Nights of wood breeze singing into the twinkle of goodbye… not long after this shot I left my home in the Hurricane Creek Wilderness Preserve after 10 years of near solitude. But I was never alone. The forest held me and taught me how to listen and learn.

After working several years as an instructor for Ozark Tracker Society, along with naturalist Kent Bonar, I founded Ozark Herbs. We spend weekends with students deciphering the hidden talents of plants and the role they play in nurturing all of life. I’m also a seed saver and an avid reader. Interdependence is the name of the game…along with that — personal responsiblity –to become increasingly self-reliant and a contributor to the welfare of all. We’re surfing the “Waves of Change” together my friends, unknown territory, a wilderness beyond our ken. We must tune in to a higher intelligence to find our way.

I adore meaningful interaction with others, and I continue to adore solitude. Finding a balance seems attractive, but maybe we need to allow for extremes sometimes in order to find that balance? Otherwise, “balance” may just be a cover for mediocrity.

Now I’ve teamed up with a Native American curandera, Aguila, at Rancho Arco Iris, which is very similar to my former wilderness home. Its in the Buffalo River National Forest area and off-grid. Designed by a certified permaculturalist,  it blends in gracefully with the landscape. Years ago, Aguila started the Arco Iris Earth Care Project, a non-profit corporation that holds 400 acres of Ozark wilderness in trust. I’m helping this project now and Aguila and I are offering Wild Kitchen workshops at Rancho Arco Iris.

A couple of years ago the Arco Iris Earth Care Project and I collaborated to start a school of Herbalism called The Herbal Coaching Community School of Herbalism. It offers quality herbal education at a low cost. It also offers an alternative economy to help folks manage financially.

  1. Just wanted to say that my mother was born and raised on Hurricane Creek so I was a bit curious about your presence in the Alton area. I would be very much interested in what you are doing in the area if any as I now have moved back after being away for about 30 years. I am an herbalist- grannywoman and love the Ozarks. I am now driving with my eyes in the ditch because of the multitude of wild flowers and herbs that tease me in abundance. Let me know!!

    • Welcome to our botanical paradise, now I’m curious to know who your mother was! And you, of course. I’ll email you, I’m looking for herbalists to collaborate with so your timing is perfect. May not be today…I’m suddenly a mother of a newly born albino fawn that requires ongoing tlc today…but will write asap

  2. It was very nice to read this. I too lived in solitude for awhile in Douglas County, Missouri. I still have my converted school bus and my boat at a friend’s while I search for another piece of property in the Ozarks. I loved the solitude and beauty of my place and life off the grid, but I did not enjoy a shared road. Next time, I want a private road. I went to your BlogSpot blog, but it wasn’t there. If you start another personal blog, please share it with us.

    • How about that! I’m also looking for a new place in the country, where I am now is temporary. In my search I may be able to help you,too. Need to know more about what you’re looking for so I’ll email you. I’m starting another personal blog but its not ready yet. Will let you know

  3. I read on your Facebook page:

    Two months ago I left the Hurricane, but remain in remote Ozark backwoods at a place called Earth Offering where we’re co-creating the Ozark Botanical Institute and botanical garden. Workshops continue here and a series of workshops aimed at women’s health are branching off as a special focus.

    Are you still at Earth Offering?

    I was curious if there were FB pages for Earth Offering and the Ozark Botanical Institute, but I couldn’t find anything. I wanted to learn more about it.

    I look forward to your email.

  4. The necessary partnership for both Earth Offering and Ozark Botanical Institute fell through (in a friendly way)…there just wasn’t the kind of commitment to it that was required to get it going. Some folks prefer to work alone and ‘do their own thing”. I’m looking for co-creators as well as property…I’ve worked alone long enough and there’s something joyous that comes about in collaboration. I’m still living at Earth Offering, until I find the right spot for this project (I probably should update all this with news about the Survivance Center project which will be closely aligned with it and has global support.)

  5. Hi, we moved full time to the Ozarks this Spring and love it. I have been studying to be an herbalist the last few years and we are living as self sufficiently as we can – learning and improving all the time. There is a lot of land here for sale at very reasonable prices, lots of springs and creeks around. The gasconade river is very close as is the state forest. We are about 30 minutes south East of Lebanon. We have great “neighbors” in about a 2 mile radius. I’d love to learn from you! Please let me know if you want some specifics on the property that is around here.

    • Hi Jamie, thanks so much for your thoughts and welcome to paradise. It sounds like you’re walking a wholesome path and contribute to our healing ways, so yes, we should meet somehow…it will happen. I’m looking to team up with folks who own land and believe in the “many hands make for light work” theory, plus the companionship of co-creators is important now. I have some possibilities in the works. I also want to help folks find land, and each other…community and the ‘village herbalist’, so your recommendation is well noted. Now, I must go take a look at your blog! Lets stay in touch.

  6. Hi D’Coda my other blog is here:


    I can’t wait to meet you one day and printed the schedule of your classes. There is so much good land for sale around here and I”ve met so many like minded people. Everyone I meet says that we have the best neighbors they’ve ever met, and so far they are right. Most land around here is for sale by owner and the prices are negotiable as we found when we made an offer. So anyone like minded that would like to move out here, there is plenty of room!

  7. Found your blog off of the Suvival IC list… I moderate that list and also have a farm/csa/IC in Texas.

    I have some of my oldest friends living in Jasper Arkansas and would love to visit there again.

    They are promising they will come to Austin this fall for a visit, so my return to Arkansas will also be this fall.

    I’ve camped, hiked and kayaked all over the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains with good friends living at the head waters of the Big Piney and the Little Buffalo.

    Nice to meet you , and maybe someday our paths will cross with a smile, knowing that we know what we know with the best intentions.


    • Hi Mel, sorry for taking so long to reply…I’ve had a major computer crash, not over it yet but the backup plan is kicking in. Anyway, I hope you do make it out to Jasper, let me know when you’re going to be around! I haven’t been able to post on the survival ic site (due to crash) but hope to get on there soon. I’m big on community b1uilding and have some very cool things going on around here now. I’ll be writing about some of it here too. Blessings to you

  8. Hi, there, wow, I’m so excited to find your blog, I’m moving back to Springfield mo area in October after 30 years away!!!

    I am trained as an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist, have recently gotten into aromatherapy, planning to start an online aromatherapy line under the name simple medicine – I so look forward to connecting to Ozark herbalists!


  9. After study a few of the blog posts on your website now, and I truly like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon.

  10. I just discovered your web site on yahoo and see that you’ve got some fantastic thoughts in this post. I specifically appreciate the way you’ve been able to stick so very much thought into a relatively short submit (comparitively) which creates it an thoughtful post on your subject. IMHO you put a lot of good information in this submit not having all the filler that most bloggers use just to make their posts appear longer, that is ideal for a gal like me who doesn’t have a lot time cause I’m usually within the go. I often get so frustrated with so many of the final results in the major SE’s due to the fact they frequently seem to mostly be filled with filler content that frequently isn’t quite sensible. If you don’t mind I’m going to add this post and your weblog to my delicious favorites so I can share it with my family. I appear forward to coming back to read your future posts too.

    • Hi Roxy, thanks for your comment. Due to living off grid and relying on just a small amount of solar power (lacking in cloudy weather) to use the computer — I’m often forced to keep it short! Big ideas, so little time. Good to know the results turn out to be useful for others who, for various reasons, are also on a time budget.

  11. My dad was raised in the Ozarks and my grandmother used to wash her hair in Hurricane Creek. I have so many memories of spending time there. My grandmother was a Shores and the lake there was named after her family. There was a community there settled by my ancestors which was later flooded out and turned into the lake where I learned how to swim growing up. I just recently became interested in learning about herbs and natural remedies. My grandmother was also a healer and used to “pray” our wounds away. She was an amazing woman.

  12. I was so excited to find your blog. My dad was raised in the Ozarks near Fort Smith and my grandmother’s family (the Shores) homesteaded there. There was an actual community called Shores which was later flooded out and is now Shores Lake. My grandmother used to tell stories of going to Hurricane Creek and I grew up learning how to swim in the lake and the creek. We have a huge family reunion there at Shores every October, but I haven’t been able to get back up there since 1998.

    I have become very interested in learning the art of herbal remedies and found your site while reseaching and reading the various blogs I’ve come across.

    • Hi Andrea,

      Great to hear from you, few know about Hurricane Creek and this is the first I’ve heard about Shores…I think…I recall seeing a story about a town in Arkansas that was deliberately flooded out, there are still houses, etc. under water…might that be Shores Lake? As you may have noticed, since starting the herbal school along with its blog, I’ve been rather neglectful of this one (always meaning to get back to it of course). If you want to tap into our Arkansas herbal community & beyond, take a look at http://www.herbcoachingcommunity.com , that’s the blog for the school. Look forward to learning more about you!

  13. Thanks. It’s off of Highway 215 in the Mulberry AR area. There were several families that settled there from Rome GA pre-civil war (The Shore, Tafts, Johnsons, Kings and Greers). Some of my ancestors are buried there at the lake and the rest are buried at White Rock Mountain. Shores Community had a school, a church, a sawmill and the Corps of Engineers came in and flooded it out and not it’s a lake. Due to severe droughts though, it’s been really low. I would love to get back up there and explore again. Beautiful country.

  14. I love your blog and have only just now found it, so I am sure I will love it even more as I read on. I am a pharmacy tech by trade, but have always had a conflict with my job due to my spiritual and earthy side, which does not believe we need anything other than that which Mother Earth provides us with. I see the very addicted people I sell drugs to keep coming back. Of course, this is ok because a doctor has written the prescription. Yeah right. I do not feel as if it is ok to keep being involved with some of the aspects of my job. How refreshing to see this blog!

    • Hi, I love hearing from folks in pharmacy. I keep hoping to have more time to write for this blog but since we started our herbal school I wind up spending all my time writing for it’s blog which at http://www.herbcoachingcommunity.com , you may want to jump over there for a more lively conversation?

      best wishes

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