Monday, March 5, 2018


We got our first 'major' snow on January 14th. Pretty, isn't it? 

As we make the slow dance to spring, I thought I'd show our grand hurrah. As I type this mid-February, I'm not expecting any big snow. Ice has been an issue north and west of us and we're too see more this week. Measurable snow, however, has been elusive. But there's always next year, right?

Monday, February 26, 2018

WEEKEND TRAVEL - Wintery Splendor

Early last month, I took a drive to Poplar Bluff. Something about dogs needing food. ;-) Just West of Van Buren, I saw a beautiful sight:

The contrast of running water cascading over the bedrock to meet with nature's ice sculptures was breathtaking. 

The reason for the live water run as opposed to the ice on the left is due to a fresh spring father back in the hill that constantly runs, preventing the freeze.

Sights like this abound in the Ozarks and is one of the reasons I prefer avoiding interstates when I travel. The beauty lies beyond the norm... in everything.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018


I’ve been wanting to do history posts since this blog began. I just never seem to ‘get there’. As I sat here in the recliner, working on blog posts I decided this is the week to step up and start sharing information about the state I’ve chosen to call home.

This week, I want to take you to St. Louis.

The City of St. Louis was founded on February 15, 1764 when French explorers arrived in the late 17th century but their hold wouldn’t hold for long. Spain took over in 1763. Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau, recognizing the value of their location, started a trading company and established the settlement of St. Louis.

With its connection through the Ohio River to the east, the Mississippi to the south and north, and the Missouri to the west, St. Louis was ideally located to become the main base of inter-regional trade. In the 1840s, the city became a destination for massive immigration by Irish and Germans and the settlement grew exponentially.

While Missouri was a slave state, bordering free states made it the center hub for filing of ‘freedom suits’. Many slaves became free as a result.

Eads Bridge

Recreation and tourism began to grow following the Civil War. Not because of the post war rebuild (though the city only held a small skirmish on the outskirts) but due to pollution of the river as a result of the rebuild and expansion. During the 1870s, Eads Bridge was erected and several parks were established, including Forest Park. Eades Bridge holds the #1 spot on the National Historic Landmarks.

Today, the attractions continue to grow. The Gateway Arch is getting a face-lift and there is talk of renaming the park at its base. Aside from the arch and the zoo, there are a lot of top notch attractions including Forest Park, which hosted the 1904 Worlds Fair. Home of the infamous Clydsdales, you can tour the Budweiser facility or the Botanical Gardens. There are science and art museums and the Missouri History Museum.

But the City Museum ranks high on the list of places to visit.  For some of the best pictures, visit Kristy at Have Kids Will Travel. She is a great photographer and has multiple views of the museum on THIS post. City Museum is created mostly from repurposed materials such as the plane in the photo above. With a maze of tunnels inside and out, places to climb and explore, you could entertain the kids - and yourself - for hours from what I understand.

Until I get over my fear of traffic, I'll never visit this place personally, but if you do I'd love for you to share your experience with us by leaving a comment below. Take us with you when you go!

Plan that summer vacation now and enjoy quality family time exploring St. Louis Missouri


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!