Two Screech Owls in a Tree

This morning before I left the house to go to the post office, I briefly thought about whether I should grab the camera or not. I decided to not. It had been a few days since I’d last caught even a glimpse of the screech owl that lives by the gate. So I didn’t have enough hope to bother going back inside to get the camera.

Boy, what a mistake that was.

Screech Owls

I glanced over to the holey tree where the nest was, and like I thought, she wasn’t there. But then I saw the two spots of orange on the tree right outside the home-tree.

And there I was, owls in broad daylight, with no good camera on hand. So I got this pic with my iPhone in case I never got the chance for a better one.

2 little screech owls sitting in a tree.

I debated whether or not to bother trying to go back to the house for my real camera, wondered whether or not I could reasonably expect them to still be there when I got back down to the gate. Our driveway is not short, or smooth. So I’d have to go slow. But I decided to try.

Too Late

When I got back to the gate, after getting the camera, swapping out the lens, and making the slow journey down the driveway again, they were gone. At first my heart sank. My best opportunity ever for getting a good owl pic and I’d blown it.

But there they were, on the other tree, in a tangle of vines.

Two little screech owls hiding in a tangle of vines.

A Birds of Prey Project

I’m happy to have gotten the pictures for more than just because I love owls. The main focus in my art is birds of prey. Usually I have to get permission from other photographers to use their birds as subjects, but now I have one of my own. And that makes me happy.

Screech owls are on my list of Ozark Birds of Prey to paint. I’ll do a better one of them later, but I made a quick one for my grand-daughter Karter’s birthday. When I get the better one done, I’ll add it to this page, too.

Screech owl painting (quick version).

Madison Woods is an author, artist, and Paleo Paint maker living
with her husband in northwest Arkansas far off the beaten path. She uses Ozark pigments to create her paintings.

Contact Info:
Email: [email protected]
Instagram: @wildozark
Facebook: @wildozark

Early April in the Ginseng Habitat

Every year the same flowers bloom in pretty much the same order. And although I have hundreds of images in my files, I can’t help but start heading out with the camera. The blooms start in early April in the ginseng habitat.

The first flowers that bloom are usually the toothwort (formerly of the Dentaria genus, now Cardamine concatenata). I wish they would quit changing the botanical/latin names of plants. It gets hard to keep up sometimes.

Not quite blooming yet at the time of this photo, but they’re all in full swing now as we enter the second week of April.

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is ordinarily the next in line to show off.

A poster of bloodroot showing the interesting features of this plant. It blooms in early April in the ginseng habitat.
This is a poster I made a few years ago to show all of the different things about bloodroot that I find interesting. The leaf shape and root color are as enthralling as the flowers.

Trout lilies (Erythronium americanum) show leaves a little while before the flowers begin to appear. It grows in large colonies, but they don’t begin blooming for sometimes five years.

Trout lilies grow in large colonies, but they don't begin blooming for sometimes five years.

Named for the mottled appearance of the basal leaf, it sort of resembles a trout under the water.

Rue anemone and False rue anemone are blooming now, too. So far this year, I’ve only found Rue anemone (Halictrum thalictroides). The false has more deeply lobed leaves.

Rue and false rue anemone are among the early bloomers in April in the ginseng habitat.

Purple (or ‘wild blue’) Phlox (Phlox divaricata) is brightening up the woodlands everywhere, not just in the ginseng habitats.

Phlox grows in many shady environments, not just in the ginseng habitats.
Not limited to the deep moist woods, but it too shows up in early April in the ginseng habitat.

Dutchmen’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria ) is always a challenge to photograph. The flowers and the leaves are not always on the same focal plane, so it’s hard to get them both clear at the same time. These do only grow in the rich moist soils, so is a good sign to look for in early April in the ginseng habitat.


This one was leaning over an embankment, which made the effort a little easier.

While this one isn’t a flower yet, the leaves of wild hydrangea (
Hydrangea arborescens ) are starting to open up. These plants are a frequent resident in the ginseng habitat.

Wild hydrangea starts to put on leaves early in April in the ginseng habitat.
Wild hydrangea cuttings coming up in the Wild Ozark nursery and Ginseng Habitat Demonstration Garden.

What about the ginseng?

Ginseng usually begins to unfurl here toward the end of April. At the earliest, maybe late in the second week of April. Click here to see some posts from previous years’ unfurling watch.

Madison Woods is an author, artist, and Paleo Paint maker living
with her husband in northwest Arkansas far off the beaten path. She uses Ozark pigments to create her paintings.

Contact Info:
Email: [email protected]
Instagram: @wildozark
Facebook: @wildozark

Sunburst

2018 Autumn at Wild Ozark

It’s been several years since we’ve had the splendid colors we’re having this year. Today I went out to take some pictures to share of the 2018 Autumn at Wild Ozark. Some of the photos are from our driveway, some are down the road we take to get here.

Ozark Autumn 2018

In the first photo below, it’s not really this yellow. I was just playing with Photoshop and the preview wasn’t working so I couldn’t see what I had done until after it was saved. But it’s pretty. Looks how it does through my sunglasses 🙂

2018 Autumn. It's not really this yellow. I was just playing with Photoshop and the preview wasn't working so I couldn't see what I had done until after it was saved. But it's pretty. Looks how it does through my sunglasses :)
View through my sunglasses
The creek that runs alongside our driveway. Locally, it's known as 'the branch', but I call it the Wild Ozark creek.
The creek that runs alongside our driveway. Locally, it’s known as ‘the branch’, but I call it the Wild Ozark creek.
At the second Felkins creek bridge.
At the second Felkins creek bridge.

I’ll post more pictures later when I have time to transfer them from the camera and get them reduced in size. So far, the 2018 autumn is turning out to be pretty spectacular. Every year I wait for the leaves to turn, and it seems like a big wind comes and blows it all away before it has a chance. Or they just go from green to brown.

Is autumn beautiful where you are?

Previous Years

Here’s some links to the posts I’ve made in previous years about the fall colors out here. 2017 Colors and more. Here’s one of the 2015 Colors  

Lodging near Kingston, AR... not many nearby, but lots of beautiful scenery in between! What's Not to Love? On the way to Wild Ozark.

What’s Not to Love?

I titled this photo “What’s Not to Love?” because I love (almost) everything about living back here in the middle of nowhere.

Heading home is always a pleasure. Once I turn off the pavement, the half hour it takes to get to my house from there is pure sensory overload. I drive very slowly, looking at scenery, plants, and animals the whole six miles. It helped a lot when I worked full time, because the slow drive back in allowed me to adjust my mindset before I reached the house.

While that need to go slowly wears on a lot of people’s nerves, it’s one of the perks of living here to me

What’s NOT to Love?

Dirt roads means bumpy roads. That means I need to go slow so I don’t tear up the vehicle. There are some people who hate to slow down long enough to travel such roads.

That is not my problem. I love going slow because it gives me time to see things I wouldn’t see if I were going faster. Like which plants are blooming and when.

When it snows and I get to be the first one driving through it – that sort of thing carries a special sort of thrill hard to find elsewhere. But mostly it’s about the things I see.  Like the bobcat crossing the road and being lazy about it because I’m not moving too quickly, or the sight of turkeys strutting out in the fields.

If I’m really lucky I’ll get to see a bear… oh wait. I forgot. I’m supposed to be talking about what’s NOT to love.

Back to the point

Heading away from home isn’t always fun if I have to be somewhere at a certain time. To get anywhere on time means I can’t stop and enjoy the scenery as much as I might like. So that’s one thing not to love, I guess.

I have to leave plenty early to get anywhere at all, actually. For example, being a farmer’s market vendor means I have to get set up before the market opens. At the Fayetteville market, I have to have my tent all ready to go by 0700.

It takes me about an hour to put it all together. It takes about an hour and a half to get there IF nothing delays me along the way. So to get there by 0600 I absolutely have to have the truck rolling by 0430. Before that can happen, several other things have to happen. So it means my day on Saturdays start at 0300.

So I guess you could say having to get up way too early to get anywhere else early is one of the only things on the list of what’s not to love so much.

There are a couple of other things I could point out if hard-pressed. For one, if you have to work away from home, the drive to and from that job will eat up about 3 or 4 hours of each workday.

Another thing is the distance to a hospital if you become sick or injured.

So there are some drawbacks, but for me the pros outweigh the cons.

What About You?

What kinds of things would you list about what’s not to love if your daily drive meant a few miles of that road pictured above?

There’s another post of mine that you’ll like if you enjoyed this one. It’s called Why it Takes Me an Hour to Drive 12 Miles to the Post Office... or something like that.

Hiking to the Wild Ozark Corner Bluff

A while back, I posted about our exploration of the bluffs along the driveway. This time we went hiking to what I call the “Corner Bluff”.

It’s not far away, either, but takes a bit of effort. Getting to this one is fairly difficult if approached from the ground level, so instead of climbing up, we took the 4-wheeler to the top of the mountain and hiked down to it.

Most of our hiking trips are short ones carried out right here at home, because we have so many places on our own property that we haven’t explored. Here’s a great compilation about long hiking trails in the USA for those who enjoy extended adventures on foot.

The photos below are from our hike to the Corner Bluff.

We saw Mossy ledges while hiking to the Corner Bluff.
Mossy Ledges

What makes it a Corner Bluff?

I call it that because it exists on a topographical corner of a mountain that’s partially on our plot of land. It’s not at the corner of our property, which is a square in theory, but on a physical corner of a mountain.

Rocks and Walls

There are big boulders and tall walls in this spot.

A really tall rock. Had to get on the ground to get the top in the frame.
A really tall rock. Had to get on the ground to get the top in the frame.

 

Rob standing on the ledge of one of the walls. Helps to give you an idea for size context.
Rob standing on the ledge of one of the walls. Helps to give you an idea for size context.

Some of the rocks in one of the areas look like faces, complete with eyes, noses and mouths. I didn’t get any good pics of those, but I did a while back on one of our other hiking trips in 2011 or 2010. If I can find the pictures I’ll post them later.

Green even Mid-winter

Ferns growing in very little soil
Ferns growing in very little soil.

 

Moss and lichens on the rocks
Moss and lichens on the rocks.

 

Fruiting bodies on the moss collect the morning's fog droplets
Fruiting bodies on the moss collect the morning’s fog droplets.

 

The moss acted like a sponge. Water drained slowly down the rock bluffs through the moss. We don’t usually go hiking without bringing water, and the sight of all of it percolating made me even thirstier.

If the thirst became too terrible, I suppose we could have gathered enough sips from the moss to save our lives in an emergency.

Moss covered wall at the Corner Bluff
Moss covered wall at the Corner Bluff

Trees

This twisted little tree is growing on top of the rock.
This twisted little tree is growing on top of the rock.

A tree skeleton full of texture, shades and lines. I love tree skeletons almost as much as the living ones.
A tree skeleton full of texture, shades and lines. I love tree skeletons almost as much as the living ones.

 

This gigantic oak is growing underneath and between the rocks. I can only imagine how far the roots must go between the layers in order to hold it up.

Fav Hiking Finds: Nooks and Crannies

My favorite things are the hidden places like this nook between the rocks.
My favorite things are the hidden places like this cranny between the rocks.

 

Rob seems to particularly like looking in the nooks where critters like bears and bobcats could be sleeping.
Rob seems to particularly like looking in the nooks where critters like bears and bobcats could be sleeping.

Odd Rocks

This rock looks just like a knob for a cabinet pull on the face of one of the bluff walls.
This rock looks just like a knob for a cabinet pull on the face of one of the bluff walls. I didn’t pull on it for fear of breaking it off.

 

We don't have much limestone on our property, but this does look like it has a lot of calcium/magnesium because of the holes. Most of our rocks are sandstone.
We don’t have much limestone on our property, but this does look like it has a lot of calcium/magnesium because of the holes. Most of our rocks are sandstone.

 

This rock wasn't at the bluff but we saw it earlier on our way to the bluff. The rocks in that spot have a lot of iron veins in them. Odd-looking, huh?
This rock wasn’t at the bluff but we saw it earlier on our way to the bluff. The rocks in that spot have a lot of iron veins in them. Odd-looking, huh?

Getting Back to the Top

It’s funny how you don’t notice how far you’ve gone when you’re walking down hill or over the sides of walls until it’s time to go back to the top. I was worn out by the time we had the 4-wheeler back in sight.

Hope you enjoyed the photo-essay of our rock bluff exploration!

Unrelated Note

I heard spring peepers yesterday and this morning. It’s the middle of January. I should not be hearing spring peepers.

Freezing Fingers for Nature Art – Photos, Bringing Hay to Horses on an Icy Morning

It was 12* F as the sun came up over the mountain yesterday morning. I headed outside to feed the animals, and freezing fingers were in the forecast. When I fed the horses, I walked across the creek to check to see if they needed more hay yet. They did.

Anytime is a good time to get good nature photography around here. Rob warmed up the tractor and I grabbed my “real” camera and we headed out to bring hay to the horses on an icy morning.

Angles of Light

While crossing the creek to check the hay, I noticed how beautiful the sunlight was on the skin of ice by my meditation rock. All I had with me was my cell phone, so I took a quick photo and decided to bring the real camera back out when we brought the hay.

Early morning rays on the creek.
Early morning rays on the creek.

By the time I got back down to the creek, when we brought the hay, the moment was gone. Such is the ephemeral life of sun sparkles and light angles. But it was still pretty nonetheless.

However, there were at least still some sun sparkles. Sun sparkles are so beautiful in photos and is a form of nature art where all I have to do is capture the image. They looked so magical spilling through the rocks!

The photo below is available on stretched canvas at Redbubble in various sizes. The largest is 30″ tall and it is $109. The photo enlarges if you click on it. The title at Redbubble is “Sun Sparkles (vertical)“. You can get the image on various other items, like cell phone cases, iPad covers, thermos mugs, etc. It also comes as a metallic print for $29.00.

Sun Sparkles, nature art photography for the wall.
Sun Sparkles, nature art photography for the wall.

I have a horizontal one, too.

Sun Sparkles (horizontal), nature art photography
Sun Sparkles (horizontal)

Horse Eyes

I love horses’ eyes, so I take a lot of photos of them. Most of them don’t come out because they don’t stay still long enough. Or they close their eyes just as the shutter clicks. For the longest time, they’d bolt when the shutter clicked, but at least we don’t have that issue anymore. Here’s a good one of Comanche’s eyes. It’s available at Redbubble on lots of different products.

Comanche's Lovely Eyes
Comanche’s Lovely Eyes

I particularly love the way the tote bag and the tank top came out:

Tote bag featuring Comanche's eye.Tank top with Comanche's eye.

Patterns of Ice

On the way to where we bring the hay to the horses, there are big perpetual mud puddles. The springs feed them, and they only dry out during the driest time of year in late summer. Most of the time, they’re not actually muddy at all until we drive through them with the tractor.

In winter, the ice crystallizes in such interesting patterns. These look like puddle fingerprints.

Ice Fingerprints in the puddle.

Any little inclusion gives the crystal unique shapes.

The ice crystals around a small piece of debris.
The ice crystals around a small piece of debris.

Moving water gives interesting form to ice, too. I love the globules of ice and the satin texture of the water still liquid. The following photo will be available on items from RedBubble too, but I haven’t finished uploading it.

Ice gathering on leaves at water's edge.
Ice gathering on leaves at water’s edge.

Fingers Frozen

By the time I’d fed the animals, checked the hay, then rode the 4-wheeler to open the gate when Rob brought the hay, and then lingered around taking photos, my fingers were frozen. When I couldn’t feel my index finger well enough to push the shutter button anymore, I went back in.

Oh the sacrifices made to make or capture Nature Art.  My freezing fingers thawed out quickly enough by the woodstove.

After we were done warming up inside, we went back out into it to cut a couple of dead trees and pull them out for firewood. Thankfully the sun had come out and it warmed up to nearly above freezing by then. Everytime we cut wood, I find lots of pieces I’d rather use for nature art than burn, so I have a little pile of “holds” by the back door. One day I’ll have to make a post on those and give some hints on what I plan to do with them.

Enjoy the rest of your winter!

Black and White Cloudscape #nowordsneeded

Cloudscape in black & white.
Cloudscape in Black and White

 


#nowordsneeded and the title of the photo are all I put on these posts. If you’d like to participate in this Twitter and Blogging meme, use the hashtag in your title and leave a comment with a link to your post. It’s open any day of the week. I post them randomly, so no schedule, either, lol. Tag @wildozark on Twitter if you want me to see it sooner rather than whenever I browse the hashtags.
Elderberry blossom

Build your Herbal Armory!

Useful plants grow all around us. It’s time to start building your herbal armory of plant allies now.

My book, 10 Common Plants worth Knowing in a Long-term Survival Situation, will introduce you to ten at a time. I’ll help you make allies of them, enabling you to build your herbal armory.

  1. All-Heal
  2. Beebalm
  3. Echinacea
  4. Elderberry
  5. Red clover
  6. Red Raspberry
  7. Red Mulberry
  8. Persimmon
  9. Spicebush
  10. Witch Hazel

An Heirloom

This book is meant to be written in. I’ve given space to record your harvest locations, identification notes, place to write things that you think will be important for anyone trying to follow in your footsteps in the next generations.

Read More

sun sparkles on water

Sun Sparkles

On this day in 2015, we had snow and sun sparkles. So far this year it’s been unseasonably warm and no snow so far. That could change this weekend, though – snow is in the forecast!

Since we haven’t had any this year yet, I’m rerunning the photos from a couple of years ago.

Sun Sparkles in Winter

Sun sparkles in winter enchant me like sirens calling sailors to the rocks. The moments when these occur are the result of perfect synchronization, the synergism of all five elements: wind, fire, earth, water and spirit. They do not come when summoned, appearing only when conditions are right and only appreciated by those who heed the call to notice.

A Collection of My Favorite Photos

You can find twenty of my enchanting Ozark photos all in one place by purchasing my new ebook at Amazon and other retailers for only $1.99.

Most of the photos I shoot, or at least the ones I really like, are also scattered throughout this website and they’re completely free if you want to browse around to find them.

The ebook just rounds up some of my favorites and puts them in a format pleasing to view on tablets and other e-readers. I haven’t tried it on a phone yet, but if you do, let me know how it looks.

 

sun sparkles and snow in creek

sun sparkles on water

more sun sparkles

Long Dirt Road: Why it Takes me an Hour to Drive 12 Miles

This is a post from a few years ago that I love, so I’m reposting it. We live down a long dirt road. This little facet of our lives is the main thing that makes or breaks most newcomers to rural life.

It takes a long time to go anywhere, if you go slow enough to spare the vehicle’s suspension and tires, and every other nut and bolt on the chassis. You gotta love the long dirt road for offering a chance to transition from the ordinary world into the magical realm of these hills, though.

Or vice versa. It gives you a chance to readjust on your way out of the magic and into the mundane.


Today was an ordinary summer day in July. I went to the post office.

It’s only 12 miles to the post office in our little town.

6 of those miles are by dirt road. It’s a long dirt road.

My average speed on the dirt stretch is 10 mph, but I slow down for the rough spots. So for just that portion of the trip, it already makes up for more than 30 minutes. The remaining 6 miles of pavement only takes 10 minutes or less, depending on whether there are cows, tractors, or deer in the road.

On a direct trip with no distractions, it’s about a 90-minute round trip, if you add the time spent getting the mail posted. And that’s if I only go to the post office and back.

But that rarely happens. Read More

The Color of Cherry Leaves | Ozark Backroads Collection

These cherry leaves were such a brilliant golden yellow. They shined like a beacon in an otherwise bleak and dreary landscape.

"Cherry Leaves in Late Fall"
“Cherry Leaves in Late Fall”

Glad I brought the real camera along for the ride to town yesterday. I think this would make a nice large-sized print for an office somewhere. If you happen to have such a space to occupy, let me know 🙂

I’m going to make a collection of my favorite photos from the Ozark Backroads as a category on my blog. This is the first one going in the category. Eventually you’ll be able to just click on the category and see all of them in one stream of posts.

A photographer friend of mine, Janet Webb, did a similar treatment of a thistle head the other day and her photo inspired my treatment of the cherry tree.

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.

 

October Color at Wild Ozark

Here’s a couple of photos from this morning I thought you’d like. I love fall here in the Ozarks. Late October color is often quite nice. That’s when it begins to start turning noticeably.

In the morning as the sun rises over the eastern mountain, the trees westward light up. Each day from about now to November promises to hold great views.

I’ll add more as the season wears on.

October color in the Ozarks can be quite spectacular. Here's one of the maple trees along the driveway.
Maple leaves along the driveway.

 

A red sweet gum leaf by the gate.
A red sweet gum leaf by the gate.

Not Just the Leaves

Sunrises and sunsets are often spectacular in October, too. Here’s one from 10-20-17. It started out with a delicate gold wash across the landscape. Before I had the camera ready, though, the colors had deepened to a gorgeous amber glow.

Sienna Sunset, October 20, 2017. SOOC, no filters. The moment was fleeting, but I was glad to have captured it.
“Burnt Sienna Sunset”, October 20, 2017. SOOC, no filters. The moment was fleeting, but I was glad to have captured it.

Wild Ozark, volume one Available for Preorder

Available for Preorder Now, $1.99

I gathered up some of my favorite photos over the past few years and put them together in an ebook to see how it would work out. It’s available now on preorder at several ebook retailers.

There’s a program that’ll compile photos into the proper format for an ebook where you don’t have to double tap the photos to make them fill the page, and I wanted to give it a trial whirl.

Amazon has a program that’ll do this, but it will only work to make a file to publish on Amazon. I wanted to be able to list the book in all ebook retailers.

Wild Ozark photos collection, volume 1, available for preorder now.
Click to find a retailer near you!

I’ve only scratched the surface of all the photos I could do this with, but I’m learning how many photos I can put in one file before the file size becomes too large.

The next volume will contain about 50 photos. This one contains 20.

If you’re a photographer, you might consider doing something similar with your favorite photos. The program I’m using is at magicepub.com. 

Orange Spotted Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

In keeping with the “spotted” theme of my last post, here’s an orange spotted jewelweed flower. I’m always trying to get the perfect photo of this flower.

A dream set-up would be when the sun is shining just *so* on it, to give the illusion of stained glass. There would be some nice glistening drops of water at least in the frame somewhere.

In the meantime, I snap a pic when I see a pretty one.

Orange spotted jewelweed
Orange spotted jewelweed

Later on as the plants begin to make seeds, I’ll try to collect some. Today I collected common milkweed seeds and some Echinacea purpurea. I’ll get these packaged up in some pretty way to sell at the farmer’s market soon.

Seeds on the list to be collected:

  • Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
  • Great Blue Lobelia (L. siphilitica)
  • Milkweed (Asclepias spp.)
  • Thimbleweed (Anemone virginiana)

Perhaps next year I’ll be able to add our wild-simulated American ginseng to the list. This year all of the seeds I collected went back to replanting the hillsides.

Just a few Photos of Butterflies, Kings River, and a Ginseng

Not enough time to make a decent post lately, so figured I’d at least put up a few of the photos I’ve taken in the past few days of August. Click on them to make them larger.

Kings River, Looking at Rocks and Evading the Rain

Rain's a'coming. Kings River with stormclouds and backlighting.
Rain’s a’coming.

We hiked around a few gravel bars along Kings River yesterday.

Wild Ozark is not far from the headwaters of this locally important waterway, but other than what we see from the window as we drive over the several bridges that cross it on the way to town, we haven’t explored much of it.

Where to Go

Most of it runs through private property, and so is inaccessible.  By canoe would be the best way to see some of the stretches of this river that you can’t see from the roads.

There are a few public put-in points for canoers farther downstream from the little town of Kingston, the closest being the Marble Access point. 

The Kings River Falls Natural Area is at the headwaters. I made a blog post with photos from a hike I made there in January a couple of years ago. It’s very popular most of the year, and in summer is appreciated for deep swimming holes and cold water in gorgeous surroundings.

Rocks, Rocks, and More Rocks

Rocks are a prominent landscape feature everywhere in the Ozarks, but especially in the creeks and rivers. Very little sand or mud and lots and lots of rocks.

For a rockhound, this is paradise. From a strategic point of view, though, it’s troublesome. Pockets can only hold so many rocks and a person can only carry so many larger ones in hand before difficult choices have to be made.

I suppose if everyone carried out two pockets of rocks, we might eventually make a dent in the rock population… but I doubt it.

A few of my rocks.
A few of my rocks.

A few more of my rock finds.
A few more of my rock finds.

The rock too big for my pocket. On the other side there's a fossil, but I didn't see that until we got home with it.
The rock too big for my pocket. On the other side there’s a fossil, but I didn’t see that until we got home with it.

Rob has so much self restraint. But he finds the arrowheads and I don't. These are all the rocks he brought home. Except he carried my big one on the way out after I was tired.
Rob has so much self restraint. But he finds the arrowheads and I don’t. These are all the rocks he brought home. Except he carried my big one on the way out after I was tired.

The Rocks I Left Behind

I love the combination of rocks, water, and lighting.
I love the combination of rocks, water, and lighting.

That little spot near the center is a small fossil on the rock. It's under water so I couldn't get a better picture of it. Not sure what it is, some sort of sea creature from long ago.
That little spot near the center is a small fossil on the rock. It’s under water so I couldn’t get a better picture of it. Not sure what it is, some sort of sea creature from long ago.

More photos of the river

Along the Kings river in Madison county, AR.  Near the headwaters of Kings river in Arkansas.

A little spot of rapids.
A little spot of rapids.

I hope you enjoyed this photo tour of a gravel stretch along Kings River.

We’ve had more non-resident visitors to our area than usual lately, and unfortunately some of them are disrespectful to the land.

Sadly, we’ve begun to see graffiti on the bridges and trash on the roadsides, something that rarely happened in years past. If you drive through remote and rural areas to see the beauty, or to get away from the hustle and bustle of town, please leave it as beautiful as you found it. The people and animals who live there thank you.

Woodland Flowers of June at Wild Ozark

It’s been awhile since I’ve wandered with the camera, but this morning on my way to town I brought the camera just so I could capture some of my favorite woodland flowers blooming along the driveway and county road.

Wild hydrangea blooms all along the shady, moist places on our driveway. It's one of my favorite woodland flowers.
Wild hydrangea blooms all along the shady, moist places on our driveway. It’s one of my favorite woodland flowers.

The sparsely petaled wildflower in the photo above is the original version. It’s the wildflower that blooms alongside creeks and other moist shady places.

You might recognize the hybridized version more easily. I saw this one blooming today at Compton Gardens in Bentonville, AR when I went out there to check on our little ginseng sanctuary:

A hybridized version of the wild hydrangea.
A hybridized version of the wild hydrangea. This one is blooming now at Compton Gardens in Bentonville, AR.

There were some other pretty little flowers blooming in the same area as the wild hydrangea. I’m not sure what these are and right now I don’t have time to look it up, but if you know, please leave a comment to tell me.

When I have time, if no one has volunteered the identity, lol, I’ll look it up and add the name. I’ve only noticed them in the shade, so I’m assuming they’re also woodland flowers and prefer the shady places.

unknown little flower- well, *I* don't know what it is, but if you do, please let me know!
unknown little flower- well, *I* don’t know what it is, but if you do, please let me know!

Every year I look for the jewelweed flowers, and every year I take photos. It doesn’t matter that I already have probably hundreds of them in the files. It’s the same with bloodroot, and all the other woodland flowers. I just can’t help it.

Orange spotted jewelweed.
Orange spotted jewelweed, another of my favorite woodland flowers.

Black cohosh is one I’m always watching and waiting for. This woodland flower is borne at the top of a stem stretching far above the main plant. Every year I try to get a good photo of the whole plant, and every year I fail. It’s just too tall from tip of the spire to the leaves at the bottom.

So this time I took three photos- one of the flower, one of the middle stem portion, and one of the base. Then I stitched them together in photoshop. It’s not perfect, and you can see in the top where the stems don’t meet just right.

But it gives a better look at the whole plant than any single photo of the whole plant I’ve managed to get so far.

Black cohosh from tip to toes, one of my favorite woodland flowers.
Black cohosh from tip to toes, one of my favorite woodland flowers.

Once I managed to quit stopping to take photos I got on with the rest of my trip. Compton Gardens was the intended destination, but then The Artist Retreat Center in Bella Vista became a spontaneous destination since I was already in the neighborhood.

While at the ARC, I enjoyed a quick walkabout in the woodlands and visited with Sara while we cooked up a plan to have a public nature walk. If you’d be interested in attending such a thing – we’ll do a plant walk and nature journaling session, contact Sara through the ARC’s FB page and let her know. We haven’t settled on a date or participant cost yet, but public interest (or lack thereof) will help us figure it out.

Here’s a few of the plants we encountered there:

Wild geranium, one of the woodland flowers at the ARC in Bella Vista, AR.
Wild geranium

Immature pawpaw fruit.
Immature pawpaw fruit.

Tattered wings on a sunlit thistle.
Tattered wings on a sunlit thistle.

Anyway, there’s the photo summary of my day today, minus the boring grocery store and hardware shopping. Hope you enjoyed!

Rain Makes Waterfalls!

Three of our favorite waterfalls hide in a steep little holler. They’re beautiful and when it rains, they really flow.

Over the past twenty-four hours we’ve had 5″ of rain. That’s a lot for us here at Wild Ozark, and it means serious flooding. The driveway is torn up pretty badly and all of the low-water bridges on our road are washed out.

It also means the waterfalls are really flowing.

Yesterday during a lull between bands of rain we hiked over to one of our favorite waterfalls and I took some pictures.

Waterfalls

A spring feeds this one during dry season but it slows to a trickle. When it rains, it really flows and is beautiful.

The Wild Ozark Waterfalls
Our Wild Ozark Falls. The bottom of this one is like a slide, almost smooth rock all the way down this stretch.

We call this one the Bridal Veil, though it doesn’t cascade in a nice thin sheet like other waterfalls with that name. Maybe we should think of a different thing to call it.

Wild Ozark Bridal Veil waterfall.
There is another falls named Bridal Veil in the Ozarks, and others in other states, but this one is our Wild Ozark Bridal Veil falls.

And then there are the Trickle Falls. All three of these are in the same little holler, banked by very steep hills on either side. It’s hard to access but one day maybe we’ll make an easier to walk trail to get there.

the whole Wild-Ozark-Trickle-Falls

Wild Ozark Trickle Falls

I love trying to catch the splashes in action.

Wild Ozark Trickle Falls Splashes

The sound of all this water falling is loud. Here’s a little video clip that will give you an idea of how noisy it all is.

April Spring flowers in the Ginseng Habitat

Lots of flowers in the ginseng habitat right now. The following are just a sample.

Wild Ginger

If you don’t mind getting down on the ground, you can see the wild ginger (Asarum canadense) blooming.

Flowers are usually just below the leaf litter at the base of the stems.

Wild ginger, <i>Asarum canadense</i>
Wild ginger, Asarum canadense

Mayapple

The mayapples are blooming too.

Mayapple, <i>Podophyllum peltatum</i>
Mayapple, Podophyllum peltatum

Doll’s Eye

This plant is also called White Baneberry, and it is by that name that I’ve used it in a 100-word flash fiction story. The berries and roots are very toxic, but it is one of the best habitat indicators for ginseng.

Doll’s Eye looks very much like black cohosh until it blooms, but I think I’ve finally figured out a way to differentiate at least the mature plants before flowering.

 

Doll's Eyes, <i>Actaea pachypoda</i>
Doll’s Eyes, Actaea pachypoda

Goldenseal

This medicinal herb is one of the most recognizable of the ginseng companion plants. It blooms in April, too.

Goldenseal, <i>Hydrastis canadensis</i>
Goldenseal, Hydrastis canadensis

Jack in the Pulpit

These are interesting plants. Although they resemble pitcher plants, the two are not related. Whereas the pitcher plant is carnivorous, the jack in the pulpit is not.

Jack in the Pulpit, <Arisaema triphyllum</i>
Jack in the Pulpit,

No Flowers Yet on the Ginseng

The ginseng seedlings are just barely coming up now. Some are a few days old, some are almost a week, and some were still in the process of unfurling.

American ginseng seedlings.
American ginseng seedlings.

Flower buds on older plants are held tight and closed still and the flower stalk is barely there at the center of the prong junction.

Many blooming flowers in the ginseng habitat, but ginseng isn't one of them, yet.
Many blooming flowers in the ginseng habitat, but ginseng isn’t one of them, yet.

 

Bringing Hay to Horses in Snow

After yesterday’s post where I reveled in the fact that we’d actually had a decent snowfall, we went out in the cold to bring hay to horses. The temperature was about 15*F with a windchill factor of I don’t know what, but I’m sure ridiculously cold.

Bringing Hay to Horses in Snow
Heading toward the hay stash.

Rob takes the tractor and I go ahead of him on the 4-wheeler to open the gate. Well. I’m behind him when I took this photo, but after snapping the pic of him going down the driveway, I turned around. The gate I need to open is the other direction, through the creek and over the hill at the top of the horses’ pasture.

It was COLD.

Comanche watching our approach with the hay.
Comanche watching and waiting for the tractor to arrive.

My fingers and toes were frozen. I periodically put my hands (gloves on) inside my jacket and under my arm. This warmed them up alright, but brought with it the pain and stinging of defrosting fingers.

The horses were thrilled to see the hay arrive.

Comanche in the back, Shasta in front. Kicking up heels in delight. And because Bobbie Sue was harassing them.
Comanche in the back, Shasta in front. Kicking up heels in delight. And because Bobbie Sue was harassing them.

Getting back up the hill to the house was an adventure all by itself. The tractor going down it as we left out on our mission had crushed the snow and made ice. Then it made more when it went back up. I swerved, spun tires and slid sideways and had a grand time making the 4wheeler get back home.

It felt deliciously good to go back inside the house and take off the coveralls, the gloves, and snow boots in front of the crackling wood stove.


 

Perseverance

If there’s one thing to know about me, it’s that I’m stubborn and don’t give up easily. And I draw a lot of inspiration from nature.

This snail is steadfastly going over obstacles that could proportionately be called boulders. I watched it for a little while as it went over, under, or around whatever stood in the path blocking him from his destination.

Perseverance Inspirational Poster
This will be available as a poster at the Wild Ozark Nature Boutique soon 🙂


per·se·ver·ance

  • noun: perseverance
  • steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
    “his perseverance with the technique illustrates his single-mindedness”
  • synonyms: persistence, tenacity, determination, staying power, indefatigability, steadfastness, purposefulness; patience, endurance, application, diligence, dedication, commitment, doggedness, assiduity, tirelessness, stamina; intransigence, obstinacy; informalstick-to-it-iveness; formalpertinacity
  • “in a competitive environment, perseverance is an invaluable asset”

Definition from Google search


I created this Perseverance poster for myself. It seems as if everything I’m doing is moving along at a snail’s pace. It’s hard to stay optimistic that I will ever realize my goals.

I’m not sure snails have “destinations” in mind when they’re crawling around, but even in a moment-to-moment life there is at least the objective to get to the other side of whatever is in the way.

So that’s the inspiration intended for this image.

Perseverance

I’m going to keep plugging away at the projects on my desk. Sooner or later, I’ll get there … wherever “there” happens to be. Right now, the goal is to finish the final edits on my first book of the Bounty Hunter series. But there’s also:

  • garlic to plant and garden to prep
  • a pile of things to file
  • ledgers to catch up on before tax season
  • websites to update
  • blog posts to make
  • SEO to review for those sites
  • the next book to begin
  • products to create
  • photography to edit

If the image speaks to you, too, I’ll have posters available soon at the boutique, lol.


***

Comanche’s Eye

My horse's eye

There is just something special about the eyes of a horse. I can’t tell you what it is because I don’t know the words to explain it.


I haven’t had a lot of time for blogging lately, so I think I’m just going to post a photo with a line or two, or nothing at all. Just something pretty or evocative.