Monthly Archives: June 2011

Cuties at Home


Just jotting down a few quick thoughts. This week has been a sweeping whirlwind of summer activity. I am happy to get to this one and only blog (when my goal is to do two at least). I seem to have only enough time for this one.

Monday we bugged out of our house early to station our little selves outside the driver’s license testing center in the next town. The goal: let the youngest in our family take the written test. She passed it first go!! What do you say to that boys? She finished in record time compared to those fellows in our family.

We spent the day running errands after our early start. Then C-Man came home early and we went out for an afternoon drive and didn’t return until almost 5pm! Our trek took us into the Ozark hills where we found a couple of treasures along the way. We had great fun.

Tuesday it rained here. Yay!! We needed rain so desperately. No outside work day, but my kids scoured their rooms. I didn’t even have to twist an arm!

I really just wanted to post some pictures of a couple of our babies. This kitten loves to sleep on things. This is a month ago.

We found her on this sponge almost every day.

She obviously knows a comfy bed when she sees one. She is also very good at draping.

She still drapes. Today it happens to be her mama.

But mama doesn’t mind at all.

This was on our rainy day. I couldn’t get a really great shot unfortunately. It was raining cats and dogs when I took this. There are three goats inside this igloo. The baby is out of sight, tucked against the far right side.

I found it humorous how well they fit when they have to.

Annnnnd….. I couldn’t forget on last look at our favorite little guy.

Just had to share a couple glimpses into my little piece of heaven. We have so many wonderful things to keep us entertained.


A Trip to the Lake


Ac couple of weeks ago C-Man made the offer to take us to the lake. Once he spilled the beans, we weren’t about to let him back out it. Our daughter and I planned out our simple menu and made our trip to the nearest Petsmart. We planned this trip down to the towels and floating devices. We are talking about Lake Ouchita in Arkansas. It has been a couple years since we’d made an appearance at this particular lake. We’d spent many a weekend camp trip around this body of water. Tons of happy memories had been created on the shores of this particular lake.

The first thing our daughter planned was, of course, taking our puppy (almost full grown) Cooper with us. This will be his first experience of a large body of water. His usual shyness at bath time is likely to translate into a fear of this water as well. Well we don’t want him to worry about drowning or anything so drastic or life threatening. So our daughter insists we make a trip to buy this…..

Cooper is encased in a doggie life preserver! You can tell he is so thrilled. We wanted to be sure he wouldn’t HAVE to be in the water ALL the time so we made a point to find one of these floating devices.

As you can see. He is just so excited about being wet and encased like a giant Shitsu sausage.

He started out dry and semi-enthused. Of course that is prior to the knowledge of total wetness.

He fairs well. Our daughter is secure in the realization Cooper isn’t going to sink to the bottom of the lake. His life preserver works pretty darned well. Look, you can carry him around like a suitcase.

Once he’s wet as a noodle he looks around desperately for some hope of coming ashore.

He doesn’t seem to mind it too much. I would say there is a tell tale look of longing to reach the shore. Just a little one.

That look of desperation appears to be surfacing. He is safe and dry, but all that wet stuff still poses a problem. It keeps him in that big ole round thing.

Cooper is such a great sport. He doesn’t complain through all the goofy stuff we subject him to. He did shiver for a bit and stayed wrapped in his towel for most of the trip home. He puts up with us though and is always the bestus friend a girl could ever have.

This day was just another little piece of heaven in our lives. Thanks for letting me share it with you.

I’d love to hear of your favorite place to cool off in the heat of summer. Let me know.


Tornado At Home


I live in what is affectionately referred to as “tornado alley”. I say affectionately, but we mean it only as a consolation to the fear and destruction we face every spring when severe storms sweep through our neck of the woods threatening to devastate a way of life and uproot everything we hold dear.

This year those worries truly were realized when on March 25 at around 6pm a tornado raked its ravaging path through our little community. We were among the fortunate. The only damage we incurred is a few metal sheets off the back porch roof and two trees felled. What a welcome relief at the first inspection upon emerging from the storm shelter to find only those few items out-of-place.

Of course, all this means the power was out, but we had no idea what other damages our neighbors had incurred at the time. Except for the unusually large number of vehicles traversing the road by our home, we only suspected the storm had wreaked havoc on our town. Thank goodness for the smart phone, for we would have been entirely in the dark, and not just literally either. The next morning was our first look at the reality of the night before. C-Man managed to get of town before the National Guard blocked roads. His route out was hindered only by blow over trees. He related news reports of far worse damage to the town farther west. We were all shocked at his news, to say the least.

Someone had inspected our property and deemed us unharmed and all persons accounted for. Hence the circle with the X.

Later that day, we ventured off our hill to take a look around at our neighbors homes in the valley below. We were absolutely dumbfounded at what greeted us.

These trees are only a few of the trees blown over in our neighbor’s yards. Just knocked right over. We were flabbergasted.

Still more trees. I couldn’t take as many pictures as I wanted. It didn’t seem right in the face of the destruction suffered by our neighbors. People had chain saws and trailers out that day, clearing the debris from their yards. It took days to get it all away.

The next day a trip into town was mandatory and the rest of the devastation greeted us. We were in shock. This is a glimpse of the community with blue tarps draped over almost every roof.

Then, as we reenter the now unfamiliar territory of our little community, all the natural landmarks are gone, blown away in the storm. It so disconcerting not to recognize home.

Trees are just shredded and gone.

This may just be a road to the wandering stranger, but all the power poles are gone and every large tree is decimated. We are in shock to see the transformation. As you see, there are a LOT of power company trucks in the road. We counted about 25 trucks that day. The power company did an outstanding job to restore the power to our community.

More of the same.

This is Simpson Rd and it was lined in beautiful old oaks draping the road from both sides. They shaded the properties and the roadway. This is a such a stark contrast to the norm.

There is so much sky over the ground! We don’t usually see this much blue.

All these pictures came from my phone camera. Who thought to grab the good camera during all that chaos?

I am happy to report all the anomalies are righted and the roads are now at their new norm.

Several homes are being rebuilt and all the roofs are repaired. I tell you, it is a shock to find level ground where a home once stood. We only pray these families are able to recover with little financial loss.

This is a view into a tiny fissure of trouble in my little piece of heaven. It still remains heaven to us, though.


Hummingbird Adventures


Living in the country, we are not alone out here. Aside from all the animals we brought here, our farm is home to numerous indigenous …. things. We have turtles and snakes. Bob Whites make nests in the tall grass. Martins nested in the tree house until the tornado knocked it over and a few hummingbirds have started frequenting my flower pots and the hummingbird feeder.

I have had fly-bys of the hummingbird variety over the years, but no permanent visitors until this year. This year I hung out a hummingbird feeder. I love to watch them. They flit and flout and hover and zip and they are hard to capture with the camera. They each have their own personalities and distinctive coloring.

I have been stalking my feeder to catch them in motion, but with the insane heat around here, they have been scarce. Me thinks they prefer plain water to sugared water. I can’t blame them.

This fellow finally settled on the nearby fence. I wanted to show how small he is. Petite and strong.

You should be able to see the lovely green sheen on his back. Here we have a look at his throat, which is different. The upper section of his throat appears dark here, but….

There is a brilliant red color under his bill. It glares at you in the sunlight. It amazes me.

Here we have it again. Shiny red!

How can such a tiny creature carry so much clout? Both in appearance and drive. Believe me, if you’ve never watched these little fellows forage and defend their territory.

He is about to take flight.

He is all glittering green with that flash of read. What better way to celebrate the summer than with a fusion of natural color in a tiny package?

This is my little piece of heaven for today.


Scenes from Arkansas


We had a lovely Memorial Day. Relaxing and nonplussed C-Man, our daughter and I, oh and Cooper of course, took a small day trip to a local State Park. The weather cooperated wonderfully.

This is a small chronicle of our little trip. Warning, massive picture posting here. There are so many incredible places in this state to snap sections of natural beauty. I never tire of taking my camera with me.

This is Mount Petit Jean.

As you can see it is a giant plateau that rises above the valley about 600 feet. I realize this is only a hill when we consider the hills in the Carolina’s and those peaks out west. For us, this is mountainous and a ton of fun.

To get there, we traverse the mighty Arkansas River. After all the weather this part of the country has suffered, it is hugely swollen. All that water has churned up a ton of sediment, hence the brown color.

The second we hopped out of the car, with Cooper of course, we were mobbed by a crew of teenagers who descended upon the little fellow en masse. He loved it!

Then comes the scenery. The plateau gives us a huge vista, the river twining through the valley below. This is the southern exposure of the lookout.

Then to the north is a view of the river as it winds its way through farmland and cattle pastures.

Then there are these people with Cooper. They will be featured in quite a few of the following pictures, so brace yourselves.

Then there is a the stray little girl who just has to get her hands on Cooper. We can’t blame her.

And of course, my little girl has her moment of glory.

Our small excursion to the lookout with its short walk-ways and numerous visitors fondling little Cooper, wore him out. This is his spot in the truck. And this is Cooper – wiped out already and our little tour has only just begun!

We find a tiny sandwich shop where we can eat outside so Cooper can join us. I love eating outside.

Then we found this little treasure of picturesqueness. I’m a sucker for waterfalls and this is just downright lovely.

This is a waterfall from the water draining out of Lake Bailey.

Cooper takes it all in.

C-Man is content to stay in the shade and enjoy the view from afar.

Our next stop is the Cedar Falls. It is nestled deep in the woods and drops about 95 feet. I tried to get the bottom of the falls, but so many spring trees in full bloom bar the visuals that far down.

This is the walk way to the falls. It winds down the mountain slope at an easy grade. I love the tree cover and the plank boards beneath our feet. Wrought iron fencing protects the public from the dangers of slipping down the slope.

Love the play of light on my babies in this shot.

We did a number on ole Cooper. He sprawled the whole trip home. There is only so many strides 3in legs can bear and we put them through their paces.

That is big chunk of my piece of heaven today. I loved every second of it.