Category Archives: travel

Best Mother’s Day Ever!

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This post might be in two segments… Just a warning.

My daughter and I went to see Jason Aldean in concert over the Mother’s day weekend. Country music, rocking like the classics. It was a blast. Need I say more?

My hubby insisted we stay in a hotel in town so we wouldn’t have to drive home after the show. The whole trip made for a weekend we will remember for a loooong time.

Our hotel sat in the center of town. Our city has a very tourist friendly downtown district and made our experience even better. We checked in fairly early to have time to get dressed.

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After getting all dolled up for the concert, we took a stroll down the main drag to find a place to eat. We ended up at a favorite eatery where we sat outside to enjoy the awesome weather we had that day.

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While sitting there waiting for our food, the girls at the table next to us were talking about the concert.So much excitement coming from that table I couldn’t help but be my nosey self and eavesdrop. It was so much fun to watch them having fun. Then one of them asked my girl if we were going to the concert. They got a good look at her boots and made a likely assumption. Those are some great looking boots. Turns out the girls were out here for a bachelorette party. Making their day even better, they were given backstage passes by Jake Owen’s band members! I think Jake even stopped by himself to say hi. They were all hyped up and couldn’t wait to get to the show.

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The girls were enjoying the sun and several beers, glasses of wine, whatever. Before long we were exchanging numbers and they were trying on the girl’s boots.

This is Leslie and Jackie. Leslie is sure my girl will be the perfect mate for her little brother (same age as my girl). This, as the mother, is way too early in life to be making that sort of decision.

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This was such fun. My girl had a blast talking these young ladies, swapping numbers, taking pics. She didn’t even finish her meal she was so busy having fun.

The came the concert itself. We got to the arena early, plenty of time to find our seats. Only we sat our bums into the wrong seats and didn’t find out until the original owners of those seats wanted to sit there about 5 mins before the show! We felt a little stupid, having picked the wrong side of the aisle to sit. Turns out, our real seats were more awesome than our mistake seats.

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As you see, we got there really early… empty seats and a vacant pit.

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Our hearts ratcheted up when the lights went down and the place looked like this.

Opening the show was Thomas Rhett.

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Cute dude who can really rock it. He’ll be a headliner one of these days. He only performed for about fifteen minutes, though. Short, but still long enough to play a few tunes we’d heard on the radio. One of his titles is “Beer With Jesus”. A personal favorite, I might say. If Jesus drank wine, why not a good ole beer?

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I need to add a disclaimer to these pictures. Cameras with detachable lenses were forbidden inside the arena so I was limited to phone and a point and shoot camera. It wasn’t easy getting that camera to get good shots, but here they are. They weren’t too awful.

Jake Owen was the next headliner. The crowd roared, the music blared and we were swept into it like a tidal wave sweeps sand from the shore. It was wonderful.

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My girl describes Jake as a younger Matthew McConaughey with dark hair. The girls went wild for that smile and that hair. Jake wore a Razorback tee-shirt through the whole concert. In Arkansas, that alone will endear him to it citizens. Half way through his performance he had a fan do Woo Pig Sooey – the Pig Call (spelling undetermined). Jake is an Arkansan for life now.

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He really played to the crowd. He moved so fast on that catwalk, taking pictures was a real challenge. The girls in the pit had him taking pictures with him on their phones, shaking his hand. He’s signing something here. He was awesome to watch. The energy it takes to perform for an hour and a half like that is something else.

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Jake’s band was awesome. His songs are country, but the music has so much rock and roll in it. Some awesome musicians.

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We sang along with every hit he sang. It was freaky how many songs I knew. We couldn’t hear each other by the end of this set. Totally deaf. I had to watch out what I said, because I couldn’t even really hear my own speech. Didn’t want to say anything embarrassing.

That is enough for this post. The main attraction to follow…… Jason Aldean!!

Thank you for sharing this slice of heaven today.

Love,
Jeannene

Our New Addition to the Family

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This post is long over due.

This month has been one continuous activity after another. I finally had a visit with our newest family member. Meet Riley Higgs.

He is now two months old. And he is my grandson. I can’t believe I have entered into this chapter of my life. I am amazed at how comfortable it feels. I pictured myself kicking and screaming, being forced to look at this stage of life. I thought I would feel terribly old. But instead this little guy makes me feel young and full of life. Thank you Jeremy and Marlana for this wonderful little gift.

He is such a cute little peanut.

His parents take such good care of him. They have discovered the ups and downs of parenthood. Keep your chins up guys, it really does get better and you relax more too.

I love those eye brows. They are so expressive and full of smooth curves.

But really, he just plain pretty. I am biased, I know.

This is our daughter’s first experience with handling a baby. She did great. I was surprised how comfortable she seemed with the little guy.

Thank you to our son and daughter in law for making our visit so wonderful and making us so entirely welcome. We can’t wait to come back and see our little baby again… Oh and mom and dad too.

Love,
]eannene

Day at the Races Cont’d

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Because I’m such a photo hog and took so many great shots at the races, I will subject my few followers to another round of snap shots from the race track. I know I am merciless, just ask my kids.

This is the second race and this horse is my favorite pick of the win. I believe I chose this horse because of the jockey on board. He is a well know jockey and rarely rides a loser.

And he is a winner!

The winner’s circle invites all sorts of people have nothing to do with the horse or its training. They just want a picture with a winner.

This horse is from the third race. I picked this for a win because of his breeding.

The start of race three.

The field passed the eighth pole.

….and here is my horse in the final stretch. He is showing his heart here. Go baby go.

I love to see all the pony horses lined up. You won’t believe how many of these I have in my files. Choosing these few was no easy task.

This is a horse from the last race. Unfortunately I saw this fellow AFTER we placed our bets, because I love the look of this horse and I am a sucker to bet any beautiful grey to win.

Here comes that field and look who’s out front.

And here is the winner! This horse went wire to wire. Start to finish. Great race, but my horse did not win after that stupendous finish!

The winner!

That was a great race to watch.

Thank you for indulging me in my horse fetish.

Love,
Jeannene

More History

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To continue with our foray into the past, we move into other areas of the plantation.

We now tour the school-house.

This is a one room school-house. It has everything a class room needs in the space of a small shed.

The next building is a doctor’s office. I never imagined a plantation would house a physician, but it makes sense. This was a large community with a lot of people. They all needed care. Notice the two doors on the front. One side was for blacks and the other for whites.

This in one waiting room. I marvel at the slatted walls and ceiling.

Small office/lab in the back. There are ledgers with patient results and diagnosis’ recorded. These fascinate C-Man and me as we are both employed in the medical industry.

Old obstetrical instruments. The man in this building is retired physician from the big city whose ancestor worked in that building! Cool huh?

As a laboratorian, this caught my interest.

This is the other waiting room. Looks nicer than the other one.

We move to the sharecropper’s living quarters.

And there are some of my favorite people… er, animal too.

Another tenant house.

Then we have the BIG house. This is only half of the big house I am told. It is still big and carries with it a fair amount of grandeur. This house was used by the owners only as a temporary home until the HUGE plantation house was finally built (not on this little park). When the family vacated it, it was used for the foreman’s family. The original plantation family home is down the road about 3 miles and has been restored to facilitate weddings and events.

The living area. I love the color of these walls. And again the walls are all constructed with slats. I just love seeing how people lived in the past.

The kitchen…

I have seen all these furnishings in antique stores. So nice to see them in their own settings.

The dining room…

This house has an indoor bathroom!

A couple of spacious bedrooms too.

Loved seeing that house. The cooks house was out back along with the ice house.

This lady is a woman after my heart. I cook in dutch ovens and love it. We share kindred spirits. Dutch ovens enable a body to cook anything anywhere you want. You will never be without your favorite foods.

This is another tenant house, larger that the rest.

These are butter churns. Depending on how much cream there is to be processed. The all time easiest way to make butter is by shaking a quart jar with cream.

This is the interior of the largest tenant house. These buildings house the sharecroppers’ families. The walls are lined with newspaper to keep the wind from blowing through the holes of the slats.

This house even has a kitchen in it… very extravagant. The stove in this kitchen is identical to the one C-Man bought me a few years ago. I love the old ways.

This is a shot of the holes in the floor. The floor boards don’t meet exactly and this was common in these buildings. C-Man remembers living in house like this as a very small child.

This is a luxury. To have a stove for warmth. This house has two stoves and a cooking stove.

This is a log house with a dog trot. I didn’t get a shot of the dog trot because there was a band of musicians in it. But for those of us who never heard of one, a dog trot is a breeze way in the south. During the heat of summer it is a cool respite. The air blows through the shaded area, cool and refreshing.

Loved our visit into history. Share your historical visits if you have a chance.

Thanks for visiting my little piece of heaven.

Love,
Jeannene

A Little Piece of History

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This weekend we made a foray into the past. A few miles from our home is a small community that used to be a huge plantation. The community has preserved the buildings from that plantation in a small park. Saturday they opened the park for a a friendly celebration. I have tried to get to this town for as long as we’ve lived here, but the only time we venture to Scott is during the winter when they are all buttoned up for the season.

Here is the Scott Railroad Station.

This is an old railroad light. I just liked the shape of it.

Every plantation had its own blacksmith for obvious reasons. This is an example of a smithy. I don’t believe the whole methodology is entirely accurate, but it does give us good insight into the craft.

This smithy used coal to make his fire. That is a circular bellows to the left of the table to blow air into the fire.

The vintage anvil is awesome.

And the vintage vice.

This is a corn crib.

I like the vintage clothing too.

I encountered, what I have always considered a mystery to me, sorghum processing. I use sorghum molasses in my bread. It’s origin has always been confusing, even after googling it. Today the shadows are cleared and full understanding emerges. Here is what the plant looks like…

To me, this plant looks like a weed. One of the gentlemen processing it kindly demonstrated the nature of sorghum to me.

He peeled away the sheath to expose the cane beneath. When chewed, the inside is sugar sweet! This is where sorghum originates.

So the cane is cut down …..

…. then processed in a mill. This mill is powered by a team of Belgian horses. The mill crushes the cane to extract the sweet liquid inside.

Cane is fed into the mill on the left. The gentleman in the center monitors the liquid and the crushed waste comes out the right side.

I love this team of mares. This breed is bred for this sort of work.

One of the mares also has foul here…

I just love that the little fellow had free reign of the place as his mama worked.

Sorghum is cooked down in a boiler to make the dark, thick syrup we know as molasses. This is the cooking area.

So plantations made their own sorghum molasses as well as provided their own bee hives for honey. I stand amazed at the self-sufficiency of these large farms. They also provided the workers, this is after the Civil War, with groceries and as-sundries through a commissary.

The interior is no different from any mercantile of the era I’ve had the privilege of touring.

This commissary lived on the Marlsgate plantation. We looked at the ledgers on this desk. Living history. I can’t tell you how it fascinates me.

Even more enthralling to me is the equipment displayed. This large-scale…

… and this old mill to grind wheat into flour, or other grains.

This is only half of what we took in. I am enthralled with all things from the past. This plantation had more on it. This post would be waaaay too long for it all. I’ll post the rest in the next post of the week.

I truly loved vicariously reliving this tiny bit of history. Let me know what fascinating history is in your area of the world.

Thanks for letting me share this little piece of heaven with you.

Love,
Jeannene

We Had A Time!

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It has been too long since posting here. Of course the time has been packed with activities. This is just a very short few words and couple of stunning pictures to give you some idea of what we have been doing with ourselves these few months.

First of all, the kids and I went down to the coast of Alabama for a very special occasion. Our son got married weekend before last on the beach of Gulf State Park and it was lovely. Just as thrilling as a wedding was the fact that my children have never seen the ocean before. Nor had any of us ever vacationed that close to the beach. On the down side, we had to leave Corvette Man to tend to the animals. Unfortunately for him, he came down with our daughters horrible cold while we were gone. It is terrible to be sick and have to drag yourself out of bed to feed. We missed him all the same. He explained he was best left at home sick than going in that condition, though.

Anyway, on to a few of our favorite pictures…

We got to feel the sand between our toes.

Also with us were my two mom’s. We had a great time visiting.

We also saw some unusual animals… at least as far as we are concerned.

And of course we had to drench ourselves in the salty water of the gulf. The water was warm. The kids discovered a stinging shock when they opened their eyes under the water. Not at all like fresh water or swimming pools.

Then of course, we have the main attraction.

The weather was amazing and pleasant. It was the experience of a lifetime for us all.

We didn’t really want to return from this beautiful piece of heaven. Tell me about your trip this summer. I’d love to hear about it.

Love,
Jeannene

Family Weekend Fun (cont’d)

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Whew!! That was quite an evening and a morning. We hadn’t had our fill of fun at 10am Saturday morning, though. There is still so much to show the girls.

They weren’t too thrilled about being loaded into the back of the truck and told to look at the scenery. Not enough to do for a 7yo and a 9yo. Well after a very nice 45min. drive we approached the foot of Mt Petit Jean. They were all about climbing the hill… in the truck.

It was hot, but we disembarked and enjoyed the view.

Cooper came with us, of course. He was really hot with all that hair. But he is still adorable. We worked hard at staying in the shade for his sake.

Cooper care was shared by all. Girl 2 has a hold on Cooper.

I love pictures of my own kids as well.

Momma even let the girls out on another rock!

After all the excitement of the cliffs, we moved to a more level and moister venue. Except that the water level was down and the beautiful falls we saw a few weeks ago were not
flowing.

But first Cooper found a shady spot to catch his breath. He really gets hot with all that hair.

They are walking where there should be water.

More “no water here” placements.

I just love the lighting on these two.

I know this is on the run, but I just love the smile on younger son’s face. He smiles so infrequently and this is beautifully natural. He had a great time traipsing around the country.

This next setting is my absolute favorite for portraits. The background is a valley and it seems to have that wonderful haze behind my subjects.

These two eat up the lens.

Then we have the whole group. Pretty nice set of people if I say so myself.

And I like this one.

This is a huge chunk of my little piece of heaven. Thanks for letting me share it.

Love,
Jeannene

Scenes from Arkansas

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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.

Love,
Jeannene

Somebody Stop Me… Please!

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I am terrible. I have become that crazy mom with the small dog she adores and goes wacko about all the little things the DOG might need. Now remember, this is a dog. They have their own coat for warmth and they are low to the ground and can make their own way in the world because they are animals. But this is a small puppy. A shit zu. He is so little.

There is no way I’m leaving him alone in the house, so he goes everywhere with me. And I mean everywhere. Rarely I leave him in the car, but often as not, I take him in with me…
He sleeps with our daughter, because he is her dog (technically). He spends the whole day with me at home so as a result, I am very attached to him. So he and me are a thing.

Spring time means being outside a lot at our farm. There is gardening to tend to and lots and lots of mowing. Mowing is my thing. I love to mow. When I get to mowing, I will be out there for an hour or more. That is a long time to put little Cooper in the house while I am out where he wants to be.

For a shit zu, this is the most outdoor indoor dog I’ve ever seen. He lives to romp in the grass. Chases the cats, who tolerate him, and hunts chickens. I would be cruel to leave him inside during such warm days.

On that note, I bought a frivolous thing, but it will really come in handy, I’m sure.

I know! I know! It’s a doggy carrying pack!! But I can’t have him outside while I mow or barking alone in the house. Now he will be entertained watching all the going on from the cock-pit of the tractor as I mow. He will love it!

We rationalize it will be handy during hikes and long touristy trips, because you know that dog is going with us.

Here he is with our daughter.

Now you have to admit, this is the cutest little dog you’ve ever seen. If this doesn’t convince you, then take a look at this.

Asleep on his back, all that hair sticking out all over the place and that delectable little tummy inviting a warm rub.

Gotta love it. Every bit of my little piece of heaven.

Love,
Jeannene

Family Plus

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Week before last, the week of my vacation, when we ventured to Louisiana for a romance writer’s conference, we had the dubious pleasure of seeing our older son. He no longer lives at home and seeing him is a wonderful thing. As his mother, I miss him. He is funny and charming and now that he is his own man, he is wonderfully responsible and self sufficient. As a parent, self sufficient is a worthy characteristic to note in one of your children. (Considering that is the goal in bringing them up to conquer the world.)

This trip he brought a special friend to meet us. A very special friend. Mom’s are always leery about meeting special friends. It means I’m going to have to share my kid with someone else.

This is my Aaron and he turned 24 this past Saturday.

He’s a big brother and a beautiful child. Now I must share him with another female.

She is very nice and he really cares about her.

Then of course, here is my youngest and she will always be close to my heart and no boy will take her from me.

All in all it was a lovely weekend and we all had a great time. And I wouldn’t have wanted to spend it with anyone else. I love my kids.

Thank you for letting me share this little piece of heaven with you.

Love,
Jeannene