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Archive for September, 2017

Livin’ the Farm Life (well sorta) for the weekend.

The romance and spirit of adventure just happened to land on Patti’s Birthday weekend.  She wanted to do something … maybe rent a cabin … and spend the weekend with our good friends, Gwen and JC.  However, she specifically said “No Cooking”.  Well, since i’ve become a big fan of Ruth Pepler and she has been coaxing me to bring Patti to the Dogwood Hills Guest Farm … Perfect!  As good fortune would have it, Dogwood Hills had a cancellation in the three bedroom cottage … in addition, Ruth said Patti could have her wish … No Cooking. 

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Pictured above right to left, Ruth, Thomas and Grace Pepler, owners, operators, cooks, farm hands, construction workers … they do it all and at the same time make guests feel at home.  We loved sitting around the big kitchen counter top visiting, taste testing and then enjoying as fine a meal as one can get anywhere.

This is a “hands on” working farm … so, the four of us jumped right in and milked one of the cows.  

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One can easily tell by the look on this cow’s face, we were new at the art of milking.  Fortunately Grace took over … happier cow I’m sure!

There were plenty of other Farm type duties … animal and otherwise. 

Possibly most fun was what we called The running of the chickens!

There were lots of other farm animals but now I want to turn to meal time … exactly like one would expect on a farm … only in this case better than expected, more of it and true farm to table.  Wow!!

Elk meatballs and spaghetti, buffalo brisket that melts in your mouth and special desserts such as apple pie, rhubarb pie and Birthday cake for Patti.

And then, as if all that wasn’t enough, this morning, Grace treated us to the most amazing Crepes i’ve ever eaten.  Wow again!

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This is one of the most unique weekends we have ever shared with our friends … plus we now feel like we are family with the Peplers.  I will just wrap up with a collage of more photos … Thank you Ruth, Grace and Thomas … you are Arkansas Treasures.

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Truly a new adventure for me … 

I’ve been to the incredible Queen Wilhelmina State Park before.  I’ve been camping most of my life … attending a Ham radio festival is a first for me.  Wilhelmina State park and Lodge is located in the beautiful Ouachita Mountains of East Arkansas.  The Lodge is fabulous, the scenery hard to beat, the mountain temperature refreshing, the trails invigorating … and at over 2600′, a perfect spot for a Ham radio Festival.

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A couple of my backpacking friends are Ham radio wizards.  They can hammer out more dots and dashes and translate faster than I can type. I jumped at the chance to join them on a campout not knowing what to expect at the festival. To my pleasant surprise, it was fun, educational and an amazing experience to see the fellowship and seriousness with which one hundred or more Ham radio operators demonstrated their skills.

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As an Arkansas Parks and Tourism Commissioner I am always eager to celebrate the dedicated Parks and tourism staff.  Pictured here are a few of the host staff for the weekend.  They made everyone feel at home … you make all Arkansans proud.  Thank you!!!

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While at the dinner, Parks staff took the time to recognize 20 plus year volunteer … Bill Glassco.  I also need to mention his wife, Toby.  I was honored to be there and have my picture made with Bill.  Later in this post you will see even more about Bill and Toby.

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Wow … what a beautiful place to camp and enjoy the festival.

A few random shots above of our staff, the vendors, the hourly drawings…  My friend Phillip won something … he was excited but I have no idea what he won.

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At the end of the day a few of us gathered around the campfire where we played guitars, sang old songs and listened to Toby Glassco sing the song she had written about her love of Wilhelmina State Park and the Ouachita Mountains.

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As one can see, the views up here are spectacular.  It is also a great favorite of Motorcycle riders.

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Thanks again to our staff and to the volunteers that make Arkansas State Parks the best and most friendly in the nation.

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What a special weekend and serendipitous adventure.  I may not become a ham radio operator but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience … can’t wait until next year.

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