Lightning strikes in Saint Paul

Ozark Electric lightning damage
Ozark Electric replaces transformer damaged by lightning

A major lightning strike in Saint Paul knocked out power to most of the town. It blew up several Ozark Electric transformers. As you can see, the Weather Cam image has not changed in a few days. Four of our web cams were toasted along with the Winstream Modem supporting our internet service. It will be a week before new cameras arrive and can be installed.

Linda’s New Art Gallery

Attic Window quilt block painting is an example of Linda S. Groms's art work.
The Attic Window theme depicts a cheerful sunrise overlooking stream and hills.

Linda has been busy for the last year painting quilt block designs in acrylic on canvas. She has been so busy that she completed over 50 of them. So, when I finished up my home improvement and maintenance chores for the year, I helped Linda empty out the old store building we have on Highway 23 and remodeled the interior as an art gallery for her work.

We had a lot of fun doing it and the result is great, but there is no where near enough space to display 50 plus paintings. And, with Covid 19 still stalking the county, opening a walk-in gallery did not make much sense. So, I got to work on an online gallery for her. This is a website that is just for Linda’s art work. You can see it here… Spy Rock Graphics

Why Spy Rock Graphics? Well, Spy Rock is a prominent lookout spot we like to visit, not far from where we live. A hike there give you a whole new perspective on life, the universe, and everything.

After wrapping up the gallery website, one thing led to another and we decided to start on an online shop too. We are hoping that a few sales there will help to pay for paint and canvas. Take a look for yourself at Spy Rock Graphics Shop.

Linda’s paintings have a quilt block theme. She studies classic and contemporary quilt designs and creates her own interpretations of them. Her vision is bold and her palette is lively. We apply Linda’s quilt block designs to hand bags, sketchbooks, pillow covers, greeting cards, and mugs. Of course, they are available as ready framed prints in sizes up to 18″ x 18″ also.

You can read more about how she does her work in this page > Linda’s Studio .

Quiche Lorraine – Julia Child

Quiche Lorraine Recipe

Linda dug through her recipe box to find one of her old favorites by Julia Child. We enjoyed it near the Winter Solstice. And, though it makes enough to serve six, it keeps well and makes a fine breakfast. Or, served with a salad, it can be the main attraction for brunch or dinner.

Linda always makes her own pie crust from scratch. But you might want to pick up a 10 inch crust from the store.

Quiche Lorraine fresh from the oven

Here it is fresh out of the oven and still piping hot. The pie crust is rich and flaky.

Slicing the quiche

Linda cut it into slices while it was still hot and served it for dinner. The bacon, eggs, pie crust, and cheese make this a hearty dish. You may have to watch your diet for a few days after treating yourself to a few servings.

Quiche Lorraine with salad

A fresh salad nearby compliments the golden brown quiche for a mouth watering visual delight. We hope you have a chance to make this for yourself and friends. While it is one of our cool weather favorites, it makes a delicious meal any time of year.

Visit to Alfie Williams Log Home

Linda and I take a drive up to Alfie Williams old house from time to time. The road is getting a bit rough, but the house is still in remarkably good shape. And, Linda tells me it is on the National Historic Register.

Alfie Williams house from the road

We parked in front of the house and were glad to see that it has not suffered too much from neglect. Neighbors keep an eye on traffic up the driveway and hopefully discourage vandals.

Williams Woods sign

This is the sign that the Ozark Highlands Trail Association put up near Alfie’s house. It is adorned with a few pieces of old automobiles at its base.

We walked up for a closer look. Both Linda and I knew Alfie when she lived here many years ago, and a visit brings a keen sense of nostalgia.

A closer look at Alfie’s house

Alfie’s brother Mack built this home during the 1930’s. When Alfie realized she had terminal cancer, late in life, she left the property to the Ozark Highlands Trail Association. They have had it put on the historic record, and protected the property with a conservation easement. You can read about it on their website here Highlands Trail Org – Williams Woods . The property is now for sale.

Highlands Trail members cleared the 3 mile loop trail in 2017 after being closed since 2009 as a result of an ice storm that caused many trees to topple. Compulsive Hiker Michael R. tells about clearing the trails in his blog .

Alfie Williams front porch

The house is nestled in the trees and it is cool and inviting as you approach. When we went to the front door, it was locked and the side door to the kitchen was off the hinges. We took a look in side, being careful not to disturb anything. No one has lived here for a number of years. At one time, after Alfie passed away, there was a care taker.

A look inside…

Alfie’s kitchen

Alfie loved her home and the woods around it. Now there are still a few traces of her life here. Hopefully someone who appreciates this gem will buy it and restore it while it is still sound.

Gas heat stove in Alfie’s kitchen

Here is a closer look at the propane heater in Alfie’s kitchen. I can imagine it was quite a luxury when it was first installed to supplement the wood heat.

Indoor well in Alfie’s kitchen

With no electricity here in the early days, this indoor well would have been cherished. It is only steps from where the cook stove and sink would have been.

Well in Alfie’s kitchen

The well curb and top are cast concrete. Aflie had running water added later on, but I know other folks who always preferred their dug well for drinking and making coffee or tea. The water in this part of the Boston Mountains can vary considerably in taste from one spring or well to another.

Alfie Williams library

Alfie collected a number of books that are still on the shelves in the living room. We did not take time to inspect the titles and now that we are gone, I am curious about her reading preferences. A reading list can make a good reflection of someones personality.

A sunny back room still has Alfie’s treadle sewing machine. Its easy to imagine her here making clothes and doing mending over the years. She lived by herself here after she retired.

Alfie Williams sewing room

The treadle sewing machine in this photo sits near a window. The Ozark Electric Co-op did not bring service to the Saint Paul area until the 1950’s, so good natural lighting would have been a necessity for needle work.

A walk around the house…

The back side of Alfie Williams home

We took  a walk around the house before leaving and noted that all the logs are in unusually good condition. Often, the corners of old log buildings suffer from continued exposure to the weather.

Kitchen windows in Alfie’s house

The windows and trim still look pretty fair, but could use a coat of paint. Mack did a beautiful job hewing the logs and cutting dovetails for the corner joints. The chinking between the logs looks to be tight still, indicating that the logs were well seasoned before the chinking was placed.

Parting shots…


Amanita mushrooms

On the way back down the hill we found several amanita mushrooms in the process of popping up. There is probably a technical way to describe that, but that is what it looks like.

Amantia mushroom emerging
Amantia mushroom

After this stop to check out the mushrooms we called it a day and headed for home.

Rock House hike

Linda and I started Thanksgiving Day off by welcoming all the hungry birds in the neighborhood to breakfast. Linda put out suet blocks and there was a line forming.

Red bellied woodpecker
Cedar waxwing

After all the birds were taken care of we bundled up and took a hike up to the Rock House near Cherry Bend in the Ozark Saint Francis National Forest nearby.

Rock House at Cherry Bend

The Rock House is just off the Ozark Highlands Hiking Trail where it crosses Highway 23 (the Pig Trail). According to Robert Jones of nearby Fain Creek, the house was built in the early 1900’s by his grandfather. You can find his account here at the Ozark Mountain Hiker.

We took a look around inside. It has not changed too much over the years, but one of the door lentils looks like it is about ready to fall. The walls have all settled a few inches below the overhanging rock. And the spring box in the corner was almost dry.

Now that the leaves are all off the trees you can see out across the hollow for some distance.

View from Rock House

On the way back to our car, we met some other hikers and talked a bit, then headed back to the homestead for Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving dinner

Linda had been cooking fresh bread, a split green bean casserole, pasta with a white sauce, and her delicious home made cranberry sauce. She made the sauce with fresh cranberries and her home made applesauce. It was all ready to serve, waiting for the salmon to come off the grill.

We have ever so much to be thankful for!

Our favorite brunch

Linda’s Spinach Eggs

Spinach eggs

One of our favorite dishes is Linda’s spinach eggs with uncured bacon and sourdough toast. This is great for brunch or even a quick dinner.

Here’s the recipe if you want to fix some up for yourself. It will serve two to four. You can add a few cloves of garlic if it suits your taste. We hope you enjoy this as much as we do. Its delicious!


10 ounces fresh spinach chopped
4 tbsp. butter or olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
2 small portobello mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic minced
4 medium eggs
salt and pepper to taste
top with Parmesan cheese

Preheat frying pan, add butter or olive oil then add chopped spinach, garlic, and onions.
Saute at medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 25 minutes.
Then, spread the spinach and other sauteed ingredients to make room in the center of the pan for eggs.
Add four eggs and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Parmesan, then, cover and cook  until the eggs are set.
Serve immediately while piping hot!

Linda’s pumpkin cupcakes

Linda’s Pumpkin Cupcakes with butter frosting…

These cupcakes are moist and spicy, with lots of pumpkin. The recipe makes 12 extra large cupcakes or two large 9x5x3 inch loaf pans. These are sweet, but not too sweet.

Dry ingredients:

3 1/3 cup of flour
2 2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1 cup chopped raisins

Wet ingredients:

2 cups of mashed pumpkin
4 eggs beaten
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup melted butter

Blend dry ingredients and then combine them with wet ingredients until the batter is evenly blended.
Next, divide the batter evenly between prepared pans. (I like to use paper muffin tin liners.)

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees then bake your cupcakes for 30-35 minutes. If you are using loaf pans, then bake for 45-50 minutes.

When you think they are done, test with a toothpick or skewer. If they are ready, it will come out clean.

Take them out of the oven and put them on a cooling rack if you have one. Then finish them off with a simple butter frosting.

We often share one of these large cupcakes. You can put a few in the freezer for later. They keep well for up to 3 months.

American lady butterfly


This American Lady Butterfly was an occasional visitor back in mid-October. Ladies like open areas like the edges of fields, and places with low weeds. The adults like to feed on plants such as dogbane, aster, goldenrod, marigold, self-heal, common milkweed, and vetch. Around Seven Cedars, we have goldenrod and quite a lot of asters.

Earlier in the year, females lay eggs on plantain, iron weed, burdock, everlasting and pearly everlasting. We have some of these near by. You can find a picture of Arkansas Iron Weed elsewhere on this website.