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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Predator 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, not published yet, 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.
Wild Ozark is 160 acres of beautiful wild Ozark mountains. I call what I do "nature farming" because the land produces, all by itself, the shagbark hickory trees, ferns, moss, ground-fall botanicals, and the perfect habitats for growing and stewarding American ginseng. I'm co-creating with Nature - all of the things I use to make the Fairy Gardens and Forest Folk, the bark we harvest for Burnt Kettle's shagbark hickory syrup, are produced by nature without my input. This land is my muse for inspiration when it comes to my writing, drawing, and photography. It's truly a Nature Farm.
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. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.