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Crooked Creek

Wally Woodchuck

By rita
Since we changed the type of bird seed we normally purchase, we've seen more unusual critters at our feeders. The reason is probably that the less expensive mix has more corn. One of the feeders is an old bird-bath with only the bowl left propped on cement blocks. We hadn't seen Wally Woodchuck since last fall. Yesterday, I was alerted to his presence when I glanced up from the breakfast table to see a squirrel clinging to the edge of the big tree and focused on the feeder. The reason became apparent when I spotted Wally all sprawled out munching away. The squirrel wasn't about to interrupt Wally's snack. No longer a candidate for a diet program, Wally is sleeker. But he wasted no time chowing down on the corn portion of the food. Our feeders are a daily fascination and we're likely to see a large variety of birds including a visit from a pileated woodpecker. If you delight in bird-watching as we do, plan to come down and spend time in our guesthouse. We'll introduce you to Wally and a few of our other friends. And just maybe, in the interim, we'll enroll Wally in Weight Watchers. Blessings, Writer ...

Kids and Kayaks

By rita
Last Sunday our cousin Sharon, her twelve year old grandson Doug and their friend Kay visited our guesthouse. We all claimed our spot on the back porch where we visited and Mike entertained us on his keyboard. Monday morning we visited Rocky Ridge Refuge for a look at the final days of Lurch, the Watusi steer featured in the Guinness Book of Records for the largest horn circumference in the world. Lurch's cancer is beginning to take its toll. His days on this earth are limited, but he is still a gentle soul. All the animals showed off including the game between Zwebiscuit, the zebra, and the dogs who chased each other on opposite sides of the pasture fence. The water buffalo, the donkeys, and the miniature cows surveyed the games while grazing nearby in the pasture. Doug's enthusiasm for the prospect of kayaking, however, was his main focus. On Monday afternoon Mike hauled a kayak, Doug and his grandmother upriver to Crooked Creek where the youngster paddled to his heart's delight. While Mike and Sharon toured by Jon boat, Doug explored all the nooks and crannies of the creek as only a pre-teen can do. He excelled so well that ...

Perch Parade

By rita
  We motored up to Rim Shoals Catch and Release area late Sunday evening. There were more herons on the river than boats. Sunday is a peaceful time to fish with little competition for the choice spots. Our favorite area yielded many hang-ups and only a few trout. Fighting the four units of water along with a lot of "river trash" proved frustrating. We decided to try Crooked Creek. We cruised up from the mouth.Bothered by our arrival, turtles slid from their rocky resting places into the water. We re-rigged for smallmouth and perch. I tied on a black water spider with a foam body and a tuft of pink fluff on the top. No sooner had the arachnid plopped near the bank when a feisty perch grabbed it. Five casts yielded five more fish, each about the size of a goldfish. Their vivid turquoise and yellow coloring gleamed in the twilight. What they lacked in size, they trumped in beauty. As ribbons of fog danced near the mouth of the creek, we headed back home satisfied with another fine day of fishing accompanied by a perch parade. Blessings, Writer Gal

Armadillo Attackers?

By rita
Call us a bit strange, but we've named the wild animals who frequent our property. Our favorites are a pair of armadillos we call Fred and Ethel. The silly shell-toting critters are often fond of bursting forth from the underbrush at the most inopportune times. I must admit to a few startled moments when they've come running across the yard chasing each other like small piglets. Last night about 11:00 the phone rang. Two clients were camping in a tent on our campground. We were about to go to bed and were surprised to hear Mr. Camper's voice. In a subdued whisper, he informed us his wife was a little spooked. It sounded like someone was walking around on the campground. I attempted to reassure him that it was probably a couple of raccoons, but he insisted someone come and check. Mike grudgingly got dressed and took his flashlight, only to find Fred and Ethel up to their usual nocturnal adventures. The next morning Ms. Camper apologized and graciously accepted our good-natured ribbing about The Attack of the Killer Armadillos!

Crooked Creek Crazy

By rita
Since I'm a rookie flyfisher, I don't often catch the largest fish on our outings. However, last week in Crooked Creek, my luck suddenly changed. After tying on one of my spouse's hand-tied flies, I made my first cast in front of a large rock. Originally, I thought I was hung; but when the line moved and a heavy fish attempted to swim away, I knew I was on to something. My 4 wt. Albright rod bent in a delicious arc and I carefully played the fish as he made several sashays back toward the rock. Luckily, I succeeded where he did not and soon had a large Smallmouth Bass near the boat. During the netting process is where I normally tend to lose the fish, as it's difficult to keep the line taut, hold the rod with one hand and scoop the fish with the other. Everything came together, however; and I soon landed the largest Smallmouth of my fly fishing career: 16' and over 2 pounds of brilliant gold streaked thunder. My husband happily declared it "the fish of the day." Stay in our guesthouse and arrange for one of our Smallmouth guides and you, too, can go Crooked Creek Crazy.  

Dogwoods Dazzle and Delight

By rita
They're here. They crept in during a gentle spring rain and are just beginning to open. Now they're a faint green and glimmer in the sunlight. In a day or two, they'll fully blossom and will dazzle the eye with their white burst of color. Look for them in the shelter of taller, larger trees where they seek sanctuary. Pause to absorb their breathtaking beauty and understand that you're witnessing a true blessing of nature. When you visit our guesthouse in the next two weeks, bring your camera and we'll share them with you ... the delightful dogwoods, the princess of the Ozarks.

Freedom, Families and Fun

By rita
Choosing pictures to post this week, I was struck by kids' enjoyment of our place. One group chose our spot as a central location for a family reunion and came from Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas. The grandmother of the group organized the entire week's activities. They played T-ball on our lawn, flag football on the campground and took 2 canoe trips. That memory reminded me of how much children gravitate to the river and take such pleasure in simple things. They can entertain themselves for hours by wading in the river and exploring all the delights of frogs and crawfish. After building a fire in the campground firepit, we noticed kids don't just roast marshmallows. They love the sizzle of burning them! And s'mores last only long enough for them to lick the last bite of chocolate off their lips. The freedom to run and play endears children to our little bit of heaven and parents love supervising them from the comfort of one of our campground chairs or while sitting underneath the shade of the picnic pavilion. We always encourage families to visit some of our Twin Lake Treasures like: Rocky Ridge Refuge and Fred Berry Conservation Center, both designed ...

Oh,Hummers, Where Art Thou?

By rita
A lone hummingbird landed on our 90 ounce feeder today. He clutched one of the 8 stanchions with his tiny toes and guzzled his sugar water like he owned the place. He easily claimed ownership because none of his colleagues have joined him yet. When the rest of the group arrives, they'll cluster around the empty hooks where the other two feeders are yet to be hung. We'll know that spring has truly sprung when we see their brilliant bodies hovering in mid-air. The latest they've ever announced their flight is April 15 (tomorrow). With the greening of the area and the warm temps, I'll count on it for a delightful Wednesday.

Where to Stay in the Ozarks

As mentioned in my White River Trout Fishing blog entry, my Ozark mountain lodging management experience began 17 years ago when my wife and I bought our first resort here in Arkansas.  From that time forward, I have answered the question, "Where should I stay?". Styles of lodging varies as much as the interests of travelers.  The cities of Harrison and Mountain Home both have a variety of chain and privately owned motels.  Resorts on Bull Shoals Lake, Lake Norfork, and the White River have a variety of full service resorts to privately owned houses managed for short term rentals.  Areas surrounding the Buffalo River abound with secluded cabins widely ranging in levels of comfort and amenities.  Therefore, the answer to the question of where to stay in the Ozarks is most frequently followed with my own question, "What do you want to do?".   Another question that the Ozark vacationer should ask themselves is, "Who am i traveling with?".   If traveling with people that do not want to prepare their own food, then know that a secluded cabin may have a long drive to a restaurant.   If  your husband cannot stand to be without internet connection for ...