Whalechaser's Musings

No Matter Where You Go...
There You Are
Make the Best of It

Monday, August 30, 2010

Coming Home...

If you want to feel good...just watch this video. I promise you WILL feel great way before it is over!


Saturday, August 21, 2010

No Knead Bread

To all those folks that I sent to this blog today for a no knead bread recipe...I guess I never did post that one! But not to worry, here it is along with links to King Arthur Flour who is rightly responsible for my addiction to this fabulous loaf.
Here is the recipe link:


and here is THEIR blog post with pictures and everything else. Go ahead and try this one...I promise you will not be disappointed!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hawkin' Lunch

So there I was, making lunch again and when I looked out the window this time I saw a huge bird on the lawn. It looked like he was having his lunch (turns out he was!) and because of that he was not going anywhere until he was done. If you double click the photo, you will see that he has something bloody in his mouth and there is a multitude of feathers all around his feet.

Then, I think to add insult to injury, he went over by the fig trees (where the sparrows sit among the branches) and was looking for seconds...

I managed to interfere with his plans a little. He flew up to the fence and waited for me to leave. I went inside, then came out again and slammed the door. That was enough for him to fly off. But not without circling the yard one full time before leaving for good.

Don't know what kind of hawk it was, but he sure was a big one!
I have done some research and discovered that this is a juvenile Coopers Hawk. If he is a juvenile, he is going to one big bird some day soon!

Peach Pickin'

Last week I was fortunate enough to be able to provide transportation for our local Geshe La and his friend Tashi to a town named Clarksville, Arkansas where a fantastic peach orchard is located. You can pick your own or buy from the pecks and bushels already picked by them...the choice is up to you. Geshe and Tashi decided to pick their own, I helped some,

but truth be told, they were so quick, that I had to decide whether to take pictures or pick peaches.

I decided to take pictures.

Maybe they were so fast because it was 100 degrees; I don't know. But it sure was fun finding just the right ones and filling up those baskets!

Peach Pickin' Paradise can be found at 1961 McGuire Road, Clarksville, Arkansas 72830

Phone: (479) 754-2006
They provide a map of the orchard so you can pick your own whether it be yellow freestone, white or white freestone....they have them all!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I made myself a hot-dog for lunch today and set it down on the table while I prepared a cool glass of ice water. When I sat down at the table, Woody (my bird) flew to my shoulder so he could get some of the bun. I let him do this because he is a little underweight and whatever he feels driven to eat is ok with me..as long as he eats.
So I held the bun and let him munch; I looked out the window at the feeder that I have hanging just under the eaves and saw a sparrow.

That is not unusual, but this sparrow was hanging upside-down and flapping wildly. I could see something was dreadfully wrong. I dropped the dog, put the bird on the table and ran outside. I could see his foot was caught on something and he was in a kind of shock. I walked up to him and laid him in my open hand...on his back, and proceeded to try to dislodge his foot. It seemed to be caught in the adjustable perch. So I wiggled it a little but nothing; the bird is now very calm. But I am starting to panic. I tried rotating it just a bit and that seemed to do the trick. The bird knew before I did that it was free. He flew to the fig trees in the corner of the yard in an instant.

Wow, glad I was right there, right then with just the stuff to save that little guy.

Monday, August 9, 2010


I had never seen one of these birds until I moved to Arkansas...today there seems to be a convention going on. Almost every post had one sitting on it and I finally got a picture that was good enough to share.

Now if I could only get one in flight..they are so colorful and elegant.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

More on Slaughter Pen Trail...Crystal Bridges and Compton Gardens

You have probably gathered by now, from the title, that the trail I recently discovered leads to many places. It was quite a surprise to me! Last week I discovered that there is a tangle of mountain bike trails just off of Interstate 540 and running directly through it is a concrete paved trail that is supposed to run for 2.5 miles in and end...or so I thought.
I brought my bike with me this week since the weather promises to stay below 100..actually they were promising below 90 (BUT they lied!)
Anyway, I decided that I would do the paved trail first and get an idea of the space and layout before trying any of the actual single-track trails that they have.
I rode directly into the mess of trails with wild abandon, and noted that when I hit the 2.5 mile mark; the trail kept going. So did I.
Then it wasn't long before my trail ended but it only became another name...the brown trail, so I continued on. I rode on a very wide shoulder set aside for bikers and then on a sidewalk type trail which was not far from a paralleling single track trail (one can have their choice). I opted for the paved trail and kept on. Then the trail grew quite steep and windy, with a lot of S-curves. So much so that I had to stop and rest a bit. Then back on the bike only to discover that this trail leads to the back door of the construction site for the Crystal Bridges Art Museum. It promises to be quite a spectacular place right here in the heart of the Ozarks! I stopped and got a couple of shots so you can see just how far along they are in the construction process.

I can't wait to see the final picture; it looks like it will be spectacular.
Working my way up the trail a little further I discovered that I was just a couple of blocks from the square in downtown Bentonville (near the WalMart Museum!) the trail ended at the Compton Gardens complex.

In a nutshell what they have done is to connect the downtown Bentonville Square, Compton Gardens, Crystal Bridges and the Slaughter Pen Trail system. I was amazed!

So the return trip was pretty easy since in was downhill all the way...oops! I digress, when I got back to the tangle of single-track section, I went in and played on the mogul loops that they built for those who would rather play than seriously ride. Then I found the easiest trial and rode it: Seed Tick Shuffle.

This was not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but it was doable. Most of the others are marked More Difficult. So I have decided that I will wait until leaf-off time and then give those a try as well. When I finished the single track ride I had gone only 8 miles and change but since a lot of it was uphill and the temps were playing with the mid 90's I was feeling a bit spent. Time for lunch!

I went into town not far from where my volunteer activity was to take place and had lunch at Rubaies Cafe located at 3404 SE Macy Rd in Bentonville. It is most definitely not a fast food place! They have a diversified selection for lunch but I spotted an open faced gyro sandwich and decided that I would try that.

It was very good and they surprised me with a side of thinly sliced and deep-fried potatoes sprinkled with cheese and tomato bits...that was fabulous!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Slaughter Pen Mountain Biking Trail, Bentonville, Arkansas

It is hard for me to believe that I had to find out about this place by watching a show on the local PBS station entitled "Exploring Arkansas" but it is true. The reason it is so hard for me to believe is that I have been searching online for mountain biking trails around here since I moved here and I always come up with very little. Anyway, I found out about it and decided to go and take a look. Some of the stuff they had on the program was too much for me to even consider; like these elevated narrow wood bridges. I guess one ties to sharpen their technical skills by riding about a foot and a half above ground on a six inch narrow wooden surface. I was hoping that there would be ways to side-step these and just stay on the ground...well apparently, people got hurt on them because all that remained of those structures were the pilings...no raised surfaces remained for riding. Just as well as far as I'm concerned.

So the place is located just off the exit 93 of 540, head towards Bentonville and in about a half mile you will come to the trail head. Lots of parking is provided in a paved lot, restroom facilities are provided and there is a doggie park. Not just any doggie park. They have it split into three distinct areas, for small, medium and large dogs. Very nice!

I thought the Razorback fire hydrant was and especially nice touch!

Anyway, they have a concrete multi-use trail that runs some 2.5 miles from the trail head into the park. This leads you to the mountain biking trails; which are located about a half mile in, off the concrete path. Here is one of the easy trails. It runs along the concrete trail for some distance, but just a few feet away are other trails that promise a bit more challenge..

The Armadillo's Last Stand trail seems to go straight up, but not for too long, I think I could do it if I warmed up on one of the other trails first.
There is a nice stream that flows on the other side of the concrete trail and this blue butterfly caught my eye. Double click and you'll see there is a nice balance of stream, leaves and butterfly!
They provided some curves and moguls for practicing on, as well as some more intricate bike skills that I would never try...but it is here for the taking.
I have to admit that I have not yet ridden these trails; I only walked them on my first visit. I have learned that I should check things out before I decide to actually use a trail that I have not been to yet. So next week, when I find myself in Bentonville doing some volunteer work, I will bring my bike and see just how enjoyable this place is. Stay tuned!