Two days ago, we were at Falling Springs, south of Winona, Missouri. I photographed the log cabin there, while thinking about what it must have been like so many years ago.
The road in now is curvy, hilly, and rocky. Can you imagine going there in a covered wagon or on horseback or on foot?
Building a house and a mill without a lumberyard or electric tools must have been some hard work. And then, getting the equipment there to run the mill? My goodness, I bet that took some doing!
One thing I love about the log cabin is the doorways.
Another cool thing I really love, is the windows.
This huge window is on the back wall. The spring and mill are out that window and to the left.
What a tremendous view from those windows it must have been. The cabin sits right near the water, with trees all around. It’s gorgeous going there now, so back then I bet it was really something to see.
Inside the mill~
Why are those photos a miracle to me? Because someone was able to get all of equipment up and running like 100 years ago, way back in the woods.
I haven’t been writing on here. With all this talk about fall, I’ve been squeezing in as much summer as I can.
If there was a bus between seasons, I’d be the last one on the bus to autumn. I LoVe, love, love summer!!
Every day for weeks, I’ve been in our pool. They say vitamin D can be soaked up from the sun, I’ve been getting my share, ha ha.
Labor Day came and went with a day spent bowling, a day trip to Arkansas, and two days by the pool.
And, to top off all this squeezing in summer?
A county fair yesterday!
We rode the carnival rides. On one, for some reason, I laughed the entire ride! I could not stop laughing!!
We watched the demolition derby, too. It’s crazy how those cars get all banged up!
We had a wonderful time! In the next few weeks, there are two more fairs we are going to. Take a few steps backwards Fall, we’re not quite done with summer yet! Most are, of course, but we aren’t. Ha ha.
We are back home in Missouri and absolutely loved our trip. It’s interesting how visiting family can lead to different places on the road.
Four years ago, my husband’s job moved us from southwest Missouri to the opposite corner of our state. The significance? It added three extra travel hours to my parent’s house in northwest Missouri, which changed it from five hours to eight.
We just spent eleven days on roads and land I’ve been going to all my life. We passed through a couple of big cities, but my heart belongs to the rural backroads of tiny places that are nearly a blip on a map.
Being at my parent’s house, brought me a sweet peace I can hardly explain. It didn’t make the missing of my momma any less, but it certainly did bring me lots of comfort seeing her things and being in a space she loved dearly.
On my other blog, Jeweled Again by Jessica, I have been sharing posts about my aunt Karen and my great aunt Esther. Esther is the reason we left dad’s and headed for Iowa.
Esther is my momma’s aunt and she is 103 years old. Esther has been an important part of my life for many years. When she turned 100, my boy and I made an eleven hour trip to go to her birthday party.
The pandemic canceled her 101st birthday party, but we were at her 102nd. This year we were late to her 103rd. It was in May, we arrived in August, but you know what? She didn’t care about that. She welcomed us with a huge smile and kind words.
Esther lives in Spirit Lake, Iowa and moved there in 1952. She and her husband rented out lake cottages back then and had their cottages open for 26 years.
If you’ve ever been to northwest Iowa in the winter, you’ll understand how cold and snowy their winters are. Her and her husband started going to Texas in the 1960’s winters. While there, she started doing ceramics.
You know how much I love and miss my momma, well, Esther is the same. I think my momma’s loss touched her in ways I may not quite comprehend. She was 27 when my momma was born in a rural Iowa farmhouse. Of all the people still on this planet, she knew my momma the longest.
I think us being together, soothed both of our hearts. And, family does that sometimes, you know? When the missing of someone is so huge, it seems like just seeing someone else who knew them too, can help.
Esther’s husband passed away over 40 years ago and a year ago March, she lost Patty, her only daughter. She and Patty lived together in a story book type house since 1979. After Patty passed, Esther decided to sell their house and moved into a very nice assisted living place. That’s where we visited her.
What a heart-filling trip we had. Spending time with my dad, yard sailing with my sister, seeing Kate, Diann, and Karen on the way to Spirit Lake, being with Esther, AND making special traveling memories with my son was exactly what I needed.
There are places, you know, where we just feel like we are home. One of those, for me, is Iowa. My roots run deep in the rural farmlands and in the towns that were built around cornfields, country schools, and churches.
For the last four days, my boy and I have driven hundreds of miles through the Iowa countryside in search of lakes, water parks, and family we haven’t seen in quite some time.
Oh my, have we had fun!
Our first stay was at scenic Storm Lake. It’s a small town, with a welcoming feel. We had two nights at the King’s Pointe Resort. It sits right next to the lake, so the lobby has a beautiful view.
It has a restaurant and one evening I had grilled walleye and shrimp. Yum!
Besides lake access, there are also indoor and outdoor water parks. We went down this orange slide!
There are some really cool parks around town. One has a really nice veterans memorial and a huge anchor from a 1943 ship.
We loved the Living Heritage Tree Museum. My favorite one was a tree that is a descendant of Johnny Appleseed’s tree.
Our time in Storm Lake was pretty amazing. The lodging, food, scenery, downtown bakery, water fun, and sunsets were definitely memory makers.
After Storm Lake, we stayed in the Spirit Lake/Okoboji area. Love those towns, too
My momma’s life celebration was at the end of May, and I hadn’t seen my dad since. You want to talk about homesick!! Oh my, I’ve been homesick….
Timing finally worked out, so yesterday, my kiddo and are started our 8 hour drive to my parent’s house in my hometown.
Near the beginning of our journey, we stopped at a place called, ”Irish Wilderness.” We’ve been there a few times, but I guess I forgot how amazing being there is.
Gorgeous isn’t a big enough word for that place. Stunning is more like it.
When I stepped out of my truck yesterday, there was zero noise. I mean, none! I tried to hear a sound, but couldn’t. Absolutely nothing.
I can’t even begin to tell you how freeing and healing that ”no noise” was. I mean, a couple of Saturdays ago, I was crying about my momma loss at that restaurant. Restaurants are busy places. There is noise.
My own house has been a haven for healing, its pretty quiet there, but the Irish Wilderness definitely knows how to do quiet. I’m pretty sure, if there was a trophy for quiet, it would win.
Here are some of the pictures I took:
It’s funny how ’homesick’ can lessen a bit, when we step into nature. Irish Wilderness has a calm and serene feel. If you are in the Van Buren Missouri area, it’s definitely worth a stop.
We made it to my dad’s last night. It’s great to be home.
Van Buren is a small town in southeast Missouri. The population is 1,241 (in 2020). But, sometimes small towns can offer big things to do.
Tuesday my son and I drove about 40 miles to visit Van Buren and do some of those fun things.
There’s the Jolly Cone restaurant with its outside walk up and order counter. We went there for ice cream, tater tots, and french fries. Yum.
The Landing is a hotel and restaurant that offers float trips down the Current River. They had a fire in 2021, but are rebuilding and open. We didn’t float or stay there this time, but we have in the past. Here is their link is you’d like any information. https://thelandingcurrentriver.com
We went to Big Spring, which I wrote about in my last 2 posts. It’s a wonderful natural spring with 2 hiking trails, some buildings the CCC built in the 1930’s, a campground, picnic pavilions, and access to the Current River.
Another place we went is called Missouri Down Under Adventure Zoo. It is a small zoo, right outside of town. The big draw is the kangaroos. They also have gem panning, a cave, a quarry dig, other animals, and some amazing tree carvings.
The kangaroos are in a huge fenced enclosure and you get to go right in there with them. The day we went it was 102 degrees, so shade was a priority for most of them.
We did see one over at the water tank. I was able to give it a snack out of my cup.
We had a great time. They also have lemurs, baby goats, rabbits, birds, snakes, porcupines, and a few other animals. Their website is https://www.missouridownunder.com if you’d like to see the hours or ticket information.
We had a great day in Van Buren on Tuesday with some hiking time, ice cream time, and kangaroo time.
We live in an area filled with natural springs, Forest Service land, hiking trails, and history. What an amazing place to be! Three miles from our house is the Current River.
It is clear and cold, which makes it a popular area year round for swimming, fishing, boating, and floating.
Tuesday, we were about forty miles from home at Ozark National Scenic Riverways near Van Buren Missouri, which is also on the Current River.
Big Spring is the natural spring that I wrote about yesterday. The area itself is full of some pretty cool history. Back in the 1930’s, the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) built the roads and buildings there.
One of my favorite buildings there is the dining hall. Set back off the road, in the trees, it just feels like it was an important place many years ago. Stately, is the word that comes to mind, with its rock walls and river view.
The windows are amazing. I’ve never been inside, but they offer a glimpse in and a glimpse out, via nature’s reflections.
Back in its day, it must have been a busy place. While we were there, one other car came, but I was the only one at the building. Back in the 1930’s though, I bet it was bustling with people. I love that the building is still standing after nearly 90 years.
Here is a great link from the National Park Service about the history of the CCC and Big Spring:
One time my parents came to visit us and we took them to a couple of local springs. My momma LOVED water. I mean loved!! Oceans, rivers, lakes, pools, and mountain streams, water was her thing.
Yesterday, my son and I went back to one of the places we took her. Near Van Buren, MO is a place called Big Spring.
It is a beautiful, powerful natural spring, tucked back in the corner of the rocks, by a small cave. I took a video so you could hear it.
When we were there in 2018 with my parents, my momma took a picture of me that she absolutely loved. It was me, looking at the spring.
To try to recreate it, I had my son take a picture of me yesterday. Funny thing is, I had no idea, but I was actually wearing the same blue long sleeve shirt!
Behind the spring is a set of rock steps that go up and lead to a short trail. It was 102 degrees yesterday and luckily, the trail was shaded.
The trail just sort of ends. You can turn around or walk across a bridge and back to the parking lot. We chose the bridge because it’s new and it took a couple of years to build. It was our first time to walk across it.
If you are ever near Van Buren, MO, Big Spring is definitely worth a stop. There is a campground, access to the Current River, an old CCC camp as well.
We really enjoyed our day, despite the heat. Our adventures didn’t end there, but that’s for another post.
Thanks for reading. Hope you have a wonderful day.