Frozen Flora – the Season of the Frost Flower

The hills of the Ozarks are a wet place. Rain water becomes spring water or ground water as it passes through our limestone karst topography. As it gets colder out the bluffs leach out this water in the form of icicles. On the ground below the bluffs the water trapped inside the stalks of tall plants expands. This ice takes on amazing forms – frost flowers appear at the bases of these plants. They appear on mornings where the temps are below freezing and disappear as the temperature rises.

It’s been unseasonably cold for a few days. I have been lighting a fire most evenings to warm up the old Stonehouse. This kind of sustained cold is more common in January or February. This morning when I took a look at the forecast I thought that even though it’s a couple of months early, the conditions were right. I packed up my macro lens and hit the highway. I had to slog through some semi frozen mud, but is it was worth it. Fields and fields of frosty blossoms.

I used a macro light on the super close-ups and a flash on a couple of shots. I wish I had taken the tripod, but the white light of an overcast day let me shoot fast enough to get away without it.

Click through and get a sense of the flower and the intricate shapes that make them up. I’m off to the kitchen to make some hot apple cider. Stay warm.

Sunday Brunch


Good morning, my little Chickadees, the Bird Buffet at the Stone House will be open daily throughout the winter, but make sure to stop by for our award winning Sunday Brunch!


Dead tree trunks packed with suet for all our nuthatch…


and woodpecker friends…


On sunny days be sure to swing by and check out our all new winter menu…


Wintering goldfinches, we are stocked up with fresh top quality Niger seed…


Titmice, come prepared to feast on the finest black oil sunflower seeds…


And dine at our special platter feeder designed to help you forget about those fickle buntings who left you to spend the winter in Mexico…


No need to worry about squirrels at this buffet, Velcro is standing by to dispatch any rodents. Nothing will spoil your dining experience at the buffet…


As always, we welcome cardinals, even if they are thankless snobs who lurk until we close for the night.

Automne dans les Aux Arcs – C’est Orange!

Ok – so I don’t speak French. I took three years in high school and struggled through it. One day my teacher, Madame Sprott commented on my sweater – “Oooooo! C’est orange!” It’s been stuck in my head for over 30 years. Whenever I hear the word “orange” I can still hear her voice as she noted the color of my sweater. It was the kindest thing she ever said to me. She was pretty ambivalent about me, but that sweater…..I digress. Sorry.

Orange is a color that moves me. I feel invigorated in an orange room. I like orange clothes. It’s a color that I don’t just see, I feel it.



The maples and sassafras go through an orange stage on the way to red, but orange looks best on them.



There’s a perfect shade of orange that happens just before brown. The sunshine makes it sing.



Orange in the sunlight makes my soul sing.


Don’t miss out on the orange, it’s here and then it’s gone.

Leaf Peeking at Sweet Spring

Fall color is starting to pop and I got a chance to shoot a bit before dark the last two nights. I headed to one of my favorite spots in Eureka Springs – Sweet Spring.


Eureka is the town that water built and it has dozens of free flowing springs that attracted Victorian types to come to find healing in the waters. In the 1880s the City created reservations that basically created a protective area around each spring, essentially they created dozens of small jewel-box parks.

Many of the springs on the west side of town have formal stonework surrounds and Sweet Spring is essentially a spiral staircase that goes down into the ground. It has amazing color on the hill above.


I shot these all within 30 minutes of sunset.

This was taken with a fish-eye from down inside the stairwell.

Vines over the wall


Maples on the hillside

One of my favorite things to do in the fall is to just shoot leaves without any particular thought – I let myself get very right-brained – I hunt shapes and colors while shooting fast. I let my eye just find things without looking for them. It’s very different from shooting wildlife, it’s more organic – it’s more satisfying. I can get lost shooting leaves…






For my friends in Canada

On my way out I had to shoot this morning glory.

My favorite leaf shot of the evening.

Ending the week shooting leaves is good for my soul. Autumn is here!

It has begun…

After a long summer’s drought the forecast is for COLOR!

It’s just starting, here and there, but it’s coming. I was driving home about 10 days ago and saw my first glimpse – Virginia Creeper wrapped around the trunk of a dead oak. I parked the jeep and hiked into the woods to get a look. Mosquitos everywhere and too much glare, still I found some color on the forest floor where some of the creeper had fallen



Last Saturday I got a chance to walk around my property, there are some volunteer trees – not sure what kind, but they showed the first color. These are in a space I quit mowing about 5 years ago – birds nest in them in the summer and they show great color in the fall.


On Sunday I got just a small peek at the color to come in the Boxley Valley where I shoot elk. Not great shots, we were in a hurry and I shot these from the car.



The days are getting shorter so it’s almost impossible to shoot after work. I look forward to those crips autumn weekends where I can get lost in the leaves.

What’s the color like where you are?