Hello! Yes, It's been a minute since checking in here! We've had a grandchild born (our first; thank you!), a broken leg, a pandemic, a puppy, a shop built, a numerous high-water events, a string of pet passings, some cabins sold, and all along the way a slew of delightful visits by guests, friends and family.
This spring we've been on a bird binge: we saw Rose-breasted, Blue, and Evening Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings (and I didn't see but my sister took a photo of a Painted Bunting at her feeder), Migratory warblers! Finches of every kind! Spectacular Orioles! Right now in a little metal flower holder on my front porch is a family of Eastern Bluebirds (He, She, and five pretty little blue eggs). Bluebirds rarely nest close to people. They are very secretive. They must have set up housekeeping while we were away on vacation (to see aforementioned grandchild) and the office was quiet. We're trying not to disturb them, and they are getting used to seeing us come and go.
Operating through the pandemic was interesting. Many of our guests used our touchless check-in option and enjoyed our super clean cabins. They loved being able to get away from it all with a minimum of exposure to crowds, cooking their own meals and taking advantage of all the wonders the Natural State has to offer.
We get it. Rob and I are semi-retired now. . . which seems to mean we work just as hard but a lot slower and with less to show for it. Well, that applies to my projects more than to Rob's grounds, painting and building projects, which are impeccable. Mine, mostly peccable.
The nice thing about almost retiring in place is that we don't have to leave home to be on vacation. When we stop for the day even high gas prices can't stop us from admiring the lake from our porch of wandering down to the dock for a lazy swim. There's lots of summer left and lake to share -- maybe you'd like to take a break over here! We can't do anything about the gas prices but we'd be proud to have you.
It's been a long and busy winter, and we're gearing up for Spring. And Rob and I are very excited about some dramatic changes to one of our most popular cottages. It's a large one-bedroom with a beautiful view. We're in the process of completely revamping it inside and out, from new and added insulation to the walls and attic, a bit more kitchen counter and storage space, high efficiency windows and a new roof and siding. While modernizing the comfort and style of the place, we've tried to maintain its rustic charm and coziness. There's even a full length patio door looking out at the lake. Photos to come!
We've been painting rooms and replacing flooring and carpet in some of the other cottages as well, and are having some clearing done to enhance our views.
A Sign of Something Good
Our new sign! We are so pleased with the way it turned out! Hope all the transplants make it. You would not believe how much Bermuda grass I worked out of this bed. Years and years of roots. Thanks to all the Herb Club for their contributions.
Here's the new backside -- what you'll see when you are driving up the hill away from our place. My sign man found some neat hokey silhouette clip art.
Do you think it's an improvement over this 1980's version? I'm saving the hand-cut plastic letters. For something. I don't know what.
We have wanted to do something with this sign since buying the place -- had no idea how much money and effort it would take. One of the biggest hurdles was finding a place which handled tinted plexiglass this big (it's 51 inches high and 60 inches wide, almost 1/4 inch thick). But our sign man did (Bill Schutte of Outback Banners and Signs, Mountain Home, Arkansas, buying local, thankyouverymuch) and made the panels, which Rob and I installed on Father's Day, just for fun. (!) That's Rob's idea of fun, you know. Not so much mine.
Thought you ought to know -- And now you do. Still some summer availability -- give us a call!
Thinking of painting the pelican. Opinions?
Take care and watch for more signs of good things to come. . . .
Spring's Around the Corner
It’s March, and the season is about to change. While we’ve had a pretty mild winter, it seems to want to linger. The winter birds that we have each year are still here, including the gray and white gulls, and the little unidentified ducks that travel in tight squadrons and streak low over the water, heading somewhere in a hurry, not to be seen again for days.
We’ve had a pair of loons on the lake for much of the winter too, the first year I’ve seen them. They’re shy and spend most of their time away from the shore. We probably wouldn’t have noticed them at all if not for that distinctive call. They are a northern bird that normally winters on the Gulf Coast. Perhaps one of them was injured or sick and had to cut the migration short, or maybe they just decided it was too much trouble to go further. I suspect that during America’s westward push plenty of towns were settled by people who one day said, “That’s it. We’re stopping here.” Many of those places have done just fine and maybe our loons will decide to summer on Bull Shoals Lake, also. I hope so.
One afternoon late in January, I stepped out of the house and saw two eagles soaring over the resort. They like our ridge top when the north wind creates an updraft against the bluff below us. Cindy came out and as we watched the pair, we saw another group of three eagles, an adult-- we’ll say it was a female – and two brown-splotched juveniles. Apparently it was a flying lesson, a game, or both.
The adult eagle would fly close to one of the youngsters, appear to touch them with her wings, then fold them and dive downward. Suddenly, she would fully spread her wings and go into a cartwheel, wingtip over wingtip, falling away from the two young.
This amazing show continued as the adult did more aerial acrobatics, and the youngsters cut and dove but neither repeated the cartwheel maneuver. Despite her insistence they seemed reluctant and awkward, compared to her. It seems incongruous that perhaps eagles are afraid of flight, at least at first. This was the first time we’ve observed so many eagles in the air at once. And it was an unforgettable sight.
Back here on the ground, the weather is due to heat up soon, and so will our season. Before we know it Memorial Day will be here and with it our hectic time. Meanwhile we’ve been busy with improvements: an extensive remodel in #5, the small one-bedroom (windows, insulation, drywall, cabinets and flooring) and a much needed facelift for the Deluxe Honeymoon Suite (#1) with fresh paint, a new window, and Cindy’s attempt at a faux finish paint job in the bedroom. Also, we’ve increased the air conditioning capacity for many of the cottages.
We hope you’ll be able to enjoy these improvements in person with us this coming year! Anyway, welcome, Spring!
The Season of Quiet
The quiet season has arrived at Ridgecrest. We've been busy around the place and maybe because of that it seems like Labor Day weekend, with its frantic celebrations -- summer's eulogy -- has only just past. But really we're deep into autumn.
The leaves are changing rapidly and the colors are different each day and with each change of the light. The deer are taking on their grayish coats that will match perfectly the bark and limbs of the bare trees of winter.
There's a small flock of Canada geese that spent the summer on the lake this year. Lately I've noticed that they've become strangely noisy and agitated, as if some part of their brains is telling them it's time to move even though they seem to have given up on the idea of migration for an easier, maybe lazier, life on Bull Shoals Lake.
And it is quiet. Without the people sounds and the groan of vehicles towing boats up our hill, you can hear all kinds of things. Standing in the yard behind the cabins you can hear even small waves slapping the rocks below our bluff and, at times, the conversations of fishermen down there.
There's lots for us to do in the "off" season. We're remodeling Cottage Five, our small one-bedroom, adding insulation (!), and new windows in an effort to keep the utility bills down. In addition, new flooring, cabinets and a coat of paint will be a great improvement.
But besides the projects, there is also time for us to enjoy our area, get out on the lake, hike a few trails, and maybe take a fall canoe trip if we can find enough water. We've had good rains of late but our river levels have still not recovered.
Dog's Best Friend
Charly Brown and her best canine friend, Teal.
Charly, our lab-terrier mix brown dog, has been sowing wild oats this fall. The cooler air and lack of action around the resort invigorates her and inspires mischief. She darts off into the woods after anything that moves, including clumps of leaves and grasshoppers. Willful as a dog can be, Charly will sometimes come back if you catch her attention before she’s fully engaged in the chase. Often, all too often, she will bound off anyway and show up an hour or two later, totally spent, with a guilty look on her face. She pays for her digression by having to listen to a lecture and then nap for a while under her tree at the end of the dog cable.
This fall, the cockleburs and goatheads are coming on strong. They are prickly and cling to your shoelaces and jeans hems, your fleece jacket and your dog’s footpads. And pulling at them only makes them dig in more. Ouch.
So yesterday, after Charly’s escapade in the woods, she came staggering up from the woods, all four feet loaded with burrs. Rob chided her for her vanishing act all the while he was bent double coaxing the sharp pricklies out from between her toes. She was grateful for the forced “time out” and watched me divide the lemongrass plants while she licked her sore paws.
Well, this morning Rob was on his hands and knees working on his remodeling project in Cottage Five. He could hear panting, and his first thought was that Charly must be panting really hard if he could hear her while he was inside and she was out. Then he realized that she was standing behind him. After a bit, she began nudging him with her shoulder. In a moment, she was leaning on him, sighing. On closer look, he saw that her paws were full of cockleburs again. She was asking him to get them out. So he did. Now he’s the hero! Again.
All the members of the household will have an opportunity to sound off!