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Henry & Wynne's Big Spring Tour

Our trip down here to Big Spring in Van Buren, MO was a tight one. We were stuffed with everything we need for the next 2 months, or at least until Christmas. When we finally pried ourselves and the children out of the car, we all set about exploring our new surroundings in the dark. The historic cabin is tiny, but only 2 hours after our arrival Henry declared,"this is a cozy home just right for us."

The cabin was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s thanks to the legislation brought about by President Franklin Roosevelt in efforts to put young men to work, while also working to preserve America's beautiful natural places. Thanks FDR! We love it. Our cabin was actually the original laundry facility for the Corps.

After an oatmealy breakfast the next morning, we headed down to the Big Spring by foot, scooter (Wynne) and bike (Henry.) The road took us down quite a hill and across a bridge, about a half a mile from our cabin to the beautiful, bubbling spring. If you haven't been, we'll soon take you on a quick video tour, but if you live in Missouri, and even if you don't…its a trip worth taking! We've been twice a day for everyday since.

Every morning, we enjoy a quiet moment near the spring together followed by some drawing and planning for the day.
Here we are in this lovely, pristine park and the boys choose to use this time to perfect their wheel skills, Wynne on his scooter and Henry on skateboard and bike. Henry is working hard on his curb jumping and wheelie popping skills at the moment. We eventually climb the hill back to the cabin for our school work of the day. Though it varies some, we read some, write some, work on earning our junior ranger badges, collect wood, chop wood, hammer nails, ride bikes, watercolor paint, make nature crafts from our collection of goodies on hikes (acorns, sycamore balls, grapevines, shells, rocks, whatever,) learn about the trees around us and conduct science experiments of sorts. Its a busy day. It always ends with another walk or hike before starting a fire for cooking supper. After supper and stargazing some, its showers, cards and reading and in bed by 7ish. Yes, very early, but the boys are ready for rest and so are we.

We've been blessed with perfect weather so far, so almost all of our time is spent outside, however, when the cold and wet weather sets in, spirits may change, as will our routine, I'm sure.
We've explored the town of VanBuren some and found that there are almost no opportunities for wireless connections which leads, I'm afraid to few chances to update you all on what's happening, but know that we thinking of all of you.

A bit about VanBuren. It hosts the Information and Visitors Center for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways ( a part of the National Park Service) which is quite helpful in directing folks to springs, great canoe floats and sites and hiking trails as well as ways the region has developed along with the Current River as a major influence. The town is mostly seasonal as it depends on the seasonal traffic from hikers, campers, canoers and river enthusiasts. If you're not too into roughing it, but want to enjoy the wonders of the park, the Rose Cliff Lodge is a comfortable small hotel with the best catfish dinner around and a great view of the river from the dining room.

our new home

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we made it!

Well, folks...Hello! We're glad to be back here in Columbia, Missouri with so many of our loving and generous friends. It was quite a journey, but we made it.! I will do my best to fill you in before my computer battery dies out.

Though the interstate was still closed on Halloween morning, the boys and I hopped in the car and followed the convoy out of town and up north to Casper, in order to drive south to Cheyenne and on to Ft. Collins for some trick-or-treat action with the Monello family. After an evening of Halloween fun on Friday evening in Rawlins, we went back to the hotel in hopes of ordering pizza and staying in to inventory the candy. We called 2 pizza places only to find out that both were no longer making deliveries, or pizzas for that matter, because of a lack of ingredients. Next a fire occured in the wing of our hotel in the laundry room. No one was injured. And finally, the toilet overflowed. This said one thing to me, "evacuate Rawlins at your next opportunity/" So, we did. The journey to Ft. Collins was windy and long, however it did fufill a life-long goal of mine - to be involved in a convoy. Good times. Wish I had the cb to enjoy it even more.

Ft. Collins proved to be a great stopping point, as the Monellos hosted us with their usual grand and welcoming hospitality. Henry and Eli got right to work on their schemes and projects as Wynne and Ezra fought over toys, played nicely and fought over toys, while Mellon and I continued the conversation that we had left on the last time we saw one another. It was a great relief to be with friends again. We trick-or-treated on Busch Court and had a great time doing it. The group had a great time together and we're all glad we stopped.

Morning came too quickly. Jenny, Henry and Wynne zoomed off in the wagon heading toward I-70 with sights on Grandpa Scott's and Grandma Janet's, only to discover, 40 miles down the road guessed it! My wallet was still at the Monellos. Funny thing about that wallet. It keeps trying to get rid of me. Ryan met us halfway, where we were able to say goodbye again and get ourselves situated for the long haul mo-ward.
It must be said here that a 12 hour drive is really no fun for the driver, but even less fun for the passengers, however, the boys surpassed my expectations and did remarkable. We stopped several times for scooter breaks at rest areas along the way and the boys were rewarded with treats and games at various mile markers. This kept spirits high, but mostly seeing grandma and grandpa at the end of this drive kept the kids going.

We arrived in the evening at Scott and Janet's house where the boys promptly forgot that I existed and latched onto dad, grandma and grandpa. The next two days were full of 4-wheeler rides, doing chores with grandpa, playing with uncle eric, aunt rachel and cousin liam and even a fun visit with Aubrie. Lots of fun!

Back on the road Tuesday morning, heading straight for Columbia, MO. We got rid of Bryce at the office and were just in time to hit the family story time at the library, just like old times or as Henry said, "Mom, this going to story time is just like we did in the olden days." Henry got to surprise his friend Logan at his school pick up and those two laughed and played for about 25 hours straight. We were spoiled by the Burnams for the day and evening and loved it! It was fun to catch up and watch the boys play, Lydia laugh, smile and try to walk, and Wynne and Lexi playing games together. Thank you Burnams!

On Wednesday, we were lucky enough to see Nicole Weber and Iris for a short time before re-locating ourselves to Millersburg with Walker, Kimberly and Lushen. Once again, the boys all went crazy, running, jumping and playing together, while we enjoyed visiting. Lushen got to skip school Thursday to go with Jenny, Henry and Wynne to Fulton, where we went bowling, played outside and met Margot for lunch at a Pizza buffet. Heaven for the boys. Margot is still up to her old tricks of bettering the world with local food, art and barn quilts and it reminded me of all the fun we've had together. You can still hear her on the radio wednesdays night on 89.5 fm from 7-8 talking about food, farms and fiddling. I can even listen on the road on thanks to webstreaming and podcasts of Farm and Fiddle.

We finished out the day with haircuts ala Kimberly and a brushfire that almost took their farm away. Thanks to some fine, young volunteer firemen (Wynne, Lushen and Henry) the fire was put out and we were all safe. Now that calls for some marshmallows!

Friday Henry was invited to attend school with his old classmates at Garden Gate where teacher, Ms. Sara Linsenmeyer is still giving them all the love and attention their parents' will never be able to possibly achieve. While Hen basked in this glory, Wynne and I saw some old friends at the Small Farm Today Trade Show and Conference. Still fun, but not quite the same when you don't have a home to outfit with garden and farm gear. Lots of great ducks, ponies, geese, chicks, sheep and cows. Well, that's all for now. I'll send more soon.