Friday, May 20, 2022

Having a peak at North Central Arkansas

 After our 2 night stay in Alabama, we headed over to the Norfolk Lake area in northern Arkansas. The drive was most excellent with beautiful and lush scenery. In particular, the roses!! So many homes and businesses had large red rosebushes, obviously they know the secret of growing/tending them just right. Best of all they had a delicate fragrance which has been bred out of many of the hybrids.


The drive from Alabama through Mississippi and into Arkansas was very pretty. Dandelions are in full pop-out mode and carpeted the gently rolling hills and verges along the highways. Lots of rural farm land and cattle pastures, great eye candy to say the least. Miles and miles of it.


This is how every roadside looked. What a great drive!

Once in Arkansas we passed by a lot of creeks, rivers and lakes. There seemed to be plentiful water about, and it seemed like we were crossing the White River over and over.

Lush, grassy banks make for a pretty backyard.


A couple of fellas set up camp right river side and get out 
in their john boats for some fishing. Looks like a great vacation.


The weather was warm but not bad, and our cabin at the Mockingbird Bay Resort on Lake Norfolk was pleasant.  The owners of the resort were really great, friendly and funny and more than willing to bend over backwards to meet expectations. Loretta was an amazing quilter and stitch-wizard as well and we had a fun conversation about crafting of all sorts. I learned a lot about quilting, and she too had skads of bright and colorful batik squares etc.

During our day touring we crossed the White River and while on the bridge, the swifts were swarming and swooping. So cool.


Check out the swifts having a field day.

Later we checked out the historic City Rock Bluff or Calico Bluff. It's a bit of an historic site which you can read about here; 

https://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/entries/calico-rock-izard-county-1272/ 

City Rock Bluff, looking one way..

and the other. Pretty special.

Really great views in both directions from the top of approx. 150' cliffs above the White River.  All in all a beautiful glimpse of Arkansas. We didn't go fishing but the lake is reputed to produce some huge fish.

"The bite’s on at Norfork Lake, and they’re hitting hard. For the best crappie, striper, bass, and walleye fishing, it’s clean water, clear water Norfork Lake. Both morning and evening you can expect to catch bass & BIG stripers, so now is the time to come fish the best lake in the mid-south for stripers." 

Snippet coutesy of https://www.norforklakefun.com/fishing/

                                       Shot also courtesy of  the afforementioned website.


Our last day there we took sandwiches and had lunch in a fun little creekside park running through the town of Calico Rock. 

Picnic spot, waterside.

After lunch we took a good, long look through the Calico Rock Historic Museum which was fascinating; many diorama's depicting the Native Americans and ways of life for the early settlers, and the folks up through the mid-1900's. So great to see it preserved and to realize just how far we have come in 100 yrs. These folks have done an excellent job of sourcing artifacts and putting it all together in a unique way.


Courtesy of the Calico Rock Museum

Here's a link to it:  http://www.calicorockmuseum.com/exhibits-1.html

From there we headed out west through Oklahoma and into the southern part of Colorado. I'll cover that in the next post.

Thanks for reading along - it was a great stop through a very pretty state and we're sure glad we went through and spent a little time there. I, for one, wouldn't be at all opposed to going back for further visiting.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Heading out west the slow-poke way.

 This blog is a week late getting written, our departure date was actually May 9th, but here goes..

We did a good job getting things squared away and thoroughly locked-up at home, and got on the road towards Cheaha State Park, AL on Monday morning.  We had reserved a chalet for 2 nights inside the park. Very pretty spot at about 2400' so things were budded-out and blooming. Rhododendrons, iris, peonys and others. We saw deer early in the morning. 

Chalet in Cheaha State Park, AL

The people around here were super friendly and interested in engaging with us in conversation at the drop of a hat.  The park was built as a CCC project, and as such most buildings (all?) are stonework.


They had a great trailhead with an impressive entrance "gateway". The wings of the gateway had leaf impressions of the varieties of trees in this area. Very cool.






We found the lush vegetation so very appealing, especially when combined with mid-70's temps.Lots of stuff in bloom, here's a few.



We saw more roses! Gorgeous, big bushes
of them all up in GA, AL and MS. I wish!

The big draw around here is the overlook from clifftop to the small mountainsin the distance. The Clifftop restaurant (closed - covid), has an incredible outdoor seating area and balcony out at the edge. From here you can see the lake way down the way.

A bit hazy for viewing but this is the highest spot in Alabama.

Close-up of the lake far down below the main buildings.

Lots of smallish lakes around the area, which we saw while auto-touring. We pack a lunch and find a suitable spot.  The first lake had lots of deer flys that wanted to buzz and buzz around your head so we skipped it,  but did take a few pics.

Pretty little lake, the place was deserted.


Just one example of the "neat & tidy" mentality around the area.

Next up we head to the Mockingbird Bay Resort on Lake Norfolk, AR. Stay tuned for that and thanks for dropping by.


Thursday, April 21, 2022

The countdown calendar to Rocky is counting down.

 Here we go again, preparing to head out west to our 5th wheel in northern Colorado for the summer.  Very much looking forward to spectacular mountain vistas, cool breezes by the river and my small corner garden. We're a few weeks out, but that just gives us time to finish-up maintenance chores and get started organizing what we'll be bringing out with us.  


Giving the railings a nice, fresh topcoat to 
help it handle the summer sun.

Clothes are pretty much handled as we leave a pretty good selection out there.  Food is from scratch though, as any food items left behind can either attract critters or explode (cans) from freezing temps.

I'm also working through the food load here at home too. I made up another batch of the hash brown casserole, which helped clear some items out of the freezer. That will not only lead to some easy breakfasts in the upcoming weeks but also give us a nice breakfast after we leave town.  The plan is to take our time, stopping at some interesting places on the way out.  We'll be staying in cabins or airbnb's which will have kitchen facilities, so we'll take a few frozen things to help us at our first stop, Cheaha State Park in east-central Alabama. Highest point in the state with lots of wonderful overlooks and hiking trails, but not a lot of restaurants handy.

Hash browns, sausage, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes
and onions with a yummy quiche-like egg & cheese layer.

I've had a few opportunities to play "floral designer" lately. Once, an upcycle of a macramé hanging basket, and secondly, making new funerary arrangements for the family plots. We'll be making our annual spring stop at the cemetery where Ed's folks are buried to spruce them up a bit.

Macrame basket ready to go. We'll wait to
hang it up outside until we are back in the fall.

Nothing real exciting although they did have some
pretty flowers at the Dollar Tree store - see the plumeria?

Yesterday I started weeding out which craft materials will head out with me and which would stay. The coloring book and pencils don't take up much room and are relaxing, especially the mandalas.


In addition, I really want to get back into making the trivets again, and I already have quite a few of the "tubies" stuffed and ready for the next phase.

Trivet; used as wall art or table protection.

My pretty collection of batik fat quarters, which
are the source material for the trivet "tubies".

So many, stuffed and ready, usually 4 pieces are
used, 2 each of complimentary colors.

Finally, I baked some cowboy cookies the other day - yay! Basic Toll House recipe with coconut, pecans, and a 50/50 split of dark chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. Froze some, gave some away and are enjoying the rest in the evenings. Life is good!


Thanks for stopping by and have a great day! 😊

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Birthday Celebration, Kayaking, Pizza and puzzle

 Not a whole heck of a lot to report on here, but we are definitely having a fine time. We celebrated Ed's birthday the other day, and between racing sports cars (SCCA) and riding motocross bikes competitively out in Texas, he was pretty sure that he would never make it to 30, much less 40. It got me to thinking about birthdays in general and how we feel about them.  

I'm sure we've all heard the anecdotes about how when you're a little kid every birthday is a huge, big deal, then, not so much in the middle years, then again, back to being a bigger deal once you've passed a certain age; my neighbor says (quite proudly) "I'll be 92 next month!"

We typically don't do much celebrating of birthdays around here beyond having a wonderful meal, (here or out), and receiving a suitable card. This year we did have a wonderful, full-blown steak dinner with all the trimmings, and we did have a lovely card, but we also gave a gift! (book), and a birthday balloon! and a lava cake with candle! Wow! who knew - it was fun to make a bigger deal about it. He also received some thoughtful, catch-up phone calls from good friends and family. He's certainly special to me so I'm glad I could help him have a memorable (or at least fun) day.

Happy Birthday, Honey!

Well, what else has been going on? Pizza night came around, which we thoroughly enjoyed.  I cheat and use a ready-made crust from the Publix bakery. I've found I can let it get really warmed up and loose and stretch it to a 10x15" baking sheet pan size. That ensures we'll get a pizza breakfast and a lunch too. 

Everything except the cheese.

Plus, some Italian cheese blend and Parmesan 


We had some beautiful weather the other day which Ed took advantage of by loading up the kayak and hitting Black Creek. What a beautiful area! Here are a few shots he took while out.

Where's the fishing pole?

Must be Turtle Rock


Serenity alert!


Relaxing in a secluded spot sipping a Dale's.

I have a closet shelf half full of puzzles, so I don't mind re-working them from time to time. I'm in the middle of a new one now, which I'll post a pic of later, but I also reworked the cat/bookshelf puzzle in between some jewelry making.

Really easy and so relaxing - zone out time, lol.

Well, I hope you're doing well and weren't too bored with, (to coin a phrase from the Old Fat Man), my efforts at trying to have too much fun. Thanks for taking the time.
 

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Rainy weather, assorted breakfasts and jewelry making

 We've been having a spate of rainy/stormy weather lately which makes me glad I shopped-up well on Wednesday. Earlier today, a warm front  passed through with strong winds, rain and a tornado warning for parts of the area. Behind it we're having strong, fresh westerlies which are  bringing in some delightfully cool, dry air, allowing me to open the windows and air out the house.

During these past few days we've been occupying ourselves with a nice mixture of chores, mild exercise (tai chi and light stretch bands for me, weights and strong stretch bands for him), cooking activities, youtube videos, reading and jewelry making. It always amazes us how fast the week fly's by.

6am this morning, gloomy and wet out front.
At least the bottlebrushes and azaleas are enjoying it.

12noon and all is well - sunny and breezy.

Since there's nothing new to talk about that doesn't include the Ukraine, politics, inflation or covid 😟, I'll talk about my passion for breakfast in all it's forms, but mostly involving eggs, lol. I'm a proud egg eater, have been all my life, and to me, nothing keeps me going throughout the day better than a nice, big breakfast.  Some people say "I could never find the energy at that time of morning to make a full breakfast!", or "toast or granola is fine", and hey, no judgement here. 

I do take steps to make it easier and less work to gen-up a nice meal, like making/freezing french toast in advance or using frozen, store-bought Potatoes O'brien, and making it my mission to always having a big bowl of fresh fruits cut up and handy. Here are a few examples.

Here's a favorite; egg on leftover pizza, fresh fruit & coffee,
it doesn't get much easier - nuke the pizza and fry an egg.


Here's a good one; scrambled eggs, sausage and french toast
plus fresh fruit and coffee.

Potatoes O'brien with diced ham, fried egg, and toast
plus fresh fruit and coffee.

And the last thing on my show 'n tell list today is a shot of the jewelry dabbling since my last posting. Some more fun, adjustable cuff bracelets and a couple of pendants that turned out pretty well. I'd be remiss if I didn't give some well-deserved credit to 2 of the wire-weaving mavens on youtube that I personally enjoy (there are so many!); OxanaCrafts, and Imbali Crafts. Wonderful, clear tutorials and great looking projects.

I'm pretty pleased!

 Well, thanks for checking in and I hope it entertained you for a few minutes! Have a great day.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

1/2 way to summer and fresh food fun

 I always figure that by the first of March we are halfway to summer, although the weather temps are soaring like it's summer already some days. My sister, who lives in south central Florida, was saying how refreshing to have a 61° morning - a cold snap as it were, as she has been having mid to high 80's already. I think "robbed of springtime" is how she put it. Up here it's been about the same - 80's much of the time.  It does give the boss a chance to get out on the lake to row and enjoy the day.


We have a pair of swans on our lake that stay busy with patrolling the lake to chase off the geese and Muscovy ducks that try to hang-out. I'm all in favor as the geese/ducks can be messy.


Swans making a sweep.

The other afternoon our neighbor had a gorgeous heron on his deck railing. Nice to observe one in fairly close proximity. 


He's got his head tucked in as a
chilly north breeze was blowing.

After cooking that ham a couple of weeks ago I got to craving collards and cornbread, so nothing would do but to get a big bunch from Winn-Dixie. They tend to have a sale on them fairly often and the bunches are very generous. I get at least 6 supper time servings for the 2 of us out of a bunch, so I put them up in freezer bags and stash the extras in the freezer.

A fair amount of work getting them well-washed up before
chopping them up for my biggest kettle pot.

Also, I'm finally motivated to losing some the extra pounds I've put on during the pandemic, so in addition to cutting out snacking in between meals I've been eating my usual breakfast and having just homemade vegetable soup for lunch. 2 batches so far, and very enjoyable. The batch we're eating now has a small amount of ham for flavor, and uses homemade chicken & ham stock plus tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, celery, zucchini, onion, hominy, peas and corn. Much better than coldcuts, cheese and crackers.

I do doll it up with a bit of fresh parsley and some grated
extra sharp cheddar and serve with a few crackers.

Let's all b*tch and moan about food prices, specifically meat. I'm always trying to buy on sale or as a "bogo" (buy one, get one). This week W/D had thick cut center loin pork chops as a bogo, and these are delicious treated like a steak and cooked on the Ninja Foodie. Ed and I split one and usually end up with a nice bone portion to nibble on the next day. Lucky for us we don't eat a large portion of meat at dinner.

1 chop = 1 meal for the 2 of us. I use Montreal Steak
seasoning plus onion powder and marinate in a bit of soy sauce.

Last weekend after reading a few blogs that exhibited their delicious looking burgers, we decided to have a burger and fries for a late lunch.  So good and so filling. We enjoyed them out on the deck as the weather was perfect for it.

I prefer mine with sharp cheddar while Ed likes his bare.

Finally, I finished up the puzzle I had been slowly working on. It had some tough sections and so it took me a while. Plus I was distracted with jewelry making.


Last shot, some of the jewelry I've been practicing on lately.


Well, that's it for this post. Thanks for dropping by.