Sunday, October 28, 2007

An Arkansan Folk Getaway

As you can tell from the title, this is going to be an interesting post (it might be kind of long also). So, this weekend Margo and I took a little weekend getaway to Mountain View, Arkansas, also known as the Folk Capital of the world. There are a few reasons why we wanted to go there. First of all we wanted to go check out the Ozark Folk Center. This place is run by the State Parks and basically is a place you can go to see how things were done in the good old days. Things like soap making, blacksmithing, wood carving, etc. I really like to learn about these kinds of things and try to do those types of things as much as I can. Here is a picture of a ride that they used to have at carnivals back in the day, it is a swing ride that is powered by a donkey walking around in circles.

Overall, the Folk Center was alright but I had hoped it was going to be a lot better. One highlight was they had a guy demonstrating tomahawk throwing and he would "teach" you how to throw and let you try it out. This guy was alright at teaching people to throw but he was not very good at throwing himself. As many of you know, I bought a tomahawk a while back and have practiced throwing it a little at home (I did not tell him that though). Anyway, I went up and threw the tomahawks (I think there were 5 or 6) and got all of them to stick in the target. I was pretty proud of myself, and I'm sure the other spectators were amazed.

The next amazing attraction on our trip was the 25th Annual Beanfest and Outhouse Races. Basically, they have a pinto bean cook off, modified outhouse races, lots of people around the square playing bluegrass/folk music, and arts and crafts. We did not realize how big of a deal this whole thing was. By my guesstamation there were at least 10,000 people there and there were like 20-30 teams in the bean cook off. They cooked them in huge iron pots and then all the festival goers got to eat the beans for free. The beans were really good. It was also fun to see the races and listen to bluegrass music. I think the town secretly harnesses all the gas everyone is making from eating beans and use it to power the city for the rest of the year.

Here is J.Lo, I mean Margo enjoying some beans in her martian glasses

Next stop on the folk tour was a celebrity concert. That's right celebrity, at least to me they are celebrities. It was the bluegrass group the Dillard's. For those of you not familiar with them (I doubt any of you are) they are better known as the Darlings (TV name) that were on the Andy Griffith Show. As many of you may know, I love the Andy Griffith show, it is one of my favorite TV shows. I even have a lot of the seasons on DVD. If you are familiar with the show the Dillard's are actually the 4 sons who don't ever say anything. Anyway, the show was really good, they played a really good show. They also told lots of stories about the Andy Griffith show and even answered questions from the audience about it. It was very interesting, if anyone wants to know more, just ask. This was definitely the best part of the trip. My ultimate dream would be to live in the Andy Griffith Show.

Overall, it was a really fun trip. I really enjoy old timey stuff. Margo and I seemed really out of place though because 98% of the people at all these places were over 60 years old. People told us several times during the weekend, "I think it's great when young people are interested in these things".

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Great Videos

As many of you know, I love youtube. I love watching videos and seeing all the amazing, crazy, and funny stuff people come up with. Well, I have come across a few particularly great ones that I thought I would share. A couple of these some friends sent to me or had on their blogs.

This one is just amazing. It keeps blowing my mind what people are able to come up with and do.

This video is from SNL from their series of Digital Shorts. This is one thing I love about America, freedom of speech, which means we can make fun of world leaders.

And this one is amazing and one of the funniest things I have seen on youtube. I have not laughed this hard in a long time. I recommend checking out his other songs as well. This one is "Sweet Child of Mine" by Guns N' Roses. If you don't know this song he does many others that I am sure you would know. And yes it is real, be sure to watch the whole video because it is amazing.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pan Fried

Tonight we had an amazing meal. I have been wanting to do it for a while and finally got around to it today. First Margo and I took a short walk to our pond and caught some catfish. We used cheese for bait and caught them pretty quickly. The catfish in our pond are pretty good size, one that I had hooked and was reeling in broke my line. Anyway we (I) caught 3 good sized ones. I then filleted them, something I have not done very much, but I got the hang of it after I butchered the first one. They made some really good sized fillets. Then we cooked them, this is why I had been wanting to cook some fresh fish for so long. A doctor I work with had given me a recipe for cooking fish that he uses and it sounded really good so I had really been wanting to try it out. And let me tell you, it was amazing. It was some of the best fish I have ever had. We cooked up some corn and french fries to go with the fish and ate outside around a fire in our fire pit, it was a great evening.

Here is the biggest catfish I caught (almost as big as my huge muscles, do you have your ticket to the gun show)

Here is one of the fillets

Here it is cooking

Here is Margo enjoying

Now that your mouth is watering I guess I will give you the recipe, it is actually pretty easy and we bought all the ingredients at the greatest place on earth: Wal-Mart. We dipped the fish in beer batter and then coated them with blackened seasoning. To cook them we put some olive oil in an iron skillet and put it on the grill, closed the lid, and got it real hot. Then we put the fish in the skillet and cooked it for 3 minutes on each side with the grill lid closed. I highly recommend trying it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It's Almost Time

As I am sure most of you know, it has been getting pretty chilly at night around here. It won't be long until real cold weather is here. And you know what that means. We get to start having fires in the wood stove. So, tonight Margo and I prepared the wood stove for the winter. Basically this entails detaching the stove pipe from the wood stove and me getting on the roof and shoving a large round wire brush-like thing down the stovepipe to clean all of the creosote out so that it does not build up and then catch the house on fire. While I am doing this, Margo is in the house holding a bag under the pipe to catch all the falling particles. It is not very hard to do. Now we are ready to have a fire whenever it gets cold enough. It is so nice to sit inside and watch the fire crackle while it is cold outside, there is something soothing about it. And we can make smores every night, inside.

I also have an update on the wood for sale. I started with 10 ricks and have sold 9!!! I stacked 4 new ones so I currently have 5 ricks for sale. It looks like the money we make from the wood is going to be enough to pay for our vacation in November.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I've got wood

The wood I have been cutting recently I have been stacking into ricks (which is 8 feet long, by 4 foot tall). I have already cut what we need for this year so what I have been cutting and stacking recently I am going to sale and try to make a little money. I am charging $35 a rick, which is cheaper than anyone else I have seen, but I don't deliver. So, if you know anyone who needs wood, send them my way.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Camping on the Buffalo

We had a three day weekend because of Columbus Day (In 1492...). So, we got together with a couple of our friends, Adam and Sarah, and went camping at the Buffalo River. I had not been camping since I was like 12. We drove over there Sunday night and set up our tent at Lost Valley campground. We then went back to where we had seen some elk earlier while driving. When we got there, there were tons of people parked along the rode watching the elk because they were really close to the road. We took a ton of pictures and watched them for a long time. And we were extra lucky because the bull elk were bugling. We then went back to the camp and settled in for the night, I did not get much sleep though because the ground was very hard and uncomfortable (and Adam snored all night). The next morning we drove to Jasper to eat breakfast at the Ozark Cafe which is an amazing restaurant, I highly recommend it. Next, we went down to Steel Creek and walked along the Buffalo a little and then back to camp and back up the tent. Then we hiked the Lost Valley Trail and explored the cave at the end of the trail. When we got to the cave it started to rain and was still raining when we got out so we had to walk all the way back to the car in the rain, we got soaked. Overall, it was a very nice little trip and lots of fun. Here are a few pics, but you should also check all of them out at our Picasa sight by clicking here.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Finally Finished Clearing

I finished a project the other day that I have been working on all summer. Most of our 10 acres is wooded and I want to eventually clear out some of it to get more grass growing so it will support more animals. I am going to leave quite a bit of it wooded but I want the wooded area to be semi clear with just the bigger trees left so it has a "park-like" feel to it. So this summer I have been clearing out all the underbrush, junk trees, and dead trees to make all the property cleaner looking and more "park-like". I finally finished and it looks a lot better. I still have to go back and clear out the bigger trees in the areas I want to grow grass but I am happy to get this first phase of clearing finished for all of the property. Just to give you an idea of how much I cleared, we counted the brush piles that I had stacked up with all the stuff I cut and we counted right around 40 brush piles. I thought that was pretty impressive, if I do say so myself.

This is after being cleared of the underbrush