Treasure Found on a Misty Autumn Morning Walk

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

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

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

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

The Order of Things

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

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

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

Beautiful Autumn colors at the horse gate this morning.

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

Heading out to Walk

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

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

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

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

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

Rocks and Dead Flowers and Native Clay

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

I love the leftover flowers that leave behind interesting shapes.

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

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

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

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

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

Found the Treasure I Was Seeking

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

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

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

I hope you enjoyed today’s treasure hunt!

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

About Wild Ozark
Wild Ozark is a nature farm. Mostly we grow rocks. I use those rocks and some of the herbs to make earth pigments and watercolor paints. We also grow native clay that I use for paint and various other things. And then there are the trees. We grow lots of trees. My husband uses some for his woodworking and some for our Burnt Kettle Shagbark Hickory Syrup, but for the most part they stand around creating good air, shade, & habitat for the ginseng nursery.

Follow me on Instagram to keep up with paints, art, and random nature pictures I make in real time.

My art and paints are available on Etsy! But if you're interested in owning a Madison Woods original, follow me on Instagram or FB because sometimes they go out the door as soon as I make the final post to say they're done.

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About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods
I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. You can find my art on display and for sale at the Kingston Square Arts shop in Kingston, Arkansas. It's a tiny little town and a bit off the path to anywhere at all, but a wonderful ride out to a most beautiful part of our state. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making arts & crafty things, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.

Published by Madison Woods

Madison Woods is a Nature Artist & Fantasy Author living in the wild Ozark hills of northwest Arkansas. She uses native rocks, clay, and botanicals to create works of art to capture the magic of nature. Her writing reflects her love of adventure in the rural outback.

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  1. If I bring the camera, I never get up to speed. So I just leave at home most of the time. All too often I’m enjoying the outdoors from inside too. Glad to see you!

  2. Your hunt was a treasure for me, too, catching a glimpse of the beauty of autumn and a peek into your life. I took a walk in the park this morning, a mixture of all-out fast walking and stopping to take some photos. The sun is finally out today, so I’m enjoying that even while indoors.

    Have a wonderful weekend, Madison.


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