Solitude Where Are You?


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I would like to relax and write this weekend but it is not looking promising. The problem with sharing an apartment with your sister, two kids and a dog, is that there is no such thing as solitude. Every time I pick up a pen or open my laptop, at least one of them comes into my room where I am attempting to write. My youngest daughter is bored. The older one wants me to work on Bittersweet, the novel to go along with the TV pilot that I wrote and which she loves. I love it, too, but it’s a lot of pressure. I can’t rush it because then I’ll ruin it and I certainly don’t want to do that. I feel guilty to write anything else, though.

Throw the dog into the mix and it gets even more ridiculous. She is every bit as bad as the girls…

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Arkansas Trails

Beaver Lake in Arkansas Ozarks

Newton County has some of the most splendid hiking trails you have ever been on. Hiking is a year round event here and in each season you will find many different things to see.

Spring offers an abundance of wildflowers, redbuds, sarvice, and dogwoods. The leaves are just popping out and with the spring rains, you have the advantage of viewing some spectacular waterfalls.

Summer is the least popular time to hike because of the heat and pesky critters but is also a beautiful time of year. The foliage is thick, wildflowers are everywhere, and there is always a good spot to jump in the cool water of the Buffalo and go swimming.

Now, fall? Fall is just wonderful. Cool days, clean air, the changing of the colors in the leaves. There is no way to describe it; you have to experience it.

Believe it or not, our winters, which are relatively mild, are great times for hiking. Without the leaves on the trees, you can see so much more — rock bluffs, deer, elk, squirrels — you can see for miles from the tops of the mountains and explore under rock ledges and in the hollows.

Hiking is four seasons of fun for all ages. A few of the many hiking trails in the area are listed below, but for additional information, the Forest Service can supply you with detailed books and maps on all of them.

Lost Valley – 3.5 Mile Round Trip

You’ll love this hike, it begins at Lost Valley Campground just off Highway 43 between Boxley and Ponca. You’ll discover the “Siamese Beeches”, two trees that have grown together over the years; the “Jigsaw Blocks”, another natural bridge; then Cobb Cave which is a giant overhang you can walk back into. It was named thus because of the corncobs discovered there that were left by Indians many years ago. After that take a walk up to Eden Falls, which are absolutely beautiful. Then turn around and come back to the intersection, take a right and go to the cave. Be sure to take a good light with you. You’ll have to crawl a short way, but then it opens up into a large room with a 35 foot waterfall.

Hemmed-In-Hollow – Three Different Trails

Center Point Trailhead – 5.4 miles One way to the Falls

This trailhead is located 3.5 miles north of Ponca on Hwy 43 and actually follows an old road all the way to the Buffalo River. The 1300 foot drop to the River begins as a leisurely stroll down hill and gets steeper after the first mile. Along the way, you will pass other trails that lead to great spots like Chimney Rock and Granny Henderson’s Cabin. You will also pass the Goat Bluff Trail to Big Bluff but unless you are a very experienced hiker it is not recommended because it is extremely dangerous out on Bluff and warning signs are posted. Even though this is a spectacular sight, the trail is narrow and the edge drops straight down about three hundred feet to the river so folks are not encouraged to take this trail. After passing this intersection, you are approximately 2.5 miles from another intersection which will take you to the mouth of Hemmed-In Hollow and a view of the tallest waterfall between the Rockies and the Appalachians.

Compton Trailhead – 5.0 miles round trip

To reach the trail head, take County Road 19 of Hwy 43 at Compton, travel .8 miles then turn right at the sign and the trailhead is just up the road. Two trails begin here but the one on the left is the quickest and also the steepest way to get to the falls. It’s a quick trip down hill but the hike out will be a real test for the greatest of hikers. The other trail is longer and will take you past several special scenic spots along the way.

From the River

While floating the Buffalo, you’ll want to watch for the traditional spot that canoeists stop at to access the falls. It’s just a short hike and to view the tallest waterfall in mid America is truly a memorable experience.

Hideout Hollow Trail – 2.0 Miles Round trip

To reach the Schermerhorn Trailhead take County Road 19 off Hwy 43 at Compton. Do not turn off the dirt road to the Compton Trailhead but continue straight ahead for about two more miles. At approximately 3.5 miles from the highway at Compton turn left into the primitive parking lot and begin your hike.

This is a great little trail that takes you into a large bluff and waterfall area. Along the trail you will see some fantastic sights, thick stands of trees, and an apartment-sized rock that has broken off from the bluff with giant pines sprouting from it. You will pass through a cedar grove and start hearing water so that’s a sign that you are nearing the head of Hideout Hollow. Down below the trail you can work your way around to get a better view of the big falls and the bluffline you’ve been walking on. There is private property approximately 60 feet upstream so please respect their rights. To get back to the trail head just hike back the same way you came in.

Hawksbill Crag/Whittaker Point – 3.0 miles round trip

Hawksbill Crag is one of the most recognized spots in Arkansas because photos of it have been used in many publications about the state and the Ozark Mountains. It is an amazing rock outcrop that sticks out from a tall bluff located in the Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area.

To get to the trailhead, head south on Hwy 21 and turn right onto County Road 5, Cave Mountain Road, 1.2 miles past the junction of Hwy 21 & 43. The parking lot is on the right .6 of a mile past the Cave Mountain Church and cemetery. From the parking lot, the trail begins across the road, goes into the woods and drops down the hill to a small stream. After it crosses the stream again, you will notice that the trail runs along private property which is marked with blue and red blazes – do not cross over. There are many science spots along the way but the most spectacular is Hawksbill Crag itself, one of the most major scenic spots in Arkansas.

The Glory Hole – 1.9 miles round trip

In order to get to this neat little spot, take Hwy 16/21 east out of Fallsville for 5.7 miles. You will pass a red barn on the left that has a large white “E” on the side of it. Go 1/2 mile past the barn and just past a dirt road that leaves the highway to the left, pull over and park across the road from the house that is up on the hill on the left. The route to the Glory begins as a jeep road that heads downhill into the woods and to the left. About a 1/3 of a mile down the road, the road forks so, stay to the right and it will eventually cross the creek that makes the Glory Hole. Stay on the road as it heads downstream and as the roadbed gets full of pine saplings and starts downhill the trail will abruptly end and you know you are close. From this point head downhill to the left, through a small bluff area, and you will enter a wet glade area. Be very careful because the “Hole” is off to the left. Don’t fall in! To get down under the bluff, go to the right until you see a place near some large rocks where you can get down. This is a great spot with a beautiful waterfall, lots of big boulders and bluffs!

Round-Top Mountain – 3 Miles Round Trip


Come enjoy some of Newton County’s most spectacular vistas on this newest trail as it circles a well-known landmark. About three miles of trail passes towering bluffs, huge trees, including the largest stands of pawpaws in the area, and a very lush, diverse plant commu­nity. Enjoy spring’s brilliant carpet of wildflowers or fall’s fiery’ beauty. Roundtop was the tragic site of a 1948 crash of a military plane and the former bluff shelter home of the earliest native people, which adds some historical interest on this trail. Access is south of Jasper about three miles on Highway 7. Turn right at the hiking sign to enter the parking area. A signboard with a map will help you plan your hike.

Koen Interpretive Trail – .5 Miles

On this short walk, there are 34 different kinds of trees and other plants identified along the trail. The trail is wheelchair accessible and has benches scattered along the way so you can sit down, take a break, and enjoy the peaceful beauty of the forest. There are trail guides at the trailhead that explain all of the plants you will be seeing, so be sure to pick one up. Take Highway 7 north from Jasper, appro­ximately three miles, turn left at the Erbie Camp­ground road, then one half mile down the dirt road turn right. Two hundred yards down that road, take a left and you’ll be at the trailhead parking area.

Alum Cove – 1.1 Mile Trail

This trail leads to an impressive natural rock bridge, 13O feet long and 12 feet thick. You can walk around, over and under the bridge, explore some small caves, wade in a cool creek, and in the wet season, enjoy the splendor of waterfalls behind the bridge. Take Highway 7 south from Jasper, turn west on Highway 16 toward the town of Deer. At about one mile, turn right on Forest Road #1206, go three miles to a sign, turn right again and you’ll be at the beginning of the trail.

Mill Creek Trail – 1.5 Miles

Ponca Elk Education Center. holds its annual Color Fest. Parker-Hickman Homestead, Buffalo National River

Ponca Elk Education Center. holds its annual Color Fest. Parker-Hickman Homestead, Buffalo National River. We saw a lot of Elks the we visited here.

Take Highway 7 north from Jasper. Then just past the Pruitt bridge, take a right to get to this 1.5 mile historical hike. Follow this trail through the forest land and you’ll walk by remains of former homesteads, and a gristmill operated on Mill Creek prior to the Civil War. Follow this trail along the creek until you come to a road, turn right, cross a low water bridge, turn right again. You’ll then come to Shaddox Cabin pioneer homesite. The present house was constructed from logs salvaged from a pre-Civil War cabin. Follow the trail on down to Mill Creek and ford the creek on stepping stones unless there’s high water. If so, backtrack and cross the creek at the low water bridge.

Pedestal Rocks/Kings Bluff – Total 4.3 miles

Pedestal Rocks shares a trailhead with King’s Bluff. After hiking just a few hundred feet from the trailhead, there’s a crossroads. Pedestal Rocks Trail …

To reach the trail head for these two hikes, take Hwy 16 east, off Scenic 7 Byway at Pelsor, go about 6 miles and look for the sign for the trailhead on the right. From the parking lot, cross the rock bridge and the trail will fork. Straight ahead leads to Pedestal Rocks and if you want to go to Kings Bluff, turn right. Both of these trails are wonderful but do hug the edge of high bluffs for most of the way, so they are not recommended for small children or careless hikers.

Pedestal Rocks – 2.6 miles total

The trail runs around a small hill and down to a road intersection at the end of the Kings Bluff Loop. There you will take a left and go into the woods. At the next road turn right and head across the hillside. There are several waterfalls along the way and spectacular rock formations like “arch rock” which is big enough to drive a truck under. As you hike along the bluffline, there are beautiful views and a lot of neat things to see. The trail continues on past several pedestals and winds up at the main pedestal, which is an awesome site to see.

Kings Bluff Loop – 1.9 miles total

This trail twists and turns and finally at .9 miles comes to a creek, then swings to the left and comes out on the top of Kings Bluff. This is a wonderful spot and the view is remarkable. Also, the creek spills over the edge of the bluff, nearly 100 feet, creating one of the tallest waterfalls in this part of the Ozarks. This is a great spot for a picnic lunch and to stop to relax but please be careful and stay behind the hand rails.

As you continue your hike, the trail goes along the bluffline and the views just keep getting better. Be sure to bring your camera!

Sam’s Throne

Sam’s Throne is named for Sam Davis, buffalo hunter and firebrand evangelist who in the 1800’s would climb to the top of the sandstone butte to preach his brimstone to the valley below. As for the legends of the area, from Old Sam to moonshine, may not be true, the one thing that is fact is the steep abundance of high-grade sandstone for rock climbing.

In addition to the “Throne”, this portion of the Ozark National Forest is home to several different climbing areas and has become “the place to come” for rock climbing enthusiasts.

From Jasper, take Hwy 74 east to Hwy 123. At Mt. Judea when the road turns to gravel, turn here – you are then about 4.3 miles from Sam’s Throne. Have a great time but be safe!

You’ll definitely want to get a map or book for the rest of these hikes because there is so much to see on the trails that you won’t want to miss a thing.

Jasper Ar. My husband and I love to visit this little town. The Ozark Café is a fun place to eat.

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Monday With Skyler

Monday With Skyler

Inspire Me Monday
Join us here for Inspire Me Monday
I’m so glad it’s Monday. I feel great today because Skyler is visiting me today. He inspires me to be a better person.

Inspire Me Monday

God has blessed me with plenty of grands. This is my newest grand Skyler. He is about a year and a half old. This picture was taken about four months ago. He’s growing so fast. His mom, Tess, will give birth to my third great grand May 23rd. The whole family is looking forward to the new baby.

This is Skyler’s family at Christmas. What a beautiful family. These people are a joy to all of us. I’m so thankful to say that I helped care for Tess as she grew up, For me there is no greater joy than children. Watching them play and create new things each day. The older grands put on plays for us. They go through my clothes to create characters for the play. It makes me wish we could have recorded my children as they grew up and did the same things for us.

Here is a link to a wonderful Bible message I listened to this morning. I hope you will listen to it.

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Clabbering Milk


Farm fresh raw milk (unpasteurized), about a week or two old is best.


Leave your milk on the counter in a jar (sealed) for 2-3 days in a warm spot until solids appear. Shake it to see if it’s turned thick. It should not yet be separated.

If the milk is still mostly white when shaken, and has turned thick, it is done clabbering. Store your clabbered milk in the refrigerator. If you leave the milk on the counter longer, it will separate turn into curds and whey.. If this happens, drain off they whey and cream cheese and use in your favorite recipes.


Farm fresh raw milk (unpasteurized), about a week or two old is best.


Leave your milk on the counter in a jar (sealed) for 2-3 days in a warm spot until solids appear. Shake it to see if it’s turned thick. It should not yet be separated.

If the milk is still mostly white when shaken, and has turned thick, it is done clabbering. Store your clabbered milk in the refrigerator. If you leave the milk on the counter longer, it will separate turn into curds and whey. If this happens, drain off they whey and cream cheese and use in your favorite recipes.

Pour milk into a jar and leave it covered with a towel (or in my case a paper towel) to allow friendly bacteria/wild yeasts to enter.  Let it sit on your counter.

Twice daily, take the paper/towel cover off and replace it with a proper lid for gentle shaking. This ensures that the bacteria is distributed equally in the milk. Then replace the lid with a paper/towel.

Cream will separate on top and have bubbles.  Almost ready to separate

Cream will separate on top and have bubbles. Almost ready to separate

Eventually the cream will rise to the top and you will see some bubbles.  The clabber at this point is thicker than fresh milk and sour.  This can take from 2 to 4 days, just be patient. If you want, you can stop the process right here by refrigerating the clabbered milk.  This is useful in recipes calling for soured milk.

But I like to take it a bit farther (mostly because I don’t want the sugars right now and I also want the whey for other ferments)

Curds and Whey will separate Finally, the curds and whey will separate.  Once this process starts, let it continue for at least 12 hours. It’s hard to get the curds out of a container, so I suggest you use a container with a wide mouth.

Drained Clabber Drain the whey out. Place the curds in a strainer (a yogurt cheese strainer works very well for this) and let the whey drain for a few more hours. You then have a rich and tangy clabber with a consistency of a creamy cheese.

Since the clabber is fermented it can either be refrigerated or left out during the fall, winter and spring.  For summer especially, I would recommend refrigeration.

Clabber has a number of uses, you can simply spread it on toast, or mix in herbs and other items for a flavored cheese. It can also be used as a starter for cottage cheese or sour cream or cultured butter. I eat it like yogurt as well.  Because I have never been able to make a good raw milk yogurt starter, this gives me the benefits of raw milk and the taste of yogurt. It’s thick and creamy and reminds me of greek yogurt.  Because all the whey is gone, the clabbered milk  is protein rich and light on sugars and carbohydrates.  Too tangy for you?  Add some honey.

Waffles and pancakes, biscuits or bread (gluten or gluten-free) will benefit from having the more sour milk type clabber added in place of regular liquid.

Historically, most milk was fermented in some way prior to use.  Fresh milk just didn’t last long.  Clabber is one of those ways.  Clabbering milk is one of the easiest, worry-free ways of prolonging your raw milk’s usefulness and benefits.

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Refrigerator Hot Rolls

Overnight Refrigerator Rolls

These are my favorite type of rolls to make. It’s quick and easy. Taste great.


1 1/4

cups warm water (105 degrees F to 115 degrees F)

1 package active dry yeast

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, melted, or vegetable oil

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

I use butter to coat the bowl to store in the refrigerator

1. In a large mixing bowl combine the warm water and yeast; stir to dissolve yeast. Add 1-1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, 1/3 cup melted butter, egg, and salt. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough that just starts to pull away from sides of bowl (dough will be slightly sticky).
2. Coat a 3-quart covered container with butter or oil. Place dough in container; turn once to grease surface of dough. Cover and chill overnight.
3. Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan or baking sheets.
4. Shape dough into 24 balls or desired rolls (be careful not to overwork dough; it becomes stickier the more you work with it) and place in the prepared baking pan or 2 to 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double in size (about 45 minutes).
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes for individual rolls, about 20 minutes for pan rolls, or until golden. Immediately remove rolls from pans. If desired, brush tops of rolls with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Serve warm.


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Ten Indictments against the Modern Church

The Ten Indictments are
1. A Denial of the Sufficiency of Scripture
2. An Ignorance of God
3. A Failure to Address Man’s Malady
4. An Ignorance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
5. An Unbiblical Gospel Invitation
6. An Ignorance Regarding the Nature of the Church
7. A Lack of Compassionate Church Discipline
8. A Silence on Separation
9. A Replacement of the Scriptures Regarding the Family
10. Pastors Malnourished in the Word of God

I enjoyed the book but I do not agree with it. Paul Washer is preaching law mixed with grace which is not grace at all. He preaches repentance for salvation. In this age of grace we are told to believe not repent. Repent means to change your mind. When we are saved the Holy Spirit will deal with our sins there is no reason to deal with sins at salvation. We are to come to Christ just as we are.

We should believe that salvation is by grace through faith. Being born again by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ is the only requirement for salvation. We are not of the bond woman but of the free woman. I also wonder why Paul Washer speaks and writes like someone from another century. He mixes truth with untruth to the point of being confused. I do believe we need a man like Paul Washer to bring us back to the true teaching of the Bible but we do not need someone who will put us under the condemnation of the law.

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Smug Has A Short Lifespan


Oh, I have been amazing lately in Zumba.

My hips almost sway; my shoulders almost don’t look tense; my breasts almost shimmy; my teeth almost unclench. I’m almost there.

So I strutted into class tonight full of almost self-confidence.

And there was someone in my spot. My spot. That place on the floor where I always stand. Another woman was in my spot.

My confidence fell just a bit. But hey, no big deal. I’m mature. I went and stood in a spot behind the little usurper. Somewhat to the left though, because I couldn’t be right behind her, or I wouldn’t be able to see myself in the mirror. I have to see myself. I have a cute outfit.


Only I wasn’t the only one wearing that cute outfit. This girl – the one standing in MY SPOT – was wearing the exact same thing. A black racerback tank…

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