Archive for the ‘Trivia’ Category

Good food … Good Wine

It’s Fall and wild persimmons are dropping from the trees.

Yesterday, while on a short hike, I was transformed into a hunter gatherer foraging beneath a huge hardwood tree for beautiful, delicious and ripe Arkansas wild persimmons. After gathering several pounds, I headed home … whereupon, for the first time ever, I made Persimmon Walnut Bread. Thank goodness Patti was there to steer me away from serious mistakes. The above photo is the final product.

  • I’m certain there are less primitive ways to discard the seeds (four or five in each fruit) and recover the pulp … I chose rolling up my sleeves, squeezing one or more between my hands and fingers and extruding the slippery watermelon size seeds into a trash bag. I can attest this is messy, sticky work and that there will be more waste than edible pulp. Regardless, it’s been entertaining, educational and palatable … and a lot of work!
  • Maybe I will forget the work by next October. In the mean time, there’s another Persimmon nut cake in the oven. BIG SMILE! Happy Fall and Halloween!

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Arkansas to Oklahoma to Texas to New Mexico to Colorado and back home.


This little city in the Ozark Mountains is a frequent destination for Patti and me … I suspect I could go so far as to say it is our favorite Arkansas escape. Labor Day is reserved each year as an outing with another couple … Nancy and Steve.

I’ve covered Eureka Springs before featuring its uniqueness … the historic 1800s building, the healing springs, the Ghost tales in the Crescent Hotel and the countless serpentine streets, hills and “steps everywhere”. In this post I wish to draw your attention to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge … a 400 acre lifetime sanctuary for Big Cats and other abused wild animals. Founder, Tanya Smith and her family have dedicated their lives to the monumental task and financial challenge of caring for over 100 animals. Thanks to Walmart and Tyson’s Foods plus 100s of volunteers and thousands of visitors and donors, Turpentine Creek is one of the most successful and respected large animal refuges in the nation. Truly worth of a visit and possibly even an overnight stay in a cabin … complete with lion and tiger vocals. Check it out at: https://www.turpentinecreek.org

Birthday party for Lakota

Oklahoma … Roland and Shawnee

We both enjoy a few pulls of the slot machine handles so a short stop in Roland, Ok. and an overnight in Shawnee, Ok. broke the trip into shorter segments and thankfully didn’t break the travel bank. We had fun … won a little and lost a little. Patti is usually the lucky one.

Amarillo, Texas

This Interstate Highway spot on the map has become a regular for us … usually at Comfort suites where we have developed friendships with the smiling helpful staff. I even mentioned Teandra in a previous post … she’s still one of my heroes. Lots of restaurants, museums and natural attractions in the area … Napoli’s Italian downtown, Palo Duro Canyon and the Cadillac Ranch Sculpture Garden just West of town. Bring your spray paint can.

Palo Duro State Park

Las Vegas, New Mexico

I’ve written about Las Vegas, New Mexico before … especially our stop at the “Skillet Restaurant” … delicious, funky and artsy. Well this trip, we explored more and found a lot more that will keep us coming back on future trips. First of all, there are over 1000 buildings on the National Historic Register including a beautiful Catholic Church, “Our Lady of Sorrows”, The Plaza Hotel on the square, Montezuma Castle … now the United World College, the Dawn Light Sanctuary and our hotel, the Castaneda.

Hotel Castaneda … Our Hotel

I could write a book about Las Vegas, NM … it flows history. As an 1800s Railroad town it was not only a stop on a route but a destination and a settlement city. Patti and I loved our two nights at the incredible railroad hotel … Hotel Castaneda pictured above. This hotel, one of several built by Fred Harvey to serve rail travelers, opened in 1898. It was closed for many years and reopened after extensive restoration in 2019. Mr. Harvey created a hospitality industry, including the hiring and training of thousands of young women … THE HARVEY GIRLS … featured in a 1946 Judy Garland movie. There are now, even more reasons for Patti and I to pause in Las Vegas … plus, the Hotel Castaneda was a serendipitous find!

Westcliffe, Colorado

My buddy, Daryl and I discovered Westcliffe last year while on a hiking trip. I must say, this little town of 586 captured my fascination index … historic Main street, a couple of restaurants, a few retail and outdoor shops and a backdrop of the awe inspiring Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range. Nothing notable about our two days here … but then, everything notable. It was relaxing, refreshing, energizing and “spiritual” … out here in the middle of God’s natural wonders.

One other thing … Westcliffe is a Dark Sky City. I was excited to do some night sky photography but, alas, Full Moon. Oh well, Arkansas has one Dark Sky designated site … Tyler Bend on the Buffalo National River.

Sangre de Cristo Mountains Afternoon storm

Westcliffe, Colorado Main Street
Sunset behind the Sangre de Cristo mountains

Silverthorne, Colorado on the Blue River … last stop before heading home.

We’ve stayed here on the Blue River several times in past years and it seems a bit like coming home. Silverthorne, Colorado is a great destination in Central Colorado … cool crisp temperatures, 32 degrees one morning, in the mountains over 9000′, near Breckenridge and Frisco and Vail, plenty of good food, outdoor activities and shopping … of course! The only negative this year … Aspen tree color change was later. We were tempted to stick around for another week or two. I’m not complaining. It was beautiful … see for yourself.

Picnic and hike
we also celebrated Patti’s Birthday … sans traditional candle and cake
Aspen color was a little late but we did see this near Fairplay, Co. as we headed home for Little Rock

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Yesterday was my birthday

It was even more unique … maybe even special because there was in fact a Blue Moon. For those who do not know, a blue moon is not actually blue. It looks like any other beautiful full moon. However,the so designated Blue Moon is special because it is the second full moon within one calendar month.

Blue Moon

Blue Moon

Needless to say, there were many reasons to feel special on my birthday … my wife, my family, my friends, my co-workers, my health … yes, many reasons. I guess the Blue Moon just made me stop and think for a minute about how very blessed I truly am.

Oh, one other mention: I love the music of folksinger, Nancy Griffith . Her song “Once in a Very Blue Moon” is a favorite of mine. In fact,so much a favorite that I presented her a Key to the City when she performed in Little Rock. That evening she did not sing the song on stage but did sing it for me backstage … A cappella.

As Paul Harvey would say at the end of his broadcast: “Now You Know the Rest of the Story”

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Frost Flower

Frost Flower

Yep … it is known as a Frost Flower and this is the first time I have ever seen one.
First, let me set the stage by telling you two of my buddies and I (see our photo below) were hiking in the Buffalo National River valley near Boxley, Arkansas. It was a cold morning in the mid 20’s and we were heading into a beautiful box canyon know as “The Penitentiary”. Very shortly after beginning the two mile trek into the canyon, we started seeing a forest floor dotted with these strange silky, ribbon like sculptures of delicate ice wrapped around small plant stems. Fortunately Bryan had read about them, knew what they were called so we spent countless minutes inspecting, photographing and marveling at this never before seen (at least by us) wonder of nature. I commented that whether we made it to the Penitentiary or not, this made the trip worthwhile.

Further research on the internet explained the phenomenon … the air temperature must be well below freezing while the ground temperature is still warm enough to send sap up into a stem. At that point, a small crack in the stem seeps liquid slowly that immediately begins to freeze and sculpt into a FROST FLOWER.

The other serendipitous advantage of hiking in below freezing weather is depicted in a few other shots below … waterfalls, unique ice formations, etc. Try it, you may like it!!!





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Colorado Aspen and Arkansas Hardwoods …

I simply love Fall … the pictures below make this point in living color.
An eight mile hike yesterday in the Arkansas Ouachita Mountains gave me a glimpse of the colors to come. My shot of grouped leaves was just enough to get me thinking poetically … Wine colors … Cabernet, Pinot, Chardonnay. Fruit colors … Limon, Lime, Orange, Peach, grape. And the Elixer of the Gods, the golden brown richness of 18 year old Macallan single malt scotch.

Most of the shots were of Colorado Aspen at the peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. Clearly they speak for themselves. In addition there are shots of Elk … this is the rutting season and we witnessed the evening ritual of female elk drifting into the meadows followed by first the bugling of males and then the grand entry of these huge, stately creatures.

We were celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of friends … just had to go to the Historic Stanley Hotel where we had a wonderful dinner and returned the next day for a complete tour … enough to prompt me to again read Stephen King’s book “The Shining”.

Finally, and pictures will come in the next few weeks, I am heading back to Colorado with three of my hiking buddies. To be continued then.


















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Why Eureka Springs, Arkansas  … what’s the big deal?


Well … after a long weekend in Eureka Springs … let me tell you What’s the big deal.

This tiny historic mountain city sometimes called the Little Switzerland of America may be one of the most uniquely diverse spots on the Arkansas map … maybe on any map. In short it is one of the most tantalizing collections of Sights, smells, sounds, stairs and healing springs of just about any small town in America.  For starters, pictured above is the 1912 Carnegie Library, one of four built in Arkansas by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and still operating as a Public Library.

ImageOne of the top one hundred small Arts Cities in America

As the main street, Spring Street, snakes its way up the hill from Basin Park Spring,  it passes thru a wide selection of collectable art studios and galleries, gourmet coffee bars, restaurants, hotels and shops plus the random placement of street singers, guitar and banjo players.  In the cliche of old, “there’s a little of something for everyone here”.

ImageImageImageImage..Sights, sounds and Stairs …

The hood ornament on an old car fits the “sights” category,  I guess we can include deer and architectural details as well.

ImageImageStairs, Stairs and More Stairs,

One of the challenging and engaging facets of the city is the thousands of stairs … stairs as fire escapes, stairs from one street level to the next, stairs between buildings, stairs directing a patron into basement restaurants, bars and shops  …

Ouch !!!


Clearly, one can see this is a very special place to visit.  I’ve barely scratched the surface … haven’t even touched on the colorful local politics … this topic could merit another blog entry.

I haven’t talked about the healing springs, the hundreds of B&B’s (my favorite, the Peabody House), the thunder of motorcycles or clinking of beer bottles dumped each morning in the recycling trucks … nor have I mentioned the Catholic Church one enters thru the bell tower, or the haunted Crescent Hotel … OK, OK, enough, enough.

Come see for yourself … you can’t  just go once.

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