CLOUDLAND JOURNAL - SEPTEMBER 2017
09/10/17 - there were a few clouds and Godbeams today while we were at Cloudland packing up the last of our stuff...
NOTE: this is the last entry in the Cloudland Journal. Posts will continue in the same "current Journal" location but renamed as the LITTLE BLUFF JOURNAL.
09/09/17 We are tucked away in our little Roadtrek camper van for our second night beyond Cloudland. We got up early as usual, took the puppies for a stroll through the forest at dawn - and got to see a brilliant sunrise through the trees. There isn't much of a view at our new property, but whenever we build our new cabin there will be a nice view - not a Cloudland view, but we're hoping pretty nice. I'm afraid that a lot of my life from this point forward for a while will be compared to life at Cloudland - which is silly - Cloudland was magical, and we'll make the rest of our life that way too!
As soon as we got back to the van we realized there was no food! But see, magic can happen no matter where you are, and within 20 minutes we were munching on warm fresh cinnamon rolls from the Blue Mountain Bakery in Jasper - that deserves a YIPPIE COYOTE! Then we returned to Cloudland for more packing and cleaning up. Guess what - nothing to eat for lunch either. But we did have a pair of GIANT blueberry muffins also from the bakery, and we enjoyed them from our former back deck - the view was quite spectacular even in the middle of the day.
And then another one of the classic Cloudland Moments happened - perhaps the last. Butterflies began to pour out of the sky from above the cabin and swoop down in front of us into Mom's meadow below. My mom was known as the Butterfly Lady and always wore a special painted butterfly pin on her shoulder - so realistic that folks used to reach out to touch it. I believe the butterflies today were mom's way of telling us everything was going to be ok - there would be butterflies wherever we were, and her spirit would follow us no matter what.
We've got another couple days of work to do back at Cloudland, and then we will be moved out for good.
So for all who have been asking, here is a quick rundown. Last December we started working with two different buyers and for one reason or another we ended up signing a contract with one of them in February - his was the lower bid. It took seven very long and painful months to reach the point of closing, and even then we didn't know for sure if the sale had happened or not until late in the day yesterday.
The new owner is a young man from Fayetteville who is a terrific nature photographer - in fact he's taken several of my photo workshops over the years, although I believe he would have been an expert by now even without - raw talent like his just happens. It wouldn't surprise me if he opened his own photography gallery at Cloudland - I think he's already got enough great material to fill it up!
We got a loan more than a year ago to purchase average near Mt. Sherman (12 miles from Cloudland as the crow flies) - this is where our new Canvas Prints Gallery is (which now includes PAMS PASTELS too!). We could not afford to build a new cabin until we sold Cloudland, so other than the combined gallery and book warehouse building we built last year, we are homeless, and will be until some time next year. In the meantime we'll be staying in the camper van, and working at the gallery/warehouse. It's a good thing we like each other a lot - that van is pretty tight quarters. Mia and Wilson seem to like it too.
I'll add more later - right now my bones and mind are weary...
09/08/17 There was an unusual sweetness in the air this morning at dawn. I lingered on the back deck with my feet propped up on the railing, taking nearly a half hour to sip all the java from my cup. It was our last day at Cloudland. The property has been sold and we've moved out. In the coming days I'll bring you up to speed on our new journey, and the one that got us to this point. I do plan to continue to write here, but not sure what the name or format will be. Cloudland no longer belongs to us, but the spirit will remain with us forever. Many thanks to all who have been with us on these pages. Without you there would have been no reason to write. There is no joy in Mudville tonight, but we look forward to better days ahead...
09/07/17 TIME TO PRE-ORDER! We just received a sample copy of all our new publications and they look AMAZING! The full shipment is in route and should arrive in Arkansas later this month. We are hoping to have them available and ready to ship to you by October 1st. Click on each picture or the links below for more info and to place your order to be the first on your block to get them!
*Our HOLIDAY SPECIAL includes all three new publications for one low price!*
AHH NUTS. Acorns have begun to fall, and so far they've been pretty BIG! I've only seen a couple more walnuts, and no pawpaws.
Morning temps have been in the 40's the past couple of days, and oh my it sure does feel GREAT. And just yesterday that cold air swept the air clean, and as I sit here this morning the dawn air is quite clear and crisp, turning from dark blue to brilliant pink. Last night's full moon still hangs in the sky and it is BEAMING brightly. I guess all the smoke from the western wildfires are gone, at least for now.
The only music this morning outside is coming from a distant whippoorwill calling out - so far, no one has answered.
Speaking of critters out looking for mates, I saw a GIANT bull elk early yesterday in Boxley - the "herd" bulls are beginning to arrive and gather up their harems. I did not get the chance to stop and listen for bugling, but no doubt if it has not already begun it will soon.
*If you venture to Boxley this fall to park and enjoy all of that, please remember it is a state highway with a 55mph speed limit and you MUST park completely off pavement - but NOT on private property! There are some designated pulloffs, and when those fill up you are on your own - and subject to a ticket. Unless you want to see the "Yellowstone effect" spectacle of the people jam, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you visit during the week and avoid the weekend crowds. And no matter when you visit, be aware of your surroundings, considerate of other people, and watch for speeding vehicles - it is a state highway and the speed zone is not reduced.
Couple other elk-viewing notes. EARLY morning and LATE evening are best, and there is no one best spot - the elk herds move up and down the valley and you never know for sure where they will be (although lines of cars and people are a good sign - the "Yellowstone effect.") And secondly, be sure to visit the Elk Info Center in Ponca and also the one in Jasper - both offer a ton of info and exhibits, and also sell maps and guidebooks and are quite helpful and ready to answer questions. Most of all HAVE FUN and be safe...
09/04/17 A crimson moon rose quickly into a blue-haze twilight sky. I was up in Aspens meadow this evening wandering around and that big old moon just sort of hung there, like it was looking around the wilderness one last time before summer ended. It felt like that too - it was hazy, warm, and the air was thick, yet now and then there was a cool blast of fresh air. I think maybe this year Labor Day will be the final day of summer, even though it still actually lasts on the calendar a couple more weeks.
Normally this transition is one from a baked and parched landscape, but this year everything is quite lush, colorful, and beautiful. It's been a "mild" August for sure, terms not usually associated with each other! We started seeing dashes of color in some trees a week or two ago, and a few areas are already taking on a yellow hue. Folks are speaking about an early fall color season here, but it really has more to do with what happens in the next month that where we are at now - in other words, WHO KNOWS! It does feel like we're being set up for a wonderful show.
Lots of fresh mushrooms popping up - including many pure-white ones. They seem healthy and full of life, rather than dull and dried up. Neighbor Kennie reported a brilliant round RED one in his front yard, but it only lasted a few days.
Cool temps will arrive sometime during the night, and continue for at least the next several days. Fall is on the way...
09/02/17 Tree frogs, cicidas, crickets, and the quiet rush of the Buffalo River below are the soundtrack of the wilderness tonight. A 3/4 moon is lightning up the landscape, and a few lightning bugs swoosh by making yellow-green streaks (they don't actually make that sound, but that's what I hear in my head when I see them fly by close). It is calm and cool and just LOVELY outside!
09/01/17 Yesterday morning I woke up at 4am at the edge of a cornfield in Iowa. The next couple of hours I drove through an amazingly beautiful countryside of lush fields that rolled on forever, a layer of ground fog, and a spectacular sunrise illuminating it all - in fact it was a red-ball sunrise that lasted for more than an hour.
Today it is still dark, and I'm sitting at the edge of another cornfield, this one in northwest Minnesota, not too far from Fargo, ND. Many places in Minnesota remind me of Iceland - the way the homes and farms and countrysides are so neat and tidy, and clean - and the people quite friendly. This is the home of my ancestors, where my mom's family immigrated to and settled in the 1800's. I used to spend summers here in my youth on the family farm in southern Minnesota, and later as an older "kid" I would venture into the north country to canoe and fish. Many fond memories of Minnesota for sure.
I'm headed back to Cloudland today, down through the rolling cornfields of the southern part of Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. Back home to the mountains. We'll be spending the Labor Day holiday at home, and hope everyone of you gets the chance to ENJOY the weekend! Oh, by the way, some trees are beginning to turn color up north here, and I suspect we'll begin to see color in the Ozarks soon - looking forward to what I bet is a very spectacular fall color season in Arkansas...