Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Home is Where the Heart Is

I haven't lived in the Ozarks of Missouri in 11 years but I left a part of my heart there and it will remain as long as I have my memory. Here are a few of the places that we visited that are dear to me:

Davis Creek Church: the church I attended with my siblings as children and later as adults with our children. This is where my parents were married and where my aunt attended her first day of school.

Grandpa's barn: of course it doesn't look quite the same as it did when full of hay and where I would visit with Grandma and watch while she milked the cow.

Grandpa's shop: where ALLL the grandkids learned to work on our bikes, where we took our bikes for Grandpa to fix flats, where all the girls were determined to sweep up all the grime on the floor. Grandpa's shop was where Grandpa could always be found. There is still a path that leads from the front door of the house to the shop.

Just one of the ponds on Grandpa's place: where all the cousins could be found fishing with cane poles. I am not a fan of fishing, but even I caught many fish using Grandpa's cane poles in his ponds. When we were little the only pond we were allowed to play near was the one behind the shop, closest to where Grandpa could keep an eye on us. As we grew up we could be found more at the distant ponds like this one that were out of eye and ear shot of the grandparents and parents.

This is all that's left of Grandpa's sawmill, where he earned much of his living. Grandpa was a jack of all trades, from logger, to grading roads. When playing at Grandpa's we always found our way to the huge sawdust pile.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sunrise in Calico Rock

Another favorite part of our fall vacation was the morning my husband, my mom and I drove to Calico Rock, Arkansas very very early in the morning to watch the sun rise over the bluffs of the White River. It was incredible! The sunrise itself wasn't particularly spectacular that day, but the fog was amazing and so surreal. We stayed and wondered around the bluffs until well after sunrise and until every bit of the fog had lifted.  My husband the daredevil gave us a scare several times as he'd wonder so close to the edge of the rocks high above the river. It was a beautiful morning and one I hope to never forget.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


On Monday of our vacation we stayed pretty close to Mom's house as we were pretty worn out from the long drive and then the long day Sunday exploring Boxley Valley. We slept in a little and I asked Mom to show me again the old school where my Grandpa attended first grade. I knew the approximate vicinity but could not remember exactly how to get there.

The last time I visited the school we took photos from the road as the owner of the property had fenced in the school. This time we decided to venture a bit closer and walked up the owner's driveway for a closer look. As we approached the fence with our cameras the farmer, on his tractor, shouted to us that we were welcome to go through his gate and into the pasture for a closer look! We didn't hesitate and headed to the gate.

I'm afraid the building may not stand many more years and was happy to capture some shots of it.

My mom standing in the door:

Nearby there is also an old spring house that was surrounded by some pretty fall colors:

I'm very thankful that my husband will generally stop when I yell "stop" so that I can simply step out of the car for a photo. He doesn't always know what I've spotted but if possible stops anyway. That day, one of my favorite photos of the trip was snapped:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Boxley Valley

After our hike in the "Lost Valley" we drove around in Boxley Valley looking for the elk that  are seen reguarly along the roadside. As we waited and drove we stopped for photos:

And Finally, the ELK!!!

I had never before seen elk in the wild and had never heard one bugle except on tv. What an amazing experience and sound. Now I understand the lines of cars with people stopped on the roadside, watching, waiting, cameras ready. What a beautiful beautiful place!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Boxley Valley: The Hike in Lost Valley

It was a beautiful walk through the woods, to the natural bridge, crawling up over huge rocks, up to the waterfall that with recent drought provided just a trickle, on to the cave at the end...and back down.

Heather and Marty walking the trail:

All the gals paused along the trail on a fallen log over the creek:

An old hollow tree that appears to have been burned. Each of the kids took turns standing inside the remains for a photo. Heather:

My niece Nicole:

Heather, my sister Lacey, my niece Nicole and my mom walking together:

My cousin's daughter Lea looks so tiny below the massive rocks!

Heading up over the natural bridge to the waterfall on the other side.

Just too funny not to snap

Up up and up the trail climbed

Just outside of the natural bridge the view was stunning. Straight up rock bluffs all around.

Picnic in Boxley Valley

Reminiscent of childhood days and road trips through Arkansas with my family, on our trip to Boxley Valley we took picnic food and supplies for lunch. Upon arrival we chose a spot (all picnic tables had washed away in a previous flood) and unpacked coolers, boxes and blankets.

My niece Nicole was very curious about the contents in everyone's coolers and boxes.

My brother in law Greg cooked hot dogs for any who didn't want sandwiches.

My brother Davy just chillin' waiting for his food.

After lunch we hit the trail (Lost Valley). Can you see that the love of photography kinda runs in the family??

Wordless Wednesday

For more wordlessness, click here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kayleigh Charles

It's a Girl! My daughter Heather had another ultrasound yesterday and it appears that my first grandbaby is a girl! My husband will continue to be outnumbered by girls and all things PINK! :)

Kayleigh, or "Charli" as Heather plans to call her, weighs about 8 ounces and appears to be growing just fine and healthy. Heather is just over 18 weeks along in her pregnancy.

I am completely smitten with this tiny wonder and am in awe of the technology that allows us to see in such detail what she already looks like:

Heather chose the name Kayleigh Charles to use my mother's middle name Kay, Heather's middle name Leigh, and Heather's dad's middle name Charles. She has always loved nicknames and plans to call the baby "Charli." I can't wait to meet you this spring Charli!

Boxley Valley, AR

After our detour in Cotter, Arkansas we proceeded onward toward Boxley Valley. The hills and valleys were breathtaking! Just before we reached our destination all 3 cars in our group stopped above the valley to see the panoramic view. The beauty and the colors literally brought tears to my eyes. It had been so long since I'd seen vivid fall colors and I was in awe of the beauty God created for us to enjoy.


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