Organizing, Day 2. One of the More Odd Boxes in My Nature Art Studio

I’ve been organizing my studio and categorizing my nature art supplies so they’re easier to find when I need them.

I've been organizing my studio and categorizing my nature art supplies so they're easier to find when I need them.
Some of the categories are boxed and on the shelf. Lots more to go, though.

It’s a normal habit of mine to collect things during my morning walks. Lichens, mosses, interesting rocks, chunks of sandstone or clay, bark and leaves are all on the ‘watch for’ list.

There’s another category of things I like to collect, too.

A box for everything. Organizing my nature art studio.

Bones and Dead Things need Organizing too.

Bet you’d like a peek inside this box.

Here you go.

Organizing my nature art studio.

Yes that is a dead hummingbird.

No. I did not kill it.

The hummingbird just appeared, all dead and spread out like that, on the porch one winter. So being the collector of things of nature that I am, I gathered it up with glee.

Quite possibly the tiniest feather I've ever collected.
This is quite possibly the tiniest feather I’ve ever collected. It’s from the throat of a male Ruby-Throated hummingbird.

 

The scapula bones are most likely from a deer.

The other bones are a skull and jaw of some little critter, probably a squirrel or rabbit, that died under the pines near the pond.

And of course there’s the turtle (tortoise) shell. I think most people would collect that if they’d found it. That’s one my husband found and brought in because he knew it would be a perfect gift for someone like me.

What to Do with Them?

One day I might make something crafty with these items. Or I might just leave them as they are in this box. Now that it has a label and the grandkids are learning to read, I’ll bet it draws a curious eye soon.

Where Can You Find My Nature Art?

Right now, the only place to see any of it in person is at the Kingston Square Arts shop in Kingston, AR. That’s in northwest Arkansas, but I find a lot of folks who live in the Fayetteville metro area have never heard of it. It’s a great destination for a drive out to the country. Just put it into your GPS and go take a look at our tiny little town of population 500.

Otherwise you can see them at the War Eagle Festival in October. If I get into any other shows, I’ll definitely update my online schedule calendar.

Now that I’m on a roll with the organizing, I hope to be finished before I leave for vacation next month. When I get back at the end of July, I’ll be adding more works to my catalog here in the online shop and to Etsy, and I’ll post photos to FB. Follow my Forest Folk & Fairy Stuff page if you want to see them as I get them done.

A bucket full of nature farming produce.

What Does a Nature Farm Produce?

Today I took a little hike after feeding the horses. I was on a mission to collect moss and lichen-covered branches. These are just some of the things the Wild Ozark Nature Farm produces.

And that’s how a nature farm works. I didn’t plant seeds, or till, or do anything at all to grow these products, I just have to collect them.

Resource Management

Maybe nature does all the work of growing the produce, but, I do have to be aware of how much stress my harvest places on the the resources being gathered. I do sometimes propagate some things, like the ferns, to make sure more of them grow to replace the ones I took.

I also propagate the woodland medicinals, like the ginseng, goldenseal, bloodroot, and cohosh. With ginseng I use seeds, but for the others I use root division or seeds.

A bucket full of nature farm produce.
A bucket full of nature farm produce.

I make sure I don’t gather too many of the ferns from an area, even where they are plentiful. When there is a large fern, I’ll only take part of it and leave behind half of the root mass to continue growing.

If it is an unusual fern, or one that won’t do well transplanted, I leave it alone. Likewise, I am careful with the gathering of moss and lichens. Moss, in particular, takes a good bit of time to regrow in some areas. For this reason, I’ll gather from a different area each year. This gives the moss time to repopulate before I go to that area again in a year or two.

We follow the same practice of rotation with the bark from the shagbark hickory trees. The bark is what we use for Burnt Kettle’s Shagbark Hickory Syrup.

With some things, like gumballs and acorns, there is very little chance at all of over harvesting. The same goes for the groundfall items I collect, like the lichen or moss-covered bark pieces that have dropped to the ground.

Nature Farm Produce

Today’s harvest included:

  • moss
  • lichens
  • rocks
  • ferns

Value Added Products

So after I collect the botanicals, I can either sell them like they are, or make something else with them. Just like a traditional farmer does with, for example, strawberries. Some people want to buy the strawberries fresh and some might like some jam.

With the moss, some like to buy it fresh and ready to use in their own DIY projects, and some might like a Wild Ozark Fairy Garden.

A bag of moss.
A bag of moss.

How to Store Fresh Botanicals Like Moss

For the moss in that bag in the photo above, I’ll put it in the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator. When packaged like this in a cellophane bag, the moss stays green and alive for weeks. If it will be longer than that before I use or sell it, I’ll take it out to get some light every once in a while.

I use the botanicals for various things.

  • The moss, to store ginseng rootlets and seeds

Packing the rootlets or the seeds on a bed of fresh, living green moss keeps them fresh far longer than without.

  • Moss and ferns, in Bowl Terrarium/Fairy Gardens

Bowl Terrarium

  • Moss and ferns, in glass globe fairy gardens
Our Fairy Gardens are available in round or teardrop globes.
Our Fairy Gardens are available in round or teardrop globes.
  • Everything, dried or preserved for use on the Forest Folk

Sorceress, a product from the Wild Ozark Nature Farm

  • Dried for use on the Fairy Houses
A wee little fairy house made from Wild Ozark nature farm botanicals.
A wee little fairy house made from Wild Ozark nature farm botanicals.
  • To sell as is to other crafters

Natural Habitats

The Wild Ozark Nature Farm provides lots of perfect habitat for growing plants like American ginseng. This endangered medicinal herb has a very narrow set of requirements to grow and I take full advantage of all the spots here that support it.

I sell the seedlings and sometimes the older plants at the farmer’s markets and also ship them out by mail.

4-Prong Ginseng with Red Berries

Other Nature Farm Products

Aside from the physical items directly related to growing or harvesting, the Wild Ozark Nature Farm also provides inspiration. I’m an author and artist and my work depends on this close contact with nature. Even my fiction draws on my relationship with nature.

Here’s my latest work of nature art, drawn from a photo I took of a green dragon plant here at Wild Ozark.

Green Dragon Drawing
Green Dragon Drawing. Prints available.

Thanks for Visiting

I hope you enjoyed this little tour through the nature farm. Every square inch of this 160 acres opens up worlds of possibilities and I can’t think of any other life I’d rather have!

Some botanicals from the last gathering foray.

Acorn People are a Great a Way to Justify Collecting Things

I’ve been creating Acorn People as a way to justify my obsessive habit of collecting things I find while roaming around outside.

Now I can pick up fossils, moss, lichens, leaves, twigs, and acorns and never feel a moment of uncertainty about my sanity.

I’ve been calling them Acorn Folk.

And they’re gorgeous little beings!

The Acorn Folk are part of the Forest Folk society. Fairies, pixies, gnomes, and all of the other woodland creatures that prefer to live in the shady forests belong to the same group.

Here’s the latest addition of the acorn people. She’s the Acorn Folk Sorceress, partner to the Wizard. I made the Wizard yesterday. If the pics don’t open full-size, click on them to see it larger.

As I make a new Forest Folk characters, I’ll add them to the Wild Ozark online shop, but I’m behind in my listings. I also add them to my Etsy shop. Please drop in over there and follow the Wild Ozark shop. Some of them are also at Tina’s Place on the Square in Kingston, AR.

As soon as I get caught up, I’ll start posting how I make these things so you can try it too. Or you can start out just looking at these and modeling your own to be like them.

In the meantime, here are some pics of the others.