Happy Sunday to my Sunday Letter readers~
We’ve had a gorgeous fall week here in northwest Arkansas. I hope you’ve had a chance to get outside and enjoy the cooler weather. Over on the other side of the state, the cotton harvest on our farm has ended. Once again I am thankful to be a farm girl from Mississippi County.
Sometimes I think you have to be from a place to fully appreciate it. I also believe leaving a place helps you see the full beauty of it when you return.
Home Sweet Farm Pics
This is one of my favorite shots of our cotton field near Little River.
It’s beautiful in every season.
2022 has been a very dry year. One thing about this most recent trip to the farm—Little River truly was ‘little’, so dry the riverbank was crying out for rain.
Oh looky… a cocklebur plant it all it’s glory. I took this picture at the Mississippi River in Osceola.
These prickly plants flourish around river banks, lake shores, and cultivated land and pasture. If we lived way back in the day, we might have used the cocklebur plant for treatment of malaria, rheumatism, diseased kidneys, and tuberculosis. Today we primarily consider them a terrible nuisance, positively vicious when stepped on.
But they look pretty cool if you think about it.
Something you may not know—the common cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium) is an herb that belongs to the Asteraceae family, same as asters, daisies, and sunflowers. Even though the cocklebur looks nothing like a sunflower, plant families are determined by flowers and reproductive parts. Just like people—we don’t always look like our cousins, but we belong to the same family. And every family has a few prickly cocklebur cousins mixed in with the daisy sweet ones.
Speaking of rivers, Ole Man River is at a low water point, that’s for sure, but he is still mighty and muddy and mesmerizing to those of us who like to watch him roil by.
From where I was standing on the Arkansas side of the river, notice the white sandy beach across on the Tennessee side. That isn’t normally there.
On October 12, the river gauge at Osceola recorded water levels of 8.8 feet below what is considered ‘low stage’. This is the fourth-lowest level recorded in Osceola since record-keeping began in 1927. (per Zenger news)
The Mississippi River is one of the world’s major river systems carrying 92% of the country’s agricultural exports, 60% of all grain exports and 78% of feed grains, soybeans and livestock exports. It is also one of North America’s great migration routes for birds and fish.
I pray we get rain soon.
This is the time of year milkweed pods burst open to reveal seeds. And the seeds are attached to fluff called pappi.
What a beautiful thing to see.
Yesterday, March winds blew in October. I swear it was like we had moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma.
The good news—wind is an important pollinator. And as of this morning, all these milkweed seeds have no doubt parachuted into nature. These seeds will germinate and later provide vital food for monarchs. Birds and mice and other critters might even use the fluff for winter nesting.
So while we may grab our hairdos and curse fall allergies, there truly is some good blowing in the wind. And because of the pappi, a seed blown by the wind can sail up to 100 miles before landing!
Happy Birthday Gracie
What kind of schnauzer mom would I be if I didn’t tell you Gracie celebrated her 2nd birthday two days ago?
Even though most of my tennis shoes bear her sharp teeth marks, this little girl has brought an incredible amount of joy into our lives.
Cheers to two whole years!
We never go home to the farm without eating at least one meal at the Wilson Cafe (in Wilson, Ar). Our roots run deep in that little town.
When I was born, my family lived in Wilson; Momma taught English at Wilson High School and Daddy worked for Lee Wilson & Co. When I was two (like Gracie) we moved to the farm but still returned often to Wilson.
Question: does anyone from Wilson remember the airplane that was parked beside the Hampson Museum? I loved to climb on that airplane!
Wilson Cafe was originally the Wilson Tavern. Oh my goodness—the tavern served such great fried quail and fried frog legs, and if you’ve never eaten them, especially with cream gravy, well, you are missing out.
Anyway, the place is a lot more upscale now, and we pretend we are too. ☺
If you ever find yourself in northeast Arkansas, do yourself a favor and stop in for a meal. The atmosphere is charming; the food incredible.
And because it’s October, and October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, when our server recommended pink Save the Ta Tas cocktails, of course we said YES! The baked brie with peach jam and pesto hit all the right appetizer notes. And two large crab cakes with mashed potatoes and spinach gave me plenty of leftovers to enjoy the next day. (Not pictured: Momma’s chicken pasta dish or Staci’s butternut ravioli.)
The menu changes with the seasons and local food availability, but the flavor is consistently A++.
I don’t recall the exact ingredients of our pink cocktail, but if you want to host a party for Breast Cancer Awareness, I found lots of fun pink drinks you can make from a couple cooks website.
Of course alcohol is optional.
Things Momma Says:
I don’t cook anything that needs more than three ingredients.
Thanks for reading today’s Sunday Letter—Farm Edition. 🚜
Is it dry and windy where you live?
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.