The Yellow One and I just had our hourly ten minute walk down to the property line on the old wagon road. To be honest, it took us the full ten minutes just to reach this spot, so if your drinking beer with my surgeon tonight, ask him if it’s allowed. This old wagon road was the only way into the hollow when Milton Masters built his first home here in 1928 or so. The road runs along the south and west side of the creek in the bottom of the hollow until it all opens onto the larger Haverly Hollow. After that, I really don’t know how the road ran, though I’m told it joined Rockhouse Road. It’s the kind of question I would ask Wells McCall if possible. As you see, my sign has been down awhile. It had some help from an idiot human, possibly the same idiot human who stole the game camera near here a year ago. Or not. There’s no shortage of idiot humans here or in Texas or anywhere else on earth. The game camera was a gift from my brother-in-law, so I hated to have lost it for that reason alone, but an Arkansas Master Naturalist was using it in an informal study of local wildlife. It was stolen around deer season, which is when these things generally happen.
After a couple days of rain, the yellow dog and I again circled the old pond. The spring above was running strong and has the pond as full of water as possible. It’s a beautiful sight indeed. If it would again reliably hold water, I would clean up some of that brush.
For at least our first decade in the hollow, we had a nice little spring-fed pond up on the side of the hill. It wasn’t much of a pond, but it always held water and every year like clockwork a pair of ducks came and nested. Then a multiyear drought hit us, the worst in the Arkansas Ozarks since the dustbowl, and the pond slowly disappeared. If ducks came to nest, they did not stay. Today I stood in the bottom of the dry pond and lamentations filled my mind.
The surgeon has me walking ten minutes every hour. Earlier, the yellow dog and I spied this animal trail going straight into the vicious thorns of a wild lime, a brilliant tactic if you have a hungry and larger predator on your heals.
Today would be the 79th birthday of Donnie Weems. Here is his Eureka Springs Schools class photo at the age of twelve.
The Lady of the Hollow kindly built the first fire of fall in the stove this evening.
Today would have been Lola Weems’ 97th birthday. She is buried in the Eureka Springs Cemetery
Half an hour ago, I was driving along the paved county road and saw my annual tarantula. Seemingly since the dawn of time, I have seen exactly one tarantula per year crossing Rocky Top Road. It is a tradition that I enjoy and uphold.
Obviously, me saying “since the dawn of time” is hyperbolic, an exaggeration to make a point, but the first tarantula I ever saw on a then unpaved Rocky Top Road was during the fall of 1982. I was a passenger in Jack McCall’s Ford pickup and he didn’t even slow down so I didn’t get a good look at it. I do remember what Grandpa said though. He said he didn’t mind tarantulas, but he didn’t like the big jumping spiders. He said one once jumped onto the neck of his horse and he was thrown. I was with Grandpa that evening to assist him catching guineas on Frank Wolfinbarger’s farm. I believe I wrote a fictionalized account of this in Murder in the Ozarks. Hard to remember sometimes.