Wednesday, October 16, 2013

     Water Wheel Ceremony at Walk in Peace Ranch, Kansas Sept. 21, 2013
                           (also being celebrated as International Day of Peace)

        Submitted by Sandy Dinwiddie

An hour east of Wichita, Kansas lies the scenic terrain of rolling hills covered in swaying prairie grass called the Flint Hills. Nestled in a peaceful valley you'll find "Walk in Peace Ranch". It's owner and visionary is Lonetta Lollar, a beautiful sprite of a spirit. She has reserved 38 acres of the 200 acre ranch for the Peace Garden which is located atop two hills across the road from the lodge. Lonetta began creating this Peace Garden a little over a year ago which included an amazing Laborinth, the Star Hinge, and The Spirit Stones. Nestled between the Spirit Stones and the Star Hinge was an open piece of land that Lonetta thought would remain open. Last November she met Marshall "Golden Eagle" Jack and learned about Water Wheels and the ceremonies involved with honoring our water sources locally and globally. I met Lonetta at the same event and we remained in contact. When she learned that I had started to work with the waters and had created a Water Wheel in my backyard, she asked me if I would come to Walk in Peace Ranch and perform the ceremony as we created another Water Wheel for the planet.

                             Water Wheel located next to the Spirit Stones Circle.

Seven women women came together on this bright, hot, cloudless day that radiated energy. I gathered the women inside the cool lodge, before going up to the hill, so that I could tell them why we were doing this ceremony. I shared the stories that Marshall tells of how the elders of his Paiute tribe would be gone for weeks in the spring. When he asked his grandmother where they had gone she told him that they were in the mountains performing ceremony for the waters to keep it healthy and remembering its crystaline form through prayers, offerings, crystals, and speaking with all of nature. The generation before Marshall lost their connections to their culture and healing ways so the ceremonies stopped when the old ones could no longer make the walk into the mountains. The people started to see disease in the pine trees for the first time. They also saw boils on the rabbits and deer. No one was continuing the ceremonies to honor and give gratitude to the water and all that found life through this source were getting sick. Some years ago, Marshall accepted the challenge to restart the ceremonies once again. Through these Water Wheels and the honoring of our local and global waters we are taking up the task of reconnecting ourselves with the Blood of Mother Earth.

We were blessed to have Sharon, a native Alaskan Aleut drum maker and performer with us that weekend. She graciously agreed to drum on Lonetta's council drum throughout the ceremony. I had explained to the women how important it was to connect with the wheel, the water, and each other through our heart's coherence. We would be dancing in opposite directions for twelve cycles until the energy was sufficient to create the vortex to bring down the energy from the galactic realms and anchor it into the center of the wheel in the crystal altar. If I felt that the energy was waning I would ask them to pick it up.

We each selected seven, clear, quartz crystals to be buried in the six outer points and at the center of the wheel in the crystal altar. Large rose quartz crystals were placed over all of the seven burial holes as capstones. The day and the ceremony were wonderful and we capped it off with the light hearted activity of blowing bubbles.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Cotter Experience

Remember to scroll down the the bottom of this post and read upward. Click on any picture to enlarge it.

While we were fishing on Wednesday, and the sun was out, Sandy drove in to Mountain Home to see if there was any color on the trees. In past trips, the town was full of maples and other briliantly colored trees this time of year. Up to a couple of weeks ago, the color forecast looked great. The rain ruined it. Sandy said she only saw 4 trees with any decent color on them. We drove back into town the next day, and even those trees were in bad shape. The rain stripped a lot of leaves, and the constant cloudiness over the past week or two prevented good color from forming on most trees. So.... there are no pictures of tree color. SO... I posted above some pictures of typical tree color from previous years to see Arkansas color

I forgot to take a picture of the fish. This photo is from last spring, but the trout we kept were larger if anything than these. Overall, it was a good three days fishing, even with the rain.

I saw one boat going out with the people in full rain gear. They will have to use bait like worms or corn to catch anything in the muddy water.

Our rig. The lower campground here got a little soggy, but the roads and the pads are gravel.

This is their dock. The photo was taken this morning after a day and a half of heavy rain. It is now muddy. If the rain stops, it will clear in about two days. In the background is the bridge over the river on highway 62B, leading into downtown Cotter.

We always stay at this campground. If we don't bring the trailer, we stay in one of their cabins. The owners are a man and his mother, who are very nice. I highly recommend this place to anyone who wants to fish. We always use Lonnie Cox as our guide. He was literally born beside the river, and knows it like the back of his hand.

I had to put a picture of me in the blog! Blue sky means it is Wednesday afternoon. On this day, we caught well over 100 fish, most in the 11-14 inch range, all rainbows except a few small browns. Brown trout in this river must be 24 inches or longer to be legal to keep. We caught some this size last spring, but released them. Most fish were lip hooked, and we released them without handling them, using pliers to remove the hook outside the boat so the fish just dropped back into the water.

This is my buddy, Ed. We go fishing on the river here twice a year with a guide for three days, spring and fall. Hopefully we will be able to continue this for another 10 or 15 years or more.

It had been raining in the Ozarks for a week or more. Beaver Lake and Table Rock Lake are on the White River above Bull Shoals. I fish the White river about 15 miles below Bull Shoals dam. Normally, with this much rain, they would be running all 8 power generators wide open to lower the lake level , which is now about 18 feet above normal. They are only running 3 generators because the cotton fields down river are all flooded. They are hoping the fields will dry out so they can harvest, so they are not letting the river flood them.

We stopped on a gravel bar in the middle of the river for lunch. Note that the water is very clear. The rain had been so light, it didn't ruin the river conditions. Blue sky means it is Wednesday afternoon.

OK, I already posted the results of the first day. The photo above shows overall weather conditions that day. It was heavy clouds with occasional misty drizzle.

The second day, we woke to the sound of rain on the roof. I had told the guide to not show up if it was raining and looked like it was going to continue to rain. About 11:30, I looked at the weather radar, and the storm front was just barely past us. There was a chance that we might get in a half day fishing. So I had the park owner call our guide to see if he would be interested in a half day trip. He was, and showed up in 30 minutes. We fished, again only with artificials (spoons and rapalas) and we caught perhaps 30 fish that afternoon. The third day. it was supposed to be sunny and clear. It was cloudy until about 11:00 and then the sun started to come out. See above.

Monday, October 26, 2009

In Cotter, Arkansas

We arrived yesterday afternoon and set up camp OK before it started raining. My friend Ed showed up OK and we ate Taco Soup Sandy had prepared for supper. The weather forecast said there was 70% chance of rain today. Great! We have a guide scheduled for an all day fishing trip on the White river. I woke up at 5:00 am and it was raining. I went back to sleep. When I woke at 6:30, it had stopped raining. I thought maybe we could get a couple of hours fishing before it started raining again. We went out at 7:30 in the boat with the guide. The river water was clear, but the fishing was slow. We use only artificials, mostly Rapalas and spoons. By 3:00 we had 8 nice rainbows in the live well and had released several nice brown trout and maybe 25 other rainbows. It started drizzlng at 3:15 and we went in.

Tomorrow we are supposed to go out again. Again it is supposed to rain, 70%. Wednesday it is supposed to be sunny. No pictures today.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Last show and a half at Branson

Well..... I may have to re-evaluate my review of the Brett family show. First, let me describe the shows we went to today. This morning, we took the $10 tickets I had purchased from a tourist, and we went to see the morning show of Yacov Smirnoff. The tickets were good! That was the last good thing about the show as far as I am concerned. His jokes were old, his "Russian" dancers were not I think, and overall the show was of a quality that we left at intermission.

This evening, we went to the Jim Stafford show. Cost almost $80 for us to see it. We got great seats, but the show was disappointing. He did, however, have two real Russian dancers that were very good. The show was very slow, and he used his 12 year old daughter and his 16 year old son as stage acts playing the piano (one at a time). They were OK for their age, but I didn't pay $80 to hear amateurs perform (several times each). He played some guitar (he used to be very good), and did not really attempt to sing. He was mostly telling jokes in his characteristic way.

I have come to the conclusion that the better shows are probably the younger people in newer shows, and not the old timers trying to live on their reputation from 20 years ago. SIX was fabulous! The Brett family was good, especially the father who had a very good voice. The other two shows today were real disappointments, and I won't recommend them. I wish we had time to see some other, newer shows, but we have to drive to Cotter tomorrow to meet a friend who is coming up from Houston to go fishing with me. We have seen a few scattered colorful trees, but the color is mostly past peak here. I will post pictures when we get some good ones. Later!

Friday, October 23, 2009

First three shows at Branson

We arrived about three in the afternoon Thursday and went to Roy Clark's (remember Hee-Haw?) show that night. He has to be somewhere in his 70's, but he and the band put on a good show. One of the band players was a young (30?) fellow who played fiddle, mandolin, and guitar, all extremely well. He also sang very well, and will someday be a big star on his own. His name is Justin David.

Friday morning, we went to the Brett family show. It was well reviewed, but it started to get old after a while. They were good, but not special.

Friday evening (tonight) we went to a show that had rave reviews, called "Six". It was six brothers who sang without the help of a band or back-up tracks. What made them different was that one of them "played" the drums and another the bass, with their voices via mikes (they all used mikes). Their two voices were put through special filters to make it sound more authentic, but they still did it live, and it was fantastic. The other four had just amplification from their mikes. The show was funny, and had the most exceptional harmonizing I have ever heard. They literally played/sang almost all genres of music, sometimes in series of small clips of songs. I would say the brothers ranged in age from 30-something to 50-something. They were the oldest six of 10 boys. I highly recommend going to this show if you get to Branson. I found out the theatre holds 1250 people. They had played Vegas until the theatre owner convinced them to come to Branson. They live there now with their families, and play to sold out audiences six nights a week.

We just walked up to the "Six" ticket office, as we had no reservations. Out of the 1250 tickets sold that night, I was sold the last two! Our seats were in the third row on the left aisle. Amazing luck! Buy your tickets in advance over the internet!

Tomorrow, we planned to go see Yakov Smirnoff at the morning show. As I was buying tickets for Six, the woman ahead of me said they had been seeing shows for days, and were going home early, tomorrow. She had two tickets for Jakov's show and asked if I wanted them. I asked how much and she said $10 each. I bought them from her, as they are $30 tickets each. I hope they are good. Let you know tomorrow.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

In Branson at last!

Well..... they say things come in threes. I hope we are done with the near misses with the trailer. On our Montana trip a couple of years ago, the air stem broke off on one of the trailer tires. I found it when we had pulled over to have lunch. The service guy said we couldn't have been driving on the flat more than a couple of minutes because the tire was not damaged (and neither was the trailer). Last year on the Michigan trip, a tire on the trailer was worn out on the edge to the point of being through two steel belts, and it was starting to separate. Found that one as we were preparing to pull out for the day. Turns out it was from a bent and twisted axle that we got as a souvenier on the Alaska trip. Finally, last Sunday, as we were pulling in to our parking spot in an RV park in Wichita Kansas, the guy parking us said one of the trailer tires was leaning at an "odd angle". BOY, was it ever! The outside bearing had "gone away" and the hub and rim had gotten hot enough to melt the plastic hub cap in the rim. I had looked at all the tires 35 miles before at a rest stop. We probably had less than a half a mile left on that wheel at highway speeds, and that would have taken out a good chunk of the right side of the trailer. Fortunately, the axle wasn't trashed (but I don't know how it survived). Still, with the cost of on-site maintenance, a new brake drum, 2 new backing plates with all the brakes mounted, and labor, it was $876. Better than losing a wheel at highway speeds I guess.

We drove from Wichita to Chanute, Kansas to visit my cousin Gary and his wife Lorraine. We only stayed there a day and a half. Then we drove to Branson, MO, in rain all the way. Fortunately, all our plans here are indoors. We plan on seeing several shows, and then Sunday we will drive to Cotter, Arkansas where we will stay about a week, to fish and see the fall colors in the area. No pictures yet, but from all appearances, the color will be great, unless all the rain knocks the leaves off. No telling what the White River conditions will be with all the rain. Will post later when we have some pictures from Cotter.

Monday, October 19, 2009

2009 National Dutch Oven Gathering

Remember, scroll down to start and work up to get things in the right order. Also, just click on any picture to make it larger.
The dark spots are cinnamon, not burned spots.

Sandy made a double crust peach pie in a 14-inch oven. I made the crust, and she did the filling. She also did the decorations on the top.

This guy had built a large "Dutch Oven" on a trailer. The lid could be raised by cables. and his cooking station was inside. The large red tongs are patterned after those used to move hot charcoal around. Of course, he was from Texas!

Cooking set-ups were also widely varied. large Class A rigs.

People were there in anything from tents.....

Pies after removing from ovens.

Freshly baked pies, cooling.

Baking the pies.

The crust was put into the oven and unfolded.

Then the bottom crust was folded into quarters to make it easier to place into the Dutch oven.

She rolled out the pie crust between two sheets of baking parchment.

This class was large also.

Pieces of baking parchment were placed in the Dutch oven so the baked, cooled pie could be lifted out.

Another class was taught by Gay Ann Grace about making nut pies (like pecan) directly in Dutch ovens.

Baking the biscuits.

Ready to bake!

People were eager to learn how to make biscuits directly in a Dutch oven.

Several classes were given on Dutch oven cooking. Terry Cobb is introducing Ken Jones who taught a class on baking powder bisduits.

On October 15, we arrived at Kaw Lake near Ponca City Oklahoma for the 2009 National Dutch Oven Gathering. 113 RVs were there plus a lot of people who jusgt came in for the day, or stayed in motels. Those who wanted to brought gift baskets of items representing their state, and trades were made by blind drawing on the last full day.