LITTLE BLUFF JOURNAL - NOVEMBER 2017
Little Bluff future cabin cam November 30th - cool, gray, and WET - some nice rainfall yestetrday!
SLIDE SHOWS THIS WEEK:
Print Of The Week special (above)
*Our HOLIDAY SPECIAL includes all three new publications for one low price!
11/29/17 (at the stroke of midnight) Sure there is something wrong with me. Or not quite right. As we arrived back home tonight near midnight after another long and exhausting day (GREAT group of folks in Conway - THANKS!!!), instead of crawling off to bed in the van, I gathered the puppies and headed off for a moonlight hike. I'm drawn to moonlight, moonlight in the pines, moonlight in the oaks, moonlight across a barren hillside. And moon shadows. The forest floor was covered and ALIVE with shadows of towering and naked trees. I continue to find them immensely interesting, their shapes and patterns - quite graphic.
I'm pretty much limited to taking pictures only with a handheld snapshot camera these days (I'm unable to use a tripod), and as I wandered through the shadows I kept seeing distinct compositions pass by at my feet, with me unable to capture them since a) a handheld snapshot camera probably could not capture the scene with only moonlight light and b) I didn't even have a camera with me to try! Note to self - next time you take a moonlit hike at midnight take a camera with you! Even with no camera, I highly recommend getting out into the woods at night, especially a night like tonight with an almost 3/4 moon and a sky filled with stars. Tonight was especially beautiful as a rain shower had just moved through and the landscape was wet and steams, adding another dimension to the nightscape look and feel. I think the pups liked the romp too...
11/28/17 It was nearly midnight when we arrived home last night from our program in Benton - the farthest we travel for a slide program (about seven hours of driving and a 12-hour day for us). A note of horror stuck us as we opened the van doors - smoke, WILDFIRE SMOKE! It was just a year ago when the Hawksbill Crag Fire burned for more than two weeks and threatened our home and property, and that awful feeling of smoke hung in the air, inside every room, and inside our hearts and lungs. Thank goodness the forest service was able to contain the fire below the bluff.
We knew there had been several wildfires burning downstream in the middle section of the Buffalo River, but the smoke was thick at home last night and the pups and I stuck out to investigate. The moon was high and bright and lighting up that eerie smoke as we hiked down the lane towards our future cabin site. Giant ghost trees came into view as we got close to the cabin clearing - naked trees and pine trees silhouetted in the smoke. A stiff wind was blowing from the southwest, and that is where the thickest smoke was (the fires we knew about were northeast of us). I could not see any flames though, so assumed the smoke had been blown in from somewhere else. There will be a little rainfall in northwest tomorrow, but we probably won't see much here. Good time for a rain dance or two!
We were looking forward to three or four restful days last week but somehow ended up not having any. We spent most of Thursday and Friday on the road (14 hours of driving), and worked a lot playing catchup. We had a great Holiday Open House on Saturday, and wonderful slide programs in Fayetteville Sunday and in Benton yesterday. Tomorrow we'll be in Conway, Friday in Springfield, and Saturday in Bentonville. The following week we'll have three programs and another open house at our gallery, but hope to get a few hours rest in between. We LOVE this time of year, but there are just not enough hours in the day, especially for a geezer like me!
SLIDE SHOW LIVESTREAM from Fayetteville Library. The good folks at the Fayetteville Library recorded the slide show on November 26th and have it available for viewing on their web site - CLICK HERE.
11/21/17 WE MADE IT! It was after midnight when we rolled in to Little Bluff this morning to conclude our 12 days of exhaustion run. We were. A very SPECIAL THANKS to all who made it possible for us to complete our tasks, including everyone who attended each program, and ESPECIALLY to Pam's parents for all that they do for us almost constantly. I had intended to SLEEP all day today - and I did in fact sleep in until 7:30 - but we have a long day ahead of us today and tomorrow and the next and the next before our first HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE at the gallery on Saturday. But we do plan to take a few minutes now and then to step outside and wander around our beautiful property and soak it all in. Oh yes, and also a SPECIAL THANKS for each of you reading this - we really do APPRECIATE you!!!
11/18/17 We have ASPEN TREES at Little Bluff! The white-bark trees that Kevin and I found yesterday here were identified by the master tree expert, Don Kurz, as bigtooth aspen trees. Though they are not native to Arkansas, I have photographed them in Newton County before. There used to be a grove of them in front of the little sway-back cabin that you pass on the way into Lost Valley in Boxley Valley. Several years ago all of them were cut down, but those were identified as bigtooth aspen also. So for whatever reason, folks planted aspen trees in Newton County during the last decade. I wonder how many more are in this area? (One of ours is as large as some of the big aspen trees I've seen in Colorado.) *Don's book TREES OF MISSOURI IS A GREAT BOOK! Amazon link
On another tree-related note, while the puppies and I wandered our little forest here this afternoon the pups discovered that half of a GIANT twin oak tree had come crashing to the ground recently. I measured the side that fell as more than 70'. I'll try to get back and take a picture of it one cloudy day. The dogs found it while I was exploring part of our "little" bluffline - they were higher up on the top of the ridge and I could see they had crawled up into something - it was the butt-end of the remaining half of the tree they were up on. I suspect that it DID MAKE A SOUND when it came crashing to the ground, even though there may not have been anyone around to hear it. So much for that age-old question - OF COURSE IT MAKES A SOUND!!!
We've had several folks point out we have been advertising the wrong date for the Ft. Smith Slide Show on Monday (November 29th, 2017). I've been chasing all over the internet tryign to figure out how that happened. Turns out these folks were seeing old Facebook posts from a year or longer ago from previous Ft. Smith Slide Shows, which, of course, were not on the same date - you know, sometimes those pop up as "memories" or something like that and you think it is current. I went back and tried to delete as many announcements that I could find on facebook - but please be sure to look twice at any announcement to see what the year is, and if there is no year be sure to look for the year the post was made. And I'll always try from now on to put the year on any announcement that I make - even if it is only for something going on tomorrow.
Speaking of the show in Ft. Smith, there will be plenty of seats available and this will be one of the largest screens we project on all season, so make be sure to let your friends know about it too!
11/18/17 It feels like WINTER outside tonight! But it is oh soooo wonderful wandering beneath beautiful star-filled skies. An old down jacket and new ($7) knit stocking cap from Wal Mart provided plenty of cover and warmth, although a brisk walking pace helped. As I get to know this new property I'm able to move slowly through the forest at night without a light, especially now that the trees are getting naked and letting more starlight in. The temps seems to be about in the upper 30's with a mild breeze - much calmer than it was this afternoon.
It is day ten of our 12 days of exhaustion, and tonight I plan to retire to the van by 10pm - usually has been closer to midnight and a couple of nights even into the next morning before I'm able to quit work for the day. Average start has been about 4:30am. That's when I got up this morning to stretch the last couple of canvas prints for the gallery opening - and to my surprise my fitbit watch clocked in more than 2,400 steps by the time I was done stretching - which was before I took the pups on a pre-dawn hike!
One of many highlights of my day was when friend Kevin Middleton stopped by. (Kevin knows his way around the woods and a lot about Newton County history.) It was warm when he arrived, but by the time I'd drug him a couple hundred yards through the woods to show him an old root cellar on our property, the temp had dropped at least ten degrees, heavy winds picked up, and it started to rain a little. Kevin is as tough as I used to be outdoors, so it didn't seem to bother him. A small dugout root cellar or something like that is about all the evidence there is on our property of previous inhabitants, and Kevin agreed that it did not look like a normal one. While mingling with some dense brush we discovered a pair of white-barked trees - one a fairly large one near the root cellar. Not sure what species, but it was the first time I'd seen either one - I have a lot of exploring to do around here.
Another highlight was soon after we opened the gallery for the day, when a young lady and her husband purchased one of my most favorite Pam Ernst Pastels - one I documented here in the Journal last summer of a rustic barn in Boxley Valley. It was one of those magic days when my bride had a vision, hunted around until she found the perfect spot (out in the middle of waist-chest-high hay field), then spent the next hour completely in tune with the scene and in sync with her pastels. And when she stopped to come up for air, there was a master work of art on her easel. I kinda' feel like a proud poppa when one of her pastels is sold - knowing her excitement and a little part of her soul will pass on and bring joy to others. Art is like that.
It was GREAT to see everyone who stopped by today - and also to have Pam's dad help us pack everything up!
Here is an example of how well my bride knows me after 17 years. We ordered a pecan pie from the Blue Mountain Bakery in Jasper to take to grandma's Thanksgiving feast tomorrow. Pam went into town this afternoon to pick it up, she stopped by her parents house and dropped it off on her way home. I questioned her about the missing pie when she got home, and she said that after seeing and SMELLING the pie on her front seat, she realized it would probably not make it out of my sight intact if she brought it home - and she was right - I love pie, and probably would be eating a slice of it right now instead of typing! (She did bring home a LLUMBERJACK sandwich from the bakery which made up for the missing pie.)
On another food-related note, I have always thought that the cause of my fingertips splitting this time of year was due to low humidity (same thing happens when I travel out west in the summer - low humidity and split fingertips). But I witnessed several days ago a direct cause-and-effect that was not humidity related. French fries and cheese popcorn = split fingertips. As we started this run of driving several thousand miles the past ten days, I ate a lot of french fries - heavily salted ones. And also drove many long days and nights, and I find that munching on cheese popcorn actually helps keep me more awake and alert than coffee does - heavily salted cheese popcorn. Same thing happens in the summer when we go out west - we eat at drive-thrus a lot and I LOVE french fries - and do a lot of late-night drives with cheese popcorn. All that salt on my fingertips = split fingertips? Hum.
Pre-dawn and sunrises have been just spectacular here the past couple of mornings. We usually have a lot of great ones in the Ozarks during winter. Right now we have to hike about 1/4 to be able to see a view to the east. By next summer we'll just be able to look out the window to see the light show at dawn - which means when we take the puppies for a morning walk we'll be going away from the spectacular scene (up the hill to the west), then racing to get back to our new cabin and the view behind it. Maybe I should stop eating so many french fries and bags of popcorn so I won't have to exercise so much to keep the weight off...
11/17/17 We arrived back home last night just before midnight - the drive up into the Ozarks from our program in North Little Rock was pretty smooth, not too many deer, and we only saw two vehicles between Dover and almost Jasper. Great bunch of folks at Windsong Church as always (hosted by the Arkansas Outdoor Photography Club), and we appreciate all who attended.
My lovely bride and I spent most of today and into tonight trying to catch up - seems like we're always doing that, like the rest of the world. I'm almost done tonight getting canvas prints completed and will only have two left tomorrow morning before we open the gallery for a few hours. Sunday will be Thanksgiving at Grandma's house, then Monday we'll be in Ft. Smith for our program with the Trailblazers hiking club.
I just made a quick trip with the pups down the lane to our cabin site, and oh my goodness the STARS were all out and STUNNING! Been a while since I've seen them that bright. It was pretty warm and quite breezy - I hear they are calling for high winds tomorrow too. With all he wind and December approaching, we've been surprised to still see a few maple trees with beautiful red and yellow leaves holding on. It has been a pretty nice fall color season - if you could find the bright spots!
GALLERLY NOTE FOR TOMORROW - Pam will have at least a DOZEN of her beautiful, original pastel paintings on display. I'm hoping to convince her to have more and more of them available, and it will be fun to watch her consume more wall space in the gallery - I kinda like her work (her online gallery is here)...I will also have several brand new canvas prints from the ARKANSAS BEAUTY picture book.
11/16/17 One of many reasons why I LOVE being outdoors in Arkansas in November is the fact that with almost each step I take in the woods, the view all around gets BETTER! Not only are falling leaves just magical, but once they have floated gently to the ground and pile up, the forest floor is so soft and thick and just wonderful to walk through - almost like floating through the forest like the leaves falling themselves. And as the leaves exit the trees, the view opens up - even in the thickest forest. And walking around even the same place the view changes hour-by-hour, and day to day.
And of course once all the leaves are down, the TREES themselves reveal so much about themselves. I just LOVE naked trees!
We won't be naked, but we will have the gallery open this coming Saturday the 18th, from 10am-3pm. No homemade cookies (that one will be on November 25th), but we will have everything on sale. Today we're headed to North Little Rock for our show at Windsong Church - hope to see some of you there! (Below is the scene from the cabin site just before sunrise.)
11/14/17 We're spending a few hours in a rest area tonight bef -ore getting back home Wednesday morning (after a quick trip to northern Wisconsin to make final selections for our new cabin). About 26 hours of driving in all. Yesterday my bride tossed a snowball at me, and this morning the pups and I hiked around the cabin factory a couple hours before sunup in very frosty conditions which felt GREAT! Looks like we did get and/or are getting some rainfall back home.
Thursday we're headed to do a slide show in North Little Rock (6:30pm at Windsong Church). SATURDAY our canvas gallery will be OPEN from 10am-3pm. MONDAY we'll give our program in Ft. Smith at the Grace Community Church at 7pm. Tell your friends, bring a friend of three - and bring your Christmas shopping list!
11/13/17 I was up early and spent about an hour spreading grass seed on our underground electric right-of-way - hoping it would sprout with the coming of rainfall this week. I discovered it was EASIER to do this in the dark with a headlamp to illuminate both the outgoing seeds I was spreading (with a small hand spreader on loan from Pam's dad), and also could see the seeds on the ground so I did not over seed. Got the whole thing done before sunrise.
Then we were off to our program in Mountain Home - GREAT CROWD and we thank everyone who attended! Pam's parents drove our "bookmobile" with all the program equipment and about 900 pounds of books and calenders while my bride and I drove our home on wheels (our Roadtrek camper van). After the show we headed north and drove until we were just about totally spent, then pulled over for a few hours rest. We drove all day today and are parked tonight next to a pile of SNOW! (in northern Wisconsin) Pam just processed several book orders while in bed at the back of the van, and now her dad will package and ship them tomorrow. We try to always ship within 24-48 hours even when we are on the road - thanks to her dad - YIPPIE COYOTE! (I said the other day we did not have any "staff" - except for her dad, who is WAY MORE than staff!)
Hope we get the much-needed rain that is in the forecast...
11/11/17 A blood-red dawn to honor our service men and women this morning on their special day - THANK YOU VETS!!! I could see the color along the eastern horizon the moment we left the van and headed down the hill towards the cabin site about an hour before sunrise this morning. The RED grew brighter and richer with each step. It was chilly with a slight breeze, but birds were already singing the glory of the day. (funny, but just yesterday in front of a giant Audubon Society crowd I proclaimed we didn't have many birds at Little Bluff, but today they seemed to be everywhere!). It was a beautiful sight, and a reminder of all our vets and their families have done since the beginning of our country to put themselves in harms way to insure our freedom and way of life. THANK YOU VETS!!! I know that yesterday was the "observance" of the day, and today is the actual date, but really, we should give thanks to our vets EVERY DAY of our lives......
We had a record Audubon crowd yesterday for our first slide show of the season in Hot Springs Village and it was pure joy for us to be there. The 12-hour trip plus everything before and after did take a toll and I was one tired and sore and aching puppy. The puppies were well-rested though as they road on mom's lap both ways, and possibly got some chicken nuggets for lunch - a special treat for them!
If you are in the Springdale area - 1pm at Shiloh Museum for our program today, and 2pm TOMORROW at the Baxter County Library in Mountain Home. Sorry to keep harping on all these programs, but the show is the pinnacle of what I do, and we've worked a very long time to make it happen, and we want to spread the smiles around to as many folks as we can! Plus they are the very best place to fill out your Christmas list - prices will never be lower on any of our products.
Oh yes, and HAPPY WEEKEND to you!
11/10/17 The pups and I were not alone when we went hiking at 3 this morning. BRIGHT 1/2 moonlight led the day. And there was music from the sky - more and more flocks of geese winging their way south. They navigate by the stars, although could also easily follow the arrows painted on the landscape with the brightness of the moon. It was a bit chilly with a breeze and temps in the high 30's, but didn't take long for me to warm up and start shedding layers.
I got ALMOST all of the 47 items on my various to-do lists completed before my bride delivered a crispy salad from town when she got home last night. Still a few things to load this morning before we make like geese and head south for the first slide show of the season in Hot Springs Village - hope to see some of ya there! (wish us luck)
11/09/17 Today begins 12 days of exhaustion for us. Today I have to get EVERYTHING done that I've been putting off for weeks to prepare for the next 12 days. My bride will be on the road getting an equal number of chores done, plus many hours of driving. Tomorrow we get up at 3am-ish to pack up and drive down to Hot Springs Village for our first slide show of the year (10am at the Coronado Center - we arrive at 8am to unload and setup), then drive home and recycle and process orders and catch up on all of our daily business. Saturday repeat, driving to Springdale for our program at Shiloh Museum. Sunday repeat for our show at the Mountain Home Library. Monday we have a 13-hour drive to Wisconsin. Tuesday we'll spend about 12 hours meeting with cabin design folks and pick out everything for our new cabin. Wednesday drive 13 hours back home and collapse. Thursday we have to recycle and get three days of business work done that we missed by being on the road, then drive to our program in North Little Rock at Windsong Church - it will be midnight or after before we return home. Friday will be another road-trip day trying to play catchup and getting prepared for our gallery open house the next day. Saturday we'll have the gallery OPEN all day - one of the worst things on my ailing back is standing around talking to people, which I LOVE to do, but it takes a toll. Sunday we have a private event all day. Monday, our 12th day of exhaustion, we'll drive to Ft. Smith for our program that evening with the Trailblazers hiking club - another midnight arrival home. TUESDAY WE WILL SLEEP! Oops, not so fast - my bride will probably have to work all day just to try and get caught up with all the business - she is the one who does nearly all our business stuff here - we have no staff. So it will be 13 days of exhaustion for my bride...
Our HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE will be the following Saturday, November 25th, so we'll spend much of the week getting ready for that - we'll have GRANDMA'S HOMEMADE COOKIES AND HOT CIDER at this one! Then our slide show trips begin with programs at Fayetteville, Benton, Conway and on...
WILDLIFE UPDATE. Seems like all the geese from Canada have flown over this past week. Many flocks have become lost in the fog and circled for what seemed like hours. Not much open water for them to land on around here so I bet they were tired puppies when they finally found a resting spot. And LADY BUGS. We've seen reports of massive invasion of lady bugs throughout the Ozarks this past week - we had three or four in our new gallery building and a swarm or two of them outside in the forest, but otherwise escaped them.
COLOR continues to rage on in isolated areas around us - some of the most STUNNING maple trees I've seen in a very long while. But that color is fleeting, and most areas are heading into their normal winter dress - which I happen to LOVE so I'll be a happy camper when the trees are bare. There is a 50-pound bag of winter wheat in the back of my van that I need to unload and spread today - anyone got a free hand today? (ha, ha, that was a joke - I tend to just spread this seed by hand since we don't have a seed spreader).
SLIDE SHOW NOTE. As always, I'm holding my breath until the end of our first slide show tomorrow - after working on it for weeks, even months, I never know how the public will react to the show (i.e, how good it is). There will be a little different twist or two this year, and we can't wait for the big group in Hot Springs Village to see it. If you believe in this sort of thing, please keep your fingers crossed....(and FYI, we now have the new ARKANSAS BEAUTY DVD's for sale and shipping). They will also be available at each slide program (at a discount) and at our gallery when we're open.
11/07/17 Spent most of the day on the road yesterday, driving through some SPECTACULAR northwest Arkansas country in full peak fall color - oh my goodness! It was foggy and drizzling and just perfect to bring out the max color in the trees. Other hillsides were bare, so it was hit or miss, but mostly HIT. One of the most brilliant displays I've seen in a while was the parking lot of Lowes South in Fayetteville, and then south to Ft. Smith. But also here in the upper Buffalo River area up high - the ridges were peaking, valleys had lost their leaves. I know folks worry about exactly when the peak is here or there, but the truth is that ANY day spent in the woods in Arkansas during fall is usually a wonderful experience. Some maple trees in Fayetteville and even in Boxley were just - STUNNING.
We took the pups out for an early-morning walk today surrounded by more fog and wet landscape - there was special beauty everywhere we looked. Soon everything will be bare and the forest floor will be soft and earthy, piled high with all that color. Then it will be time to linger in the forest, looking up and out through the bare trees that share their own kind of beauty.
Don't forget slide shows this week in Hot Springs Village, Shiloh Museum in Springdale, and at the Mountain Home library - 'tis the world premiere of the brand new ARKANSAS BEAUTY moving picture book!
11/05/17 There was an EPIC fog around for a couple of days, and one night. Perhaps the thickest fog I've ever seen, anywhere. My lovely bride made a quick trip on Friday to our Russellville doctor (Monfee Clinic - the BEST!) for an ailing knee problem, and she encountered the fog driving down and back. Same thick fog was reported by many folks Saturday morning who came to our gallery open house - all coming up Hwy. 7 from the south.
And on kind of a funny note, Friday evening I attempted to hike down to the future cabin site to cover up a chainsaw I had left outside in the afternoon, and even a very BRIGHT light could hardly penetrate the dense fog more than ten feet! I was able to make it down the road by following gravel instead of forest floor, but when I got into the middle of the circle drive there (which is where the chain saw was located), I got LOST. It is not a large area, and I was always contained by the driveway, but I swear I wandered around in that deep dark fog for twenty minutes looking for that chain saw and never found it. I know I inspected every tree - including the pair of trees where I know I left the darn thing. The puppy's eyes kept me focused and I figured they were not lost, but it was just weird not being able to see very far in the fog, nor find the chain saw. I finally gave up and the dogs led me back up the hill to the gallery building. Gosh-darndest fog I've ever seen!
We had a LOT more wonderful folks show up for the open house on Saturday than we expected, and it was great to see so many old friends and new folks who made the long journey - even though the thick fog which I think remained until the middle of the day south of Jasper.
That fog and associated wetness (it was actually raining from the moisture falling out of the fog) created some might find peak fall color around our place (I didn't go anywhere else), and also I heard many reports of great color all around the upper Buffalo River region. Today there was still LOTS of great color here, including oaks and hickories that just popped yellows and oranges - to go along with yellow and red maples. This evening as we walked the pups around a bit we discovered a multi-colored leaf that came from a sweetgum tree near the gallery (first sweet gum tree I've seen here at Little Bluff). After a search we found the tree, and it was also multicolored, with red, yellow, orange, and even a spot of purple - all on the same tree.
AND WE HAVE GRASS! I had planted some grass seed on the cabin site that was cleared last week to help keep the exposed topsoil from running off due to heavy rains and wind, and son of a gun, it started to TURN GREEN today - YIPPIE! We aren't sure of our landscape plans yet, but we will have some open areas around the cabin for grasses and such that we don't have to mow but once or twice a year (we hope). But for now we have some little green sprouts that should help hold the dirt - in fact the green literally appeared in various places from hour to hour today. Rain on the way will help even more, especially if we get sunshine mixed in.
One other funny note about my lost chainsaw. We have a contractor who is doing all the dirt work here - same crew who built our road here last year and digs our utility lines and whatever dirt work we need. He is the BEST and is always a pure joy to work with (a lot like the other contractor that has been helping us - Billy Woods; and also our electriction, Shane Jetton). Anyway, Roger Faught and his crew always pick up after themselves and leave a clean and spotless work site when they are done. When I saw Roger on Saturday, he said they ended up with an extra chain saw and wondered if I was missing one! I've not done a lick of physical work since Roger has been working here, so I'm sure one of his guys assumed it was one of their saws (same brand, only mine was not nearly as clean and well kept as theirs). So my chain saw is safe and dry, although I think my back is done with it until next spring. THANKS ROGER!
Sky note tonight - no fog in sight, nothin' but pure black and zillions of stars above...
11/02/17 I met some shadowy characters down at the new cabin site before dawn this morning - admist the backdrop of brilliant light and color in the distance (I should have brought a camera - the color and silhouettes were very nice). They were loading up their bulldozer and headed out to the next job elsewhere. We are done with dirt work for now at Little Bluff, the cabin site is clear, underground utilities are all buried and in place, and calmness has returned. The next step will be building a foundation, but that won't happen for a while, with the cabin construction beginning early next year. We hope to have a place to live by summer.
Later in the morning I stood at the cabin site for 30 minutes while the sky opened up and Godbeams danced across the landscape far below and beyond. It was one of those Cloudland Moments that went on and on (and I DID have my snapshot camera with me). It was a pivotal day in our transition to a new life here, and I realized that while Cloudland was (is) indeed a once-in-a-lifetime magical spot on earth, our new property would also provide us with much-needed spiritual and physical magic in all forms. The scene before me was just quite SPECTACULAR, and it will be right out the window.
Still later in the day, after dinner and near sunset, my lovely bride and I hiked down to the cabin site and enjoyed a wondrous light show in the clouds and on distant ridges. In face we discovered one view through the trees that included six ridges and stretched for miles and miles. Then we quietly slipped through the surrounding forest as I wanted to show Pam a nice maple tree I had discovered. Along the way we discovered DOZENS of maple trees, each one seemingly brighter and more colorful than the one before. These are not towering maples trees like we had a Cloudland, but rather young trees that are peaking right now - all bathed in beautiful evening light. While our new property is completely surrounded by private property instead of wilderness, we'll have plenty of woodlands to explore and roam around in here without ever crossing our boundary line. It was a Cloudland Moment that lasted an hour!
If I had not said it before, the term "Cloudland" was first noted by John Muir more than 100 years ago in his journals - as a time and place and sense of "being in cloudland." I learned this several years after finding and naming my own Cloudland, and many of my references since have been about the place - but more so about the feeling and magic of the moment. And so that will continue for me, no matter the place - it is a "cloudland moment" with a nod to John Muir.
"Another midday cloudland, displaying power and beauty that one never wearies in beholding, but hopelessly unsketchable and untellable."
We will have the gallery here open on Saturday, November 4th, from 10am-3pm. This won't be a "Holiday Open House" like we've had in the past, but rather we will just be here working and will have the doors open for all who would like to come browse the canvas prints and Pam's original pastels; plus we'll have all of our books and new 2018 Arkansas Calendars on sale - AND maybe even the very first copies of the new ARKANSAS BEAUTY on DVD available! I spent the rest of today with three computers spread out on my cluttered countertop creating a master DVD and also making original dupes for sale - they will be on sale for only $10 - not available anywhere but here on Saturday! (standard definition not Blu-Ray)
Speaking of the new slide program, here is our schedule for the next couple of months. And while it will be nice to have a DVD to look at in your own home, experiencing one of the programs in person is a magnitude greater - not only will the images look SO much better up on the big screen, but the soundtrack is pretty darn good and the in-person experience is the ultimate. Of course we will have all of our products available at sale prices before and after each program, and all shows are FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, as always.
11/01/17 We are camped in a grove of towering pine trees tonight (and every night), the wind is howling and those pines are making beautiful music! A 3/4 moon is bright enough we can easily see the trees swaying back and forth. Clouds are racing across the sky, dancing with the moon. The temp has been rising since dawn, and it is above 60 now, so that wind feels warm. Autumn weather in Arkansas - 'tis the BEST!
It took me a good long while, but I finally got the ending to our new slide program completed late last night. After dozens of tweaks today, and many failed attempts to burn a DVD of the new show, I finally have a master copy that we'll be able to get DVD's for sale made from. Since we don't own a TV (have not had one for two years or more), we visited Ron and Judy who live just ten minutes away to see if the DVD worked on their TV (it did). I suspect I'll continue to tweak the file until I have to burn a final master DVD to send off - there is always something that needs to be tweaked. We won't have the store-bought DVD's from a company in Hollywood here in time for the start of our program season next week, but I'll be able to create enough direct copies (we hope) to have some for sale at the shows. Hum, we might even have one or two availavle at our gallery when it is open this coming Saturday from 10-3 (November 4th).
Not much rain last night, but the landscape was wet and soft today and easy to hike through - without the wind it would have been silent too. The earth underfoot here on our little ridgetop above the little bluff is easy walking, with decades of soil and leaf-litter/duff built up from non-use. Most will remain in forest, which will give us years of wandering to do and places to explore.
We DID have one trick-or-treater come by last nght - he was wearing full camo from head to toe, and sporting a camo bow and arrows too - our neighbor who hunts in a tree stand near our gallery building came sneaking by just after sunset. Unfortunately our treat bowl was EMPTY - what can I say - my lovely bride left me all ALONE with the candy while she made a quick trip to Missouri! It is November now, and I suspect it will take me most of the month to recover from the pounds I put on while sitting at the computer working on the slide program (and eating treats from the kids that never show up - someone has to sacrifice).