Category Archives: Traveling

Entertainment, annual events and festivals for a day or a vacation getaway

Anna, must see Eureka Springs theatrics


A Haunting Theatrical Experience: ANNA

We entered the auditorium just as the previous audience was leaving. “You’re going to love this!” Twenty people poured out the door gushing about the fun and scary – but not too scary – performance.


The Story –

James and Annabelle Crowe graciously invite You to their lovely, Victorian home for an intimate gathering in 1937. Witness some very strange appearances and disappearances which are curiously unexplained. However, the frightening truth still lingers in the walls, and sometimes… you can hear it.

This walk-through experience is a unique blending of traditional theater, dance, special effects, and haunted house thrills. The show is filled with interactive theatrics, suspense and humor. There is murder and mystery, but not gore.


Anna is fun, but not really accessible. Be mindful, you will be standing or walking in the dark, plus, there are short walks up and down stairs. The 40 minute performance is rated PG13 and limited to 20 people.


Extra performances have been added. Get your tickets ASAP. (720) 278-5672, or online. Learn more on Facebook


Written, directed, and performed by Melonlight, I hope this kind of Halloween entertainment becomes a Eureka Springs tradition.


Harvest time in the Cotton Belt

cotton bolls

Cotton bolls are 2 – 3 inches in diameter. This boll is considered a fruit because it contains seeds.

Soybeans and cotton

soybean field

Soybeans in the field in October.

Driving through the Mississippi Delta region of Arkansas, and Mississippi, you can see the fields full and ready for harvest.

I don’t know much about growing cotton or soybeans, but the fields are beautiful.




The Cotton Belt

cotton fields

Cotton bolls.

The Cotton Belt begins at the back of the Carolina-Georgia tide-water and extends westward to the high plains of west-central Texas. It includes nearly all South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, the greater part of Arkansas and Louisiana, and most of southern Oklahoma and central Texas. It extends into substantial areas of south central North Carolina, western Tennessee, southeast Missouri.

Today, Texas, Mississippi, Georgia, and Arkansas are the leading producers of the old cotton belt. The dryness of those areas makes it easier to control insect pests. Large quantities of cotton are also grown on irrigated land in New Mexico, South Arizona, and Southern California.

cotton fields

Photo taken in early October, Cape Girardeau County, Missouri. This field is usually harvested in late October.

That’s enough American grown cotton to make over 250 million pairs of  jeans a year.

The cotton plant has yellow and pink colored flowers. They are beautiful in the summer garden and lovely in flower arrangements. In October or November the cotton bolls put on another show.


Soft yellow hibiscus-like flowers of the summer blooming cotton plants.

If  you’ve never seen cotton growing, there are different colored cottons. Plants can grow 5′ to 6′ tall. The plant requires full sun and a long growing season, typical in the cotton belt states.

Start plants indoors. Wait until temperatures are consistently above 60º before planting outdoors.


Lettuce think Spring


Renee Shepherd

Renee Shepherd


I met Renee Shepherd at my first Annual GWA Symposium*. I admit to being a little star struck meeting Renee of Renee’s Gardens.

“You’re Renee! Of Renee’s Gardens! I recognized you because you look just like your picture,” I said.

She was kind enough not to say anything.

It was about that time when I realized that I sounded like I had the IQ of a seed packet. “OMG, I just told this woman who she was.” 

Then, I quickly left, praying that Renee had not read my name tag.

Growing Salad Greens

Spring greens, spinach, strawberries with balsamic dressing.

Spring greens, spinach, strawberries with balsamic dressing.

I always order way too much seed for the spring salad bowl.  Lettuces, arugula, radishes, scallions, and spinach come up by the crisper full. I love salads. Plus, I like those generous seed packets that have enough seeds for succession planting all season. I will always plant more lettuces and radishes every single week of the spring until it just gets too hot.

baby romaines

Thin small lettuces to allow room for the others to grow.

I can never have too many spring greens, baby leaf lettuces, chopped salad, wilted lettuce. Top with chive blossoms or lacy chervil leaves. Serve with the lightest of dressings.

Renee’s Garden Seeds has a big gourmet greens selection. The only problem will be limiting your salad selections to the size of your garden. I like Renee’s combo selections because the seed combination’s are a thrifty way to get a lot of variety into a small garden.

Container lettuce, “Ruby & Emerald Duet” is a perfect pairing of emerald-green baby butterhead rosettes with red and crispy mini leaf lettuce. The “Caesar Duo” romaine lettuce combo of red and green baby size lettuces. These Romaines are the foundation of the best homemade Caesar salads you’ll ever make.

Romaines also grow to crispy, crunchy leaves, perfect on sandwiches. The “cut and come again” mescluns are a jumble of color, size and texture in containers or hanging baskets. Lettuces, radish and green onions will be gone before you need the baskets and containers for their warm weather annuals.

Last spring I tried the “Paris Market Mesclun”, a mix of several baby lettuces, chicory, endive, and arugula. Small successive plantings stretched the flavors, textures and colors of this “cut and come again” mix through the whole spring.

Yes, there is a real Renee. And yes, she selects, grows and eats this stuff before she offers it to us in her beautiful online only catalog. Plus, the website tells how to plant, grow, harvest, prepare and cook all these amazing vegetables.

Renee’s Garden Sowing in seed-starting containers to transplant into your garden will get you headed in the right direction.IMG_9430

Renee’s Garden Seeds offered seed to garden writers. It’s a great way to grow and share information about what’s new for home gardeners. For example, I grew “Little Prince” a container eggplant. I was smitten. It was beautiful. The lavender blooms alone would be reason enough to grow Little Prince.

Being a garden writer and blogger is great fun because I get to share the joy and pleasure of gardening with others.

Little Prince in bloom.

Little Prince eggplant in bloom. Dozens of delicate lavender flowers become 2 – 4 ounce eggplants. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson


Eat Little Eggplants

Small and tender, marinade little eggplant halves and quarters then, grill. Serve as a warm side or add other grilled vegetables for a cold marinated vegetable salad.

* GWA = Garden Writers Association

How to Grow Your Own Baby Greens


Myths and Mysteries of Missouri: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained

Book Review

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained  by Josh Young

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri by Josh Young.

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri by Josh Young.

This book just screams “Road Trip!” Each chapter is one of 13 myths or mysteries scattered across the state. One topic makes for a perfect day trip. Select a handful of mysteries for a weekend snooping and detective work.

The Jesse James family home is not far from his grave and close to a bank he robbed. I did not think there was a thing I didn’t already know about this ruffian. In Clay county people celebrate Jesse James.

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri author Joshua Young.

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri author Joshua Young.

This is where Myths and Mysteries of Missouri shines. There are Jesse James Days, festivals, carnivals, websites, marathons and parades to sort through. How much of the legend is true?

Super sleuth Josh Young has investigated how Jesse James managed to avoid capture, even while living a normal life in public. Practically every public touring cave in Missouri claims to be a Jesse James hideout. He is a local hero and his name is known worldwide.

Josh Young’s book separates the notoriety from the nonsense about Jesse James, Jim the Wonder dog, and the Horse Whisperer Tom Bass. Young’s book is a great jumping off place for armchair historians and road trip warriors.

Find Myths and Mysteries of Missouri: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained on
Amazon,  Barnes and Noble,  Books A Million Buy an autographed copy at Long Creek Herbs

A Myths and Mysteries Series. Paperback, publisher Globe Pequot Press, 208 pages.

Tailgating on CBS

Great weather, good food, Perfect for Tailgating in Fayetteville Arkansas

A few more photos from Fayetteville Arkansas:

Still BFFs

Still BFFs

Cheering for both teams is easy for these friends.




IMG_5038 IMG_5059

Faithful fans never miss a tailgating opportunity.

Faithful fans never miss a tailgating opportunity.


See more photos here:

CBS tailgate fans


Looking for frost flowers

I wrote about amazing frost flowers in Missouri Gardener.  Just click  Have you ever seen a frost flower?

I suspect they are the work of garden fairies out visiting their friends and family, the woodland fairies.

I suspect they are the work of garden fairies out visiting their friends and family, the woodland fairies.


Yellow ironweed (Verbesina alternifolia) and white crownbeard (Verbesina virginica) can create frost flowers. White crownbeard is known as frost beard.


You have to get up pretty early in the morning to see frost flowers.

They amaze me. When neighbor Bill told me about them, I thought he was pulling my leg. So he went out, armed with a camera along with his deer hunting buddies. He came back with photos to prove they exist. I’ve never seen one. You can only find them in that precarious season between fall and winter.


Delicate and light, I have friends who said she ate them when she was a kid during the Great Depression.

Scout out the area while you can still identify the green plant known as ironweed (Verbesina alternifolia)

frost flowerIt happens when there is a freeze, but before the ground freezes.

It’s not likely that I will ever see one, as soon as the sun touches them, they vanish.  And, I’m not real sure I want to be out in the Missouri woods during deer hunting season. Deer Season is an event in Southeast Missouri, just about as big as Thanksgiving.

I’ll be back to Drury Hotels

I love it when somebody else makes the oatmeal. And the coffee.
Oatmeal Drury

I’ve written about Drury Hotels before.

Good News, Drury Hotels Lost the Bathtub

Value added at Drury Hotels

But tonight, they won me over again. Jeff and I have been been married for 30 years today. When Jeff answered the door, a special roomservice arrived.

Champagne with glasses AND fresh baked cookies.

Champagne with glasses AND fresh baked cookies.

St. Louis-Drury Inns & Suites near Forest Park, 2111 Sulphur Ave. St Louis, MO 63139. How cool is that?

Last time I was here, I told Bri one of the things I like about this chain is the customer service. Everyone in the hotel is a Good Will Ambassador. Every staff member has a smile and a kind word. I like that.

Must see Branson at Christmastime.

Branson is one big Christmas Card. All deorated in it’s holiday best, … Read More:

 5 must see Christmas events in Branson at Striped Pot.

Molly and Carter are the ships resident dogs. Learn more about the Titanic and the pets that were aboard when it set sail from London. Photo: PBH

There is always more to do and see in Branson than is possible. But if you do have time, stop by the Titanic Museum. Say Happy Birthday to  the ships’ dogs. Molly and Carter.

See the Titanic in it’s Edwardian Holiday best. Photo: PBH.

Buy Titanic tickets, see times and dates of special events. Your best price is through the Titanic Museum web site.

3 Best Christmas light displays:

  • Branson Area Festival of Lights. Through Dec. 31 at Dusk – 11 p.m.


  • Shepherd of the Hills Trail of Lights. Through Jan. 2 at Shepherd of the Hills Homestead


  • Holiday Light Tours at Ride the Ducks. Through Dec. 9 at Ride the Ducks – Splash’s Winter Wonderland




5 must see Christmas events in Branson at Striped Pot travel magazine.


For more holiday festivities, contact the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce/CVB .


Wordless Wednesday August 29, 2012






















More Wordless Wednesday


Missouri Coneflower

A roadside wildflower in Missouri

A summer roadside wildflower in Missouri

Missouri Coneflower, Rudbeckia missouriensis
Aster family (Asteraceae)


This yellow coneflower is a Missouri native.

Missouri coneflower is a Missouri native perennial. You can find these yellow flowers in limestone glades in the Ozarks. I noticed them along roadsides in late June and early July.

Rudbeckia missouriensis can spread to form wild colonies of yellow flowers growing between 2 and 3 feet tall. Daisy-like flowers have  yellow rays and black center cones.

Narrow green leaves and the multiple stems are hairy. Long summer to early fall bloom period.

You may have seen yellow coneflowers outside of Missouri. Their growing region stretches into AR, IL, LA, MO, OK, TX.

Yellow Coneflower

the leaves and multi branched stems are hairy.

I saw these yellow conflowers on the road to Laura Ingles Wilder’s home and museum.

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