Early Morning Reflection, by Jamie

As I arise I put my dream wandering behind and close off the doors to deeper perception and quantum drift. I lock down into the reality of my physical surroundings and return to habitual behavior. Faint echos of the night’s expanded world still bounce around in my mind as I light the stove and turn on the kettle. I step outside with bare feet to take a leak and can see the lights from the miner’s cars zooming across the bridge 1000 feet away. By the time I press the coffee and pour the dark muddy brew steaming into my cup, I can hear the “BEEP – BEEP – BEEP” of the heavy machinery faint in the distance. Even out in the deep forest there is human industry ever plugging away. As the light grows the silhouettes of the trees outline the curve of the hill behind the schoolhouse where we have spent the last 8 years. The sun will rise and follow the contour of the ridge through the day. In the depths of winter on this chilly north side sometimes the sun will never make it out from behind the trees until late in the afternoon. There is a brighter future on the horizon for us sun-loving happy people, as the house we are building is directly across the creek 200 vertical feet up on the south facing slope. It is a continual focus that gives direction and intention to our perspective.

Jamie Zane Smith. Sculptural work in process.

Outside of our multi-windowed dwelling the creeks on both sides are flowing beneath the bleached sycamore boughs. I often consider their branching habits and think of the fractal divisions and patterns that life uses to execute its functions. After looking at them long enough I start to think not about the branches themselves but the space between the branches. The light that comes through, the energy that is harnessed by living sentient beings and turned into wood, flesh, and stone. There is a knowledge that has always been understood by indigenous people and is just now being “discovered” by science that trees have intelligence and ancestral knowledge that is passed down to each new generation. Through symbiotic relationships with fungal mycelium, neural networks are formed that send information and nutrients throughout the community of roots. The same kind of cells that are in the human mind are found under the ground and researchers are beginning to understand that the root structure of trees are similar to brains in people and animals. Each individual tree has its own unique way of perceiving the world and interacting with its environment. It is easy to take it for granted because trees don’t communicate in a way that is easy for humans to understand.

Trees are constantly giving. There is a gift-economy in the forest that is difficult for modern humans to understand. Forests hold some of the highest and most delicate forms of culture. There is an inter-species exchange that highly values diversity. When I encounter other animals in the forest and they run away from me I can sense not just fear of an oppressive species but also frustration at being interrupted in their work. Animal’s and plant’s cultural sensibilities are sharply developed and are aware that the work they do doesn’t solely benefit themselves. Trees are highly aware that their work involves creating for others without expectation of direct compensation. They have a relationship with their community that is deeper and more subtly developed that will outlast our own.

As I hold myself upright and prepare myself for my daily work, I stretch my body and take inspiration from the structure of my arboreal relations. Their limbs are constantly held high. They are relaxed into their posture that is constantly at work creating food and habitat for the forest community around them. Not to mention they are busy creating oxygen from biological waste and cleansing the air. After individual trees fall they continue to offer information to future generations of trees through their roots. They also return nutrients to the soil for all life to benefit. As they stand tall and the light passes through their branches, the shape of their leaves will be defined by the deep spectrum of orange through purple of the rising sun. When I look up, I see patterns that are echoed in ancient symbolism created by our ancestors.

These visual interpretations of forest culture and my indegenous heritage are the inspiration for the designs incised on my ceramic vessels. My ceramic artwork is on display at Turtle Earth Healing and Arts 112 W. Main in Steelville. Come and see the work and check out the classes and workshops being offered throughout the winter. We will also be offering several events throughout the year. Check out Turtle Earth on Facebook to find out about our events.

Tree Bark Stamped Vessel by Jamie Zane Smith. 15″w x 17″h


A Tree’s Life

The gifts are unwrapped and Santa did his thing. The old dried trees will be givin a fling into local pond for fish cover or just burnt in the next bonfire. A cup of pine needle tea with a bit of honey may be just want the old body needs to get over a cold and fill us with enough vitamin C to put us straight on our feet for 2018.

 Americans purchased 27.4 million dollars worth of real Christmas trees in 2016. It takes about ten years to grow a perfectly desirable  7 foot Christmas tree. My father- in- law  told us all a story about his family Christmas tree tradition.
“On Christmas eve, my father would take us all to the Christmas tree lot. By then, they were very picked over and FREE. We would put pieces of branches and unwanted tree parts together to make one beautiful tree.My brothers and I were very proud of those trees”.
As we enter into The New Year, we can put our best foot forward and make the best out of our situations. No matter what type of “Christmas tree” we are, we can put the pieces together to create our masterpiece. A masterpiece called “The Tree of Life”. What do we see for our future? How do we affect the future? How did our ancestors affect this present moment.The inter-weaving of generations, species of all life and the single seed that birthed this journey flow into a tree of life.
  Although I do not see many Christmas tree farmers in our area, I see lots of trees. I also see lots of trees being harvested. Many large logging trucks hall loads to local saw mills. My children quickly try to count how many logs are on the load and I pray one doesn’t fall off. We have been advised by “experts” to harvest our black oaks before they waste and to thin the pines for a healthy stand. We have also been promised a $$$ amount as the dangling carrot. When is the right time to harvest a tree? I guess it depends on who you ask. It boils down to individual land owners to steward their land as they see fit. Our national forest is managed by USDA. You can go to www.missouriforesters.com for consultation on forest management. You may or may not agree with the advice you get from the “experts”.The Missouri extension ladies in our area are very helpful and knowledgeable. They seem more than happy to help educate and connect with Land owners. The experimental forest management seems to have short term goals. It seems we can only make good decision by walking the forest and understanding the whole ecosystem. Google Map will never be enough to completely understand a forested area.  We may never know what sustainable forestry is, although I hope so. For the sake of our local tree of life inter-web, we need the education to understand this complex system we call home. We need to understand how living among the forest effects us and how we are connected. There is 14 million acres of forested land in Missouri. 85% of this land is privately owned.
 A healthy red oak may live approximately 200 years. A white oak may live 600 years.With the stress of over harvesting, burning,and drought the red oak bores, chestnut bores, and fungi such as armillaria and hypoxylon attack and feed off the weak, creating diseased trees. We are seeing stunted growth, inner root rot, and an early decline in some parts of our local forest. Biodiversity seems to be a key in dealing with these issues. I see many identical signs in human bodies. We need biodiversity in our gut flora also. There is ten times the amount of bacteria cells living in and on our body than human cells. That makes us  less human than we care to know. They say, “A forest is more than the sum of it’s parts”. Many new Forestry managers say, “Its not what we take, it is what we leave.” What kind of forest will we leave for our next generation? Are we seeing affects of past generations arise 100 years later now?
  A tree is a host for more life forms than I know. Many of these life forms dance in a symbiotic relationship with mutual benefits. The network of mushroom mycelium and microorganisms all the way to the bird and deer, connection occurs. The web of underground communication is real!  We may not be able to see this mystery, but we may be able to sense it. As the cold wind of winter blow, seeds, bacteria, yeast, and fungus inject themselves in food sources. The roots of the trees rely on bacteria functions to collect needed nutrition. This symbiotic dance knows the true meaning of giving and never had to spend a dime. Intelligence lives within the woods. When we clear cut, over harvest, and use large machinery it is possible to SHOCK an area. I hear of many loggers using this term and they seem to know what the forest looks like afterward. I have talked with many local people who have not been happy with the forest management near them. Where is the platform for this voice ? When we go to the saw mills to buy lumber, I notice much waste. The free off cuts could be a carpenter’s dream. If only there was more time in a day! I also saw a sanded stump used as a cutting board in The Oprah Magazine selling for $350.00. Why would I sell a whole log for less than  $100.00 if I could get over $300.00 for just one stump?? How many of our local natural resources are being exported daily and is the community being fairly compensated? More Q’s than A’s. Enough ramblin!!
 We will be having a Kindness and Loving Meditation with Lisa Hoover at Turtle Earth healing and Arts, in Steelville, Missouri, January 21st @ 10 a.m. We will also will be hosting a Tonic workshop with Ethel Hickey.and a Ozark roots class by Colleen Smith. Visit us on Facebook for the dates and registration.

Woodland Cultivation

The rivers are the life-blood arteries of the land. They support life and diversity and are sacred providers. With the power of the sun, the water breathes through hydrologic systems and harmonizes with the water systems in all living organisms. Sometimes it seems like the rain is always just to the North or just to the South but we can see it in that direction and are glad that it comes. Sometimes when I sit by the water and just listen I can feel a connection that runs from our little creek all the way through the rivers to the oceans and throughout the planet. I feel that it is possible to connect instantly with energies that span the globe if we can let down our daily mundane blinders for a minute and entune with the significance of every ripple in the stream. When we remember, we can recall that each and every action has an effect the world over and the ultimately returns to the Source. It is a reminder that every action has a significance and consequence. Even though you might feel alone and disconnected there is another part of the self that is being nurtured. There is a connection to all living things on the planet that has been sewn into your DNA and forms a bond through a multidimensional language written by the Creator.


All of the systems of life on the planet work together in a symbiosis and human culture tends to be over-represented. It is taken for granted that we are the only species with important work to do throughout the week. It can be beneficial to consider the information and material that is being collected and processed by the other living beings in our community including trees and animals of the forest. For example most folks only think about wild Turkeys during hunting season or when they get a fleeting glance on the road or trail. But throughout the week, unseen by most, turkeys are involved in very important work. Their work not only feeds their culture, but also spreads nutrients through the forests and nurtures diversity. They are not just bobbling around out there like idiots. They are very sophisticated and do important work. They are adapted to the environment in a very unique way and have informed our human ancestors for millennia.


Turkey Track. native clay plate with ceramic pigment.

These ideas are filtering through my mind as I do the multiple simple repetitive actions that it takes to build a house by hand and create artwork. We are blessed as a family to have been gifted with the perspective that time is worth more than gold and possessions are only material to build our future. We have the gable ends on our house build sheathed with rough-cut 1”x6” pine sourced from a local sawmill and covered with building wrap. Now I have to think about the soffits and trim around the windows so we can bring in the work party and finish the rough-cut cedar lap-siding. I love working with local materials that come directly from our forest. It is like the house is growing right out of the hill.

sawmill wood

Fresh Ozark Pine!

We are also continuing to work on the stem walls building with field stone and mortar when the weather permits. The stone for the wall was removed from the field by farmers when it was cultivated years ago for corn. These crazy stones have very unusual cleavage and very few flat sides. They are difficult to lay but they are loaded with beautiful crystals and are very unique. This rock stem wall is going to not only hold the wall infill but it is also going to be thermal mass for temperature control in the house itself. The building is oriented on a South facing hillside and has a panoramic view of the valley below. The rock wall is an inner wall that will be covered by a greenhouse on the outside. The eaves are set in such a way that in the winter the sun will shine through the greenhouse and warm the stones. The heat will then rise up through vents and bring warmth into the house during the winter. There will also be a thermal mass heater built into the wall that will efficiently burn wood and heat the house when the sun is not shining. Built into the wall will be a wood storage that can be filled from the outside and accessed by another door on the inside. It is my intention that the house will create a balanced temperature on its own and never freeze even if we are out galavanting and traveling the world. It is my intention that this home will breathe and be a living structure and its systems will work independently oriented on sustainability.


I am very grateful to the community for all of the support and fellowship that has formed a foundation for the many projects that we have started. Come see us at Turtle Earth Healing and Arts this weekend in Steelville where we showcase art and herbal products created completely by local hands. By buying gifts at our shop all of the proceeds directly support our local craft economy!


Jamie Smith


Discover The Power of loose leaf tea!!!

Herbal tea leaf, flower, root dancing in hot water. Taking time to infuse your intentions, healing, new life! Cellular change is yours!

Red clover, oat straw harvested in the milk, wood nettles, orange peel.

Discover how good you can feel. 

Join The Tea Train!!

Blessings to all who stir the brew!!


Breakfast.                      at The Schoolhouse

The crisp fall air fills the house this morning. It finally seems right to fire up the antique stove. As we wait for bread and eggs we quietly sip our morning brew and dream of our day and future plans. May this meal fuel a productive day, with love.


Majestic Missouri Homestead 80 acres for sale!!

Walking thru the Majestic Missouri woods in Spring with helper Lenora Hazel Zane Smith, my cheerful 3 year old.

The land is full of mysteries and medicinal green plants with spirit glow as the Earth awakens from Winter slumber. The spring calls me further into our walk to discover hidden treasures of the land. The soft healing sound of the water dancing down limestone rocks soothes us both. This spring carries precious clean water down closer to the house.  Feeling embraced by this old Ozark spring holler, our eyes are now open to the plant world around us.

We find old oaks, hickories, and sugar maples telling the story of time in this quiet place that still exist in today’s world. The new growth of the wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa) vine is stunning! The root is traditionally dug and used for it’s hormone balancing effects. It has also been used to sooth rheumatoid like conditions. We also spy Soloman’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum) and false Soloman seal (Maianthemum racemosum) growing together. Similar sisters, but altogether different. Both plant are used in pulmonary issue. It is the true Soloman’s seal that has an amazing effect on muscle spasms. I finally found the Wood betony (Pedicularis canadensis) on this land. Come to find out, it is growing all over these hills! This plant is a powerful pain killer for emergency situations. Wood betony was used in Civil war times in these hills and was known to the Native American tribes of North America.

Seeing the goose berry (Ribes missouriense) shrubs remind me of my grandmother telling stories of goose berry pies and jam. Greeted by the light purple flowering wild geranium (Geranium maculatum), we stop for more photos and to feel the vibe of this land. What is that smell? It is the sweet unique smell of the flowering may apple (Poldophyllum peltatum). This fruit is edible and the root has been used for medicine and may have anti-cancer abilities. Looking further on the Earth’s surface I spy the Wild ginger (Asarum canadense) in flower. The marvelous maroon color with geometric perfection seems to stare back. These flowers are pollinated by certain insects. All living and decomposing organisms have an important role to play in this natural ecosystem.

After talking with The Held Family and walking the land, I know this land is calling out for the perfect new owner. The Helds have made sure to take ultimate care and stewardship of this land. Now is the time to pass it to the next. Don’t miss your chance to walk this land and to see if it calls to you.

Stay tuned for more pics of the upper field and a closer look at the plant life within. Thank you for taking this time to read in this busy world. For more info. on wild edible and medicinal plants near you, e-mail me.

May The Green Light of The Earth live within you today and always! Colleen Smith


Go to the link below for more info. on this Majestic Mo. Land!!!!



The Path

What is nature’s design?  

The geometric patterns that life gives us seem to be a direct source to the divine. All the ancient patterns that people of the past have imprinted on stone, clay, leather etc. . All these designs that have been beaded, woven, and hand sewn tell a story of life, death and the emotion, thought, strife and journey in between.

Can we read the story of life in a leaf or in the sky?                    


Jamie Zane Smith is constantly working on revealing more of life’s mysteries. Thru ceramic vessels, Jamie deepens his connection with ancestors of his Wyandot Tribe.  Learning old songs, traditions and skills enable him to tap into deep, embedded genetic information inside of himself. We all have this. Can we quiet ourselves enough to learn from it?

Using pottery to tell stories reveals the creators intentions. Jamie has touched many individuals’ hearts. Some may not know why they are drawn in by a particular piece of art. The designs come from life, something we are all experiencing at the present moment. We are naturally drawn to life’s pattern because we are a part of it. Processing his own clay and paints and forming tiny coils to make ancient style vessels allows Jamie to give up time and focus on the present moment. Many people are using forms of meditation or prayer to relief stress and anxiety.

During a hand building class, this spring in Steelville, Missouri, at Ozark Art and Insight, the participants felt calm and relaxed. They wanted the class to continue longer than six weeks. Jamie taught his students how to harvest, process and build with clay. The group also had the opportunity to wood fire their own work. We need no industrial technology to create art work. Through art anyone can feel a since of renewed energy.

Jamie draws his audience attention to an older pattern, form and story. The work is melding contemporary ideas with traditional technique. The work takes the visual spectrum of the natural world and breaks the images down into archetypal symbols. This process is not destructive, The symbols created give a strong foundation for the heart. These patterns have the ability to inspire life, thoughts and conversation. What do you see in these patterns?

Jamie’s vessels convey the intention of gathering and storing the good in the world and restoring faith at a deeper level. That is what the old pottery did for community. We can unlock this key once again. Life naturally wants to keep going. How can we restore a deeper faith in community and sustainability in our own lives? If we understand life’s design, we can live a holistic and happy life. We can learn not to fight life and start living it. We can learn how to connect to something greater than ourselves once again.

Once again the circle of time, space and season begin. What will we notice this time around? What will inspire us?

This spring of May, 2017, on Saturday, the 13th Turtle Earth Healing and Arts will present, Honor The Mother (Pottery from the Earth) a ceramic show featuring exceptional ceramic artist.

Visit Jamie Zane Smith’s website at jamiezanesmith.com. If you would like to contact him, email at jamie.truelove@gmail.com.


Slippery Elm Ulmus Fava

Historic Tree in the Ozark

Slippery Elm Ulmus fava

Slippery Elm can be identified by its bark, alternating branches and big hairy buds. This tree is the first to bloom and go to seed in the spring. Slippery elm likes to grow in the bottom lands or in moist soil. This tree has been used throughout history for burns, boils, indigestion, ulcers, cancers and much more. It is one of four herbs used in the famous Essiac formula. This formula is taken by many cancer patients still today. Most Ozark old timers have a story of the slippery elm tree.

Slippery elm was used with sassafras bark and root to create a powerful tea/gruel for civil war soldiers. These soldiers would live off the gruel when in the field for up to 13 days. These soldiers reported feeling energetic.  Today many people use the inner bark of the slippery elm for severe intestinal issues, like crohns and irritable bowel syndrome.

I tend to gather young branches or small trees. The inner bark can be pounded, carved or draw knifed off the branch. I like to put a handful into a gallon of water and let simmer in a covered pot for 15 minutes. I let it sit overnight, strain and enjoy the next day. Sometimes it is nice to add sassafras, maple syrup or vanilla extract. It is so easy for our bodies to dry out in the winter. Slippery elm bark is the perfect mucous membrane protector. What medicinal plants do you have growing near you?

Look for these amazing blossoms is early spring!! The seed pods are yellowish green and are edible. Enjoy!!1

Find out more about local Ozark edibles and medicinal plants at Turtle Earth Healing and Arts. (112 West Main Street, Steelville, MO)


Turtle Earth Herbal “CSH” and Tea Tasting Society




Support local herbalism and enjoy a season of learning, sharing and tasting herbal teas. Learn about the bounty of plants on this Earth and how to use them in your daily life. Reach ultimate health and awareness this year. Take part in our life changing journey and become part of the Turtle Earth Tea Tasting Society today. We have options that will work for all. May 2017 be the best year yet for you and your family!

TURTLE EARTH TEA TASTING SOCIETY Be a part of a monthly herbal tea subscription and have a tea blend sent to your home with information to guide you into  a new life using loose leaf teas for health, wellness, and enjoyment.

Must sign up for a minimum of 3 months  for 37.00. 150.00 for the whole year. This is only 12.50 a month.


This seasonal one time package can be sent to your home or picked up at Turtle Earth Store in Steelville, Missouri. This package will contain herbs and herbal products with information on how to use them. You choose what quarter you want to receive this package.$ 50.00 a basket

(Pick-ups will get to enjoy fresh herbs in season. All mailed baskets will contain dried herbs for mailing convenience).


Four baskets, one for every season.  After a full year a person will have a complete herbal first aid kit and a starter family medicine chest with handouts on all items. Plus coupons for discounts on workshops, lectures, and in store specials. COST- $180.00 a YEAR.


This package deal will include Four seasonal packages as above and a personal herb walk by Colleen Smith (herbalist, horticulturist and land romper) you do not have to have a large piece of land to find edible and medicinal plants, they are everywhere! Total cost – $300.00 for a year.




This package includes

Four seasonal packages, a personal herb walk/party by Colleen Smith and a wildly organic meal prepared for you and three others by Colleen Smith .Also, free admission to any workshop at Turtle Earth hosted by Colleen Smith for the whole year of 2017. Cost- $500.00

Sign up by phone or Email for ultimate communication. There is limited availability for these unique offers. Sign up this January to receive your free gift of appreciation and love.


Colleen Smith

10521 old HWY C








lets have tea 002 copy



Charlotte Griffiths will be teaching a class on Natural cleaning products. She is the owner of Barefoot Artisan Products. I never met a woman who actually makes cleaning so fun.Come join us for a hoot of a time.

Time January 26th at 6:30 pm

Location: Turtle Earth Healing and Arts 112 West Main Street Steelville Missouri.

For additional information email ozarkschoolhouse@gmail.com