LITTLE BLUFF JOURNAL - August 2018
Little Bluff Cabin cam August 16 - sunrise and sunflowers - another storm and 1" of rain overnight, with more clouds below - with all the cloud activity above and below we should call this place "Cloudland Too"
Journal updated 08/14/18 a Purple Heart
Print Of The Week Special (above)
08/01/18 Beautiful sweet and cool morning at dawn. 2019 calendars are finally complete and files uploaded to the servers in California for processing (YIPPIE COYOTE!!!) .Now it is time to get back to projects that should have been done last February; and also attempt to get my bride's painting and quilting studio in order so she can move in and get to work!
The HVAC guy, Brad, completed all work on our system, including installing a whole-house humidifier that will come in handy during the winter. WAY TO GO BRAD! All the rock is complete, but the rock crew is here today to clean up three months worth of mess. They have done some beautiful work and I'll post photos of it as time goes on. We are still looking for someone to tile our walk-in shower - let us know if you know anyone that might be available NOW to get this job done. Also still waiting for sheet rock crew to come finish the garage (so we an get garage doors installed and cabinets and other things moved in); and another crew to come finish staining the outside porches, beams, and ceilings. In other words, we might be ready to move in by Christmas, ha, ha!
No additional info about Roy's death, but we will pass it along if we hear anything.
Here's couple of photos below to illustrate a recent incident on July 28...
The new outdoor shower and copperhead gathering place (above)
08/02/18 Our prow is done at last...
08/08/18 Pam's first pastel painting done in her new studio (below) - not complete yet (her studio or the pastel), but both are very nice...Also we now have a couch! A couch to sit on and art on the wall - it's looking more like home all the time.
From the NWA edition of the Arkansas Democratte Gazette today -
"It is with great sadness that the family of Roy Senyard, 73, of Fayetteville, AR, announces his death on July 28, 2018 while vacationing with his wife Norma and friends in Idaho.
Roy was a lifelong advocate and lover of the outdoors. He spent decades working to preserve the integrity and beauty of the Arkansas wilderness through his passion for caring for The Ozark Highlands Trail, a long-distance Arkansas hiking trail of over 200 miles. He was the longtime Maintenance Coordinator for the OHT, organizing the volunteers who keep the trail open by cutting back the side growth of trees and shrubs.
If there was meaningful trail work to be done, Roy was the first person on the scene. Had trees from a storm fallen and blocked the trail? Roy gathered a team together and off they headed to clear the trail passage. Is trail maintenance hard work? It certainly can be.
But Roy was so much fun to be with, and so friendly -- the crew members just wanted to be with him. He joked, he laughed, he taught newbies the ropes. He made the work fun, plus it was all for the great benefit of Arkansas’s beloved Ozark Highlands Trail.
Wow, could he run a chainsaw! And his attention to safety and technique was impeccable.
He made many lifelong friendships through the camaraderie and shared achievement of working to make mountains, moss-covered rocky streams, and deep, hidden valleys accessible to those who love to walk in the woods. If you've ever been hiking in Arkansas, there's a good chance you've been on a trail he either built or maintained.
Roy was born March 31, 1945, in Natchez, MS. He grew up in Pine Bluff, AR, and graduated from Pine Bluff High School in 1964. While a student at the University of Central Arkansas he joined the U.S. Navy and served in Vietnam as a recon medic.
He saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers. He was wounded and received two Purple Hearts.
After returning from service, he continued his education at UCA. He worked notably for Arco Oil Company. He and his former spouse, Sue Claypool Senyard, lived for a number of years in Pine Bluff, AR, Perryton, TX, and Fort Smith, AR.
It was while living in Fort Smith that Roy became passionate about hiking trails and the outdoors and became one of the early members of the Ozark Highlands Trail Association.
He met his wife Norma Sims Meadors Senyard, who is also an outdoor enthusiast, and they moved to Fayetteville, AR, in 1996. Roy and Norma both love paddling Arkansas’s glorious Buffalo River.
They love hiking and backpacking -- not just in Arkansas, but in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Roy worked many week-long trail maintenance crews in Colorado for The Colorado Trail.
Roy is survived by his wife, Norma Senyard of Fayetteville, AR; his daughter, Anne-Marie Lisko of Tulsa, OK, and her husband, Ian Lisko; his son Roy Senyard, Jr. of Tulsa, OK; his sister, Suzanne Reynolds of El Dorado, AR, and her husband, Morris Reynolds; his sister-in-law, Gay Senyard Hansen of Fayetteville, AR; his stepdaughter, Wen Audrey Tate of Hickory, NC, and her husband, Jim Tate; his stepson, Brian Meadors of Wilmington, NC, and his wife, Mandy Meadors; his nine grandchildren: Vivian Lisko; Gus, Tabitha, and Mason Meadors; James, Donovan, and Carlton Tate; and Gabe and Londyn Senyard. He had eleven nieces and six nephews.
He had many other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents Ann Ellen and Frederick Senyard and his beloved brother, Rick Senyard.
A memorial Celebration of Life for Roy will be held on Sunday, August 12, 2018, at 2:00 pm at Lake Fort Smith State Park Black Bear Dining Hall. Lake Fort Smith State Park is located a short distance south of Fayetteville, at Mountainburg, AR.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in his honor to The Ozark Highlands Trail Association Roberts Tract Fund or The Ozark Society Buffalo River Legal Protection Fund.
Roy had wisdom and humility. He will be greatly missed, but his legacy to the natural world will live on."
08/08/18 - evening update. We had some amazing cloud formations this afternoon as storm after storm rolled through.
And here's a photo below my brother sent of me in Washington D.. C. in May, 1981 - we were getting ready to hike down Pennslyvania Avenue to the steps of the Capital, and then onto the Washoington Monument after backpacking across the country. A photo that was taken later the day of me wearing this shirt being hugged by one of our other hikers, was published in many newspapers all over the country (that photo from one of the newspapers is shown below and was taken by an Associated Press photographer).
From Seattle paper (above)
08/10/18 The colors of dawn are creeping across the landscape spread out before me. Below the horizon, mostly dark blues and greens. The horizon itself is a very dark gray. But just above the horizon, there are pinks and oranges and reds blending into a pure-blue open and cloudless sky above. The hues and color mix and change constantly with the approaching sunrise, which we can't quite see yet from our perch on the hillside overlooking miles of wonderful countryside.
The sky is blank at the moment, but OH MY GOODNESS what a week of CLOUDS and thunderheads and rain and lightening we've had! At Cloudland, we had an incredible view into the wilderness below, and the scene was in constant motion many days. But we had shades on some of the windows and it was easy to block out the view so we could get work done (our office computers were right there against the south wall, looking out over the wilderness. But with the shades down, it was just an office wall. Here at our new cabin, we have a giant 17' tall by 24' wide pro wall of 14 glass panels - it's more like the IMAX screen at Branson, only the view is a lot better and the sound is normal (can't stand how LOUD they have the volume in Branson, and aren't able to see any shows there - earplugs don't help).
The horizon line here right now is no long gray - it is a brilliant red/orange/pink now, about to burst open wide with the sunrise.
So we've had many, MANY storms and giant thunderstorms roll through this week, day and night. Only a couple inches of rain total so far, but much of that came in short, heavy downpours. We don't have any gutters on yet (waiting on the stain guy to come finish staining the wood posts before we can get gutters installed). So when it rains and pours we have some pretty amazing waterfalls pouring off the rood onto the deck!
The daytime air show has been pretty nice even without storms - mountains of clouds have been drifting by almost constantly - the kind that move and change shape and grow and shrink and sometimes overtake one another. One day while headed up to the gallery office to work I happened to see some weird light coming from around the back of the cabin. I stepped around the corner and spent ten minutes in the middle of the wildflower-filled meadow out back in awe of what the clouds were doing. Part of the time is was out of a horror movie - looking like Dracula spread across the sky. There seemed to be dozens of mini twisters all in a row - a curtain of them handing down into the canyon before me. Off to one side a swirl of clouds forms in kind of a reverse tornado coming up from below. Most of the clouds were black, or dark gray. It was all just WEIRD.
And we've had a sky filled with feathered critters of all colors, shapes and sizes. It has been a great week for buzzards - they seem to pick our back yard for a lazy retreat in the air when the breezes are just right, and they will sometimes spend minutes slowly moving across our view, often not moving at all, keeping in place in the wind. Then all of a sudden one will bend a wing and off he'll go - either soaring up higher and higher, or dashing almost straight down towards something that caught his attention.
One wildlife moment involved these giant buzzards. There was a group of them playing in the wind currents just above our meadow when a flock of the smallest birds in the air surrounded them -- those little swifts that dart two and fro all over the place. They seemed intent to either bother or being playing a game with the giant buzzards. Obviously all of them were involved and it was a treat to watch.
As I'm typing this the sun had just broken above the horizon and one of the pines right off our deck has begun to glow with the new light of the day. We can't quite figure out how this tree wrapped itself around itself, but it appears to have some human qualities and always brings a smile.
Speaking of trees, there are some interesting tree shapes in the first pastel she did this past week in her new studio above the garage, and we got to talking about how most trees you see in the forest are not straight at all, but rather do have bent trunks, sometimes they are bent quite a bit. We started to look at several of the big trees right in front of us here, and you could see exactly where the bend was and why it got there. Turns out if a large limb begins to grow on a tree trunk, the tree will start to grow in the opposite direction to compensate for the weight of this new limb. The larger the limb, gets bigger the bend. Then another limb can form on the opposite side years later, and the tree starts to grow the other direction to compensate, and another bend is added to the tree. I highly recommend spending some time studying trees and see if you can spot the bends and associated limbs that may have caused them.
A last note and then I have to run up to the office to work. One reason I've always told people why we left Cloudland and moved closer to town was so that I could be NEAR ICE CREAM! That is quite true. However we've lived here now for 11 months and not once did we go to town to get ice cream. Well that all ended last night when at the very same time we looked at each other and yelled out ICE CREAM!!! Fifteen minutes later we were sitting in the van on the Jasper square sucking on the world's best homemade chocolate milkshake from the Ozark Cafe. OH MY it was delicious!
Oops, did I mention that I spent two hours last night on the back deck photographing one of those monster thunderheads and the Milky Way? WOW!!!
Mia on the deck for sunrise (above), dawn from the deck (below)
08/14/18 We did buy a couch, but we didn't realize it was just for the dogs! Lots of rain this past few days - an inch and a half overnight, the most ever recorded at our new cabin! (we just started keeping track last week so I suspect the record won't last too long) The high was in the low 70's today - this is August in Arkansas, right? Seems like I was asking the same question last year.
The celebration for Roy on Sunday at Lake Ft. Smith State Park was epic - just like the man. Standing room only - in fact the crowd could not be contained inside and overflowed onto the decks. No matter how well I knew Roy and how much time I'd spent with him over the past 30 years, I had only scratched the surface. It was great to hear so many stories from friends and family, and from a fellow hero who had also served and been wounded in Vietnam. One of Roy's Purple Hearts was on display. One night many moons ago Roy told me about getting one of those - not the metal, but the event. If everyone knew the horrors that our service men and women go through we just might not need war. I could never have done what they did and do. Thank you all for your service and sacrifice!
I have been working for the last many months on a rewrite of the very first book I ever wrote (in 1988) - the Ozark Highlands Trail guide. Deadlines have come and past and come and past again and again - I'm so far behind in life! (When I miss a deadline nothing happens though - same as when I finish - we only lose sales because I don't have my work done - everything we do is like that - we don't have a boss, nor get a paycheck for doing any of our work, no matter how many hours we put in on a project. We only get paid when a sale is made, and for a guidebook like this we have to sell a couple thousand to pay the cost to get the book printed, then we can make some cash for chocolate!) Late last night I finally completed the rewrite and turned the files over to my bride to proofread. Once we get all of her corrections made and the digital files uploaded to the printer's server in Michigan, I'll be able to kick back and know I finally am up to about January on my list of immediate to-dos. I wonder if I'll ever get caught up?
Wildlife update. One of the things I love about our new cabin is that we don't have much furniture (just the dog's couch and two chairs for us), so when I get up early before first light like this morning I'm able to move ab- out the cabin freely without lights or worry of running into anything. I'm able to open the cereal box (a very healthy grain cereal organic blueberry clusters), grab a bowl from the drawer, pour the milk, and pickup a spoon all without lights. Then I get the rare chance to sit back in our new couch while the pups are still snoozing in the bedroom. I LOVE the morning before dawn! Anyway, it wasn't until later this morning that I discovered we have ants. Not just any ants, but sugar ants (very small ants). At first I saw just one on the floor of the pantry. Then a couple that were headed up one of the boards. And several walking across one of the shelves. Finally I picked up the cereal box (a very healthy grain cereal remember), and a hundred tiny sugar ants are inside! And I happened to think a moment - hum, that is what I had for breakfast in the dark - PROTEIN! Note to self - turn on a light and inspect food before eating in the dark...
No progress on the cabin construction yet - in fact we're going backwards. Today we discovered a small leak in a shower faucet that has not even installed yet! And the water pressure that seems really great for my outdoor shower turns out to be 121 psi - a little much. The plumber installed a pressure reducer but we think maybe it might be defective. We also found (thanks to Fireman Jeff!) that someone forgot to replace temporary posts under the beams in the crawl space. And a couple of doors that need to be trimmed out. Little things like that. All in all it remains a tough place to walk away from, even for a few minutes. Even when buzzards soaring 30' away from the pup's couch is the only thing that is on our IMAX screen, it is a nice view...