Owl in the Barn

For the last couple of days, this owl roosted in the open window of the barn. It appears to be a barred owl to my untrained eye, which makes sense because we have several of them in the hollow. We often hear their distinctive call or occasionally they chatter like monkeys. They have raised young several times since we’ve lived in the hollow and it is a joy to hear this occur. I took this photo with my cell phone and it looked so dark that you could barely make out the owl. I turned it over to Barb Weems-Mourglia and in just a few minutes on her phone she had enhanced it into this beautiful photograph.

Review of After the Fire by Henning Mankell

Since I was a child, I have read from a novel every night before sleep. There have been times my schedule did not permit this and I would miss it terribly. The last couple years, however, I have read very few novels because they just couldn’t keep my attention. I would start a novel known to be a real page turner and I wouldn’t get half way through before I would abandon it.

This novel was different. I quickly fell into the soothing cadences of Henning Mankell’s writing and couldn’t have stopped reading even if I had wanted to. I don’t consider this Mr. Mankell’s best novel, but it was exactly what I needed at this time. It saddens me to think that he finished writing it the year of his death.

Here is a bit of a spoiler: my favorite part of the story may have been that most of the characters live on islands off the coast of Sweden in an archipelago. They get around in boats unless the ice is on, then they walk around. They all have boat houses on their islands in which they park their boats. The island characters live in old houses, though many of the houses have become summer retreats for city dwellers. The main character is a retired doctor who lives in his grandparent’s 100+ year old house. He continues the old tradition of bathing in the sea every morning, even when he has to chop a hole in the ice to do it. The culture of the islands is very interesting, reminiscent of many rural cultures, even the old culture of these Ozark hills.

Roy Reed of Hogeye

Roy Reed of Hogeye, Arkansas died yesterday in Fayetteville. He was certainly one of Arkansas greatest writers. I attended a book signing by him in 1997 at the Eureka Springs Carnegie Library. Below is how he inscribed the book for my daughter Sarah.

Grizzly Bears in the Western Ozarks Circa 1500

I’ve been browsing wildlife range maps for more than forty years. I find them fascinating. Below is the range map of the Grizzly Bear showing both the present day (striped) and the year 1500 (yellow). As you can see, it shows the Grizzly Bear being present in 1500 in the western Ozark hills. The map was included in a recent Washington Post story.

Hiking Black Bass Lake

Black Bass Lake is the old city reservoir of Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

These buildings and signs are reminders of this pretty little lake’s history.

The old crumbling rock dam is an interesting sight.

I followed the trail that hugs the lake for nearly a mile.

It is a pretty hike with several interesting features, including this spring.

I enjoyed looking at the trees during my jaunt. Notable were several majestic mature cedars of surprising height. I also spotted this crooked tree.

There were a couple of well maintained foot bridges across dry creeks that returned me to my point of beginning. I’ll have to return when the water is running.

Buzzards in the Barn

One day Ian was in the barn and a big buzzard swooped down from above and aggressively flew at him. It spooked him a bit. Turns out the buzzard had a nest hidden in the barn and she was defending it. Later, I started seeing two white chicks standing in the barn window, waiting for their mother. Or maybe cooling off as I imagine it gets pretty hot under that tin roof during the day. They are getting quite large and turning black now. The buzzards are of the black vulture variety.