From the monthly archives:

December 2010

The Trumpet of the Swan

by Julie Kohl on December 31, 2010

As it turns out the Trumpet of the Swan is quite loud.  Especially when there are over 100 swans honking at you!  If you have never been to see the Trumpeter Swans on Magness Lake in Heber Springs, Arkansas you are missing out on something AMAZING!

Check out this video. It’s a little long but watch a little and you will get the idea!

In 1992 three lonely swans wound up on Magness Lake after, according to scientists, they were blown off course from their normal migration pattern due to a major storm that forced them further south than they normally travel.  Since their return from near-extinction in the 1930′s(with a world-wide population of less than 100) Trumpeter Swans are normally found in the northwestern and northcentral regions of the North American continent with the largest population being in Alaska.  The swans typically migrate to the pacific region of the US and usually not further south than Colorado.

Perry Linder, who owned the land in 1992, was likely excited to see the birds but probably assumed when they left in February that that was the last he would see of them.  Yet in November of 1993 the birds returned and brought along some friends!  The Swans, which mate for life and travel in family groups, continue to return yearly and their numbers have increased to well over 100.

The Swans typically arrive around Thanksgiving and stay until about Valentines day when they return to their summer home in Minnesota.  Visitors are welcome at the E & W Wildlife Refuge and are even encouraged to bring along clean shelled corn to feed to the swans, geese and ducks that live on the 30 acre oxbow lake.

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The E & W Wildlife Refuge is located at 544 Hays Rd. in Heber Springs, Arkansas.

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Close Call

by Julie Kohl on December 27, 2010

Having to call 911 is not something anyone expects to do on a regular day of the year but is certainly not something you expect to have to do on Christmas morning!  Yet that is exactly what I had to do.

Christmas morning began much like any other Christmas morning or any other regular morning for that matter. I got up and turned on the gas heater, went out and fed and watered the chickens and let them out for their daily run of the yard. I let the dogs out and let the cat out too.  I turned on all the Christmas lights, put on some holiday tunes and made our family “Christmas Punch” to sip on while we opened gifts.  Richie called his mom and she came over and we spent about an hour opening presents and hanging out.  Kathy decided that she was going to head back to her house to feed the horses and do some things at home while we relaxed and got Christmas dinner ready.

About two minutes after she left, Kathy was banging on our door.  Her chimney was on fire!  I was on the phone with the fire department and then was out hooking up the hose in case the fire spread onto the roof or into the attic.  Kathy was getting the attic door open and Richie was getting the ladder up so we had access to the roof.  We are on Volunteer Fire Department where we live and had no idea how long it would take for them to arrive.  We weren’t sure if we would be battling a full on house fire by the time they got there but we were trying to be prepared.

Surprisingly it was only about 6 minutes before the first fireman flew into the driveway and then it was a steady stream until about 15 volunteer firefighters had interrupted their Christmas mornings to hang out on our lawn!  In seconds they were on the roof and in the attic assessing the situation.  The heat of the blaze had caused cracks throughout the chimney and smoke was pouring out from several spots but it appeared that the fire had mostly died down as quickly as it had started.  Kathy had been quick to close off the flue and a metal barrel lid over the top of the chimney had cut down on the oxygen helping the fire to go out fairly quickly.

Kathy will likely have to have most or all of her chimney rebuilt but we were really lucky that there was no fire, smoke or water damage to the actual house.  If she had been in our house any longer she may have lost everything.

So, it was a very close call and we had a lot more to be thankful for when we sat down to our Christmas dinner later that evening.  It really was a very Merry Christmas and we owe a lot of that to the AMAZING Russell Volunteer Fire Department!

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Sonny Williams Steak Room

December 22, 2010

There is food that is good and then there is food that once you take the first bite you know you will likely remember that meal for a LONG time!  That was my experience last night with Sonny Williams Steak Room in the River Market district of Little Rock. Several months ago a Grouponcame available […]

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I’m a QUITTER!

December 14, 2010

And I am proud of it! I quit Facebook! Yes, for real.  I promise! I will NOT be one of those people who claim to quit facebook but keep coming back. In fact, I even deleated the app off of my ipod touch so I’m not tempted! I was inspired to quit after talking to […]

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Road Map Painting

December 14, 2010

Staring at a blank canvas can be very daunting to an artist.  While many artists develop a “style” and tend to stick with the same medium all the time, I am more “eclectic”.   I get bored really easily and get tired of doing the same thing all the time so I bounce around from medium […]

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Hot and Cold

December 12, 2010

It seems slightly ironic that when I last blogged it was during the hottest stretch of the year and as I sit here typing at 5:30 on this Sunday morning it is one of the coldest days of the year and it is spitting snow every now and then.  My four month blogging hiatus wasn’t done […]

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