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Wild Ozark: Who We are and What We Do. Welcome!

Wild Ozark is 160 acres of rural Ozark Mountains in northwest Arkansas. Technically, it is a nature farm. Crops include: rocks, ginseng, habitat companions for ginseng, trees, and an abundance of opportunity to experience nature. It is also our Sanctuary, the place where my husband and I draw inspiration and motivation, and become renewed with each turn of the wheel. It is the name of the business that shelters it all, in the same way the old oak tree out front shelters so much within her sphere of influence.

Our logo was inspired by this grandmother oak tree who lives here at Wild Ozark.

All that Wild Ozark Encompasses

Beneath Wild Ozark canopy there exists iterations that needed to be segregated for tax and reporting purposes. ‘Wild Ozark’ proper is a ginseng nursery, the only licensed ginseng nursery in Arkansas. ‘Madison Woods’ covers everything creative that I do, which includes art and art supplies, writing, website design (not an advertised venture at this point, but I do take clients if the fit is good for me), drone real estate videos. These things are all taxed and reported differently than a nursery plants business. Apart from the Wild Ozark group, there is ‘Burnt Kettle‘. This started out as a shagbark hickory syrup business, but now is Rob’s woodworking business. Right now it’s still under construction. He’s getting the infrastructure done by installing a state of the art solar array that will power his shop and all the tools, with energy left over to power the house as well.

Peculiar Crops for a ‘Farm’

Rocks?

Most definitely. Rocks are the mainstay here, lol. I use them for making handmade paints. The rocks (and clay, and other natural sources here) are the source for pigments I use in my paintings. I sell the paints themselves and also the paintings. These are sometimes on exhibit in shows, but I don’t have a brick-and-mortar gallery at this point. It is a dream of the future to have one of the old buildings in Kingston for an art gallery. But if you’d like to see anything listed in my online shop or that you’ve seen at the website, let me know and I’ll be happy to bring it out anywhere in northwest Arkansas.

Nature Opportunities

Nature is a savage muse, but I love her. She is far more predictable than unpredictable man. There is no malice in her violent actions, simply cause and effect, or science. The laws of physics apply to most instances. But there is also beauty, unbelievable beauty, and a circle of life that goes on almost miraculously. It is one of the most bittersweet things to reckon – that life goes on as if my own difficulties or experiences don’t matter at all. But this is a GOOD thing. It ensures the survival of the earth and this biosphere can’t pause to acknowledge the pains of individuals. It is this dependability, the constant knowing that change will happen and life will go on regardless, that I respect about Nature. She is the foundation behind everything that is me and the perpetual well for my creativity.

Trees

My husband creates fine woodworks, so there’s a need for lumber and we have plenty of trees. We don’t go cutting them whilly-nilly, though. To maintain a healthy forest sometimes we need to selectively remove trees for the good of the others.

I am also looking into using the gums from wild cherry, wild plum, and sweet gum for my paints. Then they will truly be a completely “made in Arkansas” product. At the moment I’m using the traditional binder, gum Arabic, which is an imported product.

Ginseng

While the ginseng is no longer the main focus of Wild Ozark, we’re still the only nursery in Arkansas for ginseng. We grow it wild-simulated in the forests in its natural habitat. I sell the potted seedlings from the farm here in spring, and bare-root seedlings ship out in fall once the temperatures drop.

Putting the wild in Wild Ozark

It takes us thirty minutes to reach pavement from where we live in the wild Ozark Mountains of northwest Arkansas, where we work at scratching out a sustainable living off the hamster wheel of debt. Together we plan and act on ideas to make products, grow ginseng, and work on projects to help others enjoy and reconnect with Nature.

Current Projects

Our past projects include:

  • Wild Ozark installed an American Ginseng Habitat at the Peel-Compton Gardens in Bentonville. We were awarded a grant from United Plant Savers to cover a portion of the expenses for this. This installation provides a teaching/learning resource for ginseng enthusiasts. The garden has an excellent conference room for classes. We’re looking forward to doing this work. There are other places this sort of installation would do well and we hope to get ginseng habitats growing in all of the public gardens where the lay of the land and tree cover invites such plants.
  • We’re finished building Rob’s woodworking shop. Now working on his solar installation.
  • Wrote the first and second novel of my rural fantasy series called Agents of ARSA. It’s a post-collapse fantasy set in the Ozarks. Treya applies for a position with ARSA (Apprehension, Retribution, and Silencing Agency) of northwest Arkansas, a government agency that specializes in a certain type of silencing. The targets must be killed three times (to grub stage) because they reincarnate to lower forms with each life.
  • Fairy Garden Terrariums – currently sold out and not in production any longer
  • As soon as I find out about a show or appearance, I’ll post to the blog and file it under ‘Exhibits‘.
  • various speaking engagements and workshops, now mostly focused on understanding and making paints from local pigments.

Upcoming

  • I’m interested in presenting about my experiences with our Ozark pigments, and making handmade watercolors. If you’d like to discuss this, email me at madison@wildozark.com.

Our Goal: to bridge the gap between people and the natural world through our art. To remind people that we are part of a larger whole. And to celebrate that all we see is not always all there is. We do this through art, stories, photography, books and crafts inspired by the Ozarks. With our nursery we offer plants to help re-establish natural American ginseng habitats.

photo of Wild Ozark team
Richard Kestrel and Madison Woods
“The Wild Ozark team”

The Duo Behind the Brand

Madison Woods

I’m the voice behind our social media and website. Read more here.


Richard Kestrel (Rob)

My life’s motto is a line from a Rush song: “It’s all about choices. If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

About Rob

I’m driven to get our household sustainable and off-grid so we can thrive in any circumstance. My 22 years of USAF service gives me a varied skillset for this purpose. I’m interested in solar power and look forward to a time when I can work on our solar array. I’m a woodworker and enjoy making decorative boxes with gemstone inlay (great for jewelry, tarot cards, etc.).

I have a lot of ideas for furniture, as well. I also love bonsai and plan to make bonsai planters. My role with Wild Ozark at this point is homestead infrastructure engineer. We have a lot of critical things that need to be taken care of with the homestead (like leveling the house) before I can focus on my own creative ideas for our online shop.

In the meantime I do some editing for Madison’s writing projects and come up with ideas, which we are writing down to draw upon later. All of the projects around here give Madison some photo ops and blog post topics, though. As soon as we get caught up with the house foundation and leveling I’ll be able to begin building my workshop. Then I’ll get to bring of my creative ideas to fruition.


 

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