Thursday, May 30, 2013

Where Presidents Eat?

Cotham  Mercantile
Home of the Hubcap Burger
"Where the Elite Meet to Eat."
An old general store and museum
known for its famous 17-oz. Hubcap Burger
If you live in central Arkansas, there's something you just need to do. You must make your way down to the little town of Scott and visit Cotham's Mercantile. The town of Scott is located in the Arkansas River lowlands. It's only 3.3 square miles with a population of about 72.  When you're traveling down the highway, it's one of those places you'll miss if you blink. Why would you go there...for the burgers, of course! The best burgers in Arkansas come from this little town!
I remember the first time I visited Cotham's. When my children were small I took them to Cothams to eat one of their famous burgers. Of course, we didn't get the Hubcap Burger, the regular size burgers were plenty for us!! Recently I dropped by and took a few pictures before the crowds arrived for lunch. It's only 15 minutes from Little Rock, so many business men and women head to Cotham's to eat!
Cotham's was built in 1917 and  served as a general mercantile store in the area for  farmers and plantation owners. It has also served as a military commissary and lockup for local law violators awaiting trial by a circuit-riding judge. In 1984, a small eating area was opened in the mercantile to serve lunch to area farmers.

Cotham's is not too much to look at, but if you're from the south you know that some of the best food comes from just this type of place. Outside the paint is pealing off and the porch is sagging, but inside the atmosphere is wonderful and the food is delicious.

You feel like you've stepped back in time when step up on the porch. You open the door and you're surrounded with country hospitality. There's nothing fancy here, just plain downhome country food.
About now I'm sure you're beginning to wonder about my title for this post "Where Presidents Eat?"  Have Presidents really eaten here?  Governors and Presidents have eaten here. After former President Bill Clinton and other Arkansas politicians found this restaurant, this little "hole in the wall" became the place to eat and greet for distinguished Arkansans.   President George W. Bush even stopped by for a chocolate fried pie while he was in office. It's also been featured in Food Network Magazine for having the best burgers in the State of Arkansas. Rachel Ray featured Cotham's on her show Tasty Travels and it was featured on the Travel Channel’s Man Vs. Food. Not to bad for a little town in Arkansas!

As the old saying goes..."never judge a book by it's cover!  (nor a restaurant by it's exterior!)


Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day ~ 2013

Freedom is not free
Thank you

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Scavenger Hunt Sunday ~ May 26, 2013

This week's prompts for Scavenger Hunt Sunday
certainly challenged me to get creative.
Well, except for the last one.
It wasn't too hard to find "anything."
They were:

If I were to go on a vacation this year
it would be to the beach.

snack food
Music, a favorite sounds that fills my home.
lichen and moss on a piece of bark

pretty petunias

The last few days have been beautiful here.
I have been outside constantly
working in the yard,
taking photos,
or just sitting in my swing listening to nature.
Hope you have an enjoyable week!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Home ~ A Sense Of Place

I could have gone to any number of places to take photographs. I could have revisited places I love like the Old Mill, the Arkansas River, or one of our city parks but, I didn't. You see my favorite place to be is here; right here at home. I've walked this ground many times. I've raised my children here. I've played with my grandchildren here. I've spent many hours here working with Mr. H in our yard. We've seen a lot of changes through the 37 years we've lived here. Take for instance, the old railroad bed that is at the south end of our property. When we first moved here it was used by the Rock Island Railroad. Our daughter loved watching the train.  When she heard the whistle, she'd run to the fence and wait to wave at the engineer and the caboose as the train crossed the trestle. By the time our son was born, the track was no longer being used. We've seen the trestle in all kinds of weather. We've seen it become overgrown after it was abandoned and the tracks were removed. Living here, I know I get better pictures of the trestle if I get out in the morning and point my camera to the southwest.

Today after the horrible tornadoes in Oklahoma, I am especially grateful for this little piece of the world that we call home. As I'm writing this I'm sitting in my swing that hangs from a large oak tree. Time and nature has it's effects on everything. This happens to be my third swing and it looks like it's about time to stain it again.

I'm listening to my neighbor mow his grass, the birds sing, a distant chain saw, and the leaves rustling in the wind of the trees I've seen grow from small to huge.

I look around thinking of how I can capture it to tell the story of how it looks today. It honestly looks different than yesterday, The rain has washed things clean, the grass and trees are a gorgeous, lush green. The sky is overcast, but occasionally the sun peeks through.  We're getting ready for some more storms to pass through. Some may be severe. I'm praying for all those in it's path.
I get up and walk around with my camera and I'm drawn to the backyard by the smell of honeysuckle. It winds itself all over our neighbors fence. Mr. H doesn't like our side of the fence to be overgrown. We try to keep it trimmed, but during the spring I stall a little until the honeysuckle has quite blooming, then the fence gets  a much needed trim. This overgrown fence row is a great indication of the seasons.
Honeysuckle brings back memories; memories of my daughter and son picking off a bloom, pinching the small green end (calyx) off, pulling the white string (style), and licking the  sweet drop of nectar. It's like liquid candy from nature. Now, my grandsons like to do the same thing.
I waited for a break in the clouds so the raindrops would glisten.
I am innately curious. As I looked at the pictures I'd taken of the honeysuckle, I thought about how little I really know about it. I know it's sweet nectar tastes good, it's invasive and hard to get rid of, but that's about all. So I did a little digging.
  • There are about 180 species of honeysuckle.
  • Honeysuckle made its way to the United States from Asia.
  • Three parts of the honeysuckle, the flower, the buds and the stem, are used in herbal medicine to treat numerous ailments. For example, the flower is said to clear coughs and aid in asthma. Honeysuckle is also known to be a natural antibiotic and can help treat staph infections or strep throat. This kind of made me smile. I can picture myself when my throat is sore, standing in front of the honeysuckle vines licking that one little drop that each bloom, has trying to sooth my throat. How many flowers would I have to pick before relief came if each bloom only has a tiny drop of nectar? Additionally, the healing qualities of the parts of a honeysuckle can reduce rashes caused by other plants, such as poison oak. I may give this a try next the time I get too close to poison oak.
  • Honeysuckle can be a significant source of food for deer, rabbits, hummingbirds and other wildlife. No wonder the hummingbirds have avoided my feeder the last week. There's sweeter nectar to be found!
It's the simple things here in my place that I see each day that brings me joy.

 Home, the spot of earth supremely blest,
A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest.
~Robert Montgomery

Monday, May 20, 2013

Scavenger Hunt Sunday ~ Monday style

Hope you and your's had a wonderful weekend.
Our was definitely active!
It's been a while since I've posted to SHS.
I needed a little break from all prompts and regular posts!
Since one of my friends, Susan, submitted the prompts,
I wanted to participate.
Great prompts, Susan!!
A couple are just perfect for a little Gramma bragging!
The prompts this week were:
The three little pigs?
I saw these at a flower market and just had to take their picture.
precious hands
my mother and my new grandson
muscadine vines clinging to a barbed-wire fence
Do you see what I mean about perfect promps?
Gramma is bragging about her new cuddly cutie!!


My four year old grandson had a train-themed birthday party Saturday.
Aren't these the cutest cupcakes with railroad signs on them!

 It feels good to be posting to SHS again.
The creative juices are once again flowing.
Enjoy your week!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Differences/Similarities ~ A Sense Of Place

There is no way I can count how many trails I have walked on. That's where I tend to gravitate; to walking trails in the woods. They may be behind my home, in a city park, or in a state park. It doesn't matter to me as long as I'm walking and breathing in the fresh air. At least usually it's fresh,  every once in a while I smell the distinct hint of a skunk in the woods behind our house. I'm really careful and leery when I get a whiff. I usually head the opposite direction!!

When I find a new trail, what makes me want to walk on it? After all aren't they all pretty similar; trees, moss, vines, leaves, mushrooms, lichen, water, stones, mosquitoes and mosquitoes and mosquitoes? Pardon me. Did I repeat myself? They are one of the things I don't like about woodland trails; that and the snakes and ticks!!  I must remember to add insect repellent to my camera bag!! The image below, I just had to include. I was swatting the mosquitoes away and accidently took a picture. Personally I kind of like it. I think I'll name it "Sweeping Across The Trail."
Back to what draws me again and again to the woods. It's not the similarities. No, it's the differences. Each trail is unique, each leaf...

each tree...

each seedpod...

and each rock.

When I go walking my eye is looking for things in nature that are unique and have fascinating textures, details, or shapes.
What do I want YOU to see? The same thing...textures, details, or shapes.  I want to convey a sense of discovery and wonder. I want YOU to see and enjoy the beauty of God's creation.  I saw it and I want to share it with you!

My images aren't perfect. They're usually not edited. (Usually, but the curlicue has been edited by saturating the color to make the darker background.) Most of the time  they're pretty much just as I see them. They are a piece of me that I want to share with you.
Through my lens
I discover the depths of beauty
My soul soars to unknown heights
                            ~ (author unknown)


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Third Thursday Challenge ~ May 2013

This month found me trying to organize the thousands of pictures on the computer. I use Picasa to upload my pictures and they are organized by dates. I've created folders for each year and the sub-folders for the months. This works fine if you know approximately when you took a picture, but, for instance, if I'm looking for pictures of benches I have to go looking through lots of folders.  I wanted a better way to find things than searching by dates.
That has been the problem, here's how I'm working to solve it. I am now using Creative Memories Memory Manager 4 software to organize my photos. I've taken a class through Big Picture Classes called Finding Photo Freedom that has helped me tremendously. My photos are organized by year, quarter, date and also by subjects; people, places, things, activities, and individuals. It's been a long process. I've only sorted and tagged one year of photos (I only have three years of pictures on my computer). I work on it for 15 minutes a day and someday, I'll be through! I'm not giving up or quitting.

Stick with me, I'm getting to the challenge!
This organizing  is all new, but while I was roaming around this new software, I played with some of it's editing features. They are not as high tech as Photoshop or Lightroom, but there's enough to satisfy me. I randomly picked an image,  a historical home, and then played.
The Original
straight of the camera
Rough Painting Effect
This is the only way I'll ever paint a picture!

Old Glass Effect
This one made me laugh;
"and they all lived together in a crooked little house."
Embossed Effect
This might be pretty for a postcard.

Black and White with a red filter
This almost looks spooky to me or maybe mysterious.
I get the feeling that something's about to happen here.

Top - Sphereize Effect
Bottom - Swirl
These are fun, but I cannot imagine what you'd use them for!

And finally...
Color Temperature Adjustment
This is my favorite.
I really like this.
I really, really like this!
I love the warmth it gives and the feeling of nostalgia.
This feature I can see myself using many times.

So, that's it for this month.  You may of noticed after the last month's traumatic challenge of photographing people, I went easy on myself this month.
There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile.
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.
(The rhyme was first recorded by James Orchard Halliwell in the 1840's)
Now this crooked little man and his crooked cat and mouse
They all live together in a crooked little house.
Has a crooked door with a crooked little latch;
Has a crooked roof with a crooked little patch.
(The song was recorded, in a calypso music style,
with the title "Don't Let the Rain Come Down."
by the Serendipity Singers 1964. This final verse was added then.)

Now you will be singing this all day long!
So Sorry!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Excitement in the Neighborhood Today!

This is a post to share some pictures with my grandsons.
It was very quiet around the house this morning until I heard this very strange noise.
Some type of motor was running and I knew it had to be something big!
I went to the window and took a peek outside.
Look what was driving through Mr. Henderson's yard!
A very big piece of equipment used for trimming trees.
It's called a Sky Trim,
a rubber tired, telescoping, tree trimmer.
He went up the property line and turned behind Mr. Henderson's shed.
Then he stretched out his boom and began to cut tree branches.
The boom stretched out for about 75 feet and could move up and down the trees cutting branches that were too close to the power lines.
The boom will also swing around in a circle.
What was on the end of that boom?
This was!
A great big saw blade.
I guess it was about two feet across.
I know what you're thinking!
How did I get so close to it?
First, I am using the zoom on my camera...
but, it must have been time for a break.
He stopped the saw and there was this high pitch sound as it slowed down,
almost like a siren going off.
Then the sound changed to a musical whine and the blade stopped.
He got out of his machine,
 another man in a pickup truck came and got him,
and they drove away.
He left his machine parked in Mr. Henderson's back yard.
So, I was able to get close-up pictures for you to see.
This picture is taken from the front.
I'm standing in front of a wheel and it's almost up to my shoulder.
Do you see the red thing?
That's his hard hat.
The cage where it is hanging is where he sits and drives.
The piece of the cage to the left, that is sticking up, closes and he is nice and save inside.
He wouldn't want any limbs hitting him in the head!
 This is what it looks like from the back.
Look at all those orange hoses!
I wonder if he has this big wench in case he gets stuck somewhere.
They sometimes have to trim trees in heavily wooded areas and when it's wet and mucky!
That is a huge hook!
Maybe 12 to 16 inches tall.
I went around and took pictures of several parts.
You guys know more about this than me, so I may call something by a wrong name.
There were lots of orange hoses.
It was articulated.
(I'm so glad you boys taught me what that meant!)
It had a blade in front,
big tires,
hydraulics that made the boom go up and down,
and a motor inside the yellow metal box.

 It was pretty interesting watching him work.
Now, I guess someone else is coming to pick up all the limbs he cut down.
I'll bet it is one of those machines that chews up the limbs and makes mulch out of them.
If I'm here when they clean up I'll take a picture.
I was looking online for the name of this machine and found this website
that has a video where you can see how it works.
The video show a new model, but it works the same way as the older one that was here.
While you're watching look for the great big wrench the man has in his hand. It's awesome!!
Hope you enjoyed seeing this big piece of equipment.
Love you guys!!