Tag Archives: missouri

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

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Eco-Alternative Farmsteading

Extra acreage has enabled the Townes to increase farm production.Real people growing real food.  “It’s all about protecting the land and bringing it back to health. Not just taking what we can get from it, but giving back to the system to keep it fed.” Emily Towne, Full Plate Farm.  Read more about Full Plate Farm in this article published in the January issue of Acres USA Magazine.
Read the entire article here.

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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America’s Native Bamboo – Part II – Identification and Culture

2012 2-13 February Snow (15)by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

In last week’s article, America’s Native Bamboo: History and Ecology, we learned that America was once home to massive colonies of native bamboo, better known as canebrakes. These lush cane forests played a critical role in the ecology of the regions they inhabited by filtering sediments, controlling erosion and providing food and shelter for many native animal and bird species. Cane also played an important role in the lives of the earliest inhabitants who valued it as a nutritional food plant and an important material used to fashion tools, weapons and lodging. In the early days of settlement, America’s native cane fields were first used to fatten cattle and then cleared for farmland. Today, a whopping 98% of America’s once-abundant native bamboo has been extirpated from the landscape. This week, I will discuss the ways in which native bamboos are being used in restoration projects and how we can help return them to their rightful place in nature and beautify the home landscape, all at the same time.

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America’s Native Bamboo – Part I – History and Ecology

Switch Cane copyright Jill Henderson showmeoz.wordpress.comby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Mention the word bamboo and most people in the Western world naturally think of panda bears, China and steamy exotic jungles. In fact, the majority of the 1,450 species of bamboo in the world do originate in countries located in South and Southeastern Asia, with a few scattered species in Saharan Africa and the very farthest regions of South America. In these places, native bamboo species can grow as dense as the thickest forest you can imagine and produce giant canes as big around as small trees, while others are as diminutive and slender as a clump of our native Big Bluestem.  In fact, bamboo is actually a grass belonging to the Poaceae or True Grass family. With over 10,000 recognized species, true grasses represent the fifth largest plant family on earth. Knowing this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find out that the United States has three very distinct native species of bamboo, known collectively as river cane.

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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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

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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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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Notes from Turtle Ridge: Spring 2014

Box Turtle Shellby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

June lays claim to the longest day of the year and the most violent thunderstorms, it is the month of bluebird babies, spindly-spotted fawns and box turtle crossings.   Although we have been expecting another hot and dry summer, we suddenly find ourselves wearing warm flannels and digging the blankets out of the closet.  But the rain and a long cool spring is exactly what we – and our garden – were hoping for.

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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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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

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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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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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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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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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

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

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

Pokeweed: Good Green or Toxic Weed?

Poke Salat copyright Jill HendersonBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz –

Spring in the Ozarks wouldn’t be the same without gathering and preparing at least one pot of poke.  At our house, this leafy perennial ranks right up there with other spring edibles such as asparagus.  This week I was planning on writing an article on how to prepare poke for consumption, when  a colleague pointed out an article written by Dr. Jean Weese, a Food Scientist with the  Alabama Cooperative Extension Service entitled, Don’t Eat Poke Salad.  As the title suggests, Dr. Weese attempts to dissuade people from eating poke in any form, noting that it contains “at least three different types of poison”.  The controversy over whether poke’s is toxic or edible has been going on for a very long time, but who is right?  Is poke poisonous or is it safe to eat?  Fodder for this week’s Show Me Oz.

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

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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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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The Avenue Theatre – Revitalizing A Sense of Community

avenuetheatre The Avenue Theatre in West Plains, Missouri, is an art deco local landmark that has been a part of its community for nearly six decades. It’s story began when it opened as a movie house in 1950. It derived its name from its location on Washington Avenue, one of the main thoroughfares in the small southern Missouri town of West Plains. Continue reading

Persimmon Pickin’ Time – Part II

American PersimmonBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

In Persimmon Pickin’ Time Part One, we talked about how to harvest persimmons and how to separate the pulp from the bitter seeds and skin and how to freeze the pulp of this delectable wild fruit.  Today, we’ll take on that sticky-sweet pulp in the kitchen and I’ll even throw in a couple of my favorite persimmon recipes to get you started Continue reading

Missouri: Leaders in the Solar Revolution

By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Missouri is taking the alternative energy revolution head on, thanks to the creative energy of students at Missouri University of Science & Technology in Rolla and comparatively tiny Crowder College in Neosho, Missouri.  Continue reading