Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lovely Surprise Guest

Today, Handsome Husband and I were walking to the car to leave when he stopped and pointed under one of the bird feeders.  There was a lovely surprise guest in our garden. 

At first she was shy, but obviously not wild.  We could get close before she would move away, but she never actually flew.

Can you see how her feathers shimmer pink and green?

Please forgive me if this lovely guest is not female.  I really don't know, but, I mean like, honestly, the bird is wearing pink!  I'm thinking female and have a fifty percent chance of getting it right!  ;-) 

We could see a band on her leg.  Handsome Husband set a pet carrier on the ground and the gorgeous bird walked right into it as if it were a guest bedroom. 

She was very calm, not afraid of us at all.  Handsome Husband read the band on her leg and googled the information. 

He found that she was part of a homing pigeon group in nearby Northeast Oklahoma.  After calling the phone number on the website, a sweet man came by to take her home.  He lives only 20 minutes away.

We learned that she was part of a race and had been released in Texas yesterday.  She must have gotten slightly off course.  Her owner said she probably would have rested with us tonight and then flown home tomorrow.  He was so glad Handsome Husband called.

Isn't she pretty?

Goodbye, Lovely Surprise Guest! 

We are so glad you stopped by!  ;-)  -Marci

Monday, May 28, 2012

Thank You!

On this Memorial Day, we would like to say "Thank you" to all veterans who have served. 

There is one very near and dear to our hearts, though.  Our son.

Thank you!

Friday, May 25, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,

how does your garden grow? 

With silver bells,

and cockle shells,

and pretty maidens all in a row. 

I'm so glad you stopped by.  Will you please come again soon?  ;-)  -Marci

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mind Your Manners... Follow the Hollyhocks

My dear friend, Joyful, has told me the story that in Elizabethan times young ladies would never ask about the location of the outhouse. 

This would have been considered indelicate. 

As manners were as important then as they should be today, hollyhocks were planted along the path to the privy. 

So, young ladies did not have to ask. 

They just followed the hollyhocks.

While outhouses may be a thing of the past, don't let that stop you from planting hollyhocks.  They lend charm to any cottage garden.

These lovely photos are from our garden.  We have drifts of hollyhocks scattered here and there.   

I think they are just perfect in our Stone Cottage Adventures!  ;-)  -Marci

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Stone Cottage Molasses Bars

Handsome Husband is not real big on sweets, unless one of the main ingredients is molasses.  I am always looking for recipes that include molasses.  Well, Beautiful Sister gave me one of these.

It's just like the one Mom had when we were growing up.  Talk about bringing back memories of our childhood kitchen!

So, I went looking for a recipe with molasses and, of course, found one.  It was right next to the brownies.  Here is the original recipe. 

I modified it just a little.  Here's what worked for me:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup molasses
1 1/2 cups self rising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

I don't know why I like to stir molasses recipes with a fork, but I do.  Follow the directions in the original recipe of what order to add things and stir things and bake.  I sprinkled powdered sugar on top.  This recipe made a 9 x 13 inch pan of molasses bars. 

I bet you are shocked to see a full pan since my photos usually show a piece missing!  Well, frankly at this point, the molasses bars were still too hot to eat!

As soon as they were cool, they were gone!  It seemed appropriate to make these on Mother's Day using a cookbook just like Mom's! 

I hope your Mother's Day was filled with joy!  ;-)  -Marci

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hawksbill Crag - 'Ready for a Hike?

Hawksbill Crag, also known as Whitaker Point, is one of the most photographed rock formations in Arkansas. In fact, it is featured on the cover of the 2005 Rand McNally Road Atlas. The trail to Whitaker Point is surprisingly short, only 1.5 miles long and a relatively easy hike.

When we are on this trail, we walk slowly and enjoy the forest. It takes us about 45 minutes to get to Hawksbill Crag from the parking area. The first part of the trail is mostly down hill. The rest is pretty flat. Much of the trail leads you along an amazing bluff line. Hawksbill Crag can be seen long before it is reached. The trail overlooks a pristine valley holding the headwaters of the Buffalo River.

Once you have been there, you will want to hike the trail in all seasons. The great thing about hiking it in winter is seeing the wonderful bluffs and rock formations.

Take your camera. It is stunning!

To get there from Northwest Arkansas, take Hwy 412 east past Huntsville.  Turn south on Hwy 21. Go through the charming town of Kingston. Stay on Hwy 21 into Boxley Valley.  Pass the Boxley Valley Church. Turn right on the gravel road just before the bridge. Go about 6 miles to the marked parking area. The trail head is well marked.

Happy hiking!

Another great reason to visit this area is Lost Valley State Park as well as the elk herd. Elk are frequently seen in Boxley Valley and in nearby Ponca.

For more information, visit the Arkansas tourism website: www.arkansas.com

Thursday, May 3, 2012

More Spring Flowers

There are three varieties of honeysuckle in our garden.  They are all lovely.  Hummingbirds adore them.  Honeysuckle begins to bloom just as hummers migrate to our area. 

There are also two varieties of spider wort.  Don't you love the texture?

OK...  Only one variety of bleeding heart. 

Happy Spring!  ;-)  -Marci