Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Prairie and Big Sugar Creek State Parks

Prairie State Park

Prairie State Park

My friend Brian and I did some cool and dreary weather hiking on Sunday. Trying to find a safe haven away from the lead hail of Deer Season and someplace nearby that neither of us had tread before, we opted for Prairie State Park and Big Sugar Creek State Park. On the way out west to the hiking areas, we saw plenty of deer, wild turkey and two coyotes crossing the road in front of us and out into some adjacent farmland. I know they're a nuisance, but they sure are pretty animals.

Prairie State Park

Prairie State Park

Prairie State Park

We opted for the Sandstone Trail at PSP, a little over four miles of walking in an enclosure with free roaming elk and bison. We tried to find them, but saw little more than hoof prints, excrement, places where they bedded down for a night and the bleached bones of their dead. We did see a good size cat print in the mud with the hooves. It was as big as my hand when cupped, so guessing mountain lion over bobcat. The second mountain lion print I've seen in the past year or two. The other was along the Buffalo River in Arkansas.

Prairie State Park

Prairie State Park

Prairie State Park

Prairie State Park

One neat find was a set of disused train tracks running through the park. They were pretty photogenic with the tall dried prairie grasses poking through the aging timbers and rusty iron.

Prairie State Park

Prairie State Park

Prairie State Park

Prairie State Park

Prairie State Park

Having struck out looking for megafauna, we called it and headed further south to Big Sugar Creek State Park. Not much to this one, just a few miles walking in a circle through the woods.

Big Sugar Creek State Park

Big Sugar Creek State Park

Big Sugar Creek State Park

Armadillo, Big Sugar Creek State Park

Great way to spend a day. We usually write off these shorter trails, but when you hit up multiple systems in a single day, they can be quite nice. Also, if anyone finds a 600lb black bull calf, this guy is looking for one.

Big Sugar Creek State Park

Friday, November 10, 2017

Cigar Box Guitar

Cigar Box Guitar

After about four weeks of non-stop work deadlines and late nights at the office, my schedule has lightened a hair. I haven't done any artwork in over a month, nothing creative, no sawdust projects, not shit for fun, really. I've just been too busy. So, starting last weekend and working a few evenings and lunch hours through the week, I made myself something fun, a cigar box guitar.

I spent maybe $20-25 on the box, poplar neck, tuners, strings and hardware. I can't play a song, but it's fun to make noise on so far and sounds so much better than I expected.

Cigar Box Guitar

Cigar Box Guitar

Cigar Box Guitar

Cigar Box Guitar

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Natchez, Mississippi

Last week, I had the fortune to head south about nine hours to Natchez, MS. It's a historic town along the Mississippi River with many intact and functioning antebellum homes and plantations, awash in live oaks, Spanish moss, vintage decor and stories of tragic mortality rates and man's inhumanity to man. Damn beautiful, though.

I won't drop all of my pics, here, though. I culled through the 500 or so that I took and whittled them down to just shy of 100. You can see all of them on my Flickr account, HERE.

The backstory is this, my employer heads down to Natchez every year for Fall Pilgrimage. She stays at some friends B&B each year and presents tours in full costume several times a week for three weeks. I just got back from six days of it, two of which I was painting in the rear garden, by the fountain and narrating a bit about the fountain being made from Natchez brick that was recycled from a foundation on a nearby plantation.

Nearly at arrival, sunset through burning cotton fields.

On the way to Natchez, Mississippi

The B&B that we stayed at, Oak Hill Inn. Run by two incredibly nice guys that make a damn good breakfast.

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

I presented and painted on Sunday and Wednesday. I also did a bit of art in between.

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Dining room center piece, Oak Hill Inn, Natchez, Mississippi

Pleasant Hill, Natchez, Mississippi

And on the off days we toured the other homes on display (and at least one that wasn't).

Sunnyside B&B

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Rosalie Mansion

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Longwood Mansion (unfinished, due to the Civil War starting during its construction and wiping out the family fortune)

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Arlington Plantation (which some crazy bastard is just letting go to waste.)

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Windsor Ruins

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

St. Mary Basilica

Natchez, Mississippi

Lots more pics at the link at the top. I'll just stop here, otherwise I'll make a bigger mess of this post. ;)

PS. (can you PS a blog?) There appears to be a statue of me at Monmouth Plantation. Or it might be a past owner. I'm not currently working on time traveling to the mid-1800s Deep South, so could go either way.

Natchez, Mississippi