Thursday, February 7, 2019

Ice Storm of 2019

Missouri has it's share of strange weather but this past week has topped them all.   We had rain with severe thunderstorm warnings and thunder and lightening and went directly from that into an ice storm.   I had guests at The Lodge so spent the weekend next door in The Cabin in case there were problems.  Which there were.   We lost electricity with 18 degree temperatures and unfortunately the house is all electric.   Thankfully,  I had plenty of flashlights and lanterns and even though the electricity was out for about 8 hours the house did not get overly cold.   Ice storms are a pain but I will have to admit there is a beautiful side to them too.  Enjoy my pictures as we start 2019 off with an ice storm!

The ice on the trees was beautiful.  

When you run a retreat center it is important to be prepared for anything. Knowing there was a possibility we could lose power we brought up extra wood for the fireplace.  Even though the blowers wouldn't work without electricity we could open the doors and have some heat...

Thankfully I had stored up 5 bags of ice melt and it was a good thing cause the porch totally iced over.

My guests enjoyed the fireplace even though the ice storm probably messed up their plans.  Tonight will be another cold night with lows about 7 degrees.    Hopefully,  we won't lose electricity again and tomorrow life will begin to get back to normal.    Whatever normal is for this part of the country.   Spring please hurry and come to my world!  I miss you so!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Natives Are Restless

A Day Well Spent In The Woods


Come join our little expedition as we take to the woods!  Our trail guide and expert woodsman is impressed with the deer pictures that he is seeing on our trail cameras  and wants to set more cameras up across the creek..  

Previously today I stopped in at my local Walmart and picked up some more deer corn , another mineral block and another trail camera.   You can never have too many trail cameras on the homestead! 

Kawasaki says "let the good times roll" and I plan to do so!  My first large expenditure for the Lodge this year was to buy a new 4 wheeler.  We have many trails for our guests to enjoy as well as feeding stations for our wildlife and it was decided it was time to buy a new 4 wheeler.   This time I bought one with two wheel drive and I think it will work just fine for what we need it for and was much less expensive.  

Our guide has taught us  that deer will leave signs that they have been in the area and the importance of being observant of those signs.  There will be scrapings on the trunks of trees,  broken twigs as well as deer scat which is a fancy word for deer poop.  Once a year deer will lose their antlers which is called shedding so another important thing to look for is sheds.   

Deer Scat.  Not what I was expecting.  Looks like rabbit poop.  

Notice the scrapings on the sapling and the big Cedar tree above.  More signs deer have been in the area.

Here is an example of a shed.  In a couple months we are told we can start looking for sheds.  

So let's head across the creek to the spot our trail guide tells us is the place to set up the and put out the mineral block.   Mineral blocks are good for the over all health of the deer and also help with antler growth.  

The deer seem to like spending time amongst these large cedar trees.  There are signs!  So here is where we plan on setting up a couple cameras and placing a mineral block.  So let the fun begin!

Our woodsman guide and his grandson ready one of the cameras and place it on this post.  To ready your camera make sure you have put an SD card in the proper slot.  Then set the date and time as well as selecting video mode or regular mode.  We like using the video mode.  Most importantly,  remember to turn the camera on once it has been properly mounted to a tree or post.  Otherwise, you will be very disappointed the next time you check your cameras expecting great pictures of the wildlife and find nothing  Alas,  this has happened to me...  The above camera is aimed at the mineral block.  

I am attaching my camera to the trunk of an old cedar tree aimed down a path we have observed.  I put the camera about waist high..   Again,  fasten it securely,  program it and then make sure it is turned on.   Double check! 

Now it's time to do some maintenance checks on the trails.  After every wind and snow storm rotten limbs will fall onto the trails and need to be removed.  It is good to maintain your equipment and I don't like to drive over stumps and limbs especially with my new 4 wheeler.   Speaking of maintenance notice the smoke coming out of the back of the 4 wheeler in front.  That is a sign it is using oil so we have to make sure we add oil every time we use this one.  And also before you head out always check to see how much gas you have.  Running out of gas on the back of this 62 acres and having to walk back to the house is something you will only do once.  

The "log man" is the person who jumps off the 4 wheeler and pulls the limbs off the trail.  Notice here our excellent woodsman trail guide is pulling up a small tree stump and all.  The kids realized they are the ones expected to handle this job.  

While checking the trails we stopped to check out what appeared to be an old stone  walled hand dug well.  Anyway that is what we guessed it was.     I always thought wells were much smaller around and this one only appeared to be a few feet deep.  The puzzling part was it was located next to a small creek.  Why build a well next to a creek?  Truly a mystery!

It's time to do a bit more exploring in the woods before we head back to the house.  It's a beautiful day today and we are enjoying our ride on the 4 wheelers and our time in the woods.

Anyone need a pair of dentures?

Notice my grand-daughter in the pictures?  Riding 4 wheelers and spending time exploring in the woods is a gender neutral sport.   And girls as well as boys need to learn life skills.   

It's been a blast but time to head back to the house. 

 What do you do with those rotten limbs you ask?  Why build a fire and call up the wild things of course!

Is there anything better than sitting around the fire in the evening listening to the night sounds and talking about your day?  Nothing that I can think of!  I'm glad to have a place my grandkids can come and explore away from the city!  

Hopefully, these kids will want to continue to put down their electronics to spend more time out in the great outdoors and especially in the woods.  And have learned to respect wildlife and observe the signs that they have been in the area.  We enjoy our wildlife cameras and have not only seen deer but also turkey, bob cats, coyotes, coons, armadillos, and opossums.  I'm hoping no bears or mountain lions ever show up on those cameras !  

Thanks for taking this journey with us and you are welcome to come along tomorrow with us as we check the cameras.  Every day is exciting here on the homestead!  

Friday, February 1, 2019

Little Girls and Nana's Tea Sets

The Grandkids have arrived and are going to learn some new skills ...

Three of my grand kids have arrived and are spending the weekend at The Lodge.  You notice they all are heavily into their electronics.... We are just coming out of a deep freeze with wind chills of -7 so tomorrows high of 60 plus degrees will be wonderful.  And so tomorrow they will be learning some new skills.    Ones that won't involve anything electronic.   Well, except for a camera maybe!

 We will be climbing on  the 4- wheelers and hitting the woods to refill our trail feeders and check our wildlife cameras. 

And we need to mark the trails better cause I myself was pretty confused on where I was even at while doing a trial run today.  Unfortunately the trails haven't been used much lately and  are beginning to get overgrown in places. 

Hopefully,   an expert woodsman will show up tomorrow to download  some of his knowledge into these young minds.  These kids are big into downloading so they will understand that terminology...  Ha Ha Ha  Little joke there!
 Koda and Mark will be our designated wood gatherers.

 Once evening is upon us we can make a fire in the fire pit and hopefully listen to the sound of the coyotes howling in the distance.

   While checking the cameras along the trail last week we noticed lots of rotten limbs that were needing cleared off our trails and will be the perfect size to burn in  that  fire pit. 

I notice the boys  loaded their BB guns up and put them in the Honda which tells me they plan on being hunters as well as gatherers.....    or more likely they plan on doing some target practice down at the range.   Another good skill to know ...
Miss Maddy will be working on her cooking skills and making us up some chocolate chip cookies and cinnamon rolls tomorrow .

  She's asked me to teach her to sew  but we will save that skill for another day.   She is the mother of many babies who apparently are in need of clothes.

And because we are not gender prejudiced here on the homestead she too will learn the skills needed in the woods.

 My thinking is we need to  teach these kids about the joys of spending time in the great outdoors so they will want to pitch those electronic devices and get some fresh air. 

I see camp outs in their future too!  And someone mentioned building a lean to structure...  Won't this be fun!  . 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

It's A New Year And A New Season In My Life!

 I have been  observing the fields lying dormant.  It's the season where the ground is resting and soaking up the nutrients from the rain and snow that it will need for the next season.  Which is the one of growth and new life.  I feel like I too am in a season of rest.  And I too am soaking up what my soul needs to be prepared for the next season.  A friend reminded me that even though it appears nothing is happening on the surface that below ground roots are digging deeper and becoming stronger.  I trust that is what is happening in my life also.
       I am running a Retreat Center with a Lodge and a Cabin on the grounds  here in the Ozarks and loving every minute of it.  Meeting new people.   And learning to let the cares of this world slip away and enjoying the simple life. 
      So come along with me as I journal this new season in my life.    Time to look forward and anticipate what the next season of my life holds in store.. 

The Gathering Place Retreat Center-The Cabin

  Perfect for the traveler needing a place to stay with a more rustic feel.   The Cabin is located just across the yard from The Lodge making a beautiful addition to The Retreat Center.  

                      It has all the comforts of home in a rustic setting

Decorated in  Rustic Americana we believe you will find The Cabin a delightful change from your normal stay on your travels.  The main room has two couches and a recliner for relaxing after your days activities.  The walls  are decorated with a collection of quilts and pictures of days gone by.

We left the floor concrete and put down throw rugs cause we figure it would be just wrong to put carpet in a cabin..  And this way hunters won't have to worry about getting the floor dirty..

Since this part of the world has been known to lose power and we are all electric we decided to put in a portable fireplace and hook it up to propane.  So you'll still be toasty warm even if the electric goes out.  Which it will,   trust me....It's Missouri....

  And there is a flat screen TV with satellite and Wi-fi so you still have the benefits we all love along with the rustic setting of a cabin..


One corner has a snack bar set up where you can catch up on office work if you must do that sort of thing while taking a break from your normal routine.  Or catch a quick snack while watching the latest game on the TV...or play some solitaire...

The kitchen part of our facility is equipped with everything you'll find at home including  a fridge, microwave, convection oven, coffee pots, electric griddle and electric skillet in case you want to do some cooking.   Notice our Cedar cabinets which are also hand made.


 I love a bargain and I found this oak antique table at a local flea market.  Thought The Cabin would be a perfect place for it.  And it's already set for supper... Just pull up a chair and have a seat!


 I stained these cabinets and they make a perfect place for the microwave and confection oven.  The confection oven is just the right size for baking your pizza.   Just cause we're in the woods doesn't mean you can't enjoy the comforts of  the city life too.


The spacious bedroom follows the rustic Americana theme and is decorated with a queen size hand made log bed made by a local craftsman using native lumber.  (If interested in one of these beds for yourself give me a call and I can put you in touch with him)

        Simplify is the theme for our Cabin.

                                     The bathroom is attached to the bedroom and has a oversize shower.


  Laundry facilities are located in the basement of The Lodge for your convenience


There is also a separate entrance off the bedroom where you can take your cup of coffee out on the covered porch in the early morning hours and watch the mist rising off the pond or enjoy the antics of the squirrels and other wildlife.  There is also a BBQ grill on that same porch.

    Our wildlife think they are guests also...

The Cabin is located just a short walk across the yard from The Lodge and has plenty of outdoor lighting for those needing to come in late at night.


Fishing our stocked pond  is always encouraged here on the grounds and if you forget your poles we have some you can use.               

Sit on the dock and reflect on life

We have a walking trail around the pond for those who like to get some exercise while here for their stay

Take out the boats and enjoy spending some time on the water
And nothing compares to the beauty of the mist rising off the pond on those cool, crisp mornings


A fire pit is just outside the cabin door with plenty of seating.  Light the fire and roast some hot dogs or make some Smores and sit around the fire talking about the "good ole days"  when life was simple...

Hope you've enjoyed our little tour of our newest addition to The Gathering Place Retreat Center. .  And if you're planning on being in the area give us a call.  We do have a two night minimum stay and travelers needing extended stays are welcome also.   Our door is always open and we love welcoming new friends to our neck of the woods. Check out our website at  for more information. or call 417-321-4576 You can also find us on Airbnb.   We look forward to welcoming you and making your stay with us a memorable one!