Random Nature Connection – Do Animals Plan Ahead?

2nd Friday after Winter Solstice

This is the second of my weekly #RandomNatureConnection posts. Read more about this meme here and consider joining us if you love nature and blog about it.

Here’s a short Tweet you can use to invite others:

Join us for #RandomNatureConnection!

The other Random Nature Connection posts:

photo of sunset in winter in the ozarks

Humans tend to think a lot about the past and the future, and (at least some of us) not so much on the present. It takes a special conscious effort for me to stay focused on the present moment because I’m always thinking of what I want to do in the future. I know others who spend more time remembering the past than they spend in the present or future.

This is the second day of the new year according to the Gregorian calendar, but according to the seasonal wheel of the year, it’s the 11th day after the winter solstice, which makes a more sensible first day of the year. The day after winter solstice is the first day of the year when days begin becoming longer and nights become shorter. At least for those of us here in the northern hemisphere. The opposite cycle is occurring for those of the southern hemisphere.

At first I started to say that humans are the only creatures that think of the future and plan ahead, but maybe that isn’t so. Right now at the time I’m writing this, outside on the ground, squirrels and chipmunks here at Wild Ozark are scurrying through the dead leaves on the ground. They’re making quite a bit of noise as they search for nuts. The reason they’re searching so diligently is to store food for the days ahead when snow covers the ground, or ice. This requires forethought, although I suppose it’s possible that they don’t consciously know why they’re doing it. They’re driven by instinct. This keeps them in the present moment, the not knowing. So I guess I’m back to the original posit that humans are the only ones who think of the future or the past. Perhaps you know of instances where animals show signs of forethought? If so, leave a comment for me.

I believe we humans could rely more on instinct to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done if we weren’t so preoccupied with making sure we’re taking care of the future by planning it all out.

Ironically, I’m thinking of my intentions for the future today and one of the things on my list of things I’d like to do is to focus more on the present.

Here’s the few items on my list of New Year Resolutions:

  • Start a daily exercise/stretching/meditation (I want to incorporate meditation into this routine so it’ll be a physical and mental workout). This habit will be a daily present-time-focus experience.
  • Reach a 50K word goal on my new novel in progress.
  • Reduce the amount of time I spend fiddling with my website and social media.

That’s pretty much it on my list. It’s the shortest one I think I’ve ever done. What’s on your list?

I’ll be at the dentist until later today, so if you leave your link I’ll be back online to take a look at your blog this afternoon!

 

 

Fiction influenced by Nature

At first glance it might be hard to imagine how my fiction could be influenced by nature. There are three things that make it so. Maybe there’s more than three, but these are the ones that stand out for me.

Setting, Plants and Predators

 

Specifically, it’s the places where the stories take place, the relationships that humans have with plants (or plants with humans) and the relationships predators have with prey (and vice-versa). These themes factor heavily into the plots of what I write, even if the details have been drawn more from my dreams (and possibly nightmares) than from day-to-day reality.predator eating prey

In my short story, No Qualms, there is influence from location, plants and the predator/prey relationship. Ledeir collects bloodroot to serve as her protection in facing an otherworldly threat called a shadeling. This story is set at the Sinking Stream Trail at Hobb’s State Park near War Eagle in northwest Arkansas but it quickly goes from the real-world to an alternate one.

I’m 622 words into a new novel called Bounty Hunter.

For a spring board I’m using a short story I’d already written and several 100-word flash fiction stories that used the characters and settings from that short story’s larger story. If you’re curious, here’s one of the flash stories. Treya is the main character in the new novel. She’s a bounty hunter for an agency called ARSA (Arrests, Retribution and Silencing Agency). In this world setting criminals incarnate into lower life forms when they’re killed, so the bounty hunter has to track them down to whatever level the agency determines is adequate before the job is considered “done”. In the short story I linked to, Eli is the target Treya is hunting and Tva is a non-human entity. Eli is setting up an encounter between Tva and Treya as a trap to eliminate Treya from the chase.

Here’s my progress page for this novel if you want to keep track of how far along it is and read excerpts that I’ll post from time to time. The first paragraph of the opening scene is posted there now.

writer's mood graphic from writertopia.com
So far, so good

and by end of day…

image from writertopia.com
Bleary-eyed and done for the day!

update 12/29

As of 2/22/16 – on the second draft now, at least. Well, no one can accuse me of “churning” out the words, LOL!

Random Nature Connection – Ozark Spring Water

Dripping Faucet

photo of faucet dripping

Nature’s Water

Water is such an integral part of nature, but we don’t often recognize it as such when it comes from a faucet. All water originates from nature, even water from the tap in a city.

Our water source is home-grown Ozark spring water. We have a spring that feeds the house, one that feeds the camper, and one that feeds to our neighbor’s house. There are other springs on this property, but only those three have been captured for our use. The others feed the creeks and surrounding ecosystems. At the tank that feeds the house we have an overflow line for the wildlife to use, as well.

Before I moved here from a suburban area between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, I thought very little about the water unless we had a hurricane and the electricity went out. Ordinarily if I turned on the tap, water came out and all was good. What an eye-opening experience it was to move here and learn to live on a limited supply!

We have a 1500 gallon tank and when we had a family of 5 living here, rationing was important. Washing clothes, taking baths, and washing cars uses a good many gallons. When the daughter ran out of water mid-shower and full of shampoo and soap, it was funny to the rest of us. But she didn’t find it so amusing. Youngest son took buckets to the creek and filled them so she could rinse off, at least, but that water was cold and she had to either wait for me to warm it on the stove or brace for the frigid blast.

It takes about 24 hours for the spring to refill the tank. Our flow isn’t great, but it’s consistent. That’s far more important than having a greater gpm (gallon per minute) to me, but it would be nice if it were greater AND reliable. Still if we’re careful and conscientious, we have more than enough for our needs.

In many places of the world clean drinking water is scarce. Our own isn’t considered “clean” by drinking water standards because it has bacteria in it. Not coliforms, but general flora. This doesn’t cause us stomach distress because we’re used to it but anyone coming to visit has to use caution. We generally don’t drink it, but use it for cooking, bathing, washing, and brushing our teeth. I do drink it when I’m hiking up the mountain to the tank. One day we’ll install a filter on the line leading down to the house and clean it up a bit more, but for now it’s working fine. It has for the past 9 years.

Spring water is one of the things I’m most grateful for out here. That picture of the dripping faucet is on the line that leads to our neighbor’s house. It’s Ozark spring water.

 

Merry Christmas 2014

It snowed yesterday. That’s a cluster of frosty snowflakes in the picture there. Not too many stayed around long enough to get a photo, but it was pretty for a little while.

photo of snowflake on christmas eve at wild ozark

We’ll miss the family and friends who are unable to join us today. Merry Christmas wherever you are!

Happy Yule-Tidings!

Today is the shortest day of the year, and the longest night. It is winter solstice 2014.

This always feels to me like a more appropriate time to celebrate the eve of a new year, and so I do. I think of the things I’d like to do differently and plan things I’d like to try or begin or do during the next year. New Year’s Resolutions, but now instead of Dec. 31.

One of those items on my list is to create gift baskets for next year to sell at the farmer’s market – here’s a pic of one we did for Christmas gifts to family this year, but I think they’d make great anytime gifts if I change the box decor to something less seasonal:

Wild Ozark boxed gift set
Each box contains our home-roasted coffee (whole or ground), Rob’s shagbark hickory syrup, my herbal remedy syrup, wild hickory nuts.

Other items on my resolution list include submitting more frequently to magazines. I’d slowly stopped over the years and began using most of what I write for articles on my blog. But I’d also stopped because it seemed all I ever got anymore were rejections and I grew tired of the disappointment. Well, the reality is that if I don’t submit, then there’s no chance to ever get acceptances, so I’m going to try again to make some doors open. Besides, I have a lot of drafts saved back to use for blog posts if I find myself short on ideas.

May the Yule fires burn warm in your hearths this night! Happy Solstice, and Merry Christmas to all of you. It may be next week before I post here again… working out a regular posting schedule is another one of the items on my resolution list 🙂

Here’s a link to the 2015 Yule post, if you’re interested in it and it doesn’t show up in the placards below.

Cover and Sample Page

Here’s the cover and sample page for “Forest Companions”, the last book in the “Into the Ginseng Wood” series. Should be at Amazon by the weekend! If you want to catch up on the others, heres a link to the first one: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OFAMAS6. They open into full page photos, no double-tapping required!

Click on the image below to go to the latest release.

forest companions cover image

 

First Thoughts

What is the first thought that enters your mind on waking? Are you savoring vestiges of pleasant dreams, or do you wake up already planning the day…or is there a sense of ‘oh no, not again” ?

Sometimes the first thing I do is glance to see if the sun is up yet. Depending on the visual cue, my first thought after that is usually something along the lines of “What time is it?” which leads into either wondering if the coffee is done yet or cold already.

I’m feeling contemplative this morning. Just curious what kinds of things are on the minds of everyone else. Usually, my first thoughts fall into the first category I mentioned of savoring vestiges of pleasant dreams, but they quickly lead into the coffee contemplations. I rarely wake up in a bad mood.

photo of sunbeams

Frosty Hills

photo of frosty Ozark hills

Frosty hills are pretty and the Ozark hills are sporting white capes this morning! See the distant mountain with the white hoar frost?

The 4-wheeler was also decorated. A light coat of ice had the key and brake lock stiff and I had to clear the encrusted seat so I could sit. Took a very chilly ride out to the mailbox so I could send off a bill in time.

When it’s foggy outside and the temps drop below freezing, all of Nature takes on a sparkly white hue. I love it when that happens. This morning only the tops embraced the chill this way, but it was beautiful nonetheless.

My Results from the Humanmetrics Jung Typology Test™

The Humanmetrics Jung Typology Test™ was a fun, free little online test, sort of like the Myers-Briggs test to determine personality types: https://www.humanmetrics.com/index.htm#intro.

After you’re done and when you click on the “Career Choices” info button, it gives some details about the kinds of careers that would be most satisfying for your type. I found mine to be fairly accurate, but I was quite pleased to see the company I share in type-casting, haha. Seems I’m in good company with my INTJ type. I think they overlooked “writer and creative” as a fitting career choice, though.

My Results

photo of the thinker statue
Except for being a man and all, and me not being so muscular, it looks a lot like me up there all deep in thought…Actually, it looks nothing like me, but I do think a lot.

INTJ

Introvert(78%) iNtuitive(75%) Thinking(25%) Judging(44%)

Famous Personalities Sharing INTJ Type

  • Isaac Newton, a physicist, mathematician, astronomer
  • Niels Bohr, a physicist, received the Nobel Prize in Physics
  • Carl Gustav Jung, a psychiatrist, the founder of analytical psychology
  • Michel de Montaigne, a thinker and an influential writer of the French Renaissance
  • Michel Nostradamus, a seer who published famous prophecies
  • Ada Lovelace, an analyst, metaphysician, and the founder of scientific computing

Your Turn

Have you ever taken the full test or one of these online free ones? Share your types and interesting finds if you do it.

Broomsedge, not Fescue

An Author’s Corrections: It’s Broomsedge, not Fescue

When I wrote No Qualms I described the shadeling as having hair that resembled fescue. That’s because I’d always thought the grass I had in mind was fescue. Recently I learned that it is in fact a grass commonly called broomsedge (possibly Andropogon virginicus). It might be a different species. There are several that look similar, but the point is that fescue looks nothing like this grass. And so the image I drew up in my mind and tried to relay to the reader’s mind would have been completely wrong, at least if the reader knew what fescue looked like.

Most likely the average reader won’t know what broomsedge looks like either, but I hope from the passage it’s easy enough to imagine that it’s a grass or weed or plant of some sort that the narrator is referring to. Fescue or broomsedge, it won’t matter to most readers. But to the few who might read it who know, it would. And it matters to me. At least if it’s a different variety of broomsedge, the reader can come close to imagining what I had in mind.

The pictures below are of broomsedge. This is the imagery I drew upon when writing the character Dannae. An excerpt from the story showing where I used the description is below the photos.

broomsedge gone to seedbroomsedge bluestem

An excerpt from No Qualms:

“It took you long enough to stop by,” a voice said.
I froze. Dammit. I hadn’t found even one root yet. I stood slowly and looked around. No one was there. He might not be visible yet, but I knew the vile creature had come already. “Who’s there?” I asked into thin air.

I didn’t have to pretend to be scared. My heartbeats were so loud in my ears right then I wouldn’t be able to hear approaching footsteps. Touching my pocket again to feel for the bloodroots I’d gathered earlier, I reassured myself. Knowing they were there helped me to calm down.

The calm didn’t last.

“Me,” the voice said, causing my heart to leap into my throat again. “I’ve thrown out an etheric hook every time you passed. But did it help? Nooooo. You just kept on driving like you didn’t even feel them.”

Oh, I felt them alright. Not that he needed to know, but I went home and cleansed myself of them every night. “Who are you and what do you want?” It took all of my willpower to make my voice sound calm and confident. My every instinct shouted to me to run, to get away from this place. But that wouldn’t solve anything. This had to be dealt with now.

“I want you to come closer so I can better see you.” A form finally materialized in front of one of the more spindly maidenwoods. He was a short rail of a man busily nodding at me in the dappled evening shade. His gaunt face creased with something sort of like a smile, if you could call it a smile. It might have been a toothy grimace. He stood with his skeletal hands clutched into fists in front of his chest, head still bobbing away. “Some people listen to their instincts. Not you. What took you so long to stop?”

“These hooks you threw – is that what you’re calling instinct?” I asked as I backed a few steps away from the shriveled man. I knew what he’d been doing. Those hooks grabbed my instinct and made it react, but that wasn’t instinct itself. I knew better than that. Only ordinary people made a mistake of thinking it any sort of natural inclination.

His too bulbous head was nearly bald except for a few bunches of stiff yellow hair standing here and there like broomsedge gone to seed. A smattering of brown liver spots danced across the top of his scalp when he raised and lowered his eyebrows.

“Smart one, aren’t you?” He shuffled a few steps in my direction but then stopped short. He cocked his head and looked back at the tunnel looming behind him and then down at the ground beneath his feet. A quick frown passed over his face before he dismissed it and reassumed the fake smile.


No Qualms is my short story available from Amazon, Smashwords, and iTunes.

Hunt Food, Gather Firewood

smoked venison
I wish I could capture smell and taste in a photo! This is Rob’s latest recipe trial, and oh it is sooooo delish.

This year we’ve been proactive about a stocked freezer and our supply of firewood. Last year and the years since we’ve moved up here, we’ve always had a steady supply of venison, but we seem to always need firewood at the worst times. Last year, I remember waiting impatiently for the temperature to get above freezing to go out for more. On that particular day the thermometer started out around -10*F. As we watched the thermometer once the sun rose over the hill, we gave up when it finally reached a whopping 10*F, judging that it was finally warm enough to go out. Above freezing just wasn’t likely to happen that day.

This is a post from the old blog from last year, one of my favorites because it’s a ‘pondering’ post… I’m a frequent muser and ponderer.

Hunt food, gather firewood

We’d just returned from the grocery store. So the larder has been restocked. Now we needed to gather firewood.

It suddenly struck me that our daily habits as civilized man isn’t a whole lot different than our daily habits as primitive man.  Hunt food, gather firewood. The way we go about nowadays it is different, but the principle is the same.

We have a lot more time for detours during the route to and from the hearth. For many of us, our means of lighting  and stirring the pot on the home fires is more indirect. It takes 40 consistent hours a week to be able to afford to keep the fires going and the food cooking consistently the modern way.

Food and fire. Whether we shop for it at the grocery store, grow or hunt it with weapons, it’s the same need to procure food. Whether we go to work all day long on the hamster wheels of daily jobs or literally pick up sticks and chop wood, it’s the same need to stay warm and cook food. And for me, it’s important to be able to bathe without a goose bump shroud.

Anyway, thought I’d share my thoughts on this today. In what ways do you satisfy your hunter-gatherer issues? Do you work the daily grind and buy what you need, grow gardens and gather firewood? How much of your diet and warmth is direct sourced? I had never thought of it that way before, but it interests me. I like having the direct connection most of the time. But I also like the convenience of being able to get what I need at the store or supplier, too.

firewood stacked
Stocked up for a little while.

For all of you in the U.S. – Enjoy your Thanksgiving meal tomorrow! We here at Wild Ozark have a lot to be thankful for.

 

Photos of a misty day in the Ozarks

beech tree at wild ozark

For you from Wild Ozark™ 🙂 Grab a cuppa & enjoy!

A Misty Day in the Ozarks

One of my favorite kinds of trees, the beech, keeps leaves long after the others have disrobed and gone into winter’s sleep.

Almost all of the beeches I see are very young. This one is older than most. It’s a very good kind of tree to see if you’re looking for ginseng habitat, but not common out here at Wild Ozark.

Many of the oaks, especially white oaks, still have clinging leaves right now too. Beech retains leaves even throughout out the snowy days of winter.

If you’re in northwest Arkansas and want to see a very large and beautiful specimen beech, there is one in the front parking area of the Compton Gardens in Bentonville.

The rest of the photos from this mornings excursion are arranged in a slideshow. I hope you enjoy them and feel moved to tell me which is your favorite. Tell me also about your favorite kind of tree!

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.

Predator versus prey - predator wins on this one. I didn't get there soon enough to save my chicken.
Predator versus prey – predator wins on this one. I didn’t get there soon enough to save my chicken. But then the bigger predator (me) won, and that snake won’t be eating any more of my chickens.

First Hunt by Ima ErthwitchPredator 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, 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.


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

 

The Ent Trees of Wild Ozark

This article had been posted over at Medium but I decided to move it back home where it belongs.

Special Trees

Two special trees grace the dirt road where I live. There are more trees like this here and there on our own acreage, tree-beings, or trees that appear and do more than trees appear to normally do.

Of course, the knowing that these trees “do” anything other than normal tree “being” is what puts me into that category sometimes referred to by others as … well, crazy.

This relationship I have with the land and inhabitants is part of my purpose in being. I can’t explain it to someone who doesn’t “get” it, but it’s the way I connect to the Divine. Some get that from churches and religions. I get it from Nature.

But that only explains what I get from the relationship. True relationships are a give and a take, and not always balanced. In my opinion, what I get from it is more than I give. I give respect, consideration, and a voice.

I started not to post more than just these pictures because I worry sometimes about what other people think of me. But that would be cheating on the “voice” part of what I give in this relationship. I’m trying to not care so much whether anyone thinks I’m crazy or not. It is what it is.

Anyway, now that the excuses have been made and you know what comes next might sound as if I’ve lost my mind, I want to talk about Ent Trees.

Ent Trees

According to Wikipedia, Tolkien took the Anglo-Saxon phrases orþanc enta geweorc = “work of cunning giants” and eald enta geweorc = “old work of giants” and applied it to describing the trees in his story, settling on the word “ent”. It’s a fitting word for them.

Others who notice these sorts of things might call these particular trees “plant devas” or have other phrases to describe them. Or maybe most people don’t notice them at all. I suppose it’s one of my own peculiarities to notice such things, but I think anyone who lets their imaginations free can see at least these two tree-beings.

Those with mouths, sing

singing ent tree

She makes me smile every time I pass her on the road. Today I stopped the car and got out to to see if I could hear what song the singing tree sang. The words aren’t a language I can translate into words. My very being vibrates with the resonance. I feel more than hear the notes, and the center where it is felt is in my heart. Her music may fall on deaf ears for the most part when it comes to humans passing on the road below, but I hear her loud and clear.

This tree isn’t singing for me. She sings because her tree-heart inspires her to do so. It’s her purpose, at least one of them, and I am simply one who hears, understands, and appreciates what she does. Who knows her importance within the tree community?

I’m sad to report that this lovely spirit has left her tree form. A devastating flash flood and storm put her on the ground in Mid June 2015.

One thing I do know is this. Trees are among the greatest messengers on earth. Wherever trees exist, a message can be delivered from tree to tree. And where trees are sparse, the wind normally blows and the message can be handed over to the wind. Trees interact with other sorts of carriers — birds and insects work above ground, and below, the practically invisible world of fungi network from tree to tree across the land. Even the very water rinsing over leaves and limbs can carry messages as it settles into the ground and penetrates the earth to move back into the cycle of regeneration. Perhaps the trees that sing are also distributing messages to the Universe.

Those with ears, listen

Among the trees, there are singers, like the one I showed you in the photo above. There are also listeners. This one listens to everything that transpires in his forest. Surely he also hears the song which emanates from the singing tree up the road. Perhaps those with ears are listening to messages from the Universe.

listening ent tree

 

Calling all Ents

Have you seen any ent trees? If you have photos, share them with me by posting them at your blog and leaving me a comment with your links. I’d love to see them. As I find pages with lovely trees, I’ll add them to the list below:

Where do Writers get Ideas? My Ideas Come from the Gaps

Where do Writers get Ideas?

People often ask me where I get ideas for my stories. I’d never really paid attention to it much, because I’ve always had a fairly active imagination and it comes naturally to think of the things I write. Where do writers get ideas?

But I did notice something the other day, and it stuck out as an ‘ah-ha’ moment. *That* is how ideas come to me, and that’s where they come from.

I don’t get ‘whole’ ideas (for whole stories) from single inspirations. I get snippets. The snippets together make the framework for my story.

To give you an idea of how ideas work for me, think of how a CD player fills in over minor scratches so that you don’t hear a skip when it’s playing. It just sounds like the music is playing normally, and the better the player, the better it is at filling in the tiny little gaps that are caused by scratches.

What exactly was it that I noticed that *ah-ha* day? as it whizzed through and skimmed across the top of the fence into the pasture beyond.
autumn leaves 2 autumn leaves 1autumn leaves 3
Or the blast of leaves could have been made by a beast smashing leaves out of his way, something giant and from another dimension, lost and bumbling through the trees, stepping over fences as he crashed out onto the road from the undergrowth…

My ideas come from the gaps.

***

If you write, where do your ideas come from? If you’re not a writer but a reader, where did you think our ideas came from?

Here’s another post about how nature inspires some of my ideas.

Winter is Here in the Ozarks

First it was the frost flowers. They showed up last week during our first really cold spell.
 frost flower frost flower
Then yesterday as we were on our way home from grocery shopping the first sleet began. Soon after the plinking sounds of tiny ice balls on the windshield gave way to the silent brush of snowflakes.

Winter is Here

snow in the ozarks

 

 

Welcome to the all-new Wild Ozark™ website!

logo

Today’s my birthday and it’s the coldest one I can ever remember having! Temps have barely gotten above freezing today and snow clouds are building overhead.

I’ve been working hard since I got up this morning to bring this new site online before the end of the day. It might not happen today though, because it’s already a quarter until seven and I’m still not ready yet. And besides, I think this might affect my blog subscribers and I need to give at least a little warning before I throw everyone overboard like that. Hopefully, subscribers will just be reassigned to the new one since it’s going to occupy the same space the old one did (when it’s migrated), but I’m not sure. Right now I’m building it in a separate folder on a separate installation of WordPress, so there’s no telling what’ll happen when I pull the plug on the old one. Yes, that makes me a tad nervous.

Why go through all this trouble?

Well, my old site is … old. I have more than a thousand posts to that blog and when I first started I was new at blogging and didn’t know a thing about SEO. Apparently Google takes offense at repetition of post titles and topics, and they take serious offense at what they consider to be “poor content”.

I take exception to the idea that my content was poor, but since this site is crucial to our business I have to consider the impact of old convoluted blogs to the bottom line. I’ve been blogging since at least 2003, possibly earlier. When I first came to WordPress I already had a Blogger blog several years old. And so I imported it. And then later I went online with the WildOzark.com domain and moved the blog over to the self-hosted version of WordPress and imported again.

Until September my search engine ranking was great and I had a healthy stream of traffic in spite of the jumble of topics, categories and tags. And then the latest update with Google’s inner workings happened and the bottom fell out. As I set about repairing the old site I came to the gradual understanding that it just might not be possible to fix it. Not without a huge amount of work and hair-pulling, anyway.

And so now I’m almost ready to swap the old out for the new and move forward from here. The old posts aren’t going to be deleted from the web entirely, but they won’t be mixed in with this new website. I’ll put a link to the new location in the sidebar later, and as I get time I’ll move some of my favorite posts over here to the new blog.

For those of you who’ve been with me all these years, if you have any old favorites you want me to bring over be sure to let me know. Most of my current traffic comes from search engines, and most of those are folks looking for information about American ginseng. So I really don’t think anyone’s going to miss the old site very much.

My focus has always been on Nature, and that will remain. It’s just going to be a little better organized. The fiction is already in process of being moved to my Fantasy site where I’m learning to do podcasts! I’m enjoying that a lot and plan to add many more.

Once I’m done migrating the website I’ll get back to working on the third chapter of “Into the Ginseng Wood” and when I’m done with that series I have a novel and a flash fiction collection to work on.

So this is the beginning of a brand new year and I’m kicking it off with a brand new site. I hope to see you again in the near future!

Ginseng Root Prices 2014

 

Here’s the link to our page on 2017 Ginseng Prices .

The 2014 ginseng prices is a discussion and information page for diggers, growers, and dealers/buyers. Prices discussed on this page are from diggers and dealer/buyers- wholesale- NOT retail prices.Wild Ozark's Logo in color

Click here for more information on buying retail wild American ginseng. Retail prices on ginseng are higher than digger/dealer levels.

The rest of this page is for 2014 prices. We’ll be posting new information and updating each year so look for the current year’s prices page if the link above isn’t current any longer.

For other posts about ginseng, go here: Ginseng Headlines and Articles.

What are ginseng root prices 2014 ?

Today (10-04-14) I was informed by a local digger that area buyers have stopped buying altogether or only offering very low ginseng root prices in Kingston, AR. If you have news from your area, please leave a comment. The word from one of our local buyers is that there’s been a flood of roots to the market, likely due to the Appalachian Outlaws show prompting more digging than ever before. The protests in Hong Kong have also played a part.

New Update: Someone told me they sold roots to a buyer in Harrison, AR for around $400-500/lb on 10/25.

2.7

 

  • prices range from 600.00 to 750.00 Lb dry wild Seng in Ohio (10/11/14)
  • Iowa – fresh ginseng root $220/lb
  • Kentucky – dried ginseng root $700/lb (roots legally procured in Arkansas, at least, should not already be dry…)
  • Arkansas, Harrison – $550/lb on 9/25 – no longer buying at all 10/1 (market bottomed out) 10/25 – buying again $400-500/lb

If you’re a buyer and want to list your contact info in the comments, feel free to do that as well. If you happen to be a merchant in China who wants to post information from your end of the world, please do. Translate to English before posting if possible.

ginseng look alikes
Get this laminated guide to help you identify ginseng.

 

I’ve moved the comments from my old blog over to this one and appended them here because I didn’t think they’d carry over when I moved the blog:

22 thoughts on “2014 Ginseng Root Prices”

  1. Ray Carter
    I’m new at hunting ginseng ,Being my first year . I live in eastern Iowa .So my question is 220 a lb. for Iowa ginseng and Kentucky is getting 700 lbs???????
  1. Madison WoodsPost author
    Ray, I think I’d ask around with some other buyers within the state. Here in Arkansas prices started around $500 and they generally go up before end of buying season. Prices vary, too, based on the quality of the root and whether the price is for dry or fresh. Fresh brings about 2/3 lower, I believe.
  1. Ray Carter
    Thanks Madison for your help,Seems all buyers have different prices.
  • TNA Wild Ginseng Co
    Hello ALL,We are still buying ginseng from Bethlehem PA.Here is our current prices:
    –Wild Ginseng (dried)…$700 to $900 Per LB…10-40 Years Old …Neck: 1–3 Inches
    (Each pound of ginseng contains about 20-30% of bulby roots. The average length of neck is 2 inches )–Wild Ginseng (dried)…$900 to $1100 Per LB…10-40 Years Old …Neck: 2 inches or longer.
    (the average weight of each ginseng is about 2 grams and each pound of ginseng should contain about 200 roots)–Wild Ginseng (green)…$200 to $350 Per LB…10-40 Years Old…Neck: 1–4 Inches
    (Note: DO NOT wash the green root, once washed they will go bad)Thank you
    TNA Wild Ginseng

 

  1. Madison WoodsPost author
    Thank you for that update. I’m sure you’ll get some replies!
  • Melissa
    wish you were in Ohio cause your prices look good. 600-750.00 here… Maybe I should hold off , but then again prices could drop. It’s a chance we take cause ya never know about these markets. Hope ya have a Great Season

 

  1. gerri
    Who buys in western PA? Looking for a legal buyer.
  • Peter
    Hi,Im in the market to buy some ginseng roots. Please email me what you have. Thanks

 

  1. Ray Carter
    I have seven lbs. not dry yet,Very large and old roots has never been hunted around these parts. Will be selling local unless find better deal. Must be a legal sell.
  1. Peter
    Hi Ray,Can you please email at [email protected] I would like to get a price for these roots and shipping cost to Los Angeles, CA. Can you also send me some pictures. Thanks
  • matt
    3lbs wild call

 

  1. Peter
    Hello Matt,Thank you for your reply. Can you please email at [email protected] I would also like to know pricing and see pictures of the ginseng.
  • bobby key
    looking for dealer that is buying wild ginseng and much you are paying for A pound I live at rockfield it is outside of bowlinggreen ky if are interest on any email me back at bobby42274(at)yahoo(dot)com hope to hear from you i am looking for the best dealthank you

 

  1. Madison WoodsPost author
    Hey Bobby, there’s a lot of people viewing this site so someone might contact you. But I’m going to edit your email address so it’s not a link – you’ll get a lot of spam if I leave it like it is from automated things that search the web for email addresses.
Reply ↓
  • Melissa
    prices range from 600.00 to 750.00 Lb dry wild Seng in Ohio
  1. Madison WoodsPost author
    Thanks – I’ll add this to the post body.
  • Dave Woodard
    Who is paying $1,100 with 2″ neck? My friends are finding some up to 11 1/2 and 2″ round all the way down!! We have sold 37 lbs in VA. Where can I take it to get more! Your help would be much appreciated!I would love to find better prices for next year. We still have 2 areas to go in this year.Dave

 

  1. Madison WoodsPost author
    Hi Dave, no one is buying at all in our area of northwest Arkansas. In the comments there were a couple of posters who listed contact information you could check with.
  • Jen
    Hi, I’m buying for personal and friend use. Can I buy from someone here? Thanks.

 

  1. Madison WoodsPost author
    We don’t have any here at Wild Ozark, but you can try contacting some of the ones who left email addresses. To buy/sell across state lines you’ll need a dealer’s license to stay legal.
  • Connie
    I would like some infort, On becoming a Wild Ginseng Grower. If you or anyone you know can help please e-mail me at [email protected] I would like who to by seeds from, the best sellers in Ga and how long does it take to and is the price going up or down in the next year. If you can help a lady out it would really help out.

 

  1. Madison WoodsPost author
    Hi Connie,I don’t have information specific to GA, but if you live near any rural towns at the stores there’s usually someone who knows who buys for that area and there might be signs up on the windows. That’s how they do it out here. As for seeds, if no one in your area grows and sells seed, then you might have to go to the region nearest you to buy them. I live in AR but have to buy seeds in MO. It takes 5 years before the plants are legal to dig, but they’re still small then. 7-10 years is better. If you’re wanting to grow wild-simulated, and wanting to do it sustainably, you’ll want to grow your colonies out to at least 100 plants per colony and harvest less than half of the ones producing seeds. Some studies suggest in colonies this size even if all of the seed-producing plants are harvested, as long as all of the seeds from those plants are replanted, your ginseng will continue to thrive year after year. I prefer to take half or less and allow a colony of mixed ages to carry on. There’s a lot of different opinions on the best way to do this and as time goes by you’ll probably find a comfortable solution.As for prices, there’s no telling. China buys most of the wild and wild-simulated and how much they’re willing to pay is what determines the prices growers are given by buyers. This year several factors played into really low prices. Too many roots in the market, instability in Hong Kong, and some buyers even quit buying altogether.I have books at Amazon with lots of photos of ginseng and companion plants if you’re unsure of where to plant your seeds, and Sustainable Ginseng gives references to studies about the ideal colony sizes for sustainability.Good luck on your venture!

Monster Ginseng Roots from Arkansas 2014

Click HERE for 2015 ginseng root pictures

2014 Monster Ginseng Roots

These monster ginseng roots from Arkansas were submitted by a digger in the Ozarks. He assured me he’d planted all the berries in the same location and only took a portion of mature plants. They broke the tops from the rest to keep them from being harvested in another sweep by other diggers.

2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 arkansas 1 arkansas 2 arkansas 3 arkansas 4 arkansas 5 neck

Can’t Find Ginseng?

Ginseng with red berries. Still can’t find ginseng? This post is for you.

“I can’t find ginseng!”

If you’ve been getting frustrated because you can’t find ginseng, this post is for you.

First of all, remember, it’s only legal to dig ginseng in Arkansas from September 1 – December 1. You’ll have to check the rules for your state if you live elsewhere.

There are a few good reasons why you can’t find ginseng when you hunt it. These are the most likely reasons:

  • It doesn’t grow where you are looking
  • It’s already been dug
  • The older roots have already been dug and the tops of younger ones broken off
  • Your eyes are just not seeing it

It doesn’t grow where you are looking

Ginseng only grows in certain areas of the United States. Here’s a map that shows the natural distribution for American Ginseng: https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=PAQU&mapType=nativity. Within the states highlighted on the map, it only grows in the areas that provide the proper habitat. Some of the listed states have a very limited amount of suitable habitat.

For example, although Louisiana is one of the listed states, the area in that state that supports the habitat ginseng requires is extremely small. If your state isn’t listed in that map, then it’s not likely that it grows there at all. You can’t find ginseng if it doesn’t grow there in the first place.

Although there are many suitable places in Arkansas, not all of the state, nor even whole counties, has the right habitat. Even on our own property, located in a county with plentiful habitat, of all the acres we own only a small portion of it is suitable. If you can’t find ginseng, the first thing to check is if you’re looking in the right places.

It’s already been dug

Areas that were once perfect have no ginseng left because too many diggers took too many plants without replacing seeds. And they’ve often taken plants out of season when seeds weren’t even ripe. So even in a spot that shows all the signs of having good habitat, it’s likely you can’t find ginseng because there’s no ginseng left there to find.

The older roots have already been dug and the tops of younger ones broken off

Many seasoned diggers, the ones who come back to a spot year after year, break off the tops of remaining plants when they’re done taking what they want. They do this so anyone who comes after them to that spot won’t see any ginseng to take. While this isn’t ideal for the plant’s health, it sure beats being dug. Usually the diggers who do this want to ensure the patch continues to survive to provide roots for the future. If you can’t find ginseng and all other conditions are right, it might be because someone doesn’t want you to find it.

Your eyes are just not seeing it

I have covered this issue in an earlier post when I mentioned how hard the plant is to see. Usually it’s only the first plant that’s hard to find. Once you’ve found one, it seems to train your eyes to see them so finding the next ones are easier. That’s how it works each time I go into the woods to look for them. Find companion plants first. It at least narrows down the search for suitable habitat. If you don’t see any companions, odds are you can’t find ginseng there either.

Companion plants (plants that grow where ginseng grows) will usually be in the right habitat even if the ginseng is not. Most of the time, these companion plants, also called pointers or indicator plants, are easier to find than the ginseng.

In summary, if you know the habitat is right for ginseng and have spotted the companion plants that indicate proper habitat, if you still can’t find ginseng the chances are good that it’s just not there or your eyes aren’t seeing it (because either the stems are gone or it’s hiding right beside you and you just can’t see it).

Here’s my book on the look-alikes. It’s a great guide to help you figure out if the plants you find are ginseng or one of the other look-alikes.

Other Posts You Might Like

Do you have a question about ginseng?

If I can’t find the answer, I might be able to find someone else who knows.

Frost Flowers

frost flowers

The first time I saw frost flowers here in northwest Arkansas, about nine years ago now, I thought they were trash collected at the base of weeds on the roadsides.

And then I saw a photo at Cloudland and the mystery was solved and a fascination began. As if I don’t already have enough fascination with things!

Since that time I’ve watched for frost flowers every year. They usually happen during the first few hard freezes. The “flower” is caused by the sap being frozen as it is forced out of the lower stems of plants.

On the way out to the gate yesterday where we were cutting firewood I saw some more frost flowers.

frost flowers at wild ozark