Category Archives: The Ozarks

Parasites and Your Health Part II

Black Walnut Hull Tincture Copyright Jill Henderson Show Me OzIt’s surprising how many people completely reject the idea that they might have intestinal parasites when the truth of the matter is that hundreds of millions of people in America alone have some form of parasite living inside their bodies. In last week’s post, I talked about what parasites are and how they can affect human health. I also posted a very short list of ingredients and a super easy recipe for black walnut hull tincture, which together, make up one of the most effective, simple, natural, and inexpensive parasite cleanses you can do at home. And this week, I’m giving you the entire protocol schedule so you can make the most of this wonderful parasite cleanse. Continue reading

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Wild Edible and Medicinal Spring Flowers

Redbud blossoms Jill HendersonJill Henderson – Show Me Oz

With the end of the Great Sleep, spring has asserted herself firmly in the Heart of the Ozarks.  The rising intensity of the sun entices all living things to join in the brief but joyous celebration of new beginnings. Big or small, spring provides the perfect opportunity to search for new and interesting native plants. Continue reading

Brewing Up Opportunities

Wages

Jill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz
as seen in Acres USA July 2017 issue

It’s early Monday morning and head brewer Amy Fischer is standing on a step ladder in the back room of Wages Brewing Company carefully stirring a steaming vat of barley and wheat mash that will soon be fermented into a tasty batch of Whatknot Ale. After years of practicing and perfecting the craft of small-batch brewing at home, owner and brewer Phil Wages and his wife, Amber, officially opened their brewery and taproom in the small rural community of West Plains, Missouri, in early 2017. With an official population of just below 12,000 people, the last business most residents expected to pop up in town was a brewery, but for Phil Wages, it was the perfect opportunity. PDF

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Natural Beekeeping with Dr. Leo Sharashkin

Leo Sharashkin with honey comb.Jill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz
Acres USA May 2017 issue

If you have ever dreamed of keeping bees but found the process complicated, expensive, or the potential for losing your investment to disease and pests all too real, then you have never met Dr. Leo Sharashkin, a prominent wild bee enthusiast, educator, and apiarist who practices an ancient method of catching and keeping wild bees in specially-designed horizontal hives. If you have had the good fortune to meet Dr. Leo or to hear him speak to a room full of enthusiastic beekeepers or the crowd that inevitably gathers around his Horizontal Hive booth at grower’s conferences across the country, you already know that his encyclopedic knowledge of bees is boundless and the methods he uses to keep them, truly inspiring. Whether you are a budding beekeeper or an experience apiarist, you can keep happy and productive bees with less work and money than you ever imagined possible and do it in a sustainable, eco-friendly way.  Read more…safe PDF opens automatically

Meat of the Matter – Peace Valley Poultry Relies on Community, Innovation

meat-of-the-matter-peace-valley-poultryBy Jill Henderson
Acres USA Magazine March 2017

In the heart of the Missouri Ozarks the little village of Peace Valley wakes to another beautiful sunrise, revealing the rolling hills and hardwood forests that Jim and JudyJo Protiva call home. It is here in this small, but tightly-knit community that a former Grand Canyon guide and a Rocky Mountain Ranger decided to settle down to raise a family and grow food in a way that honored God’s creation to the fullest. Over the next 21 years, the Protivas turned their passion for clean, healthy food into Peace Valley Poultry; perhaps the oldest pastured poultry operation in the state. Read the entire article in PDF

Bald Eagles on the Rise

bald-eagleJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz ~

Winter is one of the best times to see bald eagles in Missouri.  A few years back, on a winter day much like this one,  Dean and I spotted a pair of adult bald eagles circling lazily above our house on the warm rising thermals of a mid-winter day.  Their white head and tail feathers shone brightly against the clear blue sky.  Since we don’t often get to see them for long, we watched the pair with much excitement and within minutes, a darker sub-adult joined them.  We were thrilled to get a rare glimpse of this eagle family, especially since we were so far from the large lakes and rivers where the eagles prefer to congregate this time of year.

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A Bygone Bee Gum

Bygone Bee Gum - Image copyright Jill Henderson showmeoz.wordpress (4)

Jill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz

I love history. Particularly when  I find it in a far-flung or unexpected place.  Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a tree with a huge hole in the side of it.  Of course, it’s not uncommon to find trees with natural cavities in them around these parts, but this particular breach was not made by nature or time, but by man – and for a very specific purpose.

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Green in December

Green in December Image copyright Jill Henderson showmeoz.wordpress (12)Jill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz ~

The weather in December is always a hit and miss affair here in Oz.  Some years it’s mild while others roar in like the Siberian Express that has blanketed our northerly neighbors in snow and ice.  And while that train has yet to roll into the Ozarks, we’ve had our fair share of temperatures in the teens already.  Yet, for all the cold we’ve experienced so far, there is still an amazing amount of green lingering in the yard and garden like this like this pretty Dwarf Stonecrop Angelina peeking out from behind a cedar log.   It’s enough to please the eye and tease our gardening souls into dreaming of spring.

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The Ozarks: No Place Like Home

Fall mosaic. Image copyright Jill Henderson showmeoz.wordpress.comJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz

Today is one of those magical days that come about from time to time in the waning hours of November. The big winter sun hangs low in a crisp blue sky, warming the ageless rocks at my feet. The golden light of midday has taken on an ephemeral tenderness that highlights the sculpted edges of thousands of umber, scarlet and saffron-colored oak leaves whose active lives have come to the ultimate conclusion upon the bosom of the earth. In some sudden and mysterious way, they are no longer leaves, but individual pieces of a naturally fantastic jigsaw puzzle just waiting to be pieced together.

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Shiny Beetles, Square Tomatoes and Crafty Coons

Garden late summerJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz

As we near the end of August I am so very thankful for a long and productive season in the garden.  February is when we begin to dream about this day – planting seeds, rooting cuttings, planning rows.  As always, a lot of work has gone into our small patch of organic Eden. Some days were happy, some were frustrating, others were just downright back-breaking.  But in the end, lessons are learned, food is abundant, feeling thankful is prevalent and many, many a dawn has been spent simply inhaling the beauty of a garden in full swing.  And so, as the gardening season here in Oz begins to wind down, I look back on the good, the bad, and the down right weird…

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Itching for Summer – Dealing with Chiggers!


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

When the Rain Crow Calls

Mature Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus-americanus) Image via By No machine-readable author provided. Factumquintus assumed (based on copyright claims). [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia CommonsJill HendersonShow Me Oz – It’s been another cool, wet spring here in Oz.  So much so, that I am beginning to wonder if our once-robust pepper starts will grow to full size before July.  Wet springs are not uncommon in our neck of the woods, but we can never be sure what kind of weather we’re in for.  The exception being our perennial summer droughts, which can range from average to severe.  Yet, in each and every one of the 15 droughty summer’s that we have gardened here, we have always been alerted to impending rainstorms by an uncommon but very welcome recluse that most folks around here call a rain crow.

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The Homeplace: Fragments from the Past

2016 1-27 Fragments - Cast iron garden furrow tool and well-worn horseshoes. (2)Jill HendersonShow Me Oz – On the ridge behind my house is a small meadow encircled by towering trees.  A short, but well-worn path leads to a small pond clinging to the steep slope.  The pond is circled by a grotto of ancient oak trees with branches so big around they dwarf the trunks of almost every other mature tree on these 42 acres.  As I sat and stared into the massive reaches of these ancients, I wondered why this handful of trees had been spared from the saws of men when so many on the property clearly had not.  Obviously, the pond had been here a very long time – perhaps even as long as the trees themselves. And judging from their size, they had been there for about 200-250 years.  It wasn’t long after that first encounter that answers to my question began to emerge from the land itself.

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Nature Notes: Exploring the Great Sleep

Winter Landscape Copyright Jill Henderson-Show Me OzBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

I like to refer to winter as The Great Sleep, because although life outside the window pane seems dull and lifeless, it is anything but. Yet to find that elusive bit of life, one must go in search of it. Even this self-avowed nature freak has to remind herself of this from time to time. So today, I took a stroll through the woods with my eyes – and my senses – wide open.

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Ozark History: The First Inhabitants

osageShow Me Oz – Excerpted from the Introduction to my book, A Journey of Seasons: A Year in the Ozarks High Country

The Ozark “Mountains” are an anomaly – an island in a sea of plains, a bump in an otherwise flat road. When viewed from the air the folds and contours of the Ozarks resemble a human brain; an interesting comparison, since the Ozarks also represent one of the most ancient and diverse landscapes in North America.  Among the unique and dizzying array of flora and fauna, caves, sinkholes, crystal clear springs and toe-numbing rivers is a rich and tangled history of human habitation.

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Moonshine in Missouri

IMG_4301By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Quite a few years back, on a beautiful fall day just like this one, a bit of unpleasant news filtered down through our village grapevine. Apparently, an elderly and well-known gentleman in our little community had been arrested for bootlegging moonshine.  That the man in question made and sold corn whiskey was no secret to many in the surrounding area, for he had been doing it for the better part of his life and made little secret of it. Some of the first official reports claimed that this gentleman and his immediate family made and sold up to 9,000 gallons of moonshine each year.  And while that may sound like a lot of ‘shine, it didn’t come as a surprise to me or to anyone else living within a 100 mile radius, because this fella had a reputation for making absolutely top-notch hooch and everyone who drank alcohol wanted a jar of their very own.

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Nature Notes: The Silent and Unseen

By Joshua Mayer (Flickr: Flying Squirrel on Roof) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commonsby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

This story happened many moons ago in a garden we used to tend.  It was a sultry late summer morning and Dean and I were meandering through the garden discussing future chores.  We were having a nice walkabout, chatting and discussing one thing or another, and I suddenly turned to him and said, “Do you feel like someone is watching us?”  His perplexed look answered my question and should have set me straight, but I just couldn’t shake the strange feeling I’d had all summer long.  Someone or something had been watching me.

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Lawnmowers and Strangers

lawnmower smBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

After a long summer of bashing against rocks, half buried stumps, and knee-deep grass the Ozarks finally killed our lawnmower.   We worked that machine pretty hard and despite regular maintenance, managed to break just about every part there was to break.

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Slow & Steady: Turtles in the Ozarks

IMG_8863by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

When we first moved to the Ozarks it was a three-toed box turtle that inspired us to call our place Turtle Ridge Farm.  The first morning after moving in, we opened the front door to find a big box turtle sitting on the porch, smack dab in front of the door. The concrete porch isn’t all that high, but high enough to be difficult if you’re only 5” tall.

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The New Nature

by Allison Vaughn – Guest Post

Recently, there has been a surge in literature throughout the conservation community highlighting the importance of native plant gardening for the sustainability of wildlife. The National Wildlife Federation writes that chickadees, for example, require 5,000 insects from native plants to successfully rear a clutch. I trust them, just as I do Doug Tallamy’s fantastic book that highlights the importance of converting landscapes from turf to native flora to benefit wildlife. These and a myriad of other articles have positively impacted many communities now embracing native plantings in urban areas; they have reinvigorated Wild Ones chapters, native plant enthusiasts, and wildlife advocates. Add to the resurgence in growing natives are the reports of impacts to non-target wildlife from the widespread broadcasting of glyphosate and other herbicides in an effort for a “weed-free” lawn, and so forth. The assault on wildlife and the natural world is pervasive with sprawling development, wanton abuse of chemicals, regular thumbing of the nose to regulatory agencies and procedures that were put into place in the 1970s during the heyday of the environmental movement.

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BORROW…GROW…SHARE! A New Seed Library in Springfield, MO

Seed LibraryI am so excited to share with you the new Heirloom Seed Library located at the Library Station and the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library in Springfield, MO.  These folks have worked really hard to build and organize a working seed library in our state and it’s a great example for any library, or group, that would like to start a seed library where they live!  The following bit comes directly from the Heirloom Seed Library webpage.  Also, check out the heirloom seed library flier PDF that talks about the library and all the fantastic classes and presentations that are scheduled for 2015.  This is such an exciting development for our community and an incredible learning opportunity for all.   Continue reading

Rock Pickin’ Snow!

Rocks and snow.By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Even though we just had a string of lovely, sunny days, overall, it’s been a pretty gloomy winter here in Oz.  Early cold and snow, persistently cloudy skies, and a generous dose of downright gloomy days are enough to chase just about everyone indoors.  The temporary respite we just had will be followed by a weekend of snow and rain and who knows what else.  Despite all that, there are good reasons to get outside; and get movin’. My reason of late has been good ol’-fashioned rock pickin’ – a hillbilly pastime if there ever was one.

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One Woman’s Journey Through Oz

2002 - 5 - Caney Mountain Herb walk - vistasby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

I am not an Ozarker by birth.  I was actually born in  the West, grew up in the Deep South, and spent 10 years or so roving about the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana and other points beyond.  I love them all.  But when the day came that I first laid my eyes upon the rocky and rolling hills and hollers of the Ozarks, something deep in my bones told me I was home.

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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

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Demonstration Garden Spotlight: White Dog Walipini

Share the Seed

2014 4-6 Walipini Tour (1)Share the Seed member gardeners, Sunni and Jason Fine, take the group on a tour of their walipini as it undergoes the final stages of construction.  The walipini, also known as a pit or earth-sheltered greenhouse, is essentially a 6′-8′  deep, rectangular hole in the ground that is covered with greenhouse plastic sheeting.  Sunni and Jason’s walipini is a whopping 32 x 42 ft!  The roof is angled steeply towards the south to take advantage of the winter sun.  The earthen walls help regulate the temperature inside of the walipini, both in summer and in winter – much like a geothermal heating and cooling system.  

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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.

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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.

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Tree Bombs and Praying Mantises

Falling acorns. Copyright Jill Hendersonby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

With the lovely fall weather moving in at last, we can once again spend most of our time outdoors without fainting from the heat or being attacked by voracious insects. While it would be nice to sit under the oak trees and relax in the slight breeze, the squirrels just won’t allow us to. Right this minute, there are thousands and thousands of ripening acorns in the oak trees and the squirrels, looking for early fall forage, have been sorting through them one by one.

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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.

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The Sound of Nature

Barred Owl in the RainBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

This morning I woke at 4:00 am.  The crescent moon was high in the eastern sky casting it’s milky light into the open spaces on the edge of the woods. In the deep shadowy crevices the cicadas and crickets wound down the night’s exuberance in a fading farewell hum.  I stood at the open window, basking in the slightly cool breeze coming down the mountain and relishing the silence when suddenly a series of piercingly eerie shrieks broke the spell.  The suddenness of it startled me, but my instinct was answer with my own crazy whoop and scream, which would surely have woken the house. Instead, I silently searched the branches of the tall, dark oak beside the house for the Cheshire Cat of raptors.

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Violets and the Great Spangled Fritillary

Fritillaries on Milkweedby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

I know I promised this article a couple of weeks ago, but between blackberry pickin’, the garden and seed saving classes, I just couldn’t get back to it.  But while we were up berry pickin’, we saw lots of butterflies – including the Great Spangled Fritillary.  Of course, I love all butterflies, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Fritillaries because of their softly muted-orange coloration and complex wing patterns in brown, black and silver.  I had been wanting to entice more fritillaries to the garden but wasn’t sure what to do, so you can imagine my excitement when I realized I had already done it!

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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.

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L is for Moon

Lunaria Seed Pods image by Christian Fischer [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Luna is the Spanish word for moon.  When spoken with its proper accent, the word rolls smoothly off the tip of the tongue.   It is a beautiful word that I don’t often have the opportunity to use, so each time I see a full, opulent moon I whisper to the night, “La luna es bonita.”  – “The moon is beautiful”.   So it shouldn’thave come as such a surprise that I would fall for a plant whose name is derived from the Latin word for Moon.  Continue reading

What Lies Beneath: Karst and the Ozarks

Copyright Jill Henderson 2002 By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Recently I was leafing through a bunch of old pictures that I had taken of our first Ozarks farm and the surrounding countryside.  I was admiring my favorite shots – those of deep rolling hills and meandering rivers and clear blue springs.  These are the things that speak so clearly to love of this place – the thing that keeps my feet from wandering too far away for too long.

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Flicking Feathers

2008-3 -  April sunrise (27)By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

If someone had told me when I was younger that I would actually enjoy being awake before dawn, I would have laughed.  But over the years I have developed the habit of waking up with the sun.   And since we turned the clocks forward in anticipation of the Spring Equinox on March 20th,  I’ve been up  just in time to witness the rising sun as it paints the eastern sky with watercolor shades of pink and yellow; everything looks so new and fresh in the muted light of dawn and life is just beginning to stir in the dark recesses of the woods.

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Radio-Active Radon: The Invisible Health Threat

MU Extension Southwest Region News Service

Radon is a colorless, odorless and radioactive gas caused by the natural breakdown of rocks and soils that contain uranium and radium. Radon is also the second leading cause of lung cancer, immediately behind smoking.  Cooler temperatures make winter a good time to test your home for harmful radon gas, according to Bob Schultheis, natural resource engineering specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

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2014 Annual Missouri Organic Association Conference to be Held in Springfield MO

The Missouri Organic Association will be hosting the 2014 Annual Conference from Feb 6-8, 2014 at the University Plaza Hotel in Springfield MO. This conference will provide the best education needed to impart successful farming procedures – whether your focus is on grain and row crop production, livestock production, horticultural production of vegetables, fruits & berries; on sustainable production and living techniques, or perhaps looking to add skills in tractor mechanics or Welding 101 to reduce maintenance costs. Maybe you need some tips on successful marketing with training provided by some of the nation’s experts on marketing; or perhaps you are looking for new ideas for adding value to hands-on workshops.

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Notes From Turtle Ridge: A Year in Review

2013 12-5 Winter Storm (19)I can hardly believe that in just a few more days, the old year will end and the new year will begin.  The time has flown by so fast, I can hardly believe it’s here already.  So to stick with the theme of celebrations, I thought I’d take a quick look back at a few highlights of the year 2013 here in Oz.  I hope you’ll join me.

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Winter Colors: The Spirit of Place

2002 - 10 - Noblett Lake - lovely colorBy Sara Firman (Sulis)

In the world of home interiors, natural tones, are often boring neutrals.  Yet the natural world is never boring or neutral.  Even in winter, colors abound.  Continue reading

Old Tractors and Sustainable Agriculture

By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

The lush forests, rolling pastures, and long vistas of the Ozarks are truly easy on the eyes, but their pastoral appearance also belies how tough these hills can be to survive in.  Although farming has been a traditional way of life in the Ozarks3 for generations, producing one’s food on this rocky bit of earth has never been easy.  Even with the modern comforts of today’s machinery, farming in the Ozarks can sometimes be best described as “hard-scrabble”.  And in the 15 years I’ve been here, I’ve seen more than one eager newcomer throw in the towel after only a few short years of backbreaking work that was resulted in little gain.

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Ancient Wetlands of the Ozarks

Cupola PondBy Jill HendersonShow Me Oz

One of the things I love about living the Ozarks is discovering places of exquisite natural beauty.  Over millions of years this entire region was submerged in the warm shallow seas of the Paleozoic era before being uplifted by tectonic and volcanic forces.  This cycle repeated itself many times over the course of thousands of years, carving out the hills and hollers we call the Ozark Mountains.  Over the course of time, many of the plants and animals that once lived here became little more than geologic memories etched into stone.  Yet, a few remnants of ancient wetlands still exist within the relatively dry and rocky Ozark highlands.  They are known as Tupelo Gum Pond and Cupola Pond.

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Striped Scorpion Surprise

Striped Scorpion - © 2013 Jill HendersonBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

This morning I found this little Striped Scorpion (Centruroides vittatus) in the gravel near our front porch.  Although they might look quite ferocious, these tiny, one and a half inch arachnids are shy and rarely seen.  This one wanted nothing to do with me and wanted nothing more than to hide as I attempted to take it’s photograph.  Even after nudging it into the open several times, it never once tried to sting me. 

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Rain: The Spark of Creation

Rainbow after the storm. © Jill HendersonBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Excerpted from my book, A Journey of Seasons:  A Year in the Ozarks High Country.  Available in print and eBook in the Show Me Oz bookstore.

It’s amazing what a little rain can do during a drought.  Before our last bout of rain, the grass was brown and so brittle that it crunched beneath our feet.  But after the rain, the grass and all the native plants in the meadow turned a vibrant green and the once silent meadow suddenly came alive with the songs of happy frogs, crickets and cicadas.  This seemingly incredible transformation is not as uncommon as it might seem. 

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2013 Fall Go Green Festival Set for October 12th-13th

go greenShow Me Oz

The Fall 2013 Go Green Self Reliance Festival will be held October 12th and 13th in Thayer City Park.  Hours are from 9 am to 6 pm both days.  Admission is free, vendors are free and all are encouraged to attend. Continue reading

Contaminated Compost Showing Up in Missouri

Compost contaminated with herbicide is showing up in Missouri.

“The culprit can be one of any three herbicides which have been approved for use on pastures and forage crops,” said David Trinklein, University of Missouri Extension horticulture specialist.

Newer versions of herbicides with active ingredients such as clopyralid, picloram and aminopyralid can pass through the digestive systems of foraging animals and arrive, unchanged, in the manure. If that manure is composted, farmers could unwittingly introduce these plant-killing compounds into their soil, Trinklein said.

Read the entire article at Missouri Beginning Farming

Floating an Ozark River

http://www.elevenpointriver.org/By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

This morning Dean and I were having our morning coffee and watching the news, when the weatherman casually mentioned that the temperature today will be dangerously hot with a heat index of around 105° F.  Dean looked across the table at me scratching myself bloody from all the new chigger bites I acquired this week and thoughtfully suggested we hit the river for a cool, bug free day of floating.  I was up and in my bathing suit before the last words came out of his mouth.

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The Birth of Summer

Vulpes_vulpes_pupsBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

June is the traditional, astrological, and physical birth of summer.  In June, you can witness the stately elderberry unfurling its huge white flower umbels to the blue sky, or wander through dense blackberry thickets filled with ripening fruit.  Somewhere in the deep, shady woods the wild turkey hen lays her clutch of eggs in a neatly cloaked bowl of leaves and sticks, female deer give birth to spindly spotted fawns and golden fox kits are born in shallow dens.  June is the month with the longest day and the most violent thunderstorms.  It is that unique combination of warmth, moisture and long sunlit days that stoke the fire of creation.  In June, life rushes to complete yet another circle in the endless journey of seasons.

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Moore Oklahoma, Our Hearts Are With You

2012 7-2 Sky Shots (4)Today is a day filled with dark clouds and tears for the horrible tragedy in Moore, Oklahoma.  I cannot post my regular column with a heart so filled with pain for those who lost their lives, their loved ones, and their homes.  This catastrophe brings back such dark memories of another deadly twister that rocked the lives of those in the nearby city of Joplin, Missouri, two years ago and of countless tragedies that have no rhyme nor reason.

Our prayers, our hearts, and our tears are with you today.   May you find a small ray of peace at the end of the storm.

Feathered Friends Brighten Spring

Tufted_titmouse_closeupBy Jill HendersonShow Me Oz –  (Excerpted from A Journey of Seasons)

The hands of time seem to spin faster during spring than during any other time of year. So many things are happening right now that it is almost dizzying to watch. Every day I take time for at least a short walk about the property and could spend hours at my journal describing the myriad of new plants, animals, birds and bugs that I find.  Right now, it’s the birds who have my eye with their colorful plumage and brilliant songs.

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Sweet Nesting Solution for Flycatchers

Eastern PhoebeBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz  –

Excerpted in part from my book,
A Journey of Seasons

Along with the more obvious firsts of the year, I am always glad to welcome the return of our nesting pair of Eastern Phoebes (Sayornis phoebe), also known as common flycatchers.  These little brownish grey birds are easy to overlook until they begin building their mud and grass nests on porch lights, windowsills and other protrusions beneath the eaves of houses, garages, barns and other structures.  I’ve always loved having phoebe’s around to eat bugs and cheer me up, but cleaning the mess they create while building their nests can sometimes be a drag.  If you’ve had the same experience, I’ve got a sweet solution to keeping both you and your flycatchers happy.

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Peepers Call for the Awakening

Spring_peeper_(SC_woodlot)By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

The Vernal equinox, also known as the Spring Equinox, marks a point when day and night become equal in length for a short time all over the world.  This stellar event marks our astrological trip into spring and the long-awaited wakening from the Great Sleep.  As if on cue, the first creatures to respond were the Peepers – those incredibly small amphibians readily identified by a conspicuous X-mark across their backs – as if picked out by the Creator for a very special purpose.

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Winter Storms and the Nature of Being Human

Winter Ice Storm - copyright Jill HendersonBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Excerpted in part from A Journey of Seasons: A Year in the Ozarks High Country

Ice storms in the Ozarks often have disastrous outcomes and warnings of them are often taken more seriously than those of tornadoes.  Indeed, an ice storm can wreak incredible havoc.  Besides making driving and even walking incredibly treacherous, as little as a half-inch of freezing rain can easily snap large tree branches, flatten shrubs and small trees, pull down power lines and cave in greenhouses, sheds and carports.  Accumulations of more than that can, quite literally, snap full-grown trees in half.  Yet, despite their potential for disaster, ice storms are not only beautiful, but often bring us humans closer together.

Sustainable Solutions: Timberland or Healthy Forest?

Winter ForestBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Throughout the history of mankind, humans have used and manipulated the natural landscape for their own ends.  Here in the Ozarks, we are blessed with an abundance of forests that, at times seem to grow like weeds.  Because of that ill-perceived notion, good quality Ozark woodlands are becoming thinner, rarer, and spaced further and further apart.  Fortunately, many landowners are learning how to properly manage their woodlands for timber, recreation and wildlife.  Continue reading

Giving Thanks

Maple Leaves copyright Jill HendersonJill Henderson

The tradition of giving thanks didn’t start with modern culture.   In fact, it goes back much, much further than the moment that Pilgrims and Native Americans broke bread.  It goes all the way back to a time when all humankind depended on the bounty of the earth for every imaginable facet of life – a time when man was truly of the earth. Continue reading

Alley Spring: An Ozark Landmark (Part II)

Alley Mill - Photo NPSPart Two
By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

The Ozarks are famous for their grist mills in the way Vermont is famous for its fall colors, or Maine for its maple syrup and Pennsylvania for its covered bridges.  Last week we talked about the history and historic significance of Alley Mill and one cannot talk about the mill and not mention the stunningly beautiful spring-fed mill pond.   Yet, as impressive as those things are, what I really love about Alley Spring – and what my little botanists’ heart craves most – is  the plant-watching.

Alley Spring: An Ozark Landmark (Part I)

PAlley Mill - Photo NPSart One
By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

When Dean and I get visitors from out of town who want to see something of the real Ozarks, we often take them down to Alley Spring down in Shannon County along the banks of the Jack’s Fork River.  We bring our visitors here because we know that regardless of their age, physical ability or interests, everyone can find something to love about one of the Ozarks most beloved historic sites and natural areas. Continue reading

Keep It Local: Good Fun for a Great Cause

Farmer's Market - Copyright Jill HendersonShow Me Oz

Whenever you buy locally produced goods and services from businesses and individuals, most of your hard-earned money stays at home where it works to build a stronger, more economically vital and self-sufficient community.  In fact, the most important aspect of a sustainable community starts with local food production. Continue reading

Crawl into Fall: Cool Caterpillars

Unknown Caterpillar on Passionfruit Vine - Copyright Jill HendersonBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz
A Journey of Seasons

It is fall all over the place here in the Ozarks!  The sunburnt days of summer drought have been replaced by moisture-laden mists and golden afternoon sunlight – perfect for a long leisurely walk through the woods.  Sometimes I get lucky and run across one of the creative and colorful caterpillars of the Ozarks.

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Reflections and the Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse by Mike's Birds via Wikimedia CommonsBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz
A Journey of Seasons

This morning I was standing on the porch enjoying my morning coffee when I was suddenly struck by the unusual absence of any kind of sound or movement.  The trees didn’t sway and not a creature stirred.  Even the air stood still.  I was marveling at the odd and unnatural silence of the forest when suddenly a flurry of small, gregarious chickadees, titmice, juncos and nuthatches suddenly rained down upon the yard, filling the air with their busy chatter and my heart with a childish happiness.  Among the festive band of feathered friends were a large and noisy group of titmice.  These friendly, acrobatic birds seemed the busiest and most vocal of the group and my attention naturally turned to them.

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The Beauty of Fall

Leaf & Moss - copyright Jill HendersonBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz
A Journey of Seasons

Since life began on our watery-blue planet, the sun has ruled the seasons. It is a calendar by which all living things keep time. The Autumnal Equinox occurs when the sun crosses the celestial equator in its southward march towards winter. As the days grow shorter, the northern hemisphere begins to cool. I have always been in awe of the effects the sun has on life and how fast nature responds to it’s movements. The changes that occur once we pass the fall equinox happen so fast, that if you close your eyes for only a moment you will surely miss something wonderful!

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Is a Blue Moon Really Blue?

Full Moon copyright Jill Henderson 2012By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Tonight we will be treated to a rare blue moon.  Celebrated throughout the ages, blue moons are studied, admired and looked upon with varying levels of wonder and awe.  Of course, a blue moon is the second full moon in a calendar month and happens on average, once every two years, mostly in the months of June, July and August.   But is a blue moon really blue?

Ozark Riverways: A History in Perspective

Spring CreekBy Jill Henderson (A Journey of Seasons: A Year in the Ozarks High Country)

When my husband and I left the pristine wilds of Montana back in 1996, I never thought I would ever again see rivers that were as lovely and clear as those high mountain streams – but then we found the Ozarks.  Some of the rivers in these hills are so clear that you can count the rocks at the bottom six feet down, and so cold they’ll take your breath away.  Obviously, Ozark rivers are the pride and joy of south central Missourians and in the depths of the hot summer months, they are also our respite.  But the rivers in the Ozarks also have a long history – some of which is much more recent than most realize.

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Weather Prognostication the Old Fashioned Way

By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Weather is the barometer by which humankind revolves and Ozarkers talk about the weather the way stock brokers talk about share prices.  In nearly every conversation, the weather is often the opening topic and over the years, I have come to believe that the official greeting of the Ozarks is, “How’s the weather over ’t your place?”  Like people everywhere, Ozarkers love to grumble about “bad” weather, but usually they do it with humility and humor. Continue reading

Nathanael Greene-Close Memorial Park and Botanical Center

Hosta GardenBy Jill Henderson

A couple of weeks ago I found myself needing to drive to Springfield to have a seat in my car replaced. The operation wasn’t going to take very long and since we don’t get to Springfield very often, Dean and I, along with our friend Tom, set out to make a day of it.  After we left the repair shop we headed over to the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center to meet my friend, George Deatz, for a personal tour of the gardens.  All of us thought the plants would be withered and dried up from a brutal summer of heat and drought, but we were in for a real surprise. Continue reading

The Storm on the Horizon

Storm on the Horizen © 2008/2012 JillHendersonBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

When folks speak of summer in the Ozarks, they are generally referring to the hot, sultry month of August.  Generally.  This year, August started way back in April and we knew even then what was coming our way.   Each day that passed without rain was torture and we prayed for even a scant drop of rain.  When rain did fall, it was so scattered and isolated that your next door neighbor might get an inch and a half of rain while you got nothing but pipe dreams.  The earth is cracked, the grass is brittle and trees are dying.  All summer we have watched with muffled dread as the heat wave scorched its way across the landscape and wondered when the other shoe was going to fall.

Keep It Funny!

grasshopper and ants 1By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz –

There are so many laments about the bugs in the Ozarks that if they were compiled into a book it would never end. How do you even begin to tell outsiders about the insects that inhabit our Oz? 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 – they’re not going to believe you anyway. If I told a person unfamiliar with these parts that the insects in the Ozarks would carry off their children if they didn’t keep them tied down, do you think they’d believe me? I suspect not, but every Ozarker who reads this knows it’s the truth.

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A Gardener’s Dream

Our new garden. © 2012 Jill HendersonBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Almost a year ago now, my husband and I settled down into our latest ‘new place’. We’ve lived quite the nomadic lifestyle over the last 20 years, moving to another house, state, or even country every few years.  In every case where it was physically possible, the first thing we did after unpacking our bags was to dig a garden.  We have hand dug and landscaped more acres of land than my back will allow me to remember, but each and every one of those gardens were lovingly created, tended and enjoyed by us for as long as we had to enjoy them.  And while it was always difficult to say goodbye, we never regretted a single one of them.

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The Hillbilly Stereotype and the Modern Ozarker

2008 Old Farm Machinery - Jill HendersonFor many years I have written about the Ozarks.  Most of the time I write about the natural landscape and the plants and creatures that inhabit it.  But that’s not where my love for this place ends.  For what is a place without its people, its culture and how it sees itself compared to the rest of the world and how the rest of the world sees them?  Ask anyone who doesn’t live here about the Ozarks and most will eventually use the word hillbilly in some shape or form. Continue reading

Notes from Turtle Ridge: May 2012

Red Mulberry - Copyright 2012 Jill HendersonBy Jill Henderson

The hands of time seem to spin faster during spring than during any other time of year.  This May has been disconcertingly warm, which  brought about the early bloom and fruiting of many trees and plants, including this Red Mulberry tree (Morus rubra), which normally ripens its fruit in mid-summer.   Every other day, Dean hiked up the hill, bucket in hand,  to pick the Continue reading

The Ozarks Sustainability Festival

20114The 5th Annual Ozarks Sustainability Festival will be held this Sunday, May 20th from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM in West Plains, MO.

As always, the festival will be a free, fun-filled day of learning for the entire family with a focus on sustainable skills, homesteading, small farming self-sufficiency, natural health, alternative energy and much, much more!   This year’s festival is again chock-full of live demonstrations, hands-on workshops and just-for-kids activities.  There’s even going to be a native plant walk right on the grounds!  Keynote speakers will present discuss topics such as urban homesteading, transportation, emergency preparedness, natural remedies, seed saving, aquaponics, making tinctures and alternative energy for the home, just to mention a few!  See the full list of speakers and demonstrators below.

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Notes from Turtle Ridge – April 2012

2012 4-4 Box Turtle Hatchling (2)smBy Jill Henderson

This week’s article is the  first in a new series  I’m calling Notes from Turtle Ridge.  This series is definitely more personal and less academic than my regular weekly column, but hopefully, just as informative and entertaining.

Winter Landscapes in the Ozarks

We’ve been offline all week as we waited for our new computer.  Since I was not able to finish the second installment of America’s Native Bamboo in time for this week’s post, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite winter scenes.

I’ll be back next week with a healthy article entitled: America’s Native Bamboo: Identification & Culture.  I hope to see you then. Continue reading

The Journey Continues…

smo logo orig 324x507 300dpiIt has been a long and eventful year and I would like to say “thank you” to all who have supported me as I fulfilled a crazy desire to blog about those things for which I am passionate – homesteading, nature, gardening, edible and medicinal plants and of course, the Ozarks. Since I began Show Me Oz in July of 2010, I have written and posted over 70 articles – an undertaking that has been both challenging and rewarding! Continue reading

Otters in the Ozarks

Image by Schmiebel By Jill Henderson

When Henry Rowe Schoolcraft first entered the Ozarks in 1818, he found the area lightly populated by settlers whose livelihoods included hunting, trapping and timber. At that time, the Ozarks were still a secret wilderness overflowing with thick virgin timber and teaming with wildlife.  But it wouldn’t be long before prospectors began to cash-in on the abundance of the land, and a great assault on the precious resources of the Ozarks began. Continue reading

A Hole Lot of Trouble!

Woodpecker Hole © 2011 Jill HendersonBy Jill Henderson

Last week I was in the shop working on a project when I realized that for the entire hour that I had been there, I had been hearing the steady, drumming rhythm of a woodpecker pounding a nearby tree. I stepped out of the shop to look for the source of the sound, hoping to find out which species of woodpecker it was. I scanned the trunks of nearby trees without luck. Finally, I walked around the side of the well house to get a better look at the lower portion of the trees when a small woodpecker shot out in front of me and landed in a low-hanging branch ten feet away. I turned to look at the side of the well house and immediately saw a tidy hole in the wood siding just below the eave.

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Fabulous Frost Flowers

Frost FlowerJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz ~

Humans have a love-hate relationship with winter.  On one hand it’s cold and sometimes dreary and on the other it is a respite from the heat and bugs of summer.  With unsurpassed vistas, clear woodland paths and limitless opportunities to spot birds, raptors and other wildlife, winter also allows for some of the best hiking of the year.  During winter hikes one can spot some of nature’s best architectural wonders, specifically those created during freezing weather, such as ice falls, hoary frost and frozen fog. My all-time favorite wintertime sculpture has to be the elusive and transient frost flower.

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Big Bucks and Hunting Season

hunterssmBy Jill Henderson

As we round into the third week of November the Ozarks is enjoying blissful days of low-70 degree temperatures and generally sunny skies.  The winds have been gusting steadily all week long and have finally blown in a good soaking.  I view the weather from the perspective of a gardener, homesteader, and naturalist and this week’s weather has afforded my husband and I the perfect opportunity to check our fence lines and enjoy a hearty hike in the woods.  But  now that the official hunting season has begun, we will spend the next two weeks a little closer to the house.

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Historic Hotel Seeks Artistic Future

Grand View Hotel 1908By Jill Henderson

In the small town of Berryville, Arkansas, a piece of Ozarks history is slowly re-emerging from the past, thanks to two dedicated souls with a dream. Six years ago, Alexander Virden and his partner Sandra Doss, sold everything they owned – including their own home – to finance the restoration of a 109 year old landmark known as the Grand View Hotel. Their dream – to turn the abandoned and condemned beauty into a thriving community arts center and local gathering place. After pouring all of their own money into completing the main floor, the duo now lack the resources to fully complete their dream of a non-profit center for the arts. This is their story. Continue reading

Bob Ross and Titmice: A Meditation on Conservation

BobRoss1oilBy Jill Henderson

Saturday morning I was curled up in a blanket watching Bob Ross paint a winter landscape on PBS.  I was enjoying his rapturous meditation on loving life and the subtle nuances of painting glacial mountains against a blue sky when a slight movement outside the window caught my eye. Like a cat to a bit of bright yarn, my eyes were immediately drawn to a silky grey titmouse flirting in the low branches of the oak tree.

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Aiming to Transform

copyright Kelsey RumleyBy Greg Swick

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”  – Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

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Fall Frenzy: A Skink Story

fall leavesBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz –

Fall is one of my favorite seasons, but it is also one of the busiest. Between winterizing the garden, gathering wild edibles, bringing in firewood, and generally readying ourselves and the homestead for the winter to come, it seems to me that we have been in perpetual motion – a frenzy, if you will.  A word that seems to convey just a touch of obsessive compulsive behavior that can sometimes lead to strains, and bruises and bumps.  But we humans are not the only creatures driven to frenzy in our preparations for the coming winter.  In fact, sometimes the frantic nature of animals searching for food, mates and shelter lands them in a slippery situation.

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Ladybug, Ladybug…

Image by Reytan, Wikimedia CommonsBy Jill Henderson

Everyone knows what a ladybug is. That bright, domed beetle-like creature covered in spots and dots is prized by gardeners, cherished by children, despised by some homeowners, and even emulated in the design for the infamous VW Bug. But what exactly are ladybugs and how does one entice them into the garden or drive them from the woodwork when they become invasive pests in the fall?

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Cultural Sustainability: Bringing Communities Together

Wall Mural in Alton, MOBy Jill Henderson

In the south central Ozarks lies the town of Alton, Missouri. With a population of around 600 souls, give or take a few depending on the year, Alton’s main attraction is a quaint but thriving downtown square that hems a modest county courthouse.  As is often the case in the Ozarks, most of Oregon County’s rural residents are farmers and modern-day homesteaders.  But for these folks, being rural doesn’t mean they are out of touch with modern ideas and progressive momentum – just the opposite is true.  And with the help of a woman living in the nearby town of Couch, this sleepy little hamlet is about to witness what happens when sustainability and cultural heritage meet face to face.

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Joplin, Missouri

2008-5 (13)I tried to write an article for todays posting, but I just could not focus on anything but the news coverage of the terrible tragedy unfolding  in Joplin, Missouri, after a massive tornado ripped through the center of town last night in a destructive force that leveled a huge swath through the center of town.

We send our prayers out to all those who have lost loved ones or who have been injured or lost their homes in this terrible event and to all those who are still missing or trapped beneath the rubble awaiting rescue.  And thanks and prayers for the safety of the brave men and women who rushed to the scene to help. 

For every dark cloud there is a ray of light.

Bless you all.

4th Annual Ozarks Sustainability Festival

If you live in the Ozarks region, you don’t want to miss the 4th Annual Ozarks Sustainability Festival in West Plains, MO this Sunday, May 15th!

Started by Mary and Skip Badiny of Maranatha Farms, the Ozarks Sustainability Festival was begun as a way to promote simple, sustainable lifestyles and living skills.  The first festival was held in the lush gardens of the Badiny’s farm and has been growing ever since, with last fall’s festival drawing in over 1500 people. Continue reading

An Ode to Rain

Stormy SkiesBy Jill Henderson

After last summer’s brutal drought and a winter uncertain to end, spring brought about some unseasonably warm temperatures and the inevitable spring rains.  And while heavy rains are not uncommon in the Ozarks, deluges are always disconcerting.

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Say Cheese: A Dying Family Industry

Photo by Jared Benedict - http://redjar.org/By Jill Henderson

At one time in the not so distant past, the central Ozark region was well-known for its rich and productive dairy farms.  As few as ten years ago, you didn’t have to travel far before coming across rolling pastureland dotted with the distinctive black and white patches of Holstein heifers grazing the green, green grass of home.  Continue reading

Of Rocks and Snakes

By Jill Henderson

Behind our house, the forest slopes down to a narrow valley that Ozarkers would call a “holler”. In some places the hillside is smoothly covered with a carpet of dead leaves and in others it is a jumble of ankle-twisting rocks of every dimension and color. In one particular place the rocks are so

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Missouri Conservation Funding Under The Gun!

Caney Mountain vistaRecently Scott Laurent, author of Wild Missouri, alerted me to a proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution that threatens to destabilize the funding for the Missouri Department of Conservation.   

Just the thought of the MDC losing its funding makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  And I think most Missourians would agree, because they know that one of the things that makes Missouri such an incredible place to live, work and play is the beauty and diversity of its wildlands.

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Walking Across Boulders

File:Alvar2.JPGBy Allison Vaughn

During winter months, I take literally hundreds of photos that (upon a quick scan of each folder) all look the same: golden grass, gray trees, blue skies, dolomite boulders. I like the structure of the winter landscape, the silvery old growth chinquapin oaks, the open-grown post oaks, and the exposed geology.

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Great Horned Owls – Giants of the Forest

By Jill Henderson Show Me Oz

Last night, as I stood outside admiring the way the stars danced brightly in the clear dark winter sky,  I heard the unmistakably deep, resonating call of one of the Ozarks most reclusive giants –  the great horned owl.

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CAHH! Announces 2011 Seed Swaps

“One for the cut worm, one for the crow, one to share, and one to grow”

Our good friends over at the University of Central Arkansas asked me to pass along their 2011 schedule of CAHH! (Conserving Arkansas Agricultural Heritage) co-sponsored seed swaps taking place at various locations throughout Arkansas.   This is an excellent opportunity to share or find rare and unusual heirloom seeds from the Ozarks region.  Read on and plan on attending a swap in your area!  J.H. Continue reading

Morningland Dairy Update

P. B. Obregón – Wikimedia Commons

By Doreen Hannes

On January 13th, the second grueling day of the Morningland Dairy LLC marathon trial ensued. For those who don’t know, court went on for 10 hours on Tuesday and ten full hours on Wednesday. Continue reading

Closest to Everlastin’: Ozark Agricultural Biodiversity and Subsistence Traditions (Part Three)

Crystal Bowne, Back-to-the-Land Ozarker Gardens, Newton County, Arkansas, 2010By Brian C. Campbell
University of Central Arkansas

  Agroecological Knowledge:

Ozarkers who engage in agrobiodiverse farming have knowledge of their environment and the species within it that allow them to survive (agroecological knowledge).  They utilize both wild and domesticated species, observe their behavior and interrelationships, and apply that information to use in gastronomy and agriculture.

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Closest to Everlastin’: Ozark Agricultural Biodiversity and Subsistence Traditions (Part Two)

Brenda Smyth, Willodean's garden, Searcy County, Arkansas, July 2009.By Brian C. Campbell
University of Central Arkansas

Willodean: Ozark Subsistence Traditions in the Present

On a spring day in 2009 I visited the home of Kenneth and Willodean Smyth in Marshall, Arkansas.  They live a mere six blocks off the main highway, but their fifteen acres boasts a very large garden, fruit trees, nut trees, blackberry brambles, chicken coops, a humble,

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Farmer Wins Legal Battle with City over Raw Milk Sales

As Morningland Dairy awaits its fate over the ongoing legal battle with the FDA and the Missouri Milk Board, one Missouri couple has won their right to sell pre-ordered raw milk directly to consumers. Read this piece by Food Freedom.

Farmer Wins Legal Battle with City over Raw Milk Sales By Emily Baucum Ozarks First.com (Greene County, MO) —

It’s a big win for farmers and people who prefer to buy locally-grown food. A husband and wife who run a farm in Conway have been acquitted on charges of illegally selling raw milk inside Springfield city limits. The Bechards sell milk that’s regularly tested but not pasteurized. It’s not against the law, but Missouri requires milk sold at distribution points like grocery stores and farmers … Read More

via Food Freedom

“Closest to Everlastin'”: Ozark Agricultural Biodiversity and Subsistence Traditions (Part One)

Crystal Bowne, Back-to-the-Land Ozarker Gardens, Newton County, Arkansas, 2010.By Brian C. Campbell
University of Central Arkansas

Taking form in cultivated fields and gardens, managed hedgerows and woodlands, varieties of crop species, and livestock breeds, agricultural biodiversity refers to the human-modified components of the natural world that contribute to the sustenance of human populations.

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Judgement Day for Morningland Dairy

P. B. Obregón - Wikimedia Commons

The following piece has been forwarded to us via our friends at Transition Missouri.  Please make plans to pack the courthouse in support of our Ozark family dairies and bring warm clothes in case the courtroom is full… J.H.

By Doreen Hannes 2011

Missouri farmstead cheese plant, Morningland Dairy is going to be in Howell County Circuit Court at 9am Central time on Tuesday, January 11th. The Missouri Attorney General’s Office is charging Morningland with 3 criminal charges and has also filed a “Preliminary Injunction” in hopes of getting a court order to destroy Morningland Dairy’s cheese.

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Oil and Gas Collection: Hydraulic Fracturing, Toxic Chemicals and the Surge of Earthquake Activity in Arkansas

Fracking the Life Out of Arkansas and Beyond
by Rady Ananda – Global Research

The last four months of 2010, nearly 500 earthquakes rattled Guy, Arkansas. [1]  The entire state experienced 38 quakes in 2009. [2]  The spike in quake frequency precedes and coincides with the 100,000 dead fish on a 20-mile stretch of the Arkansas River that included Roseville Township on December 30. The next night, 5,000 red-winged blackbirds and starlings dropped dead out of the sky in Beebe. [3]  Hydraulic fracturing is the most likely culprit for all three events, as it causes earthquakes with a resultant release of toxins into the environment. [4]
Read the entire article here…

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