Page 1

MONTHLY CULTURE AND COMMUNITY NEWSLETTER FOR THE RURAL OZARKS Submissions Due the 10th of each month! Email: Amelia.LaMair@gmail Mail: 13962 State Hwy 181, Tecumseh, MO 65760

April 16, 23, and 30 5:15pm Yoga for Beginners with Sunni Fine at the Ozark County Historium in Gainesville. $10/class. April 19- 21 West Plains City Wide Yard Sale. Yard sale permit fees will be waived those three days. April 21 10am - 12pm Ava Organic Garden Club meets 1st & 3rd Saturday of every month in the back room of Autumns Restaurant in Ava. Meals are optional. No dues. Questions - April 21 Noon-4pm Earth Day Benefit for Community Radio KZGM 88.1 at the Yellow House in West Plains. $10 gets you Chili, Cornbread, and Desert Plus, Music by The Haenke Bros, Van Colbert's BanjoDeluxe, Renee Wood's JazzDuo! April 21 7 pm Creek Stink and Clawhammer at Wages Brewing Company, West Plains. No cover April 24 5:30pm Book signing for Dr. Craig Albin and his poetry collection “Axe, Fire, Mule.� At the Garnett Library in West Plains. For details, call 255-7945 April 24 6-9pm Beer Dinner: Mediterranean theme by Chef Ryan Van Winkle at Wages Brewing Company, West Plains. Reservations required by April 21. $55 per person. April 26 5:30 -7:00pm Community Bike Ride in West Plains starts at 5:30 PM at the Neathery Skate Park off St. Louis Street. All ages and abilities are welcome. Rides will not be held in stormy weather. April 27 7-9pm Jessamyn Orchard indie rock w/ Luke Parrish opening at Wages Brewing Company, West Plains. No cover. April 27-29 Oz-Con a gaming, cosplay and anime convention nestled in the Ozarks. The convention is hosted by Missouri State University-West Plains Computer Graphics and Programming department as well as the local chapter of ACM (Association for Computing Machinery). This non-profit event will be held at the West Plains Civic Center. The three days of awesomeness will have a little bit for everyone including Anime, Cosplay Events, MTG, Warhammer, Warmachine, Role Playing games, and much more. Come help support a good cause, browse the vendors and meet the celebrities. See for ticket prices etc.

April 28 8am-12pm Fifth annual FREE GARDEN SEED give-away and SEED SAVERS SWAP will be held during the Ava farmers market inside the gazebo on the square. This year, we're offering individual seed packs instead of complete garden kits so that participants can pick just those veggies they want (and not waste those they don't want). Seed savers are encouraged to bring their extra seeds (labeled, in small envelopes or baggies) for sharing with others. If you have BOOKS on gardening or home handicraftrs you wish to swap, please bring those too!

May 4-5 9am-5pm Friends of the West Plains Public Library Spring Book Sale will be held in the Library’s Community Room. Most books 50 cents to $2. Donations are accepted year round.

May 4 7pm Ozarks Neighborly Exchange (O.N.E.) Monthly meeting at the Theodosia United Methodist Church on Rt 160 across from the High school. All are welcome to attend. Round table discussion in lieu of a monthly presenter. Please bring questions about the group, comments about the group and farm updates for the group. See for more info.

May 5 9am-3pm Fourth Annual Ozark County Homegrown & Homemade Festival on the Gainesville square (see opposite pg) May 5 10am-2pm Third Annual Wildflower and Herbin’ Safari hosted by Ronda and Thomas Baker at Buck Hollow Ranch just north of Pocahontas, Arkansas. Wildflower walk led by Sasha Daucus of The Golden Light Center, Amy Swann, and a surprise guest yet to be announced. Gathering at 10 in the morning, lunch will be served at noon with a discussion on habitat and successful growing and harvesting to follow. Pre-registration will be required, $30 per person. See event info on Facebook.

May 6 -7 10am-7pm Annual Spring Planting Festival at the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Farm in Mansfield. Adults $5.00, Kids 16 and under get in free. Come and join 10,000 gardeners at America's premier event of seeds, plants, music, culture and the celebration of historic foods. Enjoy a sense of community with fascinating seed collectors, renowned musicians, national speakers, historic demonstrators, food activists, home schoolers, western re-enactors, organic growers, gourmet chefs, free-thinkers, historic farm animals & poultry, Ozarkian crafters, trendy vendors and herbal hippies... Info at:

Adventures in Canning Pokeweed from Jenny Schump

See her blog at:

**Do your own research, and make your own choices** Pick a lot! It cooks down a lot like spinach and if you plan to can it you will need three times as much as you need. I pick the smaller leaves and when they are young is best but I continue to pick smaller leaves from large plants too. If we are just going to eat it I wash then boil it about 10 to 15 min, then pour off the water. Many recommend that you boil it twice or even three times. Do your research and decide. After the first boil it tastes best sautĂŠed in some butter or bacon grease. I have succeeded at canning poke from the second boil. I pack jars and process like all greens. Pints 70 mins, quarts 90 mins at 10lbs pressure.

Stay Always Aware of Events That Unfold It is all fine and well to live with the back to the land concept, I have myself for many decades, but what is of most import today is that the freedom we currently have is under threat of disappearing. Please do not be so myopic that you fall into the intellectual trap that let's you disregard the whole, the holistic you strive to live day to day. It is a concept that many progressives have, that we can influence only the local. Granted, this is our true personal (thus political) power, yet to think holistically is to understand that we also influence the greater by our local actions. For those that have never had to deal with the systematic fascism, bigotry, and utter ignorance that exists today, I ask you to look at historic resources. History will guide through these tumoltuous times, when personal reference does not exist. This being so, stay always aware of events that unfold, no matter what your views. The times we share are moving fast, so fast that what we innately dread may come upon us while we momentarily look away. Live the life you need, while also keeping your consciousness focused on much larger developments. For it seems that all the reasons that back to the landers have philosophically, are to be prepared for the cold harsh reality of what is presently before them. Poet Catalysta

Brand new goatbabies, searching for momma’s teat!

Flotsam Farm, Sycamore

Mountain Jewel, Luna Spring has sprung as we devour the many greens that are bursting worth. We’re seeing new growth on our 60 elderberry cuttings, some of our trees are leafing out and ours bees made it through the winter and look happy. Our spring seeding had the gift of rain and our peas, brassicas, burdock, Favas, spinach etc... are doing great. In the horizon we will be erecting a larger high tunnel and expanding our gardens.

Eastwind Community, Tecumseh Four piglets and four sheep are the newest residents of the farm. The pigs will be raised until mid summer. Similar to how they were managed last season, they will be rotated in paddocks through forested areas adjacent to the road and supplemented with the ample food scraps of a seventy person community (and their small nut butter factory). The sheep were acquired in a work/trade deal with a local farmer outside of Springfield, MO and another six will be brought in the coming weeks. Sheep haven’t been on this land for over a decade! They are starting to be rotated through overwintered cover crops in our gardens, and will be slaughtered and butchered throughout the spring. In the garden, potatoes, carrots, beets, peas, and onions are in the ground, and asparagus and spring greens are starting to come in. Everyone is in good spirits with the warming temperatures, having more opportunities to work and play outside. Pruning and bee photos from Sumner Nichols

Kidding season wrapped up today, with a total of 3 bucks and 8 does! We experienced the highs and lows of animal husbandry, losing our doe Topaz two days after she kidded. The ducks are laying. Winecap mushrooms are coming up. Greens are going crazy in the tunnel and the tomatoes are doing ok. Onions are in, and hopefully we will finally get the taters in this week. Sweet potato slipping is in progress. Ready for some sunshine!

Water Wheels a Turnin’ Ideas about Utilizing a Low Flow Creek by: Chelsea Lyn – Dora, MO Here in the Ozarks, we have an abundance of groundwater, with many homesteads featuring a creek, spring or pond. At our place, we have a little spring that flows year round and provides us with the delicate beauty of a low flow creek, that topples down over mossy slabs of rock and eventually into Trail Creek. Although its steady flow is only about 10 gallons a minute, I have devised a number of non-electric methods of drawing clean water off of the creek, without affecting the wildlife that depends so much on that constant water. Every flood, the creek changes, and with it my ideas and methods for utilizing this wonderful spring change too.

Sandbag Mini-Dam New projects have led to new demands. We are working on a wood fired hot tub up in the woods and the creek there runs over open slab. Unable to use a gravel drop, a new idea landed upon my mind! Sandbags!

I sewed up two tubes out of some old poly and, not having any sand on hand, filled them with damp sawdust. Excitedly, I hiked through the woods and to the water. By simply placing the bags on a water covered slab in a V shape, with a piece of PVC at the bottom of the V, the water pooled up beautifully.

Gravel Drops The impetus for our first water project was the hot humid summer weather. A spring fed plunge pool sounded splendid, so I started looking at the creek, the lay of the land, and possible locations for a stock tank. We selected a level spot right off of a walkway with a great view of the creek. The solution for how to get the water to the pool seemed simple. Drop pipe into high water, making sure that my pipe was always going down hill. But when the water slowed due to lack of rain, I had to get creative. My solution was to insert a funnel into a natural gravel drop. Due to its malleability, I ended up using a thick food grade plastic bag as a funnel by cutting a hole in the bottom corner of bag, inserting a pipe, and securing with a rubber band. Next, I found a part of the creek that ran over gravel, then dug out a place for the pipe and bag, securing the plastic with more gravel, always checking out the angle. Water follows the easiest path, so I just experimented with it until I had the water flowing well. (Sorry no image… it’s buried!)

Improving a Seep This is a work in progress, but I think it’s cool to talk about ideas too. Every garden needs extra water at times and for a while, we brain-stormed on ways to irrigate with the spring. Seeing as it flows down a gulch, away from our garden, any gravity fed options were out. A hydraulic ram pump was a cool non-electric possibility, but as we continued to develop trails though our woodland, we found a steady seep about 100 yards uphill from our garden! What a blessing! My thoughts are to create an artificial gravel drop, with a leach line type pipe leading the little flow down to a cistern. Version 1.0!

Like the habit of flowing water, may our minds continue to stream with creative solutions, delivering excitement and abundance to our homesteads.

Crystal and Xena's Night Adventure by Ken Boschert, the Gentle Karma Farm, Upper Gasconade Watershed I was sitting, the other night, observing the constellations. Orion, normally the champion high in the northern night was cautiously riding the sky's western rim. Humidity filled the air and the moon had not yet risen. The unseasonably warm sunny day had turned into an unseasonably warm, yet very dark, early March night. Bathed in velvety blackness, the night revealed few shadows. All was silent. Danger and darkness seemed to loom everywhere providing an atmosphere of mystery and adventure for two young cats. Given that Lucy's surviving progeny, Crystal and Xena, would tread together, far more fearlessly than they would ever tread alone. Tonight, for the first time in their young cat lives, they left the protection of Mother and struck out together, with me, to as yet undiscovered lands. I had built up their trust in the mere months since their birth and I knew I could goad them into joining me in a grand adventure. Being the first out of their birthing box, Xena, the fearless explorer, usually led the way. Crystal, on the other hand, would timidly bring up the rear whining most of the way; ironic given she is the fiercer of the two, her fighting skills far surpassing her sister's. As we proceeded, my young companions were nervous but they were also prodded on by the thrill of doing something slightly forbidden. Our path led away from the cabin and down the hill, east toward the ridge. The tiny, single LED flashlight was the only thing keeping them from being smothered in the abysmal darkness. A sudden coyote’s cry required they crouch, silent and motionless, in the weeds until all threat of annihilation had passed. Staying within the protective circle of light emitted by the tiny bulb, they tentatively continued down the hill as we turned north toward the abandoned building site. Little remained of the preliminary construction except some concrete footing forms, a pile of weathered boards, and a lone, white, gleaming porcelain throne. Still connected to the lagoon, open on all sides to the prevailing winds and to the sky above, this one small connection to civilization provided some comfort to my new, far simpler lifestyle. Flushing was accomplished by pouring water from a five gallon bucket straight down its throat. As I observed the constellations, the moist night air enveloped me like a comfortable blanket and the breeze was quite pleasant. I found the experience to be much more inspirational than those endured in freezing temperatures. In fact, out here beyond the light pollution of the city and with the celestial vaults of heaven flung open above me, complete with its mosaic tapestry of twinkling stars it felt, well, spiritual. Spring was supposed to come early this year but four days of possible winter storms were being predicted to start the following morning. The impending sleet and snow made this pleasant night even more appreciated. I thought back to earlier in the day when the goal was to bring in enough fire wood to get through the cold about to descend. With no running water and wood as my sole source of heat, life has become more elemental. Was there enough wood, enough water, and enough food for the next few days? I relaxed as I knew there was, as is often the case in life, enough. At the same time, however, far more important concerns were being addressed just a few dozen feet away. Crystal and Xena were totally present and completely engrossed in their biggest adventure ever. There were trenches, stacks of building materials, lumber and cinder blocks to explore. Strange new sounds punctuated the night air along with new smells that required thorough yet very cautious examination. Suddenly, the worst possible thing that could ever happen did, the flashlight went out plunging them into total darkness! They immediately began wailing. Why had they dared to think they would ever be safe beyond their Mother's protective gaze? They must have been crazy to leave the cabin! How would they ever survive? Surely death would come next for what other fate did they deserve?

Having concluded the purpose of our sojourn, the light mercifully reappeared, saving them once again. We began retracing our steps back up the hill. At one point, Crystal became separated from the group. She found herself left behind and alone in the vast darkness. Her plaintive cries now reached a higher octave which required calling her name and providing the illuminative power of the single LED to act as a homing beacon to bring her safely again, within our protective circle. Finally, providence led them back to the cabin, back to the familiar, back to safety. What had begun as a spontaneous frolic had veered swiftly into very dangerous territory and they felt lucky to be alive. The danger had now passed but the lessons learned were those that come only from pursuing high adventure. Their dinner was unusually good that night and slumber came easily, illuminated as it was with vivid cat dreams. The seasons are changing here in the valley. New generations are exploring life for the first time in our beautiful Ozark home. Friday River Flood Wildflowers, Hank Dorst

Congrats to the three Southern MO projects recommended for funding for the 2018 Farmer Rancher Grant! The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Farmer Rancher Grant Program is a competitive grants program for farmers and ranchers who want to explore sustainable solutions to problems through on-farm research, demonstration, and education projects. Applications open in the fall. Bob Semyck of Willow Mountain Mushrooms in Tecumseh, MO was awarded $14,972 for the project, “’Satellite’ Farming of Agaricus Mushrooms with Expandable Growing Pod Prototypes.” Brent Hood of HCGI Aquaculture in Springfield, MO was awarded $5,771 for the project, “Backyard Shrimping: An Implementation of Low Carbon Footprint, High-Yield, Tank-based Freshwater Shrimp Cultivation Using Easily Obtainable, Recyclable Materials, and Hardware.” Ben Tegeler of Ozark Mountain Permaculture in Springfield, MO was awarded $15,000 for the project, “Training and Research on Compost and Compost Teas to Increase Soil Health and Microbiology on Southwest Missouri Farms.”

Free corner computer table, a trifle rickety, but still serviceable. 417-261-2220

Chicken Eggs: Free range, conventional feed. $2.50/ doz. Pick up in Sycamore or Gainesville 261-1104

Are you a grower or wildcrafter? Wages Brewing Company in West Plains is always looking for interesting ingredients for their brews and themed dinners. Contact Phil Wages at 417-293-3119 or

Free Mostly Anatolian/ Great Pyrenees puppies available. Call Levi Schump at 417-274-0563.

(All Age) Coloring Page Illustration: Norma Yvette Finkel, Kaleidoscope Designs and How to Create Them, New York, Dover Publications Inc., 1980.

Like this newsletter? It doesn’t just appear from a magic hat, send in your submissions! This publication is funded in part by SARE Project #FNC17-1082 “Building the Local Food Economy in Ozark Co., MO”

The Ozarks Agrarian News Issue 5, April 2018  
The Ozarks Agrarian News Issue 5, April 2018