Day 5: Nature Journal Series

Little Orange Mushroom

Day---005-Little Orange Mushroom

 

About this journal entry

It’s amazing how quickly an hour flies by when you are trying unsuccessfully to figure out how to do something.

On another note, I’m finding that it is getting harder to focus on the experience rather than the quality of my drawing. This mushroom didn’t meet my expectations because I didn’t know how to make it look the way it looked in real life.

I remind myself each time I prepare to go out and sit in nature that the journaling isn’t about how well I draw the pictures or write the passage. It’s about recording a moment in my day with nature.

So much easier said than done, but so much more rewarding when followed.

About the Wild Ozark Nature Journal

 

Get the index to the other journal entries and read about my project at Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

If you keep a nature journal online, share the link to yours in the comments.



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.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program; an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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

Day 4: Nature Journal Series

Ground Cherry

Ground cherry drawing from my nature journal.

About this Entry

The inklings of trouble is starting to reveal itself already.

“This one will be much easier,” I thought as I settled on a subject for today’s entry. It is all mostly green, with hardly any other colors to try and incorporate. Right.

About the Wild Ozark Nature Journal

 

Get the index to the other journal entries and read about my project at Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

If you keep a nature journal online, share the link to yours in the comments.



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.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program; an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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

Making Twig Art: Gumball Folk Bride and Groom

My granddaughter stayed the night with us last night and today I thought we could make some twig art together. She wanted us to make a bride and groom Forest Folk pair, so we went outside to gather some botanicals.

We picked up some gumballs from the sweet gum tree out front, along with a few acorn caps, and some sticks. Then we found a nice soft and fluffy feather that would work great for hair or hat. I had some dried wildflowers on hand and sumac berries, too.

The only other things necessary to make twig art with these botanicals were a glue gun, a pair of wire-cutter pliers, and tweezers. Tweezers are wonderful inventions that keep fingertips from getting burned in hot glue. I’m ashamed to admit it took several burns before I figured this out.

Gumballs, acorn caps, dried flowers, and a soft feather. Twig art supplies all spread out.
Gumballs, acorn caps, dried flowers, and a soft feather. Twig art supplies all spread out.

Making Twig Art

We made the very first Gumball Folk! All Gumball Folk are also Forest Folk.

Chloe’s not old enough yet to use the glue gun without burning her fingers, so I did all the putting to gether. She helped gather the gumballs and held some of the things while I added the glue.

The first thing I usually do is work on the head. If I’m going to add hair, I do that first.  We added some tiny glass eyes to these, too. Then I’ll cut a medium diameter twig for the body.

How the head is positioned on the twig depends on what the Folk is doing. Reading Folk usually have their faces tilted downward toward a book in hand. The Groom needed to be slightly looking down toward the Bride, who needed to look slightly upward toward the Groom.

Adding Details

Once the head is attached to the body, I’ll add the legs. I usually use a slab of hickory bark to mount the Folk on if they’re standing. This is a lot more stable than a twig figure standing alone.

Before I add arms, especially on the female figures, I’ll add the clothing around the hips and upper legs. That’s so much easier than trying to do it around fragile arms in the way.

This Gumball Folk Bride is wearing a grass and dried wildflower skirt accented with the red sumac (NOT poison sumac) berries.

The Gumball Folk Groom’s shoes are made from a wildflower seed cone cut in half. The seeds are gone from the plant and it left behind an interesting form, so I gathered them thinking I’d find a way to use them sooner or later. Worked great!

Which Botanicals to Use?

Sometimes I do use botanicals that could be harmful if eaten. But for a project with children, it’s best to use things that can’t cause trouble. None of my artwork is intended to be consumed, so I’m not really picky about what I use except I generally don’t use things I know to be dangerous.

But if it’s beautiful, natural, and not going to cause the plant population to decline if I use it, it’s fair game no matter what it is. Sometimes I’ll not harvest berries from plants that are in short supply here, so the seeds inside will have more opportunity to repopulate new plants.

The sumac berries I used on the Bride’s shoes and skirt are a good example. This is not poison sumac, but an edible berry from a shrub called sumac.

Bride and Groom Gumball Folk.
Bride and Groom Gumball Folk. Check out their groovy little shoes.

Chloe took these prototypes home with her, so I’ll have to make some more soon so I can take some better photos.

These would make interesting nature art cake toppers for someone having an interesting wedding 😉 When the next ones are made and I get the photos, I’ll load it to Etsy so you can get a better look at them.

Twig Art Workshop

If you’d like to create some Forest Folk of your own and want some guidance, make plans to attend my workshop on Dec. 16 at the Ozark Folkways center in Winslow, AR. It’s just in time to make some for Christmas gifts!



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.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program; an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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

Finding Ginseng After the Leaves Fall

It’s hard to find ginseng after the leaves fall.

Hard to Spot

This is how ginseng looks late in the season.

Finding ginseng after the leaves fall is difficult. Only three prongs left and falling apart, this is how ginseng looks in November in the Ozarks.
Only three prongs left (it was a four prong) and falling apart, this is how ginseng looks in November in the Ozarks.

They no longer have yellow and easy to spot leaves. The berries have long since fallen to the ground and are now covered with autumn leaves.

So anyone who digs now must be very good at finding the old stems. Or they’d have to know exactly where they are.

No Fresh Roots in Fall?

This is why it’s hard to find fresh roots at the end of the digging season.

A closer view of the curled and dead leaves on the ginseng in November.
A closer view of the curled and dead leaves on the ginseng in November.

Here in Arkansas, t’s legal to dig until Dec. 1. But not many people do once it becomes this difficult to find.

Sustainable Harvesting

American ginseng is an endangered plant. Responsible diggers take a sustainable approach to harvesting, and never dig all of the plants in a patch. They leave behind some of the oldest plants to continue producing berries and pass on good genetics.

Those diggers will likely snap the tops off of the plants they don’t dig, so that no one else who comes behind them in the woods will find the plants they passed.

Finding Ginseng After the Leaves Fall

The plants that managed to escape notice from over-zealous diggers early in the season can breathe a sigh of relief. Only the very experienced have any chance of finding ginseng after the leaves fall.

From time to time I’ll need to dig a few of the seedlings to fill a late order. Because I know exactly where I put them, I can find them easily enough after raking the leaves away from the ground.

Next year’s bud is already on the top of all the plants, including the small roots that will be next year’s two-prongs. If I need to transplant some of the older plants from one area to another, that’s how I’d find them, too.

But it’s only because I have a good idea of where they are to begin with that I’d have much of a chance of finding them once even the stems are on the ground mingling with the leaves.

Finding ginseng after the leaves fall is like looking for a needle in a haystack unless you know exactly where to look.



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.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program; an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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

Day 3: Nature Journal Series

Sycamore Leaf

Day 3, Sycamore Leaf

 

About the Wild Ozark Nature Journal

I’m slowly scanning my nature journal entries and adding them to this blog.

Some of you may have already seen these, because I started this a few years ago and then let it get lost among the other things I am trying to do. Now I’m reviving the effort. Most of these are compiled in a picture ebook for Kindle.

Now I’m reorganizing and gearing up to get back into the habit of daily journaling. Once I make new drawings enough to fill another ebook, I’ll publish the second volume.

Get the index to the other journal entries and read about my project at Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

If you keep a nature journal online, share the link to yours in the comments.



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.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program; an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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

Day 2: Nature Journal Series

Asters Hanging Down

Day 2, Asters Hanging Down

 

About the Wild Ozark Nature Journal

I’m slowly scanning my nature journal entries and adding them to this blog.

Some of you may have already seen these, because I started this a few years ago and then let it get lost among the other things I am trying to do. Now I’m reviving the effort. Most of these are compiled in a picture ebook for Kindle.

Now I’m reorganizing and gearing up to get back into the habit of daily journaling. Once I make new drawings enough to fill another ebook, I’ll publish the second volume.

Get the index to the other journal entries and read about my project at Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

If you keep a nature journal online, share the link to yours in the comments.



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.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program; an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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

Day 1: Leaf and Rock, Nature Journal Series

Day 1: Leaf and Rock

Day 1: Rock and Sycamore Leaf on Picnic Table
Day 1: Leaf and Rock

 

About the Wild Ozark Nature Journal

I’m slowly scanning my nature journal entries and adding them to this blog.

Some of you may have already seen these, because I started this a few years ago and then let it get lost among the other things I am trying to do. Now I’m reviving the effort. Most of these are compiled in a picture ebook for Kindle.

Now I’m reorganizing and gearing up to get back into the habit of daily journaling. Once I make new drawings enough to fill another ebook, I’ll publish the second volume.

Get the index to the other journal entries and read about my project at Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

If you keep a nature journal online, share the link to yours in the comments.



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.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program; an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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

The Wild Ozark shop at Etsy

Just a short post to let you know what I just listed over at the Wild Ozark shop at Etsy. The photos are linked to the listings.

Fairy Cup and Stand, $10 now at the Wild Ozark Shop at Etsy.
Fairy Cup and Stand, $10 at Etsy.

 

Forest Folk Reading Girl
Forest Folk Reading Girl, with chair for $35 at Etsy.

Here’s the page about the Forest Folk if you’d like to read more about them. I’m constantly working on new ones but I can only take the photos on days when it’s not too windy outside.

If you like to make crafty things and are local, you might like to join me in a workshop on making Acorn Folk in Winslow on Dec. 16 at Ozark Folkways.

I’ll try to update this post and republish it every once in a while with the current listings.

Please click through and visit and add them to your favorites, even if you can’t buy any right now. I’m not sure how Etsy’s search algorithms work, but that might help my things show up better on their site. Thanks in advance!



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.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program; an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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

Last of the Fall Colors 2017

I spent a little time down the road today trying to capture the last of the fall colors for the year. The wind has been gusting pretty hard and many of the leaves have fallen.

It seems that every year, just as the colors reach the height of their glory, the winds come and strip it all away. Like the frost flowers, peak color is ephemeral. Gotta catch it when opportunity strikes because in twenty-four hours, it could all be gone.

Not many words to this post today, just some nature beauty for you to enjoy 🙂

Felkins Creek showing the last of the fall color
Felkins Creek
Another view of Felkins Creek.
Another view of Felkins Creek.
Felkins Creek yet again.
Felkins Creek yet again.
One last view of Felkins Creek.
One last view of Felkins Creek.
Well, no, there's Felkins Creek again on the side of the road heading out.
Well, no, there’s Felkins Creek again on the side of the road heading out.
Can't hardly see it, but there it is again on the way back in.
Can’t hardly see it, but there it is again on the way back in.
An old homestead that belongs to the neighbors.
An old homestead that belongs to the neighbor.
The old shed to go with the old homestead.
The old shed to go with the old homestead.
Fall Colors 2107. Almost back to the house. Still have to pass over Felkins Creek one last time.
Almost back to the house. Still have to pass over Felkins Creek one last time.

 



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.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program; an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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

Treasure Found on a Misty Autumn Morning Walk

Most mornings, after I feed the animals, I go for a walk down the driveway. Today I brought the camera, so it wasn’t as much for exercise as it was for pleasure and to gather treasure.

I look for botanical treasure because I use it to decorate my Forest Folk creations. There’s an example of what I mean at the end of this post. Sometimes I find things as soon as I step out of the house, but this time it took a little more time.

This morning wasn’t particularly cold but it was overcast and misty, which makes perfect weather for taking photos that show the beautiful colors of autumn. Some years are really gorgeous here in the Ozarks.

The view from underneath Gloria's limbs.
The view from underneath Gloria’s limbs.

The Order of Things

So first I fed the dogs. Badger always checks the first bowl I fill and then runs to check the next one. He’s making sure I didn’t hold out some leftovers for Bobbie Sue.  She sometimes has trouble chewing the kibbles, so on occasion I do slip her a little something tender. Well Badger caught on to that.

The cats and chickens are waiting their turn to be fed. The picture above is on the way to the hen house. Almost always I gather treasure beneath that oak tree. Usually a tuft of moss or a slab of mossy bark will fall out of it overnight and wait patiently on the ground for me to find it the next morning.

Nothing eye-catching this morning, though. I fed the cats in the shed loft after putting horse and chicken feed into the buckets. Next it’s on to the horses after throwing the scratch to the chickens.

Beautiful Autumn colors at the horse gate this morning.

After giving the horses their food, I leave the buckets on the side of the driveway and head toward the mailbox.

Heading out to Walk

Badger and Bobbie Sue leading the way down the driveway for my treasure hunt.
Badger and Bobbie Sue leading the way down the driveway for my treasure hunt.

I didn’t plan to walk that far today, though, because I had the camera and it would have taken me far too long for that reason. I’d have to stop and take too many pictures and I had things I needed to get done back at the house.

Here’s some of the things I saw along the 1/2 mile route to the camper and back up to the house.

The oak leaves are turning red.
The oak leaves are turning red.
A closer view of the oak leaf. I like the shades of color and the black dots. This is one I think I'll draw when I get some time.
A closer view of the oak leaf. I like the shades of color and the black dots. This is one I think I’ll draw when I get some time.
Maples are turning gold.
Maples are turning gold.
And maples are turning red.
And maples are turning red.
It was both a fortunate AND an unfortunate meeting in the moonlight. Something had dinner here last night.
It was both a fortunate AND an unfortunate meeting in the moonlight. Something had dinner here last night.

There’s a healthy population of both predator and prey animals here. It’s a great study in perception to reconcile the death of one making life possible for another. The same scene can be interpreted different ways by creatures looking at it from different perspectives.

Rocks and Dead Flowers and Native Clay

There are so many rocks here and some of them are too large to haul back up to the house with me. I’m sure Rob’s glad of that.

I love the leftover flowers that leave behind interesting shapes.

Along the landslide there was more clay oozing out of the cut. This layer of clay in there is probably why the hill keeps sliding. When it rains, it gets slick and the section over it just slides down into the driveway again.

Clay oozing out of the landslide.
Clay oozing out of the landslide.

But it does offer a treasure to me in the form of raw material for sculpting the heads and parts of my Forest Folk! I didn’t need to gather any more of this today, though. Rob brought me plenty in the first load.

Baby bear track or a little bigfoot.
Baby bear track or a little bigfoot.

Most of the clay we have around here is the color of this driveway. That dark clay is unique to that spot and I’m not sure there’s more anywhere else. I haven’t looked for it since I probably have a lifetime supply right there.

Found the Treasure I Was Seeking

Finally found the treasure I needed.
Finally found the treasure I needed.

It wasn’t until I was on the way back to the house that I found what I needed. The small twig with the vine attached is the most prized treasure. It’s going to make a fabulous wand for a Forest Folk.

I also found a twisty stick that I’m not sure yet how I’ll use and more seed fluff from the fireweed that hadn’t let go of all of it yet. That fluff makes the hair on the Forest Folk. If you haven’t seen them yet, take a look over at my Etsy shop. I think you’ll love them as much as I do.

I hope you enjoyed today’s treasure hunt!

And that you weren’t disappointed by the size of the finds 🙂 It’s the little things like that perfect vine wrapped twig that makes each of my works unique and appealing to me. That’s why when I find something like that, I feel like I’ve just struck gold.



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.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program; an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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