Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind. So we must stretch ourselves to the very limits of human possibility. Anything less is a sin against both God and man.

Leonardo da Vinci


We made a quick-ish lunch stop in Wichita, noshing at the very good Meddys, getting Juniper’s wiggles out, and buying more than we ought at the Nifty Nut House. Eeek, so much fun candy and nuts, of course. Yum!

Ness County Court House
The Ness County Bank Building – completed in 1890
N E O N ! !
Now that’s a tire!!

Hiya! We are on the home stretch now. Ness City was our final night away from home, and it was a sweet treat. A tiny plains town, with a couple of architectural gems, and that light! We were treated to a beautiful sunset and sunrise.

While I was taking the photo just above, I heard a cracking sound in the field next to me. When I finally got a bead on the source, I saw the most beautiful buck with an enormous set of antlers hopping over corn that was well over four feet tall! We shared an eye-to-eye moment before he bounded off in the opposite direction. Oh, nature…

The Sunflower State lives up to its moniker! Goodness, what a feeling to behold such cheer as far as the eye could see.

I think, above all, on this trip, I experienced at true sense of the MAGICAL: in visiting such beautiful places; in seeing, touching, and smelling where my ancestors lived; in experiencing nature in such glory. How very lucky I am!


Greg gets his kicks at the Route 66 Mural in Jopin. Getting hip, alright…

L I O N S not lambs…
Made us chuckle…
The Dawn Redwood – not small

At the Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center. I love it when such beauty and serenity is tucked in amongst the city. We got up early to enjoy it and reveled in beauty, birdsong, and the babble of flowing water.

What a dazzler of a building! The Jasper County Courthouse in Carthage.
A nod to my Williams ancestors, also in Carthage
What kind of a bug are YOU?
A Tiger Bee Fly, thank you very much.

Just above and up to the Williams family ancestors nod is Red Oak II, created by the artist Lowell Davis, who died in 2020:

Davis, once a commercial artist who left Dallas to return to his roots in the Missouri countryside, hit it big in the 1980s and 1990s with sculptures and paintings based on farm life at the nostalgic village of Red Oak II, a community of old buildings he purchased and moved to resurrect his family’s hometown of Red Oak, which was once located near Avilla. His work was sold in 2,000 stores and galleries worldwide.

It’s a truly magical experience to wander about, amongst sculptures and every manner of building, that someone would go to such lengths to recreate a HOME. It is a fabrication but so very authentic, too.

Thanks, Joplin & Carthage!


It is, after all, not necessary to fly right into the middle of the sun, but it is necessary to crawl to a clean little spot on earth where the sun sometimes shines and one can warm oneself a little.

Franz Kafka

Juniper wonders about the wildlife at our cabin near French Village
This and the one above were taken in the wee hours of morning, during a most fantastic lightning storm!
We’ve never seen so many off road vehicles zooming about!

After the rush of cars and people in the big cities, with Juniper wildly panting, and our lips, hands, and legs slick with moisture, we were happy for a bit of country respite.

Everywhere: leaf, needle, and blade, all along the spectrum of GREEN.

Our resting place was tucked down a hill and distant enough from the road to obscure nearly every human sound. Only occasionally did we hear a plane, quite a few times a gun (it was the Ozarks, after all), the rustle of gray squirrel from on high in the trees, and silent, but ever present, the flitting of more swallowtails and dragonflies than we’ve ever witnessed.

On our one full day at the cabin, the heat was mercifully diminished by a night of storms and whipping wind, all to the wink of fireflies and flash of lightning. And so we loitered: on the deck, mostly daydreaming, hammock napping, often reading, and sometimes walking loops about the property. Juniper kept her nose high, catching every scent, with us admiring a meringue fluff of clouds while a surprisingly cool breeze brushed our cheeks. In a word: MAGICAL!


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