Archive Posts

The Celtic World

John Anster Fitzgerald (1823-1906), Titania and Bottom The Celtic World by Joshua Heston “From the cradle to the grave our every move is shadowed by beings not quite of this world.” (1) In the old days, before our inundation of technology, before we could pat ourselves on the back for having discovered every mystery worth finding,…

Irish Games in the Hills

Irish Games in the Hills by Joshua Heston I suspect more than one exasperated hillbilly has — unknowingly — participated in the old Celtic games of strength. The necessary components are at hand. First, there are plenty of stones for throwing. Second, there are a great number of Irish and Scotch families in these hills.…

Toby Show, circa 1985

The Toby Show “Fifty or 60 years ago, actors came to small towns in the Midwest and set up tens. In all the towns where these shows appeared, it was a time of celebration. “Legitimate theater looked down their noses at these shows but to the people, these actors made the world a better place.…

Celebrating Silver Dollar City

PLATE 1. Vintage murals celebrate Silver Dollar City’s unique heritage. Celebrating Silver Dollar City by Jim Barrett (written spring 2000 in conjunction with Silver Dollar City’s 40th anniversary) I got to seriously thinking about the history of Silver Dollar City and a goodly number of old memories began flooding back. I remembered going over to…

Moon Plantin’

Moon Plantin’ by Dale Grubaugh Winter has come to the Ozarks. The ground is white with snow and the temperatures have dipped down to single digits and below to make it bone chillin’ cold. It’s a good time to sit by the fire with a hot cup of coffee and read a favorite book, magazine…

Dutch Oven Cookin’

Dutch Oven Cookin’ by Elias Tucker (Dale Grubaugh) Winter can be a challenge in these Ozark hills. During the last week of January, the hills around here got all dressed for the occasion. Blanketed in sleet, snow and freezing rain, the Ozarks looked a bit like a waiting bride in a veil of ice. Beautiful…

Oak

PLATE 1. Quercus palustris. Oak by Joshua Heston There are so many species of oak in the Ozark Mountain region that identifying them all is a bit daunting. This is only a partial list. White Oak (Q. alba) Black Oak (Q. valutina) Pin Oak (Q. palustris) Bur Oak (Q. macrocarpa) Shingle Oak (Q. imbrecaria) Post…

I Was Given — to See — the Trees

PLATE 1. Dogwood blossoms, Taney County, Missouri (March 31, 2009). I Was Given — to See — the Trees by Jim Barrett (FROM MY BOOK OF WORD PICTURES) I found myself in a primordial forest of gigantic white oak trees on an Ozark mountaintop ridge line – and I knew that I was looking at…

Deep & Blue: Springs of the Ozarks

PLATE 1. The magical Blue Spring empties into the Current River, Shannon County, Missouri. February 20, 2009. Deep & Blue: Springs of the Ozarks by Joshua Heston Pure water spilling from the rock itself. There is an elemental quality to the idea. Particularly to flat-landers, there is something enchanting about Ozarks springs. The scene of…

Sassafras

Sassafras by Joshua Heston The sassafras tree is fragrant — reminiscent of lemon — when its branches or leaves are crushed. There are no sassafras species outside of North America and its common (and Latin) names are derived from a Native American word for the tree. A generation ago, sassafras was regularly used as a…

Spiced Crabapples

“Made a batch of yummy spiced apples! Thank you for the recipe!” — Ron Regehr, StateoftheOzarks Subscriber Spiced Crabapples (Makes about 6 pint jars)1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces1 tablespoon whole allspice1 tablespoon whole cloves4 1/2 cups granulated sugar3 cups water2 1/2 cups white vinegar8 cups stemmed crabapples, pricked with a fork1. Tie cinnamon stick pieces,…

Aunt Pena

PLATE 1. Miller’s Bluff, Bourbeuse River Aunt Pena by Dale Grubaugh My great Aunt Pena [Peenee] Ringhiesen Stovall wasn’t my great aunt when I first met her. She lived on the Bourbeuse River near the old Hog Trough Bridge in Gasconade County, Missouri, and was a neighbor to my Uncle Sidney and Aunt Mildred. As…

Feature Articles

Oak

PLATE 1. Quercus palustris. Oak by Joshua Heston There are so many species of oak in the Ozark Mountain region that identifying them all is a bit daunting. This is only a partial list. White Oak (Q. alba) Black Oak (Q. valutina) Pin Oak (Q. palustris) Bur Oak (Q. macrocarpa) Shingle Oak (Q. imbrecaria) Post…

I Was Given — to See — the Trees

PLATE 1. Dogwood blossoms, Taney County, Missouri (March 31, 2009). I Was Given — to See — the Trees by Jim Barrett (FROM MY BOOK OF WORD PICTURES) I found myself in a primordial forest of gigantic white oak trees on an Ozark mountaintop ridge line – and I knew that I was looking at…

Deep & Blue: Springs of the Ozarks

PLATE 1. The magical Blue Spring empties into the Current River, Shannon County, Missouri. February 20, 2009. Deep & Blue: Springs of the Ozarks by Joshua Heston Pure water spilling from the rock itself. There is an elemental quality to the idea. Particularly to flat-landers, there is something enchanting about Ozarks springs. The scene of…

Sassafras

Sassafras by Joshua Heston The sassafras tree is fragrant — reminiscent of lemon — when its branches or leaves are crushed. There are no sassafras species outside of North America and its common (and Latin) names are derived from a Native American word for the tree. A generation ago, sassafras was regularly used as a…

Aunt Pena

PLATE 1. Miller’s Bluff, Bourbeuse River Aunt Pena by Dale Grubaugh My great Aunt Pena [Peenee] Ringhiesen Stovall wasn’t my great aunt when I first met her. She lived on the Bourbeuse River near the old Hog Trough Bridge in Gasconade County, Missouri, and was a neighbor to my Uncle Sidney and Aunt Mildred. As…

Don Bilyeu

(PLATE 1, above)”That’s me and old Mickey. He was about 15 when I moved to Neosho and I took him with me and kept him in the garage there. Came in one night and old Mickey wasn’t in there. I spent several days hunting for him but I never found him. Went off and died…

Talking Rocks Cavern (Fairy Cave)

PLATE 1. Talking Rocks Cavern opens into an underground fairyland. Talking Rocks Cavern (Fairy Cave) by Joshua Heston The history of the ages often collides with our old-time pioneer and hillbilly memories here in the Ozarks. Such was a day back in 1883 when two boys went rabbit hunting in the steep and rocky hills…

The Mysterious Gillioz

Plate 1 (above) The Mysterious Gillioz by Joshua Heston Heat waves shimmered across the asphalt. Alleyway trees, mostly ailanthus and catalpa, quivered against the rare breeze. Midday streets were nearly empty as the collective of Springfield business folk braced themselves against yet another scorching August day. Downtown Springfield, Missouri. Just another medium-sized city in America,…

Down By the River Side (Story of the Riverside Inn)

Down By the River Side by Joshua Heston and Dale Grubaugh Ozarkers of Christian County, Missouri, lost an old friend last December. On December 12, 2009, the Riverside Inn (on the banks of the Finley River just north of Ozark) closed for the last time, a victim of misplaced FEMA money and too many summer…

The Weaver Brothers & Elviry

PLATE 1. From left, “Abner” Leon Weaver and brother “Cicero” Frank Weaver with June “Elviry” June Petrie Weaver. The Weaver Brothers and Elviry by Joshua Heston All but forgotten today, the Weaver Brothers & Elviry, originally of Christian County, Missouri, were one of the greatest stage attractions to ever tour North America and Europe. Combining…

Heritage Chickens

Heritage Chickens by Joshua Heston I was reading a blog about a rural Arkansas road trip and discovered my chickens. They weren’t actually my chickens. They would not, for example, recognize me if we were to meet. But they looked just like my chickens. It was a little surprising. You see, I have some heritage…

Castle Ghosts: Pythian Castle

Castle Ghosts: Pythian Castle by Joshua Heston with Stephen Meek There was a knock on the heavy oak door, a door sheltered beneath massive Carthage limestone. “So, have you met the ghosts?” The question came from a covey of OACAC non-profit agency employees, former daytime residents of the Pythian Castle — a monolithic structure of…