Tag Archives: A Journey of Seasons

Indian Bent Trees: History or Legend

Indian Bent Tree.  Copyright Jill Henderson

By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

In the woods near my home is an unusual tree.  At some point in its long life the tree was bent into a distinctive L-shape.  The trunk is almost perfectly horizontal and nearly touches the ground, running almost five feet before making an abrupt 90 degree turn towards the heavens.  It’s a perfect place for two people to sit back and observe the forest hillside and all its goings on.  But it is much more than a handy bench – it is an ancient form of communication and a little-understood piece of Native American cultural history

Continue reading

Hunting with Respect

A good hunter knows and respects property boundaries.by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

The first sounds of rifle shots ringing across the hills and hollows marks the end mushroom hunting season and puts a temporary damper on my beloved woodland walks.  For the next few weeks, Dean and I will stick a little closer to the house than we are accustomed to.  When we do dare to venture beyond our protective ridge, we’ll be sure to wear plenty of brightly colored clothing to avoid being accidentally shot at – something Dean and I are all too familiar with.

Granddaddy Trees and Old Cisterns– Part II

Old cisternby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Water is the elixir of life and no rural homestead at the turn of the century could have existed without a ready source.  Not only was water important for daily chores like cooking, cleaning, and bathing, but absolutely necessary for keeping livestock and raising crops.  A hundred years ago, finding land with a running stream or live spring was just as difficult and expensive as it is today, and not everyone could find or afford them. Those who found themselves without a ready source of water had to dig a well, build a cistern, or move on.

Continue reading

Granddaddy Trees and Old Cisterns – Part I

2007-4 (2) Grandaddy treeby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

This morning, I woke to find the world sparkling in a fresh coat of dew.  I quickly filled my mug with coffee, grabbed a bucket, and headed down the driveway to check on the persimmons. The tall, dry grass was burnished yellow-gold in the morning light and fragile wisps of glowing spider’s silk drifted on a breath of air.  I cut through the meadow, following the long, narrow deer trail that leads past the ancient oak tree whose massive branches nearly swallow the morning sky.  My jeans were quickly drenched to the knee.

Continue reading

Nature Notes: Sinkholes and Springs in the Ozarks

Boze Mill Springby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz -

Karst is crucial to the biodiversity of the Ozark region. At some point in its travel from heaven to sea, nearly three-quarters of the water in our rivers, streams, springs, aquifers, and wells have been filtered through this fractured limestone.  This massive system of water movement and erosion is what makes karst one of the most bountiful and fragile geologic formations in the world.  And while it’s beau  Some of the water that falls or runs across our hills will become forever locked below the surface in aquifers, but a larger portion of it reemerges somewhere on the surface, usually in the form of a spring or a seep, or a wet weather stream.

Continue reading

Wild Walk: Goldenrod

goldenrodby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Although the meadow below my house is still lush and green, I can see fall working its way into our lives.  I see it in the falling golden leaves of the black walnut trees and in the burning-red leaves of sassafras and sumac. And even though the meadow is most definitely green, it is also suddenly dotted with the purple and gold blossoms of asters and early goldenrod – plants we sometimes love to hate.

Continue reading

The “Right to Farm” in the Ozarks

Animals on our small family farm.By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

No matter how one chooses to look at it, farming can have an impact on the quality of our water.  Like a network of blood vessels, capillaries, and arteries found in the human body, the Ozarks are riddled with craggy veins that carry surface water deep down into the earth through the highly-fractured slabs of limestone beneath our feet – and sometimes, back out again.  Everything that touches the ground on the surface – including soil, rocks, debris, chemicals, manure, fertilizers and even acid rain – will eventually find its way into our creeks, rivers and springs, and ultimately our aquifers and our water wells.

Continue reading

Itching for Summer

By Orrling and Tomer S (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commonsby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Summer is a fabulous time to explore and hunt for wild edibles or to hike along a cool river, but people around these parts generally avoid venturing into overgrown and untamed places during the summer months because of the ticks and chiggers. How does one even begin to tell outsiders and visitors to our fair hills about the myriad of insects that inhabit our beloved Oz? I suppose if you’ve got a vicious sense of humor, you could just let them wade into the chest-deep grass and work it out later, because they’re not going to believe you anyway. Continue reading