Yesterday evening I heard the first whippoorwill of the 2017 season. Rob said he’d heard the first one the night before. And today I “mowed” grass for the first time. But that’s not what you think.
Whippoorwill Says “Time to Plant Corn”
An old-timer around here once told me it’s time to plant corn once the whippoorwill starts singing.
Before there was the internet, there were books that we turned to for references on how or when to do things.
And before the time of easy to obtain books, there was knowledge handed down orally and hands-on taught by parents to children, or grandparents to grandchildren.
Even before that the Native Americans carried on with seasonal agricultural traditions. They watched the moon phases and listened to nature’s clues, like the call of the season’s first whippoorwill.
I like to think perhaps the original Americans taught a little of what they knew to the settlers, but it’s not true for the most part.
Once the missionaries set to the task of “converting the heathens”, troves of Native American agricultural knowledge were lost. Quashed and supplanted with “acceptable” European guidelines for living and making a living, the old knowledge was tossed aside or hidden and eventually forgotten.
Maybe there are a few little residual secrets left. Maybe the concept of knowing it’s time to plant corn when the whippoorwill sings stems from some of that lost knowledge of this country’s original inhabitants.
Season’s First Mow
I mowed grass today for the first time this year. It was part of the beautification project down by the gate and the future/in-progress Wild Ozark Boutique.
Almost certainly that description of my activity has not brought to your mind what actually happens when I mow grass.
It would be more technically correct to say I weedeated.
But even that won’t conjure the right image.
It’s most correct to say I “mowed” the lawn with the weedeater.
That might create the proper vision.
Nature Boutique Beautification Project
It will be a while before it looks like a “nursery”. I have a vision in mind, but it’s not even close to be there yet. Right now all of the potted plants are in the woods because the only ones potted are the woodland plants.
Across the creek is the Wild Ozark Ginseng Habitat Demonstration Garden. It’s ready for visitors (by appointment for now) beginning May 1!
Email [email protected] if you’d like to come out. The signage for all the plants isn’t up yet, but if I wait until everything is done, it’ll never open.
There will be plants available to buy, but it’s free to visit the garden and get your eyeballs on real ginseng plants growing in a natural environment.
On May 6, I’m having a “Pot 10 and Get One Free” day. So if you want to come out and learn how to identify ginseng seedlings and transplant some in exchange for a free one, email me about that too.
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.