Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Out and About

My younger sister, who lives in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas (about 70 miles southwest of here), was not able to join us for the family Christmas gathering. So, today I travelled to her home for lunch, a visit, and exchange of Christmas gifts.

We had a simple lunch (soup and sandwich) but an extra-special dessert, something I haven't had in a long, long time: homemade, vanilla custard-filled cream puffs! I had to get a photo, of course! Don't these look yummy? They definitely were delicious.

When we lived in New Mexico, our mother used to make custard-filled cream puffs quite often. I think she, herself, was fond of them, and they were one of our favorite treats. I can't remember that she made cream puffs after we moved to Arkansas, and I've missed them. I got all misty-eyed when these were brought to the table.

After lunch, I helped my sister create her own blog, Nutmeg. When she has a few posts up, I'll share the link so you can, if you're interested, see what she's doing.

It was an absolutely lovely day for my visit. Temperatures were in the mid-60's with a gentle breeze. To stretch our legs after the blog creation, we headed to nearby Cortez Lake (there are several lakes within the Village) to see if we might find some photo opportunities. We did.

At this particular site, there are a number of xeriscape areas . At one end of a now mostly barren bed, there is a large holly tree, glossy leaves shining in the sun and absolutely laden with berries. I don't believe I've ever before seen as many berries on a holly tree. I may use this image (or one of the several others I took) for some of my 2009 Christmas cards.

Among the dried plants close to the lake shore, I found one I've not seen before, and have no idea what it is. I found the curl of the dried stems very attractive.

Incorporated into the flower beds, and in groupings closer to the lake, there are a number of unusual rocks. I believe the one pictured below to be granite laced with quartz, a mineral which is plentiful in the Hot Springs area. (I'm open to correction from anyone more geologically knowledgeable.)

Cortez Lake stretches for some distance, with a number of beautiful homes built on its shores.

All in all, it was a wonderful day. I enjoyed visiting with my sister and her husband, and the time spent taking photographs at the lake. I got back home before dark, refreshed, relaxed and ready for the last day of the year.


Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hey Pat, I have friends who have property on a lake in Hot Springs Village. I've been there a few times.. Beautiful place.

Where are you? When we go to Arkansas, we always stay at Mt. Nebo.. We love driving all over the mountains (Mt. Magazine) --and north, up Highway 7. Gorgeous areas!!!

Keep us posted about your sister's blog--once she gets going. Did you tell her that it's addictive???? ha

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Betsy, I live in Jacksonville, a bedroom community and home of Little Rock Air Force Base about 13 miles NE of Little Rock.

It's beautiful around the Mt. Nebo area.

Anonymous said...

I love that post,Pat. The puffs made my mouth burst with water, yummeee!

What a beautiful place to live, that lake, how could the water be so blue? Reflection of the sky of course, silly.

Happy New Year to you from boring old Kent.

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Moannie: I don't think Kent is in the least boring; I've been there, and it's beautiful! When my daughter was stationed at Mildenhall in Suffolk, I had the pleasure of visiting several areas in England (1991). I'd have to look back through my photos and notes for particulars, but I seem to recall that we visited a castle in Kent. It was a *new* castle built in the medieval style, with keeps and everything, and the most marvelous library inside.

I've piqued my curiosity; now I have to dig out the photos to see if my memory is playing tricks on me or if I'm actually remembering things correctly.

Marvin said...

Oh, those vanilla custard-filled cream puffs look delicious!

In over twenty years of living in Arkansas, I'd never been south of Little Rock until this past November. We decided to return from southern Louisiana via Vicksburg and Hwy 65 through southwest Arkansas. Of course, you don't get a chance to see much when determinedly driving to get home. My main impression was that it was very flat and having grown up in the flatlands, I'm glad I now live in the hills.

Sherry Peyton said...

What a lovely post Pat. My husband adores cream puffs and I haven't made any in a year at least. Thanks for a great reminder! And the photographs are truly lovely. Much prettier than looking at this ugly snow! Happy New Year!

Cheffie-Mom said...

YUMMY! Happy New Year to you and your family!

Snap said...

My mouth is watering. Those cream puffs look delicious. I didn't remember you living in New Mexico at one time. I did too ... a past life when I was much younger!

I really enjoyed your pictures. Keep taking them. I'm ready to visit your sister's blog.

A Bright and Beautiful Happy New Year!

Countrygirl said...

Beautiful pictures and sounds like a beautiful day!

Lilli & Nevada said...

Just looking at that pastry made me gain 5 lbs, they look so good. Now you have me wanting some.
Nice photos too

Jeannelle said...

That's great you could spend time with your sister and get her started in blogging.....good for you, Pat!

The cream puffs look divine....like out of a cooking magazine! And, what unique scenes you found near the lake.....the holly is so bright and beautiful, and that spirally stem is amazing!

God's blessings to you in 2009, Pat!

Rose said...

It sounds like a wonderful day! I enjoyed reading about it very much.

Deb said...

I hoped you would post the recipe for cream puffs...:(
Happy New Year!

Dr.John said...

Visiting with family is always a good thing. I think those cream puffs looked great too.

Pearl Maple said...

Followed your link for Sky Watch Friday and am really blown away with all the pretty photos you share on your blog.

Happy New Year

Melinda said...

oh my.....those custard puffs look so yummy!