Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Poem for Autumn

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;

The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field of scarlet gown.

 Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on. 

                                                                                              Emily Dickinson

Good Bye, Summer of My Discontent

View from my window

   Gone are the brown, drought-damaged pastures of summer.  An abundance of rains lately have transformed the pastures to green once more.  Though it will only be for a short time--soon a killing frost will  send them back into dormancy. 

Our backyard

Until winter winds blow, lets enjoy this gorgeous season God gave us.  Here's a short tour of our beautiful Newton County, Arkansas--Heart of the Ozark Mountains.

Cave Mountain Road

The road to Hawksbill Crag is a trip in itself.  Beautiful and rugged, but worth the ride.  I have several friends who live up there and drive down everyday.  They can tell a few "nail-biting" stories about winter driving!

                                                               Highway to Mt. Judea

Every fall, we make this drive on Highway 123 to Mt. Judea.  We always eat lunch at Cliff House Inn on Highway 7 south of Jasper, then stop by Emma's Museum of Junk for collectibles and antiques on the square, and then across to Blue Mt. Bakery for a sweet treat ( we have to pick up sweet potato muffins for breakfast the next day). 

Henly Barn on Highway 103

We often take a break and drive down our own highway.  The 10 miles through Kenner Creek Valley is often called our "best kept secret".  You will see horses grazing in green pastures, farms and barns, rock formations, and flowing streams as you make your way to Osage.  Stop by Osage Clayworks located in the Old Stamps store for unique hand-thrown pottery.

Hope you enjoyed this short tour of our beloved Ozarks.  And, maybe we will see you soon on our mountain!

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir! Wm. Bliss Carman

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Joys In the Ozarks

  This little white birdhouse was orginally meant to be part of a porch decoration placed a few feet from the door several years ago.  A little female bluebird soon claimed it, and we have had a bluebird family on the porch every summer since.  We moved it to the railing to keep the dogs from interferring.  Right now, a bluebird couple is busy with the nest building.  Soon she will start laying, then setting, then we will hear the 'chirp-chirp' of babies.  He will sit nearby singing a lullaby to his beloved.

   No matter how tedious the task in my kitchen, all I need to do is glance out the window and watch the butterflies flit from one flower to another.  Then, I count my blessings!

   A little 'splash' time at the Buffalo River...it wouldn't be summer without it! 

   Summertime means bounty from the garden--and the woods!  Twice this week Jack has slipped out of the  house at dawn and returned an hour or so later with buckets of wineberries and blackberries from the woods and fields near the house!  I can taste the cobblers now!

Because God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame.
                                                          Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Who Da Thought It?

View along Scenic Seven Highway in Newton County

   When driving Highway 7 in Newton County, you will see some fantastic mountain views, old Ozark homesteads, fine new houses on mountain tops, and some old stores.  You may be like us.  We have driven this road many times, always excited when we cross the county line at Pelsor.  We see some of the old places in disrepair, especially the old-timey stores.  Many date back to when Dogpatch and Lil' Abner were a new tourist destination for the county.  The signs for miles still entice us to stop at Booger Hollow--the ultimate in Hillbilly shopping!  I stopped there  in 2001 just for old times' sake. The one clerk didn't bother to get up.  Just said they were "out of water" and weren't serving coffee or anything else! Don't think it made it through the next year!
   Not so at Nellie's!  She had an idea to take advantage of the tourists going to Dogpatch.  She opened a store that allowed many Ozark women (and men) in the area to sell their handmade crafts--quilts, paintings, wooden toys, jellies and jams, homemade soaps, handwoven white oak baskets,various dolls-- from cornhusk and apple dolls to cute little rag dolls,-- and many other items.  She is still there everyday--providing tourists with  genuine Ozark crafts and providing mountain women with a way to make a little extra spending money.  I stopped in there a while back when my car was complaining of the 500 mile trip it had just driven. She stayed after hours, waiting with me, while Jack drove from our house to her place to check on the car.  Of course, after a rest, the little Escape was ready to get home!  No problem!

Old Barn southern Newton County near Lurton
   Driving north from Nellie's is another reminder of the Hillbilly influence left over from the Dogpatch era.  "Who Da Thought It"  is a store with a little of everything--old!  Or it was until recently when they auctioned off the 'old stuff' and 'upgraded' the merchandise.  It is still worth a stop and the outside hasn't changed other than reworking the "Who Da Thought It" wooden letters across the front of the building.

   I often say "Who Da Thought It!", or as Winnie the Pooh says, "Who'd a thunk it"  when I reflect over the last 10 years (yes, 10 years since we packed up and moved to the mountains!).  I guess it was a backward version of the Beverly Hillbillys without the oil wells!  Wow! What the years have given us!  The Lord has blessed us beyond our wildest dreams!
Old Church/Community Building at Boxley

      Yes, the beautiful old white church standing reverently in Boxley Valley is not just the 'most photographed church building in Arkansas', it is 'my' church.  When we started visiting north Arkansas, Newton County, and Boxley Valley, the building was always there--peaceful, beautiful, historic.  Who would have thought some day we would call it our home church.  From the pastor and his wife, who now live in the remodeled parsonage next door, to our good friends who rent the cabins in the valley and unselfishly encouraged us get our own cabin business going, to the most selfless, generous-spirited Christian women who are members of the Women of Purpose organization--some who have lived here all their lives and others, who like us, find this place and are welcomed in with open arms. 

   Of course, with church membership comes those little jobs we do with a cheerful heart!  Bring on the Valentine's Banquet!  Our committee will get it done--hearts, flowers, food, candy, balloons, children's party, adult meal!  Blessings!  Sweethearts! Love!

In memory of my friend, Debbie, who never met a flower she couldn't grow, or a party she couldn't throw! We will miss her wonderful spirit, decorating expertise, and cheerful bossiness!
This is the day that the Lord has made, we will be glad and rejoice in it.

Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.  Ephesians 3:20

Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord  And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth.
Isaiah 58:14

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ten Years and Counting

Our first mountain home
       Ten years ago, September 11, 2001, we packed up two vehicles, two mama Jack Russells and five pups, and a very unhappy cat, and headed north for our mountain adventure and the rest of our lives. The events of that day reminded us of how fragile life can be, and made us determined to live life to the fullest.  It continues to be a wonderful journey!

Foundation built over basement
   We were fortunate to be able to build over a basement left over from the old burned house on the site.  I never knew what a wonderful space a basement can be.  It is our guest quarters on one side and storage space on the other.
Builder walking the log walls
   Our Amish builders worked for five months to get us in our house quickly.  We learned later it was unusual for a house to be finished in this length of time.  Their work ethic and craftsmanship was impressive.  We were blessed to get to know them and their families through the months they were on the job.  We were honored to be guests at their school Christmas pagent.

Roof in place before the snow
   Our roofers worked overtime to get the roof on before Thanksgiving and the season's first snow.  We needed to stay with the project and didn't go home for Thanksgiving holidays.  We ate our Thanksgiving Dinner with new friends who were building also and couldn't get away.

Finished house and yard
   We moved into our house on Valentine's Day.  By summer the yard was looking good.  Thanks to the former owners of the burned house, there was a picket fence and some beds already in place and ready for new plantings.

Welcome to the porch

   The porch has always been a favorite place to eat lunch, take a nap in the lounger, linger over early morning coffee, and entertain guests.  We recently had our annual hamburger cook out with our couple's supper club.

Our kitchen
    Come join me for coffee in the kitchen.  I will probably have some zucchine bread hot from the oven.   

Big Blue Mountain Spirit,
The home made of blue clouds...
I am grateful for that mode of goodness there.
                                                            Chant (Apache)    

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The End of the Day

Ozark Mountain Spa

     At the end of a long, hot summer day my old tub is waiting for me.  I fill it with water early in the day, and let the sun warm it to just the right temp.  A lazy soak just as the sun is going down is a unique mountain pleasure!

Bathing Bluebirds

      The bluebirds join me for their version of the mountain spa!

Frittilary on Zinnia
And, a butterfly also keeps me company as I cool down after a hot day in the garden.

Summer garden treasures
I'm thinking bacon and tomato sandwiches for supper!

Summer sunflowers

 Nothing says "summer" like a beautiful sunflower.  These were planted by the birds.   

My summer backyard

No house should ever be on any hill or on anything.  It should be of the hill, belonging to it, so hill and house could live together each the happier for the other.  Frank Lloyd Wright

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Summer Song

Trees swayin' in the summer breeze...

Early morning coffee on the porch with the bluebird family.  We often wake up to their sweet, soothing song.

Dewdrops on the pink garden phlox brings out the spicebush early in the morning. 

New babies at the neighbor's farm--I watch them run, hop, prance and play from my upstairs window as I work on my computer.

Summer on the farms in the area means time for the hot, sweaty job of cutting hay.  I would guess nothing satisfies a farmer like seeing his barn full of fresh cut hay.  This one was always stuffed with hay bales until it finally collasped during a spring storm.

What is more fun than a day at the river--a little sun, a little sand, and lots of cool water!  Come on in, the water's great!

The 'fruits' of our labor--worth all the sweat, the dirt under the fingernails, and the aches and pains.  Left to right--Big Boy, Lillian (yellow), green zebra, and Cherokee purple tomatoes.  Small cherry tomatoes are sun golds. Delicious!!!

And for dessert--fresh picked raspberries.  Just top with a little whipped cream or add to ice cream!

And when the rain
Beats against my widow pane
I'll think of summer days again
And dream of you.
                                A Summer Song
                                             Metcalfe, Noble, Stuart
                                                  sung by Chad and Jeremy