A waterfall and fudge.

We stopped at a Petit Jean State Park overlook on our way back from Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge. It’s gorgeous even during the height of winter.

Petit Jean, established in 1923, is the first state park in Arkansas. It covers 2,658 acres on Petit Jean Mountain between the Oark and Ouachita Mountain ranges in west-central Arkansas. It includes woods, ravines, streams, springs, amazing views and neat geological formations.

Continue reading “A waterfall and fudge.”

Holla Bend eagle search

January is Eagle Awareness Month in Arkansas. To celebrate, I attended the Eagle Awareness Weekend at Petit Jean State Park. Bald Eagle numbers in the lower 48 states have now increased from 417 nesting pairs in 1967 to more than 10,000 nesting pairs in recent years. However, this still hasn’t helped me reach my goal of seeing an adult Bald Eagle.

The Bald Eagle gained federal protection in 1940 and its population was severely threatened by the widespread use of the pesticide DDT after World War II. DDT caused Bald eagles to lay eggs with weakened shells.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service changed the Bald Eagle’s status from endangered to threatened in 1995. In 2007, the Bald Eagle was taken off the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.

One of the two juvenile Bald Eagles spotted within feet of each other.
The second of two juvenile Bald Eagles that we saw. I was unable to get closer.

To accomplish my goal, Petit Jean park rangers took a group including my aunt and I to nearby Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge, a 7,055 acre refuge that was established in 1957 as a result of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers navigation and flood control project. Continue reading “Holla Bend eagle search”

Pouvez-vous répéter?

Bonjour! I attended my very first meeting of the Arkansas County French Club. They had French wine, lots of finger food and free French lessons on basic phrases.

I have never attempted to learn the French language before. My past foreign language attempts have been in German and Spanish. I love the German language, which I think came from my fascination with my German heritage. Spanish was the only foreign language taught in my high school and two years worth was required for honor graduates.

I would still prefer to refresh my German and Spanish, but it was fun to learn some basic French phrases. Here’s the critical ones I remember.

Je m’appelle Sarah. My name is Sarah.

Comment vous appellez-vous? What is your name?

Je ne comprends pas. I don’t understand.

Parlez-vous anglais? Do you speak English?

Water under the WRNWR Boardwalk

There’s been water underneath White River National Wildlife Refuge boardwalk within the past month. Recent rainfall had the White River above its 26-foot flood stage and flowing into the refuge. It’s back down now at 23.7 feet this morning. Here’s some pictures from my trip to see how flooded it was.

My dog Izzie.

A leucistic Red-Headed Woodpecker (I had to email the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for help on this one)
A House Sparrow lounges on a bird feeder outside of the visitor's center.

Sampling ‘coon’

The 69th annual Gillett Coon Supper.

I like barbecued raccoon meat.

I finally accepted this fact Saturday night after I tried “coon” for the second year in a roll at the 69th annual Gillett Coon Supper. Believe me, it’s words I never thought I would utter.

The Gillett Farmers and Businessmen’s Club hosts the coon supper as a fundraiser for college scholarship. It originally began after World War II as a way to raise money for athletics at Gillett School District but the focus shifted when the district was consolidated with the DeWitt School District.

It remains one of the most popular events in Arkansas County and is held each January. It also garners more than 600 attendees — pretty impressive for a community of only 691 residents. Continue reading “Sampling ‘coon’”

A better me

“All our dreams can come true,
if we have the courage to pursue them.”
– Walt Disney

On Sunday, my congregation was tasked with one simple assignment — to start the new year being a better person. It’s never to late to live up to our dreams and expectations — we just might get a later start then we meant too.

It really struck a nerve with me, especially since the visiting priest was able to phrase the message in a witty, down-to-earth sermon. It reminded me of who I always dreamed of being and had me thinking of how I had drifted from this ideal persona.

I would like to be thought of as kind, approachable and truthful. I want to be known for my morals and to be able to give whenever I can.  It’s easy to be a ditzy blonde, which is a generalization that can sometimes be said about me. So, this year I am going to work on being more knowledgeable, less gossipy and more helpful to others in need. Continue reading “A better me”

A country life

A newborn calf stands to go to its mother.

I spent my first afternoon of 2012 at my aunt and uncle’s farm in Jonesboro. My sister and I originally went to pick out some old doors my sister needs for a do-it-yourself project, but we soon spent the majority of our visit heading out to a back pasture to see a newborn calf.

We arrived about an hour after it was born. The calf is beautiful with a grey coat and is the fourth calf born this winter. The only disgusting part of it was watching the mother eat the placenta. It makes sense that the mother would eat it since it could lead predators to her newborn, but it was still a sight I would rather not have seen.

Still, the newborn calf was one of the reasons why Jan. 1st was a great day. It also helped that the weather was nice, I was able to enjoy an amazing home-cooked meal with my immediate family, and spend the afternoon visiting with family.

Two calves and one of their mothers race to food on Jan. 1.
Flowers blooming on New Year's Day.


He was curious to see what we were doing.
This little girl nearly followed us every where except to the back pasture.
This chicken means business.

Fly by: 2011’s final birds.

A Red-Tailed Hawk soars through the sky on the last day of 2011.

2011 ended and 2012 began with a bang. I was able to scratch off more birds off my list of those to see with the help of my family to identify some of the birds I saw. I’m slowly learning that identifying the birds I take pictures of is the hardest part of my new hobby. Hopefully, it’ll get easier as time goes by. Still, feel free to correct me if I do misidentify a bird.

An American Robin perches on a branch near my house on Dec. 30.
An American Robin perches on a branch near my house on Dec. 30.
American Coots swim away from the road in a flooded field on Dec. 31. It's a frequent sight when I head to Wynne to visit family.
A Northern Cardinal hops around gathering food beside House Sparrows near my back door this morning.
A snow goose, Mallard duck and American Coots swim around my uncle's pond in Jonesboro on Jan. 1.