Fall

Things to Do With Your Husband #12: Yard Work

Whether it is landscape planting in the spring, mowing and weed-pulling in the summer, or leaf-raking in the fall and winter, yards require a lot of maintenance. This is work that can be fun if you have a little company. We have two very large oak trees in our front yard (and something like five in the back) that color beautifully in the fall.

Living among the gorgeous oranges, yellows, and reds is truly amazing. I am reminded each time I look or step outside that God is the greatest Artist.

Those painted leaves turn brown and crunchy, and a chill north wind blows through…

… and then I am reminded why we call this season

FALL.

before

before

The leaves have begun to fall. And when these two huge white oaks drop leaves… they really, really drop them!

Nate and I decided to tag-team this job. One of us raked and piled leaves while the other trekked to and from the burn pile in the backyard with the wheel-barrow. We swapped roles as my back started to hurt from raking, and then my feet tired of wheeling.

during

during

We raked and hauled fire fuel for about 6 hours that day… and only cleared the front yard of leaves!

after!

after!

The work was tiring, but enjoyable. We whittled away the time chatting and laughing as we plowed our way through the blanket of fallen leaves. There is something about hard work that does a body good.

And there is something about working together towards a common goal that does a relationship good.

The front yard looks again as if we never spent those 6 hours out there. Guess we need to do some more good, tiring work.

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Down Memory Lane

Things to Do With Your Husband #11: See it Again

It is great fun to return to a previously enjoyed place, especially at a different time of year. This weekend, we took a one-night camping trip back to our honeymoon location, Petit Jean Mountain. Our honeymoon was in August, and we stayed in a house. The mountain looked quite different this time around.

The mountains were brushed with burnt oranges, deep reds, and cheerful yellows. The weather was crisp and chilly, but a welcome change from the burning heat of the August sun.

We stopped at an overlook we’d seen previously–the one that gives a nice view of the Arkansas River.

We  visited another overlook that we’d seen before–the Palisades Overlook.

In this comparison, you can see the difference in the foliage. Also, the sky looks bluer because when we visited in August, it was rainy most of the time.

On Sunday, we had a couple of hours to spend before heading out, so we drove out to an overlook we didn’t see last time–the Mary Ann Richter Memorial Overlook.

Richter Memorial Overlook

It allowed some beautiful views over the Arkansas River Valley. Petit Jean River also flows through here.

AR River Valley

more fall foliage

After taking in the sights here, we headed home. On our way, we made a quick detour to visit my best friend and meet her new little bundle of joy. It was a great weekend. I highly encourage you to take a trip somewhere you’ve been before, perhaps at a different time of year. Being in a familiar place brings back those happy memories while you create new ones.

Hike to the Falls

Things to Do With Your Husband #10: Take a Hike

Over the weekend, we took a one-night camping trip to Petit Jean State Park. Since our honeymoon there over two years ago, I wanted to return and hike the Cedar Falls Trail that is rated “moderate” for its steep, rocky steps and path that leads to the bottom of Cedar Falls. After checking into our campsite and having a quick lunch, we drove to the trail head which begins behind Mather Lodge.

Mather Lodge overlook

Cedar Falls Trail head

We began the descent on steps cut from the rocky mountain face more than 50 years ago by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The first 1/2 mile is a winding path that ends 200 feet below in the canyon of Cedar Creek. We passed huge stacks of rocks…

looking up

… and came to a rickety metal bridge spanning Cedar Creek.

one-lane bridge

The creek wasn’t flowing very much, but we would occasionally spot small pools of green-blue water littered with orange, red, and yellow leaves.

leaves

Finally, the pay-off for the walk: beautiful Cedar Falls. The water falls more than 90 feet into the canyon with high rock walls, like a bowl holding a stunning, deep pool of green below.

waterfall

pretty pool below

There were many people around, but we took a rest on a large rock, taking in our surroundings. Then, we began the hike back up, which was noticeably more difficult, but totally worth it. I was so proud of myself for making the hike. We enjoyed the sights and sounds; we oohed and aahed over the fall foliage, trickling creek, and huge boulders performing balancing acts on the path’s edge.

Bonus photo: we spotted some tiny carpet rocks on the way back!

size comparison: toe of a boot

I am so glad we were able to hike this trail after two years of regretting we didn’t before. It was difficult, but completely worth it. If there is something you are regretting not doing, I encourage you to speak with your husband about it–see if it would be possible to try again. For a long time, I didn’t tell Nate because I worried about his reaction. I worried he would think me silly for regretting something like that. He didn’t, though. He understood and was eager to give me an opportunity to try.

Camping

Thing to Do With Your Husband #6: Go Camping

Camping is another great way to spend time with your husband. Most men love providing for their wives and camping gives them that opportunity to bring you as much comfort as they can. Plus, as I’ve said before, sunshine is great for the body, soul, and spirit. After floating (and hauling a canoe through) the Little Missouri River, Nate and I camped at Daisy State Park on Lake Greeson.

Daisy State Park

We bonded over a game of Go Fish, hot dog and marshmallow cooking, and building a home away from home for the night. Our camp site was just off the water with some pretty views.

Part of our camp site.

We woke to the sound of birds chirping. Nate started up the campfire and we cooked bacon and eggs for breakfast.

Morning sun over our tent.

I fell in love with the many dogwoods blooming around our site.

Dogwood Blossoms

Dogwood Blossoms

Dogwood Blossom

Dogwood Blossom

We had loads of fun camping, and I’m already looking forward to next time.

Canoe Trip

Things to Do With Your Husband #5: Do an Outdoor Activity

Outdoor activities are a great way to create strong, happy memories. On Friday, we took a short (about 4.7 mile) canoe trip down the Little Missouri River beginning just downstream of Narrows Dam and ending right about the second submerged dam at the Muddy Fork Road bridge.

We had an absolute blast. A lot of the time we spent walking our canoe over slimy river rocks. There was some frustration as Nate came to terms with my very limited canoe-steering skills. Tears flowed as I convinced him that I really was trying my best and asked for him to not be upset with me. And apologies were made as he stood in rushing water on slippery river rocks reaching into the canoe to give a hug and promise exercises in patience.

We were blessed with plenty of sunshine…

A Sunshine Blessing

… and hard work:

This was taken during an easy stretch of river!

We rejoiced at streams emptying into the river because it meant higher waters over the rocks. (Click on the picture for a better view–a pretty foot bridge was constructed there.)

A stream empties via mini-waterfall into the river.

At one calm moment during our trip, while we relaxed in slow waters, we witnessed a deer as she (I think it was a doe) stepped out into the water at the river bank for a cool drink. I didn’t get a picture because the phone was in a water-tight box, and I didn’t want to frighten her. The deer only stayed around for a minute or so–once she caught sight of our ensemble, she hurried off.

Overall, we had an incredible time. We’d been kicking around the idea of a canoe trip for probably a year or more and just never made the time to do it. I’m so glad we did this. Even as we stumbled over many, many rocks and even as I sit here with achy and sore muscles, I feel blessed and happy for the experience.

Maybe you and your husband can’t take or wouldn’t enjoy a canoe trip, but being outside in the sun is good for your body, soul, and spirit. I believe that our short ride down the rocky Little Missouri strengthened our budding marriage as we rejoiced in God’s handiwork and provision.