LITTLE BLUFF JOURNAL - OCTOBER 2017
Little Bluff, 10/17/17 - dawn this morning from our future cabin site
Print Of The Week special (above)
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Sunrise looking out the back of our Roadtrek van:
10/13/17 We woke up on the beach this morning - well, 20 feet from the edge of the lake anyway. My lovely bride had a two-day oil painting workshop she attended in Cave Springs so I decided instead of her having to make the long drive back and forth that I would meet her at Horseshoebend Campground on Beaver Lake to spend the night - a hot date on the "beach" with my girlfriend on a Thursday night - yippie! AND I arrived complete with a chicken-fried dinner from Monte Ne Inn - YIPPIE COYOTE! (the chicken and blackberry cobbler were terrific, the sides were just OK)
Even though we spend nearly 24/7 together week after week, we never seem to get tired of each other, nor really get time to just sit around and talk - there's always work to do, deadlines to meet, someone wanting something done to take our attention away from one another. But last night we had a golden HOUR of Cloudland Moments together. We pulled the camper van into our lakeside campsite backwards, and the back of the van was almost out over the water. Then we opened up the back doors to let the lake breezes come in. The sounds of the waves lapping against the shore were wonderful.
But the big thrill was the fact that we got to spend a full hour just being with each other - no phones or nothin'. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. What in the world did we have to talk so much about? I have no idea, but while we were just laying there chatting away, the sky turned dark and the stars came out. The lake below shimmered, and a hoot owl or two called out. We were happy campers...
Can you find the ghost of me walking around on the shoreline during this long exposure?
10/11/17 There was a beautiful rainbow stretched across the western horizon early yesterday morning at sunrise. We could see it through the trees from our warehouse, but we were in the middle of working so were not able to move to get a clear view or picture of it. I heard from many folks in Newton County how fine a rainbow it was, with lots of pictures - thanks all for sharing!
Here's Mia exploring along the "little bluff at dawn
10/09/17 Monday morning wildlife update. Seems like this is the year of the Mantis. We've seen hundreds of praying mantis bugs, and they are getting smashed all over the place. Normally I only see one or two a year unless I go looking for them. This year they are as common as walking sticks. I guess they are related somehow.
We've been spending time sitting out on the back "porch" at twilight each evening and also sometimes at dawn. We've always enjoyed the music of our barred owls coming from the Buffalo Wilderness, but at Little Bluff the owls that are calling out are a different species - not sure if they are great horned owls or something else. Their hunting areas are mostly wide open meadows, with some forest lands (like our property). It will be interesting to see how the owl community develops as fall moves along - and hopefully we'll get to see some...
Speaking of wildlife, while trying to organize our new book warehouse (aka living room too), we discovered an unopened case of brand new ARKANSAS WILDLIFE picture books! We sold out of them a while ago with folks still wanting them, so we have decided to offer these few for sale once again at the original price. Order direct from us and get them autographed and personalized to the person of your choice - but HURRY, when these are gone we don't expect to discover any more!
10/08/17 We just had a wonderful Sunday dinner out on the veranda (covered cement slab attached to the book warehouse building). My bride cooked up a batch of chicken, wild rice, and veggies in her tiny Instant Pot. We love one-pot meals, and this device makes it a lot easier and quicker.
The sky is pure blue, cool breezes are bringing in a bunch of butterflies of different species - some just riding the air currents on past, while others land on either the ground (covered in pine needles) clinging to the side of trees. We have a bunch of mature pine trees, plus black gums (brilliant RED leaves are almost done and mostly on the ground already), sassafras, hickory and oaks. There are squirrels playing - and Mia in Pam's lap is just about to have a cow since she's not allowed to go chase them at the moment.
The rest of our view from the veranda overlooks piles of new lumber and scraps, used pallets, some discarded metal roof parts, a bright orange tractor (on loan from Pam's dad), a Rubbermaid tool shed, and the trash trailer. Luckily my bride has the ability to see past all the construction debris into the woods and enjoy the atmosphere of a beautiful afternoon at home.
Oh yes, I brought her favorite outdoor chair back from our campsite in Colorado a few days ago (it's a folding camp chair rocker from the Big R store), AND set up an old five gallon paint bucket to put her cup of iced tea on. It ain't the back deck at Cloudland, but Ma and Pa and puppies are doing OK in our new digs!
Speaking of Colorado, we had planned a leisurely 10-day trip there this past week to enjoy what turned out to be SPECTACULAR fall color season of both aspen and cottonwood trees. But one thing led to another, and the trip had to be cancelled before we were even able to start packing. We still needed to winterize our little campsite area though, so I made one of my marathon runs to Colorado and got the job done (16-hours driving out, worked a few hours, then 16-hours driving back).
I didn't take any pictures of the color, but did get to experience and photograph a terrific sunset while driving west in the Oklahoma panhandle. I could see the sun about to drop behind a cloud bank in front of me, so I sped up and frantically looked for two things - an old-fashioned windmill, and a road leading to the left so I could line up the windmill and the sun (without trespassing). Fortunately there are lots of both in western Oklahoma (windmills and intersecting roads), and soon I was standing next to one of those roads with a big lens and camera on a tripod firing away as the sun disappeared, the reappeared again below the cloud. It was one of those moments that ya wish for as a photographer, and I enjoyed each click of the shutter.
Towards the end of my little photo shoot, I remembered one of the main things I am NOT SUPPOSED TO DO with my ailing back - take pictures. Oops. That was almost a week ago now, and my back remains in pretty bad shape as a result of whatever it is I do while setting up and taking pictures that just shreds my disks. Anyway, I did get a couple of pictures of the sunset, got the campsite winterized, and made it home without any further incident. Oh yes, and I delivered a fresh-baked (the day before) calzone to my bride from the Three Barrel Brewery in Del Norte, Colorado - so she was a happy camper when I returned!
FedX found the one-ton pallet of books they had lost last week - sent it to Fargo, North Dakota for some reason instead of to us. But we now have all the books in our warehouse and Pam is processing and shipping orders every day.
We got to attend the opening reception last week for a photo exhibit at the Art Ventures NWA gallery on the square in Fayetteville (used to be Fayetteville Underground). Master photographer, JAY McDONALD, has a series of AMAZING botanical prints on display there now - each protected by a clear resin coating that he applied himself. Such terrific color, vibrance, and detail - I made about ten trips around the gallery to look up close at each.
OK, so I will get back to making regular posts here and hopefully not such long times in between. Fall will be happening later this month in Arkansas, with a few bits of color here and there, and LOTS more to come. We'll possibly have our Canvas Prints Gallery open a day or two in October, and if so I will post that info here and also on Facebook. In the meantime, I think I'll go have another bowl of Pam's Sunday dinner and watch a few more butterflies float by..
FYI, here is our little camper van tucked away under the covered porch at the west end of the book warehouse. The veranda covered porch is across the north end of the warehouse (much lower, but longer).
10/01/17. We made a quick trip yesterday to the campground at Maumelle Park outside of Little Rock to surprise one of our dear friends on her first day of retirement (after 32 years working for the state of Arkansas). We only knew they were camping there over the weekend, not where, or what their schedule was - so we were kind of shooting in the dark if we would even find them at home in a campsite. We found their camper van easily and I think the young lady was a little taken aback when my lovely bride walked up to her, followed by me with a large black garbage bag slung over my shoulder (a gift for her), as we shouted -"HAPPY RETIREMENT!" She was duly surprised - something (like me) she does NOT enjoy!
It was a glorious evening 'round the campfire with great friends and terrific food. And while Pam and I walked the pups along the Arkansas River just before dawn this morning, clouds in the east lit up and put on quite a show. Mission accomplished, and not only did we get to surprise and spend time with our dear friend, but we also got to add another campground to our growing live of 100 favorites (for a new guidebook we've been working on).
OCTOBER is here already - oh my goodness! It's going to be a great one, and we can't wait for more...
PERSONALIZED PICTURE BOOK NOTE - We are happy to personalize any of our picture books that you order to the person(s) of your choice (simply indicate this in the "comments" section of the shopping cart). If you DON'T SPECIFY a name, we will send a book that is autographed but NOT personalized. I.E. if you place an order for a picture book - even if we know you - and you don't spell out who to autograph it to, it will only be autographed, not personalized. Just sayin...