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Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Dream Come True



dreams
small dreams - large dreams
impossible dreams - possible dreams

One of my dreams has been to meet and spend time with others who share a passion for photography and nature. It was a dream I didn't really think was possible. First, where would I find other photographers and second, I didn't think I was brave enough. My social anxiety rears it's ugly head when I think of meeting strangers and going to unknown places.

But, some dreams do come true. This one did. For three days I enjoyed the company of several photographers in the beauty of the Ouachita Mountains. Taylor Bellott, a local landscape, nature, and wildlife photographer offered a three day photography workshop. My sister and I decided we wanted to do this. When I really, really want to do something I can sometimes fight through the anxiety.

It was worth the fight! The three days were everything I dreamed of and more. The highlight for me was the night we spent down by the lake capturing star trails. Before dark we set up our cameras and waited for the sun to set and the skies to become dark. It was a magical evening, sitting underneath an amazing sky filled with brilliant stars while talking and laughing with new found friends. There were a couple of uncontrollable circumstances we had to deal with. There was a security light behind us and to the right. The light highlighted the trees in the lower right of the picture and I like the way that turned out. Then we had a problem with moisture on our camera lens, which was strange because it should have been too early in the evening for that much moisture. I was pleased with the way my first star trail image turned out. Actually, I'm quite proud it. It's not a perfect photo, but to me it's special because this image represents my bravery to attend the workshop and my awe of the beautiful world we are gifted with. 



I took a lot of pictures over the three days. Some worked. Some didn't. I practiced a lot of things I already knew and learned more. A few things we concentrated on photographing were sunrises, sunsets, reflections, and water motion. In my next couple of posts, I'll be sharing more of my dream come true.

"All our dreams can come true,
if we have the courage to pursue them."
~ Walt Disney

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Scarecrows of Cleburne County



Cradled in the Ozark mountains the small town of Heber Springs is invaded each fall by scarecrows. They are everywhere! They sit on benches, relax in storefront windows, and loiter along the sidewalks. My sister, sister-in-law, and I took a little road trip to stroll through the scarecrows. And yes, take lots of pictures. I don't think it's necessary to add a lot of words below the pictures. I'll just identify them and point out a few things. If you know your Pixar movies you will recognize some of these scarecrows. The Pixar-themed scarecrows entered in a competition. The winner has not yet been determined. As you scroll down through the pictures, pick out your favorite and let me know in the comments.



#1 - Darling Little Remy


 #2 - Sweet Traditional Couple


#3 - World Record Scarecrow Trout


#4 - "Tubby" Buzz Lightyear


#5 - Cousin ITT


# 6 - UP


#7 - The Quilter


#8 Princess Menda
the newest hair stylist in town


#9 - The Mayor


#10 - Jitterbug Joe
beside the Jitterbug Coffee House
His body is an ironing board.
His nose and the details on his clothes are bottle caps and buttons.
His arms are garden tools.

I was fascinated by Jitterbug Joe's hair.
I spotted buttons, snaps, zipper parts, nuts, safety pins, and screws.


#11 - Earl Tea Grey
Relaxing in the Woodgrove Tea Room.

#12 - The Scariest One In Town
Oh wait, that's me!!

Now that you're at the end, I'll tell you my favorite - #10.
I was blown away by the wonderful paint job and all the details.

I got the idea for this post from a sweet friend Debbie. She writes the blog It's All About PurpleOne of her recent posts features the scarecrows of Peddlers Village, Bucks County, PA. Her post reminded me about the scarecrows in Heber Springs and I had to go see them. I will say this, the scarecrows of Heber Springs were a lot tamer than the scarecrows of Peddlers Village. Drop by her blog and take a look.

I hope you've had a chance to get out and experience the fall activities near you.
Fall is such an amazing time of the year!

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Little More Oklahoma


We went to Oklahoma for the fall festival at Robber's Cave State Park. We participate in the Fall Foliage Cruise that features pre-1981 vehicles. Some of them restored and some of them customized. This year the last count I heard was that over 630 vehicles had registered. That's a lot of shiny paint and wheels!

It's an unspoken rule that you must get up before daylight, eat at McDonald's, and quickly drive up the mountain to Robber's Cave State Park. As you approach the park all you can see is the flashlights from the Park Rangers and Oklahoma Police directing you into the park. You peer through the dark to find the perfect place to park. You want a place close to the main tent and where your vehicle can be easily seen. There's always someone with a flashlight to help you get backed in and not hit the many large rocks that are scattered throughout the park. I breathe a sigh of relief when that's all done. Then I get out and head to the lake to watch the sunrise. This year it was pretty cloudy, but thankfully we didn't have any more rain. 

For those who are interested, our truck is a 1940 Ford. It's been customized and is called a street rod. It's not all original. You'll first notice the bright red paint and those shiny Crager wheels. It also has power steering, air conditioning, seat belts, and a larger motor. The actual body is original, but restoring the whole vehicle to original is not practical if you want to drive it and enjoy it. Older motors are not made for our faster highways and the miles we put on them. We do have the original bench seat and it's quite bouncy as you travel. My head is still a little dizzy from bouncing up and down even though we've been home a few days. Okay, enough of that, let me get back to my day.


As I mentioned already the first part of day is spent sitting on a bench by the lake waiting for the sun to rise. When it finally arrives I'm off to wander around the park. This year I discovered a walking trail that I'd not seen before.


It led me to a small spillway with my favorite thing . . . water.


I passed by two young boys about ten or eleven and they told me I had to follow another trail and see this really cool engine. I was more interested in the rock house. I can't imagine how they hoisted those massive rocks to create the engine house. Evidently the engine was used to pump water from the lake.



The street rod show is part of the areas fall festival. There are craft booths, amusement rides, horseback rides, and a quilt show. I enjoy looking at the craft booths and I always check out the quilts. My favorite quilts are in the first picture below. These were all handmade in the early 1900's. The second picture has the more modern quilts.



The expected attendance for the festival was about 70,000 people. That's about 69,990 people more than I'm comfortable with, so I spent a lot of time down by the lake enjoying the view and keeping my back to the activities. There's music playing, good oldies, that covers a lot of the crowd noise. When I'm not visiting with our friends, I'm quite content on a bench with my camera.



On Saturday night the antique cars and trucks cruise the main street of town. After eating at a wonderful Mexican restaurant we sat in the back of our friends old truck and watched the the cruise. He was parked in front of The Picture Show, which has long since been abandoned. I thought their truck looked pretty good sitting in front of the old building.



That brings me to Sunday morning. Once again we get up early, but not as early as Saturday. Once again we meet at McDonald's for breakfast. Then we head toward the rising sun back to Arkansas. There are two things about our truck I don't like. First, there is only one windshield wiper. I guess in the 1940's they didn't think the passenger needed to see out, but I do! And, the other thing is that there are no sun visors. Heading into the sun can be blinding even with sunglasses on! I duck my head or hold a notebook in front of my face until the sun has risen.


I hope you've enjoyed the trip to Oklahoma with me. It was so great to get away. We love traveling in Old Red and being with friends.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Oklahoma Here We Come


It wasn't the perfect weather to begin a road trip. It was raining as we headed out in Old Red to the beautiful state of Oklahoma. 

Each year we attend the Lawn Chair National Street Rod Show in Wilburton. Getting there is half the fun. We travel with a group of friends, all in old vehicles. My favorite part of traveling is seeing the children's faces as we pass by or as they pass us on the interstate. They're always grinning and waving. I like to think we've brightened their road trip a little.


We arrive in town, check into our motel, and head out to Wooldridge Ranch home to the HOUSE OF PACKARD. this year we were greeted by a "just married" scary couple and beautiful autumn decorations.


Mr. Wooldridge has the most amazing shop where he restores and keeps his vintage Packard automobiles. I've never stopped to count how many cars he owns, but there are many and they are beautiful. His shop will blow your mind. It's huge. He even has a second floor filled with automobiles complete with a car lift for getting those cars up there.


We wander around his shop and showroom and then he feeds us hamburgers and hot dogs and delicious cobblers. I understand he fed over 800 people that night, free of charge! He also sponsors the car show which is also free to enter.


We're always among the last to leave. We relax after eating and enjoy the view. In the photo below that's Old Red on the right and our friend's car on the left. 


My favorite part is just before we leave when the sun starts slowly dipping below the horizon. Don't get me wrong I enjoy looking at the cars, but they can't compete with nature. The clouds cleared just enough for some beautiful color.



Our first night in Oklahoma was fun and beautiful. I'll be back tomorrow to tell you about the rest of the weekend.

One cannot go to Oklahoma without singing the lyrics from the Broadway musical Oklahoma! 

Oklahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plain.
And the wavin' wheat can sure smell sweet
When the wind comes right behind the rain.
Oklahoma ev'ry night my honey lamb and I
sit alone and talk and watch a hawk
Makin lazy circles in the sky.







Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Best Laid Plans


Some days no matter what you plan nothing seems to work out exactly right. Several weeks ago Mr. H won a gift certificate to a small boutique in a nearby town and gave it to me. I'm not a shopper, but I couldn't see wasting the gift certificate. Just the thought of going into the small boutique made me nervous, so the hour drive was stressful to say the least. I found the shop with no trouble. It was right on the main highway. I parked and then realized the shop was closed, not just for the day, but permanently. I'll admit I was relieved. I didn't want to go shopping anyway. 


Knowing that this small town had a historical downtown district I went prepared with my camera and a few notes. I usually love strolling by old buildings, but not this time. The main highway goes through the historical district; four lanes with lots of cars, log trucks, and large diesels. Not peaceful at all. VERY NOISY! I did find several ghost signs. The two on the Stewart Ice Company were the only ones I could read. The others were too faded. 


With all the traffic it was hard to get many picture of the buildings, so I concentrated on their windows. I love old windows. I love their shapes, the wavy glass, and peeking through them.


There were arched windows.


Windows covered with wire and . . .


windows covered with vines.


Windows with bars and . . .


windows with metal shutters.


Windows surrounded by colors and textures.

When I'd finally had all I could stand of the noise I headed to the Rockport Memorial Cemetery, which is on the National Registry of Historical Places. I expected a beautiful cemetery and it was. I expected it to be quiet and peaceful and it wasn't. They were mowing! 


The only thing that really worked out was where I ate. Now, if you're from the south and you want good barbecue you most go to a run down old place to eat. That's true!  The older the better. This particular cafe was in the back of an old grocery store. In 2000 the small neighborhood grocery was close to going out of business. Like everywhere else, people began using the big discount store that moved into town. To save their store, the Keeneys decided to open a cafe in the back. It seems that was a brilliant idea. The place is booming at lunch time. I was forewarned and decided to get there before the lunch crowd. It was everything I expected; a delicious chopped BBQ sandwich and a delicious cup of peach cobbler. I don't need fancy places to eat. Give me an old cafe and I'm happy.


Even if the day wasn't quite what I expected, it was still good to get away. I'm just hoping next time I go on an adventure, I can find a little piece and quiet!!


Friday, October 7, 2016

One Foggy Morning


A thin grey fog hung over the trees and my world was not the same. I've walked this land hundreds of times before. Nothing had changed, but on a foggy morning I experienced it in a new way. Through the excessive moisture in the the air I saw the world differently.


Different and a little creepy because everywhere I turned I saw spider webs. I was amazed at the thousands hanging from trees, in bushes, and even on the ground.


Among the prickly needles on the cedar tree hung silken threads and water drops.


The sticky threads, looped from branch to branch reminding me of a Christmas tree decorated with silver tinsel.


Did you know there are several types of spider webs and many spiders are classified by the webs they weave? There are spiral orb webs, tangle webs, funnel webs, tubular webs, and sheet webs. I think I saw them all!!


The one below made me smile. It looked like a fishing pole and the fisherman had gotten his line all tangled.


At least with the moisture from the fog I could see the webs. On normal days I can't see them and I'm always walking into one. I cringe when I feel those sticky threads on me and wonder where is the spider? I know he's nearby, sitting, and waiting for his next meal.




If this doesn’t creep you out and give you chill bumps, the next time you see a spider web, stop and look at it carefully. Be amazed at the intricately designed work of art and engineering by such a little creature.

"Sometimes it looks like I'm dancing,
but it's just that I walked into a spider web."
~ Demetri Martin