LITTLE BLUFF JOURNAL - NOVEMBER 2020 (previous months)


Little Bluff cabin cam Nov. 30 - 24 degrees and crispy clear at dawn with a wind chill in the low teens. Pam set up our Christmas tree yesterday and it seems to like the early-morning view too! HAPPY MONDAY to you!

JOURNAL updated on the 21st

OUR GALLERY IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK UNTIL CHRISTMAS with the same special sale prices that we normally have at our programs - All picture books $20, Arkansas calendars $10, Black Mat Prints $50, more than 60 gallery-wrapped canvas prints 50% off retail price! Order ahead and pickup at the front door 24/7 (contactless), or come inside and browse as long as you like (mask and temp check rquired). Simply email ( to request a day and time and I'll confirm. OR call me at 870-577-3272 if you are in the area. INFO and directions click here


PRINT OF THE DAY SPECIAL, above (click here)

11/01/20 Another beautiful night with a bright moon lighting up the forest! We’ve had a run of great weather this past week or two - in fact except for the drought and dusty roads, all of October was great - even the eight inches of rain in three days last week (the first three inches soaked in right away, but the next 4-5 produced some really nice waterfalls and filled up the water table and creeks, yea!).

I only managed to get out for one hike - the morning with the highest water, and it was a quick trip to nearby Balanced Rock Falls. The flood waters had peaked during the night, which meant the creek and waterfalls were running clean and clear, something we rarely get to see here in late October.

Fall color has been widespread for more than half of the month, and we still have a lot of green leaves, but also a lot of dead leaves on the trees and ground. Crutch, crunch, CRUNCH! I just love fall, especially wandering around through the woods headed to work or back home. Sometimes just wondering where my feet will take me and be overjoyed when I arrive somewhere beautiful!

While few folks like fog, and some downright cuss it, I LOVE it, especially when the landscape is wet to begin with, and even better when it raining a little bit. The forest is just so darn amazing in the fog! And the silence is so deep and soothing. And now that the heavy rains have moved on we have been blessed with crystalline air and skies that are oh so crisp and blue. Fog, blue skies - make up your mind ERNST! I don’t gotta - might as well love all kinds of weather!

OK, so we finally gave up on the tomato patch, and yesterday my bride took out all the plants and cleaned up the raised garden for the winter. We’ve been picking and eating a bundle of tomatoes each day for quite a while - next year maybe won’t plant as many.


We did plant a pair of small dwarf blue spruce trees in the front flower beds - one of them going right in the middle of the granite pebble garden, and the other in the middle of what will eventually become a sandstone pebble garden. We still need to mow the yard once more.

Our canvas gallery by-appointment-only experiment has gone well, and we’ve welcomed several delightful folks already and have very been happy to see them - everyone has been so nice and understanding, even when I point the temperature gun at their head! (always at mine first) Interestingly, most appointments have been during the week instead of on the weekends, which is fine - I know there are so many things going on everywhere, and that’s why we want folks to know they can come any day, any time - as long as they make an appointment first. (We’ve had a couple of folks just show up, and while I did not turn them away, it makes things kinda awkward - we don’t mind if you call from the highway to see if you can come by in ten minutes or an hour, but we do need you to contact us first to make sure it is OK and set up a time - I do run around in my PJ’s sometimes in the middle of the day and no one wants to see that, haha!).

Something I’ve noticed - perhaps it has always been this way and I never paid attention - but a lot of folks want to show me pictures on their phones - sometimes a LOT of pictures. Sometimes they look for several minutes to find those pictures. I know that’s just the way it is, right - folks want to show their pictures? And that’s great - I’ll look at them all day- but while my eyesight remains extremely good, I just can’t really see too much from six feet away, and I’m doing my best to STAY at least six feet away (sometimes we all forget for a moment or two). I may have to get one of the six-foot-long foam noodles to carry around so that I remember!

FYI, we have the gallery fully stocked at the moment with more than 60 canvas prints, including a HUGE one of the baby cubby bear - he is actually larger than life size, and still CUTE! You can see all the prints that are currently on the wall in this online gallery - click here.

It is NOVEMBER already???!!! I’m really looking forward to this month and I hope you get to go wander around in the forest a time or two - and come see us along the way!


11/06/20 Clear blue skies early this morning with just a hint of the rainbow around the edges of the horizon - mostly orange and yellow. We had the AC on for a little bit last night but opened up the windows and this morning it’s about 58 degrees inside the cabin so a tiny bit of fireplace felt really great at 5am. Must be autumn in the Ozarks, haha.

Speaking of yellow, we’d been having some pretty nice color on our property for several weeks - in fact most of October there was color of one sort or another going on, starting with the black gums and understory trees and bushes and young maple trees. But the overall forest was still mostly green. Then literally overnight a couple of days ago everything turned YELLOW! It was literally overnight. No particular weather event happened, they just all got together and decided to peak. Several times while hiking from the office to the cabin and back I had to just stop and gawk in awe - and look deep into the forest to make sure what I was seeing was correct. After looking pretty hard all I could see was yellow - layer upon layer upon layer of yellow. Even the giant oak tree directly in front of the prow of our cabin just want POP to YELLOW, all at once, from top to bottom. I don’t recall seeing anything like this in Arkansas before. Just amazing! Seems like when trees pop quickly they will also pop the other direction also - turn brown and then begin to drop their leaves.

And last night while hiking to work I heard SPRING PEEPERS! These are tiny frogs that come alive in the early spring - jeepers creepers, how come we got PEEPERS in November!?

Not a drop of moisture since the big flood last week so the forest floor is getting pretty crunchy making for a lively trek through the woods - I’ve always got lots of conversation going on at my feet.

That band of orange and yellow along the horizon is now being broken up with shafts/beams of color as the sun approaches the horizon, sending those shafts up into the blue sky. Below the horizon it is all dark blue - really dark blue. And in the wide-open view we have to the east and south we can see layers of ridges down in the canyon, starting with a ridge on our side, then the lowest ridges down along the Little Buffalo River, and more ridges leading up to the spine of Hwy. 7 headed down towards the Arkansas River Valley.

I just dashed outside to try and capture it all with the phone, but all those individual colors had merged into more of an orange-purple slush - very pleasing to the eye.


And that got me to thinking - it is FRIDAY - oh my! I’d better get some clothes on and hike up the hill to work, I’m so far behind and the sun isn’t even quite up yet. I hope you have a SPLENDID day and a GREAT WEEKEND!

11/07/20 We took a short trip to the far end of Boxley Valley yesterday - my lovely bride had a vision for a painting she wanted to do and we needed to go find it. While much of the color in the valley has left, there was still an amazing variety of colorful trees, especially in that beautiful light of late day. Where there was water (river, creeks, ponds), that color was more intense, which is often the case.

While she studied the view she was after, I wandered off into the woods - which is also often the case - and ended up in a forest of towering beech trees - some of my favorites. There is a faint trail that travels up this tiny drainage - the creek was dry but the trees were beautiful. A lot of folks talk about this spot or that spot being their happy place - I have many thousands of them, haha - this has always been one. We used to have to haul water from the nearby spring to fill the holding tank at Cloudland, and since it usually took almost an hour to fill the tank from the spring, I would often make the short hike to this spot to just sit and, well, usually just do nothing. Not so fond memories of having to haul 4,000 pounds of water UP the steep Cave Mountain hill each trip, but all visits to this little beech forest were wonderful...


BATS - the air was filled with bats yesterday evening - aren’t they supposed to be asleep for the winter already? It was actually nice to see them fluttering around at dusk, gobbling up tiny insects to fill their bellies.

We fired up the pizza oven again and filled our bellies too...


One covid comment - turns out one of our commercial package delivery guys got it and spent nearly a month off the job trying to get well. He is back on the job now but had a rough time of it. Like pretty much every single person I know that has had this disease, he wasn’t wearing a mask. SO SIMPLE. I know folks continue to complain about it. Just think about this for a moment. If EVERYONE had worn a mask for 30 days - EVERYWHERE - we would be back to normal a long time ago. Hum, what a concept. Same deal would apply if we started this TODAY. But since there remain so many unwilling to help protect the world by this simple act, the worst is yet to come. Please wear a mask. Stay AWAY from other people. We will get back to normal, the masks and behavior will just allow this to happen sooner. FYI, we shut the gallery down to inside deliveries back in March - everything is left on a special cart outside and then is isolated for a while before we touch it, which includes the mail. Overkill I’m sure, but not being killed by the virus is one of our goals in life...

11/09/20 Warm and WINDY thisx evening! We’ve had high winds the past couple of nights and today that have blown piles of leaves everywhere. The leaves are so deep that my boots disappear with each step, and I can hike 100 yards using the “swish-swish” method and not see my boots at all. A lot of music in those winds, more like a rock and roll band than gentle waves - CRASHING waves maybe. And tonight as I hiked up to the office to work there were more and more spring peepers singing but also regular tree frogs - and the temp was near 70. (it’s in the teens tonight with a foot of snow at our campsite in Colorado - good thing we live in Arkansas)

At one point today I looked out across our miles-wide view spread out before us and realized nearly all of the trees on the distant hillsides were bare, and the landscape had gone from mostly green last week, to blazing colors, to dark brown today. I hear there are nice colors in other parts of Arkansas, and that color has been moving around in waves - pretty typical for us.



Thank you for your Service.

Thank you for your Courage.

Thank you for our Freedom!

HAPPY VETERNS DAY to all vets and your families.We owe you for every breath we take...

11/19/20 So funny last night, as my lovely bride and I were watching one of my all-time favorite movies - PAINT YOUR WAGON. For those who know this movie, you will find it amusing too I bet. Just as the wonderful song MA-RI-A (Mariah) was playing, the WIND here was trying its best to rip apart our cabin - some of the worst, and LOUDEST, wind I’ve ever been part of, and it’s been doing that for the past three days and nights. (the original song was actually from the 1951 Boradway version of the film, and has been recorded many times over the decades since - I only know it from the movie though) I just read that the song is actually about the miners’ longing for their own lovely ladies and not actually the wind - but to me it’s the wind.(utube link)

A couple of wildlife notes. We’ve had quite a few more buzzards than usual hovering around and riding all the churning wind currents. I know they are just old buzzards like me, but it can be quite interesting and entertaining to sit and watch them, study their movements - how they bend and twist and tuck to change directions. The other day I was sitting on the couch in the prow (I was inside - it was chilly out, especially with the wind), when I happened to look up at one of the buzzards the was hovering nearby - in fact he was actually turning his head and looking right through the windows down at ME! Then I realized it was no buzzard, but rather a bald eagle! He made a slow pass and let me get a good look, then cruised on up the valley. We saw him repeat this several times - pretty amazing to be able to see a bald eagle in mid air so close to the couch!

And yesterday as my bride and I were easing down the driveway back to the cabin we caught some movement in the woods and we halted - an eight-point buck was coming at us! He wasn’t a trophy, but did have a nice rack. When he got close enough to see us he bounded into the middle of the driveway, stopped and stared right at us - probably only 30 feet way. And then he was gone in a flash like deer are apt to do. I’ve seen many hundreds of eight point and larger bucks in my time as hunter, photographer, and hiker, but this was a special moment we got to share.

The wind continues to pound tonight - no leaves left on the trees, and we might have bare ground by morning if this keeps up!

11/21/20 As I was headed to the mailbox this morning I saw a squirrel making his way towards me across the forest floor from quite a ways out in the woods. Wondering why he was hiking vs. running along the ground like squirrels normally do, I decided to have a seat and see what he was up to. As he got closer to me I realized he had a single brown oak leaf in his mouth - he was carrying a dead leaf across the forest floor. Hum. After what seemed like minutes he arrived at the base of an old dead oak near me, jumped up onto the tree and slowly made it way up, up, and up to an old broken-off limb hole near the top. When limbs die and break off often the center will rot out on into the hollow of the tree, so this was probably the front door to this guy’s winter condo, and he was most likely lining his abode with dead tree leaves for a soft and warm winter. OK, that’s all great - squirrels build nests inside dead trees with leaves all the time. But WHY - when the forest floor was literally covered with zillions of dead oak leaves to a depth of perhaps a foot deep, why would he select a single leaf so far away? Guess he needed the exercise...

11/24/20 The of the most spectacular, epic sunrises in a long time happened while I was up at the gallery working - I shot this photo of the aftermath when I got back to the cabin - I missed the peak, but this was pretty nice too!


11/26/20 Amber watching our yeast rolls rise on the fireplace mantle - this is the closest we got to a family gathering for turkey day (she was in Missouri)...



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