I wear two hats with different names: Madison Woods when I’m wearing the artist hat, Roxann Riedel in real life and real estate. I'm a rock-smashing paint-making artist & a sales agent for Montgomery Whiteley Realty. Hailing from the wild Ozarks in Kingston, Arkansas where my husband and I work toward a sustainable lifestyle.

You can text or call to reach me by either name (see above):
(479)409-3429, or email madison@wildozark.com

Things Collected During My Morning Mile

I have a housefull of things collected. Some I actually do get around to using, some stay on a shelf gathering dust. A few of the most prized collected things are just there for me to look at and enjoy, like the hornet’s nest and abandoned bird nest hanging in my office.

Most mornings after feeding the critters I take a walk for exercise. Sometimes I slow-jog or fast-walk. I’m still working on building back up to that part of it, and I’m still working on getting back up to a mile.

This morning was the first time since I was sick that I made the whole mile!

Well, with me, a walk is never just a walk. I’m looking around even when fast-walking. Usually I try to remember things of interest and come back to it later with the camera. Since I started doing the walks for exercise more than for exploration, I quit bringing the camera with me.

If I’m not noticing things to collect or plants to identify, I’m thinking of my writing projects and working through issues with stories.

This morning, though, I saw a few things I just had to break my stride for.

Here’s a picture of my things collected from this morning.

Things collected during my morning mile.
My morning mile collection.

The first thing that stopped me was a plant. Plants are frequently subject to making the list of my things collected.

This is one I transplanted into a pot last spring and can’t remember what it is. Right now it’s dormant, so all it is is a cluster of roots and a bud for next spring. So it’s hard to identify since it’s not one I already know.

The thing is, everytime I check on this plant, something has uprooted and tossed it out of the pot. The same thing happened last night.

So I repotted it again and carried it with me. It’ll wait at the house until spring and I can see what it is then.

Then I saw the red and yellow sweet gum leaf. The picture doesn’t do it justice. It is perfectly colored, no holes or tears, and very bright.

Yes, I know there are hundreds if not thousands of beautiful leaves on the ground right now. As you can see, I picked up a few more that struck my fancy, too.

I just learned how to use glycerin to preserve leaves and it leaves them pliable and their color stays vibrant. A solution to preserve plants like this is 1/3 cup glycerin and 2/3 cups of water.  I reuse the same bath for a long time. Just keep it covered.

So now when I see a leaf I want to keep for future use, most likely on pixies or other crafty things, I take it home and pop it into the glycerin-water bath I keep waiting on the shelf in the kitchen. Then I put rocks on top of the leaves to keep them completely submerged for a few days. Take them out and rinse them off after 4 or so days, then let them air dry.

After the leaves, which are quickly becoming obsessively collected things, and before I was halfway back to the house, I spied the little dead praying mantis. I’ve always been fascinated with these creatures but never have the opportunity to look very closely at them. So it became one of my gathered things too. How lucky! It wasn’t even stiff, so I could open the wings and look at the grabbing legs, even.

Among my things collected in the past, there is also a dead hummingbird. how often do you get to see a hummingbird up close in real life? Only when it’s a dead one, that’s when.

Then there were some perfect little acorn caps. Again, I know there are plenty of these lying around, but many of them are cracked or doubled, and I use the singles for pixie baskets. So I picked them up when I spotted them.

So there’s a summary of my oddities; my collected things for the day.

What kinds of things do you stop to pick up during your hikes or walks? I always swoop in for bones and arrowheads and fossils, too. Just didn’t see any this morning.

Hey, it adds to the exercise routine when I have to carry extra weight up the long hill back to the house!



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