began setting on our beautiful Ozark hills. Just so happened to have my camera with me (surprised?), so I stopped for a few photos along the dirt road.

It’s spring. Flowers are beginning to bloom in my favorite spots and the landscape is stirring. I usually do bring my camera with me everywhere during this time of year all the way through end of fall, so this habit of mine is likely to be repeated between now and end of November. And then if there’s an ice storm or nice snow in winter, I’ll have my camera then, too.

What I need to be doing is getting my sketchpad and pencils out, though. It’s high time I got back to work on that. I was just waiting for some flowers to start blooming.

Eccentricity? No, Just Talking to Trees

Those who have followed me for long or know me well know I talk to trees. The tree with the big opening at the base is the loudmouth of our “neighborhood”.

If you want to broadcast a message to the Universe, say it within earshot of a tree like this. I call it a “Blabby Tree”.

Blabby Tree of the Wild Ozark neighborhood.
The Blabby Tree
If you want to broadcast a message to the Universe, say it w/i earshot of a Blabby tree. #treemagic Click To Tweet
Click on the photos to enlarge:
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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.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Stone Tool – Relic of a Long Bygone Era

I knew when I saw the rounded hand-sized rock that it was more than “just a rock”. It was a stone tool, & probably several thousand years old.

Stone tool of early Native Americans in the Ozarks - a rounded grinding stone.

There is something special about holding a stone I know once was held in another woman’s hand, possibly as long ago as 6000 B.C. (I’ve since found other references that date tools like this one to only about 1500 years ago. so I don’t really know when it was last used, but “a long time ago” seems to suffice, lol.) It’s exciting to find arrowheads and spear points as well, but they don’t carry the same metaphysical connection the women’s tools do.

This grinding stone is fatter on one end to fit comfortably in the palm.
Fatter on one end to fit comfortably in the palm.

Stone Tool

The shape insisted that it be held with the fatter side against the skin of my palm.  I know this because my fingers only felt “right” in certain spots. There are barely perceptible indentations in the stone, just perfect for my fingers. The weight and balance makes the holding of it uncomfortable in any other position and it just feels *right* in the one instinctive grip.

My fingers curled over toward the rounded edges of the more narrow side. I knew, with no reservations at all, this was exactly where another woman’s fingers gripped this very same rock thousands of years before. Thousands of years. Consider the enormity of that statement. I know you’ve run your hands over antiques before, perhaps those your grandparents left behind when they passed from this world. I love how that feels, to make that physical contact with something we know a loved one also touched at some point.

This rock wasn’t held by one of my ancestors in blood, but she knew intimately this land I now call home. We are connected also by right of genetics in that we are both women and both know the desire to make food or medicine. My desire to do this is manifest in other ways, usually, like going to the grocery store or by growing vegetables in my garden or harvesting the medicinal plants that grow here. The urge and drive to provide food  for loved ones or self is the same. I wrote a post about this a few years ago and have reposted it here, if you’d like to read it. It’s called Hunt Food, Gather Firewood.

rounded grinding stone 3  rounded grinding stone 4

It’s a pestle rock that likely originally had a matching bowl used as mortar, but the bowl was nowhere to be seen. This was a tool used day after day to crack soft nuts or acorns and grind meal. Most likely it was also used to grind herbs and roots for medicines. It could also have been used to sand and smooth the shafts of arrows or limbs of a bow. If this one had been used often in this way, though, there would be deep grooves from passing the rock over the same shaped item over and over. The rock is made of sandstone. I’m not sure whether it was originally made of clay and sandstone and then fired, or if it was shaped in some other way to become the pleasing offset-rounded shape that it is now.

Here’s a link to a text on the Ozark Bluff Dwellers. It’s fascinating to read about the people who lived in this same area so long ago: https://archive.org/stream/ozarkbluffdwel00harr/ozarkbluffdwel00harr_djvu.txt.

One of the side effects of using sandstone tools like this was grit in the food. This likely caused havoc on the teeth, as suggested by this study: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2985353/posts.

I’ll bring it with me when I set up my booth this year during the market so other people can hold and feel this connection to a bygone era of many years past. It’s a connection, a very strong connection, to our human nature and to a time when people lived with no separation at all between themselves and Nature.

Here’s another stone tool I found in almost the same place on the driveway. This one also has one way to hold it. There’s a dimple in the top where my thumb desires to press. I think this one was used also for cracking nuts but perhaps it was used as well to break the bonds in hides so it would become soft and pliable during tanning. This rock is not made of the same material. It’s very smooth on the surface.

An elongated stone tool of the early Native Americans of the Ozarks.

 

 

Some websites for more information:

http://associations.missouristate.edu/mas/macquest/archoverview/ArchOverview.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mano_(stone)

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2985353/posts

https://archive.org/stream/ozarkbluffdwel00harr/ozarkbluffdwel00harr_djvu.txt

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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.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

A Poem by Joanna Macy

This is an untitled (newly titled!) poem by Joanna Macy, a deep ecologist.  I found this poem many years ago on a website long lost to memory, but I’ve linked to Joanna’s website in her name below. I stumbled across the poem again today as I was looking through some of my old files. It still speaks to me, and in so much more than a quiet whisper. I’m sharing it with you now, and I hope you love it, too.

photo paired with a poem by joanna macy
One of my photos from a trip to Germany in 2013.

From the Council of All Beings

We hear you, fellow creatures.
We know we are wrecking the world and we are afraid.

What we have unleashed has such momentum now,
we don’t know how to turn it around.

Don’t leave us alone, we need your help.

You need us too for your own survival.

Are there powers there you can share with us?

    “I, lichen, work slowly, very slowly.
Time is my friend.
This is what I give you: patience for the long haul and perseverance.”

    “It is a dark time.  As deep-diving trout I offer you my fearlessness of the dark.”

    “I, lion, give you my roar, the voice to speak out and be heard.”

    “I am caterpillar.  The leaves I eat taste bitter now.  But dimly I sense a great change coming.  What I offer you, humans, is my willingness to dissolve and transform.  I do that without knowing what the end-result will be, so I share with you my courage too.”

                —Joanna Macy

More about or by Joanna Macy

Giving Voice to the Earth

Joanna Macy Explained

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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.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Winter Solstice 2015 – A Widdershin sort of Time

Winter Solstice 2015 occurs tonight at 10:03 p.m. CST

It’s a widdershin sort of time, an unwinding, a releasing. A loosening of the grip on things I need to let go of.

image to signify winter solstice, a pretty wintertime sunset
Not at winter solstice, but a pretty wintertime sunset nonetheless.

Actual New Year’s Eve

It’s Winter Solstice,  the shortest day of the year and longest night. The reason it’s my favorite day is because of tomorrow.

This eve is the true eve of the new year to me. It makes more sense to me to follow a seasonal calendar, at least for the holidays, than it does to follow the traditional Gregorian calendar. On the Gregorian calendar, Jan. 1 is the start of the new year. On the seasonal calendar, Winter solstice is the start of the new year.

Tomorrow will be a little bit longer than today was. So I like to celebrate today. Tonight I’ll light a candle. Maybe I’ll meditate a bit, maybe do some other creative activity instead, but it’s a quiet sort of celebrating that I like to do.

Ways to Celebrate

Usually, my seasonal celebrations are done when I’m alone. However, it’s easy to turn this into a group event. If it will be a family based gathering, which I would like to begin doing eventually, I’ll have everyone write down on little slips of paper some things they’d like to release from their lives. Then we’ll burn them in the woodstove and imagine the release symbolized in the rising smoke.

Yule Log

If you don’t have a woodstove, it can be a fireplace or campfire or even a barbeque pit. You can decorate a Yule log to burn, as well. If I were going to burn a Yule log, I’d tie colorful ribbons with releases written on them to the log.

Alternatively, you can write your releases directly onto splinters of wood and add them to the fire. This is the way I will do it.

Yesterday I went out to the woods and saw the hardwood tree pictured below. Just above my head level there were two large splinters of dead wood. What better medium to use for releasing than dead wood that has never touched the ground? I kept one of the large splinters because the grain is pretty and it reminds me of driftwood. The surface is smooth enough that I may engrave something on it later and hang it in my office or use it in my market booth.

tree where dead wood was found for winter solstice ritual
Not sure what kind of tree this is, but it’s either beech, ironwood, or maple. The bark is smooth and “muscular”.
dead wood for my winter solstice ritual
Even though the dead wood had been in the weather for what appears to have been a long time, it’s still solid and hard. It reminds me of driftwood.

Ideally, I’d like to burn the wood just before the solstice event occurs in my zone.

What kind of things to release? It could be anything you’d like to not experience in the coming year.

  • Fears of any sort
  • Habits that aren’t helpful
  • Destructive relationships
  • Excess weight (lol)
  • Excess stress

Mulled Cider or Wine

After burning the releases, whether on paper slips or ribbons tied to a Yule log, it’s a good time to reflect on things you’d like to add to your life. Once the old has been swept out, it’s good to replace bad habits with good ones. Once endings are acknowledged, it’s time to open the door to beginnings.

I’d like to begin this part of the celebration immediately after the time of solstice.

Releases inscribed on the splinters to burn, Filling my solstice cup with intentions for the new year to imbibe with mulled wine after the turn of the natural year. www.wildozark.com/winter-solstice/
Releases inscribed on the splinters to burn, Filling my solstice cup with intentions for the new year to imbibe with mulled wine after the turn of the natural year.

 

More information on the scientific side of solstice

You’d think that being the shortest day would mean the earliest sunset. Somehow, that’s not true.

Here’s a post from EarthSky that gives lots of details about what the winter solstice is: Everything you need to know: December solstice 2015

 

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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.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Symbols of Warmth and Sustenance

I brought the camera with me this foggy morning to capture some of the beauty that surrounded me in the hushed quiet of our little Wild Ozark valley.

When I came back in I sat on the porch and listened to the sapsuckers discussing the next leg on their journey. Mist muffled crows cawed and I plucked hitch-hikers from my pants legs and thought of titles for these photos.

My favorite is the last image of Warmth and Sustenance. Leave me a comment if you see the symbols for the warmth and sustenance. The one for warmth is easy. Maybe not so much for the sustenance.

I hope you find the photos as interesting, awe-inspiring and thought-provoking as I did.

Foggy Morning Perspectives - Dew gathers on the webs, highlighting just how many artistic spiders live in our world.
Foggy Morning Perspectives
Dew gathers on the webs, highlighting just how many artistic spiders live in our world.

 

Web of Intricacies
Web of Intricacies

 

Double-Layered Intricacy
Double-Layered Intricacy

 

Gloria, the Old Oak Tree
Gloria, the Old Oak Tree
She barely fits inside the frame.

 

Symbols of Warmth and Sustenance
Symbols of Warmth and Sustenance

 

 

 

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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.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

How Far Removed – Predator and Prey

Out here we have a healthy balance between predator and prey. Squirrels crowd the treetops, mice are at home in sheds and even in our house if we aren’t diligent. Snakes lurk everywhere.

snake eating squirrel

Predator and Prey

Coyotes are plentiful. The dogs break into a discordant chorus when they hear their wild cousins yapping on the outskirts of the “safe” zone the dogs have established. Last year a wiley bobcat ate more than his fair share of our chickens in spite of Badger’s diligent guard. And we eat a fair share of the game that abounds in our hills.

For the time being, we have a balance, a harmony. While we do enforce a boundary around the small space we’ve carved out to call our own, we don’t seek out to kill animals like snakes, coyotes and bobcats, as many people I know do, because we acknowledge that these mountains are just as much theirs as this safe zone around the house is ours. When I ramble around on the mountain, usually camera in hand and down on all fours (or even belly) to get close to the plants, I’m in the wildlife’s home and I’m respectful of that. It doesn’t mean I’ll submit to becoming prey, but it does mean I won’t kill just because our paths cross. I’ve never encountered a situation that required more of me than patience.

The following is from my old blog. This post was originally posted on July, 2010:

Youngest is outside right now, whittling on the mechanism of his newly cut frog gig. It’s made from a 6′ sapling section, about 2″ diameter. He needed to cut it a few feet longer, but this is his first effort and I’m not about to discourage him now. When he gets to putting it through trials, he’ll find out if his barbs were sturdy enough or the shaft long enough and make adjustments accordingly on his next attempt.

At first thought, to many, what he is doing sounds barbaric and cruel.

How far removed we, as a society, have become from our origins as nomads and hunter/gatherers. Nowadays, most of us never think twice about the food we put into our mouths, not to consider whether it was once a living thing nor about the idea that it died so that we might eat.

We live each day in a world of predator and prey relationships, and yet rarely notice. The project my son has embarked upon is unabashedly ‘predator’ in nature. And I guess what gives me that sense of satisfaction I am feeling, is that he knows it.

The same kid holds a kitten with a tender smile on his face and cheers for chicks hatching from eggs in the incubator.

No Qualms, my latest short story available at Amazon and at our online shop, is about about a predator/prey relationship. Symbiosis, my novel that I’m currently trying to find an agent for, 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 (these are slowly being transferred from the old blog) 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.


♥ If any of you read No Qualms, please leave a review. You’ll have my deep appreciation for it! ♥

 

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

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.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods