Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Field Trip......

"A host of of golden daffodils; beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze."
~William Wordsworth~
Tuesday afternoon Handy Hubby and I went on a little field trip. This was literally a trip to a field located in the River Valley Region of The Natural State. Nestled between the Ouachita (pronounced WASH-A-TAW) and Ozark Mountain ranges is the Arkansas River Valley Tri-Peaks region, so named for the three sister mountains, Mount Magazine, Mount Nebo, and Petite Jean Mountain, where there are sweeping vistas, impressive heights, scenic byways and highways, picturesque rivers, lakes, streams, and forests.

In this region rests the tiny town of Bigelow, population 329, a small community a few miles southwest of the present day Toadsuck Ferry Bridge that grew to touch the the edge of the small town of Fourche. This town did not exist by its current name until 1911 but was known by the name of Easu. In 1911, Fourche River Mill owner, N. P. Bigelow, built and elaborate white house of the best lumber on a hill above the town. He was elected mayor, and then gained permission from the states General Assembly to change the name of Easu to Bigelow. It was at one time the biggest town in Perry County. You might have heard of this tiny town after it was featured on Extreme Makeover: Home Addition, The Miracle House, where host Ty Pennington and his design team made over a home and tell the story of Job McCully, a boy who is an inspiration in his hometown.

In this tucked away tiny town up on Wye Mountain sitting on a little knoll under a canopy of ancient oak trees is an old stone church. A simple white wooden cross above the entry is the only adornment you will find. To the left of the old church is a rolling seven acre field of blazing yellow daffodils. As far as the eye can see there is row after row of undulating daffodils dancing in the sun to the tune of bird song and gentle spring breezes. One breath of the sweet scent that perfumes the air and one would surely think this is the smell of heaven here on earth.

At the highest point in the middle of the field stands a lone tree with a girth that would take several people holding hands to span it massive trunk. Below the tree is planted a single stone cross. Before the cross sit two curved stone benches, the only decorations in the field save a few old wooden birdhouse scattered here and there along the fence row or placed against the occasional tree.Strolling through the rows and looking at all the buttery beauty was a feast for the eyes after such a long gray winter. One might wonder why this field exists and who planted it. The field began as a labor of love by one woman who was a member of the old stone church. The community in which the church is built was not at the time a prosperous one and funds to pay the minister of the church were slim. The woman decided to plant the field and for years she alone planted and tended it. Her intention was to use the proceeds from selling bulbs to help supplement the ministers salary. As the field grew and others got involved a festival was born. It is now an annual event for the 40 member church.The festival itself has no official dates and is very informal as it all depends upon the flowers and their peek blooming time, mostly sometime in mid March. This year we had a bit of ice come through and it nipped the tips of the blooms but not enough to dim their beauty. There is no admission charge (donations welcome) and no regular hours, you just show up. You can bring your lunch and mill around if it is during the week or on festival weekend you can partake of some very reasonably priced delicious old fashioned barbecue. Also on festival days there is a little shop open that you can purchase homemade crafts from and of course there are the famous Wye Mountain bulbs you can purchase, from pure white to traditional yellow as well as some interesting hybrids, to take a little piece of Wye Mountain home with you. There is also a roped off area where you can pick a dozen flowers for $1.00! Proceeds from donations, the sale of bulbs and bouquets, as well as part of the craft sales help pay the salary of the minister and upkeep on the church.

While we were there we watched couples stroll hand in hand down the sunny rows. Mothers were using the buttery backdrop as a photo op of their children all decked out in Easter finery. Cameras clicked everywhere and the atmosphere made one want to linger in the peace and tranquility of the setting. I even took my turn at reposing among the posies and allowed Handy Hubby to photograph me! I must have been delirious from the heady scent of flowers because I usually avoid the camera at all costs. It was a wonderful lesson in lightening up for me.
Another special event that is held by the church is an Easter Sunrise Service at the foot of the stone cross under the massive old oak tree. Imagine sunshine spread around your feet in the form of fragrant flowers as you anticipate the first hints of a new dawning day. Imagine the significance of the service held at that very brink of a new rising day in relation to the rising of the Lord Jesus Christ. A beautiful way in my opinion to celebrate Resurrection Sunday.After our field trip we drove on into the city to do a little shopping. Of course that meant a trip to book heaven, Barnes & Noble, where I had a gift card just waiting to be used! I purchased a wonderful new volume for my collection, Vintage Collage~Works Artful Ideas With Antique Ephemera by Maryjo & Sunny Koch. There are some delightful tips and techniques not to mention the gorgeous photography of the art pieces in this book. To peek inside this book go here.

I also took a gander at the new Somerset publication, Somerset Apprentice. It is full of fantastic tips, techniques, and how~to's to create your own special art pieces. It features a hosts of wonderful artists. I did not purchase an issue this time because I was familiar with many of the techniques featured but that won't stop me in the future when I see something new I want to learn. You might want to check it out.We ended our day by stopping by our favorite sandwich shop and picking up an impromptu picnic and going down by the lake where we used to go when we were dating. We sat on the shore savoring our sandwiches, listening to the lap of the water waving up to meet the land, and watching the ducks and geese swimming to and fro. Twilight brought us home where I was glad to see our old red barn with all its faded signage planted firmly in the field that I like the best, the one I call home.

Miss Sandy


Vee said...

Of course, I am wondering if those really are oak trees and I'm also wondering if those are really daffodils... ;>

Such a lovely day away you enjoyed in a location that is charming beyond belief. I hope that you were able to take home a bouquet in addition to the bulbs.

That's your barn? I was just visiting Margo and she showed her barn today, too. It's fantastic! So quaint and I love all that old signage.

Thanks for sharing your delights with us! Now I'm just wondering what kind of sandwich you ate and if you're going to share your photo among the daffodils...

Sand Flat Farm said...

Loved this stroll through the daffodils - it's beautiful and the church is quaint and inviting, too. A real labor of love. Thanks for sharing your photos - spring is here!!

Andrea said...

Glorious daffodils! That is so beautiful - as if God inspired its creation to give us a taste of heaven on earth. It really touches my heart that the little lady began the project to help pay the church minister. How sacrificial and unselfish. Thank you for sharing your field trip. I enjoyed it immensely.


bluemuf said...

Miss Sandy, what a lovely place to spend an afternoon. Those beautiful daffodils are amazing.

Hugs karen

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your day trip with us. What an enchanting place and such a precious story of the lady tending flowers to help pay the minister all those years ago. Thanks for sharing the books too. Those gift cards burn holes in our pockets don't they??? Glad you felt like getting out and about and now you can relax with that new book.

TinyBear said...

That church is so beautiful and all the dafodils. We don´t have that kind of churches in Denmark.
The book looks so inspiring. Looks like your had a great trip. Thank for sharing.
Tina x

Lori said...

Miss Sandy, your field trip looks like it was wonderful...those fields of daffodils look so happy and sweet!!!

Becky K. said...

Sounds like a wonderful day!

Some people are so refreshingly creative. Love the daffodil idea.

Did I miss the photo of you?


Shari said...

Miss Sandy.. I enjoyed visiting the church and field of daffodils with you. Your music selection also made my time with you very relaxing.. you're a great hostess. Yeah! Spring is on the way as we begin to enjoy the renewing of God's earth. Shari

Terry said...

Oh my what a beautiful way to usher in Spring.Thank you so much for the grand trip through the most beautiful flowers,what a joy this little outing must have been .I know I am only observing but you made me feel as if I were there .Thank you for the blessing.

Susie said...

That is a beautiful place and it sounds like you two had a wonderful day exploring. I love that stone church.

So that is your barn? How neat! I can't you haven't shown it to us before.

Susie said...

Well I will definitely look forward to seeing what beauty you saw today.

Sorry I passed the rainy day blues to you. Maybe they won't last for long.

The last three days have been glorious. We've been very busy at work thanks to Mr. Sunshine. I love it!

And by the way, that barn is very much blogworthy!

As I read your words am I to assume your health is back to normal? You sound real good!

KathyB. said...

Sounds like a perfect day, one that you will always remember. What a lovely church and history to go with it......just look what a labor of love ( the lady planting daffodils) can produce.

kathy said...

Sandy , so beautiful , glad you are feeling well enough to have a excursion , OH the pictures are so beautiful -but the words even more so -- YOu always delight my eyes , but also challenge my heart --
Blessings Kathy - ga

Joy said...

What a beautiful tour both in text and photo. Thank you so much for sharing this outing with us!

{p.s. I did buy that issue of Somerset as I am in desperate need to learn some basics!}

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