In the bleak early winter

Somehow, the Ouachita Mountains seem to make the rainiest and foggiest days beautiful. Shooting through the rain-streaked glass gave the image a 19th century feel.

windswept Ouachita landscape
Gothic horror setting as a winter rainstorm sweeps through the Ouachita Mountains.
sepia style image of a foggy day in the Ouachita Mountains
Oaks and pines stand together in a winter rain. (Samsung Fascinate photo)
rain streaked window
The rain streaked window offers a wonderful distortion. There was still enough ambient light to show the subtle browns of oak leaves clinging to the tree.

Bald Eagle

Bald eagles are frequent winter visitors to the Ouachitas. There are rather large populations that take up snowbird residence around the Diamond Lakes of the Hot Springs area, though residents say the eagles have been spotted in Ferndale near well-stocked lakes, notably the C.A. Vines Arkansas 4-H Center.

The flash of white in his head and tail feathers caught my eye while sitting at the computer. Fortunately, the camera was in reach to capture this long-range image before he flew north and out of sight.

(Hot Springs, the nation’s first national park, would be about 80 miles southwest, to the left, behind the eagle.)

Bald Eagle cruising the Ouachitas
Bald eagle cruises the folds of the wintry Ouachitas.

Christmas at Fort Rosecrans Nat’l Cemetery

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is a beautiful, yet solemn, place that bears the remains of America’s military men and women and their loved ones amid immaculate emerald lawns and white and gray headstones, plaques and walls. The cemetery overlooks North Island and the San Diego skyline from windswept Point Loma and the Cabrillo National Monument.

The week before Christmas, the cemetery was filled with wreaths, poinsettia plants and miniature Christmas trees left in tribute to those at rest there.

Sadly, Fort Rosecrans is busy. There are funerals every 20 minutes some days. The cemetery is also getting crowded, with a century separating the births of some of the veterans laid to rest there. The earliest stones we saw marked the resting places of Spanish-American War veterans; the newest interments belong to young men and women born in the 1980s.

On Dec. 23, families, including ours, gathered at the walls, laying flowers, wreaths, toys and other objects; touching the names of loved ones. They will always be missed.

Weaths at Rosecrans
Wreaths grace many of the headstones at Fort Rosecrans.
Christmas tree at Rosecrans
A lone Christmas tree stands among the rows of headstones at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
Christmas poinsettias and other flowers left in tribute.

In a whirl.

Christmas decorations and another beautiful sunset, OR how to make the most of fading light without a tripod.


A little fun with LEDs
After a day of cooking and cleaning, it was time to do something else -- like restringing the deck lights. After all, you can't be outshone by your neighbor, especially if there are only three houses on the street.



U.S. 70

With the coming of Interstate 40, U.S. 70 takes a back seat to its now busier younger brother.  Though it dates back to 1926, U.S. 70 is far from abandoned, cradling main streets through many cities as it winds its way from Arizona to North Carolina. An interesting look at the bridges of U.S. 70 can be found at

Abandoned building on U.S. 70 near Forrest City, Ark., offers its walls to trees, vines and other wild things.
The lift-span trestle bridge at DeValls Bluff is silhouetted in the setting sun. Built in 1924, it was retired in 2004. Traffic now moves over the White River on a sturdy, but plain Jane, concrete span to the south.