Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Day

A wonderful view of fog rising from the Niangua River over McKee Ridge

The crossroads are the same

I can remember many Thanksgiving Days when when our families were still with us. It was a great day, some more elaborate than others, but most important was the gathering of families. This morning was beautiful with fog rising into the sky as ragged clouds that were quickly whisked away. The old town, our home for many years was once, I considered the crossroads of the world. But time has taken it's toll on the little village and now two old remaining store buildings are left and are remnants of a once colorful past. There once stood a barbershop, farrier building, a canning factory and an area where cattle, turkey and hogs where brought in to be driven to market. The roads are the sames, leading to the world around me. But I love it hear, for I can see the river fog, buzzards circling in the distance and deer that often quietly pass through. It it a good day as are most days in Windyville and this day will be a time for our family. Adios

Monday, November 21, 2011

A tribute to Tiddleson, Son of Tiddle

Page 205- Beautiful Shanna, from Ambersham

Beloved wife of Tiddleson

Page 180 An unexpected arrival

Page 8- First contact in Wilderness America

Page 231
A deadly encounter at the Wilson House

Page 38
The voyage of the Una Zoe across a storm driven sea

Page 1, Tiddleson,Son of Tiddle

The story of Tiddleson and the Amicus People

During my journey through life I have encountered many strange events, places and people, but none of them came close to Tiddleson, Son of Tiddle. I was forunate to have been allowed to write his story. Tiddleson's saga is indeed a remarkable event, in places that are beyond the realm of reality among the people of the of the world and beyond. It

is a tale of great adventure, drama, danger and undying love. I have often wondered why Tiddleson came into my life. Oh I know there are some people who say that perhaps I have let my imagination run a muck believing as I do of Tiddleson’s existence. This does not concern me at all. I remember the day clearly when Tiddleson appeared for the first time and became a part of me. It has been several years since that fateful day. My son Ronnie Jr. was but a small lad at the time. The boy loved to visit old homestead dump sites containing rusting tin cans, crock shards and many other items that had been discarded.
An old cedar forest that lies across the road from our home contains several of these small dumps. We were approaching the last one before returning home and my son as usual was ahead of me, eager to be the first on site. I heard something rattle inside a large tin coffee can. I hurried forward calling for the boy to stop. I feared a snake might be inside the can. Within a few seconds I was standing at the dump with my son, when a small creature dashed from the can and ran into some tall grass.
“That was a little man!” the boy shouted.
“Well I don’t thinks so,” I laughed. “I think it was a lizard running on its hind feet.”
The incident could have been easily forgotten, if not for a door so to speak opening in my mind and there stood Tiddleson, Son of Tiddle. He was a red haired man, with bright blues eyes, standing no taller than a dandelion stem.
“I have a story to tell,” he smiled and so it all began.
The Amicus People of which he was leader, were and are to this day a remarkable people, a part of an old clan appearing quite mysteriously long ago at a river that ran from the Garden of Eden. To the world they were misfits and were feared and considered evil by many among large humans, for since the beginning of time, superstitions no matter how absurd has often merged with religious beliefs.
The Amicus cannot lie and are totally compassionate to all creatures around them, including large humans, but sadly they have been forced on occasions to defend themselves. Horribly persecuted in medieval times they were ultimately driven from Wicklow Mountain in Ireland and fled the land after building a tall mast ship (The Una Zoe) no larger than a row boat and set sail to wilderness America. The journey to say the least was fraught with unimaginable dangers. After many, many months they arrived in the cedar forest, where they sought refuge in the numerous caverns within the pinnacle of a high stone located deep with a glade, surviving there within the glade and the magnificent stone some call Lone Rock.
The Book, Tiddleson, Son of Tiddle is a detailed story of these unusual people. There are some who have read the book and they too believe and are always looking, hoping to at least to catch a glimpse of the elusive Amicus.
I have heard it said a time or two that facts are often stranger than fiction and I can say with certainty the story of Tiddleson, Son of Tiddle is a true, fiction tale. It can be no other way and cannot be proven or disproved, for the road back to where the Amicus were created is narrow, so narrow a rabbit could hardly walk. The fleeting glimpse of something most people have seen or felt deep in the woodland or sage grass cannot be described but leaves one to wonder.
A friend of mine while visiting with his mother and about to fall a sleep on her couch the first night, he became aware of the sound of soft footsteps near the couch and without moving he opened his eyes and saw a tiny man walking by. The little fellow stopped momentarily, smiled and quickly walked out of the room.
The next morning my friend informed his mother of the incident and she looked away then nodded and said. “I know Son; the little people come and go quite often in the house. They have chased all the spiders away and cleaned all the webs from the windows.”
Most important, to me at least, is how fortunate I am to have been allowed to write the story of Tiddleson and the courageous Amicus People.
A book is nothing but an inanimate object until opened and carefully read and to do so with Tiddleson, Son of Tiddle will take the reader to a world of fantasy, adventure, drama and reveal a truly remarkable, but elusive people. Adios

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cat Hollow

A man called Ike and Butcher Redoak near sundown

in Cat hollow. My last painting for 2011.

The old carving brought to light

Cat Hollow lies along the Niangua and drains into the the meandering river. The hollow is very deep and the sun rises and sets over the hollow a couple of hours earlier than it does anywhere else. Cat hollow is bounded on both sides by very steep and rocky ridges. It has been used for many things in the past, including moonshine making, (white lightening whiskey). The Ozark Ridge Runners, a renacting group for mountian men and buckskinners used the site for rendezvous for a time. I was a part of the band and enjoyed the events very much. My last painting for 2011 is a winter scene in the beautiful old hollow. The found the carving pictured above after it stood for several years in a corner of my studio. It stands about five feet tall, carved from a slab of cedar. Adios.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Invasion

My old neighbor is a fugitive for the next several days.

I hope he makes it

Not a safe place to be on McKee Ridge for deer gun season

A couple of mornings ago I was rudely reminded that gun seasons for deer was in progess. Five rapid gunshots rang out shattering the peaceful morning. I have nothing against the hunting of deer, for with out it the deer would become much too abundant. I was once a deer hunter, keeping in mind the safety aspect of it. Do not hunt in someones back yard or trespass. Shoot only when a deer is well within range and the list of do's and don't go on. Those five shots came from the same gun, and I qoute, "bang, bang, bang, bang, bang." unquote. The deer must have running through the brush. Where were the bullets going? In this country, with few exceptions, fifty yards is about max and in my opinion never shoot at a running deer. If you are a hunter, then stalk the deer, make one shot suffice. During my hunting years I hunted game for the table and did not care a hoot and hollor about the the antlers. You can't eat them. Bragging rights is all you get out of them and that ain't much if you have to shoot five times. It is not a war out there. I stopped hunting years ago because of too many people stomping through the woods carrying weapons that were powerful enough to bring down a bull elephant. I was brought up to make the first shot count and bring down the deer, dead when it hit the ground. I only used singe shot weapons. Adios

Friday, November 4, 2011

The last rose of summer and autumn roads

A new coat for winter

Beautiful Heidi

Defying frosty mornings

East Road out of Windyville

The last Rose of Summer and Autumn Roads

My summer has been a busy one and I have neglected my blog, “South Through Bare Foot Pass.” This morning was very cool at 32 degrees, but very refreshing and colorful. Despite the cold and frosty morning one of my wife’s rose bushes has survived and the blooms are beautiful. I have been to book signings sponsored by Home Grown Books. One was in Mt Vernon and the other in Springfield.. Book signings are not one of my favorite events, but I enjoyed them. I suppose it is the setting up and taking down that I care not for. I have completed three paintings this summer and one that I have near completion. They are a part of a series I call, “For The Ages.” They have a western theme with horses and people from the past. It is remarkable at least to me how the past can be brought to life in words, painting and woodcarving. And of course without the past as a reference human would be nothing more than herd creatures wandering through life with little purpose. The east road out of Windyville was especially beautiful this morning with autumn colors and restless leaves hurry along the old trace. Heidi, my beautiful dog is doing well and has come a long since I adopted her. She has less fear now and enjoys her home. I am looking forward to winter, writing, painting, carving and keeping my blog updated. Who knows what stories there are to tell? Adios.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Imitators

The Imitators

By Ronnie Powell
We are at last enjoying a much cooler time here in the Ozarks, with rain. It may not last, but with September looming ahead, summer will soon fade into autumn. I have been editing a book that will soon be ready for publication. The title is "The Imitators" and is a story of invaders from outerspace. The saga takes place here in the Missouri Ozarks with world wide occupation of the dreadful creatures which have brought humankind to its knees. I must say I get goose bumps each time I read it. With luck I hope to see it published sometime in the near future. Adios

Friday, August 5, 2011

Mister Lafferty And A Man Called Ike

Last Known Sighting of Two Lanterns Lafferty

A Man Called Ike

A few days ago after we set a live mouse trap in the house, one tiny little mouse was detained. I took the mouse across the road and set it down next a piece of cheese. As I turned to leave it looked up at me as if to say, "I won't make it out here, I'm too young." Later I decided I shoud not have left it there. Another mouse, also a young one was caught in the trap and as I walked out the door with it, I decided I had two options. One, to kill the little fellow or take care of it until it was grown and then turn it loose. I chose the latter and it is growing fat and healthy and soon I will turn it loose in an old abandoned building not far from here. I still think about the first one I sat down in the woods and left behind. I have painted two more Of The Ages Paintings. The first one was started several months ago and the second one I have recently completed. I hope they are enjoyed. Adios.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Today is not forever, tomorrow is but a dream.

Somewhere in between there is life, a fragile event more precious than gold.

Goodbye my friend you will now stand among the angels. Adios

Monday, July 11, 2011

Legendary Bare Foot Pass, for the ages

Bucher Redoak and Twinkle John at Bare Foot Pass, heading South of Course

The Queen of Thistles satands outside my door

A beautiful moth resting and then she was off to somewhere.

It is possible I will remain at Bare Foot Pass for a time. The old shack where I do most of my work is a bit dusty but I don't mind. The spiders and a mouse or two welcomed me back not to mention a lizared that always watches the door. There was a newcomer standing outside by the road, some would call an intuder, but no. She is a musk thistle about seven foot tall and will soon bloom. I will remove the bloom for I don't need anymore musk thistle. I have just completed another painting. It features Butcher Redoak and Twinkles John on horse back at the legendary crossing called Bare Foot Pass. It is my feeble rediition for the ages of one of the most beautiful places on the Niangua River. Sadly I have recieved word that two very good people, friends, have been told they have cancer. Life is often not user friendly. Hot weather and I mean hot has settled over the Ozarks with prospects of many days ahead. I will welcome the autumn and cooler days. I have a story or two that I intend to work on, another old sailing ship and a couple of painting tickling my imagination. Adios.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Beautiful Heidi

My latest painting

Our son and his family spent most of the weekend with us and everyone seemed to have a great time. We all gathered at a daughter's house for a feast and a lot of catching up. Some of my evenings were spent creating another painting of a ship on the high seas, The S.S. Daphene. She running before a storm. Now that I have looked at it for a few days, I like it better. My next painting will be closer to home. In case you have forgotten, Heidi my beloved dog is still with me and doing just fine. She is slowly forgetting her past and abuse she suffered (I hope). Adios.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A long way back

A painting I have just completed

It may have seemed to some that I had abandoned my post at Bare Foot Pass, but not so. I have been preoccupied with other things. Two old friends of mine are now in a nursing home and one of them is not long for this world. The last time I saw them they were dancing together the Tennessee Waltz. They both loved to dance. Sadly neither knows that the other shares the same nursing home. I have earned the title of jack of all trades and have been very busy around home working and completing many odd jobs. It was a long list and I am down to three. We have had a lot of rain in the last month and very stormy weather, but as of the present we have not faced the storms others around us have. Heidi and I have walked in the rain a lot this spring. She dosen't seem to mind, nor do I. Rain dripping off the brim of my old Stetson is a common occurance these days. I have come into possession of a thirty x beaver hat. A fine hat it is. The so called Rapture passed and all is well of course. I just don't understand people who make such talk. I have completed anther painting, a seascape. I believe I like it. My wife says it is one of my best. Adios. Ronnie

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Gunfight at Buffalo Head

I Reckon This Story is True

Butcher Redoak's Forty Four
Two Lantern's Patriot
I stood on the porch of the Old Theater, the sun was nearly down. --------------------Gentleman George was there with a double barrel twelve and I with my trusted, forty four. I wore a sheriff’s badge and had sworn to keep the law in that prairie town. -Gentleman George a deputy, vowed to back the persuasion of my notched forty four. *************************************************************

A rowdy bunch came early that day to Buffalo Head, buck skinners, ragged and lean of a dirty hue. They set their lodges on the outside of town, howled like wolves and called it a Rendezvous. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Coffee was boiled in a rusty old can and they killed an opossum and stole some taters to make a stew. A man called Two Lanterns stood away from the rest, wore a red bandanna on his head and clothed in dirty buckskins. ----------------------------------- He held in his right hand, the Kentucky Patriot, a long barrel pistol, some said was his next of kin. There was a gleam in his eyes when he spat down the barrel, poured in gun powder and rammed a round ball in. ---------------------------------------------- Two Lanterns looked about and then capped the Patriot with its hammer yawned back and shoved it into his Irish green sash. ---------------------------------------------- Smiling wickedly he drank from a tin cup, savoring the drippings of good corn mash. He dropped the cup at his feet, squinted an eye and looked up the road toward Buffalo Head. Soon, Two Lanterns would come to town I reckoned, to shoot me with a hot round ball of lead. I am told he howled, spat on the ground and slipped into the shadows a closing around. ---------------------------------------------------------------- That rascal crept out of that unholy camp and up the road and into town, making not a sound.


The talk on the street was an ugly tale of a mountain man a gunning for me. ---------- So I pulled down my hat, stepped to the ground with Gentleman George and walked along the street, him and I as bold as can be. ----------------------------------------------Gentleman George walked to my left, ready to take Two Lanterns or die. --------------- Many of the town’s people hurried along the street and a mother hushed her child’s fretful cry. I saw Two Lanterns standing in the shadow of the church, his feet spread wide apart. “Butcher Redoak,” he squalled like a wounded panther, “it shames me to see a lawman’s badge a hanging over your heart.” ---------------------------------------------- I drew my forty four and fired a round into the air. --------------------------------------- I knew the voice that hailed me, a friend from the days at the Baldy Mountain lair. “Get out of town, Mountain man,” I shouted friendly like, “Buffalo Head ain’t no place for the likes of you.” ---------------------------------------------------------------- Two Lanterns walked onto the street, looking mean out of his eyes of blue. ----------- He stood with the Patriot in one hand, a man alone but defiant in that prairie town. --Well dang, all I could do was to stride forward, ready to do my job and willing to shoot that mountain, put him down. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Quicker than the wink of an eye Two Lanterns ran, yelling like a rebel somewhere in the night. I crouched low and headed the way he’d gone, truly expecting the man to stop and fight. I ran passed the church and beyond into a tangle of brush and then heard the click of a hammer not far from my back. ---------------------------------------Two Lanterns swore and squeezed the trigger on the Patriot and I stumbled and fell in my tracks.


Gentleman George said the town’s people gathered around where I lay, to see me dead or watch me die. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Gentleman George stood up and smiled. “Fear not, Two Lanterns should have fired to the left and high.” Well I reckon my old friend heard the news and slunk away like a coyote in the night. He knew come morning I would be a looking for him to finish the fight. ----------------------------------------------------------------

A prairie breeze cooled the August morning on that fateful day of Eighty Four. --------Hundreds of people gathered like buzzards in Buffalo head to watch me settle the score. There was Twinkles John and Irish Bob and Banjo Boats among the many that gathered there. They were also friends who rode with me across the fork to the Baldy Mountain Lair. They came not to take a part, but to see which man would end the fight. They too had shared a fire with Two Lanterns, drying their skins on cold winter nights. A theater troupe arrived and put on a show and then came the Cherokee. A fiddler played Shenandoah a couple of times and then a waltz about Tennessee. ***************************************************************

The gentleman and I stood on the porch of the Old Theater, sworn to keep the law in that dusty old Prairie town. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Gentleman George with a double barrel twelve and me with a forty four cinched down. Now some say it was high noon when we stepped off the porch to make our play. The street was empty except for a gang of mountain men a coming toward us at a hundred yards away. A window broke above our heads and two men appeared a looking mean as sin. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Gentleman George brought up the double barrel twelve took aim and fired into that den. Those rascals squalled and were seen no more. ------------------------------------- Gun smoke shrouded the street and I saw ghostly figures a creeping up and drew the forty four. I shot from the hip and a mountain man fell, but another took his place. --Gentleman George cut loose again and there was one less member to fight for the Osage Trace. A Hawkins rifle roared across the street sent round ball lead into the Gentleman that was his plight. Black smoke hang heavy over the town, two were left standing waiting to end the fight. ---------------------------------------------------------------- I have heard it said a time or two that I fired first and Two Lanterns fell dead on his back.

Well now, if Two Lanterns died that day, (no one else did), where was the body, for all we found were coyote tracks.

(Footnote) Buffalo Head is no more on the prairie where once it stood, only the wind can be heard a blowing across faded tracks where once people watched Two lanterns and Butcher Redoak duel. Oh by the way nearly every night you can hear a coyote a crying not far from where the Rusty Bucket saloon stood. Two Lanterns has disappeared and I have no idea where he went, but would like to know.)Adios

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Goodby Old Man

A cold morning and a warm breakfast for Heidi

I have never cared for the term goodby, but I will make an exception to Winter. It is not that I am down on old man winter or that I did not enjoy his passing through, for winter is beautiful, the air fresh and clean. Winter was rough for awhile and when Spring made the scene there was too much bullying like 85 degress one day and 35 the next. So goodby Old Man Winter. The photos above are the last, hopefully of the winter and like it or not Spring was rather beautiful in the white lace of snow a few days ago. Adios

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dusty Solace

A few of my attic treasures

A toy from long ago

A reminder of bygone days

An old relic standing among a spider's lace

Cherish the past for it is the key to the future
A Time to Remember
Dusty Solace
By Ronnie Powell
Spider webs are more often than not unnerving and fearful to people. Ragged dusty lace suspended from a doorway containing the remnants of flies and other insects. A shriveled up mouse or rat lying in a corner of a room or pasteboard box has dampened many an adventure. There was and still is not much that can discourage me from exploring old attics that for a number of years remained intact in abandoned houses and most of the time the owners did not mind or care who trespassed into them.
One such dwelling sat on the South bank of the Niangua River, secluded in a grove of walnut trees, far from the main road. I discovered it one day while squirrel hunting and sat for awhile observing the place. There was a house, a barn, large open shed where inside sat a buggy and not far from it a cellar. I thought it strange that I could see no one about and after nearly an hour I approached the house and called out. No one answered and again and again I called out, receiving no answer. There was no automobile and only a weed grown trail that led away from the house to the top of a hill. Unwilling to go any closer I sat down by a tree and again closely observed the house. The windows were dirty but I could see ragged curtains hanging inside each window. The lawn was grown up in weeds and the fence around the building was in a ramshackle condition. The front porch steps were covered in dust and two side saddles on the porch were also dust covered.
Convinced no one lived there I decided to go up on the porch and look into the windows. I finally went inside and stood at the door for a time observing the quite house. On the kitchen table sat a plate with food that had dried up. The bed was turned down as if someone had just gotten up, but it was evident that had taken place a long time ago. A long cap lock rifle hung on the wall, dust covered. In one corner of the bedroom I saw a stack of hand made quilts and other articles too numerous to mention. It was at least to me the house appeared abandoned. It was full of treasures, objects that at one time were important to someone. I later talked to a man that owned the house and he said that his mother had died there. He stated that he did not care about the house or its contents. It wasn’t long; perhaps a year later and someone went in and looted the entire house.
One pastime my wife and I enjoyed was frequenting estate auctions. At one particular event lasting nearly a day we waited for the auctioneer to begin at a line of boxes of assorted items often referred to as the final cleanup. Like others we began looking into the boxes, rummaging through them to determine their contents. In one box, small compared to most of them and when lifting the lid I found a top layer of dried grass and laying on it a dead rat, completely withered to nothing more than hide and hair, an unpleasant sight. I gently raised the thick matt of dusty vegetation and saw the box contained several pocket knives and fountain pens. I carefully replaced the top cover, patted it down and walked away.
I continued my probe of the boxes keeping a curious eye on the box containing the rat and saw no one examining its contents after discovering the dead rodent. The winning of a two dollar bid brought the box into my possession.
My childhood memories include Aunt May Gann’s attic, a spacious mysterious place containing many years of accumulated items, a few exceeded a hundred years, which included old letters, a calendar or two and most precious of all a diary written during the Civil War by Great Grandfather Wright. In her later years Aunt May did not go up to the attic often which was evident when climbing the steep narrow steps, whisking aside cobwebs as spiders retreated into the walls. My brothers and I were not allowed to go there but a couple of times over the years. I was always first in line cutting a path through the shroud of webs, followed by my twin and younger brother.
“Do not pilfer,” Aunt May, would warn us, “and be careful not to break anything.”
The attic was in fact a second story of the old house, one large room with two windows on one side. Three walls were lined with boxes, paper sacks and large wooden trunks. Everything lay under a thick cover of dust. Across the center of the room were stacks of clothing, cloth feed sacks, both white and of assorted colors. A few ladder back chairs sat about containing boxes and there was a large drop leaf table containing dishes and other kitchen items.
My first impression upon seeing the room and its contents was amazement and speechless wonder as I began cautiously exploring the boxes and sacks, confronting a spider now and again, or glimpsing the tail of a mouse disappearing from view.
Boxes of books were quickly reviewed including an old leather bound dictionary of which Aunt May gave to me later. Family letters found in a trunk were plentiful some dating back to the Civil War and of course the beloved diary. Vintage ladies hats were a delight, most were elaborate and quite stylish. There were hundreds of Magazines dating back to the turn of the century treasures in their own right chronicling everything from World War One to the deadly flu epidemic of the early years of the 1900’s. Men’s and women’s apparel from the skin out representing the turn of the century were abundant. Carnival and depression glassware stood on the table, along with a couple of large metal boxes containing costume jewelry, including watches and a gold wedding band or two.
The attic was a wondrous place, a time capsule of immense knowledge that would have taken much more time to explore and I went away each time wanting to return.
Several years later after my last visit to the attic, during the first years of my union with Joyce, Aunt May passed way and her estate vulnerable at last to the discretion of family members, (she had no children) gathered at the old home place to clean out the house. Mother was late and arrived to find a huge fire a short distance from the structure destroying heaps of boxes and sacks removed from the attic. Totally involved, the flames were quickly devouring a lifetime of precious memories. Too late, Mother could only weep, running about salvaging only an item or two, including a large Prehistory flint knife I had earlier mentioned to her. The diary and letters were victims of the fire reduced to ashes to be caught in the wind and scattered beyond my reach. Adios

Thursday, March 17, 2011

An Old Friend

My Friend Bluto

By Ronnie Powell
Friendship can be simply defined as an unquestionable love, devotion, loyalty and respect that results in great companionship. To share life equally with a friend whether it is a human or animal is truly remarkable.
My first impression of Bluto was that of a juvenile rat. A tiny ten week old Rat Terrier that would in the years ahead to become a part of me and me him emerging into a friendship that knew no bounds.
Teresa, my oldest daughter requested a puppy for her 4th birthday and my search for the proper companion for the little girl led me to a friend who raised Rat Terriers. I arrived a week too late to prevent the docking of the pup’s tail as is required for registering of papers. I was allowed first choice and immediately centered my attention on a feisty pup undeniably the leader of the pack. White with black spots and inquiring eyes that missed nothing waddled over to where I crouched and wagged the stub of tail. I gently placed him in my lunch bucket, closed the lid and headed for home.
Upon arriving at home a short time later I sat the bucket on the floor and told Teresa there was something in it she would like. She with curious delight responded lifting the lid taking the sleepy puppy in her arms, calling him Bluto after a character in Pop Eye the Sailor Man. Bluto, had found a home with an equally young human family, resulting in an enduring relationship.
Bluto was given the run of the house and with few mistakes soon learned to go outside when necessary. We expected much from Bluto as if he was a child of our own and he seldom faltered. It was not in his best interest to remain cooped up inside and began following me around outside exploring an old barn and chicken house. He quickly learned to dig for mice and rats, chased a rabbit or two, setting the stage for life as an adventurous hunter. A small dog at best, Bluto feared nothing, protecting Teresa when necessary. He followed me into the woods one morning to squirrel hunt and spotted a young squirrel on the ground and the chase was on, never loosing sight of the creature until it made a stand in a tall sycamore tree. Bluto delighted, stood yapping, jumping about. Bluto’s devotion to Teresa was second to none yet there was a part of him she would never share.
My treks along the Niangua River were nearly always accompanied by Bluto, disappearing for an hour or two and then reappearing scratched and dirty ready for his share of whatever lunch I carried. I could only imagine what encounters had kept him so long. Bluto’s love of adventure often surpassed my own, following me into caves along wet passageways so narrow we barely made it through.
I had only to say,” “let’s go home,” and he would lead me unerringly through passages offset by others to the outside.
One particular warm summer afternoon while resting by the river, Bluto barked and ran into a field. I stood up calling for him to come back and then saw the reason for the hasty departure. A huge groundhog darted into a hole with the terrier on his heels. Bluto never broke stride and followed the groundhog in the tunnel. Fearing for the dog’s safety I ran quickly to the den and began calling his name. I sat down and listened and heard much growling and commotion deep underground and then silence, prolonged silence. Thirty minutes passed and still no sign of Bluto and I began to fear the little fellow had been killed. A muffled growl, a grunt or two caught my attention and Bluto appeared tail first out of the den dragging a large dead groundhog and no sooner than he cleared the hole with the body he again went down and a few minutes later returned with yet another large groundhog. He lay down between them panting, proudly looking up at me and wagging the stubby tail.
Bluto never content to trot along beside me, ranged ahead and one afternoon while returning home I failed to see a large bore skunk sitting on a log ahead of us on the trail,. Bluto growled and ran toward the skunk intending to give chase. I yelled but too late. Bluto leaped on the log and was hit point blank with a dose of spray knocking him to the ground. He lay whimpering, gagging. Unmindful of the dreadful odor I ran to where he lay, picked him up and retreated.
The encounter with the skunk left Bluto blind in one eye but it did not diminish his spirit and soon insisted on following me again Age had begun taking its toll on the spunky terrier and his sorties into the woods beyond me were not as frequent and often remained at my side.
One gray winter day in 1968 after leaving an overhang where I had previously discovered a large earthen pot and had spent the day Bluto and I headed home. We had crossed the river earlier that morning in an old flat bottom boat that had gone astray from somewhere upstream, and we returned to the site boat was gone, retrieved perhaps by its owner. We faced a cold crossing through a fast moving riffle. I stripped down to my underwear, placed the clothing in a backpack and stepped into the icy cold water. I could barely stand the bone chilling temperature, but had no choice but to continue on. Gasping for breath I waded deeper into the numbing water that soon rose up around my waste. The current pulled at me unmercifully as I stumbled out into the channel.
Bluto swam ahead of me and reaching the bank he stood waiting. Soon I could no longer feel my legs and again I faltered and dropped to my knees, feeling the rush of cold water close around my neck. The bank lay perhaps fifteen feet further on and fear of drowning sent me plunging ahead into the frigid water.
Bluto again jumped into the river swimming quickly to my side, barking and nipping at my arms. The presence of the dog and courageous act was all I needed and soon I staggered ashore, my hair crusted with ice and collapsed near a pile of driftwood. Crucial moments passed as I franticly searched the pack for matches and lit a fire in a pile of driftwood that quickly it rose into a massive bonfire surrounding us with wonderful life saving warmth.
Bluto passed away at the age of nine years, a dear friend and companion that even to this day he is greatly missed. Adios

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Cup of Redrose Tea Might Help or-----

“Apply Skunk Grease and Call Me in the Morning.”
By Ronnie Powell
Many of the immigrants that came to this country carried with them folk medicine, family cures or treatments so to speak. The American Indians also possessed nature’s remedies. How effective any of these remedies are is a matter of opinion and has spawned a viable industry world wide.
My first encounter as a boy growing up in the Ozarks with Dog Fennel as we called it, a small obscure plant bristling with nettles immediately when touched created a severe itching that did not go away too soon. Dogs whimpered when coming in contact with it, some adults cussed and children often cried.
After returning to the house complaining, Mother applied a balm to the wounds which consisted of skunk fat rendered to grease mixed with salt. The application soon brought about soothing results. Skunk grease was also used to treat chest colds, sore throats and minor cuts.
The inner bark of a Black Oak tree, brewed to a tea was often use as a gargle to treat a sore throat. The inner bark of a Slippery Elm was used as a gargle for a sore throat or canker sores.
One of the hazards of going bare foot is coming in contact with nails, broken glass and barb wire. Most of the time these types of injuries if not too severe were treated with stove pipe soot or cobweb to stop the bleeding and a long soak in coal oil, (kerosene).
A popular sport especially among the boys was to rid the outhouse, (privy) of wasps and stings were enviable. A mixture of mud, crushed Black Simpson leaves and chewing tobacco was applied to the stings to draw out the venom and reduce swelling. However my twin brother and I attempted to remove a huge red wasp nest from a Dogwood tree one afternoon while on our way from Dousinberry creek to home. I being fleet of foot ran from the scene but poor Donnie was quickly covered in wasps. By the time I dragged him a safe distance from the angry wasps, the lad’s nostrils and eyes were swollen shut. Both lips were turned inside out and he could barely breathe and was quickly loaded in the Chevy and taken to Buffalo to be treated successfully by Doctor Plummer.
The inner bark of a White Walnut tree was often used to draw out the infection of an ulcerated tooth, but also killed the nerve and the tooth turned black. The liquid boiled from Polk root was used to treat Scabies, (seven year itch), lice and mange in dogs. To both dog and human the treatment was rather painful.
The dreaded head cold was treated in a number of ways, honey and vinegar, red pepper tea, sulfur and molasses taken internally, Mule Tail leaves boiled to a tea was taken for diarrhea and skunk grease applied liberally to the chest.
One variety of snake root, boiled to a tea had a calming effect quieting a hysterical person or distraught animal.
I doubt if folk remedies will ever fade from society and should not be used unless at least reasonably certain of the potential side effects. I for one cannot attest to the safety of these medications even though I was often treated with them. It is logical to assume many of them possessed healing properties, used when there was no other choice. The list of home or folk remedies is long and are contained in many books or old faded instructions tucked away in a bible or drawer. Bottles found in dumps out back of a dilapidated home often contain residue of some special mixture to ward off worms, snake bite, upset stomach and any number of common ailments of country folks. Adios

Friday, February 11, 2011

Winter's Wrath

Round One

Round One

I was hoping that by February, winter would ease up a bit, but of course I was wrong. I was also bitten by a virus of some exotic strain, ( probably common) and with it chewing on me and facing mandatory work outside to at least shovel paths, clear driveways and other essential chores and shovel fifteen inches of snow off one roof. I had little time to rest. Gates refused to shut, steps froze over and the temperature dropped below zero several nights and we left the water dripping from every faucet in the house but the commode froze, but fortunately we had water stored. There were times when I could hardly walk to the barn, breathing was difficult and I had little appetite. I do believe I had walking pneumonia, (ain’t kidding), but by the time I figured it out it was too late to go see a doctor or so I reckoned. I of course abandoned my blog and e-mail. I am feeling much better now. The sun is shining and the temperature is supposed to be in the fifties and sixties by this week end. I am still tracking and gratefully so. It may seem like I am whining, but I am not. It may be quite sometime before all the snow has melted and forced into the rivers and streams and then spring will be waiting to usher this nasty winter out of the picture. Adios

Friday, January 14, 2011

Where is Spring?

A good day to be alive

Summer, an abundance of beauty and life

A great way to end the summer

A zero day, a cold wind and not user friendly

Spring is waking up, wriggling her toes, peeking out from under her cover, but it is not time to make her entrance. She has much to do before her arrival, choosing a dress of a delicate color of green to wear and a bonnet of flowering blooms. She must select a chrous of birds to anounce her arrival and many have yet to return to the Ozarks. There must be a blamy breeze laden with her fragrance and it is still lingering south of us. Winter still has a hold on the land and will not give up easly, but take heed Winter Spring is coming in all of her beauty and compassion.Adios

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Misty Moon and a Butterfly

Queen Misty Moon

Princess Butterfly

One morning about three years ago, I was about to leave my tool shed, when a kitten as wild as fox sped past me and ran under the floor. It was an especially brief encounter, but I was able to see the kitten quite clearly and it was wonderfully marked with every color of the royal cat kingdom. Several days or weeks later my wife came in contact with the little stray and in time caught it with food. The kitten was a female and scrappy and independent. She knew how to take care of herself more or less. My wife named her Misty Moon for her beautiful colors. She was taken to the Vet for a checkup, shots and made sterile and it wasn’t long and she began sharing our home with us, but mostly on her own terms. She finally settled down and became a queen, pampered and petted and she grew into a most beautiful cat and devoted to my wife. I on the other hand was her servant until one day she decided to up my rank a bit and we became friends. My wife and I were perfectly happy with Misty and did not considered adopting another cat, one of the reasons being we did not want to upset Misty.

One morning my wife and I started on our walk, when from the window of an old store in town we saw a tiny cat sitting in a window of the building mewing plaintively. The cat was extremely beautifully marked with many colors that most calicos are. The sight of the cat and obvious distress of the animal trouble her. Later and it may have been the same day in the evening the little cat came to the front porch, mewing I suppose for food. The process began again. The cat was female and pregnant, much too small for that. She was named Butterfly for her many colors. My wife and one of our daughters combined their efforts and soon Butterfly was housed in a large maternity cage. Butterfly gave birth to six kittens that soon became a bit much to handle. But all went well and when it was time to wean them, the kittens stayed with our daughter and Butterfly came home with us to live in the barn. All six kittens were taken in the home of our daughter and oh are there stories to tell. She, like Misty was taken to the vet for a checkup, shots and made sterile. Butterfly went through a winter in the barn, harassed often by opossums and raccoons and even though she was secured in a cage at night it must have been terrifying to the small waif. I will fast forward to the present. After much discussions and concerns for Butterfly, she was brought into our home to live with us, much to Misty’s objections. Butterfly was afraid of me, which did not help matters, but a few months have passed now and the transition is still an on going process and slowly Butterfly has become a truly wonderful friend to me. She is a princess, loving and devoted to us and her new home. Only time will tell as to what kind of relationship the cats will have, but hopefully, at least tolerant of one anther. Adios.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


I have at last reurned and am delighted to be back and I am looking forward to the new year. For those who have yet to travel with me, why not take the time and hit the trail that leads to Bare Foot Pass. It is a long journey with much to see and so we begin again and I hope you find it interesting. And check the attic now and then.

Our Christmas tree with over seventy years of memories hanging from its branches

Heidi is well and more beautiful than ever

A harsh ending to the old year, with snow and forty mile an hour wind

I will begin this New Year after a relative but pleasant delay on my journey South Through Bare Foot Pass. I enjoyed last year for the most part of it even though I took a break from writing, woodcarving and painting. I turned everything off and instead focused on other endeavors such as enjoying my guns, (peaceful guns). I love to shoot, both modern and percussion weapons. I am not into the semiautomatic varieties including the large and intimidating assault handguns and rifles. A young man a member of the posse I belonged to made light of a handgun I was carrying and remarked to me. “My gun shoots sixteen rounds,” The gun he was making fun of was a double barrel thirty eight special. My reply to him was after I pointed to a tree about twenty feet from where we stood. “Stand over there; if I have to shoot someone it will be up close and personal and one shot will suffice.” He of course declined and shut up. And while on the subject I decided to end my association with the posse. I am not interested in tracking or apprehending bad people, nor am I gung ho, willing to show off a brace of pistols strapped to my thighs. I joined the posse to help when someone became lost or help during a felon hunt, securing roads and trails where necessary. Traffic control and parking was also a vital aspect of the posse. I met and obtained many new friends while on the posse, but I am glad to be free of it. My thoughts have again turned to writing and perhaps in time publish another book or two. One book I have started, a sequel to Tiddleson, Son of Tiddle is tickling my imagination and I will again soon be in the thick of the ongoing adventures of the tiny Amicus people. I have learned the imagination has no boundaries and it is awesome. At least two new characters have joined the Amicus, of which all stand no taller than a dandelion stem. Mitsu a petite Amicus woman of Japanese heritage only two inches in height is a prominent and wise, but obscure woman in the Amicus clan. Akio a huge white cricket standing as tall as Mitsu is her companion and fiercely loyal and is three hundred years of age and much more intelligent that most Mendex, (large humans). And then there is Sir Albern Weedon. Another book in the planning is to be nonfiction and features the prehistory Indians of the Niangua River Basin. The book will contain many years of searching for the remnants of these elusive people along the meandering rivers and streams and within the caves and overhangs and field sites where secrets abound. The book represents an adventure that took me to places where most people will never be. I have found comfort from time to time while goofing off snuggled in my blanket amidst the yesterdays, reminiscing and yes still learning from those bygone eras and gently touching dusty relics of the past that were once an important aspect of my life. The past is as much alive as is the present and should never be ignored lest one misses a vital part of a new day and forget to look toward the distant horizon for fear of being ridiculed by the masses. I am proud to say I wear a San Angelo Stetson and not a cap that is currently in style and boots that are timeless instead of plastic sandals that quickly become outdated and thrown onto the trash heaps of man, but everyone to their own druthers and rightly so. More and more people are massed together than ever before and it is difficult to distinguish individuals as they plod along in their current style clothing. Even the faces are set the same as if that to is in style. If something occurs that disrupts or excites the mass all will follow to whatever disastrous outcome may occur. It is not that I have lost faith in humanity, just their ability to think and function as an individual. I see them pass me by, their eyes set ahead, their feet pointed outward, all going somewhere, but nowhere. This of course is typical for after all the Earth is round and for the most there is nothing better to do. Over the years I have lost contact with friends of who were important to me, for they were truly individuals. One friend in particular is a man called Two Lanterns fading at times into the past but always a part of the present. Two Lanterns if you read this let me know. I now face a new year and where it will take me is unknown. I am content with that aspect of life. I must admit that once in awhile I see someone in the mass of people around me that stands out, looking not directly ahead, but everywhere, seeing the world as it is and ready to strike off from the crowd. So I am not alone and until I reach my destination I will continue to explore and look about me and beyond. I welcome all to explore my blog on the trail to Bare Foot Pass. Check out my books, carvings and paintings and in the attic there are trunks yet to be opened. One name that should be kept in mind is Fletch Gideon. He is a big man and wears a tall Stetson; worn slick by time and strangely the hatband is a piece of rusty barbed wire. And then there is the story of the rescue on the Niangua River during a flood and only I was willing to take on the river, but a stranger stepped forward and asked to accompany me. Deep within one of the dusty trunks in the attic there lays a story once published of ghosts, spirits and such. I swore not to reveal it again, but I have decided to edit it a bit and bring it forth. I cannot honestly say that I believe in ghosts, spirits and such, yet I have written of them and created havoc on a small town. There is nothing more chilling than to be presence of a specter yet I have not been harmed by the alleged presence of them. There have been sights and sounds that have troubled me, quite severely, yet I have always rationalized those phenomenal and elusive sights and sounds. Adios