Monday, February 19, 2018

WEEKEND TRAVEL - Cruising on the River

This week,  I want to give you a totally different view of my world... or rather my husband's world.

I don't know if I've mentioned before that my husband is a river boat captain. His life's work has had him on the river for over thirty years. Over the course of his job, he has shared many pictures he has taken while cruising down the river. They've included Bald Eagles perched in a tree, geese on the barges enjoying bread bits from crew members as well as deer and fox along the banks or attempting to navigate floating ice chunks in an effort to cross the treacherous waters.

But my favorites are of the sunsets. On a recent long-trip down the Illinois from Joliet to just north of St. Louis. He doesn't normally make this long haul but the ice required tow boats to make the run rather than one and Bob was willing to bank some time.

I hope you enjoy these pictures he took.

This first shot is just approaching a bend..

As he capped the turn... behold:

Monday, February 5, 2018

WEEKEND TRAVEL - The Market Basket and Cafe

A week ago last Saturday Bob and I took a trip to Poplar Bluff, MO. Poplar Bluff is growing by leaps and bounds. With the exception of a Sam's Club, we can get just about anything we need there. If it weren't for bulk flour and sugar, I could bypass the 'club' all together.

As we passed through Elsinore, we saw that a restaurant we used to visit on occasion has changed into a place of sheer enjoyment. 

The Market Basket and Cafe is a fabulous surplus discount grocer - something that is popular in this area - as well as a deli and scrumptious buffet.

And I do mean SCRUMPTIOUS. I was surprised to find that after eating there that when I weighed in on Sunday I'd actually dropped two pounds!

The Buffalo Hot Wings, that are not all that 'hot' but pleasantly spiced in a thin buffalo hot sauce, pork ribs that are smoked to perfection, pulled pork, smoked chicken and meatloaf. They offer a wide variety of sides from real mashed potatoes with a rich brown gravy, fried okra, green beans, corn... well, you get the idea. I'm sure some of the sides change periodically. There is also a full salad bar, desserts and beverage selection included in the price of about $12.

The Market sits along Hwy 60 - Westbound lane across from Leerjack truckstop just west of Elsinore city limits. Plenty of parking and seating. They even have picnic tables for outside in pleasant weather!

Aside from the buffet, The Market offers a wide selection of grocery surplus including spices in bulk. The Deli includes a variety of meats and cheeses sliced to order.

If you're cruising through Elsinore MO, on your way to Branson, plan on this place for lunch or dinner. With their bountiful comfort food selections cooked to perfection, you won't go away hungry!

I apologize for the snowy photos. I failed to take pictures while we were there so my husband kindly stopped in a snowstorm to take these pictures for me yesterday. 

Monday, October 23, 2017


I'm finally getting back in here. Truth is, I've been traveling just not getting in here to post pictures - or much of anything else. And today is a quick fly through as we prepare to start stripping  out the garden. I can NOT believe we are talking wind chills in the teens for later this week. Really? It's not even Halloween!!

So today we are laying the mulch for a new strawberry bed I'll need next spring and scheduling delivery of the 30 hay bales I need for the spring as well. We'll get them set into place and they should be ready for feeding/ planting on schedule when the time comes.

In the mean time, I thought I'd take you with me to where I was last weekend. For almost 20 years I've been attending the Ozark Creative Writers Conference in Eureka Springs MO. This is a true meeting of the minds as writing conferences go. This year marked our 51st year! That's a feat in itself.

For 50 of those years we have met at Best Western Inn of the Ozarks. This is the only hotel I will stay in when traveling to the 'stair-step town'. The staff is always pleasant, easy to work with and like family. Once you stay there you'll understand why they have a 4 Star rating across the board.

This was our table on Saturday night at the Awards Banquet. 
The two gentlemen, John (L) & Tom (R) were new friends we made this year.

Are you an Indian Jones fan? Max McCoy is the man behind those amazing stories. 
Beyond talented!

A cross between our Cassville MO writers group and Oghma Creative
We're a cross over. as 4 of the 5 you see in this picture belong to both groups.

L - R:
Max McCoy, Kim McCoy (Max's wife) Johnny Boggs

The Bard of the South
Ricky Pittman

If you ever aspire to be a writer in any genre, THIS is the conference you want to put on your list of ones to attend - the TOP of your list just a step below genre specific. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

WEEKEND TRAVELS - Colton's Steakhouse - West Plains MO

If I'd been thinking instead of cleaning/ gardening on Saturday I'd have taken you to Logger's Day in Birch Tree MO. But I was focused on getting spring bulbs in the ground and finally getting planting dirt on the new Butterfly garden I'm putting in. And I hadn't planned to go anywhere on Sunday. I had already made two trips to West Plains in as many days and was looking forward to staying home for awhile... then I went to Facebook. There are many reasons I don't go there often but I'm glad I did this time. I saw a notice that The Journey would be in West Plains for a Pardners In Good Deeds promotion... a project the brainchild of Cowboy Rick.

Seeing this beautifully restored stagecoach always puts a lump in my throat and a tear to my eye. Especially after having researched her 'journey' for an article I wrote. You can read the article on-line in the Spring 2017 issue of Saddlebag Dispatches magazine. The Journey - The Story of an 1880s Wells Fargo Stagecoach

The stagecoach resides at Silver Dollar City - Branson MO, where Rick first rode in her as a young boy. She will be the prominent attraction during their National Crafts & Cowboy Festival featuring the finest craftsmen and authentic cowboys, September 13 - October 28th. Cowboy Rick and his wife Arkansas Bev will be on hand the entire seven weeks. Plan to spend a day or two at the festival and tell them Kelly's Country sent you out!

Country Blessings!

Monday, August 21, 2017

TOTAL ECLIPSE... sort of

As you'll see from the map below, we fell in the 90% range for an eclipse.

Photo courtesty of

Adrian kept a semi-vigilant watch with me. She's 9 and loves anything having to do with outdoors. Abby at only 5 didn't get the significance of what she was seeing. She thought the eclipse was some place we were going to. 

We missed the 90% mark by a couple of minutes. The sky took on a grayish tone as if a storm were moving in. The temperature dropped from 96* F to 86* F.  Then it was gone. After Bob and Abby gave up, having 'missed' the 'total', Adrian and I continued to view the passing on and off until the end. 

While not the most 'exciting' thing I've ever watched, knowing that something like that was happening held a 'wow' factor I couldn't ignore. I was happy the temperature dropped so we could view the eclipse without melting. Mother Earth knows what she's doing. 

Were you able to view the eclipse in person? Or were you one of the millions watching from the comfort of an air conditioned room viewing on your television screen. Either is fine. But I'd love to hear from you and what you thought of the experience.


Monday, August 7, 2017


While this is supposed to be a Weekend Travels post, most of our traveling these days is out to the garden. 

As I told you last week, I was putting Adrian in charge of washing all of those tomatoes she and Abby picked. This batch became half of a batch of pizza sauce. Making sauce has changed a lot from when I was learning how to can.

After the tomatoes were washed, I dropped them in scald water to slip the skins then into a sink of cold water to stop the cooking and help further release the skins. I peeled/ cored each one, cut them up then dropped them into the food processor where they were turned into a thin puree.

When I was a girl we would have put the puree into a pot on the stove and spent several hours stirring the sauce to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan as we cooked it to the desired consistency. I've learned a good shortcut... My crock pot is my friend LOL

I poured the puree into my 6 qt (?) oval crock pot covered with a lint free towel (NO lid!) and set it to low. From there, I just let it cook down all day. Just before bedtime, I stirred in a packet of McCormick Spaghetti Sauce mix then let it continue to cook down throughout the night. The next morning I had perfect Pizza Sauce consistency. I could have continued to cook another 6 hours or so for tomato paste. As the tomatoes continue to ripen (I have nearly half of a 5 gal bucket waiting), I might make the next batch into paste and put into 1/2-sized jelly jars.

So far I've put up three pints of diced tomatoes from last year's haul and these lovely seven pints of Pizza Sauce:

Now all I have to do is rearrange some things on shelves downstairs and make room. Wish me luck!

Monday, July 31, 2017


 As you know, the grandgirls are visiting for the entire summer. Adrian, the 9-year-old in the picture below is my gardening buddy. She has been since the age of two. Not only does she love to eat tomatoes but she enjoys caring for them. That includes picking off the horned worms. We've not seen any yet this year.

But the first thing she does after breakfast each morning is walk the row looking for ripe ones. Saturday, she took her 5- year-old sister, Abby, with her. They both came back to the house with their arms loaded:

My canning experience began when I was 9. I started as chief jar washer, complete with butter knife and a dish rag, in the galvanized laundry tub set up in the yard. I'll be using wide mouth pints straight from the jar. They'll just need a rinse then a scald.

The tomatoes will need washed before diving into the scalding bath to slip the skins. So I'm putting Adrian in charge of washing the tomatoes. From there, she'll get to see the rest of the process. Each summer she is able to visit she'll have a hand in more and more of the process. I will be surprised if she stops showing an interest in what I do, especially with the growing number in self-sufficiency. Even if she never uses the skill as an adult, I can say I passed on the things my 'step' mom taught me.

A final shot of the tomato row. The plants are beginning to cascade over the top of the cattle panel. To prevent them pinching, I bought pool noodles from $Tree. Bob used his knife to cut a slit down the side and slipped them over the top of the panel:

Our traveling around the Ozarks have included places like Chuck E Cheese. Not exactly 'travel' worthy for the majority. Bob and I did take the girls fishing at Twin Pines Conservation Dept. Abby caught her first fish - a decent sized Bluegill.  This picture shows the length. She has about 8" from the bottom of her shirt to the breast of her knee. 

I'm hoping to get the girls out to a couple of places this week while the days are cooler. 

How is your garden growing? Have a blog? I'd love to see what you're doing.