LITTLE BLUFF JOURNAL - JANUARY 2022 (previous months)



Little Bluff cabin cam January 31 - clear, cool, and beautiful at dawn - typical winter day in ArkaNsas. A critter foraged along the trail during the night - probably the same possum that was on the security camera - HAPPY MONDAY TO YOU!

Journal updated January 13



Print of the Week special (above)

01/01/22 It was 5am-something when I got out of bed and sipped my half cup of Iceland coffee in the darkness before dawn. Still pretty warm for a January morning, and what was that I heard - RAIN - YIPPIE COYOTE! Boy we’ve sure needed this for some time now and it’s just lovely to have pools in the front yard again. I blended up a breakfast smoothie and sped off into the dark to set out the gallery open sign at the highway turn off, then stopped by the gallery to get everything in the print room going. Soon I returned to the cabin to collect the pups. It was getting light as we made a quick trip around the loop trail here, stopping to take a snapshot of MiaWilson Falls along the way - running great!


I had parked our little camper van at the gallery for these three days of open houses so I’d have a place to grab some coffee and may even lunch. Once I open the front gate I’m pretty much stuck at the gallery all day, and sometimes into the night. We had a pretty steady flow of customers through the gallery today and it was great to meet so many new folks - some who came from pretty good distances - THANK YOU one and all who made the effort to come visit the gallery!

Once there was a lull in activity I made a quick turkey wrap for lunch and started to munch on it - and then the security cam went off and there was a new customer driving up. I set the wrap down and greeted them at the front door. It wasn’t until after 9pm that I realized I never got the chance to go back and eat the rest of the wrap - I had in fact forgot all about it! I wasn’t even sure where I’d left it, but after a few minutes of searching I found it on top of a pile of chairs in the back of the warehouse part of the gallery building. The pups got a late-night snack!


One of many highlights from the gallery today was a young lady* who is a mushroom expert - and thinks that one of the mushrooms I’ve pictured in the Journal a time or two might be something rare. Only problem is that it only blooms in late summer/early fall so I’ll have to wait until next year to cut one open and see - oops, I mean later THIS year, haha - it is 2022, HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU!

*Another high point about her visit was the fact that I was able to make a print for her on the spot that seemed to really elevate her day, and in turn mine also. While I LOVE to be outdoors chasing down beautiful scenes to photograph and taking great pains to select those once in a zillion images that touch my soul, the process is never quite complete until and unless someone on the other end can get some joy from a print (it was a print that no one else has ever liked - but it literally stopped me in my tracks when I first saw the scene). I plan to keep making prints and hope someone out there will one day enjoy...

01/02/22 I was a little surprised to find the temp was 11 degrees at dawn with a wind chill of about zero when I got up this morning - that’s almost exactly what they had predicted! And I thought I was seeing things when I noticed the ground and decks were solid WHITE - snow, it has been snowing (a little bit). It took me a few minutes to bundle up and locate the “yak tracks” I use on my boots to help with ice and snow traction, but soon the pups and I were out the door to hike the trail up to work. It was kind of a shock to the system to go from almost 70 degrees just a couple of days ago to what turned out to be a really low wind chill temp on the north side of the loop, but in also felt GREAT out there in the winter woods!


Today is mostly about wrapping up the year and recent open houses at the gallery and trying to put things back in order. Then I have to figure out what I’m going to do about canvas prints - the wholesale supply company that makes the special kiln-dried frames that are the backbone of my canvas prints has been out of stock for a while (they are manufactured in Florida) - and my stock has been running way low as a result, and I’ve been having to tweak some of the sizes when I reprint. Canvas prices have jumped THREE times this past year alone (the special canvas I use is made in Texas and there isn’t any other source), but so far I’ve been able to fill all orders without delay.

Perhaps by the end of today I’ll be able to get started with my to-do list from January 1st, 2021!!! (I’m so far behind I’ve been lapped by everyone else a time or two...) We’ll continue to make the gallery available any day, any time for appointments whenever we are home (and we are home most of the time).

01/06/22 It was 17 degrees when we headed out to hike back to the office this AFTERNOON - the temp had been dropping all day. I was wearing my old hiking boots - the lugs on the soles are mostly worn down to smooth and it probably was not a good idea to wear them today, but they were in the rotation and I had not worn them since there was snow on the ground a week ago (they are the boots I wear with a pair of yak tracks since it doesn’t matter if there are lugs on the soles or not). The boots kind of forced me to be more deliberate with each step - to make sure I did not come down on a slick spot and take a spill. And while I was paying more attention to the ground I discovered there were dozens and dozens of beautiful frost flowers that had not been there this morning - they happened during the day - that almost never happens! (they usually happen during the night when temps fall a lot). I had to get down on my belly with the phone on the ground just a couple inches in front of this one - while I was down there squirming around to get the photo the wind blew my jacket and shirt up and OH MY it was COLD on my backside!


I LOVE hiking in the winter, especially when the temps is in the teens (or lower). The air has a certain clarity, quality, feel, and aroma to it.

The pups had a nice romp, and once while they were off up the hillside being a little too interested in something, I investigated and found them both chomping on small piles of frozen deer poop pellets! Shaped like KIKS cereal, and probably as tasty to the pups. Later on we passed a spot in the fence where a couple of days ago Wilson had found a hole in a pile of leaves at the bottom of the fence - each time he would run over and sniff the hole and not find anyone at home. Today there WAS someone at home as a large puffy bunny hopped out the other side of the fence, much to the delight but frustration of Wilson (he is not allowed to jump the fence, and of course he NEVER does that, haha).

Later on still, as we were headed back down to the cabin to get ready for Friday night pizza (I know today is Thursday, but we decided to have it a day early). Instead of collecting small downed limbs and twigs from the front yard I just sort of wandered around through the forest picking up sticks (didn’t we use to play a game of “pick up sticks?” - twas good training!). There are a LOT more twigs on the ground in the forest than in our yard and my arms filled quickly. Next I went over to what once was a neatly stacked pile of cut up firewood for the wood-fired pizza oven (we’re still working on the big bundle of ash that Kennie and Spanky Woods delivered some time ago). Turns out my stacking job was not very good and several months ago gravity and a gust of wind toppled my stack over. OOPS! I already have a new plan for the next pile (stacking everything in a circle).


It’s much later now - pizza was great and I’ve just returned from a quick hike up to the office and back in the dark. (temp is down to 12 and spitting snow, but my feet are propped up in front of the fireplace with two lazy dogs for company and I say BRING ON THE SNOW!) For anyone interested, we’ll have the gallery open this Saturday for walk-ins from 10-3 - and also any other day by appointment (50+ canvas prints, 50+ black mat prints in the bins and also ANY print on demand, plus all of our books are available, AND a fine selection of Pam’s ORIGINAL PASTELS for sale). We are down to our last 5 2022 calendars - if you want to come by and get one better let me know so I can reserve it for you - once those 5 are gone then we will be out of stock here (we have yours set aside Glenn). The main supply at the Chicago warehouse only had a couple dozen calendars left - I’m told they have about 70 calendars orders “being processed” at the moment, so if you ordered from them recently yours should ship or arrive soon. That place is a GIGANTIC BOOK WAREHOUSE - one of the largest in the US - and I know they are short staffed over the holidays and especially with covid.

01/08/22 - lost glove at the galleery today - let me know if it is yours and I'll mail it back


01/11/22 Sunrise along our trail at the Boulder Jumble - 30 degrees with more new frost flowers


01/12/22 Beautiful sunrise today!


01/13/22 After a half day at the dentist’s office yesterday (replacement crown on one side, tooth extraction on the other side - the original crown was from LAST century!), I headed for the woods to spend a couple of days in isolation before rejoining my bride back at home. My first stop was at a local small grocery store in Marshall to pick up some provisions. I was greatly surprised to find EVERYONE in the store - staff and customers too - were wearing MAsKS - yippie coyote! (and THANK you Harps staff!) Seems like more and more folks are finally getting it. Vaccinated or not you just gotta wear a mask while indoors around people to do even this tiny little bit to get this monster under control (I was wearing a gas mask yesterday while being worked on - just for extra measure, otherwise I’m always masked when around anyone indoors, actually double-masked).

My dinner last night was one of those small kid-sized containers of applesauce (multi-berry), along with a tiny spoon of ice cream. Well heck I must admit I had more than one tiny spoon of ice cream - I never had my tonsils out so I figured it was time for me to catch up.

This morning I’m sitting here at a trailhead down in the lower Buffalo River district getting ready to hit the trail for some trail maintenance, sipping warm coffee, and another tiny spoon or two of ice cream. (I’m not allowed to have HOT liquids, so I had to cool the coffee with something - just following the dentist’s orders). While there are no open views here, the sunrise none the less was quite a spectacular site - or should I say IS! I’m on top of a narrow ridge and I can actually see the Buffalo River to the east and west below me - it wraps around to the north. As the fiery ball appeared above a distant ridge way downstream the trees on the opposite hillside from me lit up, and gradually a river of fog that was forming on top of the river below was lightning up too. That opposite ridge is dotted with nice green mature pine trees that really stand out in the early sunshine amid all the naked gray-brown hardwood forest. As I’m typing this the scene all around me is changing rapidly as I’m becoming engulfed with all that sunshine and lit up trees all around.


It’s gonna be a very warm day and I’ve got three miles of trail to blow leaves off of, then install a few extra trail blazes/markers. I’ll be doing a bit of trimming the corridor as I go along if needed. Hiking trails need maintenance at least a couple of times a year, otherwise the Arkansas jungle will grow and grow and that corridor will eventually grow shut. This section of the Ozarks Highlands Trail/Buffalo River Trail that Pam and I maintain doesn’t get hardly any use yet - it’s a pristine trail that can use more use to help keep the trail tread defined, which will help keep leaves from piling up on it during leaf fall in October/November. I don’t get along with gas engines so my big leaf blower is battery powered, only I’m not able to physically carry enough batteries to get the entire three miles of trail done, so I’ll have to make several trips back to the van to get a new batteries. But that is OK with me - I need a few extra miles to help burn off all that ice cream that the dentist perscribed!

01/15/22 So far there is bout 4" of snow on the ground in our yard this morning with heavy, blowing snow. No doubt a lot melted during the night as it hit a very warm earth. The puppies and I enjoyed a nice wet romp through the winter wonderland on our hike to work - bring on more snow! (I returned home last night after a second long day of work on our section of the Ozark Highlands Trail/Buffalo River Trail near South Maumee - I'll continue to quarantine at home in the guest room and up at the office for a few more days just to be safe after spending several hours in our dentist's office.)

5pm update - we have about EIGHT INCHES of snow on the round now and it's still snowing hard - YIPPIE!


01/16/22 Blowing snow continued until midnight last night. This morning we tromped around in the woods and the back yard and it looks like the tally is about a foot of snow, plus a few inches more here and there. No wind and clear-blue skies - the snow probably won't last long but this is one of the most beautiful snowfalls I've seen - especially how much piled up on even the smallest branches in the forest.My old cargo van can't travel in snow so I'll stay home and pack down the snow with snowshoes between the cabin and office. (Maybe santa will bring me a 4wd next year for Christmas - of course then it would probably never snow here again, haha)





01/19/22 A couple of sunrise photos from today - we still have about half of the snow depth still on the ground - frozen and crusty on any areas where the sun hit yesterday. Temps will be above freeing most of today so LOTS of snow will melt and run off as waterfalls - YEA!


Sunrise through the ice on our glass deck railing (above), and through the pines (below)


01/20/22 We got a little bit of snow last night and it was a wee bit chilly (minus 3 wind chill) for my hike to the office (below) - thank goodness I had my MASK handy - HAPPY COLDVID* DAY TO YOU!

*it was so cold I almost froze my face off - but luckily I had a covid mask in my pocket to save the day - YEA!




01/23/22 A balmy 38 degrees this morning - south side of our ridge has been clear of snow for several days (top), but the north side along the creek/trail still has up to a FOOT of snow ono the ground today in drifts!



01/24/22 Warm(er) and sunny and our heirloom daffidols are about to bloom at our historic homestead site - they were probably planted 100+ years ago!


01/25/22 A cool and sunny dawn at Pam's swing with the temps headed DOWN tonight...


01/27/22 A light dusting of snow this morning but a LOT warmer than yesterday (24 at dawn today) - note we still have patches of snow (in the background) at the gallery from January 15th!


01/30/22 STILL snow left from two weeks ago along the trail - imagine if we got real snow every couple of weeks!


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