Arkansas, The Natural State

Long weekends should be spent in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. Forget your images of hillbillies and poverty and replace them with rivers, lakes, trees, mountains, and lush, green glens. The drive between Springfield, MO and Hot Springs, AR is eye candy all the way. We kayaked on Lake Hamilton, lazed around in hammocks, drove up and down some switchback roads of the surrounding mountains, sat on the dock behind the house and watched the dragonflies whiz to and fro, dipped our toes in the water, and ate some really good food.

View from the dock behind our house
Yep, we made s’mores
Hubby took this shot along one of the roads he cycled on Friday morning.
Study in blue and green
🦆🦆🦆
🌸
It’s not an Amy’s Axons post without a bird picture
I may have to get a chair hammock…whee!

Do yourself a favor, go to Arkansas! God be with you. ❤️, Amy

A Beautiful Day In the Ozarks

Sunny with a high of 78* F and a gentle breeze. I rode my scooter to the neighborhood lake and spent a couple hours besotted by God’s creation.

The touch of amber on the wings is stunning 😍
Yellow on black good for Jack
These wings shimmered like diamonds in the sun.
Amberwings are my personal favorite.
I love 💚 dragonflies!
Eyes in the moss
Can you see that tail?
Though I’m pretty sure this is the equivalent of a weed in the water, the colors are striking.
Daylily

Thanks for stopping by. May God be with you. ❤, Amy

A Week In My Life

Sunday was a beautiful day in the Ozarks so Hubby took me for a drive after church.
First thing Monday morning one of our cats puked her breakfast all over the blanket on our bed. So, laundry.
I listened to some classic rock while sewing up a tote bag on Monday.
One of Hubby’s work friends has been sharing with us some of the surplus eggs her hens have been laying. She loves the St. Louis Blues, so I found some themed fabric and made this up for her.
I don’t care about hockey, but I love the yellow and blue together.
Tuesday afternoon I rode my scooter to the little lake in our neighborhood and took a few photos.
Wednesday was a rest day. Pip and I watched the birds together 🥰.
After work on Thursday, Hubby and I went to my Dad’s for dinner. Hubby then helped Dad clean out the gutters and…
…weed eat.
Dad worked hard too.
I sewed up a couple more totes on Friday. I think I’ve now made 13 bags from this pattern over the last year.
The cupcakes look yummy 😋!
I love the pockets, they make the bag very versatile.
Friday was a tough MS day with very limited energy. I was pretty proud that I was able to get the kitchen cleaned.
Today, Saturday, has been another MS dominant day. I sat on the patio this afternoon and enjoyed watching the birds and this little fella.
I think squirrels are funny and cute, though I know they can be pests.

I hope you are doing well. God be with you! ❤️, Amy

What No Eye Has Seen, No Ear Has Heard, No Heart Has Imagined

Sitting cocooned in a luscious, lemon minky blanket as a brace against the damp chill of an early May breeze, I conceal myself and wait in the southwest corner of the back patio. You must make yourself small and discreet when bird watching. Our fully blossomed, lush purple lilac tree sends its bouquet of deliciousness, so sweet I can almost taste it, around the corner of the brick wall serving as part of my cover. A couple of mature, verdant green, newly leafed-out river birches dwarf the trio of bird feeders directly between them. The birches’ treetops are full of Goldfinches, Carolina Chickadees, Cardinals, House Finches, and Tufted Titmice singing in brilliant chorus as they rise and fall on the quivering branches with the waves of the wind. Bluejays, Mourning Doves, and Chipping Sparrows hop along in the fast growing blades of grass as they hunt for and peck at seeds on the ground below the feeders. Near the trunk of one of the birches a pair of shy, but gorgeously vivid, Blue Buntings huddle close together . A Baltimore Oriole, clothed in his jet-black hood with a juicy orange throat and chest, hesitates to leave his perch in the tree canopy before carefully alighting on the feeder tray to snack on sunflower seeds. Four male Red-breasted Grosbeaks swoop in and spread out on various limbs, followed moments later by a female. Their striking v-shaped patches of rosy red on a clean, linen white chest reminds me of cool summertime treats like strawberry ice cream.

Blue Bunting
Rose breasted Grosbeak
Baltimore Oriole

I can’t describe the incredible joy it brings me to be near these tiny creatures, to share moments of their lives with them. I’ve been trying to learn and recognize the songs and calls of a few of the species that regularly visit our feeders. Some of the common songs have been easy, but each kind has several sounds and I’m often stumped. It has also been fascinating to learn that Chickadees, Titmice, House Finches, Goldfinches, and Chipping Sparrows are plucky and not very afraid when I’m close to the feeders. While, on the other hand, the much larger Cardinals, Downy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Mourning Doves,and White-brested Nuthatches are much more reserved and hesitant when they see me.

Every single time I watch the birds, without exception, I find myself praying with thanksgiving to God. I think it is the natural result of spending quality time with other creatures or features of His creation. I find myself praying when I am holding my cats, or watching dragonflies and frogs at our neighborhood lake, or am near the ocean or in a forest, or surrounded by mountains. I often think of how God has revealed Himself and has shown us the awesomeness and majesty of His mind through His creation. Muggy, hot, swamps full of crocodiles and toads; blindingly white, frozen, snow and ice covered tundra with polar bears and walruses; mesmerizing shades of brown, dry, barren, sandy, dune-laden deserts; eye-popping colors of coral reefs swaying in the vastness of the oceans; mossy, earth-smelling, leafy forests with arms lifted up toward heaven. These are just a few of His many carefully balanced ecosystems and all are interconnected through meticulously designed life-cycles of plants and animals. His ability to create such diversity and His attention to detail astounds and humbles me.

Mourning Dove in the rain
Downy Woodpecker

Of all He has made, His detail and attention to color is the most overwhelming aspect to me. This may be one of the reasons I am so fascinated by birds. Consider the common Mourning Dove. At first glance it seems like a dull, gray bird with some black dots and stripes on its tail. But if you look closer, it has stunning pastel blue eye rims and lids! And, if you look closer still, you will notice a small, round patch of iridescent pink on both sides of its neck. It’s as if God wrote His name there in a flourishing signature. The color of Cardinals is so distinctive and singular we have called it by it’s moniker, “cardinal red”, and made millions of crayons duplicating it so it can be scribbled across children’s artwork. Goldfinches fly around sporting dazzling, buttery-yellow feathers topped with ebony heads and wings, like rays of sun flashing across the sky. In the style of modern art, the black and white markings of Downy Woodpeckers are set in extraordinarily striking patterns. And then there is the Painted Bunting. Many years ago, long before I knew anything about birds, I used to drive all over Southwest Missouri seeing patients at their homes as a speech language pathologist. I remember driving down the highway at 60 mph and seeing a crazy flash of color in front of the car and then watching it stop and land in a tree at the edge of a park. It was so arresting and marvelous that I actually took the nearest exit and drove to the park hoping it was there, not caring if I was late for my next appointment. Thankfully, the little critter was still perched on the branch of the tree on which I had seen it alight. I had never seen anything like it before. It was so tiny, yet it was an unbelievable array of vibrant colors. I watched it for several minutes before it flew away and was so impressed by the encounter that I still harbor hopes of seeing one again someday.

If this is how God has made His earthly creation, then I sing the old hymn How Beautiful Heaven Must Be with renewed vigor! I can only imagine!!
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

May God be with you! ❤️, Amy

Hoppy May

I always look forward to a visit from the migrating red-breasted grosbeaks each spring.  I noticed this sweet lady this morning but haven’t seen a male yet. 
Grosbeaks are in the same family, Cardinalidae, as cardinals.  Can you see the family resemblance?
This robin hit the jackpot by our neighborhood lake.
Evidence that spring is all around us.
Several frogs were sunning themselves in our neighborhood lake earlier in the week when the weather was nice.  There were only a few pink petals floating in the water but this little fella found one.
I’m not sure who was watching who.  Those eyes 👀!!
I love how you can really see this frog’s tympanic membrane 👂.
The eating must be good at the lake 🦟
I have no idea what this is but it was pretty cool with all the bubbles inside it’s top.  If it was an inkblot, I’d say it looks like a person walking down the street with an invisibility cloak over the top half of their body.

I hope you are enjoying your week.  See you next time!  ❤️, Amy

Recent Scenes

It’s been a very good couple of weeks 😊. My MS has loosened the reins a bit some days and not ruled my life as such a tyrant every moment. I’ve seen a lot of family, especially this past week, and they have boosted my spirits immensely.

These little friends came to visit too 🐦🪶!

Downy woodpecker, male, wearing his bowtie.
American robin catching some rays.
American goldfinch sporting his full 💛 coat.
House finches on a lunch date.
Tufted titmouse – you can see it’s thoughts written across it’s face.
Female downy woodpecker – gorgeous!
This little chickadee posed so patiently as I walked around under the tree snapping away at it and it’s snack 😋. The chickadees seem to be really getting used to me.
My sister came up from Texas over the weekend (❤️) and we hung out at the lake in our neighborhood one afternoon. This turtle was out for a swim.
Eastern redbud petals were scattered around the edges of the lake making a beautiful contrast of color to the mossy water.
Little minnows 🐟 and their shadows.
I think a starling has moved into the box at the lake 🙄
Blue violets fluttering by the lake.
Glorious spring!

My Hubby makes the best thin mint concretes – such a treat!

I hope you are enjoying your little slice of time in whichever corner of the world you call home. God be with you! ❤️, Amy

Happy Spring, Ya’ll!

It’s here! Sure signs of Spring are breaking out all over the Ozarks.

Red-winged Blackbirds all in a row by our neighborhood lake.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.


Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.


The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:


For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

– William Wordsworth
Ornamental pear tree, I think.
The first bee I’ve seen this year.
Just look at that face covered in pollen 🐝.
Stork’s bill, or at least that’s what Google came up with.
I love to see what grows around the lake.
That little dot of magenta made me so happy!
Though it took all of last week, I managed to finish a dress by doing a little each day. It has become a habit for Pip to climb into his little pouch and take a snooze when I’m at my machine. I’m not sure which slows me down more, MS or Pip 😉.

I hope you have a wonderful week and take the time to look at the world around you.

God be with you! ❤️, Amy

Autumn Leaves and A Recipe From 1909

I rode my scooter around our neighborhood this past week.  Autumn is my favorite season and, despite a later than usual start, trees in our neck of the woods are glowing with color. 

Glorious yellows and oranges 💛🧡
Maple leaf aflame
Maple leaf in a sea of green
Maple leaf with scars and scratches
The last of our neighbor’s summer roses.
Our River Birch leaves in the throes of death.

A couple of obligatory bird photos because, well… I love birds ❤️.

I’ve been seeing a lot of this female downy woodpecker lately.
Friendly carolina chickadees are frequent diners at the feeders.

My Dad has slowly been giving me a lot of our family pictures and genealogy material this past year.  As I looked through the latest batch I found a small book of “receipts” in the Edmunds Cookbook, compiled in 1909. Edmunds is a town in Indiana where my great grandparents lived in 1909 as members of the local Quaker community. I thought it would be fun to try to make a cake from the scant directions provided.

I have no idea who Mrs. Henry Berg was but I chose this cake because (a) I had all the ingredients on hand, (b) it seemed seasonal, (c) my hubby would probably like it, (d) it looked pretty easy.
The batter seemed promising.
It baked up nicely.
And.. it tasted DELICIOUS with a moist, airy crumb. The mix of raisins and spices provided a pleasant spicy sweetness.
This is me sitting down at the kitchen table to go through the cookbook to choose a recipe. 😹🐾😻

I hope you have a wonderful day! God be with you. ❤️, Amy

One Singular Sensation!

One great place to enjoy a gorgeous Autumnal day.
One dragonfly sunbathing.
One candy-striped rose of sharon.
One beautiful blue sky.
One showy butterfly moth.
One ripple effect.
One white clover.
One breath from being blown away.
One tenacious water plant
One piece of grass near the lake.
One oblivious grasshopper.
One pollinating bee.
The back of my scooter with a new sticker telling all my one and only wish.
The one corner of our yard I can’t stop watching for fear of missing all the butterflies, skippers, and hummingbirds who visit.
One skipper on a butterfly bush stalk
One eye of a butterfly bush flower getting a right good going over.
One adorable carolina chickadee.

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. ~ 1 Timothy 2:5

One more post has come to an end. ❤️, Amy

Under the Birches

Hello!  The weather has been beautiful the last couple of days so I’ve been soaking up the unseasonal coolness by bird watching on the patio.

I got a couple of new feeders, they work a treat!
Yarrow
Verbena
American Goldfinch, male
Can you see the 💛?
This female cardinal is a looker!
American Robin
I think this pair of House Wrens is moving in!
He’s been singing all afternoon 🎶
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Carolina Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
I’ve named this little Chipping Sparrow “Chippy”, he is particularly friendly and let’s me get close to him.
I’ve been learning how to get action shots. This one didn’t turn out too badly.
This one isn’t bad either.
Blue Jays are very skittish but I can occasionally get a good portrait shot.
This is just a funny pic of Pip riding around the house with me while I’m on my scooter. I haven’t written much about my MS lately. Maybe I’ll do that some time soon. The abbreviated version is, yep, I still have it.

I hope you have a wonderful week. God be with you! ❤️, Amy