hillarygayle: (Hottie Mischeivous)
Here are some really cool photos from our trip to Blanchard Springs Caverns. If I had an easy outlet from a cave, I could absolutely live in one. The Ghost Room near the end of the tour was AWESOME, and will definitely make a good Throne Room someday. ;)

More photos )
hillarygayle: (Agent Nekkid)
So we went to Wakarusa 2013. TL;DR version: it rained a lot, I really hate mud, the music was awesome as usual, & I think next time I want to stay in a hotel. Also: photos.

FIRST! Some definitions for your reading enjoyment:

FestyKid: This is a young person, usually not yet 21. I'm pretty sure they've never held a real job. Their parents probably bought their ticket. They were completely unprepared to camp comfortably under normal circumstances, much less the hellacious weather circumstances we got. They did a lot of drugs, and most gave me the impression they were not there for the music so much as the party atmosphere (& the ability to openly use drugs without legal repercussion); they probably had no idea who Widespread Panic & Umphrey's McGee were, and were mainly spotted at the EDM sets like Baauer & anything else playing at the Satellite Stage. Not all young people at Waka were FestyKids.

Wook (short for wookie): This is a shady type person at a festival. Unkempt & filthy, but that's pretty much the rest of us this year, too. These are the people who come rummaging through the campsites when everyone else is gone. You don't put a lock on your tent, because they'll just cut your tent open.

Ragestick: a decorated stick of any size that you can hold above a festy crowd so your group can find you. Can't find the Creeches? Just look for the staff of Asclepius made out of electrowire. :) Okay so I didn't make one, but if I did it would be that. They are as diverse & individual as people at festivals, & each one says something about the person who made it.


We sat in the security line for AGES. From 1400 arrival, to 2030 when we began setting up our camp. This was mostly because of the weather; we kept having wind/rain intermittently, and any time it threatened to get thunderstormy, the Powers that Were would shut down the festival main venue. Each time that happened, security shut down & stop letting people in. I felt this was a silly tactic; we could've at least been getting to our campsites. I was very glad we'd stopped at the I-40 travel center & filled up the tank.

The rest of Thursday; photos )


Was in only a marginally better mood on Friday morning. It started off with someone playing some surreal recording of instrumental sounds (I hesitate to call it music) with some guy doing pseudo-political, New Age conspiracy theory spoken word stuff over it. It was LOUD, and finally we got the guy to turn it off. Seriously, we can't have that crap at 5am...we're trying to sleep!

Friday, continued; photos )


At first I was cranky because of the drips & condensation in our tent. Before I had my coffee, I wrote that I was "beyond disappointed" & "I am no longer a music festie fan if it means camping". I know myself well, though, because I also wrote that I reserve the right to change my mind. Especially for the right lineup. The fact remains, though, that if a hotel & shuttle is an option? I'll probably take it.

After the coffee, my optimism returned...or at least my resilience. Other people had tents down, rain flys blown away, EZ-ups torn & broken. Furniture was missing, the entire contents of tents were soaked, laid out on car hoods to dry. For novice campers, we did EXTREMELY well (I had chosen a good spot on our little piece of land, I had angled the tent so a natural trench ran around it, and I had driven in the tent spikes & the rain fly spikes and THEN put giant rocks on top of them). Even that morning I realized I'd see this as "what I am capable of" and feel less disappointment. I do. I may not LIKE doing this sort of thing, but I'm telling you, I will be EXTREMELY useful should we ever have an apocalypse.

Saturday continued, with awesome photos )

And then we drove home. We showered & scrubbed off the top layer of our skin, & passed out cold. :) The end.
hillarygayle: (Hottie Daffodil Sunglasses)

Most of us know by now that it's better for the environment (especially as regards our carbon footprint) & better for local economies to live on things that are produced locally as much as possible. This is relatively easy to do if you live in a large metropolitan area & have disposable income. (Intersectionality moment: being poor can make this a very difficult thing to do; it is cheaper to buy mass produced stuff. Other bloggers have addressed that more eloquently than I could, so google!) This is not so easy to do if you live in a rural area, or in a place that's not necessarily rural but is pretty far from major metro areas like I am (the nearest are Memphis @ 1.5 hrs away & Little Rock at 2 hrs away). I have still made it a point to try & source my routine food staples locally wherever I can. I am a notorious reader of labels--not for calories or fat, but for production location!

So, all that said, I decided to make a list of things I eat regularly that I know are produced in Arkansas!

Tips: lots of grocery stores will carry local brands of stuff if they can get it reliably. Wal-Mart is actually really good about this, as are Harp's & Country Mart. Kroger is okay, but I have not known Target to do much of this in my area. The famer's markets in Little Rock & Memphis are known for their local produce & goods, and the Jonesboro market (as if I don't say this enough) has become outright awesome in the last 2 years, with locally produced bread, meat & veggies. During market season, you could locally source an entire cookout or dinner party from within this state, and not use a SINGLE PRODUCT from elsewhere.

Honey: Culps, Jonesboro, AR. Sold in Wal-Mart & Harps. Fisher's honey, a national brand, is out of Little Rock, AR.
Bread: Ozark Hearth, Rogers, AR. Sold in Harps (who carries almost their entire product line!) and Wal-mart.
Petit Jean Meats: Little Rock, AR. This is a national brand; I've been able to find a LOT of their line in Kroger & Harps. Their peppered bacon is amazing & their smoked sausages are a staple at our fondue parties.
Pancakes & Waffles: De Waffelbakkers, Little Rock, AR. This company makes those epic little pancakes that come 3 to a package & you stick 'em in the microwave for a minute & 15 seconds and they're AWESOME. They also make little packages of waffles that are shelf stable & slightly sweet. They're incredible with jam or Nutella.
Wine: Post Familie, Wiedeker, & Mount Bethel vineyards. These are all located in Altus, AR. My absolute favorites are the red muscadine from Post Familie & the sangria from Wiedeker, but Mount Bethel's merlot & fruit wines are on my list to try. I've heard outstanding things about the fruit wines.
Beef: Nine Oaks Farms in Brookland, AR. Hands down the most outstanding bratwurst sausages I've ever had. I don't cook much beef (beef is an environmentally heavy food no matter where it's sourced) but when I do, I buy theirs.
Eggs: Nine Oaks Farms, Brookland, AR. Also Goobertown Farms, Goobertown, AR. (<--this is the gentleman about whom Ganon exclaimed "He has EGGS, Mama! Like FROM REAL CHICKENS!") Once Upon A Farm, Piggott, AR. I usually get these when I'm at the farmer's market during the summer, but Goobertown Farms will meet you in town weekly with eggs if you request!
Pork: Once Upon a Farm, Piggott, AR. Uncured bacon!
Veggies & Fruits (seasonal): These usually come from my farmer's market peeps, but certain grocery stores are VERY good about carrying seasonal produce, especially if it's something the area is known for. For example: Bald Knob/Newport/Judsonia strawberries, Fayetteville blueberries, & Mississippi tomatoes are all very easy to find at Kroger or Harps during their respective seasons.
Ice Cream: Yarnell's Ice Cream, Searcy, AR.
Bottled Water: Mountain Valley Spring Water, Hot Springs, AR.
Seasoning: Cavender's Greek Seasoning, Harrison, AR; this is widely available in Wal-Mart & Kroger. Woody's BBQ sauce, Waldenburg, AR (I grew up with their kids!).
Kettle Corn: Iron Works Kettle Corn, Russellville, AR.
Candy: Juanita's Candy Kitchen, Arkadelphia, AR.

I kinda like this list. I discovered some new ones while I was researching this, and I think I will keep updating it as I find new stuff.


hillarygayle: (Default)

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