~A few photos from the farm~

Scenes from “the farm”

Socks, a beautiful girl

A beautiful "Barn Kitty"

A beautiful “Barn Kitty”

 

On the hunt

On the hunt

Some of the Horses, fat from eating summer grass

Big Red

Big Red

Lace and Ike (what a funny photo)

Lace and Ike (what a funny photo)

 

A young Angus Steer

A handsome 4H Steer (I called him "Little Bull"

A handsome 4H Steer (I called him “Little Bull”

 

A beautiful Butterfly

Butterfly Bush with a beautiful customer

Ah Bull

"I'am watching you"

“I’am watching you”

"Go Away"

“Go Away”

 

Precious Jack

We miss you Jack

We miss you Jack

 

The Birds

Northern Mockingbird (photo taken in Mississippi)

Northern Mockingbird (photo taken in Mississippi)

BrownThrasher (photo taken in Mississippi)

BrownThrasher (photo taken in Mississippi)

 

~A Redhead with some Red Seeds~

A Magnolia Tree

 ~

Standing tall for all to see,

showcasing a multitude of gifts,

 with long, green, waxy leaves.

 ~

Delicate flowers in sundry colors,

white being the iconic symbol,

of a southern favorite.

~

Beauty and strength in its stance,

providing shade for those seeking relief,

with sturdy branches for nesting birds.

~

Autumn brings its offering of  food,

lovely cone shaped pods,

red seeds shining in the sun.

~

Standing tall for us to see,

we must remember,

a Magnolia Tree is a gift for all.

~

Pileated Woodpecker (photo taken in Mississippi)

Pileated Woodpecker (photo taken in Mississippi)

A lovely, old Magnolia tree stands next to our coach when we are parked at our favorite “RV resort”. I am not sure how long this Magnolia tree has stood here, but in a way it symbolizes the roots of a family, my family, living on this land and in this area for many years. 

My brother and sister-in-law enjoy this land and call it home; their very soul is rooted in every tree and shrub planted here. My love of this country, open spaces, wildlife and all things in nature, I believe, can be traced back to those who settled here.

 

Our visits are a gift; we will treasure each and every memory.

Look at those claws!

Look at those claws!

During our last visit, sitting outside near this old magnolia tree, we heard a loud racket. My brother, having heard this sound many times, knew exactly what it was.

This beautiful, female, Pileated Woodpecker flew in the Magnolia tree and immediately began to hunt for a snack. We were amused by its endeavor and I was delighted to have captured a few photos.

Look at those tail feathers

Look at those tail feathers

Grabbed it!

Grabbed it – A red seed filled cone.

~Lake Chicot State Park~

Lake Chicot is situated in a grove of majestic wild pecans and ringed with cypress trees standing literally “up to their knees” in water along the nations’s largest natural oxbow remnant, a cutoff of the mighty Mississippi.

At the end of September we visited Lake Chicot State Park.  If you find yourself near Lake Village, Arkansas, stop in at this beautiful state park and spend a few days enjoying Lake Chicot. We envision stopping here again!

Scenes from our visit!

"Welcome to Lake Chicot State Park"

“Welcome to Lake Chicot State Park”

Lake Chicot, an oxbow remnant , a cutoff of the mighty Mississippi River

Lake Chicot, an oxbow remnant , a cutoff of the mighty Mississippi River

Sunset in Lake Chicot State Park

Up a Tree in Lake Chicot State Park

Sunset in Lake Chicot State Park

Sunset over Lake Chicot

I am so behind in posting. I hope to catch up, now that things have settled down! During the last few weeks we have visited family in Mississippi, attended a family wedding in Florida and visited with friends in Georgia. Tonight, I write this from a Florida State Park in Sebring, Florida called Highlands Hammock.

~Thursday, September 25, 2014~

Lake Dardanelle State Park in Russellville, Arkansas

Marina at Lake Dardanelle State Park

Marina at Lake Dardanelle State Park. This was our back yard for a day!

Our ride on this 25th day of September, 2014:

We traded the agricultural fields of sunflower, wheat and corn, that we drove through the day before, for trees. Gentle rolling hills covered with gorgeous trees. We traveled along I-35 to I-40 and spent one night at Lake Dardanelle State Park, located in Russellville, Arkansas.

This beautiful state park is surrounded by the Ouachita Mountains to the south and the Boston Mountain Range of the Ozarks to the north. Lake Dardanelle offers some of the finest fishing and boating resources in Arkansas. Formed by the Arkansas River, this 34,000 acre man-made lake is two miles west of Russellville. (info taken from web)

We will definitely return to LDSP when we have more time to explore this lovely area.

Reflections on Lake Dardanelle

Reflections on Lake Dardanelle

Bass fishing

This area is a major bass fishing tournament site!

Arkansas Nuclear Plant as seen from Lake Dardanelle State Park

Arkansas Nuclear Plant as seen from Lake Dardanelle State Park

Damselfly hanging around at Lake DarDdnelle State Pak

Damselfly hanging around at Lake Dardanelle State Pak

A unique place for fuel:

When we left Wellington, Kansas we had to fuel up. We decided to stop in Billings, OK at the Cimarron Travel Plaza. This was the cleanest truck stop we have ever been in! The large parking lot was spotless. When we pulled up to the pump an employee came up to us and said he would pump the fuel and clean our windshield. He stated it was a courtesy of the Travel plaza.

This was a first.  When we mentioned how clean everything was he beamed with pride.  If you are ever in this area stop in for fuel!!

Being the navigator is sometimes a thankless job:

Our route today took us through Tulsa and it wasn’t a fun experience. Road construction with too many, small detour signs telling us which direction to go in.  Our well planned research fallingl by the wayside. My Gps screaming at me for not following his directions. The driver, well what can I say. As navigator on this crew, I wasn’t happy either.

However, we made it though Tulsa and arrived in Russellville, Arkansas all in one piece to enjoy this peaceful, lovely state park.

IMG_0818

Site 46 at Lake Dardanelle State Park

Site 46 at Lake Dardanelle State Park

On Friday, September 26, 2014 we left Russellville and traveled to Lake Village, Arkansas to visit another Arkansas state park called Lake Chicot. More on this state park to follow.

~Today’s landscape description-Green~

Just Swinging

Just Swinging

Our ride today took us across I-70 to 1-135 then to I-35.

We are staying one night at a KOA in Wellington, Kansas. Wellington was first surveyed in 1871 and named for the Duke of Wellington. This area produces vast quantities of winter wheat and wheat is still the driving force behind the local economy, so much so that Wellington is called the “Wheat Capital of the World”.

As I sit here typing this post, I can hear the mournful sound of a train whistle in the distance.

Railroads and petroleum, along with the wheat, are also significant to the economy of Wellington and manufacturing, especially aircraft parts, is growing.

Wellington, Kansas

Wellington, Kansas

It was a pleasant ride today with “green” being the word to describe the landscape we saw.

Lots of rain in this part of the country. It was nice to see fields of green grass, ponds filled with water and bales of hay dotting the landscape.

We spotted hawks flying high, riding the currents, and scouring fields for food. I saw a huge, dark colored bird that I thought was a Golden eagle sitting on a bale of hay. Couldn’t get a positive ID going 65mph down the interstate. :-(

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

Walks and a little birding.

When we pulled into the Wellington KOA, we took our girls for a walk. We flushed up, out of the brush, a male Pheasant. He was beautiful flying low across the field and out of sight. I have seen Pheasants before in Colorado, but it has been a very long time since my last sighting.

A little further down the path we spotted a pair of Yellow-shafted Flickers. I have only seen one before today and this was many years ago. We added to our campground bird list an Eastern Kingbird, American Robins, Northern Cardinal, Eurasian Collared Dove and Mourning Dove.

Robin Gathering

Robin Gathering

In the morning we head down I-35 to I-40. Our destination will be Lake Dardanelle State Park. Web-site is http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/lakedardanelle/

We have never been to an Arkansas State Park and look forward to our visit.

~It begins~

It begins! We left our gorgeous mountains behind and drove through the eastern plains of Colorado, where we saw Antelope grazing on autumn grasses.

Our current journey is taking us south toward Mississippi and then Florida. Leaving Colorado in the fall is bad enough, but leaving a month early has been very hard. But leave we must.

We have a family member getting married in early October and we are looking forward to attending the wedding. We have also planned a few fun stops along the way, visiting family in Mississippi and friend get togethers in Florida and Georgia.

Initially traveling south on I-25, taking I-270 out of Denver, and then turning onto I- 70, led us into the high plains of Kansas.  It has been a few years since we have taken this route.

I couldn’t think of any other word to describe the landscape we drove through today, but peaceful pops into my head. It was a beautiful day with blue skies, open road, dairy farms, sunflower fields and corn stalks. We have never seen so many, mile after mile, of corn fields.

under beautiful skies

as far as the eye can see

corn stalks growing tall

We are spending one night at High Plains Camping in Oakley, Kansas. When we pulled into this campground we remembered being here once before. We were on vacation traveling back home to Colorado from visiting family.

It was late December, it started to snow and it was piling up quickly. Temperatures had reached the low teens. We were desperate for a place to stop and extremely lucky to find this campground with a few open sites. It reached a low of eleven degrees that night. It was the coldest we have ever been. Traveling in our very first RV, an Airstream travel trailer, it was one experience we will never forget!

So once again, after several years, we find ourselves back in Oakley, Kansas at High Plains Camping. This time the temperatures are in the low eighties, so we decided to enjoy locally brewed micro brews at Jacks Pub, here on the camp ground premises. These micro brews are from a brewery in Hays, Kansas and boy were they delicious. Not a bad way to end the day after a lovely ride!

On this lovely autumn evening, I leave you with a sunset photo.

Sunset over Oakley

Sunset over Oakley, Kansas

~The waiting is the worst.~

Another pretty color

Another pretty color

It is warm in here. I have been sitting in this waiting room for 45 minutes. I feel as if I can’t breath and that I need to get outside. Howard is sitting next to me. He is engaged in a text chat with my brother and I am glad he is occupied. Every few minutes he looks over at me; I guess to see if I appear to be okay.

It is late in the day, 4:15 and I can feel the emotions of others whom have sat in these chairs. It is as though the room itself is sad. There are other people waiting, an elderly lady and a younger lady . The elderly ladies name is called and she heads into the “back” rooms. I can’t help but notice she is all by herself and this makes me a little sadder. The younger lady is reading a magazine, she puts it down, looks at me and says “I am getting sleepy.” I reply, “it is warm in here that will make you sleepy.”  After a few more minutes she is called in the “back”.

I pick up a magazine and try to focus on the words, but my brain isn’t working. Howard continues chatting with my brother. Finally, a beautiful lady with a warm smile invites me to follow her. Yep, in the “back”. She is friendly and I can see the fatigue she is trying to hide, it has been a long day for her. She turns and asks Howard if he is okay waiting there and tells him she will be awhile.

I am instructed to get undressed from the waist up and to put on a gown, with the opening to the front. I enter the dressing area and place my clothes in locker number eight, which is the only one available.

I am now sitting in another waiting area. The decor is calming and beautiful, the colors I notice are some of my favorite – shades of teal. As I sit down, I notice the younger lady sitting in one of the teal colored chairs. She looks up from her magazine and with a  smile tells me “it is much cooler in here!” I smile back and say “thank goodness!”

I sit here for a little while, playing with the locker key wristband, twirling it in my hands.  I am looking at the number written on the key, number eight and I think to myself, eight might be a luckily number. After all both Howard and I were born in August and we began our life together in August. We met in August!

However, I know it is not a question of luck, the science will write my final story. The coolness of the room begins to seep into my bones and I wrap, the three sizes too big, flannel gown tightly around me.

The younger lady begins a conversation, she is with her daughter who has been called back for a repeat mammogram, same as me. She tells me her daughter is worried. 

It is now time, the same beautiful lady takes charge and needs to performs her task. Sorry, she tells me, “I know this is going to be uncomfortable” as we enter another room filled with equipment. Gone are the calm colors.

After she is finished, I am again sent to the Teal Room to wait. After awhile, another lady with gorgeous red hair and a friendly smile invites me into a room with soft lighting to perform an ultrasound. She is extremely kind and I ask her how her day is going as I think to myself, this can’t be good, I need an ultrasound! 

She leaves the room when she has taken the required images and tells me she will be right back after the radiologist reviews them. I say, ” I’ll just lay here and take a nap.” She is gone what seems like a lifetime. I am thinking Howard and I should be on the road, heading to see family and friends. 

A light knock on the door, the pretty lady with the red hair enters the room and I notice right away she has a great big smile on her face. The tells me things are fine, no problems. I can’t help but cover my face with my hands and say thank goodness. She tells me with a kind voice, “go celebrate!”  I get up off the bed and tell her “I wish you could say those words to everyone you see in here.”

Back to locker number eight. Who knows, perhaps a little luck, but ultimately the science relieved my mind.

I exit from the back and I don’t see either the elderly lady or the younger lady with her daughter. I see my hubby looking at me with his beautiful blue eyes. He is trying to gage my facial expression. I hope he can see my smile. I walk over to him and give him a big hug and kiss. I whisper in his ear, “we can now begin loading the coach!”

He tells me the younger lady wanted him to tell me that her daughter is fine! I am so very happy for both of them.

Finally, I am outside, it is cooler and I can once again breathe. My experience started a week and a half ago and I am grateful it is over.

I thank the medical staff for the great job they do. I thank the innovative minds for their dedication to improving the science and I am grateful for the available technology used to help diagnose and cure cancer.

 

To those who have taken these same steps, I am happy for you.

To those who have fraught a battle and won I salute you – you are strong!

To the family and friends of those who have lost their lives to breast cancer or any cancer, I am so sorry.