Archive | March, 2011

Crane makes history! Boys bring home title.

20 Mar

Levi Cook poured in 42 points and had 15 rebounds to lead Crane by Bernie 77-63 in the Missouri Class 2 boys’ state championship game Saturday. The Pirates (27-5) went on a 13-6 run early in the third quarter to seal the deal. Cranes title is the first in school history. Levi Cook was 14 of 24 from the field and also recorded eight assists, only 5 points away from breaking the scoring record. Cody Lumpkin and Zach Akins each added 10 points for Crane, which shot 47 percent from the floor. Jordan McGowan scored 23 points and had 12 rebounds and Sammy Walker added 15 for the Mules (28-5), which lost the championship game for the second straight year.

Cook puts on a show for Crane…News-Leader

Final four small towns empty-out to support teams in Columbia…KY3

Crane boys, Stockton and Purdy girls celebrate state titles…KY3

Class 2 State Basketball Championship – Bernie…SEMOBall

Bernie falls to Crane in state championship…Daily Dunklin



18 Mar

A couple of local folks making good!
What do you get when you give a hillbilly a Hasselblad, a pickup truck, and a big gray dog and turn them loose in the wild Ozarks? In Leland Payton’s case, you ultimately get a beautifully photographed and expressively written book about his homeland: The Beautiful and Enduring OZARKS. One hundred-thirty-nine photographs, eightyseven in full color, spanning more than 30 years of Ozark rambles, illustrate this original photo essay on the mountainous region of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

Leland and Crystal Payton created Lens & Pen Press to produce titles that large publishers might consider too specialized for a national audience. Before that, the Paytons had been published by Abbeville Press in New York; Chronicle Books, San Francisco; and St. Martin’s Press, New York. An early entry into ‘niche publishing,’ the Paytons found their niche in the sometimes stereotyped but always intriguing region of the Ozarks. They live in Springfield, Missouri.

And now for something completely different…

17 Mar

I know you have been thinking about what to eat in celebration of St. Patties Day. My friend Jessica has the answer.

St. Patrick’s Day Pizza: Asparagus and Potato Pizza with Pesto and Carmelized Onions

Well for St. Patrick’s Day we went a little overboard at the grocery store and bought enough toppings for TWO pizzas, so this is the first, and we’ll be making the second one tonight. We have a lot of fun with these, and it’s a great motivator to try new and sometimes strange ingredients or combinations of things we might otherwise not have considered for our weekly pizza night.

For our first pizza we chose fresh sliced asparagus spears and sliced red potatoes with carmelized onions and pesto. Lots of green and fresh spring vegetables. Ironic because it literally snowed all day yesterday. Regardless, a super fresh, green and veggie-filled pizza on a flatbread crust. This is our first time making a flatbread crust, so we gave the much-recommended Mario Batali Flatbread a try.

Here’s Jessica’s recipe.

I could kick myself.

16 Mar

As a youngster in school our teachers did their best to involve us with the history and heritage of the Ozarks, which included reading The Ozarks Mountaineer Magazine. At the time it was what most of us thought…”boring information about stuff we could care less about, bring on the lunch bell”. With a little age under my belt I was dead wrong and now I wish I would have read it from cover to cover.

According to it’s publisher The Ozarks Mountaineer publishes factual articles about the hill country and highlands between the Mississippi River and the lakes country of eastern Oklahoma, bounded on the south by the Arkansas River and on the north by the Missouri River. Subjects of interest include, but are not limited to, personalities, crafts and crafts people, our environment, architecture, geography, historical and current events in the region and humor.

Heck it’s more than that,  it’s a fine slice of of our family, friends our grandfathers and grandmothers. Today I would have be thrilled to have all those back issues that slipped through my grubby little hands and were thrown away in the trash. I think a good thrashing would be deserved.

Today’s Mountaineer, in it’s latest issue, is featuring the Paul and Ruth Henning Conservation Area in Branson, I like the fact it’s not concentrating on the much covered Branson Music Scene. Another story instructs you on modern methods in making  lye soap and another on non-native plant species in the Ozarks. With today’s economy, issues and costs those back issues would come in handy when it was time to “do it yourself”, at least we would have references as to how our ancestors did a few things. The magazine is still available and it still has some of those great stories with information that could be used today.

Worth the subscription in my opinion.

The Hillbilly Archaeologist Strikes Again

15 Mar

The Abandoned In Stone County Series

Way back off a now closed paved county highway I stumbled upon this gem sitting in a steep gully on a hillside.

It was overgrown, it was classic. A perfect place for an off the grid lifestyle. The “hollar” was laced with trash from dumpers, not the former owners but what I call traveling trashers. It kills me that people think they can drive up in a remote area and simply unload their trash.

Amazingly the property wasn’t more trashed. I guess the dumpers thought someone still lived there and left the driveway untouched with their garbage. I noticed the stone landscaping had been carefully placed at one time with a fairly long run of it, lining the drive. Cleaned up and polished this would be a nice cottage for a retired couple or some first time buyers.

A little closer look at the stonework above the garage shows it wasn’t just thrown together. I think someone had laid the stone after the house was constructed. This place had to have been rough cedar as shown above the front door. I also imagine the runoff from rains would have been a bit nasty from time to time. To the right of the house is a good sized ravine, maybe 40 foot drop near the house. I also bet it’s a magnet for copperheads.

That corner fireplace is sure a looker. Not much of a yard but here on the hill who cares…weed whack the yard. The front steps and porch had crumbled away so there wasn’t much to see. I keep looking for those copperheads…geez.

This perspective gives you an idea of the elevation on the place. The ravine on the other side was impossible to capture, trust me, it was wicked deep. It added to the charm, at least that’s what my wife would say. Besides the copperheads I kept my eye out for a cave where I might find an old still.

The real feature to this place wasn’t the house or the remote location. It wasn’t all that remote, it was just off the main highway not more than 500 yards. Across the highway was the James River, I could drop the boat in the water in 5 minutes time. This would be a great weekend getaway, a real mancave. Bet it’s cheap.

If this were to be “The Mancave” I’ll have to figure out where to put the giant flatscreen and the satellite dish. The corner fireplace was in pretty good overall shape…needs an insert though and a few of my buddies to watch the Chiefs…whose bringing the beer and wings?

New Gardening Classes in 2011

10 Mar

University of Missouri Extension Master Gardeners will partner with Springfield-Greene County Park Board locations, Rutledge-Wilson Farm Community Park, 3825 W. Farm Road 146, and Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, 2400 S. Scenic, to offer several new classes that will enhance gardening knowledge and skills.

The Farm Park series is titled “Growing Knowledge at the Farm.”All classes are held from 6 – 7 p.m. on Thursdays. Pre-registration is required at 417-837-5949.
Series topics include:

* March 17: Discover the Benefits of Grafting ($15)
* April 28: Growing Tomatoes ($5)
* May 19: Meet The Three Sisters ($5)
* June 16: Manage Insects and Diseases in Your Garden ($5)
* July 21: Plan Now for a Fall Harvest ($5)

Botanical Center’s classes are titled “Into Gardening Series.” All classes are held from 9 – 11 a.m. on Saturdays. Pre-registration is required at 417-891-1515 and each session has a fee of $10.
Series topics include:

* May 7: Spring Into Gardening
* October 8: Fall Into Gardening
* January 21, 2012: Getting Beyond the Garden

Registration for both locations and series can also be made online at

Hiking the Buffalo River Trail

8 Mar

I read more than my share of blogs, I keep close contact with good friends and thought I would share a few of my daily reads with you. This is one I read, follow and subscribe to. It’s done by close friends Neil and Jessica Kohler. They are former Springfieldians now living in Columbia where they go to school and work.

Hiking The Buffalo River Trail by Kohler Created!



A couple weeks ago a friend of mine messaged me on Facebook and asked if I wanted to go backpacking that upcoming weekend. Considering it was the middle of January, I was a bit wary at the thought of waking up to subzero temperatures. This group of friends have been known to backpack in sub 32 degree temperatures, and even sleep without a tent when it is in the single digits! Not only was my gear not really up to the task of extreme temperatures, but my courage wasn’t either.

As luck would have it, that particular weekend a warm front came through, warmer than any we’d had all winter, and the day time temperatures were in the upper 50s! Jessica had to stay home with a mountain grad school homework, but she told me to go anyway. I’m glad I did, the hike was just the escape I needed from the long winter.


We hit the trail early Saturday morning. For those of you not familiar with the BRT, here is a quick overview of the trail. There is a lot of wildlife and amazing views on the hikes in Arkansas and I don’t think it gets as much credit where its due. A full 36 miles if you do it all, but this weekend we would be taking on a mere 15-17miles of the trail.

During the hike we tracked our progress with the multiple GPS devices among the crew. Here is a map of our hike to reference.
View Buffalo River Trail – Steel Creek to Boxley in a larger map

Even though hiking in January meant little foliage and tree cover, it allowed us to see amazingly clear views of the river and the hills around.



There were even a few surprises like this little sinkhole/cave we decided to check out.





As the miles rolled behind us, 9.1 the first day to be exact; it started getting a bit later in the day and we needed to look for a good place to camp, one hopefully with a water source nearby. We came atop one of the hills/mountains and found a flat peak, however the only water source was over 300 feet of elevation drop below us.

My brother Ben and our friend Nathan took on the task of trekking down the steep gorge and getting 2.5 gallons of water (heavy!) and then climbing back up. Kudos to them, I highly doubt I would of had the fortitude to do that after the full day of hiking.

Our camp:




I had canned soup and a hot dog for dinner. There were many different meals going on that evening. Some pastas, some rice dishes. If you have never heard of a JetBoil it is an extremely versatile cooking system that is lightweight and very efficient. Jessica and I used them on both our Colorado and Montana trips to cook many great dishes.

Nathan brought this awesome wind-up radio. I have to get one of these. It is great to get some tunes with the conversation around the camp fire sometimes. No batteries required. Wind it up for 60-120 seconds and get nearly an hour of radio. How cool is that?


The morning came a lot earlier than I would have liked. However I did sleep well thanks to our awesome sleeping pads. Ever since we purchased them I have not felt the ground ever again on our camping trips. To see all of our favorite gear, check out this post!

Coffee in 60 seconds with the JetBoil and Starbucks VIA is a life saver on early camping mornings.


I told you that they sleep without a tent. Crazy, but when you imagine the weight savings to your pack, it’s definitely tempting to try.


We packed up and headed back out, immediately coming across a great view. Here’s a shot of my brother Ben and I. Can you tell we’re related?



Another 7.3 miles to the end of our trek. Overall, I really liked the part of the trail we did. There were a lot of elevation changes that challenged me, but there was also a good amount of flat area where you did not have to stare at your feet and could enjoy looking around a little more.


I was certainly tired by the end of the second day, but it felt good to get exercise that challenged every one of my muscles. It’s a great workout when you are hiking with 30-40lbs or more on your back. Beats the gym any day!


End shot of our group.


This weekend I may be heading down to do another weekend of backpacking. Stay tuned!



Visit Neil and Jessica on…